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Electromagnetic Disaster Could Cost Trillions and Affect Millions. We Need to Be Prepared

      

Roasted by a pulse. Credit: arbyreed, CC BY-NC-SA

homelandsecuritynewswire.com - by Anders Sandberg - August 12, 2014

In 1962, a high-altitude Pacific nuclear test caused electrical damage 1,400 km away in Hawaii. A powerful electromagnetic pulse (EMP) – created either by a solar storm or a high-altitude nuclear explosion — poses a threat to regions dependent on electricity, as such pulses could cause outages lasting from two weeks to two years. The main problem is the availability of spare transformers. Superstorm Sandy’s worst effects were in a single location. In the case of a big EMP surge, replacement transformers would be needed in hundreds of locations at the same time. The cost of an EMP pulse to the U.S. economy would likely be in the range of $500 million to $2.6 trillion. A report by the U.S. National Academies was even more pessimistic, guessing at a higher range and a multi-year recovery. Besides disrupting electricity such storms can also destroy satellites, disrupt GPS navigation, and make other parts of the infrastructure fail.

Ebola in Africa and the U.S.: A Curation

wired.com - August 4th, 2014 - Maryn McKenna

The Ebola outbreak has been building in West Africa for a while, but when it was revealed at the end of last week that two American aid workers had caught the disease — and that they were being transported back to the US for treatment — the news and the reaction to it instantly filled every channel. Over the weekend, so much misinformation and outrage got pumped out that it feels as though there’s no way to cut through the noise.

But I have a few thoughts. Start with this: No, I don’t think the two aid workers who are being returned to the US pose any risk at all to the average American, or even the average Atlanta resident.

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What’s scary about Ebola, reasons not to fear it

In this Aug. 7, 2014, photo, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Tom Frieden testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. Ebola is a "painful, dreadful, merciless virus," the United States' top disease fighter says. The outbreak in West Africa has been declared an international health emergency, already killing more than 900 people and spreading. That's scary, and it's serious. But it needs context. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

Image: In this Aug. 7, 2014, photo, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Tom Frieden testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. Ebola is a "painful, dreadful, merciless virus," the United States' top disease fighter says. The outbreak in West Africa has been declared an international health emergency, already killing more than 900 people and spreading. That's scary, and it's serious. But it needs context. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

sltrib.com - August 9th, 2014 - Connie Cass

The United States’ top disease detective calls Ebola a "painful, dreadful, merciless virus."

The Resilience Dividend by Judith Rodin

Published on Jul 10, 2014

Cities have always had to contend with things like natural disaster, economic and infrastructure collapse, and widespread illness. But globalization, climate change and rapid urbanization are making this moment in history different, and the stresses facing cities all the more complex. So how can cities survive, adapt, and grow, no matter what shocks might lie ahead? Join the Rockefeller Foundation's Judith Rodin for a look at what she calls "the resilience dividend" — investments that can minimize the disruptive effects of strain on a city, while simultaneously creating jobs, social cohesion, and equity.

Global Village Construction Set in 2 Minutes from Open Source Ecology

Global Village Construction Set in 2 Minutes from Open Source Ecology on Vimeo.

http://vimeo.com/16106427

huffingtonpost.com - September 10, 2012

Watch Open Source Ecology Founder Marcin Jakubowski discuss the prospects for an open source, do it yourself civilization. Then read Isaiah Saxon's follow-up blog post on that idea . . .

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(ABOUT - Open Source Ecology)

Eight (No, Nine!) Problems With Big Data

nytimes.com - April 6th, 2014 - Gary Marcus and Ernest Davis

Big data is suddenly everywhere. Everyone seems to be collecting it, analyzing it, making money from it and celebrating (or fearing) its powers. Whether we’re talking about analyzing zillions of Google search queries to predict flu outbreaks, or zillions of phone records to detect signs of terrorist activity, or zillions of airline stats to find the best time to buy plane tickets, big data is on the case. By combining the power of modern computing with the plentiful data of the digital era, it promises to solve virtually any problem — crime, public health, the evolution of grammar, the perils of dating — just by crunching the numbers.

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Technology: using power for good

Social media and increasingly accessible smartphones help groups mobilise around the world. Photograph: Prasit Chansareekorn/Flickr Vision

Image: Social media and increasingly accessible smartphones help groups mobilise around the world. Photograph: Prasit Chansareekorn/Flickr Vision

theguardian.org - March 13th, 2014 - Hansdeep Singh, Jaspreet Singh and Linda Raftree

Technology has huge potential to be used for social good. Mobiles and mapping software can be used to gather data, and visualise patterns and trends; predictive analytics can be used to help translate 'big data' into useful statistics; unmanned aerial vehicles can monitor real-time crises; and social media helps mobilise groups around the world.

These technologies are getting more accessible to diverse groups by the day.

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Facebook Conducted Psychological Experiments On Unknowing Users

      

CREDIT: AP Photo/Gus Ruelas

thinkprogress.org - by Annie-Rose Strasser - June 28, 2014

The latest way that Facebook has been peeking into its users’ personal lives may be the most surprising yet: Facebook researches have published a scientific paper that reveals the company has been conducting psychological experiments on its users to manipulate their emotions.

The experiments sought to prove the phenomenon of “emotional contagion” — as in, whether you’ll be more happy if those in your Facebook news feed are.

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RESEARCH STUDY - Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks

Humanitarians in the Sky

 submitted by Luis Kun

     

Lawmakers need to ensure their new regulations do not run counter to the humanitarian imperative.
Photograph: CorePhil/DSI

Drones are already a game-changer for disaster response

theguardian.com - by Patrick Meier - June 6, 2014

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) capture images faster, cheaper, and at a far higher resolution than satellite imagery. And as John DeRiggi speculates in "Drones for Development?" these attributes will likely lead to a host of applications in development work. In the humanitarian field that future is already upon us — so we need to take a rights-based approach to advance the discussion, improve coordination of UAV flights, and to promote regulation that will ensure safety while supporting innovation.

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