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Killing techies, the Malaysian way

Malaysia is proposing a Computing Professionals Bill, based on the Registration of Engineers Act [.PDF] which makes it mandatory for all practicing "computing professionals" to be registered with a government body. Dealing in the IT industry, including sending “proposals, plans, designs, drawings, schemes, reports, studies or others to be determined by the Board to any person or authority in Malaysia” without being registered will incur a fine not exceeding RM20,000 (~US$6380) or 6 months in jail. Malaysian IT professionals and geeks are up in arms, and similarities have been drawn to Nigeria's law on computing professionals.
posted by divabat on Dec 8, 2011 - 26 comments

Fast and Furious

The Caravan magazine takes a long, hard look at the Formula 1 inaugural enterprise in India.
posted by vidur on Nov 27, 2011 - 33 comments

There's Always Money in Quikster, I mean the Banana Stand

Now the story of a wealthy new media company that nearly lost everything and the one TV series that had no choice but to keep it all together. It's Arrested... Development... on Netflix. [more inside]
posted by oneswellfoop on Nov 20, 2011 - 71 comments

It takes some Sachs to raise a villiage

The Millennium Villages, launched in association with the Millennium Development Goals (wiki) adopted by the UN in 2000, recently received a grant of $72 million to continue its work. In a post on the always interesting Guardian Poverty Matters blog, a group of poverty researchers has recently summarized their findings that the project did not plan for a rigorous evaluation, and thus we will not know if they worked. Jeff Sachs, the scholar most strongly associated with the MDVs, disagrees. The blog Development Impact (which, in fairness, is basically all about randomized controlled trials in development) weighs in here and here.
posted by shothotbot on Oct 21, 2011 - 3 comments

No touching!!

We talk about Lego a lot here on the blue. We also talk about Arrested Development. Now we can do both... at the same time.
posted by ricochet biscuit on Aug 24, 2011 - 39 comments

List of emerging technologies

Science fiction always uses it in varying degrees. Some believe it will bring about a perfect Technological Utopia:Heaven on Earth. Some believe it will herald a dark and dystopian future. Perhaps it will elevate man to a being that is more than human; Human+ and permanently and irrevocably transform the human condition, and still others believe that too much involvement in it will void your existence. Some religions totally depend on it and others find it harder to deal with: The list of emerging technologies.
posted by Cogentesque on Aug 16, 2011 - 49 comments

Not on the list: Helping people

Stuff Expat Aid Workers Like. (via)
posted by vidur on Jun 22, 2011 - 20 comments

How Very Generous of Us

"Using pejorative terms like "handouts" and "doling out", some parts of the media are mounting a campaign to suggest Britain should be embarrassed by our level of aid giving. But the idea that aid is generous is absurd. Some families, inspired by religious tradition, think it is appropriate to give 10% of what they have to charity, £10 in every £100 of earnings. In 2010, the UK gave not £10, not £1, but 56p ($0.91) in overseas aid for every £100 ($163) we earned as a country. On average, since 1990 we have given even less, 35p ($0.57)." [Giving aid to poor countries is hardly a great act of generosity] [more inside]
posted by vidur on Jun 14, 2011 - 59 comments

Placeholder Images

Lorem Pixum — A placeholder image generator for web and print designers for any size or topic. Speed up your workflow during the development process.
posted by netbros on Jun 12, 2011 - 24 comments

Dwarf Fortress Cities update

Toady One started with generating cities. That turned into cities with rivers and castles. Cities need sewers, and sewers means catacombs and dungeons. Catacombs and dungeons means undead creatures, which leads to necromancers and obviously, immortality. From there, it's only a few steps to werebeasts, specifically werelizards. [more inside]
posted by Cloud King on Jun 1, 2011 - 41 comments

paradigm drift

Commodity Prices and Paradigm Shifts - "The real paradigm shift, or more like a paradigm drift, because it is slowly enveloping us, is that we are moving toward preferences and lifestyle where we will simply consume less. A lot less... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 30, 2011 - 88 comments

Bubbles and Public Facts

The Destruction of Economic Facts - "Renowned Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto argues that the financial crisis wasn't just about finance—it was about a staggering lack of knowledge" (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 23, 2011 - 35 comments

“Cambridge is a city, not a highway!”

There is an inspiring mural on the back of the Micro Center building in Cambridge, MA. It commemorates the freeway revolt against the proposed I-695 Inner Belt. There are usually cars parked in front of it, but some have managed to get good photos.
posted by smammy on May 23, 2011 - 51 comments

Grouponomics

The Sharing Economy (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 5, 2011 - 12 comments

Conflict, Security, and Development

Remove the scourge of conflict - "Taming mass violence is the theme of the World Bank's latest World Development Report, which focuses on 'conflict, security and development' [pdf] ... Mass violence destroys all hopes of progress. We should make a huge effort to eliminate this scourge. It seems feasible. It is desirable. So try."
posted by kliuless on Apr 30, 2011 - 18 comments

Grannies for Drugs

Grandmothers are agitated to the point of singing K’naan songs. This basically concerns the frustration over the Canadian Senate killing Bill C-393 (a law to facilitate production of cheaper life saving HIV/AIDS drugs for developing countries). With the new election looming, the “Grannies” would like to see folks use aidsaction.ca to email their candidates and ask them about their Access to Medicines stance.
posted by davidng on Apr 29, 2011 - 6 comments

Think again, again

Every year, nine million children under five die from preventable diseases such as diarrhea and malaria. Often, the treatments for these diseases are cheap, safe, and readily available. So why don't people pick these 'low-hanging fruit'? Why don’t mothers vaccinate their children? Why don’t families use bednets, or buy chlorinated water? And why do they spend such large amounts of money on ineffective cure instead?
Poor Economics is a book and website by Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo. It has maps, graphs, and data drawn from the research at MIT's Poverty Action Lab. It is currently being reviewed and discussed (1, 2, 3) at the Economist. BONUS: Duflo discusses the book and Randomized Controlled Trials (Wikipedia: RCT).
posted by anotherpanacea on Apr 25, 2011 - 46 comments

brittle efficiency and shallow triumphalism

Fareed Zakaria: Are America's Best Days Behind Us? - "We have an Electoral College that no one understands and a Senate that doesn't work, with rules and traditions that allow a single Senator to obstruct democracy without even explaining why. We have a crazy-quilt patchwork of towns, municipalities and states with overlapping authority, bureaucracies and resulting waste. We have a political system geared toward ceaseless fundraising and pandering to the interests of the present with no ability to plan, invest or build for the future. And if one mentions any of this, why, one is being unpatriotic, because we have the perfect system of government, handed down to us by demigods who walked the earth in the late 18th century and who serve as models for us today and forever. America's founders would have been profoundly annoyed by this kind of unreflective ancestor worship." [for/against]
posted by kliuless on Apr 17, 2011 - 93 comments

master of information

The New Biology - Eric Schadt's quest to upend molecular biology and open source it. (via)
posted by kliuless on Apr 9, 2011 - 35 comments

Happy 65th birthday to the MRC birth cohort of 1946

Epidemiology: Study of a lifetime. "In 1946, scientists started tracking thousands of British children born during one cold March week. On their 65th birthday, the study members find themselves more scientifically valuable than ever before." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 21, 2011 - 7 comments

Age of Pedagogy

Why Preschool Shouldn't Be Like School by Alison Gopnik [more inside]
posted by AceRock on Mar 17, 2011 - 42 comments

Books On Demand

The library system in Polk County, Florida has installed vending machines so that patrons who aren't close to a library can still check books out.
posted by reenum on Jan 31, 2011 - 49 comments

Peak Travel

Have we hit 'peak travel'? Recent studies have suggested we may be approaching the limits of global capacity to sustain growth in human movement at current rates, or that we may already be at the structural limits of that capacity: the theory of "peak travel." Does it matter? What is our responsibility as travelers? Is there an upside? [more inside]
posted by spitbull on Jan 8, 2011 - 49 comments

Advance Market Commitments

Inducement Prizes -- Best known for the Ansari X Prize, the DARPA Grand Challenge and the Clay Mathematics Millennium Problems, inducement prizes have a long history, but their recent successes have led to increased government interest, viz. challenge.gov, and resulted in the development of vaccines, thanks in large part to the work of Michael Kremer.* [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 6, 2011 - 8 comments

Giving What We Can

Giving What We Can is a movement founded by Toby Ord , a 31 year old Oxford academic on slightly more than average income who plans to give away a million pounds during his lifetime. [more inside]
posted by philipy on Dec 13, 2010 - 52 comments

counter-counterintuitive

Just Give Money to the Poor: bypass governments and NGOs and let the poor decide how to use their money? Should recipients be asked to satisfy conditions? Does it only work well in rural areas of developing countries? Found via this socialist rag; mentioned here first by this puny human.
posted by vertriebskonzept on Nov 30, 2010 - 30 comments

Subprime microcredit?

India's microcredit industry may be near to collapse [more inside]
posted by Forktine on Nov 17, 2010 - 54 comments

A Complete Waste of Money That Succeeds Primarily At Keeping Westerners Employed

Michael Maren, an outspoken critic of foreign aid and development assistance, gave an interview to Might Magazine about the flaws in the current models for aid to Africa.
posted by reenum on Sep 29, 2010 - 17 comments

Just the snark is worth the read

One week. Two development summits. Hundreds of heads of state, development luminaries, CEOs, and social entrepreneurs. Celebrity star power (pdf). No poor people. Aid Watch spent three days trying to make sense of the greatest show on earth to help the world’s lowest.
posted by The Lady is a designer on Sep 24, 2010 - 9 comments

Global Warming and its Discontents

You've heard of the IPCC, but have you heard of the MEA? The term "global warming" has been with us for 35 years. The idea that CO2 would cause the planet to heat up has been with us significantly longer, discovered in the early 20th century by the Swedish scientist, Svante Arrhenius (previously). However, the concept of global warming is not without its problems (and this has nothing to do with solar flares). [more inside]
posted by outlandishmarxist on Aug 30, 2010 - 25 comments

Las Vegas architectural drawings

Las Vegas as it almost was, as it was going to be, as it never will be, and as it still might.
posted by Joe Beese on Aug 19, 2010 - 40 comments

I See I.P. Funky Colors

Hale "Bonddad" Stewart shows that U.S. Manufacturing is NOT Dead, but says that to zombify resurrect rejuvenate it America should look into Industrial Policy. Meanwhile, in Detroit, a President is saying that the automobile industry bailout prompted an "industrial revival", a Senator is calling it "industrial policy" and an economist is saying even if it is, "it's the most successful...in American history". All of which prompts the age-old question.... [more inside]
posted by Chipmazing on Aug 6, 2010 - 53 comments

Four Economic Benchmarks We Need Now

With capitalism in crisis, can it be sustained or is it altogether outdated? As Umair Haque asks though, perhaps a better question is: "are organizations and markets making decisions that help make people, communities, and society better off in the long run, by allocating their scarce resources to the most productive uses?" [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 13, 2010 - 15 comments

What to Do About Suburbs?

As suburbs become home to more poor people, immigrants, minorities, senior citizens and households with no children and we face what may be the end of suburbia, planners are wondering what do we do with suburbs? [more inside]
posted by lunit on Jul 7, 2010 - 127 comments

We're cooking with gas - Gobar Gas

Conflict-blogger Michael Yon with a fascinating piece about Nepal, Afghanistan, the Gurkhas and the incredible technology of "Gobar Gas". [more inside]
posted by Happy Dave on Jun 12, 2010 - 19 comments

neocolonial OCP-like company towns: changing the rules (in a good way)

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Ending Poverty In the 1990s, Paul Romer revolutionized economics. In the Aughts, he became rich as a software entrepreneur. Now he's trying to help the poorest countries grow rich—by convincing them to establish foreign-run "charter cities" within their borders. Romer's idea is unconventional, even neo-colonial—the best analogy is Britain's historic lease of Hong Kong. And against all odds, he just might make it happen. (via cc) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 10, 2010 - 92 comments

One Laptop Per Bike

Armed with a netbook, medical supplies and a bicycle, Bangladesh's InfoLadies are giving millions of poor people access to crucial information on their doorsteps that will improve their chances in life
posted by Artw on May 22, 2010 - 13 comments

you are the result of a social experiment; it's the simplest explanation

The experimental method: Testing solutions with randomized trials -- In trying to help explicate the complexity of society Clark Medal-winner Esther Duflo is raising the productivity of social policies by increasing our knowledge of what works and doesn't work through repeated social experiments of randomised controlled trials. She has a large surplus labour pool, a veritable industrial reserve army, to worth with. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 19, 2010 - 18 comments

planning a revolution? contribute to greater net good by doing better

Moving beyond GDP for an information-based society - If indeed[1,2] "A 'Quantum Leap' in Governance" is needed[3] then, as part of the solution,[4] we might start looking past GDP[5,6] and perhaps more toward "betterness instead of business, pursue awesomeness instead of innovation — and maximize good, instead of quarterly profits..." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 16, 2010 - 29 comments

In To Africa

A Glimpse of the World
All across Africa, new tracks are being laid, highways built, ports deepened, commercial contracts signed -- all on an unprecedented scale, and led by China, whose appetite for commodities seems insatiable. Do China's grand designs promise the transformation, at last, of a star-crossed continent? Or merely its exploitation? The author travels deep into the heart of Africa, searching for answers. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 26, 2010 - 20 comments

CSS and JS - so now you know

CSS Tips I Wish I Knew When I First Started - Seven JavaScript Things I Wish I Knew Much Earlier In My Career
posted by Artw on Apr 21, 2010 - 65 comments

Macro Microcredit

Big Banks Draw Big Profits From Microloans to Poor Drawn by the prospect of hefty profits from even the smallest of loans, a raft of banks and financial institutions now dominate the field, with some charging interest rates of 100 percent or more from their impoverished customers. (SLNYT -- use Bugmenot or register with fake information) [more inside]
posted by Forktine on Apr 13, 2010 - 24 comments

nation building

One Night in Afghanistan
THE PRESIDENT: at a time when too many American institutions have let us down, when too many institutions have put short-term gain in front of a commitment to duty and a commitment to what's right... all of you want to build -- and that is something essential about America. [Al Qaeda and the violent extremists have] got no respect for human life. You see dignity in every human being. That's part of what we value as Americans. They want to drive races and regions and religions apart. You want to bring people together and see the world move forward together. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 4, 2010 - 36 comments

The "Still-Face" Experiment

The "Still Face" Paradigm (YT video) designed by Dr. Edward Tronick of Harvard and Childrens Hospital’s Child Development Unit, is an experiment which shows us how a 1-year old child will react to a suddenly unresponsive parent. It allows us to understand how a caregiver's interactions and emotional state can influence many aspects of an infant's social and emotional development. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 15, 2010 - 22 comments

Millennium Villages

Shower of Aid Brings Flood of Progress - "An experiment that is bombarding a Kenyan town of 65,000 with health care, education, and job training seems to be achieving its goal of rapidly lifting people out of poverty, but can the results be magnified?" [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 8, 2010 - 6 comments

Go on, us!

Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal, long nicknamed the "Lavender Lake" for its copious oil slicks, has gained a new title : Superfund Site. New Yorkers respond with really cool photography. While some developers bow out in light of the recent news, other area developers, hoping for a speedy cleanup of the industrial waste and, uh ... other things ... vow to continue their plans to revitalize the formerly-industrial corridor.
posted by Afroblanco on Mar 4, 2010 - 26 comments

Conflict continues over homosexuality in Uganda

Petition against Anti-Gay Bill Delivered to Ugandan Parliament. Fierce debate continues in Uganda over the Bahati Bill, a controversial anti-homosexual law currently under consideration by the Ugandan government (prev). [more inside]
posted by allkindsoftime on Mar 2, 2010 - 32 comments

Better Than We Thought

"The conventional wisdom that Africa is not reducing poverty is wrong." [PDF, 339.97 KB] [more inside]
posted by SpringAquifer on Mar 2, 2010 - 21 comments

funemployment

How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America
The Great Recession may be over, but this era of high joblessness is probably just beginning. Before it ends, it will likely change the life course and character of a generation of young adults. It will leave an indelible imprint on many blue-collar men. It could cripple marriage as an institution in many communities. It may already be plunging many inner cities into a despair not seen for decades. Ultimately, it is likely to warp our politics, our culture, and the character of our society for years to come. (via rw)
posted by kliuless on Feb 11, 2010 - 84 comments

Another look at international development from someone who's been there

Blood and Milk is the blog of international development worker and writer Alanna Shaikh, who consults on global health development and writes for publications such as the UN Dispatch. Her views, based both on her work in the field and her study & understanding of sociology, international relations, and other such subjects, tend to be contrary to most other opinions on international development: voluntourism isn't helpful, development work is mired in a culture of nice, don't bother starting an NGO (or, if you will anyway, here's how to succeed), global health doesn't need innovation, and microfinance is a disappointment. Also, here's how to tell if your health project is doomed, and Haiti doesn't need your shoes (some people vehemently disagree). Educated well-researched iconoclast, or pessimistic Mary Contrary?
posted by divabat on Feb 4, 2010 - 20 comments

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