Gedhun Choekyi Nyima On May 14, 1995, six-year-old Tibetan Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was named the 11th Panchen Lama by the 14th…

Gedhun Choekyi Nyima
On May 14, 1995, six-year-old Tibetan Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was named the 11th Panchen Lama by the 14th Dalai Lama. After his selection, he was detained by Chinese authorities; he has not been seen in public since May 17, 1995. China later named another child, Gyancain Norbu, as Panchen Lama, a choice that exiles claim is rejected by most Tibetan Buddhists.
China by aiww (via https://instagram.com/p/9_MpZqqDyq/)

Welsh town moves ‘offshore’ to avoid tax on local business

Crickhowell, taxation, economics, UK, corporatism, HMRC, scalability

Local businesses in Crickhowell are turning the tables on the likes of Google and Starbucks by employing the same accountancy practices used by the world’s biggest companies, to move their entire town “offshore”. Advised by experts and followed by a BBC crew, family-run shops in the Brecon Beacons town have submitted their own DIY tax plan to HMRC, copying the offshore arrangements used by global brands which pay little or no corporation tax.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crickhowell-welsh-town-moves-offshore-to-avoid-tax-on-local-business-a6728971.html

NASA found a way to track ocean currents from space. What they saw is troubling

GRACE, oceans, satellite, earth monitoring, environment, climate change

The GRACE satellites are a pair of twin observing devices that orbit the Earth 137 miles from one another. The Earth’s gravitational pull on the satellites varies depending upon the mass of what is below them at a particular time — a mountain, an ocean — and so by measuring slight perturbations in the distance between the two satellites, scientists detect these mass changes. But when does the Earth’s mass change in a significant way, one that would suggest an important anomaly? Mostly, this does not happen with the ground, rocks, mountains — at least not on human time scales. But water at the Earth’s surface moves around a great deal — California’s drought has been picked up by GRACE, as has dramatic melting of the glaciers of Alaska.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/11/04/nasa-can-now-detect-worrying-ocean-circulation-changes-from-space/

UN values ecosystem loss to trillions of dollars a year

climateadaptation:

The study authors have calculated the cost of the “lost ecosystem services value” our planet has suffered in the last decade and a half. According to their calculations, the loss due to land degradation averages US $43,400 to $72,000 per square km, some US $870 to $1,450 per person, globally each year. The percentage of the world’s land affected by land degradation has grown a lot in the last decades – it has doubled between the late 1970s and the early 2000s. And the process is far from its end.

“This study by ELD shows the immediate and global impact of land degradation and highlights that actions to tackle it pay off,” Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs commented on the paper.

“Increased land degradation is also one of the factors that can lead to migration and it is being exacerbated by climate change. On our planet, the area affected by drought has doubled in 40 years. One third of Africa is threatened by desertification. As President Juncker said in his State of the Union speech last week, climate refugees will become a new challenge – if we do not act swiftly.”

UN values ecosystem loss to trillions of dollars a year

Aung San Suu Kyi Imprisoned for actions likely to undermine the community peace and stability. Aung San Suu Kyi is the…

Aung San Suu Kyi
Imprisoned for actions likely to undermine the community peace and stability. Aung San Suu Kyi is the chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD), the leading opposition party. She was placed under house arrest shortly before the 1990 general election in which the NLD received 59 percent of the vote, and served a total of 15 years. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.
Burma by aiww (via https://instagram.com/p/926eGqKDwU/)

The countries that don’t exist

geography, territory, Elgaland-Vargaland, micronations, history, BBC

Then there’s Elgaland-Vargaland, which was thought up by two Swedish artists – and is meant to consist of all the areas of “No Man’s Land” across the world, including the land marking the borders between other nations and any bits of the sea outside another country’s territorial waters; any time you have travelled abroad, you have passed through Elgaland-Vargaland. In fact, of all the countries Middleton has looked at, this is the closest to his starting point, Narnia – since the artists claim that any time you enter a dream, or let your mind wander, you have also crossed a border and temporarily taken a trip into Elgaland-Vargaland.

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20151103-the-countries-that-dont-exist

How Britain’s oldest tree became ‘sexually ambiguous’

trees, groworld, growth, ageing, longevity

Ancient trees can also create separate entities within their structure to protect themselves from disease. “It’s a strategy for longevity,” says Brian Muelaner, chair of the Ancient Tree Forum. “The Fortingall yew is fragmented and it may be so compartmentalised that part of it has become sexually ambiguous. We are all continuously learning about ancient trees – the ageing process of trees is a new science.”

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/shortcuts/2015/nov/02/britain-oldest-tree-fortingall-yew-change-sex?CMP=share_btn_tw

Massachusetts crime lab scandal worsens

Slate, forensics, failure, oversight, law, war on some drugs, drug testing, crime lab

Perhaps the most dramatic example of a massive scandal that cannot seem to be reversed involves Annie Dookhan, a chemist who worked at a Massachusetts state lab drug analysis unit. Dookhan was sentenced in 2013 to at least three years in prison, after pleading guilty in 2012 to having falsified thousands of drug tests. Among her extracurricular crime lab activities, Dookhan failed to properly test drug samples before declaring them positive, mixed up samples to create positive tests, forged signatures, and lied about her own credentials. Over her nine-year career, Dookhan tested about 60,000 samples involved in roughly 34,000 criminal cases. Three years later, the state of Massachusetts still can’t figure out how to repair the damage she wrought almost single-handedly.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2015/10/massachusetts_crime_lab_scandal_worsens_dookhan_and_farak.single.html

An Interview with Bill Gates on the Future of Energy

The Atlantic, Bill Gates, climate change, investment, research, R&D, interview

Now, in the case of climate change, because there’s so many possible solutions, it’s not like the Manhattan Project. I don’t think anyone’s saying, “Hey, pick just one approach, and pick some ranch in New Mexico, and just have those guys kind of hang out there.” Here, we want to give a little bit of money to the guy who thinks that high wind will work; we want to give a little bit of money to the guy who thinks that taking sunlight and making oil directly out of sunlight will work. So there’s dozens of those ideas, and there’s enabling technologies for those ideas. That’s the kind of thing that we should be funding more of.

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/11/we-need-an-energy-miracle/407881/

In The Prophecy, a striking series by Dakar-based photographer Fabrice Monteiro, majestic alien creatures wear hoop skirts and…

hyperallergic:

In The Prophecy, a striking series by Dakar-based photographer Fabrice Monteiro, majestic alien creatures wear hoop skirts and headdresses made from soda cans, garbage bags, fishing nets, tortoise shells, and the odd baby doll. It isn’t just fashion photography at its most theatrical and cinematic: There’s a vivid environmentalist message here, though it doesn’t look like any anti-pollution campaign you’ve ever seen.

Senegal’s Trash Transformed into Afrofuturist Haute Couture