Unprecedented Arctic ozone hole in 2011

Unprecedented Arctic ozone hole in 2011; a Florida tropical storm next week?: An unprecedented ozone hole opened in the Arctic during 2011, researchers reported this week in the journal Nature. Holes in the Antarctic ozone layer have opened up each spring since the early 1980s, but the Arctic had only shown modest springtime ozone losses in the 5% – 30% range over the past twenty years. But this year, massive ozone destruction of 80% occurred at altitudes of 18 – 20 kilometers in the Arctic during spring, resulting in Earth’s first known case of twin ozone holes, one over each pole. During late March and portions of April, the Arctic ozone hole was positioned over heavily populated areas of Western Europe, allowing large levels of damaging ultraviolet rays to reach the surface. UV-B radiation causes skin damage that can lead to cancer, and has been observed to reduce crop yields in two-thirds of 300 important plant varieties studied (WMO, 2002.) The total loss of ozone in a column from the surface to the top of the atmosphere reached 40% during the peak of this year’s Arctic ozone hole. Since each 1% drop in ozone levels results in about 1% more UV-B reaching Earth’s surface (WMO, 2002), UV-B levels reaching the surface likely increased by 40% at the height of this year’s hole. We know that an 11% increase in UV-B light can cause a 24% decrease in winter wheat yield (Zheng et al., 2003), so this year’s Arctic ozone hole may have caused noticeable reductions in Europe’s winter wheat crop.

[What a mess…]
Source: Dr. Jeff Masters’ WunderBlog

Occupy Silicon Valley?

Occupy Silicon Valley?: Instead of bundling parcels of mortgages and turning them into derivatives, they bundle up parcels of people and turn them into masses of users, who generate content. Then they sell access to those users for a price, to other businesses. The problem is that as growth levels off, and it’s sure to do that (how many more groups of 800 million can Facebook find, and where will they have to go to find them, and who will they have to sell out to to get there) — they’re going to have to take more from those users. Zuck calls it “sharing.” The rest of us call it “privacy.” [I find it interesting that the vast majority of friends and family have barely any network/social presence at all.]
Source: Scripting News

A new iPhone prediction

A new iPhone prediction:

Out of all the pundits who will explain over the next 24 hours why the iPhone 4S is a huge disappointment, less than 1 in 20 will even attempt a coherent defense of that position.

“All right, the camera meets or exceeds anything else on the market in a phone, as does the CPU. Yes, iMessage beats BBM, and has nothing directly comparable on any other platform. Sure, it’s actually a ‘world’ phone now, and it has HSDPA data speeds. Yeah, iOS 5 addresses complaints with notifications and a lot more. Okay, iCloud isn’t quite like any other syncing solution and it could be a really big deal, and the cloud-based iTunes is—no matter what you may think of iTunes—a killer media manager. And sure, we’ll have to see how Siri works in practice, but up until now voice control has meant sitting in your car repeating ‘Dial Martha’ over and over in slow, mounting frustration—if Siri does what it’s supposed to, it’s operating on a level we haven’t seen before outside of sci-fi movies.

“So all in all, we have to conclude this was quite a disappointment.”

[Heh. I agree. Siri could be, ahem, well siriously amazing. I’ve lived a number of “voice activation” features in my car and phones, and I’ve found them utterly useless. I haven’t participated in the betas for iOS5 for lack of time, but I’m excited to give this a go. It could be great. Even insanely so.]
Source: Coyote Tracks