Online mapping emerges as key tool for the UN and Red Cross in getting aid to areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.
Hundreds of online map-makers around the world have pooled their talents to help relief agencies make critical decisions in the Typhoon Haiyan-stricken Philippines.
Thousands of social media images have been tagged, while citizen map-makers - dubbed “digital humanitarians” - have traced roads and rated typhoon damage for the UN and aid agencies.
Online mapping has become a key tool in Philippines relief efforts and disaster response drives around the world, with US space agency NASA issuing satellite maps showing typhoon damage in the Asia-Pacific region.
A train hauling crude oil caught fire in Canada sparking debate about reliability.
Rail safety has become a central issue in Canada since the July disaster in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, when a runaway train carrying crude oil exploded in the center of the lakeside town, killing 47 people.
But in contrast to Lac-Megantic, where the explosions razed dozens of buildings in the center of town, pictures from near Gainford showed Saturday’s fire was burning alongside a road in open country, with fields and forests on either side.
Still, Gainford residents were asked to leave their homes because of the risk of another explosion, and Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) said the evacuation would continue for as long as needed – up to 72 hours. The main east-west highway traversing central Alberta was also closed.
Legalized Rhino horn? Should the world create a controlled Rhino horn market? The animal is ‘renewable’ and funds could be used to protect habitat, breed healthy populations, debunk health myths, and generally lower the illicit trading of Rhino parts.
A surprise headline. The piece is in praise of Al Jazeera America’s coverage of climate change. Why? The new channel didn’t take the low road.
Bottom line: this was a great start. But just as encouraging as what Al Jazeera America discussed last night — climate change — is the list of things it didn’t do:
1. Provide False Balance.
Perhaps most significantly, Inside Story explored public opinion on climate science, and even presented differing views on climate policy, without once offering marginal contrarian viewpoints as a “counterbalance.” Ehab Al Shihabi, Al Jazeera America’s acting chief executive, has cited PBS as a model, and it showed. Other cable news channels have sometimes run afoul of this standard.
2. Focus On Politics.
Al Jazeera America focused on the impacts of climate change, with a complementary discussion of some possible ways of mitigating them through political action. Notably, no politicians were interviewed, as few politicians are credible sources of information on, say, sea level rise. Instead, the guests — Michael Mann, Heidi Cullen and Klaus Jacob — were all scientists familiar with the topic at hand. Television news outlets don’t always do this well: in 2012, 89 percent and 12 percent of Sunday and nightly news coverage of climate change, respectively, was driven by politics.
3. Show Weird Charts.
Discussing public opinion on climate change, Inside Story displayed two graphs showing recent polling. Both had proper vertical axes (starting at zero), showed accurate statistics and cited their sources. Previously, peer network Fox News has had some trouble with charts, maps and the like. They might want to compare notes.
4. Obscure The Cause.
Some attempts at climate coverage muddy the waters, but Al Jazeera America left no doubt that the phenomenon it was referring to is man-made. The segment treated the science as a “given,” and host Libby Casey made a point of mentioning the fact that a significant majority of scientists agree about it, as is continually re-affirmed by high-level research.
cazalis asked: Professor Richard Lindzen was on Al Jazeera's Head to Head recently. Did you see it? And what were your thoughts on the debate and his position?
Thanks for following me all this time. Lindzen is a researcher of atmospheric physics at MIT. He basically applies complex mathematical equations (via computer modelling [vs direct observation]) and makes inferences about the earth’s atmosphere.
His focus is atmospheric tides, which are similar to oceanic tides. Pretty interesting for about 5 minutes.
Lindzen is often portrayed as a climate denier, but this is not true. He regularly states that humans do affect long term temperatures by emitting carbon.
The main reason he’s called a denier is because he disagrees with the projected impacts from the well known science, models, and consensus. He thinks the impacts are overstated. He provides no evidence for this. His argument is strange, and journalists do not know how to parse his position. This is why Lindzen gets so much play - he has an obtuse argument sandwiched between big words.
He basically argues that since scientists cannot predict the future of climate with 100% accuracy, he will not predict the future ever, and therefore no one else should either. Sort of like saying we know snake venom is dangerous. But since we cannot predict what it will do to you with 100% certainty, we should not worry about it. It’s a very strange argument to make.
As far as I can tell, he has not explained or published his evidence for his argument. So, no one in the field of climate change takes him seriously. He’s great at PR though (thus his appearance on Head-to-Head). Also, journalists are (generally) very stupid when it comes to math and science. So, he takes advantage of this.
A new report says that much of the world’s plant and animal life could be decimated by the effects of climate change over the next century. Worldwide levels of carbon dioxide are the highest they’ve been in almost two million years.
Sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, Amazonia and Australia would lose the most species of plants and animals. And a major loss of plant species is projected in North Africa, Central Asia and South-eastern Europe.
The Tanzanian government has ordered thousands of Masai to abandon traditional grazing lands to make way for a conservation site.
But the Maasai are refusing to leave their ancestral land. They say the real reason they are being forced out is to give a Dubai-based hunting company exclusive access.
Wildlife Instead, the hunting company, says that it will bring clients in for a six-month season and the Maasai can graze their cattle out of season. However, researchers say that the livestock are a part of the area’s ecosystem.
Al Jazeera’s Peter Greste reports from Lolyondo in northern Tanzania.
30,000 Maasai being pushed off their land in part by an exclusive Dubai trophy hunting/tourism company. Government says it’s conserve the land, and the company has nothing to do with it.
Our sense of time spans two generations back in the past and two generations forward into the future. That’s it. Most people cannot name a single great-grandparent. Few parents can conceive of the possibility of their child someday becoming a grandparent. It’s our historical and future-looking myopia that makes it pretty much impossible to for us to even imagine the distant future.
‘‘Current Media was built based on a few key goals: To give voice to those who are not typically heard; to speak truth to power; to provide independent and diverse points of view; and to tell the stories that no one else is telling,’’ Gore and Hyatt said.
‘‘Al-Jazeera has the same goals and, like Current, believes that facts and truth lead to a better understanding of the world around us.’’
The acquisition could extend Al-Jazeera’s reach beyond a few large U.S. metropolitan areas, where some people can watch Al-Jazeera English.
Now, Al Jazeera reports that engineers are in the final assembly stages of building a gigantic sea-wall.
The Italian city of Venice has become almost as famous for its flood problems as for its gondolas in recent years. A combination of subsidence and rising sea levels have seen St Mark’s Square submerged on an alarmingly regular basis. But an answer could be on the horizon as a multi-billion-dollar flood defence system is nearing completion. Al Jazeera’s Paul Brennan reports from Venice.
Venice is located in a lagoon protected by a thin island peninsula. The peninsula has three openings that allow the ocean tides to come in and out. When the seas rose from a big storm, the sea would push more water into the lagoon than usual, flooding the city with no streets. The sea-wall is built at each of these three openings.
Thus, the sea-wall is expected to prevent flooding in Venice. It’s to be left open for much of the year, allowing the tides to operate normally. When the weather turns for the worst and the seas get too high the wall will close off the lagoon.
This is one way cities can adapt to sea-level rise and changing weather patterns. Cities can fund custom built engineering solutions tailored to their particular geographies, assets, and environmental/climate issues.
The problem with the Venice sea-wall is that engineers did not think the sea would rise 4x the predicted amount. The walls were built with 20cm rise in mind. Climate scientists now predict an 80cm rise in sea levels, making the wall (eventually) unusable. In other words, sea-level rise is occurring faster than expected, making this $7 billion engineering project a short-term fix. A fix that only delays inevitable doom for Venice…