Cumberland Times-News

Bob Doyle - Astronomy

February 11, 2012

Sobering facts about developing world


With the exception of sports and social news, a large portion of the information we get is rather negative, focusing on crime, foreclosures, nasty weather, verbal attacks of one candidate against the other(s), and foreign threats.
It’s no wonder that so many Americans think that our country is going in the wrong direction. But to get a better perspective, it’s useful to consider how people live in the developing parts of the world. 
These developing countries have 82 per cent of all humans now alive. The developing countries include China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nigeria. 
The developed countries have only 18 per cent of the world’s population. The developed countries include the United States, Western Europe, Australia and Japan.
ENERGY: Since 1956, Shell (an Anglo-Dutch Multinational Oil Company has worked in the Niger Delta of Nigeria. Over that time, there have been 4,000 oil spills, far more oil discharged than the Deep Water Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico a few years ago.
ENVIRONMENT: In 1983, the gold mining in Ghana (on West Coast of Africa) was deregulated. 80 percent of the mining is now controlled by foreign companies. This has led to the destruction of 60 oercebtof Ghana’s rainforests.
   MONEY: The economy of the African country of Zimbabwe collapsed, when hyperinflation reached 231 million percent in July 2008. In 2009, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe issued a $100 trillion dollar note. (One hundred trillion has 15 zeroes!)
AIR: Just 1 percent of China’s 560 million urban inhabitants breathe air considered safe by the World’s Health Organization.
LIFE EXPECTANCY: Swaziland, a small landlocked country in southern Africa has a life expectancy of 32 years. Swaziland has a HIV rate of 39 per cent, the highest in the world. This epidemic has surged due to high unemployment, poverty and traditional/religious beliefs regarding sex.
SANITATION: 2.6 billion people (37 per cent of all humans) don’t have basic sanitation. 1 billion people use unsafe sources of drinking water. Five times as many children die from diarrhea caused by unclean water than die from HIV/AIDS.

Text Only
Bob Doyle - Astronomy
  • Odds are good that you didn’t know this

    Odds or Probabilities fascinate many people. There is a special website called and an accompanying location on Facebook at /BookofOdds .This website lists 400,000 odds. Three of the people who are involved in this media display have coauthored a book, “The Book of Odds” that presents some of key odds, drawing from polls and statistics published in journals. The authors are A. Shapiro, L.F. Campbell and R. Wright. This paperback was published this year by Harper Collins with ISBN 978-0-06-206085-3.

    April 20, 2014

  • Early morning lunar eclipse this Tuesday

    For the first time since 2011, our area may see a total lunar eclipse as the moon will pass through the Earth’s deep shadow.

    April 13, 2014

  • Here’s a fine guide to new Cosmos series

    This columnist recommends the new series: “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” presented on FOX on Sundays at 9 p.m. and on the National Geographic channel at 10 p.m. on Monday and Friday evenings.

    April 5, 2014

  • Which species is truly the most successful?

    When the question of success is raised, most of us think of lavish homes, sports arenas, cars or stocks owned.

    March 29, 2014

  • Earth’s climate keeps changing, but why?

    Earth’s climate has been subject to change, long before humans walked the Earth. Why should the climate change?
    The Earth is a dynamic planet, subject to the shifting of the crustal plates (which can lead to increased volcanic eruptions), the advance and retreat of glaciers and changes in the Earth’s motion about the sun (Earth’s axial tilt and the varying ovalness of the Earth’s orbit).

    March 22, 2014

  • History book starts from the beginning

    There is a new world history book, using a great variety of graphs. It is the collaboration of an Italian graphic designer, Valentina D’Efilippo and British journalist James Ball.
    Their book is “The Infographic History of the World,” published this year by Firefly with ISBN – 13: 978-1-77085-316-4.

    March 15, 2014

  • New ‘Cosmos’ debuts on television tonight

    Now that our clocks are on daylight saving time, today’s sunrise and sunset are coming about an hour later than yesterday. Yesterday’s sunrise was about 6:38 a.m.; today’s sunrise is about 7:36 a.m.

    March 8, 2014

  • What do these vital measurements mean?

     A while back, I wrote a column on how the U.S. has firmly held onto British units that the British themselves have abandoned (inch, pound, quart).

    March 1, 2014

  • Here’s an up-to-date guide to the universe

    There has been a surge in beginner’s books about the universe. The number of probable exoplanets (planets orbiting other stars) grows by several dozen each month.

    February 22, 2014

  • People and pet food have lots in common

    In our house reside one dog and three cats. I found Chapter 2 in Mary Roach’s “Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal” very interesting.

    February 15, 2014

Latest news
Must Read
House Ads