This Week’s Top 10 (11/18/07-11/24/07)

  1. Bangladesh’s cyclone: Yet another calamity from the Economist

    THE heinously overcrowded patch of delta that is Bangladesh found itself in a painful and familiar position on Monday November 19th. The country is struggling to cope with the aftermath of a natural calamity—in this case cyclonic winds that tore across the southern coastline four days before, killing several thousand people.

    The government estimates that over 3,000 people have been killed, although many afflicted areas are still out of reach to rescuers. The Bangladeshi Red Crescent society predicts that the toll will climb above 10,000. The government also estimates that around 3m victims of the storm will need feeding and rehousing.

    See also: Cyclone Sidr: A hurricane by any other name from How the World Works

  2. New York Manhole Covers, Forged Barefoot in India from NYTimes

    NYC Manhole Covers

    Definitely view interactive video.

    NEW DELHI — Eight thousand miles from Manhattan, barefoot, shirtless, whip-thin men rippled with muscle were forging prosaic pieces of the urban jigsaw puzzle: manhole covers.

    Manhole covers manufactured in India can be anywhere from 20 to 60 percent cheaper than those made in the United States, said Alfred Spada, the editor and publisher of Modern Casting magazine and the spokesman for the American Foundry Society. Workers at foundries in India are paid the equivalent of a few dollars a day, while foundry workers in the United States earn about $25 an hour.

    The men making New York City’s manhole covers seemed proud of their work and pleased to be photographed doing it.

    NYC Manhole Covers

    Thanks Megan.

  3. China On Pace To Become Global Leader In Renewable Energy from The Sietch

    China will likely achieve-and may even exceed-its target to obtain 15 percent of its energy from renewables by 2020, according to a new report released by the Worldwatch Institute.

  4. …and the flip side.
    Coal Creates Legacy for China’s Past, Future from World Changing

    Acid rain and air pollution, mainly from the burning of coal, have contributed to the degradation of more than 80 percent of China’s 33 designated World Heritage sites, according to the Associated Press.

    But China’s rising energy demand isn’t just leaving its mark on the country’s heritage. Every 30 seconds, an infant with birth defects is born in China, according to Jiang Fan, deputy head of the country’s National Population and Family Planning Commission. The rate of birth defects nationwide has soared 40 percent in the past five years, from 105 defects per 10,000 births in 2001 to nearly 146 in 2006.

    Birth defect rates are highest in the northern province of Shanxi, an area that is also home to some of China’s richest coal resources.

  5. How Chocolate Can Save the Planet from NPR

    Chocolate is a wonderful thing, but how can it help combat global climate change? Cacao trees — the source of chocolate — grow well in rainforests, and rainforests store carbon. So researchers are working to help preserve the forest and to grow more chocolate.

  6. Climate wars threaten billions from the Guardian (UK)

    A total of 46 nations and 2.7 billion people are now at high risk of being overwhelmed by armed conflict and war because of climate change. A further 56 countries face political destabilisation, affecting another 1.2 billion individuals.

    via Digg Environment

  7. Mexico City Aims for Water Self-Sufficiency by 2020 from Treehugger

    The top environmental official in the Mexico City government, Martha Delgado Peralta, said recently the city was launching a new water sustainability policy to guarantee self-sufficiency and supply for future generations. The target is ambitious — to reach self-sufficiency by 2020 — and the government faces many serious hurdles.

    The pressures on the water system are such that the city’s burgeoning population now extracts water from its aquifers more than twice as fast as they are replenished. As a result, the city is sinking on top of the aquifer that supplies it. It has fallen nearly 30 feet in the last century and drops as much as 15 inches a year in some areas.

  8. How to Recycle Practically Anything from E-magazine
  9. Polar Bears for the South Pole? Biologists Debate Relocating Imperiled Species from Der Spiegel

    If this were the Onion, the next sentence would be “The Penguins are Toast. Nom, nom, nom”.

  10. After the Caudillo from the NYTimes

    Bona fide examples of poetic justice in politics, where the innocent are vindicated and the wicked get their just deserts, are about as rare in real life as they have been commonplace in popular culture, dating at least as far back as “The Count of Monte Cristo.” And yet to the extent that such things do occur, the political triumph of Michelle Bachelet, the current president of Chile — and the first woman in South America who can be said to have earned the title on her own merits — has been just such an event. The woman who was, as a 23-year-old medical student, briefly imprisoned along with her mother by the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet and whose father, Air Force Gen. Alberto Bachelet, was tortured and died in military custody in 1974, is now Chile’s chief of state — while the dictator died, his reputation in tatters, shortly after she took office.