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IBM to set system to monitor Bangalore water supply

February 26th, 2014 | Add a Comment

IBM to set system to monitor Bangalore water supply
See: http://my.news.yahoo.com/ibm-set-system-monitor-bangalore-water-supply-181004922–finance.html

Bangalore, Feb 20 (IANS) Global IT major IBM’s big data and predictive analytics will create systems to monitor and manage water supply in Bangalore by the state-run Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB).

“Our intelligent operations centre-based solution, developed at our India software lab, has the GIS (geo information system) for real-time view of flow meters across the city and identify a specific flow meter,” the company said in a statement here Thursday.

As the city’s main source of water are the Cauvery and Arkavathi rivers in the Mysore region, the doubling of its population to 10 million from 5.4 million in 2000 has put the city’s water supply and distribution system to tremendous strain.

See: http://my.news.yahoo.com/ibm-set-system-monitor-bangalore-water-supply-181004922–finance.html

FERGUSON: State wants to fool with Mother Nature

February 26th, 2014 | Add a Comment

FERGUSON: State wants to fool with Mother Nature
See: http://www.macon.com/2014/02/21/2949609/ferguson-state-wants-to-fool-with.html

There are some things in life that are vitally important to us that we tend to take for granted because we assume we will always have them. Take water for instance. Most of the time we use it like we can never run out of it, until we start to run out. Then it quickly becomes a very big issue.

In case you haven’t heard, the state of Georgia has a serious water problem. We share a river system with neighboring Alabama and Florida, and they say we are using too much of it before it flows into their states. A lot of the problem stems from rapid population growth in the Atlanta area. They are using more and more water in that part of the state and our relationship with our neighbors is growing increasingly contentious as the problem gets worse.

It the midst of all this water-wrangling, a bill has quietly been introduced in the Georgia Legislature that is interesting, to say the least. The bill would give the state the authority to pump water from underground aquifers into the Flint River during droughts to keep the river’s water flow from running too low.

The bill’s backers claim the state would use that authority to save wildlife that may be harmed during severe drought, but many environmentalists fear the state has another agenda. Specifically, they believe the water-pumping authority would be used to keep the Flint flowing healthily into bordering states clamoring for more water while Atlanta continues to use as much water as it needs to keep its growth going uninterrupted.

See: http://www.macon.com/2014/02/21/2949609/ferguson-state-wants-to-fool-with.html

Techno-Optimism? IBM’s $100M ‘Project Lucy’ brings Watson to Africa

February 21st, 2014 | Add a Comment

IBM’s $100M ‘Project Lucy’ brings Watson to Africa
See: http://www.kurzweilai.net/ibm-brings-watson-to-africa

IBM has launched a 10-year initiative to bring Watson and other cognitive systems to Africa to fuel development and spur business opportunities across the world’s fastest growing continent. Dubbed “Project Lucy” after the earliest known human ancestor, IBM will invest US$100 million in the initiative, giving scientists and partners access to the world’s most advanced cognitive computing technologies for use in key areas such as healthcare, education, water and sanitation, human mobility and agriculture.

“In the last decade, Africa has been a tremendous growth story – yet the continent’s challenges, stemming from population growth, water scarcity, disease, low agricultural yield and other factors are impediments to inclusive economic growth,” said Kamal Bhattacharya, Director, IBM Research – Africa. “With the ability to learn from emerging patterns and discover new correlations, Watson’s cognitive capabilities hold enormous potential in Africa – helping it to achieve in the next two decades what today’s developed markets have achieved over two centuries.”

IBM will also establish a new pan-African Center of Excellence for Data-Driven Development (CEDD) and is recruiting research partners such as universities, development agencies, start-ups and clients in Africa and around the world. By joining the initiative, IBM’s partners will be able to tap into cloud-delivered cognitive intelligence for solving the continent’s most pressing challenges and creating new business opportunities.

Big Data technologies have a major role to play in Africa’s development challenges: from understanding food price patterns, to estimating GDP and poverty numbers, to anticipating disease – the key is turning data into knowledge and actionable insight, IBM says.

See: http://www.kurzweilai.net/ibm-brings-watson-to-africa

Heatwave frequency ‘surpasses levels previously predicted for 2030′

February 21st, 2014 | Add a Comment

Heatwave frequency ‘surpasses levels previously predicted for 2030′
Abbott government urged to better articulate dangers of climate change as Climate Council highlights rising number of hot days
See: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/17/heatwave-frequency-surpasses-levels-previously-predicted-for-2030

The government has been urged to better articulate the dangers of climate change after a report that shows the frequency of heatwaves in parts of Australia has already surpassed levels previously predicted for 2030.

The Climate Council report highlights that Adelaide, Melbourne and Canberra all experienced a higher average number of hot days between 2000 and 2009 than was expected to occur by 2030.

Research by the CSIRO forecast that Melbourne would experience an average of 12 days over 35C each year from 2030, but the average over the past decade was 12.6 days.

Adelaide experienced an average of 25.1 days a year over 35C in this time, while Canberra surpassed this mark an average of 9.4 days.

The annual number of record hot days across Australia has more than doubled since 1950, according to the Climate Council report, with the south-east of the country at particular risk from more frequent heatwaves, drought and bushfires.

Last month’s heatwave, which enveloped much of Victoria and South Australia, caused 203 heat-related deaths in Victoria alone, according to the report.

See: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/17/heatwave-frequency-surpasses-levels-previously-predicted-for-2030

Let’s talk about the car population problem

February 21st, 2014 | Add a Comment

Let’s talk about the car population problem
The overpopulation of cars is distorting our society and destroying the environment.
See: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2014/0
2/19/lets_talk_about_the_car_population_problem.html

Population control is a sensitive topic, even for environmentalists. Yet it’s hard to deny the strain of increasing numbers on our climate, natural spaces, and finite resources. Today, the increase in Canadian population is small but Western culture has already had a strong influence on developing countries. If Chinese and Indian households continue to strive for high Western rates of ownership the future prospects for our planet look grim.

Did I mention that I am referring to the population of cars, not humans?

In 1950, there were about 100 million motor vehicles on the planet’s roads. Today there are one billion (mainly passenger cars). According to Daniel Sperling and Deborah Gordon in their book Two Billion Cars, by 2030 there will be almost two billion motor vehicles (not counting motorcycles and scooters) vying for road space.

The average Canadian household has 1.5 cars (including SUVs and pickups). In 2013 Canadians brought home more than 1.7 million little, and not so little, bundles of joy from auto dealerships. (By comparison the sum of newborn babies and net immigration was under 600,000.) The new arrivals have grown in weight and power over the last few decades.

Canadian sales, however, pale in comparison with China where the market is still warming up. In 2013 about 16 million cars were sold in China, eclipsing even U.S. numbers. According to Scotiabank’s Global Auto Report, car sales in China will jump to 18 million this year.

Each car makes a significant impression on the Earth.

See: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2014/0
2/19/lets_talk_about_the_car_population_problem.html

READING THE NUMBERS

February 21st, 2014 | Add a Comment

READING THE NUMBERS
BY MARGARET TALBOT
See: http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2014/02/17/140217taco_talk_talbot

Last week’s report about the declining abortion rate in the United States was potentially good news for everyone, especially, one would think, for right-to-life groups. Most of them, though, weren’t cheering. A statement from Americans United for Life called the report “an abortion industry propaganda piece short on data and long on strained conclusions.” One problem was that the groups didn’t like the messenger. The report, which showed that between 2008 and 2011 the rate of abortions had fallen to its lowest level since 1973, came from the Guttmacher Institute. Guttmacher produces scrupulous research on reproductive health; it also supports abortion rights. But the bigger problem was the message itself, because the report made a persuasive case that the right-to-life movement cannot take credit for the decline in abortions.

Since 2008, states have enacted more than a hundred laws related to abortion, most aimed at limiting access to the procedure. The researchers, however, concluded that the new laws, with few exceptions, had had little impact on the number of abortions. Instead, much of the decline is probably attributable to more effective contraception, some of it available through the federal funding-”Uncle Sugar,” in Mike Huckabee’s creepy coinage-that Republicans like to rail against. Right-to-lifers could be promoting contraception and touting its success in averting unwanted pregnancies, but that doesn’t seem to be news that they want to hear, let alone spread.

In fact, nobody can say for sure why the rate is falling. But the report’s authors, Rachel K. Jones and Jenna Jerman, point to some key indicators. For one thing, there was a notable drop in the rates in several states, such as California, New York, and New Jersey, that had not enacted new restrictions. Indeed, rates dropped in all regions of the country, although the new laws are concentrated primarily in the Midwest and the South. Moreover, most of the restrictive laws were passed in 2011, and the decline was already under way in 2008. Finally, and critically, the decrease in abortions has been accompanied by a decrease in the birth rate, suggesting not that fewer women are choosing to terminate pregnancies but that fewer women are getting pregnant in the first place.

See: http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2014/02/17/140217taco_talk_talbot

Assume the worst when it comes to climate change and population, King tells KFU audience

February 18th, 2014 | Add a Comment

See: http://www.hpj.com/archives/2014/feb14/feb17/0203KFUConference1PIXsr.cfm

History has a way of repeating itself, which means that if military historians and strategists peer back far enough, certain precedents can be found to illustrate patterns and models useful for the prediction of the near-term future.

Unfortunately, as W. Chris King told members of the Kansas Farmers Union during their annual convention in Topeka on Jan. 4, there is no historical precedence for what the nation and the world face in the future from the combined forces of climate change, overpopulation and resource depletion. “We have nothing on which to base projections,” he said. “We have to assume climate change is going to make everything worse. And there’s no easy, immediate fix. It’s a really, really hard problem.”

King, chief academic officer for the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College, said that while the idea of climate change seems addressed to our times, it was already being discussed back in the 1970s and 1980s. The problem was, nobody was listening, least of all the U.S. military. Nor did the military consider them worthy of study.

“These subjects were not well received because [the authors] had patches on their sleeves and they didn’t get along with the military,” King said.

That began to change when one of the leading environmental scholars of the time, Norman Myers, characterized the impending shortage of resources as a national security issue on par with hostile nations. “It relates to watersheds, croplands, forests, genetic resources, climate and other factors that rarely figure in the minds of military experts and political leaders,” he wrote in The Environmentalist.

That assessment was mirrored in the latest National Security Strategy of the United States, dated May 2010, which declared “the danger from climate change is real, urgent and severe. The change wrought by a warming planet will lead to new conflicts over refugees and resources; new suffering from drought and famine; catastrophic natural disasters; and the degradation of land across the globe.”

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.hpj.com/archives/2014/feb14/feb17/0203KFUConference1PIXsr.cfm

Egyptian population explosion worsens social unrest

February 18th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Egyptian population explosion worsens social unrest
560,000 extra births in 2012, compared with 2010, in country already struggling with depleted resources and too few jobs

See: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/16/egypt-population-explosion-social-unrest

Egypt is struggling to contain a population explosion that has surged in the past three years, exacerbating many of the social tensions that indirectly led to the 2011 uprising.

The number of births in Egypt in 2012 was 560,000 higher than in 2010, according to the most recent statistics. It is the largest two-year increase since records began. The rise keeps Egypt on course to overtake countries such as Russia and Japan by 2050, when forecasters predict it will have more than 137.7 million people.

“It’s the highest spike ever in all Egyptian history,” said Magued Osman, director of Egypt’s leading statistics firm, Baseera, and former head of a government thinktank. “It’s unheard of to have such a jump in a two-year period.”

The rising population is seen as a social timebomb which, if untackled, will exhaust Egypt’s depleted resources, worsen a dire jobs market, and contribute to yet more social frustration. With 60% of Egyptians under 30 already, a bulging population will further reduce the limited opportunities for young people.

“You can’t maintain a good education system with this number of people,” said Osman. “If the population increases, you need a parallel increase in the number of classes. Between 2006 and 2012 there was a 40% increase in the number of births. This means you need 91,000 new classes just to keep the same average class size, which is already very high – at least 40, and in some governorates it’s at 60.”

Every year, more than 800,000 young Egyptians join the job market – which already has an unemployment rate of 13.4%. With an unchecked birthrate and a falling deathrate, joblessness is expected to rise quickly, inevitably leading to further public anger.

To read the full article, please click here:  http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/16/egypt-population-explosion-social-unrest

Kadaga calls on women to embrace family planning

February 17th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Kadaga calls on women to embrace family planning

See: http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/652490-kadaga-calls-on-women-to-embrace-family-planning.html

Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has called upon women to embrace family planning to curb the increasing population levels in the country.

According to Kadaga, the increasing population levels in the country are hindering development since majority of the population is unemployed.

“We are experiencing very high and unprecedented population growth rates. The fertility rate for a Ugandan woman is 6 to 7 children; this coupled with high mortality rates of both maternal and child deaths, Sub Saharan Africa is grappling with high unemployment rates and very young dependent population,” said Kadaga.

Kadaga made the remarks Wednesday while addressing African MPs at the ongoing Asian and African parliamentarian’s capacity development on integrations of political issues into national development frameworks at Lake Victoria Serena resort in Lweza.

She noted that the increasing population levels in a country like Uganda where majority of the people are youth, was creating a lot of dependency as a result of unemployment.

“We should encourage our people especially women in rural areas to embrace family planning to avoid unwanted pregnancies, it is through this program that we can control our population,” she added.

The team leader population and development United Nations population fund (UNFPA) Florence Mpabulungi said a total of 215 million women worldwide were not able to access modern forms of contraceptives to control unwanted pregnancies.

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/652490-kadaga-calls-on-women-to-embrace-family-planning.html

Ghana: Health Minister Calls for Teaching of Family Planning in School

February 17th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Ghana: Health Minister Calls for Teaching of Family Planning in School

See:  http://allafrica.com/stories/201402102023.html

The Minister of Health, Madam Sherry Ayitey has stressed the need for the Ghana Education Service (GES) to introduce the teaching of family planning in schools to enable the adolescent to know much about their reproductive health.

According to her, the reported huge numbers of teenage pregnancy occurred as a result of lack of knowledge about the importance of family planning among the youth and that the teaching of the subject would help reduce the stigma associated with health education in the society.

Madam Ayitey, who was speaking at the National launch of the 2013 National Family Planning Week celebration in Ho, observed that the time had come for education on family planning to be regarded as a major development issue, because high population rate in the country would definitely have negative effect on national development.

She stressed that the theme for the Family Planning Week, “Your Future, Your Choice and Your Contraceptive” was timely, noting that the issues of girls’ education ought to be regarded more seriously, particularly when large numbers of abortion and maternal deaths are teenagers in the country.

Madam Ayitey said the teaching of family planning in schools ought to be seen as very important because it would go a long way to equip the youth particularly teenage girls to make an informed decisions concerning sex.

The Health Minister continued that traditional authorities and religious leaders should regularly invite expects in family planning in their communities regularly to educate the people on the need to produce the number of children that they could take care of.

According to her, in the world’s poorest countries, contraceptive health and family planning for adolescents have become a taboo, and in many parts of sub-sahara Africa, the issues of family planning and adolescents’ sexual health have been completely ignored, leading to pregnancy and childbirth complications.

To read the full article, please click here: http://allafrica.com/stories/201402102023.html