By Bill Gates
People sometimes say that the United Nations doesn’t do enough to solve the big problems of the world. I’ve never really agreed with that point of view, but if anyone is looking for evidence of the UN’s impact, a good place to start is the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
They were agreed to in 2000 by all 193 UN member countries and 23 international organizations. Creating that kind of consensus is—by itself—a significant achievement.
The great thing about the MDGs is that they provide clear targets and indicators of progress in key areas, including:
- Ending poverty and hunger
- Universal education
- Gender equality
- Child and maternal health
- Combatting HIV/AIDS
- Environmental sustainability
- Global development
Although a number of countries won’t be able to achieve all of the goals by the target date of 2015, the MDGs have been helpful in getting everyone to really think about their part, the progress they’re making, and what they can learn from others. The goals have focused political attention in developing countries, encouraged UN groups to work together, and inspired wealthy and fast-growing donor countries to coordinate their efforts.
In February, the World Bank announced that the MDG goal of cutting extreme poverty by half had been achieved five years early. A week later, UNICEF and the World Health Organization announced that the goal of halving the number of people without access to safer drinking water was also reached five years early.
Source: The Gates Notes – A Report Card on Helping the World’s Poor
Continue reading The Millennium Development Goals – wiping out disease, famine, and poverty on Earth
A team of astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope is reporting the discovery of another moon orbiting the icy dwarf planet Pluto.
The moon is estimated to be irregular in shape and 6 to 15 miles across. It is in a 58,000-mile-diameter circular orbit around Pluto that is assumed to be co-planar with the other satellites in the system.
“The moons form a series of neatly nested orbits, a bit like Russian dolls,” said team lead Mark Showalter of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif.
The discovery increases the number of known moons orbiting Pluto to five.
The Pluto team is intrigued that such a small planet can have such a complex collection of satellites. The new discovery provides additional clues for unraveling how the Pluto system formed and evolved. The favored theory is that all the moons are relics of a collision between Pluto and another large Kuiper belt object billions of years ago.
The new detection will help scientists navigate NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft through the Pluto system in 2015, when it makes an historic and long-awaited high-speed flyby of the distant world.
More on this – NASA: Hubble Discovers a Fifth Moon Orbiting Pluto
Continue reading Hubble discovers another moon orbiting Pluto – that’s two in the last year
This is something you can’t usually see: the bow of an American nuclear aircraft supercarrier, the new Gerald R. Ford—the lead ship of a new class that will start replacing the Nimitz-class in 2015.
It was just put in place at Huntington Ingalls’s Newport News shipyard, at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, along the James River, Virginia.
American aircraft supercarriers are some of the biggest structures built by humankind. I remember the first time I saw one in person and it blew my mind.
Comprising six steel sections, the lower bow is more than 60 feet tall and is one of the heaviest superlifts to be placed on the ship. Construction of the lower bow superlift, the last major section of the ship below the waterline, began last year.
Gerald R. Ford represents the next-generation class of aircraft carriers. The first-in-class ship features a new nuclear power plant, a redesigned island, electromagnetic catapults, improved weapons movement, an enhanced flight deck capable of increased aircraft sortie rates, and growth margin for future technologies and reduced manning. The keel for Ford was laid in November 2009. The ship is on track to meet its scheduled launch in 2013 and delivery to the U.S. Navy in 2015.
via Huntington Ingalls Industries
Continue reading Sneak peek – awesome size of Super Aircraft Carrier – Gerald R. Ford
Governor Brown joined with the California Public Utilities Commission today to announce a $120 million dollar settlement with NRG Energy Inc. that will fund the construction of a statewide network of charging stations for zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), including at least 200 public fast-charging stations and another 10,000 plug-in units at 1,000 locations across the state. The settlement stems from California’s energy crisis.
The network of charging stations funded by the settlement will be installed in the San Francisco Bay Area, the San Joaquin Valley, the Los Angeles Basin and San Diego County.
“Through the settlement, EVs will become a viable transportation option for many Californians who do not have the option to have a charging station at their residence.”
The Executive Order issued today by the Governor sets the following targets:
- By 2015, all major cities in California will have adequate infrastructure and be “zero-emission vehicle ready”;
- By 2020, adequate infrastructure to support 1 million zero-emission vehicles in California;
- By 2025, there will be 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road in California; and
- By 2050, virtually all personal transportation in the State will be based on zero-emission vehicles.
Just one question, not addressed in the announcement, is charging at the stations free?
What will be the cost for a full charge?
// photos via NCDOT Comms and gwyst