Aug 22, 14

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Debt Relief

Iraq War politics may help get some of the world's poorest countries' international debts forgiven. As part of a campaign to get Iraq's Saddam-era debts forgiven, the US is pushing for complete debt relief for the world's 30 poorest countries, something we in the developed world can easily afford to do. The NYT explains, "Poor countries deserve more help to get out from under loans made by banks awash in oil money; a great deal of that loan money went to corrupt dictators. Today, sub-Saharan...


Genius Grants, 2004

The MacArthur Foundation has announced it's latest round of "genius grant" winners. A few very worldchanging folks in the list, like Amy Smith, David Green of Project Impact (which spreads medical technology and techniques in the developing world), and Angela Belcher -- who is sort of a biomimetic nanotechnologist: "Angela Belcher is a materials scientist whose research opens new avenues for controlling inorganic chemical reactions.  Rather than relying on traditional tools of physical...


Blogging WIPO

One of the things I geek over are people's live or nearly-live notes from conferences. There are many more interesting conferences and meetings than one could ever attend, and people blogging them seems to me to be one of the really truly useful purposes of the medium (though of course only a handful of the events I'd like to see blogged, are, and only some of those are done well enough to make any sense of... rather like that last sentence). Anyways, here's a cool example, Thiru...


10 Point Plan For Security

David Stephenson wrote to tell me of his latest post on his homeland security blog (which focuses on "empowering the public, creative use of technology, win-win public/private collaborations yielding security and economic benefits, and protecting civil liberties"): "10-point plan to make security moms -- and all of us -- feel more secure." The list is a checklist of what a 21st century security plan should look like, with entries such as "work with existing groups, but also facilitate ad-hoc...


Farnaz Fassihi from Iraq

We try to avoid linking to things which other big blogs have already picked up, but this is worth making an exception for: Farnaz Fassihi, one of the Wall Street Journal's correspondent in Iraq, wrote a blistering and candid email about her life there. It's honest, revealing, blunt and really worth reading: "It's hard to pinpoint when the turning point exactly began. Was it April when the Fallujah fell out of the grasp of the Americans? Was it when Moqtada and Jish Mahdi declared war on the...

stuff

What the Future Will Be Made Of

If you're looking for a catalog of the cutting edge, I just found one. Transmaterialis a 186-page compendium of some of the most flat-out amazing design technologies I've ever seen. Based on Blaine Brownell's "product of the week" mailing from the design firm nbbj, Transmaterial covers "materials, products and processes that are redefining our physical environment" -- a definition broad enough to encompass "biosteel" (biotech version of spider silk) to "3D textile knitting machines" (able to...

community

Beyond Bach: The Silk Road Project

Modern technology can disrupt, dislocate and flatten cultures and people. This much is clear -- or should be by now. But with its double-edged nature, technology can also enhance art and life in surprisingly wonderful ways, a key dynamic which techno-pessimists often overlook. This thought struck me as I read an article about celebrated cellist, Yo-Yo Ma in the NYT's Circuit section (See A Virtuoso and His Technology by Seth Schiesel, Sept 30, 2004.) In addition to contributing...


Bright Green Funding

It's an open secret that the environmental movement's in sort of a wobbling stall-spiral. Despite widespread support for the idea of protecting the environment, despite a new generation of dedicated, smart activists, organizers and designers, and despite some terrific new ideas bubbling up from the grassroots and seeping in from the fringes, things are getting demonstrably worse environmentally, pretty much across the board. Why? One reason is the broken model of the direct-mail NGO, a model...


Sustainability Strategery

Says Alan, " A recent international study of national-level sustainable development strategies concludes that most of them are not ... strategic." As the report, from the International Institute for Sustainable Development, puts it: "As nations work on meeting their 2005 commitments for the formulation and elaboration of national strategies for sustainable development, a recent 19-country independent study conducted by IISD, the Canadian consulting firm Stratos Inc., and the Environmental...

planet

Design the Car of the Future

French automaker Peugeot is set to start its third "Challenge the Imagination" design contest (warning, Flash-heavy website), open to anyone 14 years or older. The winner gets to see her/his design built as a full-scale concept car on display at the 2005 Frankfurt Auto Show (yes, including the flight to Frankfurt), along with €6,000 and a prize. 29 runners-up will also receive recognition and cash -- the 11th-30th get €300. Not bad. This year's theme is "design the car of your...

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