MIT students created water bottle light bulbs
that diffract natural sunlight and provide the equivalent of a 55 watt light bulb out of an empty plastic bottle, water, and a few drops of bleach. They are being installed and used in shanty towns where no natural light gets into the makeshift tin roof homes.
posted by COD
on Aug 3, 2011 -
Everyone knows that correlation doesn't imply causation
, but researchers invariably need to come up with plausible explanations (i.e., models) for the patterns found in their data. However, very different models can "explain" the same pattern. The books The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It
and Wars, Guns and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places
by Oxford economist Paul Collier
try to explain why some countries have remained poor using data from econometric studies. In his very interesting review
(PDF), Mike McGovern
, a political anthropologist at Yale, critiques the types of explanations found in popular economics books. Statistician Andrew Gelman has further thoughts on descriptive statistics, causal inference, and story time
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear
on Jul 13, 2011 -
The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment: Evidence from the First Year
(or, What Happens When You Give Poor People Health Insurance?) "We find that in this first year, the treatment group had substantively and statistically significantly higher health care utilization (including primary and preventive care as well as hospitalizations), lower out-of-pocket medical expenditures and medical debt (including fewer bills sent to collection), and better self-reported physical and mental health than the control group." [more inside]
posted by OmieWise
on Jul 11, 2011 -
In 2009, Ctrl.Alt.Shift
, the "youth initiative
of Christian Aid," held a national competition in the UK for aspiring filmmakers aged 18 to 25. Their mission: create a short film treatment based around three key issues: "War + Peace," "Gender + Power" and "HIV + Stigma." The results were then screened to an audience at the 2009 Raindance Film Festival. The films: 1000 Voices
, HIV: The Musical
, Man Made
, No Way Through
and War School
. (All YouTube links. Vimeo links and descriptions of each film are inside this post.) These films deal with adult subject matter and may be disturbing for some viewers. Some may also be nsfw. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on May 24, 2011 -
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?
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
) at the Economist. BONUS: Duflo discusses the book
and Randomized Controlled Trials
posted by anotherpanacea
on Apr 25, 2011 -
Why Not a Negative Income Tax?
"What kind of program could help protect every citizen from destitution without granting excessive power to bureaucrats, creating disincentives to work, and clogging up the free-market economy, as the modern welfare state has done? [Nobel-prize winning economist Milton] Friedman’s answer was the negative income tax, or NIT."
posted by shivohum
on Mar 14, 2011 -
is a flash game (or an immersive online experience
depending on who you ask) that challenges players to survive poverty and see first-hand that homelessness is just a shortfall away. Created in partnership with Urban Ministries of Durham
and containing scenarios commonly faced
(pdf) by the working poor, it may not tell people anything they don't already know, but is a creative use of gaming and social media to raise awareness and bring in donors.
posted by ND¢
on Feb 15, 2011 -
Indeed, the comeback of the culture of poverty, albeit in new rhetorical guise, signifies a reversion to the status quo ante: to the discourses and concomitant policy agenda that existed before the black protest movement forced the nation to confront its collective guilt and responsibility for two centuries of slavery and a century of Jim Crow—racism that pervaded all major institutions of our society, North and South. Such momentous issues are brushed away as a new generation of sociologists delves into deliberately myopic examinations of a small sphere where culture makes some measurable difference—to prove that “culture matters.”
Stephen Steinberg on culture and poverty
posted by AceRock
on Jan 19, 2011 -
For all the faults of the poorhouse
, the system it replaced was perceived to be even worse. In post-Revolution America, if you were poor, you could be "farmed out" at public auction to the lowest bidder. [more inside]
posted by Knappster
on Dec 30, 2010 -
An ABC Investigative Unit team hit the streets of western Sydney, where young people are struggling to break a vicious cycle of unemployment and family breakdown, to find out what's being done to stop them from falling through the cracks. In a great article by ABC reporters Eleanor Bell and Ed Giles
, they found that the lack of resources, infrastructure and support for families in these communities is getting worse, not better but that despite this, many locals are still proud of their community.
posted by Effigy2000
on Sep 8, 2010 -
"[Bank robber Peter Barry] Lawrence, 71, made his getaway in his wheelchair, with $2,000 in cash on his lap... he took a meandering route down Seventh Avenue until the police caught up with him five minutes later. But that was all part of the plan.
" And an embedded reporter in Afghanistan notes that "many young soldiers told me that they actually live better in the army
, even when deployed, than they did in civilian life, where they couldn't make ends meet, especially when they were trying to pay for college or raise a family by working one or two low-wage jobs" (p. 1
). Meanwhile, "parents of means are now resorting to buying franchise businesses
to keep their adult children employed." Economic life in contemporary America.
posted by rkent
on Aug 3, 2010 -
...The development sector, just like any other business, needs revenue to survive. Too frequently, this quest for funding uses these kind of dehumanizing images to draw pity, charity, and eventually donations from a largely unsuspecting public...
This is not to say that people do not struggle, far from it, but the photos I was seeing only told part of the story. I thought that these images were robbing people of their dignity, and I felt that the rest of the story should be told as well.
, a Canadian volunteer with Engineers Without Borders
, is embarking on a photography project in which he photographs low-income rural Malawians as they'd be seen by Westerners, and as they prefer to see themselves.
posted by emilyd22222
on May 29, 2010 -
Eating local, organic foods may not be the best option
. The vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions
stem from food production, not transportation, and production inputs for organic food are typically higher. Third world countries that have a food system that is organic and local by default are suffering from lack of infrastructure and investment in basic production technologies that could improve nutrition for millions of people. [more inside]
posted by stinker
on Apr 28, 2010 -
"Welcome to the simplicity movement, the ethos whose mantras are "cutting back," "focusing on the essentials," "reconnecting to the land" - and talking, talking, talking about how fulfilled it all makes you feel."
Charlotte Allen of In Character about the Simplicity Movement, magazines, wild boars, virtue, and 350$ riding boots.
posted by The Whelk
on Apr 25, 2010 -
An unwilling Afghan bride's defiance leads to death.
'Frashta didn't want to marry her cousin, and she fled. In a land where tradition and family honor are everything, that sealed her doom. "So beautiful that no words could describe her face," said her uncle. A child of the provinces can never run far. She should have known this. Frashta, though, was headstrong. Two shots from a hunting rifle in the night, then they rolled her in cloth and tried to hide her, but some things cannot be hidden. She was found in the yard.
"A bad woman," said the cop. [more inside]
posted by VikingSword
on Mar 26, 2010 -
, the low-income community grassroots organisation, is set to close by April 1st
, citing "a series of well-orchestrated, relentless, well-funded, right-wing attacks that are unprecedented since the McCarthy era". Meanwhile the New York Times has issued a correction
on the stories which led to the 87-3 vote to remove ACORN's Federal funding (previously
), admiting that "while footage shot away from the offices shows one activist, James O'Keefe, in a flamboyant pimp costume, there is no indication that he was wearing the costume while talking to the Acorn workers."
posted by Artw
on Mar 22, 2010 -