Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Health Benefits of Trees

Air Pollution Removal by Trees

It is becoming increasingly clear that trees help people live longer, healthier, happier lives—to the tune of $6.8 billion in averted health costs annually in the U.S., according to research published this week. And we're only beginning to understand the nature and magnitude of their tree-benevolence.

Article >

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Victory Of Design Over Data

Apple's Partnership With IBM Is About The Victory Of Design Over Data

"...it points to a critical juncture in the history of computing. 
Design has become more important than data."

Article >

IBM clearly has design in its DNA, but it is Apple that has mastered the art of making solutions “transparent” to users.

Developers and designers play an increasingly important role in enterprise computing because the design of specific applications is what makes computation accessible to users. Big data is a big nothing if you don’t know what to do with it.

This is the role of design, and this is why IBM has hitched its wagon to Apple. Apple does not own good design, of course, but it has incorporated the design sensibility deeper into its DNA for longer than any other company in the digital universe. As such, it is in a position to now use design to help unlock the value in the big data that companies like IBM have been working to accumulate. If design wins, data wins too."

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What if state boundaries were based on watersheds?

This is an interesting perspective! Be sure to read the article as it details John Wesley Powell’s brilliant 1879 proposal to create new Western States based on watersheds, rather than arbitrary political boundaries.

Article >

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Geostrategy (What is the Heartland?)

I am currently reading Robert D. Kaplan's book, "The Revenge of Geography".  Although obtusely written (this review accurately sums it up!), it is intriguing and a good introduction to the fascinating world of geostrategy. His chapter on Russia is brilliant.

Maps based of the work of early geostrategists Mackinder, Spykman and others visually portray the geopolitical state of the world.

Mackinder's Heartland/Rimland Concept

Mackinder's famous dictum:
  • Who controls eastern Europe rules the Heartland;
  • Who controls the Heartland rules the World Island; and
  • Who rules the World Island rules the World,

Spykman's Rimland is the Zone of Conflict

Spykman differs from Mackinder. Although Mackinder sees Eurasian wars as historically pitting the heartland against the sea powers for control of the rimland, establishing a land power-sea power opposition, Spykman states that the Eurasian struggle was not the sea powers containing the heartland, but the prevention of any power from ruling the rimland. (Wikepedia) 
  • Who controls the rimland rules Eurasia;
  • Who rules Eurasia controls the destinies of the world.

Article >

An interesting more current map interpretation: