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We need a better way to poop

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has announced the second round of its Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, designed to prototype a means of dealing effectively and cost-efficiently with human waste for the 2 billion people on earth who currently lack access to safe and affordable sanitation.
posted by slogger on Apr 26, 2012 - 78 comments

A Raw Deal

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has signed legislation that would require thousands of people applying for welfare to pass a drug test before they could receive benefits. [more inside]
posted by goHermGO on Apr 16, 2012 - 166 comments

Where cabs and omnibuses are ruthlessly driven against them

In the frantic pace of modern life, it is often easy to forget what life was once like for those who built the world we now live in. More from Bishopsgate library here and the Institute itself is worth a poke around
posted by mattoxic on Apr 3, 2012 - 34 comments

The War Against Youth

The recession didn't gut the prospects of American young people. The Baby Boomers took care of that.
posted by ClanvidHorse on Apr 1, 2012 - 317 comments

In a sympathetic biochemical photo-reactive process, the Biosphere has altered the litho-sphere into the pedosphere, the cryo-sphere, the hydrosphere and the atmosphere*

The Loess Plateau in China’s Northwest is home to more than 50 million people. Centuries of overuse led to one of the highest erosion rates in the world and widespread poverty. Two projects (results) set out to restore the Loess Plateau. [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation on Mar 22, 2012 - 7 comments

Life on the Breadline

Welcome to the world of Britain's working poor. The Rowleys belong to a section of society not much mentioned in ministerial and media dispatches. They are neither the very wealthy affected by the 50p tax nor the "squeezed middle" expressing anxiety about child benefit and this week's budget; nor are the Rowleys representative of the long-term unemployed or one of the 120,000 "troubled families" in which the government is investing £448m over the next three years. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Mar 18, 2012 - 105 comments

if I can do it, so can you!

6 Things Rich People Need to Stop Saying. (SLCracked by David Wong) [more inside]
posted by changeling on Mar 6, 2012 - 223 comments

Were single mothers better off in the 19th Century?

"As far back as the 1800s, single mothers were receiving benefits. At that time, they would be paid up front and in cash, but were they better off than today?" [via] [Spoiler Inside] [more inside]
posted by marienbad on Mar 4, 2012 - 23 comments

The Nutrition Puzzle

The nutrition puzzle Why do so many people in poor countries eat so badly—and what can be done about it?
posted by storybored on Feb 24, 2012 - 10 comments

Satellite views of the world's largest slums

Satellite views of the world's largest slums
posted by Trurl on Feb 23, 2012 - 48 comments

Marriage is a luxury good

Marriage is a luxury good [NYT] After steadily rising for five decades, the share of children born to unmarried women has crossed a threshold: more than half of births to American women under 30 occur outside marriage. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Feb 18, 2012 - 66 comments

Let there be

Life Without Lights Energy Poverty Photography.
posted by infini on Feb 12, 2012 - 28 comments

Hustlin': The Rise of the Privileged Poor

Writer and comedian A Wolfe writes a compelling piece on education, poverty, and shame.
posted by Dokterrock on Jan 31, 2012 - 42 comments

ReWired

After the Wire, actress Sonja Sohn couldn’t leave Baltimore’s troubled streets behind.
posted by modernnomad on Jan 27, 2012 - 18 comments

When you're poor...

The 5 Stupidest Habits You Develop Growing Up Poor (sl Cracked list) [more inside]
posted by TheWhiteSkull on Jan 19, 2012 - 368 comments

"Liberal, Pretty, and Pro-Titty"

GOOGLE RUPAUL. Drag superstar RuPaul (whose reality show "RuPaul's Drag Race" returns later this month) has enjoyed piles of free publicity thanks to name association with presidential canditate Ron Paul (NY Times). [more inside]
posted by hermitosis on Jan 6, 2012 - 35 comments

Zaire Paige Not Only Played a Movie Killer, He Became One in Real Life.

Zaire Paige had a breakout role in Antoine Fuqua's movie, Brooklyn's Finest. He was seen as a rising star. But, it all went away when he murdered a gang rival and was sentenced to 107 years in prison. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Dec 21, 2011 - 22 comments

Poverty and Race in America

Article suggests that we need to reassess our assumptions about the relationship between poverty and race. Following the article published in Forbes magazine dealing with poor black kids, this article brings up the question about poor whites and how invisible they have become.
posted by RedShrek on Dec 20, 2011 - 38 comments

The Seat Pleasant 59: A social experiment

A three-part series on the fate of 59 fifth-graders who were given an extraordinary gift: the promise of a college education paid for by two wealthy businessmen. Part 2, Part 3
posted by RedShrek on Dec 18, 2011 - 74 comments

Why are Indian Reservations So Poor?

Why are Indian Reservations So Poor? Forbes writer John Koppisch says it's because of a lack of individual property rights. In a detailed response, the executive director of non-profit organization Village Earth says: "I find it ironic how academics and journalists try to come up with new theories to explain poverty on reservations but fail to take into account the obvious. The government owes Native Americans at least 45 Billion dollars yet, in the settlement offered by the Obama administration, they are being compensated for less that .06% of that." [more inside]
posted by desjardins on Dec 14, 2011 - 101 comments

Daidle daidle deedle daidle dum

"If I Were A Poor Black Kid" by Gene Marks. "If I Were The Middle Class White Guy Gene Marks" by Kelly Virella
posted by griphus on Dec 13, 2011 - 203 comments

Before the Occupy movement, there were tent cities.

"Imagine if you had never been homeless before and you'd just lost your job and you lost your home. What would you do? Would you immediately go begging or knocking on a door? No, you would downsize, move into cheaper accommodations, if that did not work you'd move in with friends or relatives and then you'd move into a cheap motel and then ... where would you want to go before winding up at a shelter door? You would much prefer to live at a park with your family and your dog." ... "In just about every major city, there are tent cities. Unfortunately, we're in a growth industry and the numbers are going to continue." -- Michael Stoop, a community organizer for the National Coalition for the Homeless, explaining that the surge in American tent city shantytowns, first highlighted on MeFi in 2008/09: 1, 2, 3, has not slowed. The Great Recession: Life in Tent City, Lakewood NJ / Photo Gallery / Video. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 10, 2011 - 40 comments

Chinese heavy metals

About one tenth of China's farmland is polluted with heavy metals, with whole villages being poisoned. All too frequently, local governments have reacted by ignoring the problems and even denying treatment (HRW report).
posted by jeffburdges on Nov 9, 2011 - 37 comments

Vancouver aims to "end homelessness by 2015"

Vancouver aims to "end homelessness by 2015". Officials have been working over the years to reduce the city’s homelessness, and in July passed an ambitious plan that targets eliminating street homelessness by 2015 and creating nearly 40,000 new units of social, rental, and condo housing by 2021. The plan is aimed at building multiple types of housing to address shortages, but the first three years focus mainly on supportive and social housing. It calls for 3,650 units of such housing, 1,700 of which are already funded and in either the planning or construction phase. According to city councilor Kerry Jang, the need for this type of supportive housing has skyrocketed in recent years.
posted by modernnomad on Oct 24, 2011 - 96 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

“Eventually, someone is going to pick up a brick.”

David Simon, creator of The Wire, delivers the 2011 Frank Porter Graham Lecture at UNC-Chapel Hill. [more inside]
posted by enn on Sep 30, 2011 - 15 comments

SCC OKs Safe Injection Sites

SCC approves safe injection sites. The Supreme Court of Canada today ordered the federal government to stop its efforts to shut down a safe injection clinic in Vancouver, opening the door to more clinics opening across the country. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Sep 30, 2011 - 35 comments

Cheap Internet for Low-Income American Familes

"Internet Essentials" is a $10/month internet plan available to any family with one child eligible for free lunches at American public schools. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Sep 20, 2011 - 108 comments

The bottom of the pyramid

U.S. Poverty Rate, 1 in 6, at Highest Level in Years (NYT) - An additional 2.6 million people slipped below the poverty line in 2010, census officials said, making 46.2 million people in poverty in the United States, the highest number in the 52 years the Census Bureau has been tracking it, said Trudi Renwick, chief of the Poverty Statistic Branch. That represented 15.1 percent of the country. The poverty line in 2010 was at $22,113 for a family of four. (related)
posted by infini on Sep 13, 2011 - 121 comments

Decision Fatigue

Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue? "The very act of making decisions depletes our ability to make them well. So how do we navigate a world of endless choice?"
posted by homunculus on Aug 20, 2011 - 71 comments

Nickel and Dimed, 10 years later.

Barbara Ehrenreich, author of the the 2001 bestseller "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America", releases a new afterward for the tenth anniversary edition of the book, focusing on what has changed in the last 10 years. The conclusion: Poverty has since turned into an American crime. [more inside]
posted by windbox on Aug 11, 2011 - 178 comments

Still Down And Out

On the trail of George Orwell’s outcasts. 'Some 80 years after George Orwell chronicled the lives of the hard-up and destitute in his book Down and Out in Paris and London, what has changed?' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on Aug 7, 2011 - 11 comments

If I Could Have Light In A Bottle

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 - 74 comments

The pivot from the quantitative finding to the speculative explanation

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 - 59 comments

What happens when you give poor people health insurance?

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 - 65 comments

Outliers

The World Top Incomes Database (click on "Graphics" and select countries, years and other variables) (via)
posted by vidur on Jun 7, 2011 - 5 comments

Why Can’t More Poor People Escape Poverty?

Psychologists are now theorizing that humans have a depletable reservoir of self-control, and that this is why poor people remain poor.
posted by reenum on Jun 6, 2011 - 118 comments

100 Bottles of Beer

Street interviews with Buffalo's freelance bottle collectors – the people who wander through the city to recycle our empties. [more inside]
posted by skoosh on May 28, 2011 - 5 comments

Short Films Against Global and Social Injustice

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 - 3 comments

Roger Ebert writes what many of us are thinking.

One percent of Americans now "earn" 25% of the income. Many of them have grown their wealth through criminal exploitation. Roger Ebert asks the burning question: why aren't more people outraged?
posted by rhombus on May 10, 2011 - 404 comments

Food Desert

Do you live in a food desert? [more inside]
posted by backseatpilot on May 4, 2011 - 54 comments

Down and out in Toronto and New York

Down and out in Toronto and New York: Freelance film critic Steven Boone recounts his experiences with the soup kitchens of Toronto and New York in First rate, second rate: In and out of the soup kitchens of Toronto and New York
posted by Harald74 on May 3, 2011 - 7 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

Tax Facts Hardly Anyone Knows

9 Things The Rich Don't Want You To Know About Taxes - "4. Many of the very richest pay no current income taxes at all: Paulson made himself $9 billion in fees in just two years. His current tax bill on that $9 billion? Zero... 9. Other countries do it better: no one in Germany or the rest of the modern world goes broke because of accident or illness" (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 18, 2011 - 191 comments

Secrets of the Tax-Prep Business

"Customers wanting a RAL paid Jackson Hewitt a $24 application fee, a $25 processing fee, and a $2 electronic-filing fee, plus 4 percent of the loan amount. On a $2,000 refund, that meant $131 in charges—equivalent to an annual interest rate of about 170 percent—not to mention the few hundred bucks you might spend for tax preparation."
posted by vidur on Apr 14, 2011 - 71 comments

Poverty pr0n

Hiding the Real Africa [more inside]
posted by infini on Mar 18, 2011 - 23 comments

Why Not a Negative Income Tax?

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 - 106 comments

Beautiful photo essay.

AP photographer Kevin Frayer moved to New Delhi in 2009. Here he captures a community of coal scavengers who live and collect coal illegally for a few dollars a day in the village of Bokapahari, India
posted by maiamaia on Feb 17, 2011 - 13 comments

Can you make it through the month?

SPENT 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 - 47 comments

Foster Care Re-Imagined

Foster Care: Extreme Edition Pioneered by a 23-person St. Louis — based agency called the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition, Extreme Recruitment seeks out the foster children who are the hardest to find homes for. Via the You Gotta Believe! Adopting Teens and Tweens radio forum.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero on Feb 3, 2011 - 3 comments

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