The Global Middle Class Is Bigger Than We Thought A new way of measuring prosperity has enormous implications for geopolitics and economics.[...] the number of passenger cars in circulation serves as the most reliable gauge we have about the size of a country's middle class.
The myth of English as a global language One would have to say that English, far from being a pure maiden, looks like a woman who has appeared out of some distant fen, had more partners than Moll Flanders, learned a lot in the process, and is now running a house of negotiable affection near an international airport
The world's Internet population has doubled in the last 5 years, reaching 2.27 billion. A recently published ebook Geographies of the World's Knowledge shows that despite its growing availability knowledge is not necessarily "more accessible." "Many commentators speculated that [the Internet] would allow people outside of industrialised nations to gain access to all networked and codified knowledge, thus mitigating the traditionally concentrated nature of information production and consumption." "These early expectations remain largely unrealised." It was found that not only academic knowledge but also user generated content predominantly originates in "rich countries, especially the United States."
"It fits with what we would expect as a result of the rapid change in Arctic habitat." The stuff of science fiction is becoming increasingly the stuff of science fact. And now, it seems, you can crack open a white Coke (if you can stomach the campaign) and watch it all from the comfort of your couch. [more inside]
How America Is Making the Whole World Fat and Unhealthy It is hardly news that the United States faces epidemic health problems linked to poor diets. Nearly two out of every five Americans are obese. But according to a press release from the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier de Schutter, "The West is now exporting diabetes and heart disease to developing countries, along with the processed foods that line the shelves of global supermarkets. By 2030, more than 5 million people will die each year before the age of 60 from non-communicable diseases linked to diets." [...] De Schutter, whose work usually focuses on ending hunger, just published a new report saying, "The right to food cannot be reduced to a right not to starve. It is an inclusive right to an adequate diet providing all the nutritional elements an individual requires to live a healthy and active life, and the means to access them."
Reported in Discover Magazine online, The Heartland Institute — a self-described "think tank" that actually serves in part as a way for climate change denialism to get funded — has a potentially embarrassing situation on their hands. Someone going by the handle "Heartland Insider" has anonymously released quite a few of what are claimed to be internal documents from Heartland, revealing the Institute’s strategies, funds, and much more. [more inside]
Social network popularity around the world in 2011 as determined by Google search statistics. [more inside]
In the early 1960s, East German Karl Peglau came up with the idea to put hats on pedestrian crossing signal figures. To commemorate the 50th anniversary, Der Spiegel has posted pictures of two dozen crossing signals from around the world.
The Traveling Hungryboy: A Californian now based overseas in Singapore but regularly on the road all over the world. I am in neither the F&B nor travel industries (and I'm horrible at cooking - so don't expect recipes in my blog), but I love food and will literally go the distance in search of it. (I plan vacation itineraries around food rather than sightseeing spots.) Although I can appreciate fine dining from time to time, I find that those places are usually a bit too snobby and overrated. More often than not, I'll prefer a hole in the wall or a street vendor instead - as long as the food is tasty and authentic. I hope you enjoy reading about some of my findings, and please feel free to browse the Archives too - there's lots of stuff in there.
GE has posted a searchable bird's-eye view of the 6,000 most popular airports in the world.
Cloning trees to stop global warming! Archangel Ancient Tree Archive is a non profit organization that creates clones of ancient trees and uses them for the purpose of functional forestation. They are doing their part to stop deforestation and fight global warming by planting these cloned trees in different area across the planet. They are also preserve some of the oldest living things on the planet for future generations as well!
Mariella Frostrup on International Women's Day, feminism and the emancipation of women in the developing world.
The Economist Intelligence Unit recently presented a 6 minute animated infographic summary of their global Women’s Economic Opportunity Index as designed by data visualisation agency JESS3. [more inside]
The Danger of Cosmic Genius. Why is Freeman Dyson now considered "perhaps our most prominent global-warming skeptic?" Previously
Where do you think Apple’s iPhone is the most popular? Where do Nokia’s Symbian phones dominate? How is it going for Android in different parts of the world? What about Blackberry? We’re going to answer all of those questions and more in this article, which will closely examine mobile OS usage across the world.
The American Century, proclaimed so triumphantly at the start of World War II, will be tattered and fading by 2025, its eighth decade, and could be history by 2030.
The once shining beacon of capitalism in the Persian Gulf has lost a lot of its luster since the global financial crisis in 2008. But is it too soon to declare Dubai dead? [more inside]
Out My Window (trailer) is the new web documentary from the Highrise project, one of the world's first interactive 360° documentaries. Delivered entirely on the web, it explores the state of our urban planet told by people who look out on the world from highrise windows. With more than 90 minutes of material, Out My Window features 49 stories from 13 cities, told in 13 languages.
How to Buy a Round-the-World Plane Ticket (That Kicks Ass). Chris Guillebeau: "....Each airline alliance has its own rules for how the ticket works. The one from Star Alliance is mileage based, meaning you’ll have a limit of 26,000, 29,000, 34,000 or 39,000 miles on your ticket. The trick here is to optimize your route to...below one of the tiers, (A friend of mine got his itinerary to 33,998 miles, which I thought was pretty good.)". This, and reserving, paying for and planning the mother of all plane trips (along with Things to Watch out for).
One week. Two development summits. Hundreds of heads of state, development luminaries, CEOs, and social entrepreneurs. Celebrity star power (pdf). No poor people. Aid Watch spent three days trying to make sense of the greatest show on earth to help the world’s lowest.
Bruce Nussbaum kicked off a minor hubbub in designa circles this week with his provocative article "Is Humanitarian Design the new Imperialism?" which led to this response by Frogdesign's Robert Fabricant "In Defense of Design Imperialism" and WorldChanging's Alex Steffen's "The Problem with Design: Imperialism or thinking too small?" and finally a whole slew of blog posts, opinions and commentary artfully collated here by the editors of Design Observer. But the question still remains unanswered...
Urban knitting, guerilla knitting, textile street art, yarn bombing. Whatever you choose to call it, this artform takes everyday objects of the city — such as trees, lampposts, street signs, bike racks — and wraps them up in colorful knit cozies. You'll find these wonderful oddities all over the world, from Manhattan to Sydney to Edinburgh to Philadelphia to Oakland to Chicago to Bisbane and back to Manhattan again. People have written books about it. It has inspired an Irish cellphone commercial. Metafilter's own ErikaB made a tree sweater that was featured on Metafilter and on the front cover of Seattle's The Stranger. Magda Sayeg's blog Knitta Please is a showcase for some of her delightful projects, including a Smart car, coffee shop sign, and crutches. (Also, previously.) [more inside]
Good 50x70 is an annual poster contest run by a worldwide partnership. Each year they ask seven charities to prepare briefs on major global issues, and then invite anyone to submit original posters that address the issue. The call for 2010 posters is now on; explore the archives from previous years to see posters on health care access, the War on Terror, women's rights, child mortality, water scarcity, global warming, and more.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009 is the 21st annual World AIDS Day An estimated 33.4 million people worldwide worldwide are living with HIV/AIDS. Take a moment today to think about those you've lost, those who are still living with the disease, and how you can prevent yourself or others from becoming infected. [more inside]
The Apex Book of World SF gathers stories from around the globe, giving Science Fiction a global aspect not always seen. Charles Tan interviews the writers who contributed.
Back in 2004, the Chicago Tribune published an investigative series about the state of Islam after 9/11. [more inside]
What global warming looks like - Some amazing time lapse sequences of glacier retreat and a spectacular ice-shelf collapse: [more inside]
For hundreds of years, mariners have dreamed of an Arctic shortcut that would allow them to speed trade between Asia and the West. Two German ships are poised to complete that transit for the first time, aided by the retreat of Arctic ice that scientists have linked to global warming. Arctic Shortcut Beckons Shippers as Ice Thaws.
potholer54 is a youtuber who in his own words; I've been a journalist for 20 years, 14 years as a science correspondent. My degree is in geology, but while working for a science magazine and several science programs I had to tackle a number of different fields, from quantum physics to microbiology. He has a series called Climate Change that you might find interesting. [more inside]
The End of Plenty: Our hot and hungry world could face a perpetual food crisis. From National Geographic Magazine. [more inside]
From A-lister to Aid worker: Does celebrity diplomacy really work? Rock stars," asked Homer Simpson, with his customary sagacity, "is there anything they don't know?" Only these days, of course, it's not just rockers but movie stars and businessmen – and indeed anyone with an above-average public profile – who, for one reason or another, are intent on telling the rest of us how the world should be changed for the better. Or at least, that's how it seems. So much so that a conference of eminent professors of international relations assembled recently in The Hague to explore the modern phenomenon of what they call "celebrity diplomacy", amid fears that it has reached the point where superstar lobbyists are damaging the traditional workings of international diplomacy and global politics.
History Repeats Itself in Different Hues -- a readable Q&A data dump comparing the economics and policy responses of 1990s Japan and current events
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of the award-winning book The Black Swan, (previously), was interviewed recently by Charlie Rose: A conversation about economics with Nassim Taleb (as well as Time Magazine.) Taleb is more pessimistic than Nouriel Roubini, (previously, previously) who thinks that the total sum for this current global meltdown may be somewhere between 10-20 Trillion US dollars.
The AirTraffic Team at zhaw has posted a video depicting global flight activity over a single day to their site: windows media link / quicktime link. that's all.
In a recent Roundtable on Creative Capitalism hosted by TIME, CK Prahalad, author of "The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid" brings to our attention the insight that "the essence of poverty is the assymetry of information" and that this asymmetry was now changing due to the availability and affordability of mobile phones in developing nations. Jeffery Sachs supports him by pointing out that the digital divide was being closed by market forces not civic efforts. Global leader Nokia has already leapt into the breach by opening a Research Center in Nairobi, Kenya in order to develop concepts and products that are of value and relevance for those at the Base of the Pyarmid. The ubiquitious little cellphone has now been spotlighted as a key tool for poverty alleviation, although the debate continues. [previously]
Canadian expatriate (and Metafilter member) stavrosthewonderchicken has a detailed and depressing look at the impact of the mountain pine beetle in Northern British Columbia, where a perfect storm of "forest fire suppression, clearcutting (and subsequent replanting), [and] global warming" has led to the destruction of over 130,000 square kilometers of forest.
The Scholar Ship, an international floating university stewarded by top universities in Morocco, the United Kingdom, China, Australia, Mexico, USA, and Ghana, have temporarily suspended all voyages due to lack of funds - mainly caused by the withdrawal of main sponsor and initiator Royal Caribbean International. The program ran two voyages in 2007 and 2008 before shutdown. Alumni and prospective students on Facebook and Ning are busily sourcing options to revive the organization, while Semester at Sea is offering spaces to students who were accepted for the now-cancelled voyages. [more inside]
"We badly underestimated the degree of damages and the risks of climate change," said Lord Stern in a speech in London yesterday. "All of the links in the chain are on average worse than we thought (pdf) a couple of years ago." [more inside]
Global Warming Video, From Still Images Twenty days. Twenty thousand still images. A single message. Toronto Star photographer Lucas Oleniuk captures the issue of global warming in a video created entirely by using still images.
New Jersey is drowning, or rather it would if the the future as predicted by David Spratty & Philip Sutton in climate code red comes true. Philip Sutton said in an interview that "within five years the Arctic ice in the summertime will be all gone.". With all the ice melting, the waterlevels rise - will your house be under water?