Ah, Wikipedia. Many of us at Grist frequently use this resource, but we do so knowing that just about anyone can edit a Wikipedia article at anytime. So, can we really trust the information contained within? Fear not! As Wired reports, there is a new tool that sheds some light on who is editing what: On November 17th, 2005, an anonymous Wikipedia user deleted 15 paragraphs from an article on e-voting machine-vendor Diebold, excising an entire section critical of the company's machines. While anonymous, such changes typically leave behind digital fingerprints offering hints about the contributor, such as the location of the computer used to make the edits. In this case, the changes came from an IP address reserved for the corporate offices of Diebold itself. And it is far from an isolated case. A new data-mining service launched Monday traces millions of Wikipedia entries to their corporate sources, and for the first time puts comprehensive data behind longstanding suspicions of manipulation, which until now have surfaced only piecemeal in investigations of specific allegations. Wikipedia Scanner -- the brainchild of Cal Tech computation and neural-systems graduate student Virgil Griffith -- offers users a searchable database that ties millions of anonymous Wikipedia edits to organizations where those edits apparently originated, by cross-referencing the edits with data on who owns the associated block of internet IP addresses.
Fans of 24 know that if there's one person that can stop climate change, it ain't Al Gore. It's Jack Bauer. If you are not familiar with Jack, here are some of his qualifications from the site Random Jack Bauer Facts: There are two hands that can beat a royal flush. Jack Bauer's right hand and Jack Bauer's left hand. Most people would need months to recover from 20 months of Chinese interrogation. Jack Bauer needs a shower, a shave and a change of clothes. The city of Los Angeles once named a street after Jack Bauer in gratitude for his saving the city several times. They had to rename it after people kept dying when they tried to cross the street. No one crosses Jack Bauer and lives. If Jack Bauer had been a Spartan the movie would have been called "1". Some people see the glass as half full. Others see it as half empty. Jack Bauer see the glass as a deadly weapon. Yup, Jack is one tough son-of-a-gun, and he and the producers of 24 have pledged to fight climate change and take the following steps to reduce their carbon footprint:
Here's what might be an ingenious idea, as reported by Wired:
Antarctica gig lined up for Live Earth concerts: OK, so they're not rock stars. But scientists with the British Antarctic Survey will guarantee Al Gore's promise that the Live Earth concerts on July 7 will be performed on all 7 continents. They'll be performing during the dead of winter at the Rothera Research Station. In fact, it'll be the first time anyone outside the station has heard the indie rock-folk band, Nunatak, play at all. (Nunatak, by the way, is a Greenlandic word that means an exposed summit of a ridge mountain or peak within an ice field or glacier.)
Possibly one of the most tragic outcomes that may result from climate change is the extinction of an entire nation's culture and homeland. As the United Nations discussed the threat that global warming poses to the security of nations, Afelee Pita, an ambassador from the tiny Pacific island nation of Tuvalu, was there to represent his country. Tuvalu may be one of the first nations whose way of life could disappear as a result of the actions (or in this case, the lack of action) of other countries. NPR is covering this story as part of their year-long Climate Connections series. Here's a quote from the piece: "We face many threats associated with climate change," Pita said to the U.N. "Ocean warming is changing the very nature of our island nation. Slowly our coral reefs are dying through coral bleaching. We are witnessing changes to fish stocks. And we face the increasing threat of more severe cyclones. With the highest (land) point of four meters above sea level, the threat of more cyclones is extremely disturbing." Listen to the entire story on NPR.org. And check out a small Grist slideshow of photos taken by Gary Braasch in 2005. Update [2007-6-12 13:1:43 by Chris Schults]: NPR also has a related piece about the islands of Fiji.
Last night, about a week after Rupert Murdoch announced News Corp. is going green, FOX aired The Day After Tomorrow. I'm not sure this is the best start, but it is something, right?
The May 2007 issue of Wired Magazine has a piece about the development of the world's largest eco-city, Dongtan, underway on the outskirts of Shanghai (as we reported in May of last year). The article focuses on Alejandro Gutierrez and his team from Arup (project info here). Recommended reading.
Ah, Earth Day. What could be a better way to celebrate our planet than buying more stuff and then having it shipped halfway across the country? Regardless of what you may think of the online behemoth, Amazon.com should get some credit for prominently promoting its Earth Day store on its home page for the last week. And if their customers are going to buy things, it might as well be green things, right? In their "10 Ways You Can Help the Environment" they suggest buying CFLs (of course), a bike, a programmable digital tire gauge (for better fuel efficiency), a battery recharger and rechargeable batteries, and the must-have for every eco-shopper: a canvas bag. There's more, but no where near as comprehensive as the Grist store (powered by, ahem, Amazon.com), where your favorite online environmental news site earns a percentage of every purchase. Amazon has also begun tagging some of their blog posts with "Green Life" and "Healthnut" and have been writing about Grist's Earth Day dinners article, CFLs (again), green PCs, and organic chocolate. And Doug informs us that for each purchase of An Inconvenient Truth on Earth Day, one school in the U.S. or Canada will get a copy donated. (But will they be able to watch it?) But if you really want to be green and buy a DVD, check out Amazon's Unbox Video Download service, which allows you to buy or rent from a large assortment of movies and TV shows, and watch them on your computer (legally), including: An Inconvenient Truth, Who Killed the Electric Car? and Fast Food Nation.