“A new global portrait taken from space details Earth’s land cover with a resolution never before obtained. ESA, in partnership with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, presented the preliminary version of the map to scientists last week at the 2nd GlobCover User Consultation workshop held in Rome, Italy. Earth’s land cover has been charted from space before, but this map, which will be made available to the public upon its completion in July, has a resolution 10 times sharper than any of its predecessors….There are 22 different land cover types shown in the map, including croplands, wetlands, forests, artificial surfaces, water bodies and permanent snow and ice. For maximum user benefit, the map’s thematic legend is compatible with the UN Land Cover Classification System (LCCS).”
Hyenas – Sociable, and Smart
Some of my friends are graduate students studying Hyenas in the Department of Zoology at MSU. Today an article related to their work was published in the New York Times. Their advisor, Dr. Kay Holekamp, has concluded that the lives of spotted hyenas, share some profound similarities with our own. In both species, a complex social world has driven the evolution of a big, complex brain…
Jared Diamond: What’s Your Consumption Factor?
“We Americans may think of China’s growing consumption as a problem. But the Chinese are only reaching for the consumption rate we already have. To tell them not to try would be futile.The only approach that China and other developing countries will accept is to aim to make consumption rates and living standards more equal around the world. But the world doesn’t have enough resources to allow for raising China’s consumption rates, let alone those of the rest of the world, to our levels. Does this mean we’re headed for disaster?No, we could have a stable outcome in which all countries converge on consumption rates considerably below the current highest levels…”
$1 per watt solar energy has arrived
A Silicon Valley start-up called Nanosolar shipped its first solar panels recently – priced at $1 a watt. That’s the price at which solar energy gets cheaper than coal. Curious that this story is not on every front page…
A DNA-Driven World – Craig Venter Lecture
Gene pioneer Dr. J. Craig Venter gives the 32nd Richard Dimbleby Lecture. One of the principal scientists who decoded the human genome is about to create the first artificial life form on Earth. He outlines his vision for the future of genetic engineering and its implications for health care and our global energy supply. This is an important lecture, whether you agree or disagree with what he says. Watch it or read it.