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Uncle Sam was a rolling stone

Six Ways America Is Like a Third-World Country
posted by infini on Mar 12, 2014 - 126 comments

No triggers afaik

How Not to Discuss Sexual Violence against Third World Women
posted by infini on Feb 17, 2014 - 83 comments

Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States

"Untold History of the United States challenges the basic narrative of the U.S. history that most Americans have been taught.... [Such history] is consoling; it is comforting. But it only tells a small part of the story." Instead of clips of modern people pondering the past, Oliver Stone's ten-part series relies heavily on archival footage and clips from old Hollywood films, with narration by Stone. Towards the end, he gets into the assassination of JFK, "but that should not detract from a series that sets out to be a counterweight to the patriotic cheerleading and myth-making." [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 23, 2013 - 66 comments

Born sinner, the opposite of a winner

Why is there Poverty? An Animated History. From WhyPoverty.net. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Dec 19, 2013 - 5 comments

The Big Chill

Why American refrigerators are so huge, and what it says about our culture.
posted by reenum on Oct 6, 2013 - 265 comments

Tony Stark, eat your heart out.

Defense contractor takes break from F-35 JSF, finds a way to eliminate 99% of the energy cost of desalination. Lockheed-Martin has developed a way to craft sheets of carbon a single atom thick, which can filter the salt (and just about anything else) from water with a tiny fraction of the energy required by current processes. "Lockheed officials see other applications for Perforene as well, from dialysis in healthcare to cleaning chemicals from the water used in hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," of oil and gas wells." Previously.
posted by Morriscat on Mar 15, 2013 - 67 comments

NGO in a box

A polemic against NGOs and the destruction of local innovation However, one issue that has received relatively scant attention is the way in which the notion of civil society has been reduced to being synonymous with non-governmental organisations (NGOs). This is one area that can have malign and far-reaching negative impacts, which I’d like to explore here. And here's another view, this time from India.
posted by infini on Nov 17, 2012 - 22 comments

Giving "The Devil" His Due

Emmanuel "Toto" Constant led a paramilitary organization called FRAPH that terrorized Haiti after the overthrow of Jean-Bertrand Aristide. When FRAPH's fortunes declined, Toto mysteriously appeared in New York City, where he was scorned by the Haitian community. Justice eventually caught up to Toto, who is now imprisoned in New York state. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Apr 27, 2011 - 6 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

Birth of a booming baby industry

Couples from Western countries, such as Australia, the US, and the UK are turning to surrogates in India to carry their babies. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Jul 12, 2010 - 45 comments

Cairo tribe recycles 80% of city waste - highest in world

The 2009 film Garbage Dreams, which is currently airing on PBS, documents the Zabbaleen a tribe that lives off of collecting and recycling trash from Cairo. They manage to recycle 80% of trash (vs 32% in the U.S.), the highest level in the world, well above most first world recycling levels, using primitive techniques shown in the film. As depicted in the film, and on NPR, since 2003 Cairo has been hiring foreign companies, who recycle much less, taking away their livelihood. They are trying to raise enough money (you can donate, buy a t-shirt or help) to grow their Recycling school, to teach more of their children their practices. Good interview with the film director here.
posted by Berkun on May 4, 2010 - 13 comments

I'll have a glass of sea water, hold the salt

Researchers at MIT and in Korea have developed a new, efficient desalinization nanotechnology that could theoretically lead to small, portable units powered by solar cells or batteries, yet deliver enough potable fresh water from seawater to supply the needs of a family or small village. As an added bonus, the system would simultaneously remove many contaminants, viruses and bacteria. MIT Press Release. Abstract and Supplementary Information from Nature Nanotechnology. (pdf) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 24, 2010 - 32 comments

Third-world (and first) diagnosis under $0.01

Detecting a handful of diseases with comic book ink and a postage stamp (well, not quite, but the technology is related to the ink and it's on a postage stamp sized piece of paper). What's best is that the result is a simple visual that can be sent to doctors far away for recognition.
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out on Mar 6, 2010 - 16 comments

One Laptop Per Child: Vision vs. Reality

One Laptop Per Child: Vision vs. Reality. Three researchers at the University of California, Irvine evaluate the progress of the One Laptop Per Child initiative (Wikipedia). The vision is being overwhelmed by the reality of business, political, logistics, and competing interests worldwide. As of June 2009, fewer than six hundred thousand OLPCs have been shipped, while 10 million netbooks were sold in 2008 alone. From Communications of the ACM.
posted by russilwvong on Jun 20, 2009 - 68 comments

Where boats go to die.

This is a city of ShipBreakers.
posted by allkindsoftime on Dec 25, 2008 - 28 comments

Fixing the world on $2/day

Amy Smith and MIT's D-lab apply engineering principles to real-world problems that affect the world's poorest residents. She organizes an annual conference. Hear her talk at TED. Previously
posted by lalochezia on Nov 2, 2008 - 4 comments

It takes a woman.....

The First Women Barefoot Solar Engineers Of The World ( youtube ) trained at the Barefoot College in Rajasthan. Using traditional puppetry as an educational medium, Sanjit Bunker Roy's school has been causing a quiet but sure revolution in sustainable development for over 30 years. ( previously )
posted by adamvasco on Feb 7, 2008 - 12 comments

confessions of an economic hitman

if you've not heard of the book "confessions of an economic hitman", then these few videos are gonna put your chins on the floor. it is disturbing how much the guy looks like george the second.
posted by 6am on Apr 19, 2007 - 48 comments

The War Against the Third World

What I've Learned About U.S. Foriegn Policy is a two-hour video compilation by Frank Dorrel. It consists of ten segments, each relating to CIA operations and US military interventions around the world.
posted by chunking express on Sep 11, 2006 - 37 comments

That's not a hack; THIS is a hack

Afrigadget Life hacks from the Dark Continent. Similar idea to better-known hacks here and here.
posted by klangklangston on Jul 20, 2006 - 13 comments

Dragging The Third World Out Of The Stone Age

Breast Ironing : More african female-on-female child abuse
posted by mischief on Jul 7, 2006 - 72 comments

Shores of Tripoli.

A vacation in Libya for Michael Totten, who confirms some things you might expect and uncovers a few you might not. Lonely Planet has some advice, or go straight to the source: libyaonline.com. Totten's blog has more.
posted by bardic on Dec 31, 2005 - 16 comments

Foreign Policy in the Periphery: American Adventurism in the Third World

This paper outlines the major thesis of the larger work... that US foreign policy during the Cold War was not primarily about keeping the USSR out of Western Europe, but rather about promoting the global capitalist system on a worldwide stage... Three themes—strategic, economic, ideological—are introduced in support of this argument, and applied to the 30 case studies. They lead to the conclusion that in many of these interventions the US opposed leftist Third World personalities by supporting more right-wing local clients rather than centrists who were often available. These decisions almost always proved disastrous for the local societies affected, and often even were unfortunate for longer-term American diplomatic interests.
U.S. Foreign Policy in the Periphery: A 50-Year Retrospective. Related: With Our History, Spinning America's Image Isn't Enough
posted by y2karl on Jul 1, 2005 - 39 comments

making millions of unseen workers visible

Portrait of a Textile Worker makes one person among millions of unseen workers visible. Her image was constructed with thirty thousand clothing labels stitched together over two years.
posted by heatherann on Jun 24, 2005 - 7 comments

N. Korea's government begins its collapse?

The beginning of the end for Dear Leader? This Times (of London) report is filled with telling details.
posted by Tlogmer on Feb 1, 2005 - 44 comments

Make Poverty History

MakePovertyHistory. "The gap between the worlds’s rich and poor has never been wider. Malnutrition, AIDS, conflict and illiteracy are a daily reality for millions." This seems like an interesting endeavour, with people like Nelson Mandela involved, as well. I'm a bit of a cynic about this because one of the biggest endorsements has come from Gordon Brown. He's a known quantity, and I wonder if this is another P.R. run to bolster his international credentials. Oh, and there's a possibility it could be blocked before it gathers enough steam -- so much for Soft Power.
posted by gsb on Jan 31, 2005 - 18 comments

China's great divide

In China's newly wealthy cities, a research boom is starting. In parts of the countryside, the rivers are black and too toxic to touch.
posted by Tlogmer on Sep 14, 2004 - 14 comments

Portable and off the grid

Necessity Is the Mother of Invention. (NY Times, reg. req.) Amy Smith teaches MIT students about the politics of delivering technology to poor nations and the nitty-gritty of mechanical engineering and helped start the IDEAS competition; she herself designed (among other things) a screenless hammer mill suited to third-world conditions and using "materials available to a blacksmith in Senegal."
Smith's entire life is like one of her inventions, portable and off the grid. At 41, she has no kids, no car, no retirement plan and no desire for a Ph.D. Her official title: instructor. ''I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing. Why would I spend six years to get a Ph.D. to be in the position I'm in now, but with a title after my name? M.I.T. loves that I'm doing this work. The support is there. So I don't worry.''...
Likewise, the inventors who most inspire her will never strike it rich. ''There are geniuses in Africa, but they're not getting the press,'' she says. She gushes about Mohammed Bah Abba, a Nigerian teacher who came up with the pot-within-a-pot system. With nothing more than a big terra-cotta bowl, a little pot, some sand and water, Abba created a refrigerator -- the rig uses evaporation rather than electricity to keep vegetables cool. Innovations that target the poorest of the poor don't have to be complicated to make a big difference. The best solution is sometimes the most obvious.
A rare optimistic story for these downbeat times.
posted by languagehat on Dec 3, 2003 - 18 comments

kickAAS!

Opining that third-world farmers "need a better deal", the Guardian has launched kickAAS, a blog to abolish all agricultural subsidies.
posted by Ufez Jones on Aug 18, 2003 - 10 comments

Microcredit, microfinance, village banking and empowering the world's poor

What could you do with $27? - Microcredit or microfinance provides working capital through small loans to the working poor. Read some of the wonderful accounts of people who built thriving businesses and new lives with from a jumpstart of as little as a $100 loan. Read the remarkable story of the Grameen Bank, and learn about Village Banking, and other inspiring efforts to bring dignity and help to the more than 1.2 billion people who live on less than one dollar a day. - more -
posted by madamjujujive on Jun 8, 2003 - 10 comments

Haiti; Land of Extremes

I've just returned from Haiti, spending time volunteering in hospitals and orphanages. It's a land of incredible beauty and desperate poverty and economic disparity. For many there is still an air of mystery about the culture and the religion,and despite the many rueful hands history has dealt them, the Haitians are remarkably resilient and hopeful people.
posted by moonbird on Apr 20, 2003 - 6 comments

Homeless street kids in 3rd world countries adapt to survive and are actually healthier and more likely to survive than are their peers who grow up in poor but intact families in agricultural villages. Experts confounded.
posted by stbalbach on May 4, 2002 - 7 comments

Just because we can we should?

Just because we can we should? Is this another case of rabid technology or will it really be useful? Can't the $225 per playstation-console be used to oh, say... clean up their water... or.. send a real life human being to their country to properly educate them?
posted by tsidel on Jul 6, 2001 - 18 comments

Today, 80 to 90 percent of Egyptians and Peruvians lack legal addresses

Today, 80 to 90 percent of Egyptians and Peruvians lack legal addresses Interesting interview with Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto who argues that in many Third World Countries, the government's failure to formally recognize and document property claims is a major barrier to development. (more inside)
posted by straight on Jan 23, 2001 - 2 comments

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