Wilson recently calculated that the only way humanity could stave off a mass extinction crisis, as devastating as the one that killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, would be to set aside half the planet as permanently protected areas for the ten million other species. “Half Earth,” in other words, as I began calling it—half for us, half for them. [more inside]
"A rough calculation of current rates of soil degradation suggests we have about 60 years of topsoil left." Via.
Researchers have developed a backpack that generates building layout map in realtime. (yt) The prototype system automatically maps the wearer’s environment, recognizing movement between floors. It was designed at MIT to be used by emergency responders. Read more.
40 Things You Need to Know About the Next 40 Years For it's 40th anniversary issue, Smithsonian magazine asks experts in various fields for insights into our future and compiles a list of 40 predictions about the future of science, nature, the arts and technology. The feature essay is by President Obama, in which he explains why he's optimistic about America's future. (VIA) [more inside]
The End of Ingenuity (NYT OpEd by Thomas Homer-Dixon)"..cheap energy is tightening, and humankind’s enormous output of greenhouse gases is disrupting the earth’s climate. Together, these two constraints could eventually hobble global economic growth and cap the size of the global economy." See also The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity and the Renewal of Civilization. (2006).
Two-thirds of world's resources 'used up' according to a preliminary report(PDF) from the royal society due out later today from the millennium ecosystem assessment project started by Kofi Annan of the united nations.