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Computers are providing solutions to math problems that we can’t check
Good news! A computer has solved the longstanding Erdős discrepancy problem! Trouble is, we have no idea what it’s talking about — because the solution, which is as long as all of Wikipedia’s pages combined, is far too voluminous for us puny humans to confirm.
A few years ago, the mathematician Steven Strogatz predicted that it wouldn’t be too much longer before computer-assisted solutions to math problems will be beyond human comprehension. Well, we’re pretty much there. In this case, it’s an answer produced by a computer that was hammering away at the Erdős discrepancy problem.
Full Story: Io9 via emergentfutures
via alexanderpf:

Beyond the circles of our knowledge.

Computers are providing solutions to math problems that we can’t check

Good news! A computer has solved the longstanding Erdős discrepancy problem! Trouble is, we have no idea what it’s talking about — because the solution, which is as long as all of Wikipedia’s pages combined, is far too voluminous for us puny humans to confirm.

A few years ago, the mathematician Steven Strogatz predicted that it wouldn’t be too much longer before computer-assisted solutions to math problems will be beyond human comprehension. Well, we’re pretty much there. In this case, it’s an answer produced by a computer that was hammering away at the Erdős discrepancy problem.

Full Story: Io9 via emergentfutures

via alexanderpf:

Beyond the circles of our knowledge.

(via studio630)

futurejournalismproject:

Cable on Climate Science

Via the Union of Concerned Scientists:

CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC are the most widely watched cable news networks in the U.S. Their coverage of climate change is an influential source of information for the public and policy makers alike.

To gauge how accurately these networks inform their audiences about climate change, UCS analyzed the networks’ climate science coverage in 2013 and found that each network treated climate science very differently.

Fox News was the least accurate; 72 percent of its 2013 climate science-related segments contained misleading statements. CNN was in the middle, with about a third of segments featuring misleading statements. MSNBC was the most accurate, with only eight percent of segments containing misleading statements.

Read the overview here, or jump to the study here (PDF).

Images: Science or Spin?: Assessing the Accuracy of Cable News Coverage of Climate Science, via Union of Concerned Scientists

Bill McKibben’s Tweets This Morning

From the Siberian Times:

Forest fires arrive early as Siberia sees record high temperatures — New evidence of climate change as blazes come six weeks early in 2014.

By 2 April, 17 forest fires had been registered across 2,000 hectares. Among the areas now at risk after a faster-than-usual snow melt are the south of Siberia to the territory of the Far Eastern Federal District, to Baikal and the Amur regions.

'It was the hottest April 1 on record for several western Siberian cities, including Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Kemerovo, Barnaul and Gorno-Altaysk,' said Renad Yagudin, of the Novosibirsk meteorological service. 'The average temperature in Russia increased 0.4 degrees every ten years. Overall, the temperature in the area is 6.5-16.2 degrees Fahrenheit (2-9 Celsius) higher than the record set in 1989.'

Some parts of Russia have shown even more extreme warming. In the Arctic, south Chukotka and Kamchatka regions temperatures rose 150 to 200 per cent more than in the rest of the country, reported RIA Novosti.

The great boreal forests of Siberia and Canada are dying faster than predicted.

In the US, the new dustbowl:

Joey Bunch, For southeast Colorado, a new dust bowl is blowing in

Topsoil blew into a dark cloud that swept across the flat landscape of southeast Colorado once again Monday afternoon. Footsteps leave dust in loose pockets and grit in the teeth of those who speak. The land pays a bigger price. After nearly four years of deep drought, wind-churned dust has become a slow-moving natural disaster. Comparisons to the Dust Bowl are no longer hyperbole — they’re accurate.

"The dust storms we had here a week or so ago are just about as bad as I’ve ever seen," Joe Rosengrants said. The 79-year-old farmer and rancher is part of a family that has worked the land in Baca County since 1910.

It will soon all be desert, all the way into Mexico and west to California.

And Sri Lanka has a killing drought and high temperatures, too:

Farming at standstill in north as skies stay dry | The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Agriculture in the north has come to a complete stop because of the lack of rain, an expert said this week as climatologists warned the current seasonal positioning of the sun directly over the island is intensifying the protracted heatwave.

Last week’s sporadic thundershowers might not soothe the scorched lands and hot conditions are expected to prevail.

Director (Forecasting) of the Meteorology Department, S.R.Jayasekare, said the worst affected areas are Vavuniya, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Moneragala, Mannar, Puttalam and Kurunegala, where the temperature ranged from 35-38C. On Friday, Mattala recorded the highest temperature of 37.7C.

37.7º C = 99.86º F.

Eduardo Porter, Old Forecast of Famine May Yet Come True

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/02/business/energy-environment/a-200-year-old-forecast-for-food-scarcity-may-yet-come-true.html?ref=todayspaper

excerpt

Recent experience suggests that the productivity of farmland won’t decline gradually as the world grows warmer. World food prices stopped their long secular decline around 2007 and have been on a roller-coaster ride since. More volatile weather patterns promise to bring sharp disruptions to agricultural production that can cause spikes in food prices.

“There is a rigorous correlation between food price spikes and urban unrest,” said Andrew Holland, who studies climate change at the American Security Project, a research group in Washington. “There was a food price spike in 2008, and you can see unrest spread throughout Africa. And there’s a relatively clear line that leads from the food price spike in 2010 tounrest in the Middle East and the Arab Spring.”

Instability spreads easily. When rice prices jumped in 2007, big producers like India and Vietnam banned exports to protect their domestic markets, while importers like Bangladesh, Nigeria and Iran went out on the market to hoard as much grain as they could. The combination wreaked havoc in commodity markets.

Since then big food importers, like China, Saudi Arabia and South Korea, have tried to insulate themselves from future food shortages by buying or leasing agricultural land in places like Sudan, Madagascar and Uzbekistan. The strategy is still to be tested in a situation in which Africa or Central Asia were to suffer itself shortages of grain.

“I have run some war game scenarios,” Mr. Holland said. “The tendency becomes very quickly for a country to look after its own interests.”

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