U.S. Policy Today for Africa Tomorrow: A Conversation with Ambassadors Carson, Lyman, and Moose

July 22, 2014 2:00pm - 3:30pm ET

U.S. Institute of Peace
2301 Constitution Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20037 | Directions

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China Leads World to Solar Power Record in 2013

earth-policy.org - by J. Matthew Roney - June 18,2014

In the last two years, countries around the world have added almost as much new solar photovoltaics (PV) capacity as had been added since the invention of the solar cell. . .

. . . China—the leading manufacturer of PV—had until recently installed very little solar power at home. Those days are over.


Trash Concentration in Ocean as Dangerous as Climatic Change


timesofindia.indiatimes.com - June 17, 2014

SYDNEY: Large concentrations of trash in the oceans, also known as "plastic soups", are as dangerous as climatic change, one of the experts in the field, Mike Moore said, Australian media reported.

These high concentrations of ocean garbage "are currently killing a more animals than climate change", Moore said.

. . . "We are facing a new phenomenon. In fact, it is a new habitat which does not have precendents in the planet's history," Moore added.


CASE STUDY - Tracking the garbage deserts of the ocean

RESEARCH - Origin, dynamics and evolution of ocean garbage patches from observed surface drifters


Promising solution to plastic pollution

Harvard's Wyss Institute -  Turning shrimp shells into plastic: Harvard's Wyss Institute comes up with fully degradable bioplastic.

Image:  Harvard's Wyss Institute - Turning shrimp shells into plastic: Harvard's Wyss Institute comes up with fully degradable bioplastic.

news.harvard.edu - May 5th, 2014

For many people, “plastic” is a one-word analog for environmental disaster. It is made from precious petroleum, after all, and once discarded in landfills and oceans, it takes centuries to degrade.

Then came apparent salvation: “bioplastics,” durable substances made from renewable cellulose, a plant-based polysaccharide.



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.


Strawberry Trees Offer Free Public Solar Charging for Gadgets

submittted by Margery Schab   


Strawberry Energy

treehugger.com - by Derek Markham - March 14, 2014

In a bid to bring more renewable energy choices to the public, while educating people on the benefits of solar power, one Serbian startup is building public solar charging stations that will energize mobile gadgets and serve as a social hub.

The vision of Strawberry Energy is to make renewable energy sources more accessible for all people, and to show that solar power and other clean energy solutions aren't just abstract concepts, but are instead practical and desirable. The way they're helping to get that message across is through their public solar charging stations, dubbed Strawberry Trees, which offer free charging for mobile devices, and in some cases, free WiFi.


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.


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

This is now the deadliest ebola outbreak on record — and it’s getting worse

It begins in the morning. The victim awakens feeling unwell. They’re without appetite. Their head aches. Sore throat. Fever. Chills.

What’s happening to the victim’s body isn’t dissimilar to other diseases that attack the immune system, but this one’s substantially more aggressive. “Exactly when and where you caught Ebola virus is unclear,”wrote Lancaster University lecturer Derek Gatherer. “It can take anywhere between two and 21 days from initial infection to the first symptoms. 

Click here for complete article

'Drastic action is needed' now to stop Ebola epidemic

(CNN) -- The World Health Organization says "drastic action is needed" to stop the deadly Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa. It has sent teams of experts to help locals deal with the epidemic and WHO plans to meet next week to discuss how to contain it.

Deep Underground, Oceans Of Water May Be Trapped In A Crystal Sponge

Earth's surface oceans are quite apparent, even from satellite images of our blue marble, but now scientists have found oceans' worth of water are hidden deep in Earth's mantle, locked up in a mineral called ringwoodite. 

npr.org - by L. Carol Ritchie - June 15, 2014

. . . Scientists have discovered evidence of a vast reservoir of water hiding up to 400 miles beneath the surface.

The discovery could transform our understanding of how the planet was formed, suggesting that Earth's water may have come from within, rather than from collisions with large, icy comets.

The water is trapped in a blue mineral called ringwoodite that sits in the mantle, a hot, rocky layer between the Earth's crust and outer core.


CLICK HERE - STUDY - Dehydration melting at the top of the lower mantle


World Refugee Day: Global Forced Displacement Tops 50 Million for First Time in Post-World War II Era


Photo: UNHCR

unhcr.org - June 20, 2014

GENEVA, June 20 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency reported today on World Refugee Day that the number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people worldwide has, for the first time in the post-World War II era, exceeded 50 million people.

UNHCR's annual Global Trends report, which is based on data compiled by governments and non-governmental partner organizations, and from the organization's own records, shows 51.2 million people were forcibly displaced at the end of 2013, fully 6 million more than the 45.2 million reported in 2012.



Crowdsourcing a Crisis Map of UAV/Aerial Videos for Disaster Response

The UAV Map, which will go live shortly, is inspired by Travel by Drone Map displayed above.

Image: The UAV Map, which will go live shortly, is inspired by Travel by Drone Map displayed above.

irevolution.net - June 18th, 2014 - Patrick Meier

Journalists and citizen journalists are already using small UAVs during disasters. And some are also posting their aerial videos online: Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), Moore Tornado, Arkansas Tornado and recent floods in Florida, for example. Like social media, this new medium—user-generated (aerial) content—can be used by humanitarian organizations to augment their damage assessments and situational awareness.


Doctors Without Borders: W Africa Ebola Outbreak Causes Record Deaths, is 'Out of Control'


Staff of the 'Doctors without Borders' ('Medecin sans frontieres') carry the body of a person killed by viral haemorrhagic fever, at a center for victims of the Ebola virus in Guekedou in April.  AFP / Getty Images

startribune.com - by Sarah Dilorenzo - June 20, 2014

DAKAR, Senegal — The Ebola outbreak ravaging West Africa is "totally out of control," according to a senior official for Doctors Without Borders, who says the medical group is stretched to the limit in responding.

The outbreak has caused more deaths than any other of the disease, said another official with the medical charity. . .

. . . International organizations and the governments involved need to send in more health experts and increase public educationmessages about how to stop the spread of the disease, Bart Janssens, the director of operations for the medical group in Brussels, told The Associated Press on Friday.




Guinea frets as Ebola virus spreads

Conakry - A second spike in Ebola virus cases has panicked residents and health officials in Guinea, who fear a west African outbreak of the killer disease may now be out of control.

"Ebola cases are worrying. We do not know what to expect," Mamady Traore, a trader in the suburbs of the capital Conakry, told AFP on Thursday. "Sometimes you are told it has been [contained] and sometimes you hear it has reappeared in other towns and villages."

According to figures released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday, a total of 398 cases...

The Turning Point: New Hope for the Climate


Former US Vice President Al Gore
Anthony Harvey/Getty Images for Free The Children

It's time to accelerate the shift toward a low-carbon future

rollingstone.com - by Al Gore - June 18, 2014

In the struggle to solve the climate crisis, a powerful, largely unnoticed shift is taking place. The forward journey for human civilization will be difficult and dangerous, but it is now clear that we will ultimately prevail. The only question is how quickly we can accelerate and complete the transition to a low-carbon civilization.



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