USIP's Science, Technology & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Science, Technology and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, March 29 - April 4, 2012

Table of Contents

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Brasilia 2012: A New Era of Open Government
Delegates from 53 countries will come together in Brasilia on 17 and 18 April for the Open Government Partnership's (OGP) 2012 annual meeting. This will establish OGP as an international movement that uses the latest tools and technologies to help governments solve age-old problems and deliver tangible results for citizens. Representatives will gather for two days of discussion on the latest reforms, tools and innovations in the open government field.
See the full article (Guardian, Maria Otero and Jorge Hage, 4/3/12)
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A Tour of the New Geopolitics of Global Warming
Energy security and climate change present massive threats to global security, military planners say, with connections and consequences spanning the world. Some scientists have linked the Arab Spring uprisings to high food prices caused by the failed Russian wheat crop in 2010, a result of an unparalleled heat wave. The predicted effects of climate change are also expected to hit developing nations particularly hard, raising the importance of supporting humanitarian response efforts and infrastructure improvements.
See the full article (Scientific American, Joshua Zaffos, 4/2/12)
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Link Between PTSD and Violent Behavior is Weak
Post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury can increase a person's anger and hostility and diminish his or her self-control. But the link between those disorders and outright violent behavior is weak and hard to pin down with certainty. That's what the research suggests about the effects of two medical conditions suffered by tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers who fought in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
See the full article (Washington Post, David Brown, 3/31/12)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Prospects for Peace in Afghanistan" on April 10 at 10:30am.
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Can Tunisia Become the Silicon Valley of the Arab World?
The United States' strongest weapons against Islamic militancy [in Tunisia] are not CIA operatives, drones or infantry battalions. They are the modern, new high-tech office buildings that Hewlett-Packard, Fidelity, SunGard, Microsoft and Cisco have opened here in recent years. In the wake of the revolution, Tunisians dream of their country becoming a hub for cloud, big-data and open-government computing in the region.
See the full article (Atlantic, David Rhode, 3/30/12)
Click to read "The Value of Building Peace," a USIP On the Issues by Michael Graham.
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How Activist Data Mining is Penetrating the Veil Around Syria's Bloody Conflict
By combining social media and crowdsourced data with automation and algorithms, Syrian casualty trackers are moving toward the realm of activist data mining. Volunteers are developing algorithms to search news articles and using open-source software to map victims' deaths, and Syrian rebels are learning how to shoot and upload high-quality video. The goal is to ensure the war - and its thousands of victims - are chronicled for the rest of the world to see.
See the full article (Popular Science, Rebecca Boyle, 3/30/12)
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US, Pakistan Talking About Changes in Drone Ops, Official Says
The Obama administration is talking with the Pakistanis about possible changes in the way the U.S. conducts air strikes against terrorists in Pakistan, including providing Pakistan advance notice of attacks, modifying the targets and changing how targets are determined. The offer to put the issue on the table reportedly was made earlier this year by CIA Director David Petraeus in a meeting with the head of Pakistani intelligence.
See the full article (CNN, Pam Benson, 3/30/12)
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Africa: New Map Overlays Conflict, Climate Change and Aid
A pilot version of an online mapping tool has been launched in Africa which enables researchers and policymakers to identify how climate change vulnerability, conflict, and aid intersect. Researchers integrated data from areas of climate change vulnerability and active aid-funded projects in Malawi, and mapped this information onto the locations of Malawian conflicts up to 2010. The result is a dynamic tool that can help policymakers, researchers and aid groups plan for climate change mitigation activities and deliver aid more effectively.
See the full article (AllAfrica, Bernard Appiah, 3/29/12)
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