Growing Pile of Human and Animal Waste Harbors Threats, Opportunities
By Josh Brown – As demand for meat and dairy products increases across the world, much attention has landed on how livestock impact the environment, from land usage to greenhouse gas emissions.
Now researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are highlighting another effect from animals raised for food and the humans who eat them: the waste they all leave behind.
In a paper published November 13 in Nature Sustainability, the research team put forth what they believe is the first global estimate of annual recoverable human and animal fecal biomass. In 2014, the most recent year with data, the number was 4.3 billion tons and growing, and waste from livestock outweighed that from humans five to one at the country level.
“Exposure to both human and animal waste represent a threat to public health, particularly in low-income areas of the world that may not have resources to implement the best management and sanitation practices,” said Joe Brown, an assistant professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “But estimating the amount of recoverable feces in the world also highlights the enormous potential from a resource perspective.” more>
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- ‘Suicide Handshakes’ Kill Precursor T Cells that Pose Autoimmune Dangers, Ben Brumfield
- Research Raises Awareness of Indoor Air Quality Risk from 3D Printers, Josh Brown
- Stripping the Linchpins From the Life-Making Machine Reaffirms Its Seminal Evolution, Ben Brumfield
- Georgia Tech, UConn, and UMass Lowell Collaborate with Industry, NSF on 3D Printing, Josh Brown
- Open Source Machine Learning Tool Could Help Choose Cancer Drugs, John Toon
- Delivering Antibodies via mRNA Could Prevent RSV Infection, Kenna Simmons
- NASA Pushes Exploration of Oceans in Our Solar System in Georgia Tech-Led Alliance, Ben Brumfield
- Airbus and Georgia Tech Open Center for Overall Aircraft Design, John Toon
- Pilot Project Will Use Campus Wastewater to Grow Vegetables, Kenna Simmons
Posted in Business, Construction, EARTH WATCH, Economic development, Economy, Education, Healthcare, History, Nature, Science, Technology
Tagged Business improvement, Capital, Climate change, Earth, Ecology, Georgia Tech, Health, Jobs
By Chris Wiltz – AI is rapidly becoming a globally valued commodity. And nations that lead in AI will likely be the ones that guide the global economy in the near future.
“As AI technology continues to advance, its progress has the potential to dramatically reshape the nation’s economic growth and welfare. It is critical the federal government build upon, and increase, its capacity to understand, develop, and manage the risks associated with this technology’s increased use,” the report stated.
While the US has traditionally led the world in developing and applying AI technologies, the new report finds it’s no longer a given that the nation will be number 1 when it comes to AI. Witnesses interviewed by the House Subcommittee said that federal funding levels for AI research are not keeping pace with the rest of the industrialized world, with one witness stating: “[W]hile other governments are aggressively raising their research funding, US government research has been relatively flat.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, China is the biggest competitor to the US in the AI space. “Notably, China’s commitment to funding R&D has been growing sharply, up 200 percent from 2000 to 2015,” the report said.
AI’s potential threat to national security was cited as a key reason to ramp up R&D efforts. While there has yet to be a major hack or data breach involving AI, many security experts believe it is only a matter of time.
Cybersecurity companies are already leveraging AI to assist in tasks such as monitoring network traffic for suspicious activity and even for simulating cyberattacks on systems. It would be foolish to assume that malicious parties aren’t looking to take advantage of AI for their own gain as well. more>
Posted in Broadband, Business, CONGRESS WATCH, Economic development, Economy, Education, Leadership, Net, Science, Technology
Tagged AI, Artificial intelligence, Broadband, Business improvement, Internet, Leadership, Productivity, Technology
By Christopher Given-Wilson – Between the 1430s and the arrival of the Spanish in 1532, the Inkas conquered and ruled an empire stretching for 4,000 kilometers along the spine of the Andes, from Quito in modern Ecuador to Santiago in Chile. Known to its conquerors as Tahuantinsuyu – ‘the land of four parts’ – it contained around 11 million people from some 80 different ethnic groups, each with its own dialect, deities and traditions. The Inkas themselves, the ruling elite, comprised no more than about one per cent.
Almost every aspect of life in Tahuantinsuyu – work, marriage, commodity exchange, dress – was regulated, and around 30 per cent of all the empire’s inhabitants were forcibly relocated, some to work on state economic projects, some to break up centers of resistance. Despite the challenges presented by such a vertical landscape, an impressive network of roads and bridges was also maintained, ensuring the regular collection of tribute in the capacious storehouses built at intervals along the main highways. These resources were then redistributed as military, religious or political needs dictated.
All this suggests that the Sapa Inka (emperor) governed Tahuantinsuyu both efficiently and profitably. What’s more, he did so without alphabetic writing, for the Inkas never invented this. Had they been left to work out their own destiny, this state of affairs might well have continued for decades or even centuries, but their misfortune was to find themselves confronted by both superior weaponry and, crucially, a culture that was imbued with literacy. As a result, not only was their empire destroyed, but their culture and religion were submerged. more>
Posted in Banking, Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, History, Leadership, Nature, Science, Technology
Tagged Alphabetic writing, Business improvement, Government, Incas, Leadership, Productivity, Super regions
By George Bradt – Your team needs disrupters, rebels, challengers, and deviants to help it evolve and survive. That’s the main premise of my earlier article on Why The Highest Performing Teams Always Fail Over Time. Here we explore how to get more positive deviation, drawing from Andrew Benedict-Nelson and Jeff Leitner’s book “See Think Solve” on how to solve tough societal problems.
Benedict-Nelson and Leitner’s main premises are:
- Deviant behavior can subvert the social norms – informal, unspoken rules – preventing you from solving problems.
- Every tough problem is held in place by one or more problematic social norms.
- See the actors, history, limits, future, configuration, and parthood, then think about norms and deviance, before deviating from the norm to solve the problem.
Deviance can be positive or negative, evolutionary or revolutionary, unintentional or deliberate. more>
Posted in Book review, Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, How to, Leadership
Tagged Business improvement, Deviance, Deviant, Jobs, Productivity, Technology
Why we’re all impact investors now
By Chana R. Schoenberger – Laurence “Larry” Fink, the founder and CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, which has more than $6 trillion in assets under management, issued an open letter to CEOs this past January—and reportedly sent many of them into a tizzy.
Fink’s letter said society is demanding that companies, public and private, need to “serve a social purpose,” benefiting not just shareholders but also employees, customers, and neighbors. And, he explained, from that point forward, BlackRock would be “eager to participate in discussions about long-term value creation and work to build a better framework for serving all your stakeholders.”
Executives, he wrote, should be able to answer their questions about the company’s actions. For example, what role does the company play in the community? How is it managing its impact on the environment? Is it working to create a diverse workforce?
“The time has come for a new model of shareholder engagement,” he wrote.
For nearly 50 years, many have been guided by the idea, laid out most famously by Milton Friedman, that the most appropriate way to create social change is to give profits to investors, and taxes to the government, and use that money to make an impact. more>
Posted in Business, Economy, Education, How to, Regulations
Tagged Business improvement, Capital, Chicago Booth, Impact investor, Jobs, Leadership, Noncompetes, Organization