Hey, I know I say "this is a big deal" a lot, but this really IS a big deal. I've decided what I want to do for the next 20 years, which is to help connect and protect organizations that are doing good through a program I'm calling craigconnects.
I need your help. Together, we can make a difference.
Today the new craigconnects website launched:
* Craigconnects is about calling attention to and connecting good, effective nonprofits and other organizations that get the job done.
* Craigconnects is also about protecting organizations, and the public, from fake organizations that have a good story, but actually end up hurting the people they profess to serve.
I'll be blogging live notes from the Summit on Science, Entertainment and Education (web, twitter, hashtag) taking place today. Hosted by The Science & Entertainment Exchange of the National Academy of Sciences, the event explores how film, television programming, video games, and other entertainment media can enhance science education in America.
Speakers today include Chuck Vest, president of the National Academy of Engineering; Karen Cator, director, Office of Educational Technology, U.S. Dept. of Education; Tony DeRose, senior scientist at Pixar; games designer Will Wright, film director Jerry Zucker (Airplane, Ghost), science reporter Miles O'Brien (PBS NewsHour, Frontline); Neil deGrasse Tyson, scientist and host of NOVA ScienceNOW, and others.
Dozens of teachers, students, and curriculum developers will join in these discussions to explore how movies, television programs, and video and computer games could be used in the classroom. The summit will include breakout sessions and a group exercise to encourage interaction and brainstorming among participants.
Judy Muller ( Emmy Award-winning news correspondent, ABC News), is emceeing. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which is sponsoring the conference, is offering a $225,000 grant to fund pilot projects that emerge from ideas discussed here today.
Here's some background reading.
As I publish this blog post, we're just a few hours away from the planned start time of mass protests in Egypt, possibly the largest yet in a week of historically large gatherings calling for Hosni Mubarak to step down from some 30 years in power. Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic tells Boing Boing,
A Twitter follower stepped up to translate excerpts from the Egyptian protest plan that's been floating around (the one that said don't use Twitter or Facebook). We're only publishing excerpts -- i.e. this is more general information and demands, not tactical stuff -- but they are amazing.Translations and scans are here at The Atlantic.
Many important medicines and public health technologies are developed in academic laboratories. Their accessibility in poor nations is profoundly affected by the research, patenting and licensing decisions made by universities. We are a group of university students who believe that our universities have an opportunity and a responsibility to improve global access to public health goodsThis is important for a number of reasons. One example is that it recognizes that almost all therapeutics have their humble beginnings at some lab bench at some university. This isn't necessarily the finished product, but it is often the "eureka" moment that can start the path towards a medicine with real life benefits. Because of this, that academic lab and its researchers, have this opportunity to lay down some ground rules when the discovery is ultimately marketed out to some company. For instance, they can dictate that licensing is different (amenable to generics) when circumstances compel the drug to be sold in markets that simply can't afford the usual prices set by pharmaceutical companies (think HIV medicine in developed versus developing countries). Unfortunately, this amazing opportunity is usually a missed opportunity: which is why UAEM members stay up nights thinking about ways, to advocate, educate, and guide universities to do the right thing. Anyway, if you're connected to the university system, it's a must to check it out. There might already be a UAEM chapter at your school (there is at mine). If not, there's also help available to set one up. Universities Allied for Essential Medicines
So last night, while attempting to explain the plot of Smokey and the Bandit to my husband, it occurred to me that I didn't really understand the back story that spawned this, one of my favorite childhood films. Why did Bandit and Snowman (and Fred) have a long way to go and a short time to get there? There was beer in most parts of Georgia by the 1970s. And even if you were trying to get booze to a dry county, why start in Texas and only give yourself 28 hours?
Thanks to Wikipedia and the very helpful Stephan Zielinski, I discovered the awful truth—Smokey and the Bandit is centered around America's brief love affair with Coors Banquet Beer.
All that work, for Coors? It's true. Wikipedia explained that the beer wasn't available East of Oklahoma at the time. But I didn't get the full extent of what was really going on until I read a 1974 Time magazine article sent to me by Zielinski. If, like me, you didn't begin drinking until the late 1990s, this is going to come as a shock, but, once upon a time, Coors was apparently the best American breweries had to offer.
Read the rest
In an unspecified European city, a group of young people works, studies, travels, publishes on forums and blogs, exchanges on social networks and meets at concerts... A "difficult" situation in the life of a young photo-journalist and his friends' mobilization to help him out of this situation illustrate the breaches of personal data protection facilitated by the use of new technologies. The comic book underlines the consequences but also possible remedies. A glossary and links to useful websites come with the comic book. The comic book "Under surveillance" is available in Catalan, Czech, English and French. Online versions are made available on the project partners' websites. 20,000 hard copies are available in each language and are disseminated for free.
Read the rest
The youth photo training group Project Einstein got its start with group of young people living in a refugee camp in Bangladesh. One of the participants came up with the name because "Einstein was a refugee but could still do great things."
Here's a collection of images taken by Q´eqchi´ Maya kids and teens in a rural part of Guatemala known as Zona Reyne, where the project is currently working in partnership with this state development group.
(thanks, Renata Avila!)
- BBtv debuts "BBtv World" series. Episode 1: El Molinero (Guatemala ...
- Guatemala: First, volcanic eruption; then, devastating tropical ...
- Tech Forensics in Guatemala Results in Groundbreaking Arrest for ...
- NPR Xeni Tech - Reporter's notebook: Guatemala
- NPR "Xeni Tech" - Guatemala: Unearthing the Future ...
- NPR Xeni Tech: Storm Victims' Remains Exhumed in ...
- NPR Xeni Tech - Guatemala: digital archives may help ...
- NPR Xeni Tech: Guatemala Project Builds Grassroots Tech
The photograph above went viral a few weeks ago, when massive storms and volcanic eruptions caused displacement, injury, and death throughout Guatemala. The sinkhole snapshot is long gone from the top of trending Google link lists, but people are still suffering throughout the country—the worst off, as usual, are marginalized indigenous communities who make up the poorest sector of the population.
As dramatic as this photo was, the sinkhole is the least of Guatemala's worries. How you can help... Read the rest
Read the rest
The negotiations on the Telecoms Package may come to a close this Wednesday. The Council of the European Union is still pushing for 'three strikes"' policies in Europe but is also attempting to allow private corporations to restrict citizens' Internet access. Will the European Parliament continue to hide behind a disputable legal argumentation provided by the rapporteur Catherine Trautmann, and accept the unacceptable for the future of Internet access in Europe?(Thanks, Jérémie!)
A campaign page has been set up to allow everyone to contact Members of the European Parliament and urge them to refuse any proposal from the Council allowing "three strikes" policies in Europe, and to explicitly protect EU citizens' freedom to access the Net.
The new version of the compromise amendment presented by the Council of the EU still allows for restrictions of Internet access such as "three strikes" policies in Europe. Moreover, contrarily to the Parliament's version, the Council's proposal also permits private corporations to restrict Internet access, notably enabling entertainment industries to pressure Internet service providers in order to police the Net.
Somebody is going to lose the World Series. It's true. I have heard this is how these things work. But, when the inevitable happens, where do all their commemorative hats, T-shirts, shoelaces, giant foam hands, etc. go? After all, nobody knows which team will win. To meet the instant, post-game demand, manufacturers have all that championship memorabilia--for both teams--made up and sitting in a warehouse before the final game is even a twinkle in an announcer's eye.
If you guessed that it ends up in a dump, you'd be wrong. Mental_floss investigated and found the World Vision, an international Christian charity, gets the losing gear from baseball, football and basketball.
The merchandise doesn't go to waste, people living in poverty receive new, clean clothes, and the clothing makers recoup some of their losses--they get tax credits for the charitable donations. Why don't the clothes go to needy families in the United States? Overseas donation is part of the agreement between World Vision and the leagues. The farther away the clothing is, the less likely it is to offend a losing player (or heartbroken Buffalo Bills fan).
In fact, fear of fan alienation used to keep the MLB from donating. Up until two years ago, they required all inaccurate championship clothing be destroyed.
Building a bit off the "conflusion" (Bravo, btw, insert) post from yesterday, I'm going to launch right into something near and dear to my heart: The way biased and badly done health journalism can really mess up the people who read it.
Biased and badly done are two very different things. I don't have data on this, but I think it's fair to say that, when the main-stream media (which, BoingBoing aside, includes me) gets a health story wrong, it usually isn't trying to be intentionally wack. Trouble is, whatever the intent, it leaves you--the reader--in the same place. Conflused.
Luckily, there are people working to help you. Like, for instance, the good folks at Behind the Headlines, a project of the British National Health System that does Q&A, myth busting and in-depth explanations on the science behind top health news. I first found out about this from Ben Goldacre's Bad Science blog, which is, in itself, a great site everybody ought to be reading.
Dr. Alicia White, one of the aforementioned "folks" behind Behind the Headlines, has a wonderful primer on the questions you should be asking yourself every time you read health news. Until we police ourselves into doing a consistently better job, sorting the wheat from the chaff is (unfortunately) up to you. This will help. Plus, it's a fun read:
If you've just read a health-related headline that's caused you to spit out your morning coffee ("Coffee causes cancer" usually does the trick) it's always best to follow the Blitz slogan: "Keep Calm and Carry On". On reading further you'll often find the headline has left out something important, like "Injecting five rats with really highly concentrated coffee solution caused some changes in cells that might lead to tumours eventually. (Study funded by The Association of Tea Marketing)".
Typhoon, Floods in the Philippines: first-person BB report from Audrey N. Carpio of The Philippine Star
Photos, above and after the jump, shared with Boing Boing by Audrey N. Carpio of The Philippine Star. Her first-person account from the ongoing disaster follows, and includes recommendations on how you can help the victims. She shot the photos in this post two days after the typhoon, on a relief drive in a town called Tumana. Link to Flickr set.
Typhoon Ondoy by Audrey Carpio
Typhoon Ondoy, aka Tropical Storm Ketsana dumped 40 cm of rain on the Philippines last Saturday before he/she left to wreak watery havoc upon Vietnam and Cambodia. But Manila and its surrounding environs are still in various states of calamity, with many parts of the city still submerged under dirty brown water and others, while drying out, caked in leptospirosis-inducing mud. The government and its presidentiables have been slow to act upon what could've been their Hurricane Katrina-hero moment but quick to seize upon relief efforts for electioneering. Instead, it is thanks to the generosity and ingenuity of the Filipino people who mobilized themselves through Twitter and Facebook that hundreds of thousands of victims have been fed, clothed and sheltered.
As early as Saturday evening, when people began to realize that floods have flashed rather quickly and videos of drowning trucks emerged on YouTube, relief plans grew almost organically on the networks. Tweets encouraging people to gather food, blankets, and clothing for donations were some of the earliest; by the next day there was an updatable and sharable Google spreadsheet on all the drop-off and volunteer centers; by Monday, almost all status updates and tweets had to do with emergency hotline numbers, relatives of friends who were stranded on a rooftop, and traffic advisories warning which roads were impassable. A Google map of people in need of rescuing was uploaded, although its usefulness is questionable, considering the general low-techness of the National Disaster Coordinating Council's rescue squads they only had 13 rubber boats with which to deploy to the affected barangays â€ or villages (to put it into perspective, 1.9 million people were inundated with flood water, nearly 380,000 have been evacuated into schools, churches and other emergency shelters, and 246 people have died.