Math and science: not an asian sensation

Think that math and science remain the domain of Asian-Americans? Think again. Today's Times, in reference to a recent study conducted by the College Board and New York University (pdf), had this to say:

The report found that contrary to stereotype, most of the bachelor’s degrees that Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders received in 2003 were in business, management, social sciences or humanities, not in the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering or math. And while Asians earned 32 percent of the nation's STEM doctorates that year, within that 32 percent more than four of five degree recipients were international students from Asia,  not Asian-Americans.         

The report also shows a correlation between Asian-American students' SAT scores and their parents' earnings and education level. Ironically, the same correlation is found with other Americans. So... maybe it's time to stop viewing Asian-Americans as a mathematically-inclined monolith and to start seeing them as individuals? After all, the designation "Asian-American Pacific Islander" does encompass 48 ethnic groups.


Tuesday Map: Africa's changing climate

This week's Tuesday Map comes compliments of a new atlas, released today by the United Nations Environment Program. "Africa: Atlas of our Changing Environment," paints a grim picture of the African landscape, as climate change, deforestation, urban pollution, and refugee flows are all taking their toll.

Vegetation and forests in the Jebel Marra foothills in Western Sudan (below) have declined significantly from 1972 (left) to 2006 (right). The authors of the study attribute this change in part to an "influx of refugees from drought and conflict in Northern Darfur." Reuters reports that deforestation is occurring in Africa at twice the world rate.

While many people are familiar with the snows of Kilimanjaro, or lack thereof, climate change appears to be having an impact on smaller peaks as well. The second map illustrates a noticeable shrinking of the Rwenzori Glaciers, which border Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, over just an 18-year period.

Explore more climate change maps -- both in Africa and worldwide -- at UNEP's Web site.