Posts tagged with "Research"

Image of Telescope via Gabrielle Archulleta for Use by 360 Magazine

New Report Underlines Importance of Science and Tech Funding

Investments in science and technology research are vital to the United States’ economic growth and global leadership, according to a new report from Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

The Biden administration has made science and technology (S&T) a centerpiece of its early policy agenda with ambitious targets for federal investments in research and development (R&D). There are also growing concerns in Congress about the United States’ global leadership in S&T-focused industries, especially in relation to China.

“As the high technology sector (e.g., advanced computing and communications, social media platforms and other web-based services) becomes an increasingly large part of the overall U.S. economy, federal funding for early stage R&D, which has been at the root of much of the technological progress of this past century, is more important than ever,” wrote the Baker Institute’s Kenneth Evans, a scholar in science and technology policy, and Kirstin Matthews, a fellow in science and technology policy.

While President Biden’s first budget proposal aims to authorize historic increases to federal R&D agencies, the authors argue that significant challenges remain to ensure long-term, international competitiveness across scientific disciplines and advanced technologies.

According to their report, shifting priorities between administrations, changes to the ideology of Congress and broader economic conditions in the U.S. at large have resulted in inconsistent funding for R&D. 

“Traditionally, federal funding for R&D receives bipartisan support in Congress, particularly for health and defense-related research activities,” the authors wrote. “However, since the mid-1990s, government spending on basic research has declined or stagnated as a share of the U.S. GDP, in part due to the intrinsic uncertainties about the ultimate impacts of basic research.”

Science and technology R&D is essential to creating new knowledge and tools, the authors argue, because it ensures the development of new products and technologies that can drive domestic and global economies. Economists estimate innovations stemming from S&T accounted for more than 60% of economic growth over the last century. 

Yet scientists have placed relatively little value on evaluating and communicating the broader societal impacts of basic research to the public and especially to policymakers, the authors argue. The authors encourage researchers, especially academic scientists driven to action by anti-science rhetoric during the Trump administration, to continue to engage in public outreach during the Biden presidency. 

“Universities should encourage and incentivize avenues for public engagement through increased support of existing programs or funding new activities for interested faculty, postdocs, graduate students and research staff,” they wrote. 

“Building public support for R&D, strengthening trust in scientific institutions and expertise, and increasing scientists’ participation in decision-making related to S&T issues are critical to ensuring that scientific discoveries and innovation benefit the broader public and that increased investment in R&D serves the public interest,” they continued.

The report was a collaboration with two Rice undergraduate students and research interns in the science and technology policy program—Gabriella Hazan and Spoorthi Kamepalli.

illustration by Samantha Miduri for use by 360 Magazine

What Will Happen To The Gates Foundation?

Commentary by Samy Dwek, Founder and CEO, The Family Office Doctor

and White Knight Consulting  

We’ve seen in the press today articles about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It was a foundation that they started with a very clear purpose and focus on helping third world countries, eradicating certain diseases, and researching diseases such as Parkinson’s, HIV, and others. It’s phenomenal in terms of what they’re trying to do.

Unfortunately, Melinda French Gates and Bill Gates have decided to separate. How does this impact the family foundation? Yes, they’ve grown apart. They’ve decided to separate their ways amicably. Clearly, their focus points and their desires of what they want to accomplish are different.

The problem is, in most family foundation trusts, people don’t plan for what happens in case of divorce. That’s not in the planning and maybe it should be. Maybe it’s something we need to think more about and discuss more openly. Not that we are preempting or provoking; we should be planning in case of such an eventuality.

The Gates Foundation currently has close to $50 billion. It’s not an insignificant amount of money, and they’re talking about adding another 15 to $20 billion. So again, these are significant amounts of money that can have a major impact on the focus points that these two individuals have.

So how do they go forward? What’s been very interesting is that Melinda French Gates has decided that she’s going to stay on for two years. Let’s see whether they can make this work or whether they fail to get along or see eye to eye on the objectives of the foundation.

Bill Gates has agreed in principle that they will set aside new money into a new foundation controlled by Melinda French so that they can then continue their missions. What does that mean for family foundations? I think they need to have those discussions. They need to put planning in place.

What would happen if this eventuality should occur in your family? How would it impact your family foundation? What mechanisms do you have in place so that you could separate those funds? It doesn’t have to be just in the case of divorce. It could be brothers or sisters decide that they want to go in different directions.

So what mechanisms have you put in place? It’s something to discuss with legal counsel, something to think about because at the end of the day, we’re human beings. We have different ideas and we grow in different ways. But if we’re creating a family foundation, if we’re trying to help benefit others and pass on the goodwill, let’s make sure anything that happens to us doesn’t negatively impact them.

By Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE

IDTechEx Shares Unexpected Trends in Electric Vehicle Data

Unexpected Trends from IDTechEx’s EV Data & Tools Portfolio

2021 is cementing the electric car’s dominant position in the future of the auto industry as OEMs have increased electrification targets, announced more battery-electric models, and planned new technology adoption strategies. To properly understand these trends, granular, high-quality data is essential. IDTechEx’s portfolio of electric cars and powertrain materials research is driven by data, and includes two new spreadsheet-based products: Electric Car Sales, Models & Technologies Database and Scenario Forecasting: Materials for Battery Cells and Packs. Both underpin two IDTechEx research reports Advanced Electric Cars 2020-2040 and Materials for Electric Vehicle Battery Cells and Packs 2021-2031, and form part of a wider portfolio which can be found at IDTechEx’s website.

IDTechEx’s New Electric Vehicle Model Database

IDTechEx’s extensive Electric Car Sales, Models & Technologies Database is spreadsheet-based and covers unit sales for popular BEV and PHEV cars in China, Europe, and the US between 2015–2020 (containing data on 145 distinct models plus variants). Alongside sales data, IDTechEx also reveals battery capacity, cell format, battery supplier, cell chemistry, cell and pack energy density, thermal management method, motor technology and power output. The granular nature of the data, split by model, enables technology trends to be analyzed in detail in addition to an industry-level overview.

Considering battery chemistry, it is well known that manufacturers have been trending towards higher nickel content cathodes such as the 811 variant of nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC). Perhaps less expected is the significant resurgence in lithium-iron-phosphate, or ‘LFP’, batteries. The lower energy density of LFP batteries saw them fall out of favor with Chinese policymakers and rapidly lose market share up to 2019, but in the past year, BYD announced the Blade with LFP prismatic cells and Tesla introduced the Chinese manufactured Model 3 with LFP. The trade-off comes down to price, raw materials, safety, and supply-chain dynamics with regional specificities.

Moreover, the Electric Car Sales, Models & Technologies Database also looks at electric traction motor trends. Many have voiced concerns around the supply of rare earths for the magnetic materials used in most electric car traction motors. However, China controls the majority of the world’s rare earth supply chain, creating risk and potential price volatility. The database reveals the quiet adoption of non-permanent magnet-based variants – induction motors and separately excited wound-rotor motors – which are still being introduced in new models and may become essential technologies if permanent magnet prices spike.

This database underpins IDTechEx’s research on Advanced Electric Cars, which is further summarized in a report covering regional detail, powertrain technologies, and autonomous vehicles.

Example charts obtainable through the IDTechEx Electric Car Sales, Models & Technologies Database

Materials for Electric Car Battery Cells & Packs

Lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles present very different material demands at the cell- and pack-level compared with the internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles they replace. Whilst ICE drivetrains heavily rely on aluminum and steel alloys, Li-ion batteries also utilize many other materials such as nickel, cobalt, lithium, copper, insulation, thermal interface materials, and much more at a cell- and pack level. The IDTechEx report on Materials for Electric Vehicle Battery Cells and Packs 2021-2031 identifies and analyzes trends in the design of EV battery cells and battery packs in order to evaluate the materials used for their assembly and production. The report also provides granular market forecasts for over 20 key material categories in terms of demand in tonnes in addition to market value.

To complement this research, IDTechEx’s new Scenario Forecasting Spreadsheet: Materials for Electric Vehicle Battery Cells and Packs provides quantitative forecasts and assumptions in greater depth, and allows EV forecasts to be customized based on different scenarios. This is a spreadsheet-based tool that lists IDTechEx’s assumptions for several material intensities at a cell- and pack-level for BEV and PHEV batteries in the car market. It also provides a forecast for the multi-metal and other materials demand in tonnes from 2021-2031. In addition to these forecasts, this tool allows you to use your own forecasts for BEV and PHEV unit sales and battery capacities to see how these variables impact demand over the next 10 years. A scenarios tool is also included which allows for several sales forecasts to be compared simultaneously for individual materials.

Examples for the material demand for battery cells and packs segmented by material. Source: Scenario Forecasting Spreadsheet: Materials for Electric Vehicle Battery Cells and Packs

IDTechEx Electric Vehicle Research

For more information on the portfolio of data available on this topic, please visit their website. This research forms part of the broader electric vehicle and energy storage portfolio from IDTechEx, who track the adoption of electric vehicles, battery trends, and demand across land, sea and air, helping you navigate whatever may be ahead. Find out more at their website

About IDTechEx

IDTechEx guides your strategic business decisions through its Research, Subscription and Consultancy products, helping you profit from emerging technologies. For more information, visit IDTechEx’s website.

Breaking News illustration via Nicole Salazar for use by 360 Magazine

Life on Jupiter

By: Skyler Johnson

A scientific study originally aimed at testing the capability of life on Venus has now shown that there is a chance for life not on our sister planet, but on the gaseous giant, Jupiter. 

The study aimed to figure out whether Venus could maintain life based on water activity, which is measured on a 0 to 1 scale, with 1 being pure water and 0 being the complete absence of it. The minimum viable water activity for life on Earth was determined to be 0.585, with Venus being 0.007, but Jupiter just reaching the threshold at 0.585. 

Jupiter is also the perfect temperature to maintain life, being -40 degrees F, which is just survivable. Life can only survive at that temperature and above. 

While these statistics may be exciting, you’re not exactly going to be seeing E.T. coming from Jupiter. After all, it’s a gaseous planet. Life, if any at all, would be existing within Jupiter’s clouds, and would only be made up of a single cell. The planet has a lot of Ultraviolet Radiation and very little nutrients, so sustaining life may not even be possible. Nevertheless, life is possible for the gaseous giant.

The scientific possibilities of this finding, while it may seem relatively minor given we don’t actually know if there’s life outside of planet Earth, it does offer some interesting possibilities. After all, we have no idea what these creatures may look like and what biological adaptations they may have in order to adapt to living in the dangerous conditions Jupiter provides. What we could end up finding might lead us to find ways to adapt as a species. 

Interestingly, if Jupiter ends up being inhabitable, there’s also a chance that one of Jupiter’s moons, Europa, houses life beneath it’s under-ice ocean, which would be similar to Earth’s Deep Ocean hydrothermal vents, which are basically a volcano erupting underwater and spouting out life-providing sediments. While we have no idea what’s under Europa’s surface there have been some calls for a probe so we may soon get some answers. 

Nevertheless, only time will tell what may be found on other planets. But with more information like with the study released today, who knows what the future may bring.

 

statistics illustration via Maria Soloman for use by 360 Magazine

Seven tips that will ensure your website’s calls-to-action get results 

Offering high-quality products or services is great, but it’s not always enough to make a sale. You also need to ensure you have strong calls-to-actions (CTAs) on your website. 

These are words or phrases, often presented on a button, that tell your customers what to do next. Sometimes, people just need a little bit of a push! 

In this article, we’re going to show you how to optimize your website’s CTAs so you can make more sales. 

Make sure your calls-to-action are bright and bold 

The design of your CTAs is just as important as the wording! You don’t want them to blend in, or readers might not spot them. So, you need to put some thought into how you can make them stand out. 

Typically, CTAs are presented on a clickable button. When choosing the color of yours, try to pick a hue that fits in with your branding, but that will still stand out against the background it’s on. Make sure the button is big enough, too — it should be one of the first page elements people are drawn to when they land on your website. 

Let’s take a look at a few examples for inspiration.

Paramount Plus, a new TV and movie streaming service, has a bright and bold CTA right on their homepage. 

There are two things in particular that stand out: first, the copy says TRY IT FREE. Because Paramount Plus is so new, it’s important that they reel in customers this way — after all, there are a lot of streaming services out there, so people will want to try before they buy. Additionally, the color of the button is a bright and clear blue. Not only does this color work with the company’s branding, but the blue also contrasts well against Spongebob’s yellow, making it even more eye-catching. 

KiwiCo, a kid’s craft subscription service, has a stand-out CTA right on their homepage as well. 

They’ve used a bright and bold green color to ensure their CTA button stands out against the grey background, and they’ve also added a fun light bulb icon that draws the eye. Not only does this help the call-to-action to stand out, but it could also spark a website visitor’s imagination and convince them to click through to “get a crate”. 

Think about how you could ensure your CTAs stand out on your website. What colors would work well, and are there any fun icons you could add for some extra interest? 

Stir up a sense of urgency 

If you create a sense of urgency with your CTAs, you can make your consumers feel like they’ll miss out if they don’t act now. This can lead to more people taking the action you’re looking for right away.

You can help create a sense of urgency with timers that outline when a particular promotion will end, or how much stock you have left, for instance. Let’s take a look at an example of a business that uses this tactic well.

For instance, Amazon likes to let people know when stock of a particular product is running low. They’ll then tell you to “order soon” to avoid missing out on the items you need.

This is a powerful technique that could provide a sense of uncertainty that will be just enough to push people into making a purchase. They even have two different buttons customers can press — one of which says “buy now”, which increases the feeling of urgency. Amazon is the biggest online retailer in the world, so this is clearly a tactic that has served them well. 

Play on your website visitors’ FOMO 

Similarly, fear of missing out, or FOMO, can be a very effective motivator. So, it’s worth playing on this with your calls-to-action. Make your readers feel like people just like them have taken your desired action and are better off because of it!

To provide you with some inspiration for your own CTAs, let’s take a look at a company that does a great job of stirring up a sense of FOMO with theirs. 

Venngage, a company that specializes in helping people to create infographics, makes sure to instil the fear of missing out in their audience in their guide to what infographics are.

Within their article, they promote a webinar they’ll be hosting on the topic, and urge people to “SAVE MY SPOT”. This creates a sense of scarcity, and encourages people to act fast to avoid missing out. Plus, the CTA is presented on a bright green button, which really helps it to stand out. 

If you’re hosting an event or promoting a limited edition product, make sure you make it clear to people that they could miss out if they don’t buy their ticket or item right now. It could just be enough to boost your conversions. 

Provide different calls-to-action for different people

Different people who visit your site might be at different stages of the buying journey. This means it can often be helpful to have different CTAs that correspond to these different stages. For example, you might want to encourage one person to make a purchase, but direct someone else towards giving you a call to get more information about what you do. 

Let’s take a look at some businesses that use this tactic well. 

For instance, you’ll find several different CTAs on Loganix’s link building services page. At the very top of the page, you’ll see a button that urges people to “get started” — this is great for people who have already decided that they would like some help with their link building and that Loganix is their company of choice.

However, people who scroll down the page to find more information will also find a range of other CTAs, such as “learn more” and “read more testimonials”. These target people who aren’t quite sure about this service or want to know more about the company in general. 

This approach is particularly effective for a service-based organization like Loganix. They’re providing something slightly more abstract than a physical product, so people looking to spend money with the business might need more convincing. These different CTAs are sure to point them in the right direction. 

Similarly, Best Value Schools have multiple CTAs on their homepage. The website helps prospective students to choose the next step in their education and career, which is always going to be a huge decision. So, they have different calls-to-action to attract people at different stages in their journey. 

They have options to “find your school”, “view all resources”, “view all rankings”, and more. Think about all of the different types of people who could be browsing this website. “Find your school” targets people who already know what kind of path they want to pursue, while the CTAs that urge people to find more information are more suited to people who are earlier in their journey, and who might not even be sure that higher education is for them. There’s a CTA for everyone. 

Consider who’s likely to land on your website, and what they might need in their current stage of the buyer journey. Do they want to make a purchase straight off the bat, or will they need more information? You should add CTAs that cater to everyone. 

Make it very obvious if you’re offering a freebie

If you’re creating a CTA to promote something that won’t require your website visitors to spend any money, be sure to make that very clear. This can work well for free templates, free trials, free consultations, and the like. 

Keep in mind that offering something for free is also a great marketing strategy in general. It shows people what you do, and is likely to lead to them spending money with you in the future.

To provide you with some inspiration, let’s take a look at companies that incorporate freebies into their marketing and CTAs well.

For instance, Bay Property Management Group, a real estate management company with multiple locations across the east coast, promotes their free property management analysis on their Philadelphia location page. 

You can clearly see where you need to click to get a free property management analysis, as the bright blue CTA button really stands out! Just above their freebie call-to-action, they also outline the benefits of clicking through — doing so will help prospective to find their ideal tenants without breaking the bank.

The company is offering a very valuable service for free, and they’ve made that very clear with their CTA. This is sure to lead to a lot of click-throughs and could drive a lot of future business for the company. 

SocialPilot does something similar partway through their guide to Facebook analytics tools.

They provide their own social media platform so, along with outlining the pros and cons of all the different tools out there, they’ve mentioned and promoted their own. Not only that, but they’ve also encouraged people to try it for free.

The bright blue banner really makes this CTA stand out, and they’ve made it very clear that trying out their tool won’t cost the user anything. They’ve mentioned “free” twice and even clarified that they won’t take your credit card details, so you won’t be stung if you forget to cancel at the end of your free trial. This is sure to convince a lot of people to give it a go and could lead to a lot more sales for the company. 

Could you offer something valuable to your prospective customers for free? If so, make it very clear that engaging won’t cost them anything, and it could actually boost your bottom line in the long run. 

Lead with a strong verb 

The whole point of a call-to-action is to convince someone to do something — that means you should always lead with a strong verb. Words and phrases like “sign up” and “submit” might do the job, but they aren’t very powerful, so you’ll want to go with something stronger for the best results. 

Here are some examples of CTAs with strong verbs that you could use: 

  • Download now
  • Get started
  • Create your account
  • Explore now
  • Discover more
  • Schedule an appointment

All of these CTAs are clear, convincing, and make it very obvious what you prospective customers should do next. 

Inject some personality into your calls-to-action 

You want your prospective customers to engage with your CTAs, and injecting them with your personality can really help. To start, you should identify your brand voice, if you haven’t already.

Consider how you want to address your customers, first and foremost. Are you professional? Funny? Playful? Inspirational? Think about who your audience is and how you want to relate to and communicate with them.

Let’s take a look at a few examples of businesses that do a great job of incorporating their brand voice into their CTAs for the best results. 

For example, Express, a clothing retailer, does this well on their homepage. 

When you first visit their site, you’re presented with a banner that urges you to “join the TikTok challenge”. They’re trying to get their customers to post about their lives post-pandemic, and want them to share their outfits (which are hopefully from Express). This CTA wouldn’t work for every business, but it’s effective for Express, which is a young and savvy clothing brand with an audience that is immersed in the online world. This shows the company is engaging, boundary-pushing, and adventurous, which increases the chance of their ideal customers clicking through and jumping on board with their challenge. 

There’s also plenty of personality in the CTAs that the luxury vodka brand Grey Goose uses on its homepage.

One of their most interesting examples is “uncork the truth”. This phrase suggests a few different things about Grey Goose’s personality. First, using a word like “uncork” is fun and relevant, as they are an alcohol distiller. Second, the phrasing shows that they want to be transparent in how they make their products and what ingredients they use. Consider if you can use a similar play on words in your own CTAs to show off your brand personality.

Summary

Your CTAs are some of the most important aspects of your website! To get people to do what you want them to do, you have to give them an extra push. In this article, we outlined seven different ways to enhance your CTAs, including using your brand personality, improving your design, using strong verbs, and more. There’s work to be done — get to it!

Author bio & headshot

Adam Steele is COO and co-founder of Loganix, which is an SEO fulfillment partner for digital marketing agencies and professionals. The company provides the SEO services that businesses need to grow and achieve their goals. If you enjoyed this article, you can find more SEO guides and templates on the Loganix blog. 

Adam Steele is COO and co-founder of Loganix image for use by 360 magazine
statistics illustration via Maria Soloman for use by 360 Magazine

BoldData’s Sushi Restaurant Statistics

Growth of Sushi Restaurants Comes to Halt

Tomorrow is International Sushi Day, a day in honor of the popular rice dish from Japan. The latest statistics from BoldData show that the number of sushi restaurants in America has nearly doubled in the last 10 years. However, the growth seems to have come to a halt.

Is Sushi Hype Over?

Craving Sushi? There are currently 18,944 sushi restaurants in The United States. An increase of 57% compared to 2011. In 2011, there were 11,939 sushi shops. 2017 was an especially good year for the Japanese snack, as there was an increase of 1,868 sushi shops (12%). 2018 seems to be a tipping point for the popularity of sushi–after this year, the growth of sushi restaurants slows down. In 2021, there has been a decrease of 311 sushi restaurants– a decrease in the US’ sushi restaurant growth for the first time.

First Sushi Shop in L.A.

In 1966, Kawafuku Restaurant, based in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, was the first real sushi restaurant in the Unites States. By the late 1960s, the Japanese dish had become trendy, and new sushi restaurants were opening up all across the city. In the year 1970, the US hit 50 sushi shops. Nowadays, L.A. is still the sushi place to be, with a staggering 833 sushi shops. New York is also a good place to satisfy your sushi cravings with 467 restaurants–a growth of 72% compared to 2011.

Japan 1st, US 2nd

It’s not a surprise that Japan is home to the highest number of sushi restaurants: 42,897. USA comes in second with 18,944 sushi shops. Canada completes the top 3 with 2,529 sushi restaurants. Canada, UK and Germany are the only countries in which the number of sushi restaurants is still growing.

BoldData’s complete report can be read HERE. This report is based on BoldData’s worldwide restaurant database.

About BoldData:

We are data experts with a highly accurate database of 287+ million companies worldwide. With our data have helped 2.000+ companies with analytics, research and CRM. Our data is being used by renowned research companies such as Statista. As well by FMCG companies such as Heineken, P&G, Danone and UberEats.

Image of Telescope via Gabrielle Archulleta for Use by 360 Magazine

Osteoporosis: New Approach to Understanding Bone Strength

Innovative Research Reveals Genes That Influence Osteoporosis

 

Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have taken a new approach to understanding how our genes determine the strength of our bones, allowing them to identify several genes not previously known to influence bone density and, ultimately, our risk of fracture.

 

The work offers important insights into osteoporosis, a condition that affects 10 million Americans, and it provides scientists potential new targets in their battle against the brittle-bone disease.

 

Importantly, the approach uses a newly created population of laboratory mice that allows researchers to identify relevant genes and overcome limitations of human studies. Identifying such genes has been very difficult but is key to using genetic discoveries to improve bone health.

 

“Genome-wide association studies have revolutionized the identification of regions of the human genome that influence bone mineral density. However, there are challenges to using this information to help patients, such as identifying the specific genes involved. Additionally, such studies have focused only on bone mineral density, although many other aspects of bone contribute to bone strength and risk of fracture but cannot be measured in humans,” said Charles Farber, PhD, of UVA’s Center for Public Health Genomics and Department of Public Health Sciences. “The ability to use mice in a novel way has allowed us to begin to overcome the challenges associated with human genome-wide association studies.”

 

Understanding Osteoporosis and Bone Strength

 

Genome-wide association studies have identified more than 1,000 locations on our chromosomes where genes are found that influence bone mineral density (BMD), a strong predictor of how likely an individual is to experience a bone fracture. But bone mineral density is only one factor in bone strength. Farber and his colleagues wanted to get a more complete picture.

 

They created a resource by collecting information on 55 different skeletal characteristics in hundreds of mice and then used an approach called systems genetics to analyze the data. The analysis identified a total of 66 genes that contribute to BMD, including 19 not previously linked to BMD.

 

Of the 19, the researchers were able to determine that two, SERTAD4 and GLT8D2, likely affect bone mineral density through cells that form bone called osteoblasts. This ability to determine the cell types that genes use to perform biological processes is one of the great strengths of systems genetics analysis, the researchers say.

 

The scientists also found that another gene, QSOX1, plays an important role in determining the mass and strength of the outer, “cortical” layer of bone. This type of bone makes up 80% of our skeleton and is vital for bone strength and weight-bearing.

 

In addition to providing new insights into osteoporosis, the new findings highlight the tremendous potential of using mice to identify important genes in humans, Farber says.

 

“The information we generated from mice can be used in the future to evaluate these newly identified genes as potential drug targets,” said Basel Al-Barghouthi, of UVA’s Center for Public Health Genomics, who led the analysis. “Furthermore, these approaches can be applied across a wide range of diseases.”

 

Findings Published

 

The researchers have published their findings in the scientific journal Nature Communications. The research team consisted of Al-Barghouthi, Larry D. Mesner, Gina M. Calabrese, Daniel Brooks, Steven M. Tommasini, Mary L. Bouxsein, Mark C. Horowitz, Clifford J. Rosen, Kevin Nguyen, Samuel Haddox, Emily A. Farber, Suna Onengut-Gumuscu, Daniel Pomp and Farber.

Hurricane symbol illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Are Hurricanes Getting Worse?

Are Hurricanes Really Getting Worse?

Author and climate scientist Bill Pekny says while recent severe storms may lead us to believe the answer is yes, the data doesn’t back this up. He explains why the way we track and measure hurricanes is so misleading.

As we approach the start of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season (June 1–November 30), there is a lot of fear that these types of storms are getting more frequent and more severe. Many folks believe that warming oceans will mean more energy for these storms to absorb, which will translate to stronger and more destructive hurricanes when they make landfall.  

While this might make sense in theory, climate science is much more complicated in practice. Bill Pekny, author of A Tale of Two Climates: One Real, One Imaginary (Two Climates LLC, 2020, ISBN: 978-1-73493-960-6, $34.59) says that the relationship between storms and temperature is not that simple. Plus, he says, other things have changed that create the impression that hurricanes have gotten worse.

“One of the biggest changes is the level of property damage caused by hurricanes,” notes Pekny. “But that’s because development has dramatically increased in tropical areas. When you measure the severity of hurricanes in financial terms, and you’re building more and more expensive structures, it makes sense that property damage dollars will go up.”

Pekny has studied hurricanes for a long time.

 “My interest in severe storms began as a kid, continued as a graduate student in Meteorology at the Florida State University, and then flourished as a radar meteorologist in my first job with the U.S. Navy Weather Research Facility, during the 1969 hurricane season,” says Pekny. 

What’s changed in 75 years? Not the storms, but the monitoring technology.

Tropical cyclones go by different names in different parts of the world. In the North Atlantic, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and Eastern Pacific they are called hurricanes. In the Western Pacific region, they are typhoons, and in the Indian Ocean region, they are simply cyclones.

After watching and tracking these types of storms in various roles for more than 50 years, Pekny says that they haven’t changed much.

“With respect to the storms themselves, nothing has changed,” he says. “What has changed, however, is our satellite and radar technology, and consequently our ability to track and measure these storms globally.”

Prior to 1945, visual observation of tropical cyclones was spotty at best. Ships at sea and observers on land were the only ways to track tropical cyclones. And the handful of ships at sea provided the only way to be warned before these big storms made landfall. 

Since then, airborne observation by Navy, Air Force and NOAA Hurricane Hunters have dramatically improved position tracking and warning of these storms and hinted at their severity.

What we’ve learned by watching storms for almost 50 years.

The most significant improvement in tracking and warning arose from the deployment of geo-stationary weather satellites during the 1970s and 1980s. In parallel, the development and deployment of long-range and pulsed Doppler RADAR instrumentation enabled the measurement of tropical cyclone severity as well as further enhanced tracking capabilities. 

“Even though there are ups and downs from time to time and region to region, when you add up all of the trends, the net change in global tropical cyclone frequency from 1970 to 2020 is zero,” says Pekny.

Improved global scale monitoring and data collection over the last half century shows that the climatic trend in tropical cyclone frequency is flat. And, the severity of these giant storms has not increased either. In fact, the severity, or amount of energy the storm carries, has been trending downward since reliable data became available. 

So why does it seem like storms are causing more damage?

While Pekny says these storms are not getting worse, as mentioned earlier he recognizes that they have gotten more expensive. This is not a result of more powerful storms, however, but because we continue to build more and more high-dollar homes, hotels, and resorts in high-risk coastal areas. When hurricanes do make landfall, they naturally create more property damage with higher price tags.

“In other words, the real culprit is more development, not more hurricanes,” Pekny states. “People just conflate these two issues.”

“Where and how we build is the ‘human’ factor that determines the cost to life and property,” he adds. “We can’t control the storms, but what we can do is have productive conversations about how to prepare for them.” 

About the Author:

Bill Pekny is the author of A Tale of Two Climates: One Real, One Imaginary. He holds physics M.S. and B.S. degrees from Georgia Tech and DePaul University, plus graduate study in physical meteorology and numerical analysis at Florida State University and the University of Utah, and a visiting scholar appointment at the Ginzton Laboratory of Applied Physics at Stanford University.

Bill’s career in science spans over 50 years in the U.S. Armed Forces and the aerospace industry.

His career highlights include: Project Stormfury with the U.S. Navy Hurricane Hunters; applied atmospheric physics and meteorology research; LASER RADAR development; new product testing in various atmospheric environments; aviation optics and electronics; global climate research; and more.

For more information, please visit this website.

About the Book:

A Tale of Two Climates: One Real, One Imaginary (Two Climates LLC, 2020, ISBN: 978-1-73493-960-6, $34.59) is available from major online booksellers.

car sharing phoenix for use by 360 Magazine

Research Shows Ridesharing Services Reduce Sexual Assault

Contrary to portraits painted in popular media, new research involving ridesharing services shows they provide an additional level of protection for potential sexual assault victims, particularly in neighborhoods with inadequate public transportation or in circumstances that are more prone to sex crimes.

The study, “The Deterrent Effect of Ride-sharing on Sexual Assault and Investigation of Situational Contingencies,” published in the INFORMS journal Information Systems Research, found the entry of Uber into a city in the United States contributes to a 6.3% reduction in rape incidents.

“Even a 1% increase in Uber pickups in a neighborhood translates to a more than 3% decrease in the likelihood of sexual assaults,” said Jiyong Park of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

The study was conducted by Park alongside Min-Seok Pang of Temple University, Junetae Kim of the National Cancer Center Korea and Byungtae Lee of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.

This research investigates the relationship between ridesharing and sexual assault, which has been a controversial, but underexplored topic in public debates on the sharing economy and ridesharing. This study is the first to present systematic empirical evidence that a ridesharing platform can provide a viable means to prevent sexual crimes under certain circumstances.

“Ridesharing can reduce a passenger’s risk of being a target of sexual assault by providing a more reliable and timely transportation option for traveling to a safer place,” said Park. “Moreover, ridesharing contributes to a more significant reduction in the likelihood of rape occurrences in neighborhoods with limited transportation accessibility, such as the city’s outskirts and neighborhoods where a higher percentage of the population is non-Caucasian.”

The study also found that ridesharing is more effective in deterring sexual crime in riskier circumstances, such as around alcohol-serving establishments on weekend nights or when the probability of crime occurrences increases.

“Despite the common misconception due to popular media stories, our work proves that digital platforms can be leveraged to solve societal challenges by matching supply and demand closely for relevant services, which calls for spatiotemporal investigations of granular-level data in designing platform businesses and devising policy instruments,” concluded Park.

About INFORMS and Information Systems Research

Information Systems Research is a premier peer-reviewed scholarly journal that covers the latest theory, research and intellectual developments for information systems in institutions, organizations, the economy and society to advance knowledge about the effective and efficient utilization of information technology. It is published by INFORMS, the leading international association for operations research and analytics professionals. More information is available at www.informs.org or @informs.

Business woman article illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

Ask Better Questions

Advice from a Researcher on How to Make Research Your Business’s Superpower

By: Kirsten Lee Hill, PHD.

When I talk to people about research, the first thing I notice is that almost everyone is doing research–they just don’t call it that.

Put simply, research is creating an intentional plan to answer a question you have, and then putting it into action. As a business owner, I’m willing to bet that you have questions you would like answered. Questions like:

  • How are people experiencing my products/services?

  • Does my product/service work?

  • How can I improve my product/service?

On a daily basis as you continue to run your business and make decisions about growing or pivoting, you are using information to answer these types of questions. Every time you ask a customer for feedback, send out a poll, or look at records to make decisions about products or services–that’s research!

The quality of the information you get is only as good as the quality of the questions you ask. The key to good research is asking good questions, and crafting good questions is both an art and a science.

To create a good question, you have to get specific about what it is you want to know.

Have you ever asked a client or customer if they are “satisfied?” Or, has anyone ever asked you if you are “satisfied” with their product or service?

Personally, it is my least favorite question, and one that I never ask.

Here’s the thing–I never ask if someone is satisfied because I don’t care. Not asking is strategic. To me, that question is a waste of space (and my clients’ goodwill), and I want to use space and goodwill on important questions that matter to me. Big, vague words like “satisfaction” are not helpful in evaluating my work or making decisions.

What does it even mean to be satisfied?

In some sense it means that I generally did a good job or a bad job. But, I don’t make decisions based on ambiguous terms. I want specific insights to drive my business.⁠

Specific insights come from specific questions.

So, instead of asking if someone is “satisfied” for if they “liked” your product/service, choose an area(s) of feedback that would provide meaningful information. Perhaps you want to know if your product was useful, made something easier, or fun. If you’re selling a new shirt and people say they hate it, that’s not helpful. Instead, ask specific questions about the color, fit, and fabric so that you can take action on the feedback.

Questions are powerful tools that can provide you with information to make important decisions. Don’t waste them.

To learn more about Kirsten Lee Hill, visit her website.