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In tropical and equatorial regions country, there are blessed with alround year sun shine, our face and skin are also enjoying this full year exposure of sunlight. Therefore, sometimes brown or gray…Continue
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has stated that his government was not involved in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto but many Bhutto supporters have angrily blamed Musharraf for her death by…Continue
Homeopathy Medical Treatment for Diabetes and Control Sugar level for people were long known in Malaysia. People who has gone for homeopathy treatment only know that there are good homeopathy…Continue
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What is your views about forthcoming Ind-Aus test Series.Who is going to win?Acc to me with the strong batting line up India have, they have very good chances of winning the series.But with bats like…Continue
Last month, a horn player sounded an 18,000 year-old conch shell, discovered in 1931 at Marsoulas Cave in France. In doing so, he confirmed that the shell was not only decorative, but the oldest wind instrument of its kind. In January this year, on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, the world’s oldest cave painting was revealed, dating back 45,000 years.
These discoveries remind us how culture is vital to human lives. It is a deep-rooted anthropological need, with its origins in the distant past. Throughout the ages, culture has helped humans surpass themselves, opening up new horizons and imagining new futures. Culture is freedom, over and above the trials and tribulations of a particular time or place. Culture is a pillar of our society. It’s part of who we are and what we share with our neighbors near and far.
It’s therefore not surprising that at a time when uncertainty has become the new ordinary, people are turning to art and culture to find comfort and strength. We need culture more than ever today, and this is why UNESCO is pleased to partner with Google Arts & Culture to make our more than 1,000 World Heritage sites and the many stories they contain even more accessible online.
On the occasion of World Heritage Day, UNESCO, Google Arts & Culture and our international partners are joining forces to promote access to and education around cultural and natural heritage through a new online resource, Explore UNESCO World Heritage. This is a unique opportunity to enjoy a virtual globetrotting tour of cultural landmarks and outstanding places of natural beauty, as well as to access accurate and reliable information on sites of outstanding universal value.
Palm groves and an elaborate irrigation system stand out as an oasis rooted in Spain’s Muslim past as a unique example of Arab agricultural practices on the European continent.
South Korea’s Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes are considered the finest lava tube system of caves in the world. It’s multicoloured cave walls and lake-filled crater is a dramatic natural landscape to explore.
At the beginning of the 20th century there were little more than 100 gray whales due to indiscriminate hunting. However, thanks to their protection in Mexico, the species was removed from the list of endangered species.
France’s network of navigable waterways linking the Mediterranean and the Atlantic is one of the most remarkable feats of civil engineering in modern times.
Whether you choose to discover the ancient pilgrimage routes of northern Spain, explore volcanoes in South Korea, swim with the whales in Mexico, stroll along France’s finest canals or climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the choice is yours. Sit back and learn more about the wonders of our world, with a view to deepen our commitment to safeguard it for future generations.
Make no mistake: culture is not only a consuming good to be enjoyed. Today, culture is calling out for help and support. In the wake of COVID-19, culture needs us more than ever. The entire sector is suffering. Cultural tourism, which accounts for 40% of the entire tourism market, is hurting, with the number of international tourists dropping by 75% in 2020 compared to 2019. Following the closure of concert halls, theatres, bookstores and cinemas, the royalties collected by creators may have dropped by as much as 35% in 2020 — a €3.5 billion loss globally. Museums have been particularly affected by the pandemic, as 90% have closed their doors during the crisis and, according to the International Council of Museums (ICOM), more than 10% may never reopen. Apart from the airline industry, culture is likely one of the sectors most affected by COVID-19. In Europe alone, the cultural sector saw a 31% loss in revenues in 2020. And behind these figures, there are millions of disrupted lives and lost incomes, with many cultural professionals left to fend for themselves. These threats come in addition to the many other threats to World Heritage sites, from climate change to conflicts and neglect. Our world is magnificent, but it is also fragile.
This is an opportunity to remember that culture never flourishes in a vacuum: it calls for creativity, support and caring. It calls for knowledge, passion and funding as well. Now is our chance to invent a new, more sustainable tourism, respectful of World Heritage sites, the environment and local populations. Now is the time to invent new ways to access culture, everywhere, anytime, in a way that still respects the rights of the artists and professionals who spend their lives giving shape to their ideas.
The Gelada baboon in Ethiopia’s Simien National Park are an important part of its biodiversity conservation and spectacular landscape of global significance.
Brazil’s first capital, Salvador de Bahia, offers the visitor the opportunity to explore Baroque Churches and centuries-old palaces.
The Historic Mosque City of Bagerhat in Bangladesh is a beautifully preserved example of Islamic and Turkish architectural heritage.
The dramatic landscape of Rio de Janeiro has provided inspiration for many forms of art, literature, poetry, and music.
The Aflaj Irrigation Systems of Oman are a great example of sustainable water use in extremely arid desert landscapes.
Culture is the universal language of musicians, artists, and creators of all kinds — a language that everyone understands. It is perhaps this unifying power that resonates so strongly today, as so many of us feel separated from one another, faced with physical distancing and fewer social interactions. This unifying power can connect us through a screen, regardless of our origins, opinions and beliefs. We are one humanity, united by our shared heritage and a shared planet.
In this spirit, UNESCO is working to offer alternative ways to facilitate access to cultural heritage during the COVID-19 pandemic and build new ways to share culture in the future. We understand that culture knows no bounds and this year, we hope everyone can take some time to explore heritage online at g.co/exploreworldheritage.
Of course, this virtual exploration will never replace the unique experience of seeing these places for real and visiting World Heritage sites. We shall travel again. In the meantime, we hope it will nevertheless enable users to immerse themselves in the beauty of our world, and inspire action to protect it.
In this post: Head of energy partnerships for Google Nest Hannah Bascom explains “energy rush hours,” and how Nest’s Rush Hour Rewards tries to tackle them.
Editor’s Note: Do you ever feel like a fish out of water? Try being a tech novice and talking to an engineer at a place like Google. Ask a Techspert is a series on the Keyword asking Googler experts to explain complicated technology for the rest of us. This isn’t meant to be comprehensive, but just enough to make you sound smart at a dinner party.
Returning from a weekend trip this past winter, my husband and I watched in real time as our security camera cut to black and our Nest app reported the thermostat had lost power. The entire neighborhood had no electricity...thanks to an ice storm that caused a tree in our very own backyard to fall. We returned to a dark, cold home, which stayed that way for two days until the power company made their way through downed trees and ice to reconnect us.
Suddenly, the lights turned on, the internet came back and best yet, we heard the gentle whir of the heater. We blasted the heat — and I have to imagine the homes around us did, too. That likely created an “energy rush hour,” something the Nest team is working on reducing through its Rush Hour Rewards program, which works with utility companies to reward you for saving energy using your Thermostat. Nest is currently celebrating Earth Day with a discount: You can get the Nest Thermostat for $99, which coupled with utility rebates could make the thermostat free for people in certain areas.
But what exactly creates or constitutes an energy rush hour? And what role do utility companies play?
I turned to Hannah Bascom, head of energy partnerships for Google Nest. Her job is to find ways for Google to partner with energy companies and services...and this week, to also answer my questions.
Let’s start with the basics: Tell me about energy rush hours!
Certain times of the year, especially when it’s very hot or cold, everyone cranks their A/C or heat in addition to all of the usual energy-consuming things we already do, so demand for energy is very high. We call these energy rush hours.
Then my neighborhood definitely created an energy rush hour this winter during the ice storm. So when everyone cranks their heat or A/C, what do the utility companies do?
When demand for energy spikes, utility companies typically turn on additional power plants — which are often very expensive and emit a lot of carbon dioxide. And as more people need increasing amounts of energy in their homes and businesses, energy rush hours happen more frequently. We’ve seen several examples of brownouts recently — utilities didn’t have enough power to supply everyone, so they had to shut off power in certain places. As extreme weather events become more common this could happen more regularly, so utilities are considering building more power plants, which is costly and could increase carbon emissions.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! Utilities can incentivize customers to use less energy.
How? I can’t imagine not blasting my heat when it was so cold.
Nest’s Rush Hour Rewards is one way people automatically lower energy use during energy rush hours without being uncomfortable in their homes. Think about using GPS during a traffic jam: You’re sitting on the highway and it reroutes you to side roads to get around the gridlock. You reach the same destination, you just took a slightly different way. Rush Hour Rewards is like that: Nest reroutes your home’s energy usage during times of grid congestion, but you still reach your destination — which in this case is your comfort level.
When you enroll in the program, your thermostat will use less energy during times of high demand, but you’ll stay comfortable. And you get rewarded by your utility company because they don’t have to fire up additional generators. That reward could come in the form of bill credits or a sent check. You may even be able to get an instant discount on a Nest Thermostat from your utility provider. Just search for your utility and “Nest Thermostat” to find discounts.
How many customers using Rush Hour Rewards does it take to offset a power plant?
It definitely depends on the scenario but here’s one example: There are lots of peaker plants — the kind of power plant a utility would bring online during an energy rush hour — that are 50 megawatts in size, which is equivalent to only 50,000 thermostats participating in an event. Most major sports arenas hold more people than that!
How does the Nest Thermostat know when an energy rush hour is coming up?
Your energy company, or sometimes another entity that manages your electric grid, monitors weather conditions and forecasts electricity demand. When they predict demand will be high, they call a rush hour. Rush hours can also happen during grid emergencies, like when power plants suddenly go offline due to mechanical failure or extreme weather.
Another fun fact is that virtual power plants help balance renewables like solar and wind on the grid.
What’s a virtual power plant?
A virtual power plant is what’s created when a bunch of different sources — like home batteries and smart thermostats — come together to help the grid like a power plant would. Because energy output from these sources varies based on things like cloud cover and wind speed, “mini” energy rush hours occur more frequently when there isn’t quite enough energy supply to meet demand. People who participate in Rush Hour Rewards can help balance the grid demand with energy supply.
How does the Nest thermostat know what temperature is enough to keep me warm or cool but also enough to make a difference during an energy rush hour?
Your Nest thermostat is very smart! It learns from your use what temperatures keep you comfortable and will make slight adjustments to those settings during or even before rush hours. For example, Nest may pre-cool your house a little bit before a rush hour event starts so that it runs less A/C during the rush hour. Same goes for pre-heating.
Right now, only thermostats participate in rush hours, but in the future your electric vehicle or even your whole home may be able to join in.
Dr. Ivor Horn’s career has spanned medicine, academia and technology. Along the way she’s been focused on one thing: making sure that people get what they need out of the healthcare system and attain their fullest health potential — no matter who they are.
She recently joined Google as the Director of Health Equity & Product Inclusion. We sat down with her to learn more about what health equity looks like, how technology can help and what she’s working on at Google.
Where did your passion for this work come from?
Growing up, I spent a lot of time in hospitals. When I was in the fourth grade, my dad had a head injury and developed a seizure disorder. Being Black in Mississippi, where I grew up, my mom would make sure that we all dressed up when we went to the doctor so they would recognize that my dad was someone who was cared for and who was loved — all that with the hope that we’d get better care. Living through that made me want to go to medical school so I could change the healthcare system. I didn't want other people to go through what we did.
Once I was a practicing pediatrician, I saw patients in communities that were underserved by health care. I noticed young parents bringing their child and their flip phones into the clinic. They’d pull out their phone to show me things like a photo of their child’s rash that faded overnight. This tool helped them communicate with me more effectively, and I became interested in figuring out how we could use technology like that to improve health care more broadly.
Can you tell us more about health inequity and the pandemic?
It’s important to remember that health inequity is the product of systemic and structural racism, particularly in the U.S. We know that people’s experience with health can be impacted by where they live, how wealthy they are, and their ethnicity or skin color. Before the pandemic, studies showed that people of color had less access to primary care, received a lower quality of treatment in places like emergency departments, and were less likely to be given additional examinations like blood tests.
When you have a broken foundation, those cracks eventually become tremendous fissures — and that's what we saw with COVID-19. Health inequities surfaced at every level — from the lack of available protective equipment in developing countries to the higher than average death rates and infection of people of color. Health inequity has been an endemic aspect of the pandemic.
How do you even begin to solve that?
We cannot continue to build on something that's broken. Mending the cracks starts with building technology that helps those who are experiencing what's most broken about the healthcare system. If you build for that community, it will work for others — then you can transform healthcare.
This week’s news about vaccines is a great example. We’ve created virtual agents so anyone — especially those without access to the internet or people with limited tech skills — can book appointments and get critical vaccine information in whatever way they’re most comfortable with. It's available in multiple languages and modes of communication — whether that’s over the phone, through text, or on the web. We’ve also made vaccination locations available on Google Maps in the U.S. and other countries. All of this is to help reduce inequities, both in the outcomes and in the distribution of vaccines.
But, technology has its limits; it can facilitate this work, but it’s not the complete solution. That’s why it’s important to partner with community-based organizations to reach people who might not otherwise see mainstream public service announcements or have easy access to vaccinations.
What role does Google play?
When you look at Google through the lens of health equity, so much of what we do touches people along their health journey. Research shows that roughly 7 in 10 people turn to the internet first when they’re looking for health information. We have the chance to build products that guide them to the right resources and find the information they need.
My job is to look across all of our products to make sure we embed health equity into the DNA of everything we do.
When tackling big problems, like health equity, what keeps you motivated?
This generation of young people is fighting for lasting change with an energy that’s contagious. Seeing the things that we’ve worked so hard for, for so long, become the passion of a new generation makes everything I’ve done and continue to do so worth it. If I can help make the structural changes so that they can fly, I’ll count that as a win.