We H. Sapiens Sapiens appear to be an infestation on this planet. After the slow-burning evolution of hominins in Africa, our ancestral populations erupted out into Eurasia in a geological eye-blink, spread into the Americas by way of the Bering land bridge (sea levels being somewhat lower during the ice ages) and finally reaching even the remotest islands of oceania around twelve thousand years ago. How habitable is the Earth?
Growing Skyscrapers: The Rise of Vertical Farms Together the world’s 6.8 billion people use land equal in size to South America to grow food and raise livestock—an astounding agricultural footprint. And demographers predict the planet will host 9.5 billion people by 2050. Because each of us requires a minimum of 1,500 calories a day, civilization will have to cultivate another Brazil’s worth of land—2.1 billion acres—if farming continues to be practiced as it is today. That much new, arable earth simply does not exist.
Foreign subtitles improve speech perception Wednesday, November 11, 2009 Do you speak English as a second language well, but still have trouble understanding movies with unfamiliar accents, such as Brad Pitt's southern accent in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds? In a new study, published in the open-access journal PLoS ONE, Holger Mitterer (Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics) and James McQueen (MPI and Radboud University Nijmegen) show how you can improve your second-language listening ability by watching the movie with subtitles—as long as these subtitles are in the same language as the film. Subtitles in one's native language, the default in some European countries, may actually be counter-productive to learning to understand foreign speech. Mitterer and McQueen show that listeners can tune in to an unfamiliar regional accent in a foreign language. Dutch students showed improvements in their ability to recognise Scottish or Australian English after only 25 minutes of exposure to video material.
Jon's shtick on The Daily Show
No pain, no gain: Mastering a skill makes us stressed in the mom No pain, no gain: Mastering a skill makes us stressed in the moment, happy long term Sunday, November 1, 2009 No pain, no gain applies to happiness, too, according to new research published online this week in the Journal of Happiness Studies. People who work hard at improving a skill or ability, such as mastering a math problem or learning to drive, may experience stress in the moment, but experience greater happiness on a daily basis and longer term, the study suggests.
In 2008, half the people who watched the Fox News Channel were over sixty-three, which is the oldest demographic in the cable-news business, and, according to a poll, the majority of the ones who watched the most strident programs, such as Sean Hannity’s and Bill O’Reilly’s shows, were men. All that chesty fulminating apparently functions as political Cialis. Fox News shows should probably carry a warning: Contact your doctor if you have rage lasting more than four hours. By effectively cornering the market on anti-Administration animus, Fox News has had a robust 2009 so far, and the recent decision by the White House to declare war on the channel is not likely to put a dent in the ratings. The White House’s war with Fox News
IBM Debuts Food Traceability iPhone App Today at the IBM Information on Demand event, IBM will demo a new app that will bring the Internet of Things to the iPhone. The as yet unreleased iPhone app is called Breadcrumbs and it will give consumers access to information about grocery food items. The app will be able to scan barcodes and deliver a summary of the ingredients in a food item, along with when it was manufactured.
When delegates from 192 nations arrive in Copenhagen in December for the UN COP15 summit, they will confront a 181-page draft negotiation text, 2,000 bracketed passages still in dispute, and just 11 days in which to come to some sort of consensus. To power them through these discussions, Denmark has promised a smorgasbord of ecologically minded fare: All water will be tap (not bottled), tea and coffee will be fair trade, and the food menu will be no less than 65 percent organic. Though undoubtedly well-intentioned, this last provision is troubling, but not because anyone really cares about the provenance of Ban Ki-Moon’s turnip greens. Rather, it suggests a willful and dangerous ignorance about the tenuous state of global agriculture, and the prospects for feeding 9 billion people while also addressing biodiversity loss, water shortage, and, yes, climate change. A Natural Obsession
Wednesday, October 21, 2009 Drinking. Drugs. Caving into peer pressure. Stereotypes can fuel teen misbehavior
Reading through some of the contributions on class and atheism I am struck by a glaring omission. Brown's opening salvo has been to argue that atheism can be a class thing worn for the status it presumably imparts in certain circles – thus implying that there might not be an intrinsic, intellectual reason for choosing atheism. Nick Spencer shows that there is indeed a correlation between educational level and atheism. Atheism: class is a distraction
The Chemistry of Information Addiction My mother is a more patient human being after having raised a child who incessantly asked, “Are we there yet?” That information, often out of reach for a frustrated toddler, carries with it a feeling of reward. The majority of us are all too familiar with the urge to know more about the future, whether it is an exam grade, an experimental result, or the status of a new job. Prior knowledge frequently has no effect on the actual outcome of the event – we’ll get the same grade regardless – and yet we still desperately want to know.
Where's the Beef? Primary Sources The Editors lllustration of different food quantities with the same caloric value, from "The Wonders of Diet" Excerpt from "The Wonders of Diet," Fortune magazine, May 1936 FOOD LEGENDSMore food notions flourish in the U.S. than in any other civilized country on earth, and most of them are wrong.
Authors: Ellen Nolte, Ph.D., and C. Martin McKee, M.D., D.Sc. Journal: Health Affairs, Jan./Feb. 2008 27(1):58–71 Contact: email@example.com Summary Writers: Deborah Lorber In the Literature Measuring the Health of Nations: Updating an Earlier Analysis
7 Widely-Used And Open Source E-Learning Applications Whether it is a university like Albertus Magnus, a company or any other organization, e-learning is a great way to spread knowledge & measure the results efficiently (in means of time & money). There are various open source e-learning applications that can be installed easily, have a wide user community & offers a complete system. Here are 7 of them which you will like: eFront eFront is a complete e-learning software with a good looking Ajaxed interface. It enables admins to create & manage lessons easily with various tools like: