• Sun. Sep 19th, 2021

Wergosum's

Food, climate, disasters, analyses and more…

wergosum

https://wergosum.com/biographical-notes/

Refugees

An analysis published by FAO at mid September 2019 [10] lists dry weather and protracted conflicts as the main factors behind the external food assistance required by 41 countries. 31…

Disasters: sources of information and trends

This post gives a list of web-based sources that publish disaster information suitable for monitoring. This implies that the information is provided near real-time, often unverified and mostly very redundant…

Ah le bon français de Microsoft…

East African humanitarian crisis

East Africa is suffering a deep humanitarian crisis brought about a complex interaction between war and climate, with large refugee fluxes affecting at least seven countries. The situation is compounded…

Global grain stocks

Although they are of paramount strategic importance (or, maybe, because of their strategic importance!) world food stocks are not known. They are mostly estimated indirectly based on other data, with…

Un succès mondial qui dure: l’école prussienne

  L’école primaire obligatoire telle que nous la connaissons s’est mise en place petit à petit depuis la fin du 18ème siècle. Elle est souvent l’oeuvre d’éducateurs, philosophes et théoriciens…

Troubles du Déficit de l’Attention: les chasseurs sont parmi nous

Les TDAH, Troubles du Déficit de l’Attention (avec ou sans hyperactivité, aussi ATDH) sont en augmentation constante dans notre societé et touchent actuellement près de 5 % des enfants dans les…

Using an Amazon Kindle in Beijing

Dear Amazon helpdesk I am writing to confirm, as I have done before, that downloading English books to a Kindle from amazon.com (as opposed to amazon.cn, I assume) takes forever in China.…

Why are US presidents taller than ordinary Americans?

Many websites, including Wikipedia, compare the height of US presidents with their main contenders and find that, in most cases, the elected president is the taller of the two. This…

Musique d’enfer au Paradis

Jérôme Bosch a peint le Jardin des Délices au tout début du XVIème siècle, en 1502 ou 1503. Le panneau de gauche représente le paradis. Dieu – très bien habillé,…

Je suis Charlie. OK, mais qui suis-je, au juste?

Il y a d’une part, des terroristes, et de l’autre, des récupérateurs. Pour les terroristes, Mélenchon a raison: leur combat n’est pas religieux, est politique. La cible du combat à…

Coup de tabac à Beijing

Tous les matins, je me rends au travail à Beijing à pied (environ 20 minutes), en traversant d’abord un carrefour, puis, en diagonale, un terrain “vague” qui est surtout un…

La France remporte enfin Waterloo? La saga continue!

Sous la pression de son voisin français, la Belgique – au lieu de crier à l’ingérence – a retiré un projet de pièce de deux Euros commémorant la bataille de…

African geomatics centres

Many African countries have established and operate dedicated institutions dealing with remote sensing, mapping, GIS, GPS, warning systems and other geomatics applications. In addition, at the initiative of groups of…

Cellphone and internet boom in Africa!

The adoption of new Information and Communicatons Technology (ICT) at the macro and micro levels in Africa and elsewhere is closely linked to socioeconomic growth and development (Obijofor, 2009).  To…

Amazing maize…

The post analyses current trends of maize yield and production, and tries to look ahead and see where changes are likely in the future. It is related to a previous…

NSA 62nd anniversary

The National Security Agency (NSA) was established at the beginning of November 1952 (on the 4th of November, to be precise) . Join me in congratulating them on the occasion…

The three rules of crop yield forecasting

When they have been in a business long enough, “experts” often develop a gusto for the more philosophical side of their trade, and crop forecasters are no exception. Strictly speaking, the philosophical aspects are…

Global food supply trends in 2014, and beyond!

This post analyses the trends of yield, area, and production in the 31 countries that together make up 80 percent of the world supply of maize, rice, wheat, and soybean.…

Statistical Vs. agronomic significance in crop monitoring and forecasting

We all develop rules of thumb that help us make operational decisions. One of my personal rules is that “agronomic significance” comes before “statistical significance”. For instance, when assessing regression…

A practical joke by MicroSoft?

I was very surprised, yesterday afternoon, when my brand-new HP Zbook running Windows 7 crashed after I inserted my good old Huawei broadband wireless USB stick. The crash took the…

Using the simple “Miami” Net Primary Production (NPP) potential as a crop monitoring indicator

Routine crop monitoring is done with indices which indirectly describe or capture the effect of environmental variables on crop condition and yield. Among the indicators that indirectly “capture” crop condition,…

Un bien bon canular à base d’anus de porc et de calmar

Thomas vient de me faire parvenir un lien avec une information de première: on vendrait du calmar surgelé qui contient… des anus de porc. C’est sur le site de la…

Crop monitoring dialects

There are many national and a handful of international crop monitoring and forecasting systems. All maintain websites and publish bulletins, which summarise their analyses for decision makers at the national…

The return of the overbite

By Anna-Giulia, Eric, Jacques and Wergosum [First published on 20130217; updated 20130328] The idea for this note started with an email from Eric, where he expressed his surprise, and his…

Mixing time series and cross-sectional data

As I was updating a couple of things in another corner of this blog,  I stumbled upon of  a passage in a recent book by Nate Silver (2012) that has…

Forecast and even planned: the Vajont dam disaster

The post on the risky business of forecasting is updated every time something happens with the trial of the scientists who failed to predict the L’Aquila earthquake. The trial reminded me of…

The risky business of forecasting

Forecasting the future is a difficult task, as there are many more ways to be wrong than right! In addition, a forecast is not just a statement about what might…

What, if anything, happened during the Neolithic?

First published 20121020 / Last updated 20121028 Bread is one of the most typical products of agriculture, and, somehow, bread is agriculture. Like many other people, I assumed that bread…

God(s) explained, somehow!

(Published 20100908 / Last updated 20121019) — As a student, I read  an article by Rappaport (The sacred in human evolution, 1971) which impressed me a lot. While  maintaining a…

Pandemic or not pandemic: Tipping points & H1N1

Experts I’ve interviewed over the past six years generally agree that such a Next Big One is not only possible but probable. They agree that it will almost certainly be…

Civilisation-ending volcanic winter (note 1)

First published 20120718 /  last updated on 20120924 Is climate change the worst nightmare scenario for our future? We know it is there to stay, and experts tell us daily…

The cost of hunger and malnutrition

Malnutrition remains the world’s most serious health problem and the single biggest contributor to child mortality. Nearly one-third of children in the developing world are either underweight or stunted, and…

Climate change: vehemence Vs competence

This text by Didier Nordon appeared in February 2011 in Pour la science, the French edition of Scientific American (N.400, Bloc-notes, page 5). Related posts: How difficult it is to…

Naming the invisible

Published 20091223/Last updated 20131218 with the quote from Stefan Zweig under “additional information.” … as imagination bodies forth The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen Turns them to shapes…

Pseudo-ethnicity and neo-dogmatism

First posted on 20111027. Updated 20120214. French version: click here An interesting controversy has been going on for a couple of days in the quiet circles of anthropology. What started…

Projects that will (perhaps) save the planet

(Published 20100212 / Last updated 20111207) There are basically three types of BIG problems facing the earth and, ultimately, the survival of man as a dominant species. The majority (1)…

News from the future

Version française, cliquez ici. After “The risky business of forecasting“, which focused on  natural disasters, here is a note that looks more closely at the broader picture of our societies.…

Driven into the mountains…

While writing the post on mountain climate(s), I wanted to provide examples for the severity of living conditions in temperate mountains. I did the usual thing: I Googled “driven into…

Mountain climate(s)

This note about mountain climate is an updated and expanded version of an earlier text I wrote for the website of FAO many years ago (July 2002). Since then, I…

Are all EC and UN languages really needed

While writing the “fun” post below on Eurobabel, I collected some data on the actual use of European languages. Here is thus a more serious note about the importance of…

Eurobabel

This post is about the use of languages in the European Commision (EC) and the  European Union (EU). There are at present twenty-two languages, which are designated in the EC…

Are neutrinos faster than thought?

The Super Proton Synchroton (SPS) at CERN  (European Organization for Nuclear Research) is a  very large “machine” (a tunnel, about 7 km in diameter) located on the Swiss-French border near…

Mixing oil, water and food in Saudi Arabia

Updated 20110922 In reaction to the first oil crisis of the mid seventies, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia decided to decrease its dependency on food imports by developing local food…

Xenophobia: who’s immune?

The extreme right, xenophobia and nationalism are gaining ground in many countries in Europe. Sometimes (Belgium), the situation borders on the ridiculous, but no-one dies! In Norway, after a bomb…

La famine de 1845 en Irlande

Cette famine me fascine depuis longtemps. J’ai écrit ce petit texte il y a quelques années, et j’ai rassemblé pas mal de documentation sur le sujet. Disons que cette ébauche…

Castors et Bieber, Bièvre et Fiber: vagabondage castoréen

Ce week-end, je me suis installé devant mon portable en me disant que j’allais écrire quelques lignes sur les castors. Pourquoi les castors, me direz-vous? Parce que tout le monde…

Climate-crop impacts: some data issues

1. Introduction (*) Crop-climate interactions are of relevance for a number of applications, in food security, crop insurance, market planning and climate change impact assessments. All these fields have an…

Exegesis of a scary and – therefore – often quoted passage from the second book of AR4 (II AR4, 9.4.4)

Updated 20111007 This post explains how a vague and unsubstantiated statement in a non-peer reviewed “report” about climate change and agriculture in Maghreb countries made its way via a poor…

How to find information on a computer? (revised_02; 20100131)

This is a revised version of the 20100103 post. Tom rightly commented on 2010110 that there was some confusion between data and information, and he warned me that if I…

The mandate of humanity

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of…

How difficult it is to be a climatologist…

Just  before COP-15 took place in Copenhagen in December 2009, unknow people broke into the computers of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia and stole…

Le droit d’ignorance, version soft

[Cet article a été écrit dans le sillage d’un cours que j’ai donné en 2009 à l’université de L., et dont je suis revenu catastrophé par l’ignorance et le manque…

Les langues européennes se lisent de gauche à droite et de haut en bas, n’est-ce pas?

La biographie de Tolkien que j’ai déjà citée (Humphrey Carpenter, 2002. J.R.R. Tolkien, une biographie. Christian Bourgeois Editeur, 318 pp) indique que l’auteur du Seigneur des Anneaux a participé à…

Recent rainfall and cattle trends in the Central-Western Sahel

  The graph shows recent trends of climate, urbanisation and a livestock production index (meat and milk). The data stem from various FAO sources: FAOSTAT for the production and population…

Tout Service chez nous et disponible

J’ai recu par email, il y a déjà quelque temps, cette publicité du “mage” marocain Lafkih Sheikh Rohani Zarouk. On a l’impression que ce texte a été traduit de l’arabe…

Einstein on crises

Below is a text by Einstein, which I got somewhere on the web. I like it because I have always considered that crises are opportunities to change directions. As Le…