The New York Times reported yesterday that the Yangtze may be so so polluted that the damage is irreversible. It’s understandable that a country wishing to quickly grow its economy might be lax on environmental issues. However, it blows my mind that the Yangtze could be “irreversibly” damaged. Even if the claim is hyperbole, it certainly indicates an incredibly high level of environmental damage. Hopefully China can find some what to repair the river that accounts for 35% of its fresh water supplies.
The BBC reports on an article from the Journal of Archaeological Science about research on the clay that was used to make China’s Terracotta army. They have recovered pollen from the clay and hope to find its source. An interesting part is that different statues may have come from different source materials, or maybe different times of years, based on different pollen content.
Score one for old maps. An Australian author named Peter Trickett has discovered a map that pretty well proves Australia was discovered around 1520, which is way before James Cook stumbled upon the place. This was the most interesting quote, I thought: “It was even so accurate that I found I could draw in the modern airport runways, to scale in the right place, without any problem at all,”
Traffic is always a problem in every country where lots of people live. The noise, pollution, and physical danger to motorists and the poor shlubs trying to cross the street can be daunting. That’s why the good folks at Nissan have proposed solving this problem with a simple solution – a better traffic light. They haven’t gotten the thing built yet, but they’re collecting a ton of data to figure out how to make it better. It seems to me that today’s traffic lights are pretty sophisticated, so I’m a tad skeptical that Nissan can bring anything radically new to the table. But Nissan has proven me wrong in other areas before, so here’s hoping they can make a positive impact!
Part two of our two part expose of the World’s Great Subways is this great article detailing the Top 11 Underground Systems in the World. If you’ve every had a hankern’ to travel the world to see it’s underground wonders, this is the site for you. Rather nice pictures of each of the Underground systems as well as a few movies give you a feel for what you can expect on your world tour. I have to say I was rather surprised at some of the amenities of these undergrounds – heated seats, ecologic cleaning systems, architectural wonders… most impressive.
O.K., I lied slightly… it wasn’t a two part expose, I just found a couple of interesting articles about Underground transportation systems I wanted to share…
NPR’s Day to Day featured a piece on a GIS project conducted by Amy Hillier of the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. Prof. Hillier’s research mapped low-income neighborhoods in Philadelphia that lacked places to buy healthy food. Her work helped to push through a new initiative to provide subsidies for building supermarkets in neighborhoods that are underserved.
Our friend Dr. Ken Martis, who we interviewed back in November on episode 68, sent us this link to the new Electoral Geography website that has just launched. Alexander Kireev seems to be the main person/contact at the site. I haven’t had time to look at the site in depth, but what I have seen is pretty nice. There’s a LOT of good data there for anyone doing anything with elections around the world. They seem to be following a “beg, borrow, or steal” philosophy as far as the data (which I wholly support!), so you might have to do a little massaging to get into a form you can easily use for analysis. The site would be perfect for any comparative studies in the field. It also features an articles section and a forums for discussion. I hope both geographers and political scientists use the site to try to collaborate more.
The site is still in beta and Alexander is encouraging people to send suggestions, so take a look and let them know what you think!
CORRECTION: Alexander Kireev’s co-creator Alexey Sidorenko made a comment pointing out that he is also keenly involved in the electoral geography website. My sincere apologies to Alexey for leaving him out in the original post, especially considering the great work the two of them are doing for the electoral studies field.
The Malaria Atlas Project (MAP) is a joint British and Kenya effort to create an updated map of global malaria endemicity, the first update in 40 years. According to the website which was launched back in May: “The main objective of this project is to develop a detailed model of the spatial limits of Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax malaria at a global scale and its endemicity within this range.”
MAP has already collected some data and provide links to static maps of malaria for some countries that can be downloaded as .kmz files and viewed in Google Earth. Their hope is have a complete dataset that can be released by 2009, in addition to a series of map products showing global malaria risk.
Via Yahoo! News
The good folks over at Modern Life is Rubish have posted a fairly interesting map. They’ve figured out which countries have the most IP address per person and which have the least. The map shows the general distribution and the two charts below show the top 10 most and least per capita. It’s a fairly stark reminder of the “Digital Divide”, I think.
How happy is your country? To help answer that question, psychologist Adrian White of the University of Leicester has produced a map (link does not contain any maps) that ranks countries on how happy they define themselves. Interestingly, the US doesn’t rank in the top 20, lending credence to the notion that money can’t buy happiness. Canadians, predictably, are fairly happy at number 10. Apparently there isn’t much rotten in the state of Denmark, as they’re the happiest of them all!
I just wish the article had included the map itself…