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Humans of New York World Tour: Iraq and beyond

If you visit the Humans of New York website or on the Facebook page now and in the next few months, you'll find portraits and stories from beyond New York. Brandon Stanton and HONY will be going on a "world tour," to be part of the UN's Millennium Development Goals Advocacy Group effort to raise awareness for the eight international Millennium Development Goals with a target date of 2015 . Currently, HONY is "suddenly a war report form Iraq". [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 9, 2014 - 13 comments

Veto bunnies

Who uses their veto in the UN Security Council the most, and what for?
posted by tavegyl on Jul 31, 2014 - 16 comments

Water is a Human Right

Welcome to Detroit's water war – in which upward of 150,000 customers, late on bills that have increased 119 percent in the last decade, are now threatened with shut-offs. Local activists estimate this could impact nearly half of Detroit's mostly poor and black population – between 200,000 and 300,000 people. [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jun 26, 2014 - 39 comments

The real angle grinder man

Pistola Derringer hecha en casa. The same builder also documents his build of a "Colt Derringer modelo 3"
posted by 445supermag on Jun 15, 2014 - 16 comments

Once upon a time when the US was a marijuana friendly country

There was a time when the US was a marijuana friendly country but the Roosevelt administration thought it was killing America's youth and future so in 1937 pot was banned. By an ironic twist of fate, five years later the Department of Agriculture encouraged farmers to grow hemp to help the country defeat the nazis. Of course, the mirage didn't last long. Cannabis was banned and rebanned. The US pushed forward the 1961 United Nations Single Convention on Drugs and 9 years later President Nixon signed the Controlled Substance Act. War on Drugs was at full throttle. Now, after six months of Colorado's green experiment, money is flowing and crime is decreasing. Please, let me try to predict the future: Ironically, curiosly and logically, the US will be marijuana friendly again and a bunch of countries will follow its path... again.
posted by LetsKa on Jun 12, 2014 - 24 comments

The Moral Question Of Our Time: Can We Share The Planet?

UN Climate Report: We Must Focus On 'Decarbonization', and It Won't Wreck the Economy - "The basic message is simple: We share a planet. Let's start acting like it." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 23, 2014 - 50 comments

Like A World Without A Roof

Over a thousand people from around the world have made their own videos for Pharrell Williams' song Happy. [more inside]
posted by EmpressCallipygos on Apr 5, 2014 - 57 comments

Chinese human rights activist Cao Shunli dies in captivity

Cao Shunli died while incarcerated recently for advocating the right of ordinary Chinese citizens to have input into China's entry in the UN's Universal Periodic Review, a new set of human rights reports for every UN member state. She died because she was denied medical care. Her family has not been allowed to see the body. [more inside]
posted by Jacob Knitig on Mar 19, 2014 - 8 comments

The Thrill Of Being Airborne

A 1955 TWA promotional movie about vacationing in the glittering metropolios - SKYLINE NEW YORK!
posted by The Whelk on Nov 22, 2013 - 26 comments

IPCC posts fifth update on climate change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released its latest update. [more inside]
posted by smoke on Sep 27, 2013 - 152 comments

Warmer and wetter

The last decade (2001-2010) was the warmest on record. According to The UN World Metereological Organisation's report, the average land and ocean-surface temperature for 2001-2010 was estimated to be 14.47°C, or 0.47°C above the 1961-1990 global average and +0.21°C above the 1991-2000 global average (with a factor of uncertainty of ± 0.1°C).
posted by dng on Jul 3, 2013 - 38 comments

In global politics, playing by the rules doesn’t always help.

Western Sahara: Why Africa’s last colony can’t break free
posted by infini on Jun 19, 2013 - 20 comments

Stop the killer robots before it's too late!

Nobel laureate's campaign calls for pre-emptive ban on autonomous weapons. As our technology advances, it becomes more and more feasible to give more and more autonomy to our drones. A new campaign led by 1997 Nobel laureate Jody Williams calls for an international ban on the design of autonomous weaponized drones. [more inside]
posted by Sleeper on Apr 27, 2013 - 123 comments

Why Austin?

Kim Jong Un indirectly threatened to nuke Austin today. Austin Responds. [more inside]
posted by DecemberBoy on Mar 29, 2013 - 133 comments

A Sign of Hope for Dogs and Mankind

Dachshund UN. Shock, delight, cacophony! A meeting of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights is staged with the help of specially recruited dachshunds in this wild performance installation. Joyful and chaotic, spectacular and fascinating, Dachshund UN questions our capacity to imagine and achieve a universal system of justice. [more inside]
posted by ovvl on Mar 1, 2013 - 16 comments

Around the world in 194 meals

Jesse and Laura are cooking and eating their way through the United Nations, and raising money for World Food Program USA as they do.
posted by booksherpa on Dec 16, 2012 - 14 comments

ITU

At its WCIT meeting in Dubai, the UN's ITU has quietly approved a collection of RFCs called 'Requirements for Deep Packet Inspection in Next Generation Networks' (Y.2770) designed to standardize broad spectrum traffic sniffing. The European Parliament recently passed a resolution against the ITU asserting exactly this sort of control over internet standard.
posted by jeffburdges on Dec 5, 2012 - 23 comments

Senator Chip Rogers - Agenda 21 - Mother Jones

Chip Rogers is the Republican Majority Leader of the Georgia State Senate, and Treasurer of ALEC (previously 1 2). On October 11th he hosted a four-hour briefing for his fellow senators, regarding Obama's mind-control techniques which are forcing the US into a United Nations-led Communist dictatorship in which suburbanites are forcibly relocated to cities. The theory is based on Agenda 21, the non-binding 1992 UN treaty on sustainable development. Rogers narrowly failed to pass a resolution against Agenda 21, but other states have done so, and Alabama has even forbidden its implementation in law.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Nov 15, 2012 - 132 comments

Election Fever

An opposition provincial official in a hotly contested election has threatened to arrest international election observers monitoring for fraud and voter intimidation. In an area with a rich history of secessionist fervor, ballot box stuffing, and repeated infringements on the voting rights and representation of ethnic minorities, this pronouncement is certainly controversial. Rogue vigilantes, organized in this province, are expected to deploy to polling sites across the nation, causing alarm. It is not a chaotic contest in a fledgling democracy. It is Texas, the United States. Previously. [more inside]
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College on Oct 25, 2012 - 30 comments

FEAR THE ARTICHOKE KING

The History Of New York In 50 Objects (NYT)
posted by The Whelk on Sep 5, 2012 - 29 comments

Recent Video of North Korea

A few American students visited North Korea last month (SLYT) and took some amazing footage. While mostly within the confines of the official guided tour it still offers a fascinating glimpse of life in North Korea under Kim Jong Un. A "relentless stream of hyper-positive propaganda."
posted by gallois on Jul 7, 2012 - 74 comments

Rio+20; US demurs on equity.

As hopes for the future of multilateral action on the environment are fading, the draft negotiating text of "The future we want", the Rio+20 declaration was leaked, showing where the US delegation was seeking to remove any and all references to equity.
posted by wilful on Jun 20, 2012 - 29 comments

Can the internet be shut down? Probabally, but will it? Maybe.

ITU Power-grab, or is something else brewing behind the scenes? C-SPAN Video coverage of fascinating proposal to give the United Nations more control over the Internet. The proposal, backed by China, Russia, Brazil and India, is being examined in depth. And some folks aren't liking what they see... [more inside]
posted by RoseyD on May 31, 2012 - 18 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

Iranian uranium

The International Atomic Energy Agency says that Iran has tripled its production of >20% enriched uranium in the past three months, while adding 2,600 new uranium centrifuges to its main enrichment facility in Natanz. The agency has not received a "satisfactory explanation" of how 20kg of uranium metal went missing from an Iranian research laboratory. Iran has been blocking IAEA inspections, and the agency "is unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities". In recent years, Russia and China have chosen to limit UN sanctions against Iran, whose government denies it aims to make atomic weapons.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Feb 24, 2012 - 220 comments

Responsibility to protect?

"I saw bodies of women and children lying on roads, beheaded." At least 260 people were killed last night in a government assault on Homs, the epicenter of the Syrian uprising. This came right before a key UN vote to support the Arab League's plan to have President Bashar al-Assad hand over power to the vice president and hold early elections for a national unity government, which failed this morning with 13 in favor and a double veto by China and Russia. [more inside]
posted by lullaby on Feb 4, 2012 - 252 comments

Palestine accepted into UNESCO.

Despite political pressure, UNESCO has approved full membership for Palestine. Opposition remains and a major funder may withdraw.
posted by griphus on Oct 31, 2011 - 85 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

What if Tim Berners-Lee Had patented HTML?

Francis Gurry, the Director of the UN's WIPO, claims the web would have been better if Tim Berners-Lee had patented HTML and licensed it. He does so on camera and in front of shocked members of the Internet Society and CERN. Ironically, exactly this thought experiment came up for the web's 20th birthday on this August 6th.

For a more rigorous perspective, three Boston University School of Law faculty have shown that lawsuits by non-practicing entities, aka patent trolls, have cost technology companies half a trillion dollars of lost wealth over the past two decades, with little benefit to small inventors, instead reducing the incentive to innovate. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Oct 9, 2011 - 80 comments

Over Netanyahu’s Shoulder: A (Telephoto) Analysis of the Prime Minister’s U.N. Speech Edits

Photographer Mario Tama positioned himself over Netanyahu's shoulder at the UN General Assembly, and photographed hand-written edits he made to his speech. Here's what he saw. (via The Browser)
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Sep 29, 2011 - 18 comments

Palestinians ask for a state of their own.

Tomorrow, Friday the 23rd of September 2011, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas will go before the UN and set out his request for formal recognition of the state of Palestine. There are many problems with this, and not just for the Palestinians... [more inside]
posted by dougrayrankin on Sep 22, 2011 - 99 comments

Famine in East Africa

With East Africa facing its worst drought in 60 years, affecting more than 11 million people, the United Nations has declared a famine in the region for the first time in a generation. Alan Taylor's In Focus quickly brings home the scale of the suffering, with a link to the CNN article listing several ways to donate.
posted by bwg on Jul 27, 2011 - 33 comments

New U.N. FAO Report Indicates 30% of Food Lost or Wasted

A new report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization indicates that 1.3 billion tons, or nearly one-third of all food produced in the world is lost or wasted. The full report is available here (Warning: PDF).
posted by epsilon on May 11, 2011 - 30 comments

Over 2.7 million nations served.

NationStates is a free political simulation game founded by author Max Barry back in 2002 (previously). Loosely based on his dystopian corporate thriller Jennifer Government, the game starts by asking players to provide some national trappings and answer a few civics questions, then generates a virtual country with a matching political outlook. Periodic policy decisions like mining rights and compulsory voting allow players to further modify their country along axes of social, political, and economic freedom, arriving at one of twenty-seven colorful government types like Tyranny By Majority or Scandinavian Liberal Paradise. There's also a healthy roleplaying community -- players can discuss current events in the General forum, practice wargaming in International Incidents, form cooperative Regions to debate internal affairs (many of which form their own communities), and elect Delegates to send to the World Assembly (so renamed after an amusing cease-and-desist from the real-world U.N.). Their collective history is thoroughly recorded in the 35,000-article NSWiki, which provides a detailed legislative record, gameplay guide, and profiles on many of the 90,000 active nations, 8,000 player regions, and countless characters that currently make up the game world.
posted by Rhaomi on May 9, 2011 - 62 comments

Going, going, gone...

2010 was the United Nations International Year of Biodiversity, in case you missed it.
posted by londonmark on Apr 14, 2011 - 1 comment

Civil war in Cote d'Ivoire

"War has returned to the Ivory Coast in the guise of massacres, mercenaries, a besieged capital, and a humanitarian nightmare." Several months after incumbent Laurent Gbagbo stole the presidential election, the conflict in Cote d'Ivoire has escalated as the forces of rightful president Alassane Ouattara have reached Abidjan to force Gbagbo's surrender. [more inside]
posted by lullaby on Apr 4, 2011 - 22 comments

Cole to Left: "Learn to walk & chew gum at the same time."

"The United Nations-authorized intervention in Libya has pitched ethical issues of the highest importance, and has split progressives in unfortunate ways. I hope we can have a calm and civilized discussion of the rights and wrongs here." Professor Juan Cole of the University of Michigan writes An Open Letter to the Left on Libya.
posted by dvorak_beats_qwerty on Mar 27, 2011 - 253 comments

Poverty pr0n

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

Libya no fly zone

UN Security Council approves no-fly zone over Libya.
posted by Meatbomb on Mar 17, 2011 - 916 comments

World Statistics Day!

20.10.2010 is World Statistics Day, so help yourself to a metric (haha sorry) ton of publicly available data at UNdata, ICSPR (registration required to download data sets), and data.gov (previously). You can also explore, visualize and animate a variety of publicly available data sets with Google Labs' Public Data Explorer.
posted by cog_nate on Oct 20, 2010 - 14 comments

"It's time to remember that other people live around us"

Winners of the UN Citizen Ambassadors "What would you say...if you had the chance to talk to world leaders?" A video contest held by the UN to encourage "world citizens" to participate in global issues has picked 6 winners: Africa. Asia. Eastern Europe. Latin America & the Caribbean. Western Europe and Other States*. Host Country (United States). [more inside]
posted by Deathalicious on Sep 27, 2010 - 9 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

Rape as a tool of war in eastern DR Congo

Rape used as a tool of war: 200 women gang-raped near Congo base U.N. says. UN Chief outraged, FWIW. All links to news articles, but not for the weak of stomach.
posted by allkindsoftime on Aug 24, 2010 - 54 comments

Darfuristan

How the world's campaign to stop a genocide created a quagmire. (Print version.)
posted by andoatnp on Jan 2, 2010 - 10 comments

The Economist: The World in 2010

In 2010, Obama will have a miserable year, NATO may lose in Afghanistan, the UK gets a regime change, China needs to chill, India's factories will overtake its farms, Europe risks becoming an irrelevant museum, the stimulus will need an exit strategy, the G20 will see a challenge from the "G2", African football will unite Korea, conflict over natural resources will grow, Sarkozy will be unloved and unrivalled, the kids will come together to solve the world's problems (because their elders are unable), technology will grow ever more ubiquitous, we'll all charge our phones via USB, MBAs will be uncool, the Space Shuttle will be put to rest, and Somalia will be the worst country in the world. And so the Tens begin.

The Economist: The World in 2010. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Nov 14, 2009 - 60 comments

They're paying attention

Raquel Rolnik is the U.N.'s new Special Rappoteur on the Right to Adequate Housing. So far, she has investigated forced evictions in Phnom Penh and housing destroyed by rising sea levels in the Maldives. This week, she's investigating whether limited access to affordable housing is a human rights violation in the U.S. [more inside]
posted by peachfuzz on Nov 3, 2009 - 21 comments

Game of chicken

KFC 'colonel' dupes UN security [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Oct 26, 2009 - 94 comments

The Flickr Page of the UN Refugee Agency

The United Nations Refugee Agency has a Flickr page with nearly 3000 photos neatly sorted into over 150 sets, most often by country, though sometimes by other themes, such as photos taken by refugee children, life in a refugee camp and mixed migration. There are also news sets, sorted by month. Some of the countries featured are ones that many associate with humanitarian disasters, Timor-Leste, Iraq and The Democratic Republic of Congo, but there are also photosets from countries that few associate with refugees, Panama, Hungary and France.
posted by Kattullus on Sep 17, 2009 - 9 comments

Isla del encanto?

With all the dust that's been* riled up by Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor (previously), everyone is suddenly taking an interest in Puerto Rico. A basic question that may come up is why we're there in the first place. Understanding that, we can see how the complicated relationship has played out between Puerto Rico, the US, and, most recently, the United Nations. Although the UN has urged the US to take steps towards establishing Puerto Rico's sovereignty, referendums held on the island have overwhelmingly preferred the status quo and the US has been indifferent at best. But independence activists, after a twenty-year decline, may be on the rise. The island's current governor, Luis Fortuño, is pro-statehood. But the whole issue has taken a back seat since plans have been made to fire 30,000 government workers, privatize some public services, and sell some the the government's US$3.2 billion debt. [more inside]
posted by krikkit261 on Jun 10, 2009 - 26 comments

"So Say We All"

Fantasy Meets Reality. The very best works of science fiction illuminate controversial current events and the intricacies of human nature. So, it's no surprise that the United Nations Public Information Department and the Sci Fi (SyFy?) Channel co-hosted a panel yesterday evening on "humanitarian concerns" at the UN, with the creators and actors of Battlestar Galactica -- a show which regularly explores those themes. A 2-hour video webcast is archived here. (RealPlayer video). Entertainment Weekly has an additional write-up. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 18, 2009 - 57 comments

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