Archive for August 2011

Food is the ultimate security need, new map shows | Damian Carrington | Environment | guardian.co.uk   1 comment

” A new map of food security risk around the world is, in some ways, depressingly familiar. Sub-saharan Africa leaps out as the place where the most people fear for their next meal, while the rich world has more to fear from obesity. But there’s plenty of salutary reminders and fascinating detail, like India’s food problems and the vulnerability of Spain.

And it demonstrates the sickening, symbiotic relationship between lack of food and conflict: where one leads, the other follows.”

via Food is the ultimate security need, new map shows | Damian Carrington | Environment | guardian.co.uk.

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Posted August 31, 2011 by arnoneumann in agriculture, Conflict, Food Security

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petal-to-the-metal | News | Minerals and Resources   Leave a comment

The use of  certain plants that tolerate growth in metallo-contaminated soils has positive environmental and mining resource industry implications.

 

“Metallophytes means metal-loving plants—they are a type of plant that seem to be found on metal rich substrates or soils all over the world. They have particular characteristics in being able to tolerate high metal concentrations, and in some cases hyper accumulate that metal in their system,” he says.

According to Prof Tibbett, metallophytes have a wide range of potential uses in the minerals industry depending on their characteristics.

‘Excluder’ plants are able grow in soils with a high presence of metals and draw these metals out without storing them where they can become an eco-toxicological problem.

‘Indicator’ species respond very closely to metal concentration in the soil or the substrate, and indicate the levels of toxicity present in terms of a particular metal.

‘Hyperaccumulators’ have the potential to be developed for phytoextraction, the uptake of contaminants and heavy metals from the soil with the opportunity for ‘re-mining’ the subsequent plant biomass.

via petal-to-the-metal | News | Minerals and Resources.

That 200% Debt Is Reason for ‘Arab Spring’ Revolution: William Pesek – Bloomberg   Leave a comment

“If you’d told me 10 years ago, when I moved to Tokyo, that today I’d be writing about an eighth leader, I never would’ve believed it. Yet here we are, analyzing and philosophizing about whether Yoshihiko Noda will last longer than the last five.

In April 2001, Junichiro Koizumi grabbed the job from the hapless Yoshiro Mori. Koizumi stuck around for an unthinkably long five years. He talked big about economic reforms, promised even bigger and managed to get a few things done. Then Koizumi turned the keys over to the forgettable Shinzo Abe, who then passed them to Yasuo Fukuda and Taro Aso.

Political lightning struck in August 2009. Voters tossed out the Liberal Democratic Party that had been in power for roughly 54 years. The Democratic Party of Japan might have fared better if it picked someone other than political lightweight Yukio Hatoyama as prime minister. Next came Naoto Kan, who last week resigned to make room for yet another leader.

Analysts and pundits are busy criticizing politicians in Tokyo for going with the safe choice — Noda — when Japan is navigating a world economy that is anything but. Yet let’s put blame where it belongs: Japan’s 127 million people.

There’s some truth in the old saw that people generally get the leaders they deserve. In Japan’s case, voters need to begin demanding more of leaders and speaking out forcefully for change. Instead, they offer nothing more than numbing silence.”

via That 200% Debt Is Reason for ‘Arab Spring’ Revolution: William Pesek – Bloomberg.

Posted August 30, 2011 by arnoneumann in Japan

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Germany Dims Nuclear Plants, but Hopes to Keep Lights On – NYTimes.com   1 comment

Implications of the decision by Germany to shut down its nuclear energy reactors in the light of the nuclear disaster in Fukashima Japan .

“With a total of 133 gigawatts of installed generating capacity in place at the start of this year, “there was really a huge amount of space to shut off nuclear plants,” Harry Lehmann, a director general of the German Federal Environment Agency and one of Germany’s leading policy makers on energy and environment, said of the road map he helped develop. The country needs about 90.5 gigawatts of generating capacity on hand to fill a typical national demand of about 80 gigawatts a day. So the 25 gigawatts that nuclear power contributed would not be missed — at least within its borders.

To be prudent, the plan calls for the creation of 23 gigawatts of gas- and coal-powered plants by 2020. Why? Because renewable plants don’t produce nearly to capacity if the air is calm or the sky is cloudy, and there is currently limited capacity to store or transport electricity, energy experts say.”

via Germany Dims Nuclear Plants, but Hopes to Keep Lights On – NYTimes.com.

Beer Companies Hopping Into Social Media – Part 1, Big Brands | Social Media Today   Leave a comment

 

 

“Whether it’s the long established (1759) mega brewer Guinness with its worldwide celebrations of Arthur’s Day (for founder Arthur Guinness) and fan page attracting over 276 thousand “likes” or the much younger (est. 1991), much smaller New Belgium Brewery of Fort Collins CO with – at this writing – a very competitive 191,167 “likes”, it’s clear that brewers large and small are embracing social media with gusto.”

via Beer Companies Hopping Into Social Media – Part 1, Big Brands | Social Media Today.

Posted August 28, 2011 by arnoneumann in beer, SocialMedia

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Metacognition: the third way of thinking – The Science Talent Project Blog | Nature Publishing Group   Leave a comment

Metacognition. Hmm…if you seek better answers , maybe ask better questions .

“You will probably have asked some or all of those questions of yourself during various times in your life. Most people do; there are probably no people who work entirely on reflexes or routines (0% metacognition) or people who spend all their time thinking and planning but who neglect to act on those thoughts (the analysis-paralysis type of person, 100% metacognition). The difference between people is quantitative, how often they ask themselves such questions, in what areas of their lives they ask themselves those questions, and how hard they work to find good answers.”

via Metacognition: the third way of thinking – The Science Talent Project Blog | Nature Publishing Group.

Posted August 28, 2011 by arnoneumann in Metacognition, Thinking

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Adventures in innovation – The challenge of time | Lucy Gower | 101fundraising   Leave a comment

Nuture the necessary. Focus. Find what the real problem is , what the real source of the struggle is…..then you get tangible change. “We all have the same amount of time in a day: 24 hours or 1,440 minutes. You have exactly the same amount of time that was given to Thomas Edison, Helen Keller, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa and Albert Einstein. It’s how you maximise the difference you make that’s the real challenge.

It’s not enough to be busy. Ants are busy. What are we busy about?” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Most fundraisers I know are too busy. Because they are passionate about what they do, they put in at least 110%. The key to good innovation is to spend time at the beginning of a project to ensure that you are busy doing work that matters and projects that will make the most difference.

Often we start working on a project and get so embroiled in the detail we don’t take time out to check that we are focusing on the right activities, or even solving the right problem. For example, a fundraiser I was speaking to recently was working really hard on a supporter newsletter, the challenges of getting something printed out on time were giving them sleepless nights. I asked why they were developing a newsletter. At this point they had to really think. The original objective was to thank supporters and show them how their support had made a difference. It was also because it was ‘in plan’. The fundraiser had become so focused on the detail of a printed newsletter for a deadline according to a plan, they hadn’t considered if there were any better solutions. They had just focused on what had been done before. The fundraiser reconsidered the newsletter and with the relatively small numbers involved, tested phoning selected supporters and then creating a simple thank you letter for those supporters with no phone number. It worked well and several supporters commented that they liked receiving a personal call.

So when you are bogged down in the detail of your next project, take a step back and consider why you are doing it and if the way that’s ‘in plan’ is really the best way to achieve the outcome you want. It could be that the way you were planning is the best solution – but it’s worth taking the time to double check. Time spent getting it right at the beginning will save you time and effort in the longer term.

“If I had one hour to save the world, I would spend the first 55 minutes analysing the problem and then 5 minutes on the solutions”  Einstein

There is a story about NASA developing a pen to write in space. They allegedly spent tens of millions of dollars and after several months were making no progress. So they decided to ask the Russian space team how they were writing in space. The Russians were using a pencil.

So whether you choose to believe this story or not, the point that I want you to take away is the NASA team were concerned with solving the challenge of how to push ink throough a pen when there was no gravity. They wanted to be able to write with an ink pen in space. If they had thought more broadly at the beginning of the process, perhaps about how to write in space (rather than how to write with a conventional pen) they may have come up with the solution of a pencil. If they had thought even more broadly about their challenge, they may have realised that it was actually about communication in space…. and who knows what genius solution they may have come up with.”

via Adventures in innovation – The challenge of time | Lucy Gower | 101fundraising.

Posted August 28, 2011 by arnoneumann in Creative Thinking, Innovation

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