Monday, April 25, 2016
Saturday, April 23, 2016
Global warming is the single most important eco-political challenge facing humankind today. With every passing year, the average global temperature is rising, causing permafrost, sea ice and glaciers to melt at an alarming rate.
The average surface temperature on the earth’s surface has increased by approximately 0.6 degrees Celsius over the past century. Although this change may not seem all that significant, the effect on the Polar Regions has been tremendous.
View a multimedia representation of how sea ice has retreated over time here.
Rising sea levels threaten millions of people inhabiting coastal regions, whilst rising ocean temperatures are already leaving thousands of square nautical miles of “dead zones”.
The adverse medium to long-term affects of global climatic changes has been dubbed the Climate Crisis, and poses a very real and ongoing threat, not only to our continued existence as a species, but also to the earth’s ability to support life.
Understanding the Climate Crisis
The Climate Crisis, unlike the threat of a nuclear holocaust, for example, has historically not been treated as an immediate, clear and present danger. The fact that climate changes occur over centuries has created a false sense of public security, and effectively pushed climate changes to the very back of the political agenda.
Until very recently, that is.
With the groundbreaking An Inconvenient Truth, Former US Vice President Al Gore raised a flag for the climate advocacy cause.
It is the one film you have to see.
Challenges for crisis communications
During the last two decades, a lack of scientific consensus, combined with the fact that several successive conservative US administrations deliberately trivialised the need for environmental accountability, has led to the entrenchment of a global phenomenon: Apathy.
The climate change debate of the Eighties and Nineties was a largely unproductive hodgepodge of conspiracy theories, denialism and misinformation, effectively discrediting the valid scientific research that was being conducted in this field.
Whilst a lack of empirical evidence and administrations with vested energy interests continued to stonewall efforts to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, global warming continued apace.
Every year, entire frozen continental basins thaw and disintegrate, never to refreeze again. Every summer, more and more polar bears are found drowning, simply because the icebergs they could rest on are disappearing.
I mean, look at this...
What is causing this climate change?
Humankind is at fault. Scientists worldwide agree that the excessive carbon dioxide produced by industrial society is at the root of this problem. Carbon dioxide, although not harmful in itself, forms a heat-retaining atmospheric blanket when produced in large enough quantities.
Human beings burn fossil fuels to create energy, resulting in billions of tons of carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere.
At no time preceding this century has deforestation and climatic change happened this fast. No previous civilisation has had such a significant and devastating impact on the earth’s resources and ecosystems.
No future generation will have the opportunity to reverse this.
How does climatic change affect us?
All of earth’s life systems are in decline. In essence, our generation has moved beyond the point where “this will be bad for our children’s children”. Climate change today threatens millions of people worldwide. If left unaddressed, global warming and the resultant rising sea levels could see the number of climate refugees climb from 1 million in 1990 to a staggering 70 million in 2080.
Chillingly, a more recent UN projection estimated that there may be as many as 150 million climate refugees worldwide by the middle of the century.
Learn more about the scientific findings about global warming; view a summary of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Scientific Consensus Report.
We will be alive to witness this; it will happen in our lifetimes.
Terms such as “climate asylum seeker” for the first time ever start moving from the realm of the hypothetical to reality. Natural disasters such as Hurricane Catherina (New Orleans, August 2005), the floods of 2000 in Mozambique or the 2005 Tsunami in South East Asia are occurring increasingly frequently, and with unprecedented levels of destruction.
Climate change is a vicious cycle
With floods comes water-borne diseases, and more people tend to die from the aftermath of a catastrophe, rather than from the initial disaster.
Yet paradoxically, climate change also causes extreme droughts and freak-flooding. Both these phenomena disrupt the production of crops and primary food groups, effectively hitting commercial growers and destroying the livelihoods of subsistence farmers. Left destitute and without crops, such the drought-stricken are left with no choice but to further exploit their natural environs in an unsustainable way.
Climate change is bad for business
Across the board, businesses are starting to feel the adverse effects of climate changes. In New Orleans, home assurance companies had to deal with a spate of fraudulent fire-related claims, following homeowners realising that their homes weren’t covered for flood-related damages.
Another example of the economical impacts of climate change is that it can reduce the lifestyle appeal of towns or entire cities, thus adversely affecting the ability of local businesses to source skilled employees.
How will climatic changes affect the earth?
Climatic change is already causing thousands of species to go extinct. Animals and organisms play an integral in earth’s life-supporting systems, and the implications of global warming are mind-boggling.
What is being done to combat climate change?
Europe has been a central locus for climate and carbon-related advocacy, with civilians and institutions alike taking proactive steps to reduce and offset their carbon footprints.
Although the Kyoto Protocol, an international framework treaty compelling member countries to reduce their Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, was as adopted during 1997, major industrial players such as the United States opted not to ratify it, eliciting much criticism worldwide. Can you believe that??? The US also opted not to come to the party at the South African hosted World Summit on Sustainable Development, effectively ham-stringing the Protocol for more than a decade.
With international support for the cause steadily rising, the Bali Climate Summit was hoped to change this by setting firm targets for curbing carbon emission, yet in practice only managed to serve as pre-negotiations on how Kyoto’s recommendations are to be implemented – and who will be footing the bill.
The summit, attended by 190 nations, including the US, resulted in a commitment to create a new, strategically focused treaty for reducing carbon emissions, and for assisting the world’s poorest countries in dealing with the adverse effects of climate change.
Yet predictably, the world’s biggest carbon crook was playing hardball – especially when it came to determining the targets for emissions reduction. Environmentalists have expressed disappointment regarding the Bali Roadmap, yet the summit nonetheless constituted a landmark event in terms of international cooperation top combat climate change
Organisations involved in combating climate change
Hope you learned something from this... and Ask what your "Presidential" candidate are doing to dressing this issue. Remember, this is just a vision of us one day.
Thursday, April 21, 2016
There's no shortage of accessories that promised to turn iPhones into better cameras. But truly useful ones? Those can be hard to come by. Even so, Miggo, a startup best known for its SLR accessories, thinks it's onto something with its $90 retro-styled camera grip. It's called the Pictar, and it gives the iPhone 4 and up (except the 6 Plus and 6s Plus) the sort of physical controls that camera buffs just might go nuts over.
Curiously, you won't find a Bluetooth transmitter or Lightning connector here. It instead communicates with the iPhone using ultrasound, a seemingly peculiar approach that's actually rather clever. Each action (think: zooming, taking a photo, tweaking your ISO and more) is tied to a specific high-frequency tone. With the Pictar app installed, the phone listens for those tones and does what it's told. More importantly, the team says the combination of inaudible sound and an algorithm that tells when the iPhone to listen for it enables a shooting experience that won't burn through your battery.
Unlike, say, the LG G5's Cam Plus add-on, the Pictar does an impressive job of replicating the manual controls of a proper SLR. In addition to a two-stage shutter button, there are three physical dials: a zoom ring on the front (just under the shutter button), an exposure compensation wheel and a scene select dial for switching between presets like Sports and Landscape mode. Thankfully, it's fairly simple to re-map those wheels if you want more nuance -- the version I played with was decidedly not done, but I could still change those two dials to let me fiddle with white balance and shutter speed. Throw in a cold shoe for accessories and a standard tripod mount and you've got a surprisingly well thought-out little package.
Physically, the Pictar grip itself is lightweight and fans of proper cameras will adapt to the control layout very quickly. It's actually pretty too, with the sort of silver-and-black design that you might see on an old-school Nikon or Olympus. You probably won't be squeezing this thing into your pockets, though: Its dimensions give it enough room for an easily replaceable AA battery (expect six to eight months of use off a single cell). That's not to say it doesn't need a little more finessing before launch, though.
There was a brief delay when trying to focus and snap a photo on the pre-production model, which I'm told was an issue with unfinished software. Apple doesn't allow developers to leave an iPhone's microphone on indefinitely, so the Pictar app periodically prompts it to listen for the grip's telltale tones. At this early stage, it seemed like the microphone wasn't listening as often as it should've been, but a Pictar spokesperson says the team is still doing some algorithmic fine-tuning. Still, if Miggo manages to iron out its software issues and polish up the chassis a bit, the company might have a promising future making more than just camera bags.
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Do you want to know whether or not US officials have ever forced a company to decrypt data to aid in an investigation? So does the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The civil liberties group has sued the Department of Justice to make it reveal whether or not it has ever used secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court orders to make companies decrypt communications. The EFF had used a standard Freedom of Information Act request beforehand, but didn't get anything. FISC says that what "potentially responsive" documents it found are exempt from disclosure, since they were created before the USA Freedom Act took effect.
If you ask the EFF, the government is purposefully misinterpreting the law to avoid being hauled out on the carpet. The organization believes that the Freedom Act requires declassification of all "significant" FISC orders, not just the latest ones. It's a matter of obeying the law, the EFF says.
Should the group get its way, it could shed light on just how serious the government is about breaking encryption or inserting backdoors. While the White House has said that it won't support laws mandating access to devices, that doesn't mean that officials haven't ordered access on a case-by-case basis. There's no guarantee that the EFF will find anything, of course. If they do, however, the feds may have to answer a lot of questions about their respect for Americans' privacy and security.
We demand Answers!!
Apple has agreed to settle yet another lawsuit from the ever-growing list of litigations it's battling to the tune of $24.9 million. This particular case, filed back in 2012 by a company called Dynamic Advances, alleges that Siri infringes on a patent owned by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a private research university in Troy, New York. Rensselaer's patent application was granted in 2007, years before Siri was released, and Dynamic Advances holds the exclusive license to it. The lawsuit was supposed to go to trial next month, but the settlement terms require the plaintiff to drop the case completely.
In exchange for $24.9 million, Apple will be allowed to continue loading its devices with Siri and the assurance that it's not going to be sued based on the same patent again... at least for the next three years. Dynamic Advances is getting $5 million as soon as the case is dropped, with the rest to follow. It expects to pocket half of the amount and divvy up the rest to pay Rensselaer and its lawyers, among the other entities involved in the case.
If you're wondering, the patent in question is called "Natural language interface using constrained intermediate dictionary of results." The document says the invention "relates to user interfaces, and more specifically, to user interfaces that recognize natural language."
Thursday, March 31, 2016
Simply because sometimes you have to you sit back and reflect, and ask your self, how did we get here... Queen Latifah is one of Hip Hop Icons when it comes to the female side. Some of Motowns most classic Hip hop sound.. 1993 Was a great year... Not to mention this dropped... But MJ(23) and the Chicago Bulls won that championship against Charles Barkley(34) and the Phoenix Suns!
Not to mention, maybe my favorite pair of Jordans, the VIII's (8).
Also Wutang had released the classic album, "36 Chambers"
So definitely it was a year to remember.. and this is one of those classics... Enjoy.. Shout to Fat Joe for remixing this joint... Salute.
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