The savage heat waves that struck Australia in 2013 were almost certainly a direct consequence of the human release of greenhouse gases, researchers said Monday. It is perhaps the most definitive statement climate scientists have made that ties a specific weather event to global warming.
Five groups of researchers, using distinct methods, analyzed the heat that baked Australia for much of last year and continued into 2014, shutting down the Australian Open tennis tournament at one point in January. All five came to the conclusion that last year’s heat waves could not have been as severe without the long-term climatic warming caused by human activity.
“When we look at the heat across the whole of Australia and the whole 12 months of 2013, we can say that this was virtually impossible without climate change,” said David Karoly, a climate scientist at the University of Melbourne who led one research team.
One of the most direct and definitive statements from climate scientists to date. More here.
“There’s a temptation within many newspapers to believe that the only problem the web has created is how to get all that excellent journalism to readers most efficiently, and to see the social web as merely a distribution mechanism or PR gesture. Engaging with readers is much more than that — it’s the key to developing a new kind of interactive, two-way journalism, and that journalism may ultimately be the only kind that survives.”—
Paul Higgins: Very similar questions should be applied to the Australian government who are talking about “changing the delicate balance between our safety and our freedoms”
As the Tories launch into their latest ‘human rights are the root of all evil’ fest, at their last annual conference before the next general election, I’d like to ask David Cameron and his party colleagues a question posed by the late Lord Bingham, relating to the rights laid out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, "Which of these rights, I ask, would we wish to discard? Are any of them trivial, superfluous, unnecessary? Are any them un-British?”Just to be clear which of -
Human dignity? (article 1)
Right to life? (article 2)
Right to the integrity of the person? (article 3)
Prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment? (article 4)
Prohibition of slavery and forced labour? (article 5)
Right to liberty and security? (article 6)
Respect for private and family life? (article 7)
Protection of personal data? (article 8)
Right to marry and right to found a family? (article 9)
Freedom of thought, conscience and religion? (article 10)
Freedom of expression and information? (article 11)
Freedom of assembly and of association? (article 12)
Freedom of the arts and sciences? (article 13)
Right to education? (article 14)
Freedom to choose an occupation and right to engage in work? (article 15)
Freedom to conduct a business? (article 16)
Right to property? (article 17)
Right to asylum? (article 18)
Protection in the event of removal, expulsion or extradition? (article 19)
Equality before the law? (article 20)
Non-discrimination? (article 21)
Cultural, religious and linguistic diversity? (article 22)
Equality between men and women? (article 23)
The rights of the child? (article 24)
The rights of the elderly? (article 25)
Integration of persons with disabilities? (article 26)
Solidarity (articles 27 to 38)
Citizens rights (articles 39 to 46)
Right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial? (article 47)
Presumption of innocence and right of defence? (article 48)
Principles of legality and proportionality of criminal offences and penalties? (article 49)
Right not to be tried or punished twice in criminal proceedings for the same criminal offence? (article 50)
General provisions (articles 51 to 54)
- would the main party of government wish to discard? Are any of these rights trivial, superfluous, unnecessary? Are any them un-British?”
NOVA’s Tim De Chant posted this awesome photo of the Kilby Solid Circuit, the first working example of a miniaturized electric circuit that combined all the necessary structures onto a single chip. Back in 2000, when he won the Nobel Prize for this achievement, inventor Jack Kilby gave a really nice talk about the history of electronics and the context that lead to his creation. It’s definitely worth a read.
Neil Gaiman’s introduction to A Slip of the Keyboard, a collection of Terry Pratchett’s nonfiction essays, exposes a little-known side of the writer than many think of as a “twinkly old elf” — the rage that is Pratchett’s engine, driving him to write deceptively simple stories that decry…
Anil Dash has been at it for 15 years (slightly longer than me, but only slightly!) and his reflections on a decade and a half of blogging — through major life changes from marriage to parenthood — really chime with me, especially:
“The first mouse was invented in 1965, but it took until the mid-1990s for mice to be a standard computer feature. The first packet-switched network was invented in 1969, but the internet didn’t become mainstream until the late 1990s. Multitouch interfaces were first developed in the early 1980s, but didn’t become a mainstream technology until the iPhone in 2007. That suggests we shouldn’t underestimate the disruptive potential of technologies, like self-driving cars, personalized DNA testing, and Bitcoin, that seem exotic and impractical today.”—Newspapers weren’t late to online news — they were way too early - Vox (via infoneer-pulse)
The subprime auto-lending business — writing car-loans to people who can’t afford them — is fuelled by GPS-enabled immobilizers that let lenders track and shut down cars whose drivers violate terms of service, from missing payments to fleeing the tri-county area in order to move into a shelter for abused women.
At a time where the stories of startups surround us, American entrepreneurialism is actually on a decades-old downward trajectory. Fewer start up and more fall down: The failure rate for new businesses has increased in the last 20 years and more people are working for established firms, according to a recent Brookings Institution report. A recent Fed study shows that business ownership rates among American families are at a 25-year low. The U.S. Census bureau is reporting that for the first time in three decades, business deaths outnumber business births.
It’s an especially worrying trend following a recession, since many economists say new businesses are critical to economic growth because they create the most new jobs. (Apple and Microsoft, to name the most obvious examples, were created just after the recession of the mid-’70s.) Tech startups continue to flourish today, even if they can’t escape the overall downward trend, the best ones—nurtured in incubators and then blessed with investors—go on to employee thousands of people.
Businesses with under 50 employees make up the majority of American firms. And most of those are small local operations that political candidates evoke as “the backbone of our economy” and VCs ignore.
Our focus on startups has shifted from building small business to building disruptive, scaleable businesses. If it doesn’t have the potential to be a Billion dollar business, shut it down and move on to something else.
I’ve written before about how usefulI believe the bittorrent protocol is, and today I wanted to share something with you guys that you may not have known about (I’m pretty with it, as the kids say, and I didn’t even know about this until a couple of weeks ago): Bittorrent Bundles. The BT Bundles are all legal, official, and released by artists to promote and share their work with their audience.…
The great German writer and realpolitik statesman Goethe once said “talent is nurtured in solitude.” The only way to achieve true creativity, then, was to become “a child of solitude.”
But in our culture of constant connectivity, is solitude still needed, let alone possible? Has the Internet made writers, painters, architects, and scientists more successful because they can reach a wider audience, or has all that white-noise hamstrung the very value these people are known for: creation?
“It doesn’t matter what social media you’re plugged into, or what’s going on,” counters Neil Gaiman. “At the end of the day, it’s still always going to be you and a blank sheet of paper, or you and a blank screen. My process as a creator is always the same. You write the thing you want to read. And you go on from there.”
“I have 2 million Twitter followers,” he says, “ but those 2 million followers are not going to do anything to get my stories written for me. They’re great fun to talk to—for distraction.”
Gaiman says, gabbing online helps him when he’s stuck. Earlier in his career, he’d play solitaire when faced with writer’s block. Now, “I talk to Twitter, retweet and comment on a couple of interesting things, answer a question, and then feel not as lonely as I did 10 minutes earlier…and I cheerfully go back to work.”
So: Gaiman uses the distraction of distraction to escape his own distraction. And the quick jolt of human contact gives him the courage and confidence to get back to filling blank pages.
The part about getting comfortable with solitude really struck me. I’m not there yet.
A fascinating new scholarly essay collection, The Disney Middle Ages: A Fairy-Tale and Fantasy Past, looks at Disney’s portrayal of the middle ages and reflects on how these are inextricably linked to other Disney settings, from Tomorrowland to Frontierland, and how the “Americanized” medieval narrative has played out over the decades.
Stephen sez, “In re-reading the Hobbit, I realized that the opening chapters made it sound like Thorin was running a con. From there, I wondered what Thorin’s pitch would look like if it were a modern con, which resulted in me writing a Nigerian 419 fraud letter for the Hobbit.”
JONA MICI, A 27-year-old media trader, sits in front of her screen at Varick Media Management, a real-time advertising company in New York, and explains how she uses superfast algorithms to buy 20m-30m advertising “impressions” a day. via Pocket