Counting—and Redefining—the Cost of War

Hacker_headshot 2016 copyAssociate Professor of History and MPC Faculty Member J. David Hacker made headlines in 2011 when he published a groundbreaking study of the total number of U.S. Civil War dead. Hacker argued that the widely-accepted figure of 620,000 was far too low. Using IPUMS, Hacker showed that the number of dead was at least 750,000—if not more. His article, “A Census-Based Count of the Civil War,” published in Civil War History, was introduced by the editors in the issue as “among the most consequential pieces ever to appear in this journal’s pages.”

Few demographic historians expect attention from mainstream press when they publish their research, but Hacker’s study attracted national interest, including interviews with the New York Times and National Public Radio.

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Migration is a Climate Change Issue

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International Organization for Migration (IOM) Panel. Paris, France.

How and to what extent do our leaders and decision-makers need to address migration as a climate change issue? This issue was at the forefront of our minds recently when we had the unique opportunity to attend the 21st annual climate talks, known as the Conference of the Partners (COP21), in Paris, France in November and December of last year.

We participated in COP21 as part of a wider delegation from Minnesota that included past and current Minnesota state representatives, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, and several other representatives from government and non-governmental organizations. Like previous meetings, the goal of COP21 was to convene a meeting of world leaders and to negotiate a global climate treaty, laying the groundwork for preventing global average temperatures from rising no further than a maximum of two degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.

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New user interface for TerraPop

From January 13 to 17, 2014 Geneva’s CICG center will be the site of a major international conference and exhibit aimed at improving access to critical information on the global environment. The GEO-X Plenary and Geneva Ministerial Summit brings together experts from 90 governments and nearly 70 organizations and will include an exhibit of cutting edge technology and more than 30 forums and panel discussions, many open to the general public. Topics will include Agriculture and Food Security, Measuring Biodiversity, Disaster Risk Reduction, Cholera Early Warning, Ocean Acidification, UNEP Live!, and Water Security. The summit will be presided over by GEO’s four co-chairs: China, the European Commission, South Africa and the United States. The United States will be represented at GEO-X by a high level multiagency delegation. For nearly a decade, the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) has been driving the interoperability of thou­sands of individual space-based, airborne and in situ Earth observations around the world. Often these separate systems yield just snapshot assessments, leading to critical gaps in scientific understanding. GEO is addressing such gaps by providing easy, open access to organized observations that enable an increasingly integrated view of our changing Earth. Summit participants will look at how the international community can increase the sustainability and quality of observation networks and make the maximum possible volume of data freely accessible. For sound science to shape sound policy, leaders and other decision-makers require this fuller picture as an indispensable foundation of environmental decision-making. U.S. Mission Geneva / Eric Bridiers

The TerraPop team is excited to announce the launch of a new, completely redesigned user interface. TerraPop enables research, learning, and policy analysis by providing integrated spatio-temporal data describing people and their environment. The new interface is more intuitive and easier to use. Choosing data and creating an extract are structured as a step-by-step process. You are guided through the workflow, seeing the information you need to make selections at each step. Throughout the process, you have access to complete metadata describing available variables, datasets, and geographic levels. Give the new extract builder a try at https://data.terrapop.org.

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