The Vatican has released a new set of mortal sins, one of which includes polluting the environment. Mortal sins, for those not aware of Catholic dogma, are sins which get you a “go directly to hell” card unless you repent. The new batch of sins have a more social aspect to them, including becoming obscenely wealthy and causing poverty. I’m curious how much these new sins will impact the world, particularly in areas heavily Catholic. The most interesting aspect of it to me is the number of new sins, three of the seven by my count, that are rooted in human geography.
Not according to a study conducted at the University of California-Santa Barbara and reported recently in the Wall Street Journal. The prevailing wisdom of Daylight Savings Time is that having more time in the afternoon with sun means we’ll leave the lights off longer. That might be true, but it also happens to mean we turn the AC on longer, run our computers longer, and watch TV longer. None of these concerns really weighed heavily on Ben Franklin’s head when he invented the concept. Researchers at USC Santa Barbara have concluded that moving to daylight savings time has cost at leas their study area millions of additional dollars in energy expense. So think of that this weekend when you “spring forward” and loose a hour of precious sleep!
The map is in French, so the details are a bit hazy if you don’t speak the language (which I don’t). However, if you’ve ever wondered how popular various social networking sites were around the world, it’s a map you need to see. To me, at their base functionality of socially networking people, I don’t see a humongous difference in each of these tools. Clearly different regions around the world strongly disagree with me, as sites like My Space, Friendster, Facebook, and Live Journal have different distributions around the world. If you live in South East Asia, it looks like you’re more likely to have a preference for Friendster. Whereas we in the US apparently eat up My Space more than any other site.
I’m sure there’s some sort of International Relations/Psychology/Sociology dissertation potential here. Then again, when it comes to social networking on the Internet, I’m the proverbial old guy asking the proverbial kids to get off his darn Internet, so what do I know?
That’s the question Nokia set out to find the answer to yesterday. They equipped 100 students with GPS and software equipped Nokia phones and had them drive a 10 mile stretch of road all day. The data was sent back to a central server to analysis traffic patterns. Nokia hopes to be able to create a system to allow their users to use their phones to help travel through traffic patterns more effectively. Hopefully Nokia publishes anything that’s non-proprietary because I would be interested in seeing their results.
The Economist has an interesting article about the geography of recession. As they call it in the article, the ‘R’ word is being bandied about more and more in the US, but we tend to examine it as a country wide phenomena. The article points out that these things happen in a much more localized fashion than one expects.
Anyone who’s been an avid pizza eater in the US knows there is a great deal of variation across the country on pizza. Most people know the difference between Chicago Deep Dish and New York style, but could you pick a New Haven style pie out of a lineup? Neither can I. Luckily for us pizza aficionados, the good people over at Slice Serious Eats have seen fit to detail all the regional styles for us! There’s even a pretty cool set of pizza maps for those who might live in the areas they’ve visited.
I am, as usual, a bit behind on the blogs and podcasts. But as I am catching up (aka procrastinating writing) I wanted to highlight a couple of podcasts that have come out recently.
With the 2008 Presidential season in full swing, I thought I’d take a moment to post a couple of links to how all of this works. I know it can be rather confusing for people in the US as to the delegate system for picking the two parties candidates, so it has to be downright baffling for those who didn’t grow up in it. Here’s the link to the Democratic National Convention website. The real gem is buried a little further down – how the delegate system works. At the bottom is a map detailing how many delegates each state receives and how those delegates are allocated. It’s a pretty good discussion on their system. Unfortunately, while the Republican party has a good website detailing the convention itself, I couldn’t find a similar map/detail about the Delegate selection process. There is a link for Delegates on the main page, but it only show “coming soon”. Hopefully they’ll update that section with a map in the near future much like the DNC has already.
It’s a new year with the requisite resolutions! Being that “eating healthy” is a common resolution (and a personal one for both Barb and I), I thought this link listing a few tools for eating locally might be of interest to our readers. Often eating healthy means eating fresh, unprocessed foods. Knowing your local growers and where they sell their products might help you learn more about your food supply.
Japan has set a target to increase it’s number of solar powered houses to 14 million by 2030. It’s a fairly lofty goal. The exceptionally noteworthy part of this is that Japan is focusing on reducing the costs of panels, increasing the power output, and increasing the ease of installation. Since Japan produces roughly half the solar panels in the world, hopefully some of these improvements will find their way to other shores. I know I looked at solar panels for my house a couple of years ago when I was building. It just wasn’t cost effective for our area at the time. Hopefully with the rising price of electricity, these potential improvements will be a big boon!