By Alina Tugend The New York Times Sun., May 12, 2019 Maria Uriarte, a professor in the department of ecology, evolution and environmental biology at Columbia University, is trying to understand how Hurricane Maria in 2017 altered plant life in Puerto Rico. But trying to identify which species of tree survived and which was destroyed over acres of rainforests by looking at aerial photographs is a near-impossible task for the human eye. “The challenge with ecology as a field and climate change as an area is that the world is highly variable,” Uriarte said. “You can learn something about what happens in one place, but then the question is: How applicable is this in other areas that I haven’t worked at?” That is why she has turned to artificial intelligence, and machine learning in particular, which is especially good at taking in large amounts of information, then sorting through it, classifying it and “learning” to detect — … [Read more...] about How AI can help handle severe weather
Emergency funds how much
By Jack Ewing The New York Times Milan Schreuer Mon., May 6, 2019 On a breezy day in September, an ominous text message appeared on Fredrik Ekstrom’s phone: Go immediately to the war room. Ekstrom is chairman of Nasdaq Clearing, an outpost of the U.S. stock exchange company in Stockholm, which processes futures trading and acts, in part, as a shield against contagious losses in the global financial system. He headed toward an ordinary conference room outfitted with extra phones, video hookups, data terminals and policy manuals, designed to be a command center in case of a financial crisis. Until then, the war room had been used only for drills. Other senior executives were waiting when he arrived. They described an unfolding disaster. A trader named Einar Aas was having a spectacularly bad day. Ekstrom knew the name. Aas worked from his seaside home in a remote Norwegian fishing village, trading futures contracts tied to the price of Scandinavian … [Read more...] about How a lone Norwegian trader shook the world’s financial system
By Jordan Press The Canadian Press Sun., April 28, 2019 OTTAWA—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau didn’t close the door Sunday on using federal dollars to help relocate communities facing the recurring threat of severe flooding. Flooding in New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario has forced the evacuation of thousands, and threatened more property as water continues to rise with peaks not expected along the Ottawa River until Tuesday. Since the Liberals took office in late 2015, the government has approved almost $1.27 billion in funding for 41 projects deemed “disaster mitigation,” according to federal figures. The numbers show that only a handful of projects have started and many will take years to complete. In the meantime, Trudeau suggested, the federal government needed to make sure future infrastructure spending hit the “right” projects to “protect our communities and ensure their prosperity long-term.” He said the country … [Read more...] about Trudeau says country must talk about how and where to rebuild after floods
By Allison Jones The Canadian Press Sun., April 28, 2019 Ontario is cutting a music grant program by more than half as it looks to modernize it. The day after the Progressive Conservative government tabled its first budget earlier this month, officials told the Canadian Independent Music Association that the Ontario Music Fund would be reduced from $15 million to $7 million. The association’s president said he had expected the fund would receive less money, given the government’s aim of tackling the deficit. “I wasn’t surprised that the fund was going to receive a cut,” said Stuart Johnston. “I was surprised by the depth of the cut. I think that took everybody by surprise.” The Tories said in the budget that they will be reviewing the program. Article Continued Below “The government will work with Ontario Creates to modernize the Ontario Music Fund to focus on activities that bring the biggest return to the province, … [Read more...] about Ontario cuts music fund by more than half, looks to modernize it
The beautiful, sun-kissed islands of our tourism paradise of the Philippines have the mixed blessings of abundant natural resources, fertile volcanic soil and also lots of natural disasters once in a while, such as earthquakes, volcanoes erupting, typhoons, and others. How can businesses — most especially the numerous micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) — be prepared for any natural or manmade disasters? How can small enterprises and professionals survive calamities and accidents? The following is not based just on textbook research or interviews, but I personally suffered a destructive accidental fire in one of my businesses and it was caused by the fire from a next-door neighbor’s business (which had mysteriously been allowed to operate by the fire department without any fire extinguishers, while my staff had to use up to 13 units of 10-kilo and 20-kilo fire extinguishers). Here are suggestions for all of us: Review and be sure to update your … [Read more...] about How can small businesses & professionals prepare for disasters?