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Interesting Links

May 28, 2011

“Almost 90% of the world’s plant activity, by some estimates, is to be found in ecosystems where humans play a significant role…The relevance of wilderness to our world has shrunk in the face of this onslaught. The sheer amount of biomass now walking around the planet in the form of humans and livestock handily outweighs that of all other large animals. The world’s ecosystems are dominated by an increasingly homogenous and limited suite of cosmopolitan crops, livestock and creatures that get on well in environments dominated by humans. Creatures less useful or adaptable get short shrift: the extinction rate is running far higher than during normal geological periods.

The Economist’s answer: Use human ingenuity to fix the planet that we have screwed up…through human ingenuity. Sounds silly but, at this point, what other choice do we have?

If a preindustrial house is a site of production, what does a post industrial house produce? Say that five times fast.

A framework for Africa’s green revolution. More on this later.

Do randomized controlled trials in development have a big problem with external validity? Not compared to other types of micro research says David Mckenzie. He offers 3 main suggestions on how to make RCT’s more useful  1) The researcher must explain why they chose to study in particular setting (other than it was convenient). 2) the researcher should try to understand why something works using a “combination of theory, process evaluation, qualitative interviews, and analysis of the causal chain” 3) Having some evidence somewhere is better than nothing, can be used as a reference (but not a solution) in a different context.

“food market sheds” in Africa. Or why artificial borders are bad and we need to think regionally and promote trade.

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