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World population to keep growing this century, hit 11 billion by 2100

Using modern statistical tools, a new study led by the University of Washington and the United Nations finds that world population is likely to keep growing throughout the 21st century. The number of people on Earth is likely to reach 11 billion by 2100, the study concludes, about 2 billion higher than some previous estimates.

The paper published online Sept. 18 in the journal Science includes the most up-to-date estimates for future world population, as well as a new method for creating such estimates.

Shanghai in 1987 and 2013. Via

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

Nelson Mandela

(Rest in peace)

(via scinerds)

Old people are repositories of information, Caspari says. They know about the natural world, how to handle rare disasters, how to perform complicated skills, who is related to whom, where the food and caves and enemies are. They maintain and build intricate social networks. A lot of skills that allowed humans to take over the world take a lot of time and training to master, and they wouldn’t have been perfected or passed along without old people. “They can be great teachers,” Caspari says, “and they allow for more complex societies.” Old people made humans human.

What’s so special about age 30? That’s when you’re old enough to be a grandparent. Studies of modern hunter-gatherers and historical records suggest that when older people help take care of their grandchildren, the grandchildren are more likely to survive. The evolutionary advantages of living long enough to help raise our children’s children may be what made it biologically plausible for us to live to once unthinkably old ages today.
Beautiful essay on the Invention of Old People.

Record American Alligator hunted for ____, weighed 723.5 pounds and was 13-feet and 5.5 inches. Via NBC, Mississippi alligator hunting season

Asker evforija Asks:
I'll ask the same question I see many NYT commentors did: where the heck is China going to grow food!? Their country is already so polluted you can't breathe and the rivers are filled with dead pigs... and farmland is going to what? What will they eat? Are they counting on their emerging middle-and-upper-classes to want to import the best of everything from around the world, which I guess is already popular in Hong Kong and other affluent areas?
climateadaptation climateadaptation Said:

Re: China to force-move 250 million people to cities.

Hi teavelo,

No worries. The Chinese are very smart, and planned for that years ago… The only thing westerners can do is be armchair-appalled.



But why did I post this?

There’s an interesting section in this article, one that environmentalists can readily relate to, and that’s the “jobs defense.”

The Jobs Defense is a common response by businesses that fear new regulation. For those that know a bit of environmental and economic history, this defense been used effectively for centuries to tamp down protest, influence politicians, and garner public support.

The Jobs Defense was used to defend from regulating slavery, child labor, the right to vote, organize unions, pass environmental regulations, and myriad other policies that benefit you today.

In this case, a public meeting was called to democratically discuss how to prevent slaughtering children (dramatic, but that’s the language we’re using up here in New England regarding the Newtown, Ct mass shooting). True, the headline is about some brainless bullies who heckled a dad who lost his 6 year old boy.

But to me, the interesting aspect of this is that the journalist sort of dances around the examining the Jobs Defense.

A gun manufacturer is quoted in the article that his company, “(Pumps) tens of millions of dollars each year into the Connecticut economy.” The journalist does mention that gun manufacturers offered no solutions at the meeting. But the Jobs Defense went unchallenged.

There was no discussion or questioning that his product causes deaths.* There’s no discussion of why “tens of millions of dollars” is a reasonable response to the death of Americans. Isn’t that curious? That we all accept that the Jobs Defense is a so legitimate that it gets a free pass?

Barack Obama uses the Jobs Defense, too. In fact, it’s a primary driver of getting the Keystone XL Pipeline approved - jobs. Indeed, there are thousands of articles discussing jobs in relation to building the oil pipeline, have a look.

None of them, that I found, examined the benefits of environmental protection over the few jobs that the line will create. It’s true that some have examined the claim that the line will create a certain number of jobs. No one can say clearly if the line will create 500 jobs or 20,000.

But this still doesn’t examine the facile and rather weak argument that jobs should be a primary motivation versus incredibly beneficial, American alternatives. From my point of view, the Jobs Defense must be examined. Should jobs be held in reverence over human health? If so, why?

*For those who wish to throw the “What about knives!” trope at me, I’d point out that knives are highly regulated, perhaps more so than guns.
You can’t pass into many buildings with a knife, bring one on a plane, travel with one in a vehicle in certain states, nor legally carry a concealed knife in many communities. The size of certain knives are regulated. And types of knives are regulated, such as butterfly and other spring loaded knives.
You cannot cross a border with a knife, per international and domestic law. And police officers confiscate knives as a matter of routine (some law enforcement agencies confiscate so many knives that they auction them to generate money). And, of course, if you wield a knife, citizens and cops are authorized and protected by countless laws to shoot you.
Note, further, that environmental regulations protect you from these rather benign utensils. Manufacturers are prevented from using certain chemicals and metals that poison your body, like lead and mercury.
In any case, this trope is a whiny and weak diversion, a fallacious straw man that keeps the gun advocate from taking personal responsibility for contributing to actual harms and deaths to their fellow Americans.
That’s what regulation looks like. Thousands of knife laws were passed to protect people from harm. And gun laws aim to do the same. There’s no legitimate reason to limit gun laws, especially not the Jobs Defense.
When the mainstream media says ‘diversity,’ who’s included?

A student at Clemson experiments with turtles crossing the road. If you’re American, the experiment went just as expected…

College student’s turtle project takes dark twist

Clemson University student Nathan Weaver set out to determine how to help turtles cross the road. He ended up getting a glimpse into the dark souls of some humans.

Weaver put a realistic rubber turtle in the middle of a lane on a busy road near campus. Then he got out of the way and watched over the next hour as seven drivers swerved and deliberately ran over the animal. Several more apparently tried to hit it but missed.

"I’ve heard of people and from friends who knew people that ran over turtles. But to see it out here like this was a bit shocking," said Weaver, a 22-year-old senior in Clemson’s School of Agricultural, Forest and Environmental Sciences.

To seasoned researchers, the practice wasn’t surprising.

The number of box turtles is in slow decline, and one big reason is that many wind up as roadkill while crossing the asphalt, a slow-and-steady trip that can take several minutes.

Sometimes humans feel a need to prove they are the dominant species on this planet by taking a two-ton metal vehicle and squishing a defenseless creature under the tires, said Hal Herzog, a Western Carolina University psychology professor.

"They aren’t thinking, really. It is not something people think about. It just seems fun at the time," Herzog said. "It is the dark side of human nature."

Via AP

Lovely architecture article in this morning’s NY Times’ Sunday Review. It covers “good design” - designs that help people or have a person’s comfort at its core.

The above is a hospital in Rwanda. It caters people recovering from war and has quite a beautiful campus with comforting views.

This new breed of public-interest designers proceeds from a belief that everybody deserves good design, whether in a prescription bottle label that people can more easily read and understand, a beautiful pocket park to help a city breathe or a less stressful intake experience at the emergency room. Dignity may be to the burgeoning field of public-interest design as justice is to the more established public-interest law.

Careful listening is an integral part of this human-centered approach to design. — a nonprofit spinoff of the premier design and innovation firm IDEO — has made radical listening its hallmark; associates observe and grill would-be clients and sites with so much rigor that they could easily be mistaken for anthropologists. An team assigned to redesign sanitation in Ghana, for example, spent weeks slogging from home to home asking families intimate questions about their bathroom habits before they began designing a system that would safeguard against cholera and other waterborne diseases.

The relatively young field of public-interest design already faces a crisis: interest in human-centered design far outpaces the formal opportunities. Over 500 people applied for the four spots in’s fellowship program this year. The Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellowship is one of the few opportunities for aspiring architects to work on affordable housing and other development projects in poor communities; the program, which lasts three years, has 12 spots. The San Francisco-based Code for America trains and then dispatches two dozen self-proclaimed “tech geeks” to cities where they design new ways for city leadership and citizens to be in conversation, improving their communities.

Read the rest and view the slide show “Dignifying Design.”

Incredibly moving video. This occurs every year on August 1. Read the text.


Warsaw Uprising Museum unveils tribute video, “There is a city”

This is not Improv Everywhere. This is not a flash mob. This is a real thing that happens every single year in Warsaw, Poland.

Today marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, a pinnacle event in 1944 wherein the Polish resistance Home Army liberated its country from Nazi reign. The coup lasted 63 days, killing nearly 200,000 civilians and 9,000 Nazi soldiers.

But the Germans retreated Oct. 2, leaving Warsaw to Polish rule for the first time in five years.

Every Aug. 1 since, the people of Warsaw have taken a collective minute out of their day to pay homage to the fallen heroes that fought for freedom. For one minute, everybody in Warsaw stops in their path and raises a flag, or looks at a countryman, or simply reflects.

Last year’s 60 seconds were captured by the Warsaw Uprising Museum and converted into a gripping video that does as much to showcase Warsaw’s natural beauty as it does to spotlight the pride and respect that a nation can have for its history.

(via fyeaheasterneurope)

Everything we mean by a free market depends on a functioning, sympathetic state—a state rooted not in selfish individualism but in a social sympathy so broadly articulated and institutionalized that every man is confident that he can make an honest deal with his fellow man.
Adam Gopnik on Barack, Mitt, and Adam Smith: (via newyorker)

(via newyorker)

Witness more species loss.


African Parks Are Losing Vultures

Some species of vultures have become increasingly threatened in recent years due to habitat loss and toxicity of the animals they depend upon for food. Scientists recently discovered that vultures in East Africa are no exception. New tallies of the scavengers show that even populations inside protected areas are under intense pressure for survival.

(via scientiflix)

A beautiful short film “based on an archival sound recording taken from the 1945 Linguaphone series ‘English Pronunciation - A practical handbook for the foreign learner’”

Via The Atlantic

Coal and natural gas have much lower capital costs, and they tend to kill only a few at a time, which is highly preferred by politicians.