Saturday, March 29, 2008

Online NewsHour: Report | Climate Change Worries Bangladesh | March 28, 2008 | PBS

Online NewsHour: Report | Climate Change Worries Bangladesh| March 28, 2008 | PBS

You can view the video (recommended), hear the audio and read the transcript.

This is an excellent report on the flooding of Bangladesh and the impact of even a modest rise in sea level of just a few feet, a process which seems already to have begun. The consensus is that such a rise is quite within the realm of possibility (for an intelligent overview, see, for example, and click the Go button).

In Bangladesh, they get it from both sides, the rising ocean on the coast, and the increasing expansion and flooding of their major rivers owing to increased runoff from snow melting in the Himalayas. The latter leads to major flooding in central areas within Bangladesh. indeed, a good half of the entire country has the potential to flood as land-based ice melts around the globe.

For some perspective, Bangladesh occupies an area of 144 km² , about the same size as New York state (142 km²). The US itself is about 9.6 million km² . The population of Bangladesh (about 150 million) is about half that of the United States. The aforementioned flooding has the potential to displace a good half of the population of Bangladesh, 70 million people! As this climate change progresses, irrespective of the cause, we can expect massive population shifts globally during the current century. Massive opportunities exist to prepare for and capitalize on the increasing need for goods, services, transportation, distribution, housing, etc.

Think big, think bigger, plan, do. Involve other people.

Online NewsHour: Report | Fighting TB in Bangladesh | March 27, 2008 | PBS

Online NewsHour: Report | Fighting TB in Bangladesh | March 27, 2008 | PBS

A success story about fighting tuberculosis in Bangladesh!

I recommend watching the video on this page. There is also an audio link and transcript.

One of the things that struck me about his was that this is not really an issue of technology, science or medicine, but of distribution, monitoring and compliance. The skills required for effectiveness are organizational and relational. So many of us are focused on what we know rather than on what our customer, client, consumer or end user actually needs. It is crucial to have direct contact with the people we serve in order to know what and how to provide what is needed.

This TB treatment and prevention program is worth understanding and possibly duplicating for some of our own efforts. Indeed, for some things that we may wish to do, perhaps we would utilize their existing system of people and resources.

Friday, March 28, 2008

CARB lowers standards

CA Air Resources Board caves to auto industry pressure yet again (click on the post title for the link).

If I remember correctly, the National Research Council said within the last 2 years that it was achievable to raise fuel economy standards by 5-7 MPG without a significant effect on the cost of a vehicle.

Oh yeah, and see here:


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Author's Rights 2-minute video

The 2-minute Author's Rights Video by the Association of Research Libraries explains clearly and succinctly what scholars can do to make sure they retain the rights to use and share our work in the ways we would like to - including making them open access and so freely available to colleagues in the developing world.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Tap water better than bottled water?

Ever been to Hetch Hetchy?

"Earlier this month, the American Waterworks Association Research Foundation tested 20 of the nation's water systems for compounds typically used in medicines, household cleaners and cosmetics and found San Francisco's water almost alone in being free of contaminants. And blind taste tests have also shown that the city's water tastes as good as, and in some cases better than, bottled water."

SF water comes from Hetch Hetchy, a beautiful resevoir north of Yosemite. After all of the recent reports on pharmaceuticals in the tap water of many areas of the country, it is nice to know that the tap water in San Francisco is still drinkable.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Ride a bike vs...?

This is just a sad story all around. I feel for the Deputy and the cyclists:

We need to share the road, meaning: give as much room to cyclists as you can without compromising your safety with oncoming traffic. If it looks like you can't pass safely, then please WAIT! until it is clear to pass. Please don't forget that bicyclists are considered to be vehicles on the road, too, and your car is much heavier that they are!

Just think of the CO2 you're saving by riding a bike to work!


UPDATE: the numbers are out from the CA CHP:

As a cyclist, I think these numbers are skewed against us, but I have also seen many unsafe riders.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Growing corn for ethanol

Perhaps the real problem with producing ethanol from grains- it makes food too expensive for poor people:

Sheeran (UN) noted that in some countries food was available, but cost too much for the poor to buy it, or, as she put it “markets full of food with scores of people simply unable to afford it. These conditions have triggered food riots from Cameroon to Burkina Faso to Indonesia to Mexico and beyond.”

Food, she reminded the European Parliament, is a geostrategic issue, just as oil is.

“This challenge may be one of the most critical peace and security issues of our time. Fragile democracies are feeling the pressure of food insecurity; food riots have erupted throughout the globe,” she said.

Don't forget about water rights...


Thursday, March 13, 2008

EPA and ozone

Line of the day:

When the OMB's Susan E. Dudley urged the EPA to consider the effects of cutting ozone further on "economic values and on personal comfort and well-being," the EPA's Marcus Peacock responded in a March 7 memo: "EPA is not aware of any information that ozone has beneficial effects on economic values or on personal comfort and well being.

Click the title for a link to the WaPo article


Chemical Abstracts Services (CAS) to contribute to Wikipedia

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), a division of the American Chemical Society, has announced that they will contribute to Wikipedia!

CAS, a division of the American Chemical Society, is pleased to announce that it will contribute to the Wikipedia project. CAS will work with Wikipedia to help provide accurate CAS Registry Numbers® for current substances listed in Wikiprojects-Chemicals section of the Wikipedia Chemistry Portal that are of widespread general public interest.

The CAS Registry is the world’s most comprehensive collection of chemical substances and the CAS Registry Number is the recognized global standard for chemical substance identification.

CAS views Wikipedia as an important societal tool for the general public, and this collaboration with Wikipedia is in line with CAS’ mission as a Division of the American Chemical Society.

We look forward to working with the Wikipedia volunteers over the next few weeks to make this happen.

Kudos to CAS and the American Chemical Society - what a great contribution to Open Chemistry!

Thanks to Peter Suber on Open Access News.

Friday, March 07, 2008

CA Salmon = 12% of average

As water gets more and more scarce in CA, the price of salmon is going to go up.

(click on the headline for the article).