Education, Arts & Community | Shared Resources. Gates, Zuckerberg and Other Tech Titans Team Up to Push Clean Energy. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and several other of the world's wealthiest tech and business titans are banding together to fight climate change by investing billions in clean-energy research and technologies. The Breakthrough Energy Coalition was announced ahead of the opening day Monday of the U.N.
-organized climate talks outside Paris. More than 150 heads of state and government were gathering at the summit to try to find common ground on how to slow the rise in global temperatures. The coalition has pledged to invest in innovative ways to produce "clean" energy, especially in the developing world, and thereby cut down on climate-warming greenhouse gases. The group of investors will pour money into companies working on clean-energy ideas. "The renewable technologies we have today, like wind and solar, have made a lot of progress and could be one path to a zero-carbon energy future," Gates said in a blog post.
Soft drink tax war to bubble up in cities across the U.S. There’s something even more polarizing than whether to call soft drinks pop, soda, or coke: the debate over taxing them. Depending on the results of next year’s elections, your city government might turn your soft drink sugar rush into a source of tax income.
Politico has the scoop on the plan to bring these tax initiatives to the polling booth: Public health advocates, flush from victories in Mexico and Berkeley, Calif., are plotting to bring voter referendums and legislation to tax soda in as many as a dozen U.S. cities in 2016. It’s all part of an international strategy backed by billionaires in New York and Texas, including former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to reduce consumption of sodas, juices, and other sugary drinks in the fight against spiraling rates of obesity, diabetes, and other diet-related diseases.
In the past, proposed soft drink taxes have proven difficult to pass, partially due to Big Soda’s deep-pocketed interference. How to read the jargon at the Paris climate change talks. Maybe climate change tends to take a back seat because the talks themselves are a jargon-filled monstrosity of diplomatic protocol, which means no one — not even the diplomats themselves!
— understands what’s happening half of the time. Here we are, closing out what’s quite possibly the warmest year since the invention of agriculture 10,000 years ago, with our atmosphere’s carbon dioxide at record levels and emissions still rising. But, alas, the most interesting drama and diplomatic wrangling are buried in a sea of legalese and acronyms. Case in point: Peru’s environment minister, Manuel Pulgar Vidal — a key figure in recent years at international climate negotiations — recently tweeted a link to a document designed to provide a more-or-less official guide to the Paris talks. It’s titled: “Scenario note on the twelfth part of the second session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action.”
Not exactly helpful or soul-stirring. Among the major sticking points: Everything You Need to Know About the New SAT. Photo The new SAT will soon arrive on a wave of bold promises. The College Board has said its redesigned admission test would contain “no more mysteries.” Instead of being a riddle to solve, it would correspond with high-school curriculums and better reflect what students have learned.
The pitch sounds good. But is it true? In the spirit of good prep, let’s review what we know so far. The new SAT, which debuts in March, will look a lot different from the current version. As for content, the revamped test draws heavily from the Common Core — math and reading benchmarks adopted by most states. The changes get mixed reviews. “The new SAT will align better with what kids are learning in school,” said Ned Johnson, founder of PrepMatters, a test-preparation service in Bethesda, Md., and co-author of “Conquering the SAT.”
Although the SAT is evolving, not all of its stripes are changing. First, the reading section won’t be so “recondite,” because obscure words like that are disappearing. The American Turkey Farmer Takes On Mother Nature and Wins. Photo If the doom-saying turkey pundits had been right, we’d all be eating ham this . Last summer, after a devastating outbreak of avian flu in the big turkey-producing states of Iowa and Minnesota, the media was full of predictions that prices for the surviving turkeys would soar. Holiday turkeys “will be hard to come by,” one expert told Reuters in June. In case you haven’t done your shopping or reserved a turkey yet, rest assured: There will be a turkey for you. Not only is there no shortage, but turkeys are selling for some of the lowest prices in years.
For that happy outcome, we can give thanks to the resilience of American agriculture and enterprising farmers like Brad Moline. Mr. That same day, he drove a carcass to Iowa State University, his alma mater, where researchers tested it and confirmed that the deadly H5N2 strain of avian flu had reached his flock. No one is quite sure how the virus, which originated in Asia, made it to the American heartland. Still, Mr. None of Mr. Mr. When Child Care Costs More Than Rent, Women Stay at Home. The percentage of mothers who stay at home with their children has been on the rise since 1993, and it’s not because formerly career-driven women have suddenly woken up to the joys of full-time baby bonding. In nearly 81 percent of U.S. towns, the average price of two-kid child care costs more than rent, which can make working a full-time job seem like a poor economic decision.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, expenses related to child care (day care facilities, babysitters, and nannies) should not exceed 10 percent of a family’s income. For its new study, the Economic Policy Institute used its family budget calculator to compare “the income families need in order to attain a modest yet adequate living standard where they live” with how much child care costs in their respective communities. The stats are an effective argument for birth control among people of reproductive age who hope for financial security. These $1 Contraceptives Last Three Months—and Could Change the Lives of Millions. Women in Burkina Faso are the first to gain access to a new, easy-to-use contraceptive injection that lasts for three months, costs $1, and could "transform women's lives" in the world's poorest countries, according to health officials.
The new Pfizer-developed contraceptive, Sayana Press, is a small, all-in-one disposable needle and syringe developed for populations where access to modern contraception is limited or nonexistent. It delivers a dose of the widely used drug Depo-Provera. Last week, a collaboration among Pfizer, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (which also funds TakePart World), and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation was announced to expand the distribution of Sayana Press to 69 developing countries by 2020. Access to contraceptives is crucial in the developing world. “Sayana Press is now an option for women who have been at the margins of family planning access for way too long,” said Dr. What We’ve Learned from New Orleans. 08.27.15 | By Judith Rodin Facebook Twitter This blog was first published by The Rockefeller Foundation on August 24.
We are happily rerunning it to emphasize the long relationship between The Rockefeller Foundation and the City of New Orleans, which resulted in the release of New Orleans' Resilience Strategy on August 25. Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina was unprecedented in its destruction—awakening cities around the globe to a new reality. Today, crisis is the new normal, but not every disruption has to become a disaster. By building resilience, cities can prepare for the next disruption so that when disruption does happen, cities can choose, as New Orleans did, to grow and transform.
But, 10 years ago, this progress wasn’t guaranteed. This was a question that would profoundly change the way The Rockefeller Foundation thought about our work with cities. Click on the image to share via Twitter But we’ve learned some additional lessons from our experiences in New Orleans: 1. 2. 3. Facebook looks to assert itself as a force for social good. Throughout much of its 11-year history, Facebook has been used as a tool to raise awareness and donations in times of crisis, whether it be for the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that rocked Japan in 2011 or for this year's ebola crisis.
Now, Facebook is looking to play a more active role in those efforts. Naomi Gleit, a longtime Facebook manager, revealed Sunday that the social network has created a team "dedicated to and committed to social good" during a panel discussion at Mashable's annual Social Good Summit in New York. Facebook's social good team, which numbers in the dozens, is less focused on activism and on-the-ground work than building a new suite of products that tap into the social causes and personal needs of its community.
Even those efforts can have a tremendous impact when you consider every feature has the potential to tap into a community of nearly 1.5 billion people. That mission now explicitly extends to broader social good efforts. That, Gleit says, is no longer the case. U.S. Reaches Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Deal With 11 Pacific Nations. Making batteries with portabella mushrooms. Can portabella mushrooms stop cell phone batteries from degrading over time? Researchers at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering think so. They have created a new type of lithium-ion battery anode using portabella mushrooms, which are inexpensive, environmentally friendly and easy to produce. The current industry standard for rechargeable lithium-ion battery anodes is synthetic graphite, which comes with a high cost of manufacturing because it requires tedious purification and preparation processes that are also harmful to the environment.
With the anticipated increase in batteries needed for electric vehicles and electronics, a cheaper and sustainable source to replace graphite is needed. Using biomass, a biological material from living or recently living organisms, as a replacement for graphite, has drawn recent attention because of its high carbon content, low cost and environmental friendliness. Continue reading at EurekAlert! Recycling -- fashion world's antidote to environmental concerns. Do You Live in a Resilient City? Climate Change, Resilience, Revalue Ecosystems, Secure Livelihoods, Transform Cities A version of this post originally appeared on 100 Resilient Cities. 1.
Your commute options aren’t limited to a car. You can take advantage of bike sharing… Bike share programs make short-term bicycle rentals available to the public via unattended stations, combining the convenience and flexibility of a private vehicle with the accessibility and reliability of mass transit. 2. … or rapid transit… Rapid transit is a form of rail-based urban mass transit that runs underground, on an elevated track, or at street level. 3. … or even walk to work, thanks to your city’s high walkability score. Walkability measures how conducive an area is to walking. All three public transit options are good for the environment—and give residents alternative ways to get around a city that aren’t reliant on gas prices or supply. 4. 5. Mother Nature has developed resilience tactics that work. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Tags for this post. Pope Francis convenes world's mayors to discuss global warming. Anyone who thought that Pope Francis was going to issue his climate change manifesto, and then recede quietly into the background on the issue was sorely mistaken.
In fact, judging from his agenda this week, it's clear that Francis intends to be a major player in spurring leaders to combat global warming, which he sees as inextricably linked to efforts to lift the plight of the world's poor. This week, the Vatican's science committees will host two days of meetings with 50 mayors and governors from around the world; they will discuss ways to implement policies aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions, boosting resilience to climate extremes and eradicating poverty. The meetings on July 21 and 22, which are taking place under the auspices of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, are expected to include Francis' participation. Participants at the meetings will include New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, California Gov. Have something to add to this story? Why Whites Don’t Understand Black Segregation. By Ellen Nakashima July 9 at 3:16 PM Two major breaches last year of U.S. government databases holding personnel records and security-clearance files exposed sensitive information about at least 22.1 million people, including not only federal employees and contractors but their families and friends, U.S. officials said Thursday.
The total vastly exceeds all previous estimates, and marks the most detailed accounting by the Office of Personnel Management of how many people were affected by cyber intrusions that U.S. officials have privately said were traced to the Chinese government. But even beyond the rising number of apparent victims, U.S. officials said the breaches rank among the most potentially damaging cyber heists in U.S. government history because of the abundant detail in the files. Hackers stole personal information about at least 22.1 million people, including addresses, mental health and criminal records, in two major breaches of U.S. government databases.
Whitest big county in the U.S? It’s us. King County is the whitest of the nation’s 20 most-populous counties. But the county’s fastest population growth is happening among Asian and mixed-race people. The Times’ FYI Guy, Gene Balk, digs into the new Census numbers. Among the 20 most-populous U.S. counties, King County is the whitest — by a ways. According to new data released by the Census Bureau, King is 62.4 percent non-Hispanic white. Nearly all the 19 other counties are “majority minority.” This may come as a surprise, considering that for a 20-year stretch King County’s white population didn’t grow at all. But that trend appears to be officially over. Census data released last week also shows that from 2010 to 2014, King County’s white population grew along with everyone else, with a net gain of about 41,000 people — bringing the number of whites in the county to nearly 1.3 million, the largest it’s ever been. One speculation: higher ed. We’re still a long way off from becoming a “majority minority” county, though.
The Earthquake That Will Devastate Seattle. When the 2011 earthquake and tsunami struck Tohoku, Japan, Chris Goldfinger was two hundred miles away, in the city of Kashiwa, at an international meeting on seismology. As the shaking started, everyone in the room began to laugh. Earthquakes are common in Japan—that one was the third of the week—and the participants were, after all, at a seismology conference. Then everyone in the room checked the time. Seismologists know that how long an earthquake lasts is a decent proxy for its magnitude.
The 1989 earthquake in Loma Prieta, California, which killed sixty-three people and caused six billion dollars’ worth of damage, lasted about fifteen seconds and had a magnitude of 6.9. A thirty-second earthquake generally has a magnitude in the mid-sevens. A minute-long quake is in the high sevens, a two-minute quake has entered the eights, and a three-minute quake is in the high eights. When Goldfinger looked at his watch, it was quarter to three. It was March. But it did not. The Pacific Northwest is Doomed. Seeder making its mark in Washington D.C. Microplastic Particles Move Up Marine Food Chain on B.C. Coast. Handle with humor: why we want you to laugh about climate change | Environment.
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