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Genetic diversity map reveals species more at risk in areas with greater human activity

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Humans may be fascinated by the beauty of the natural world, but the evidence we are having an impact on it is overwhelming. Mankind's mark has led to the current era being labelled the'anthropocene', or the'age of man', due to our indelible mark on the environment. Now a study has revealed exactly how much biodiversity there is among animals at the genetic level in areas transformed by human activity. In a first of its kind map of genetic diversity, researchers in Denmark have shown that the hot spots are found in the tropics and habitats generally affected by human activity tend to have less genetic variation than wilder habitats. Scientists have produced the first map of its kind, linking the genetic diversity of animals within their geographic range, revealing amphibians are bearing the brunt in areas with higher human activity.


Activity-Based Computing: Computational Management of Activities Reflecting Human Intention

AI Magazine

An important research topic in artificial intelligence is automatic sensing and inferencing of contextual information, which is used to build computer models of the user’s activity. One approach to build such activity-aware systems is the notion of activity-based computing (ABC). ABC is a computing paradigm that has been applied in personal information management applications as well as in ubiquitous, multidevice, and interactive surface computing. ABC has emerged as a response to the traditional application- and file-centered computing paradigm, which is oblivious to a notion of a user’s activity context spanning heterogeneous devices, multiple applications, services, and information sources. In this article, we present ABC as an approach to contextualize information, and present our research into designing activity-centric computing technologies.


Trump's EPA nominee spars with Bernie Sanders over climate change

Mashable

President-elect Donald Trump's pick to run the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wrongly suggested on Wednesday that scientists still don't know exactly why climate change is happening. Scott Pruitt, the Republican attorney general of Oklahoma, claimed during his Senate confirmation hearing that climate experts are still debating the extent to which human activity is driving up global temperatures. In reality, most climate scientists debate the precise impacts human-caused climate change is having, as well as the rate and severity of global warming yet to come -- but they don't debate that human activity is the leading cause. SEE ALSO: Climate activists protested Rex Tillerson's nomination in T. Rex costumes "I believe the ability to measure with precision the degree of human activity's impact on the climate is subject to more debate, on whether the climate is changing or whether human activity contributes to it," Pruitt said Wednesday in a tense exchange with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a prominent climate advocate who lost the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination to former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. Pruitt had previously acknowledged at the hearing that "the climate is changing and human activity contributes to that in some manner."


Earth to Pruitt: At a Confirmation Hearing, Denialism Stands While Temperatures Rise

The New Yorker

Either it was a cleverly engineered plan or some kind of cosmic joke: just as the confirmation hearing for Scott Pruitt, the climate denier who is Donald Trump's nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency, was getting under way Wednesday, on Capitol Hill, two federal agencies--the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration--announced that 2016 was the warmest year since modern record-keeping began, in 1880. It was the third year in a row to smash previous records for warmth, a trend that prompted the Times to observe that "temperatures are heading toward levels that many experts believe will pose a profound threat." If Pruitt is confirmed, there will probably be no one in a better position to influence--or, more accurately, wreak havoc on--domestic climate policy. Central to the Obama Administration's efforts to curb global warming has been a set of E.P.A. regulations limiting carbon emissions from power plants. Pruitt, as the Attorney General of Oklahoma, made his views on these regulations known by suing to block them.


Activity-Based Computing: Computational Management of Activities Reflecting Human Intention

AI Magazine

An important research topic in artificial intelligence is automatic sensing and inferencing of contextual information, which is used to build computer models of the user's activity. One approach to building such activityaware systems is the notion of activitybased computing (ABC). ABC is a computing paradigm that has been applied in personal information-management applications as well as in ubiquitous, multidevice, and interactive surface computing. ABC has emerged as a response to the traditional applicationand file-centered computing paradigm, which is oblivious to a notion of a user's activity spanning heterogeneous devices, multiple applications, services, and information sources. This can make it challenging for users to find the actual information they need in between these vast amounts of resources.