Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sustainability news from midwestern Research Universities for the week ending June 4, 2011

As I wrote last week (links updated, but text intact):

Time for sustainability news from outside of Michigan. I may concentrate on Michigan for this blog, but I also cover the research universities in the neighboring states of Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio, along with a smattering of sustainability news from commercial sources for Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday on Daily Kos, so I may as well cover them here.
I'll split this into two parts for a grand total of three, with the stories from commercial sources in the next part, which I'll post presently.

ETA: Part Three is up.

Sustainability News for the week ending June 4, 2011: National commercial sources

Also, as I posted earlier today:
Part two, which I already have in the can, will be posted tonight.
I decided not to wait. Enjoy the linkspam!

General Sustainability

University of Wisconsin: Patz to lead campuswide global-health effort
June 2, 2011
How did pesticide spraying for malaria in Borneo lead to a Typhus fever epidemic? Why did drilling wells for cleaner water lead to widespread arsenic-related skin cancer in Bangladesh?

In spite of successes like dramatic drops in child mortality and the eradication of smallpox, the global health landscape is rife with complex problems that require solutions that take into account a full spectrum of inter-linkages.

"Too many of our global health interventions are narrowly focused, and as we try to solve one problem, we inadvertently can create two or three more," says Jonathan Patz, the new director of a campuswide global health effort at the University of Wisconsin-Madison created by the merger of the university's Center for Global Health and the Global Health Initiative.

The best way forward is through engagement among a diversity of perspectives, including consideration of the political, economic, cultural, socio-demographic, environmental and ethical factors at play, according to Patz.
University of Wisconsin: Unique cooperative class gets national view of popular conservation technique
May 31, 2011
Using a national approach to studying a complex question of environmental policy, Adena Rissman, a professor of forest and wildlife ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, guided a graduate seminar that examined the use of conservation easements in Wisconsin.

Under an easement, landowners can sell or donate certain rights — frequently the right to build — to obtain enduring protection for their land. But it's difficult to find out how well easements work, says Rissman. Each easement is a contract that may have different terms, and the nonprofits and agencies that own easements may lack the time or expertise to monitor the results.

And thus Rissman — who has studied private land conservation for almost a decade — joined colleagues at institutions in California, Colorado, Indiana, New York and South Carolina to build seminar examining the situation in each state.
University of Wisconsin: Human impacts of rising oceans will extend well beyond coasts
May 31, 2011
Identifying the human impact of rising sea levels is far more complex than just looking at coastal cities on a map.

Rather, estimates that are based on current, static population data can greatly misrepresent the true extent — and the pronounced variability — of the human toll of climate change, say University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers.

"Not all places and not all people in those places will be impacted equally," says Katherine Curtis, an assistant professor of community and environmental sociology at UW-Madison.

In a new online report, which will publish in an upcoming issue of the peer-reviewed journal Population and Environment, Curtis and her colleague Annemarie Schneider examine the impacts of rising oceans as one element of how a changing climate will affect humans. "We're linking economic and social vulnerability with environmental vulnerability to better understand which areas and their populations are most vulnerable," Curtis says.
Environment including science and technology

A map showing the predicted risks of grey wolf attacks on livestock in parts of Wisconsin located within 100 kilometers of known wolf packs. The highest-risk regions, shown in red, comprise just 10 percent of the area within wolf ranges and are concentrated in northwestern parts of the state and near Lake Superior. "The ability to predict potential attacks will help target prevention and management efforts with the goal of reducing conflicts between people and wolves", says UW–Madison environmental studies professor Adrian Treves. Map credit: Adrian Treves

University of Wisconsin: Livestock risks from Wisconsin wolves localized, predictable
June 1, 2011
It's an issue that crops up wherever humans and big predators — wolves, bears, lions — coexist.

"It's just hard to live alongside large carnivores. They damage crops, they kill livestock and pets, they threaten people's safety," says University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Adrian Treves. And the sheer presence of a wolf nearby has typically been enough to make farmers fear for their animals, he adds. "Wherever there were carnivores, people thought there was risk."

But Red Riding Hood and the Three Little Pigs notwithstanding, not all wolves are big and bad. Even as Wisconsin's wolf population grows, intensifying the potential for conflicts with people, Treves' research is revealing that one of the most visible types of conflict — attacks on livestock — is highly localized and may be predictable.

An aerial map of Bloomington shows neighborhoods where an IU research team is surveying residents about land management decisions.

Indiana University: IU researchers studying urban forests in Bloomington backyards
June 2, 2011
BLOOMINGTON, Ind.--After April's violent storms, hundreds of trees in Bloomington and Monroe County were damaged or lost entirely, significantly changing the face of the area's urban forest landscape. While there's no question that Mother Nature has effected dramatic change, urban residents can have a far greater impact over time, notes IU geographer Tom Evans.

Evans, Burney Fischer of IU's School of Environmental and Public Affairs and colleagues at IU Bloomington's Center for the Study of Institutions, Population and Environmental Change (CIPEC) are leading a study of how interactions between people, their social and governmental institutions and the environment influence the sustainability of urban ecosystems. The study includes a survey of urban land management in Bloomington.

"More than half the world's population now lives in urban areas, and that figure is projected to increase in the future," says Evans, director of CIPEC and an associate professor in IU Bloomington's Department of Geography. "Most urban trees are on private land, so we have a limited understanding of how landowners make decisions with respect to their trees, especially how institutions in urban areas influence owners' land management choices."
Purdue University: Climate change allows invasive weed to outcompete local species
May 31, 2011
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Yellow starthistle already causes millions of dollars in damage to pastures in western states each year, and as climate changes, land managers can expect the problem with that weed and others to escalate.

When exposed to increased carbon dioxide, precipitation, nitrogen and temperature – all expected results of climate change – yellow starthistle in some cases grew to six times its normal size while the other grassland species remained relatively unchanged, according to a Purdue University study published in the early online edition of the journal Ecological Applications. The plants were compared with those grown under ambient conditions.

"The rest of the grassland didn't respond much to changes in conditions except nitrogen," said Jeff Dukes, a Purdue associate professor of forestry and natural resources and the study's lead author. "We're likely to see these carbon dioxide concentrations in the second half of this century. Our results suggest that yellow starthistle will be a very happy camper in the coming decades."

The study is one of the first comparing the growth of invasive species versus their local competitors under future climate scenarios. Dukes believes the results indicate problems land managers and crop growers could see in the coming decades, and not just with yellow starthistle.
Society including culture and politics

University of Wisconsin: Children of divorce fall behind peers in math, social skills
June 2, 2011

Divorce is a drag on the academic and emotional development of young children, but only once the breakup is under way, according to a study of elementary school students and their families.

"Children of divorce experience setbacks in math test scores and show problems with interpersonal skills and internalizing behavior during the divorce period," says Hyun Sik Kim, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "They are more prone to feelings of anxiety, loneliness, low self-esteem and sadness."

Kim's work, published in the June issue of American Sociological Review, makes use of data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study describing more than 3,500 U.S. elementary school students who entered kindergarten in 1998. The study, which also made subjects of parents while checking in periodically on the children, gave Kim the opportunity to track the families through divorce — as well as through periods before and after the divorce.
University of Wisconsin: Census shows significant increase in Wisconsin’s single-father households
June 2, 2011
The number of single-father households in Wisconsin is increasing, according to Census 2010 figures released in mid-May.

The census data show the number of households with children under age 18 headed by single fathers has risen by 35.2 percent since 2000.

The largest growth among family households in the state was reported for single-father households with children. Single-mother households with children reported the next largest growth, at 13.4 percent, well below the 35.2 percent reported by single-father households.

More than 15,000 additional family households with children were headed by single fathers in 2010 than in 2000. A similar increase was reported for single-mother households, at 17,336.
June 2, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Unwed mothers face poorer health at midlife than do women who have children after marriage, according to a new nationwide study.

Researchers found that women who had their first child outside of marriage described their health as poorer at age 40 than did other moms.

This is the first U.S. study to document long-term negative health consequences for unwed mothers, and it has major implications for our society, said Kristi Williams, lead author of the study and associate professor of sociology at Ohio State University.

About 40 percent of all births in the United States now occur to unmarried women, compared to fewer than 10 percent in 1960, Williams said. That suggests there will soon be a population boom in the United States of single mothers suffering middle-aged health problems.
June 1, 2011
COLUMBUS, Ohio – “What would Samantha and Miranda do?”

That’s what viewers of the past HBO series Sex and the City may ask themselves when faced with the prospect of uncomfortable discussions about sexual health with partners, friends and doctors.

Researchers found that college students were more than twice as likely to talk about sexual health issues with their partners after watching a Sex and the City episode featuring the characters Samantha and Miranda having similar conversations, compared to students who saw different episodes.

“One of the powerful things about entertainment programming is that it can get people talking about important issues that they might not otherwise talk about,” said Emily Moyer-Gusé, assistant professor of communication at Ohio State University and lead author of the study.
Indiana University: The "blame game" in work-family conflict
June 2, 2011
INDIANAPOLIS -- When the demands of work and family conflict, is the job blamed, is the family role blamed or is blame placed on both? And what are the consequences?

A new study by Elizabeth M. Poposki, assistant professor of psychology in the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, is the first to explore day-to-day experiences in attributing this type of blame. The work examines individual incidents of work-family conflict and tracks how blame for this conflict is attributed.

Only three percent of those surveyed blamed both work and family for conflict between the two. Sixty-four percent of those surveyed blamed work, not family, for conflict. Twenty-two percent blamed only their family role. Five percent blamed external factors other than work or family for the conflict, and only six percent blamed themselves for the conflict. There were no gender differences in how blame was assigned.
Detect a theme here?  I love it when a theme develops itself.

Now for another theme.

Indiana University: 'Act of war' treatment of cyber-attacks fails to answer harder questions: IU experts
June 2, 2011
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Recent news reports that Pentagon policy will view certain cyber-attacks as acts of war to which the U.S. may respond with conventional military force is unsurprising but avoids hard policy and legal questions, according to Indiana University cybersecurity experts.

"The United States has long taken the position that in exercising its right to use force in self-defense its hands are not tied by the means and methods chosen by its adversaries," said David P. Fidler, James Louis Calamaras Professor of Law at the Maurer School of Law and fellow at the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research (CACR). He pointed out that the United States reserved the right during the Cold War to respond to Soviet conventional attacks in Europe with nuclear weapons, and it has used conventional military forces against states responsible for sponsoring or harboring terrorists who attacked U.S. nationals and territory.

"That the U.S. government claims the right to use traditional military power in response to a large-scale cyber-attack that causes serious damage, destruction, or death in the United States is to be expected," Fidler continued. "However, this position does not address problems cyberweapons create, including the threshold a cyber-attack must cross to trigger the right to use force in self-defense and the difficulties in attributing responsibility for the attack."
I take the position that war is a sustainability issue, in fact, the ultimate sustainability issue. This is the appropriate position to take for a blog that is about collapse.  That's why this article is here and not under technology.

Besides, one of the most memorable presentations that my students have made over the years was "The Environmental Consequences of Nuclear War." It's one I use every semester to demonstrate the range of topics that I will accept for presentations.


Indiana University: Judge awards CACR $300,000 in Google Buzz settlement
June 3, 2011
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A U.S. district judge this week awarded Indiana University's Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research $300,000 as part of a class-action lawsuit settlement over Google Buzz, the company's social media service.

The lawsuit was filed after users of Gmail -- Google's popular e-mail service -- believed their privacy had been violated after the launch of Google Buzz in February 2010. The suit alleged that Google Buzz exposed Gmail contacts publicly, prompting multiple complaints about privacy settings and personal information being shared unwillingly.

As part of the settlement agreement, Google agreed to pay out $8.5 million to Internet privacy advocacy groups or organizations. CACR was one of 12 outlets selected to receive a share of those funds out of the 77 entities that applied for consideration.
Indiana University: IU, Microsoft work uncovering online payment flaws earns 'best paper' at top security symposium
June 1, 2011
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A research paper by Indiana University security scientists and researchers at Microsoft that drew national attention when it reported that Web stores using online third-party-payment systems like PayPal often contain logic flaws that allow malicious users to shop for free received a best paper award last week at the premier venue on computer security and electronic privacy.

"How to Shop for Free Online -- Security Analysis of Cashier-as-a-Service Based Web Stores," by IU Bloomington School of Informatics and Computing (SOIC) doctoral student Rui Wang, SOIC associate professor XiaoFeng Wang and Microsoft Research's Shuo Chen and Shaz Qadeer, was awarded "Best Practical Paper" at the 32nd annual Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Symposium on Security and Privacy.

In their 16-page paper the researchers studied the security implications introduced through the complexity of trilateral interactions among the Web client, online stores and third-party cashiers such as PayPal, Amazon Payments and Google Checkout.
So these stories are more technology than economy, but since I didn't have any other really economic stories and money was changing hands, I decided to move them here.

So, what was the second theme?

No comments:

Post a Comment