New map of worldwide croplands supports food and water security

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest A new map was released U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) detailing croplands worldwide in the highest resolution yet, helping to ensure global food and water security in a sustainable way.The map establishes that there are 1.87 billion hectares of croplands in the world, which is 15 to 20% — or 250 to 350 million hectares (Mha) — higher than former assessments. The change is due to more detailed understanding of large areas that were never mapped before or were inaccurately mapped as non-croplands.Earlier studies showed either China or the United States as having the highest net cropland area, but this study shows that India ranks first, with 179.8 Mha (9.6% of the global net cropland area). Second is the United States with 167.8 Mha (8.9%), China with 165.2 Mha (8.8%) and Russia with 155.8 Mha (8.3%). Statistics of every country in the world can be viewed in an interactive map.South Asia and Europe can be considered agricultural capitals of the world due to the percentage of croplands of the total geographic area. Croplands make up more than 80% of Moldova, San Marino and Hungary; between 70 and 80% of Denmark, Ukraine, Ireland and Bangladesh; and 60 to 70% of the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Spain, Lithuania, Poland, Gaza Strip, Czech Republic, Italy and India. For comparison, the United States and China each have 18% croplands.The study was led by the USGS and is part of the Global Food Security-Support Analysis Data @ 30-m (GFSAD30) Project. The map is built primarily from Landsat satellite imagery with 30-meter resolution, which is the highest spatial resolution of any global agricultural dataset.“The map clearly shows individual farm fields, big or small, at any location in the world,” said Prasad Thenkabail, USGS research geographer and Principal Investigator for the GFSAD30 Project Team. “Given the high resolution of 30 meters and 0.09 hectares per pixel, a big advantage is the ability to see croplands in any country and sub-national regions, including states, provinces, districts, counties and villages.”With the global population nearing the 7.6 billion mark and expected to reach 10 billion by 2050, it is of increasing importance to understand and monitor the state of agriculture across the world in great detail. This new research is useful to international development organizations, farmers, decision makers, scientists and national security professionals.“This map is a baseline and starting point for higher level assessments, such as identifying which crops are present and where, when they grow, their productivity, if lands are left fallow and whether the water source is irrigated or rain fed,” Thenkabail said. “Comparisons can be made between the present and past years as well as between one farm and another. It is invaluable to know the precise location of croplands and their dynamics to lead to informed and productive farm management.”Not only does this map and accompanying data have significant food security implications, but it is also critical as a baseline for assessing water security. Nearly 80% of all human water use across the world goes towards producing food, and this research provides insight on “crop per drop,” which is an assessment of the amount of crops produced per unit of water.“The project is a major undertaking for many reasons,” Thenkabail said. “One major challenge was obtaining cloud-free images in regions such as the tropics and during rainy seasons. That took multiple years in some areas. This project required the use of satellite-acquired big-data analytics using machine learning algorithms on a cloud computing platform such as the Google Earth Engine.”Another important aspect of this project was the rigorous validation of the map, leading to an overall accuracy of 92%. Validation was performed by an independent team for 72 zones across the world.The USGS led this project and played an especially valuable role in providing Landsat imagery. The USGS acquires, processes, archives and distributes freely to anyone in the world the Landsat data from 1972 to the present day. This project uses a one-of-a-kind dataset primarily of Landsat satellite imagery from the year 2015. Remote sensing is critical to achieving a global perspective as well as objective and unbiased information.View how croplands are distributed in each of the countries and download data through the Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center.The GFSAD30 Project Team’s goal is to map global croplands and their attributes routinely, rapidly, consistently and accurately year after year. The project is a collaborative effort among the USGS, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Bay Area Environmental Research Institute, University of New Hampshire, California State University Monterey Bay, University of Wisconsin, Northern Arizona University, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Environmental Systems Research Institute of Indonesia and Google. The project is funded by NASA’s Making Earth System Data Records for Use in Research Environments Program, with supplemental funding from the USGS.last_img read more

Forget fingerprints, soon you may be able to sign-in with your heartbeat

first_imgInternet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… Follow the Puck The search for the most complex and unique sign-in method continues and at Birmingham State University in New York, a team of researchers are looking into utilizing the heartbeat.Most wearable devices already track heart-rate, so from there the device only needs to convert the beat into a unique biometric key.See Also: Fossil digs out range of new wearables at CESThe key could be used to unlock smartphones, log-in to social networks, and even be a smart fob for doors and lockers in high security areas. Deployment could be tied into a wellness program, which many companies are now embracing.The benefits of heartbeat authentication is it even more unique than a fingerprint, although humans do tend to experience irregularities if nervous or tired, something that could interfere with the authentication process. Another potential benefit is battery life, as it requires less energy to process a heartbeat on a wearable than to go through layers of encryption, according to Zhanpeng Jin, co-author of the report.Heartbeats and thumbprintsA wearable device, called the Nymi Band, already uses heartbeat authentication alongside Apple’s Touch ID. It transports the biometric key using Bluetooth and NFC, making it applicable to thousands of devices and applications.With the surge in interest for multi-factor authentication, is isn’t too unrealistic that sometime in the near future we could all be signing into devices and accounts using our heartbeat, especially as the technology matures.However, fingerprint and iris scanners are fast becoming commonplace on smartphones, tablets, and wearables. The heartbeat authentication method needs to show its positives quick, before the industry settles on a few compelling standards. David Curry Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfacescenter_img Tags:#authentication#encryption#heart rate#heartbeat#security#wearable Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to… Related Posts last_img read more

Why Women Dont Cycle

For every three men hopping on a bike, just one woman does the same, according to an analysis by BuzzFeed’s Jeremy Singer-Vine, who collected data from the three largest bike-share programs in the United States — New York, Chicago and Boston — and mapped the gender balance in each. Although slightly more women check out a bike on weekends, overall, they still make up only 24.7 percent of riders.This gender gap isn’t unique to bike-share programs or these three cities. The most recent National Household Travel Survey shows that 24 percent of bike trips in 2009 were made by women. The national data also shows that women are slightly less likely to cycle now than they were in 2001; researchers found “the prevalence of any cycling declined significantly for children (by 1.5 percent) and women (by 0.3 percent).” That needn’t be the case: In Germany, 49 percent of cyclists are women. In the Netherlands, that number is 55 percent.Readers were quick to offer explanations for the lack of female cyclers: In fact, most theories fell into one of two categories: fashion or fear.But what’s the evidence for each?For her master’s thesis in urban planning at the University of Washington, Anne Broache examined which influenced women’s decisions about cycling. In 2012, she surveyed 365 women in Seattle — where 28 percent of bike commuters are female, according to the city’s Department of Transportation — about fashion and road safety. One-third of the nondaily riders and one-fifth of daily riders reported general concerns about “grooming issues, bringing spare clothes, helmet hair, and arriving at destinations red-faced and sweaty.” But safety was “by far the leading concern for all riders” — 79 percent of the women cited “distracted driving” as the biggest barrier to them cycling.Although it didn’t ask about fashion, the 2010 Women’s Cycling Survey asked a lot more women about their cycling choices; it, too, found the No. 1 concern was “distracted driving,” which was cited by 73 percent of the 11,453 women questioned.But there’s more to personal safety than the risk of traffic accidents. As @anildash suggests (and Helen Pidd’s personal account on The Guardian’s Bike Blog illustrates), female cyclists might fear sexual assault and harassment. The Women’s Cycling Survey found that 13 percent of women said “stranger attacks” were a concern.And just as fear is a complex issue, so, too, is fashion. Lifestyle barriers affect women’s decision-making around cycling in ways more challenging than footwear or hem length. When the Bikes Belong Coalition surveyed almost 2,000 U.S. adults, they found that women were twice as likely as men to report an “inability to carry children or other passengers” as a factor that discouraged them from cycling. Convenient transport is important for moms, because they spend 3.7 minutes more per day than dads ferrying kids around.Finally, one more reason women aren’t getting on bikes can’t be captured by the fear or fashion explanations; like most lifestyle choices, cycling decisions are affected by wealth. And women earn less than men. As Clarissa Ersoz at the Bicycle Paper explains, “Even a reasonably priced bike is a significant up-front expense for disadvantaged households.” A 2001 report, “The Socioeconomics of Urban Travel,” found that households earning less than $20,000 were no more likely to use bicycles as a mode of transport than those earning $75,000 – $99,999.When it comes to the why of America’s cycling gender gap, the data suggests that fashion really isn’t front of mind for most women. Instead, road safety and practical lifestyle issues are the biggest obstacles to female riders. That makes it all the more disappointing that the recent bike-share data shows that rental systems have been unable to address those concerns.CORRECTION (June 18, 3:59 p.m.): An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that, according to “The Socioeconomics of Urban Travel,” 13.5 percent of households earning less than $20,000 used a bicycle as a mode of transport. The table in the report actually shows that 13.5 percent of all people who use a bicycle as a mode of transport live in households earning less than $20,000. read more

Officials Relaunch Effort to Add Mare Island to National Park System

first_imgThe city of Vallejo, Calif., and the Mare Island Historic Park Foundation have rekindled their bid to add the 161-year-old Mare Island Naval Shipyard to the national park system.Incorporation into the National Park Service would prevent the shipyard’s historic structures from falling into disrepair and keep shipyard artifacts from being scattered across the country, according to the foundation.The effort to integrate the historic sections of the shipyard, located in the northeastern portion of the San Francisco Bay area, into the park system began after the site was designated for closure in 1993, according to Dennis Kelly, a project manager for the foundation. In 2011, the National Park Service turned down such a request over concerns about the cost of repairs needed by the site’s historic resources and the ongoing cleanup, rather than its lack of suitability.A park service study of the proposal concluded that there are “no other sites that tell the story of the development of naval facilities on the West Coast over the period of history covered by Mare Island Naval Shipyard.”The park service previously had said preserving the shipyard’s historic resources should be one of the highest priorities in planning for the site’s reuse, Kelly said.Mare Island was established in 1854 as the first naval base on the West Coast. Its primary mission was to build, maintain, and repair Navy ships and submarines. More than 500 ships were built there before its closure in 1996.Incorporating Mare Island into the park system would support Vallejo’s effort to boost tourism by promoting its naval heritage. The foundation has preserved and maintained historical buildings at the shipyard, but the group is looking for the National Park Service to step in to provide additional resources, Kelly said.Lennar continues to redevelop Mare Island, a National Historic Landmark, according to a plan calling for 1,400 homes, 7 million square feet of commercial and industrial space, and recreational areas. Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img read more

Tesla rolls out Dog Mode Sentry Mode to keep your car and

first_img More From Roadshow Electric Cars Tesla Model 3 barrels through the snow in Track Mode 2020 Hyundai Palisade review: Posh enough to make Genesis jealous 3 Tesla The other update is Sentry Mode, which is intended to provide a little more security when a Tesla is parked. When the car is set to Sentry Mode, it will display a warning on the car’s infotainment system if a “minimal threat” is detected. For a more severe security issue, such as someone breaking a window, Sentry Mode will sound the car’s alarm and begin playing music through the audio system at full volume, as well as alerting the car’s owner via the Tesla smartphone app. (Tesla doesn’t specify what music will be played, but hopefully it’s something loud and attention-getting, rather than, say, soothing classical.)In addition, when Sentry Mode is triggered, the car will retain recorded footage from its built-in cameras for the 10-minute period prior to the alarm activation. The footage can be downloaded onto a USB stick, presumably for sharing with your insurance agency or local law enforcement.It’s worth noting that Sentry Mode is not automatically activated. Owners must choose the option every time they park the car and want to use it. The software update is rolling out to Model 3 sedans today, and will soon become available on Model S and Model X vehicles built after August 2017.There’s one final safety and security upgrade that Tesla announced today. The car’s built-in dashcam function will now also record video from the car’s side-mounted cameras, in addition to the forward-facing camera. That could provide even more evidence for an insurance claim after a car accident, for instance. 2020 Kia Telluride review: Kia’s new SUV has big style and bigger value Tags Comments 50 Photos Tesla is rolling out new software features designed to help drivers of its electric cars keep their dogs safe, as well as their vehicles. CEO Elon Musk had hinted at the arrival of the Dog Mode and Sentry Mode functions earlier this week, and now both offerings are official.Keep your furry friends cool and happy while you run into the store. Tesla Dog Mode is designed for owners who might want to leave their furry companion inside a car — while running an errand, for instance — without risking the dangers of overheating cars. To use the feature, drivers pull up the car’s climate control options, select Keep Climate On and choose the Dog setting, then set a temperature preset. The Tesla will then keep the car’s cabin at a safe temperature while showing a message on the infotainment system so that passersby don’t worry about Fido’s health.Running the climate control while the car is parked will of course use some battery charge, so Tesla says that owners will receive an alert on their mobile app if the car’s battery drops to 20 percent charge while using Dog Mode. Tesla also notes that drivers should check if there are any local laws prohibiting leaving a dog in the car before using the function. Dog Mode builds on Tesla’s existing Cabin Overheat Protection function, which can activate the climate control to prevent the inside of the car getting dangerously hot to keep animals or children safe. 2020 BMW M340i review: A dash of M makes everything better Tesla Share your voicelast_img read more

Princess Diana will be born to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle punters

first_imgPrincess Diana smiles wearing a Cambridge tiara during a dinner and a reception at the British Embassy in Washington, DC on November 10, 1985.REUTERSThe chances of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry calling their child Diana are high. As was revealed by bookmaker Coral in the RoyalFamily website. The firm, Coral, has gotten monstrous wagers from punters, with many trusting that this will be the name of the infant.The chances that the newborn will be a young lady has already been betted heavily upon and the most recent chances come only days after Diana was way off the mark to fixing as a top choice. Another name that shares the same situation is Elizabeth, both scooping chances of 6-1. Following up is Victoria at 8-1, with Grace and Alice both stuck at 12-1.And if the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are to have a baby boy then James and Arthur can be wagered on at 16-1. Elizabeth had shot to the highest point of our wagering throughout the most recent week or somewhere in the vicinity however punters have now come in for Diana afresh,” Harry Aitkenhead, from Coral, stated. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during an official photocall to announce their engagementChris Jackson/Getty Images”The pair are presently joint-top choices in the market at 6-1 and it appears that Royal fans are persuaded the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will pay tribute to a noticeable individual from the family when they’re picking the name of their first kid.” He further included, “At this stage now we would be stunned on the off chance that it was a kid, and we scarcely taking any wagers on those names at the moment.”James and Arthur are the two most limited valued yet are well back in the market at 16-1.”Meghan, 37, plans to have a home birth at the Frogmore Cottage with Prince Harry, 34, close by. She plans to emulate the Queen’s example, who brought forth her four youngsters at her regal living arrangements.Though, the Duchess of Sussex has not discounted for an emergency clinic conveyance because of the complications that are usually associated with women above 35 years of age.last_img read more

Heres what associates Peshmerga forces with India

first_imgIn what is telling about the universality of Indian spiritual techniques in mind training, 400 members of the Peshmerga forces, who took on the ISIS in Iraq, underwent The Art of Living programme. In the programme, they were trained in deep breathing techniques like Sudarshan Kriya (a powerful rhythmic breathing technique cognized by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, practised by over 450 million people world over), pranayamas and Yoga along with other life tools to handle the mind, enhance clarity, calmness, and alertness.”We got permission from Brigadier Ramadan Shily to enter the Peshmerga platoon to train them in the Happiness Program,” said Mawahib Shaibani, Country Director of International Association for Human Values, sister concern of The Art of Living, Iraq, who has received her training in trauma and stress relief workshops and rehabilitation at the Art of Living International Center in Bengaluru.”They reported amazing experiences of feeling peace even though they are in the midst of a conflict zone. They felt happy and well rested by the end of the training. Some of them want to become trainers now, to be able to share this transformative knowledge,” Mawahib said. The 400 Peshmerga forces personnel being trained, secure the border area in Suhaila between Syria, Turkey and Northern Iraq (Kurdistan).This is not the first time the Bengaluru-based NGO has had rehabilitative engagement in the region. The organization has been working actively with the genocide facing the Yezidi community. In 2014, Sri Sri was one of the very few global leaders to draw attention to the Yezidi genocide and send help, rescuing and rehabilitating almost 2,500 Yezidi women captured by ISIS.The Art of Living previously facilitated a Community Leadership Training Program (CLTP) and Life Skills and Resilience-Building program was taught to 500 community members, reaching women and girls who were survivors of violence, raising their awareness of local resources.In Iraq, 50,000 people have undergone life skills and trauma relief programs facilitated by the organisation. Over 6,000 Iraqi women have been provided with vocational training. More than 200 peace ambassadors have been trained to provide trauma relief to those affected.More than 1,50,000 war survivors, including child soldiers in Iraq, Israel-Palestine, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Kyrgyzstan, Sri Lanka, the Balkans, and Afghanistan, have benefited from trauma relief programmes.last_img read more

No religious persecution in Bangladesh Hasina tells Gulf News

first_imgPrime minister Sheikh Hasina during her interaction with Gulf News in Abu Dhabi. – Photo courtesy: Gulf NewsPrime minister Sheikh Hasina has wondered why India’s parliament passed ‘Indian Citizenship Amendment Bill’ meant to give citizenship to minorities that faced “religious persecution” in neighbouring countries, including Bangladesh.The Bangladesh premier expressed her views in an interview with Gulf News in the UAE capital on Tuesday.“Why [us] this bill…I don’t understand,” she was quoted to have said. “Is it for election purpose?” Sheikh Hasina reportedly asked with a smile.Gulf News quoted her as saying that she never felt that the bill meant to blame Bangladesh for religious persecution of minorities in the country.“I don’t think so. There is no such [religious persecution] in Bangladesh. Some incidents have happened. But we took immediate action,” the premier was quoted to have said.She said religious extremism and terrorism are a global problem. “It is not in Bangladesh alone.”Sheikh Hasina reportedly said her understanding was that people in India are also not happy with the bill. “I think they [India] should not do anything that create tension.”Referring to her actions against Indian insurgents, who tried to operate from Bangladesh, she said, “They should consider all these factors as a neighbouring country.”last_img read more

HIDCO to organise Great Indian Dessert Festival in December

first_imgKolkata: West Bengal Housing & Infrastructure Development Corporation (HIDCO) is taking significant strides to enhance the ‘sweetness’ of the area around Misti Hub in New Town that had come up two months back. In December, a special “Great Indian Dessert Festival” will be organised to pamper the taste buds of the residents with items comprising a wide variety of custards, ice creams, puddings and other special confections available in other parts of the country. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeA private partner is being roped in for the Festival that will be held at the site of the motorcycle stand behind Misti Hub.”It is a strategy for giving the people of our state a concept of ‘Experiential Tourism’ which is evolving fast across the world. People will visit Eco Park, Misti Hub near Gate Number 3 of the park and at the same time, relish the popular desserts that are popular across the country,” said Debashis Sen, managing director of HIDCO. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe campaign for the Festival has already started on social media and HIDCO is also planning to hold a Pudding Festival after this event.HIDCO has already made elaborate plans to spread the footprint of Misti Hub. Home delivery of sweets through app based food delivery services and packet menu (assorted sweets, in packets, for distribution in short meetings) for offices and corporate will be introduced soon.”We will design a special prestige carry bag with Misti Hub logo for common branding. This would be of cloth or jute consisting of three sizes small, medium and large. There are also plans to introduce discount coupons on Eco Park on selective days for those who buy sweets from Misti Hub,” an official said.It may be mentioned that HIDCO has already done a review of two months’ performance of Misti Hub and found that the shops had done very good business during this period. It has been decided that there will be bus branding to spread the word on Misti Hub.last_img read more