Embracing Complexity

THE DIRT

2. Living Breakwaters Beach perspective Living Breakwaters: social, economic, and ecological resiliency through risk reduction / SCAPE Landscape Architecture PLLC

“It’s going to unbearable outside in the southern half of the U.S. by the end of the century,” said Harriet Tregoning, director of the office of economic resilience, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), at a lecture on Rebuild by Design at the National Building Museum (NBM).

Explaining why we need new approaches to resilience, she said in just the first twelve years of this century, we’ve already seen the two costliest natural disasters in U.S. history (Hurricanes Katrina in 2005 and Sandy in 2012), along with more frequent and extreme events, such as wildfires, droughts, and flooding — which scientists say all result from climate change. Consider also the trend towards urbanization, particularly in coastal areas, and you have a precarious mix of higher exposure to risk for ever-increasing populations in some…

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Michigan Loses ‘Right To Farm’ This Week: A Farewell To Backyard Chickens and Beekeepers

Taking Back America

From The Inquisitr
By Dawn Papple | 2 May 2014

Michigan backyard chicken farmers lost their Right To Farm protection under the new GAAMP changes.

Michigan residents lost their “right to farm” this week thanks to a new ruling by the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development. Gail Philburn of the Michigan Sierra Club told Michigan Live, the new changes “effectively remove Right to Farm Act protection for many urban and suburban backyard farmers raising small numbers of animals.” Backyard and urban farming were previously protected by Michigan’s Right to Farm Act. The Commission ruled that the Right to Farm Act protections no longer apply to many homeowners who keep small numbers of livestock.

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The interplay of science and ethics: the case of eugenics

Scientia Salon

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by Massimo Pigliucci

It is a rare case where I find myself sympathetic to quotes from both Steven Pinker and a Pope. And yet, reading and thinking about eugenics can cause this sort of strange happening, and more.

Here is Pinker, from an interview with Steve Sailer [1] about The Blank Slate, criticizing what he called “the conventional wisdom among left-leaning academics” and their obsession with Nazi-inspired eugenics:

“The 20th century suffered ‘two’ ideologies that led to genocides. The other one, Marxism, had no use for race, didn’t believe in genes and denied that human nature was a meaningful concept. Clearly, it’s not an emphasis on genes or evolution that is dangerous. It’s the desire to remake humanity by coercive means (eugenics or social engineering) and the belief that humanity advances through a struggle in which superior groups (race or classes) triumph over inferior ones.”

Fair enough. And here is…

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Fewer aphids in organic crop fields / Greater biodiversity in organic crop fields

ClinicalNews.Org

Organic Vegetable Boxes Organic Vegetable Boxes (Photo credit: AndyRobertsPhotos)

The researchers found five times as many plant species and 20 times more types of pollinating insects in the 15 organic crop fields included in the study than they did in conventional fields.

Public release date: 13-Jul-2011

Farmers who spray insecticides against aphids as a preventative measure only achieve a short-term effect with this method. In the long term, their fields will end up with even more aphids than untreated fields. This has been reported by researchers at the Biocenter of the University of Würzburg in the scientific journal PLoS One.

What’s the status of the biodiversity in differently managed triticale fields? This is what the biologists at the Department of Animal Ecology & Tropical Biology wanted to find out. Triticale is a cross between wheat and rye. The cultivation of this crop is on the rise across the globe, because it delivers good…

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FBI to add 52 million photos to NGI database

After suing the FBI ( and winning!) the folks over at Electronic Frontier Foundation have learned that the government agency plans to have around 52 million photos in its NGI database by 2015. One of the more significant details is the inclusion of non-criminal photos in this datasweep; FBI also says it plans to have at least 4.3 million non-criminal photos by 2015.

Click the link for more:

FBI Plans to Have 52 Million Photos in its NGI Face Recognition Database by Next Year