Yesterday, on the eve of World Water Day, NASA and the United States Geological Survey released the first images from the thermal imaging band of its latest launch of the LANDSAT satellite. The satellite will begin regularly producing data on May of this year. Why does that matter? It is the latest improvement in a technology that, in my opinion, has the power to revolutionize water management around the world.
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Food crisis warnings are getting louder, with many urging action to head off a repeat of 2007-08’s soaring prices and shortages. The Hindu lists driving forces behind food crises and “corrective steps” in “The Looming Global Crisis and the Way Out.” The story suggests a food crisis is no longer a “freakish phenomenon” in the same way extreme weather is no longer disconnected from global warming. Hot, very hot, and extremely hot summer weather has become more common since 1951, according to research by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA includes a visualization of temperature changes through the decades in “Research Links Extreme Summer Heat Events to Global Warming.” The just-wrapped London Olympics that dominated the Twittersphere for two weeks wasn’t a mere sporting event, argues The Guardian in “Briefly But Gloriously, London 2012 Bridged the Divide.” The Games at times demonstrated the power to “transcend negative stereotypes and transform perceptions” of developing countries. With concern over an Ebola Virus outbreak easing in Uganda, Development Policy Blog interviews epidemiologist Dr. Kamalini Lokuge, a veteran of responses of Ebola outbreaks, before her trip to the stricken area.
A couple of weeks ago, a few World Bank staff members teamed up with Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, NASA-AMES, disaster relief experts, and the software developer community in Mountain View, California to help find better ways to support disaster relief efforts.
The result, the Random Hacks of Kindness Codejam, brought together about 150 people at the Hacker Dojo, and resulted in some innovative hacks (or solutions to technical problems) that will hopefully shape the way the developer community supports disaster relief efforts going forward.
There has been a lot of coverage of the event already (including a great post on the East Asia & Pacific on the rise blog), so instead of going in to that, here's a quick list of posts and articles about the event that you might want to check out:
- East Asia & Pacific on the rise: Random Hacks of Kindness: software developers create and share code to tackle disaster relief
- Humanitarian FOSS Project: Random Hacks of Kindness
- Emergency Management: Random Hacks of Kindness
- In Case of Emergency Blog: “Random Hacks Of Kindness” Starts Today
- openNASA: Random Hacks of Kindness
- CNET: Hackers Create Tools for Disaster Relief
- CNET Photos: Random Hacks of Kindness
- ESRI at the Random Hacks of Kindness Codejam
- AFCEA: “Random Hacks of Kindness” to Aid Emergency Response
- CMU: Carnegie Mellon Team Wins First Prize at Random Hacks of Kindness
A bunch of software programmers get together, listen to a list of desired projects formulated by aid, emergency, and development experts that would help tackle issues related to disaster relief, work for two days and the result is eleven applications that will allow users to easily report their status in the event of a disaster, locate family, provide data needed by emergency responders, or that will automatically process aerial images taken by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), among others.