The Map Room: McDonald’s vs. Other Burger Chains



via The Map Room: McDonald’s vs. Other Burger Chains.

Collectively, other chains outnumber McD’s two to one; separately, there are regional concentrations of strength.

and of course, Sonic rules in Texas!  Love those Cherry limeades.

Eruption of Eyjafjallajökull Volcano, Iceland : Image of the Day



via Eruption of Eyjafjallajökull Volcano, Iceland : Image of the Day.

Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull Volcano burst into life for the first time in 190 years on March 20, 2010. A 500-meter- (2,000-foot) long fissure opened in the Fimmvörduháls pass to the west of the ice-covered summit of Eyjafjallajökull. Lava fountains erupted fluid magma, which quickly built several hills of bubble-filled lava rocks (scoria) along the vent. A lava flow spread northeast, spilling into Hrunagil Gully.

With High Profit Margins, Saffron Is The New Contraband | FP Passport

With High Profit Margins, Saffron Is The New Contraband | FP Passport.

Why is saffron (which is the most expensive spice in the world) suddenly being smuggled into India?

Well, it turns out that production in Kashmir, the primary growing area for high-quality Indian saffron, has fallen 85 percent in the last 10 years. Experts are blaming climate change, poor irrigation, and pollution in the region. In response, prices in India have doubled in the past three years. Meanwhile, with Iran and Spain supplying most of the saffron to the world market, global prices have held steady.
Now, the subsequent price gap between India and other countries has led to an opportunity for smugglers to profit; the spice sells for double in India than what it in other markets — up to $5,000 per kilogram.

Where’s the remotest place on Earth?




via Where’s the remotest place on Earth? – environment – 20 April 2009 – New Scientist.

The maps are based on a model which calculated how long it would take to travel to the nearest city of 50,000 or more people by land or water. The model combines information on terrain and access to road, rail and river networks (see the maps). It also considers how factors such as altitude, steepness of terrain and hold-ups like border crossings slow travel.

Plotted onto a map, the results throw up surprises. 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.

Except for the Sahara, Tibetian Plateau, and parts of the Amazon, only the far north remains relatively unsettled by humans.

Aquatic ‘dead zones’ contributing to climate change

Mississippi dead zone in 2006

via Aquatic ‘dead zones’ contributing to climate change.

The increased frequency and intensity of oxygen-deprived “dead zones” along the world’s coasts can negatively impact environmental conditions in far more than just local waters.

The release of nitrous oxides from oxygen-depleted waters can exacerbate global warming, and contributes to destruction of the ozone layer.

10 Feet



via Researchers Show How Far South American Cities Moved In Quake — Images.

This is the preliminary solution obtained by Project CAP (Central and Southern Andes GPS Project) for the coseismic displacement field associated with the recent M 8.8 Maule earthquake in south-central Chile. Peak measured displacement is 3.04 m near the city of Concepcion, Chile. Significant displacements are evident as far east as Buenos Aires, Argentina (2-4 cm) and as far north as the Chilean border with Peru.

Almost 10 feet!  that’s how far Concepcion moved during last week’s earthquake.  Such power, to move a great chunk of the earth’s crust so far.

More Trouble in Nigeria



via Al Jazeera English – Africa – Nigeria forces hunt Jos killers.

It was not immediately clear what triggered the latest unrest, but four days of sectarian clashes in January between mobs armed with guns, knives and machetes left hundreds of people dead in Jos, which lies at the crossroads of Nigeria’s Muslim north and predominantly Christian south.

The tension appears rooted in resentment between indigenous, mostly Christian groups, and migrants and settlers from the Hausa-speaking Muslim north, all vying for control of fertile farmlands. (italics mine)

As the population grows, this kind of violence is only likely to escalate, because the supply of land cannot change.  In fact, with the increased population pressure the desert is expanding, further reducing the available land.  All along the Sahel these conflicts are multiplying – it is also the root of the troubles in Darfur.  Without slowing population growth, and serious efforts at land reform and conservation, these nations, and others along the Sahel, will continue to experience  conflict which will be costly for both the governments and the people.

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