It’s a small world after all

an article in New Scientist with a map of the most remote places on earth.  Surprisingly, most places are pretty close to cities, within a couple days of ground travel.

First, less than 10 per cent of the world’s land is more than 48 hours of ground-based travel from the nearest city. What’s more, many areas considered remote and inaccessible are not as far from civilisation as you might think. In the Amazon, for example, extensive river networks and an increasing number of roads mean that only 20 per cent of the land is more than two days from a city – around the same proportion as Canada’s Quebec province.

h/t to Coming Anarchy

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Why you should fear Swine Flu

From Coming Anarchy:

The last deadly flu epidemic broke out almost 90 years ago in 1918. How quickly did the flu spread? From PBS.org comes this map that shows how the virus spread across the United States in just two weeks.

Students in New York Fall Ill, and Swine Flu Is Suspected – NYTimes.com

via Students in New York Fall Ill, and Swine Flu Is Suspected – NYTimes.com.

In the United States, so far, at least 11 swine flu cases have been confirmed. Seven were confirmed in San Diego and Imperial Counties in California and two in Kansas. In Texas, two 16-year-old students at Byron Steele High School in Cibolo, near San Antonio, were confirmed to have swine flu, and one of their classmates was suspected to have the virus.

Too many ’straws’ sucking water out of the Colorado River

From the CSM, this article on reduced river flow:

The analysis, set for publication in the Journal of Climate next month, looks at flow records from 925 of the world’s largest rivers, covering a period from 1948 to 2004. It represents the most comprehensive data base yet assembled to track river flows… Roughly one-third of the rivers experienced significant changes in flow rates – some up, some down. But the rivers with reduced flow rates outnumbered the ones with higher flow rates by 2.5 to 1.

Foreign Policy: The Revenge of Geography

Another Robert Kaplan article, this one from Foreign Policy

If you want to understand the insights of geography, you need to seek out those thinkers who make liberal humanists profoundly uneasy—those authors who thought the map determined nearly everything, leaving little room for human agency.

The center of a new world

Robert Kaplan writes about the growing power and competition of China and India in a new article:

Pirates and how the United States helps a coalition to respond to them is only one of the challenges. Here, a U.S. Navy guided-missile cruiser monitors a pirated Ukrainian cargo ship.

Pirates and how the United States helps a coalition to respond to them is only one of the challenges.

The right map can stimulate foresight by providing a spatial view of critical trends in world politics.

Dispelling the water-war myth. – By Jack Shafer – Slate Magazine

It takes an average of about 1,000 cubic meters of water to grow enough food to feed one person for one year. Arid nations that can’t muster that amount for each person can navigate around water scarcity by importing food, which contains “virtual” water from the land where it was grown.

via Dispelling the water-war myth. – By Jack Shafer – Slate Magazine.

I am not sure I agree with the author’s conclusions.  Just because there has been no ‘formal’ declaration of war over water rights doesn’t mean there haven’t been fights  over this necessary and often scarce resource.

What do you think?

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