• It is time to admit that when it comes to global development, mobile phones will not be able to achive it on their own, says Hibah Hussain of the New America Foundation. Promotion of social change and economic growth cannot dismiss established communications networks like radio, “the mass media that reaches the widest audience in the world”. Above all, says Hussain, it is radio, more than mobile phones, that reaches best the people you should think about when talking about development: poor people who, especially if they live in flood prone areas, always carry cheap radio sets along.
  • Are old methods of agriculture nearing the peak of their productive potential? They almost certainly are. Will this leave people without enough food? Yes, if we only look at the current agricultural methods, but not necessarily. Those methods are not conceived and practiced to maximize yield per acre, only yield per unit of labor. Their rule is not “do more”, or at least “do enough”, but “do with as little people as possible”.
  • Lynette Barr, a grade 6 teacher at Pentland Primary School in Bacchus Marsh, embeds games into every part of the curriculum, devoting 20% of class time to games-based learning. Since her students’ writing was not very descriptive, she turned to Super Scribblenauts on Nintendo DS. Some students work with online maths-based puzzles, others chart bowling scores in Wii Sports for a maths activity. Lately, the class has started exploring maths by running, jumping and throwing in Olympic sports on Xbox Connect.
  • Two experts say that: We don’t believe that most committed locavores sincerely promote the cultivation of pineapples or bananas in the American snowbelt; in our experience, they would rather have local residents get by without them. We don’t even disagree with their belief that eating locally means eating seasonally which, in turn, results in deprivation leading to greater appreciation. In our view, food masochism should be left to the realm of personal preferences.
  • You should visit Wikipedia Watch because they examine the consequences of its massive influence on what passes for reliable information: “While Wikipedia itself does not run ads, they are the most-scraped site on the web. Scrapers need any content in order to carry ads from Google and other advertisers. This entire effect is turning Wikipedia into a generator of spam. It is primarily Google’s fault, since Wikipedia might find it difficult to address the issue of scraping even if they wanted to.
  • In 2009 George Soros said that sometimes banks and insurance companies began to transgress the law, rather than just lobbying to have the law changed to serve their interests. Besides, he said, axioms of free-market economics do not apply to the financial markets as “markets feed on themselves, so that financial values have a permanent tendency to swing and are never rational”. Therefore, according to Soros, real recovery would require regulation that compels banks to carry more capital and lend more judiciously.
  • The wonderful thing about the original Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights, says TechLiberation, was that they didn’t create any expensive entitlements that required affirmative state action. Instead, they tightly bound government and curtailed its powers and left the people at liberty. By contrast, these new “Declaration of Internet Freedom” and “Digital Bill of Rights” contain all sorts of aspirational principles that could be construed as “positive rights” that require government to provide some sort of basic underlying service, or to affirmatively and aggressively regulate the information economy to protect some of these amorphous values.
  • A. Swartz does not see how claims that open data will “make government transparent and accountable” are justified, because: people hide their crimes. If you install a webcam (meaning any kind of control) where they used to exchange bribes they will move ten feet away and do business as usual When you have time to prepare, it’s pretty easy to disguise the data. It’s always been investigative journalism, not data mining, that’s revealed big scandals.
  • Maps are drawn with very different techniques, called projections. Each technique has a different purpose. And if you don’t know what a map projection is, that’s bad. Because who draws a map, controls how the others see the world. Please read the whole story here.