The FBI now considers eco-terrorists a larger threat to US domestic security than right wing groups. This despite no one being killed by radical environmentalists who espouse violence. Compare this to the over 100 people killed by right wing militias and the radical wing of the anti-abortionist movement. Environmentalists, take note. As a result of this new designation, Internet activism will receive the scrutiny normally reserved for its physical counterparts. Any activity geared towards disruption of services, from virtual marches to denial of web services, could be construed as terrorist attacks. Use of encryption to protect the content of email will continue to be suspect.
Archive for August, 2005
Revisions to the US National Park System would allow cellphone towers and low-flying tour planes, permit snowmobiles to travel over any national park road, authorize activities such as grazing and mining, and tolerate higher levels of air pollution. Understandably, current and former park employees are furious and leaked the proposed amendments.
Instead of recognizing the needs of animals and vegetation and protecting the parks for future generations, the amendments would narrow the focus to the needs of people right now. I guess we really need to use our cell phones from anywhere inside a national park.
From a B&B I stayed at in County Clare. Which explains the lack of blogging as I’ve been on holiday to Ireland. But I’m baaaack. Now to spruce up the content.
lazy days at the end of summer
Dissenting opinions among the climate scientists working for the Bush administration’s 10-year climate report have driven apart colleagues, and propelled one scientist out the door. Quite simply put:
“A scientist who has long disagreed with the dominant view that global warming stems mainly from human activity has resigned from a panel that is completing a report for the Bush administration on temperature trends in the atmosphere.”
The report has at its core the question of disparity between tropospheric and surface-level temperatures (some explanation from the US Climate Change Science Program). Outburts such as these make a clear statement, but unfortunately, little directional change in governmental climate science can be seen through the media after such instances. A year ago, when a collaborative effort from the Union of Concerned Scientists – including many Nobel prize laureates – declared the Bush administration a science-phobic ostrich, that was it. So too with the recent “hockey stick” controversy.
When the report is published, it will fall prey to heavy scrutiny… but it’s anyone’s guess as to whether it will be up for revisions.
An aside: The Markets keep on truckin’… fleets once became economically viable by adding airdams to the tops of their truck cabs, back when oil prices were too high in the 70’s. Now, BioDiesel is becoming a close competitor for diesel. It’s happening in Oregon.
CNN has an article about people in Saudi Arabia using bluetooth enabled phones and laptops to evade the restrictions on conversing with the opposite sex. We’ve already mentioned the possibilities for similar technology to evade political oppression, this takes it to a more… personal level.
It still seems to me that technology will not be the answer in this case, even if I’d like to believe so, if this truly becomes a widespread means for Saudi’s to evade the religious police, I could imagine them either banning such personal wireless devices, coming up with a monitoring or control system, or even limiting some wireless technologies to one gender. It brings up some interesting questions about how interpersonal behavioural restrictions will evolve as technology does. If you don’t know the gender/religion/race of the person you’re talking to, how can you restrict it?
The Wildlife Conservation Society and Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) have just completed a comprehensive assessment of human impacts on wildlife across the globe. Part of their goal was to find the most untouched or pristine places in the world. The most pristine place in the U.S.? Alaska, although that may not be for long if developments like drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) take place.
A nice graphic in the NYTimes article shows the varied impacts.
As posted previously on the Famine Early Warning Systems, this system also relies more on the data quality than the data analysis. Unlike FEWS, this is an entirely remoted sensed project. The NYTimes report mentions land use but it’s actually land cover, a subtle yet important distinction (see below). And the resolution in these types of analyses is small. Smaller resolutions equal big pixels. The bigger the pixel the more difficult it is to see small activities.
To give you a sense of how difficult it is to work at this scale with the data at hand, it’s as if all your data has the resolution of baseball stadiums. You’re trying to infer hotdog and beer sales from a baseball stadium sized snapshot. To get a sense of land use-land cover. The covered stadium is the akin to the land cover; what you’re trying to determine is the activity taking place under the dome–the land use.