Facebook Twitter



Around The “Limited” World — In 5 Short Stories

September 8th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Cape Cod’s namesake fish population rapidly disappearing

See: http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-cod-fishing-20140831-story.html
There aren’t enough cod left on Cape Cod.

 

 
That soon becomes evident to the tourists crowding an observation deck to watch fishermen unload their boats in this picturesque harbor sheltered from the ocean by sandy dunes.

 

 
Today’s catch: pounds of skate, a fish that looks like a sting ray until fishermen catch it, when they cut off its wings and throw the body back into the water. The skate wings, white triangular pieces of flesh trailed by streams of blood, slide down ramps onto the loading dock.

 
“Eeeewww,” says 5-year-old Felix Haight. “It looks like raspberry jelly,” he adds, as his mother wrinkles her nose.

 
The next boat brings in dogfish, which looks like a mix between a shark and a lizard, and is no more appealing to the tourists.

 
For generations, the fish sliding down this ramp would have been cod, a ground fish that has been caught in these parts since the Pilgrims landed on Cape Cod, and before. But for reasons that scientists are still trying to determine, the cod population, shrinking for decades, dropped off precipitously in the last few years.

 

Pacific tuna stocks on the brink of disaster, warns outgoing fisheries head Glenn Hurry

 

See: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-02/pacific-tuna-stocks-on-brink-of-disaster-says-glenn-hurry/5704644
The Australian who heads fishery management in the Western and Central Pacific has warned an international agreement is urgently needed to avert disaster for the tuna industry.
Read the rest of this entry »

Barber Shop and Beauty Salon Program Extends Family Planning Services to Liberians

September 8th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Barber Shop and Beauty Salon Program Extends Family Planning Services to Liberians 

See: http://www.jhpiego.org/sw/content/barber-shop-and-beauty-salon-program-extends-family-planning-services-liberians

Monrovia, Liberia-When Gbeni Taylor was 16, she learned she was pregnant and worried how she would tell her family. It was a frightening and uncertain time for her and one that she would wish on no other young person. She feared her father would throw her out of the house, but her mother and other family members ensured that she remained at home and attended night school to complete her education. Gbeni’s experience is all too common in Liberia where, according to the most recent Liberia Demographic and Health Survey  2007, literacy rates are low and about one-third of girls ages 15 to 19 have begun childbearing.

 
In hospitals in Monrovia, says Gbeni, “you see babies carrying babies. We need to talk to them. They don’t know. They do it out of ignorance.”
Gbeni’s life changing experience, as well as seeing her friends become mothers when they were too young, led the 21-year-old hair stylist to participate in an innovative program in Liberia to educate young women about properly spacing their families. The barber shop and beauty salon family planning program, an initiative under the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP), trains employees of beauty salons and barber shops to provide family planning messages, condoms and referrals to a nearby hospital for family planning services. A total of 16 workers have been trained in four salons and shops. Since 2012, they have reached 1,100 clients and distributed 16,550 condoms through this initiative.

See: http://www.jhpiego.org/sw/content/barber-shop-and-beauty-salon-program-extends-family-planning-services-liberians

Why the Earth is Farting

September 4th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Why the Earth is Farting

See: http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/12/opinion/weisman-craters-methane/index.html?iref=allsearch

(CNN) – Every day, you have a close personal encounter with methane, a key ingredient of something we don’t usually mention in polite company: farts.

 
Perhaps that’s why methane is also called “natural gas.” Unfortunately, neither propriety nor intestinal discipline can suppress its unpleasantness lately, because now not just us, but the Earth itself is farting.

 
Recently, three new craters, one of which measured approximately 100 feet wide and over 200 feet deep, were discovered in the Siberian permafrost. The explanation for them is even more alarming than asteroid strikes: Apparently, after two consecutive summers averaging 5 degrees Celsius hotter than normal, frozen methane is not merely thawing, it’s exploding. Scientists fear that, like chronic bad digestion, this phenomenon could be ongoing. Methane in the air surrounding these craters already measures 53,000 times the normal concentration.

 
Then, just a week into a research trip, a team from Stockholm University found “vast methane plumes” shooting from the sea floor off the Siberian coast. Columns of gas bubbles, they reported, were surfacing around their icebreaker in waters saturated with 10 to 50 times more methane than usual.

 
This was the marine equivalent of melting permafrost, the undoing of frozen crystals called methane hydrates, locked solid for millennia by the pressure and temperature of deep oceans.

See: http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/12/opinion/weisman-craters-methane/index.html?iref=allsearch

Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we’re nearing collapse

September 4th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we’re nearing collapse

Four decades after the book was published, Limit to Growth’s forecasts have been vindicated by new Australian research. Expect the early stages of global collapse to start appearing soon.

See: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/limits-to-growth-was-right-new-research-shows-were-nearing-collapse

The 1972 book Limits to Growth, which predicted our civilisation would probably collapse some time this century, has been criticised as doomsday fantasy since it was published. Back in 2002, self-styled environmental expert Bjorn Lomborg consigned it to the “dustbin of history”.

 

It doesn’t belong there. Research from the University of Melbourne has found the book’s forecasts are accurate, 40 years on. If we continue to track in line with the book’s scenario, expect the early stages of global collapse to start appearing soon.

 

Limits to Growth was commissioned by a think tank called the Club of Rome. Researchers working out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, including husband-and-wife team Donella and Dennis Meadows, built a computer model to track the world’s economy and environment. Called World3, this computer model was cutting edge.

 

The task was very ambitious. The team tracked industrialisation, population, food, use of resources, and pollution. They modelled data up to 1970, then developed a range of scenarios out to 2100, depending on whether humanity took serious action on environmental and resource issues. If that didn’t happen, the model predicted “overshoot and collapse” – in the economy, environment and population – before 2070. This was called the “business-as-usual” scenario.

 

The book’s central point, much criticised since, is that “the earth is finite” and the quest for unlimited growth in population, material goods etc would eventually lead to a crash.

See: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/limits-to-growth-was-right-new-research-shows-were-nearing-collapse

Africa’s child demographics and the world’s future

September 2nd, 2014 | Add a Comment

Africa’s child demographics and the world’s future 

See: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(14)61331-3/fulltext?_eventId=login

In 1950, only about a tenth of the world’s children lived in Africa.1 Within 50 years, that proportion almost doubled, and it is set to double again by the middle of the 21st century, leaving Africa with nearly a billion children younger than 18 years by 2050-37% of the worldwide total. By the end of the century, based on present trends, almost half of all children will live in Africa.

 

How this unprecedented growth in the continent’s child population came about, and its implications for Africa and the rest of the world, is the subject of Generation 2030 Africa,1 a report on child demographics released by UNICEF on Aug 12, 2014. The report is the second in the UNICEF series on child demographics, after Generation 2025 and beyond.2
Two main forces are driving this present rise and projected expansion of Africa’s child population: rapidly rising numbers of births (figure) and falling rates of child mortality. Currently, around 3·4 million births take place in Africa every month.1 In the next 15 years, about 700 million will occur, and between now and mid-century 1·8 billion are projected, resulting from high rates of fertility and an increasing number of women of reproductive age. The average fertility rate for Africa currently stands at 4·7 children per woman of reproductive age (15-49 years)-far above the rate in Asia (2·2) and the worldwide average.

10m Ugandans will be hunting for jobs by 2020

September 2nd, 2014 | Add a Comment

10m Ugandans will be hunting for jobs by 2020

See: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/10m-Ugandans-will-be-hunting-for-jobs-by-2020/-/688334/2428746/-/r7o38cz/-/index.html

KAMPALA- The number of Ugandans in search for jobs could shoot up to 10 million by 2020, piling more pressure on job creation and attempts at achieving economic equality, according to a World Bank report.

The report titled Jobs: Key to Prosperity published last year made a grim assessment of Uganda’s strides in creating jobs for a major segment of an educated, young and urban population.
“Uganda is facing an increasing challenge to productively employ its fast growing and mainly young, literate and increasingly urban population,” it noted.

The World Bank report is corroborated by a 2013 study by the Labour and Education ministries that discovered that out of the nearly 400,000 graduates produced by training institutions annually, less than 100,000 are able to find jobs.

The country’s population currently estimated to be 34 million will have grown to about 42 million by 2020.

See: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/10m-Ugandans-will-be-hunting-for-jobs-by-2020/-/688334/2428746/-/r7o38cz/-/index.html

Congressional Candidate Trolls Anti-Choice Group With ‘Prevent Abortion’ Condoms

September 2nd, 2014 | Add a Comment

Congressional Candidate Trolls Anti-Choice Group With ‘Prevent Abortion’ Condoms 

See: http://thinkprogress.org/health/2014/08/26/3475633/james-woods-abortion-condoms/

When the National Pro-Life Alliance asked congressional candidate James Woods (D-AZ) to fill out a survey about whether he supports the “sanctity of life,” Woods came back with an unusual response. He pointed out that he does support some policies proven to lower the number of unintended pregnancies, and mailed back condoms emblazoned with the phrase “prevent abortion.”

 

“Thank you for taking the time to write to me about your anti-abortion stance,” Woods replied in a letter to the right-wing group. “While I cannot support policies that jeopardize the health and stability of women and their families, there are many measures that I do support that are proven to quickly enhance the well-being of women – and to significantly reduce abortion.”

 

In his letter, the candidate went on to list several sexual health policies that can lower the abortion rate – like expanding comprehensive sex ed, ensuring greater access to birth control, and strengthening government safety net programs for low-income women and their children. “I look forward to working together with you to promote policies like these,” he concluded.

See: http://thinkprogress.org/health/2014/08/26/3475633/james-woods-abortion-condoms/

The Effect of Overpopulation on Public Health

September 2nd, 2014 | Add a Comment

The Effect of Overpopulation on Public Health

See: http://www.mphonline.org/overpopulation-public-health/

The world population is growing at an alarming rate. But overpopulation is seldom discussed as a public health issue. Just how many of us are there and how is our rising population affecting human health?

Economic Abundance With Shrinking Population: Why Not?

September 2nd, 2014 | Add a Comment

Economic Abundance With Shrinking Population: Why Not?

See: http://www.forbes.com/sites/nathanlewis/2014/08/28/economic-abundance-with-shrinking-population-why-not/
Perhaps one of the silliest myths around today, in my opinion, is the notion that a shrinking overall population naturally causes or leads to economic decline. This is gradually becoming more immediately relevant, as the fertility rate is below replacement on every continent except for Africa today.

 

It’s true that a larger population will have a higher total GDP, simply because you are counting more people. However, you can have a large population with a relatively low per-capita GDP (all of Africa, 1.1 billion), or a small population with a high per-capita GDP (New Zealand, 4.5 million). So, obviously, just piling people together doesn’t create wealth and personal abundance.

 

As most any economist should know, per-capita incomes – what we usually mean by “wealth” – are largely a factor of productivity. Of course this includes the productivity of the employed, but it also includes productivity within the household or in other nonmonetary realms – the real-life economy, not the “economy” of statistical abstraction.

See: http://www.forbes.com/sites/nathanlewis/2014/08/28/economic-abundance-with-shrinking-population-why-not/

Exposing the great ‘poverty reduction’ lie

September 2nd, 2014 | Add a Comment

Exposing the great ‘poverty reduction’ lie

The UN claims that its Millennium Development Campaign has reduced poverty globally, an assertion that is far from true.

See: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/08/exposing-great-poverty-reductio-201481211590729809.html
The received wisdom comes to us from all directions: Poverty rates are declining and extreme poverty will soon be eradicated. The World Bank, the governments of wealthy countries, and – most importantly – the United Nations Millennium Campaign all agree on this narrative. Relax, they tell us. The world is getting better, thanks to the spread of free market capitalism and western aid. Development is working, and soon, one day in the very near future, poverty will be no more.

 

It is a comforting story, but unfortunately it is just not true. Poverty is not disappearing as quickly as they say. In fact, according to some measures, poverty has been getting significantly worse. If we are to be serious about eradicating poverty, we need to cut through the sugarcoating and face up to some hard facts.

 

False accounting

 

The most powerful expression of the poverty reduction narrative comes from the UN’s Millennium Campaign. Building on the Millennium Declaration of 2000, the Campaign’s main goal has been to reduce global poverty by half by 2015 – an objective that it proudly claims to have achieved ahead of schedule. But if we look beyond the celebratory rhetoric, it becomes clear that this assertion is deeply misleading.

See: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/08/exposing-great-poverty-reductio-201481211590729809.html