09 January 2019

Disaffection with Democracy ~ Warning Signs...

Roberto Stefan Foa and Yascha Mounk in The Signs of Deconsolidation in the Journal of Democracy share evidence of a global pattern of disaffection with democratic systems...
"Americans’ dissatisfaction with the democratic system is part of a much larger global pattern. It is not just that the proportion of Americans who state that it is “essential” to live in a democracy, which stands at 72 percent among those born before World War II, has fallen to 30 percent among millennials. It is also that [...] a similar cohort pattern is found across all longstanding democracies, including Great Britain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, and New Zealand. In virtually all cases, the generation gap is striking, with the proportion of younger citizens who believe it is essential to live in a democracy falling to a minority."
"What is more, this disaffection with the democratic form of government is accompanied by a wider skepticism toward liberal institutions. Citizens are growing more disaffected with established political parties, representative institutions, and minority rights. Tellingly, they are also increasingly open to authoritarian interpretations of democracy. The share of citizens who approve of “having a strong leader who does not have to bother with parliament or elections,” for example, has gone up markedly in most of the countries where the World Values Survey asked the question -- including such varied places as Germany, the United States, Spain, Turkey, and Russia"

08 January 2019

LA Timelapse Map ~ Infra, Nets, Pop, Econ, etc!

The Getty Research Institute shares timelapse maps of Los Angeles Instrastructure, Networks, Settlements, Population, Economy, and Conflicts! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmvwp5UpB1U

Human Life Indicator (HLI) ~ Alt-Index to HDI...

WEForum shares the Human Life Indicator (HLI) proposed by Sergei Scherbov, Simone Ghislandi, and Warren Sanderson as an alternative measure of development solving several problems of the Human Development Index (HDI)...
"The HDI is like a country’s report card. In a single number, it tells policymakers and citizens how well a country is doing. The HDI has been wildly successful in changing the way people think about the development process. However, it still suffers from real flaws. First, it implicitly assumes trade-offs between its components. The HDI also struggles with the accuracy and meaningfulness of the underlying data. Finally, data on different domains may be highly correlated. The HLI looks at life expectancy at birth, but also takes the inequality in longevity into account. If two countries had the same life expectancy, the country with the higher rate of infant and child deaths would have a lower HLI."
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/11/which-country-is-best-to-live-in-our-calculations-say-it-s-not-norway https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/11/which-country-is-best-to-live-in-our-calculations-say-it-s-not-norway

Manhattan's Densities ~ Rise & Fall 1800-2010

Nice timelapse animation of Manhattan's Densities changing over two centuries based on data collected by Shlomo Angel and Patrick Lamson-Hall of the NYU Stern Urbanization Project! https://marroninstitute.nyu.edu/uploads/content/Manhattan_Densities_High_Res,_1_January_2015.pdf

06 January 2019

Sugi Circles ~ Japanese Tree Spacing Test

Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in 1973 engaged in...
“experimental forestry” and one of the experiments was to try and measure the effect of tree spacing on growth. The experiment was carried out by planting sugi (Japanese cedar) trees in 10 degree radial increments forming 10 concentric circles of varying diameters."

01 January 2019

Artistic + Technicalities ~ Gropius on Bauhaus...

Hear about the Bauhaus from Walter Gropius himself... Plus here's some context with this Bauhaus docu...

31 December 2018

Mega Tsunami Happen ~ Simulation of Past &...

Given the recent Indonesian disaster with Krakatoa Junior collapsing with consequent tsunami, it's worth looking at other examples of the same, including this simulation of Fogo in Cabo Verde several tens of thousands of years ago... And, of course, Krakatoa Senior some ~150 years ago was a whopper... But let's not stop there, here's the most likely thing (other than another Hurricane Sandy) to clobber the US Eastern Seaboard, La Palma in the Canarys going...

Cultural Map ~ World Values Survey Infographic

The World Values Survey measures traditional values versus secular-rational values plotted against survival values versus self-expression values:
  • Traditional v. Secular values ~ On the importance of religion, parental ties, authority, and traditional family values; 
  • Survival v. Self-expression values ~ On the importance of economic and physical security, ethnocentric outlook and low levels of trust and tolerance. 
Here's 2008 visualization from MapPorn... https://old.reddit.com/r/MapPorn/comments/ab83rt/world_values_survey_2008_cultural_map_of_the_world/

29 December 2018

ISU Launch Poster ~ Pat Rawlings Space Art!

Wow, I just found Pat Rawlings gallery pages which includes his poster art for the first summer of the International Space University at MIT just over 30 years ago! I was lucky enough to be an undergrad volunteer. One of my favorite posters, btw, an homage to another important Institute;-) http://www.patrawlings.com/gallery.cfm

One WTC Timelapse ~ EarthCam's 11yr Build-vid

After all these years I finally watched the One World Trade Center build video, a timelapse by EarthCam...

26 December 2018

Cosmic Wonderland ~ NASA's Composite Beauty!

NASA aesthetically photo-composited data from Chandra, ROSAT, Spitzer, and SuperCosmos observatories to make this Cosmic Wonderland image! https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/chandra/cosmic-winter-wonderland.html

25 December 2018

World Mapping ~ Qualities of Life & Governance...

The Economist's Democracy Index scores 167 countries...
"On a scale of 0 to 10 based on 60 indicators across five broad categories -- electoral process and pluralism, functioning of government, political participation, democratic political culture and civil liberties -- concludes that less than 5% of the world’s population currently lives in a “full democracy”

Small Farmer Tools ~ Simple Efficient Solutions

This past few weeks I've discovered both Richard Perkins, Making Small Farms Work, and Curtis Stone, the Urban Farmer. I've been trying to understand the combined notions of (1) smallholder farming, (2) using permaculture & "organic" approaches, all while (3) having a profit-making orientation and these two are really good about pinning things down with numbers, planning their steps and documenting their actions, and analyzing and tuning for moneymaking. Anyways, today I just want to spotlight a couple of simple efficient solutions they're both champions of. First, the Japanese paperpot method of seedling-starting and transplanting into beds (which Stone sells via his Paperpot venture)... Second, the quick-cut and cut-again greens harvester... FYI, Perkins is also getting into the business of selling the solutions with this Farmers Tools venture. Note that neither Stone nor Perkins are the direct inventors of these tools, but they've each been really prolific in using them profitably and especially in demonstrating how they can be amazingly effective! Check out their respective YouTube channels, Ridgedale Permaculture and Urban Farmer.

22 December 2018

Golden Gate ~ Building This Epic Infrastructure!

Arguably the most amazing piece of civil engineering infrastructure -- or certainly a Top 10 together with Roman aqueducts, the Suez & Panama Canals, various Chunnels, transcontinental railroads, the Hoover Dam, and more -- is surely building the Golden Gate Bridge as documented here... And look at those dimensions! Huge! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Gate_Bridge

Longterm Lens ~ Maddison's Economic Stats...

Today I want to salute Angus Maddison who was a pioneer in macro economic history whose team investigated, gathered evidence for, and ultimately guesstimated national accounts over the longterm, including GDP and GDP/Capita... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angus_Maddisonhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angus_Maddison