Startups.com

Business can be fun, but it can also be very challenging. Some people just seem to have a knack for business, but even people who are naturally drawn to it will have questions from time to time. If you just do things the way you think they ought to be done, you could find yourself in a whole heap of trouble. That’s why when you have questions or doubts, it makes a lot of sense to seek out advice from others who have been there and done that. Doing this may involve contacting your contacts, reading published material, or even using Startups.com.

With this service, anyone can ask a question about business and receive one or more answers. Questions can be asked through Twitter, e-mail, or the Startups.com Web site. The community contains people who have a variety of knowledge about business, and they get points for being involved. Not all of the answers will be what you’re looking for, but you can vote up the good answers to help them stand out. Whether you’re giving or receiving help, Startups.com could be a nice place to visit.

New Study Ranks Countries On Environmental Impact

There should be an image here!A new study led by the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute in Australia has ranked most of the world’s countries for their environmental impact.

The research uses seven indicators of environmental degradation to form two rankings — a proportional environmental impact index, where impact is measured against total resource availability, and an absolute environmental impact index measuring total environmental degradation at a global scale.

Led by the Environment Institute’s Director of Ecological Modelling Professor Corey Bradshaw, the study has been published in the on-line, peer-reviewed science journal PLoS ONE.

The world’s 10 worst environmental performers according to the proportional environmental impact index (relative to resource availability) are: Singapore, Korea, Qatar, Kuwait, Japan, Thailand, Bahrain, Malaysia, Philippines and Netherlands.

In absolute global terms, the 10 countries with the worst environmental impact are (in order, worst first): Brazil, USA, China, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, India, Russia, Australia and Peru.

The indicators used were natural forest loss, habitat conversion, fisheries and other marine captures, fertiliser use, water pollution, carbon emissions from land use and species threat.

“The environmental crises currently gripping the planet are the corollary of excessive human consumption of natural resources,” said Professor Bradshaw. “There is considerable and mounting evidence that elevated degradation and loss of habitats and species are compromising ecosystems that sustain the quality of life for billions of people worldwide.”

Professor Bradshaw said these indices were robust and comprehensive and, unlike existing rankings, deliberately avoided including human health and economic data — measuring environmental impact only.

The study, in collaboration with the National University of Singapore and Princeton University, found that the total wealth of a country (measured by gross national income) was the most important driver of environmental impact.

“We correlated rankings against three socio-economic variables (human population size, gross national income and governance quality) and found that total wealth was the most important explanatory variable — the richer a country, the greater its average environmental impact,” Professor Bradshaw said.

There was no evidence to support the popular idea that environmental degradation plateaus or declines past a certain threshold of per capital wealth (known as the Kuznets curve hypothesis).

“There is a theory that as wealth increases, nations have more access to clean technology and become more environmentally aware so that the environmental impact starts to decline. This wasn’t supported,” he said.

Professor Corey Bradshaw @ University of Adelaide

[Photo above by William Cho / CC BY-ND 2.0]

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Onzilist

For some reason, human beings are obsessed with lists. We like to have things ranked and displayed for our reading pleasure. Just look at Digg. Some of the most popular submissions are lists, and it doesn’t mater if they’re detailing the best of something, the worst of something, or anything else for that matter. If we see a list, we’ll read it even if we don’t care about the subject. Instead of just reading lists, you can also create and rank them over at Onzilist.

Usually lists focus on the top ten items, but Onzilist gives you eleven entries for any given topic. Apparently that extra one really makes a difference. Who knew? Anyway, you’ll find a number of lists that have already been created, and you can rank them however you’d like. By enabling people to reorder lists that have already been created, Onzilist can show us a global average of the data instead of just one person’s viewpoint of how the list should be organized. This is helpful for research because the way other people rank certain lists may surprise you.