Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Flock of scarlet ibis

One of my daughters took this picture of a flock of scarlet ibis at MonRepos, ECD.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Global campaign on anniversary of arrest of Iranian Baha'i leaders

Earlier this month a campaign (Enough! Release the Baha’i Seven) was launched by the Baha'i community to bring attention to the continued unjust detention of Iranian Baha'i leaders. This met wide-spread support. More details here.
In Iran some clerics also called for an end to the persecution of the Baha'is, the largest minority religion in the country.

Following this, much controversy followed from a simple meeting between friends, one of the Baha'is concerned who was allowed a brief home visit and the other a former cellmate, the daughter of the Prime Minister of Iran.

Many significant articles appeared in major news sites. From the BBC:
"A political storm has erupted in Iran after the daughter of former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani visited a leader of the persecuted Bahai religious minority while she was on leave from prison."
Let us pray that this senseless persecution will soon come to an end. Iran needs the contributions of all its citizens.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Guyana signs Paris Agreement on climate change

Guyana was one of many nations signing the agreement. The statement by President Granger at the event said in part:

"The Cooperative Republic of Guyana, in the short-term, up to 2020, will:
• improve timber monitoring and maintain a high level of timber legality;
• increase value-added activities in the forestry sector so as to augment carbon storage in long-use wood products;
• intensify the sustainable management of our indigenous communities which own and manage 14% of our national territory;
• introduce a national Emissions Reduction Programme (ERP) to add two million hectares under conservation, encourage more efficient mining and logging activities and implement Reduced Impact Logging (RIL).
• invest in solar power, wind power and hydropower to transition more rapidly to renewable sources of energy and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels."

Looks good so far although somewhat vague. Ratification by Guyana is still required.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

MOOCs update

I have been doing MOOCs regularly with Coursera, Futurelearn and Edx and mention a few below that I did recently.

But, please note, the platforms for these three leaders have important differences so if you have experience with one then don't assume the others are the same. Also then content differs with Edx have more academic courses and Futurelearn more for the casual learner. Coursera has some of both.

Edx
Modelling climate change
Currently doing a course called Religous Literacy

Futurelearn
Strategies for successful Aging
Monitoring climate from space
Exlporing our oceans

Coursera
Critical Thinking in Global Challenges
The Science of the Solar System
Planet Earth...and You!
Energy and the Earth

Sunday, January 24, 2016

World Bank report on the internet and development

According to a New York Times article, The World Bank recently released a report (World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends) which had both positive and negative findings regarding the impact of the internet.
"Those who are already well-off and well-educated have been able to take advantage of the Internet economy, the report concluded pointedly, and despite the expansion of Internet access, 60 percent of humanity remains offline."
"...the vast changes wrought by technology have not expanded economic opportunities or improved access to basic public services in ways that many had expected. Rather, the report warned darkly, Internet innovations stand to widen inequalities and even hasten the hollowing out of middle-class employment."
"...it also takes pains to say that expanding access will not be enough for citizens to take advantage of the benefits. It also recommends enabling companies to compete, strengthening the skills of workers so they can obtain the new jobs and making government institutions accountable."