The Atlantic is much warmer than normal as NOAA issues today’s Hurricane Outlook for 2013. Parts of the Atlantic Basin are much warmer than normal especially in the breeding ground for hurricanes off the west coast of Africa. These higher than normal temperatures, along with reduced wind shear due to the absence of El Niño are just some of the reasons why NOAA is predicting an active to very active Atlantic hurricane season in 2013. This image from PO.DAAC’s State of the Ocean (SOTO) tool (http://
For Seeing the Google Eartt Map of sea surface temperatures (SST) Click This Link
Source: NASA Website
Click this link to see the WORLD HISTORICAL CROPPING MAP
There’s surprisingly little data available on the subject. But a 2012 poll by WIN/Gallup International — an international polling firm that is not associated with the D.C.-based Gallup group — asked more than 50,000 people in 40 countries whether they considered themselves “religious,” “not religious” or “convinced atheist.” Overall, the poll concluded that roughly 13 percent of global respondents identified as atheists, more than double the percentage in the U.S.
The highest reported share of self-described atheists is in China: an astounding 47 percent. Faith has a complicated history in China. The state is deeply skeptical of organized religion, which it has long considered a threat to its authority.
In the Taiping rebellion of the 19th century, a religious cult started a Chinese civil war that killed millions of people and left the country exposed to European powers. The official ideology of the Communist government scorned both “new” Western religions and more traditionally Chinese faiths, destroying countless temples and relics during the Cultural Revolution of 1967 to 1977. While today’s Chinese leaders do not seem to share Mao Zedong’s fervent belief that China’s rich religious history was holding it back from modernity, nor do they seem prepared to bring that history back.
Japan, where 31 percent call themselves atheist, is a little more complicated. While superficial religious observation is common – many weddings take place in churches – formal religious practice has never really recovered from the imperial era that culminated with World War Two.
For much of the 1920 through 1940s, Japan’s imperial government combined an extreme form of race-based nationalism with emperor-worship and traditional Shinto practice. Some symbols of that era still remain, such as the Yasukuni shrine, though they are deeply controversial and often associated with the country’s wartime abuses.
Like nationalism in Germany, a bit of a post-war taboo has developed around religion in Japan. Separately, there is an alarming trend in Japan of forced religious de-conversion, in which families may “kidnap” a loved one who as adopted a faith seen as too extreme, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, and pressure them to give it up.
One of the most surprising datapoints here might be Saudi Arabia, where 5 percent say they’re atheist. Not a high number, to be sure, but higher than in many other countries, despite the extremely sensitive taboo against atheism in Saudi Arabia, which is also considered a serious crime. (In both Iraq and Afghanistan, for instance, less than 1 percent of respondents called themselves atheists.) We looked earlier at the surprisingly robust community of underground Saudi atheists.
In addition to Iraq and Afghanistan, religious sentiment is strong in Ghana, Nigeria, Armenia and Fiji, where more than nine in 10 people say they’re religious. WIN/Gallup notes that religiosity is highest among the poor and, to a lesser extent, among the less educated, which certainly correlates among the most religious countries. (Ghana’s GDP per capita, for instance, ranks 173rd worldwide.)
As for Italy, a stone’s throw from the Vatican chapel where Pope Francis spoke on Wednesday, the Catholic Church has little to fear. Despite a gradual slide in Catholic baptisms in Italy over the past several decades, nearly three-fourths of Italians consider themselves religious. That number has actually grown one percent since 2005, according to WIN/Gallup, bucking the trend toward weaker religious feeling seen elsewhere in the world.
It is a reality that poverty exists in the developed world too, including the most vibrant economy in the world, the US.
The Global Positioning System works the same way no matter what receiver you use, but your choice of outdoor activity affects which receiver makes the most sense for you. Different manufacturers — with Garmin at the head of the pack — offer wrist-mounted GPS units with varying price points and features, each of which is tailored to a specific niche market.
A new report by Save the Children, a London-based NGO, gauges and ranks the conditions for mothers in almost every country in the world. Their annual report, just out, shows that Nordic countries are the best places to be mothers. Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are the worst.
The Mother’s Index, based on a wide range of data gathered from the United Nations and other sources, are mapped out above. Bluer countries are best for mothers, red countries are worst and purple are somewhere in the middle.
A few interesting details from the report :
- In India, 309,300 babies die every year within 24 hours of birth
- Motherhood is hard and dangerous in bottom-ranked countries : The report provides these facts about the average mother in the ten bottom-ranked countries, all of which are in Africa:• On average, 1 woman in 30 is likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause.
• 1 child in 7 dies before his or her fifth birthday.
• Eight out of 10 women are likely to suffer the loss of a child in their lifetime.1
- Northern Europe is the best for mothers, sub-Saharan Africa the worst
- Much more than just national wealth at play
- Many lack access to sufficient care during birth
- The U.S. scores poorly because of inequality
There’s some fascinating data embedded in this map, and much of it, befitting Valentine’s Day, is good news. In the vast majority of surveyed countries, most than half of respondents answered yes when asked if they’d felt a lot of love the previous day. The three countries with the very highest scores are, in this order, the Philippines (93 percent), Rwanda (92 percent) and Puerto Rico (90 percent). The region that appears to experience the most love is Latin America, followed by Southeast Asia and Western Europe.
What about the countries where fewer than half of respondents said they’d experience a lot of love the previous day? Most of them are former Soviet republics: Russia, Central Asia, Eastern Europe and the Caucuses region all consistently scored poorly. Interestingly, those countries also tend to have very high smoking rates.
Other low-scoring countries included Burma/Myanmar, Yemen, and three African states: Ethiopia, Chad and Morocco. In general, though, respondents in the Middle East and in sub-Saharan Africa seems to respond positively, if not in quite as large numbers as other parts of the world.
In the United States, 81 percent of respondents answered yes to the survey question. Americans are tied with Laotians, Argentineans, Belgians, Canadians and Greeks.
Not a single country scored in the bottom category on the map, with 25 percent or fewer of respondents answering yes to the question. If you’re wondering why I even bothered including that category, well, I thought we could use a little bit of good news. It is Valentine’s Day, after all.
Over 2006 and 2007, Gallup surveyed people in 136 countries about the amount of love in their lives, asking them, “Did you experience love for a lot of the day yesterday?” The point of the question was to determine the countries where people feel the most and least loved.
The greener countries are more ethnically diverse and the orange countries more homogenous. There are a few trends you can see right away: countries in Europe and Northeast Asia tend to be the most homogenous, sub-Saharan African nations the most diverse. The Americas are generally somewhere in the middle. And richer countries appear more likely to be homogenous.
This map is particularly interesting viewed alongside data we examined yesterday on racial tolerance, as measured by the frequency with which people in certain countries said they would not want a neighbor from a different racial group.
When five economists and social scientists set out to measure ethnic diversity for a landmark 2002 paper for the Harvard Institute of Economic Research, they started by comparing data from an array of different sources: national censuses, Encyclopedia Brittanica, the CIA, Minority Rights Group International and a 1998 study called “Ethnic Groups Worldwide.” They looked for consistence and inconsistence in the reports to determine what data set would be most reliable and complete. Because data sources such as censuses or surveys are self-reported – in other words, people are classified how they ask to be classified – the ethnic group data reflects how people see themselves, not how they’re categorized by outsiders. Those results measured 650 ethnic groups in 190 countries.
The index has been developed by the risk analysis company Maplecroft for governments, NGOs and business to use as a barometer to identify those countries which may be susceptible to famine and societal unrest stemming from food shortages and price fluctuations. This map shows the results of evaluating the availability, access and stability of food supplies in 197 countries, as well as the nutritional and health status of populations.
There were 800,000 new refugees in the world in 2011, according to the latest data out this week from the UNHCR. 2011 is a record year for forced displacement, with more people becoming refugees than at any time since 2000.
• Afghanistan still produces more refugees than any other country – 3,054,709 – followed by Iraq and Somalia
• The US and the UK produced as well as accepted refugees in 2011. US: 3,778 (+24.9%) and UK: 150 (-2.2%)
• Côte d’Ivoire has seen a 270% increase in just one year, and Libya +89.9%
• 4.3m people were newly displaced
• In many countries, the majority of people “of concern” to the UNHCR are children aged under 18 – 72% in Eritrea, for example
Click the map to explore and use the dropdown menu to see other maps. What can you do with the data?
• Data: download the full spreadsheet
• Data does not include Palestinian refugees looked after by UNRWA.
For Viewing the map. Click Here