Here are my favorite appropriate technology, environment, health, climate change, international development or country specific blog posts for the past week in no particular order.
Cultures of Repair / Sustainability from the Social Technology Blog
This is an old post from July, but I just discovered it today so I’m fudging. It was just too good to pass up. It very much captures the ethos of AIDG.
“What sets these locations apart from cities in more ’emerged’ markets? Aside from the scale of what’s on sale there is a thriving market for device repair services ranging from swapping out components to re-soldering circuit boards to reflashing phones in a language of your choice , naturally. Repairs are often carried out with little more than a screwdriver, a toothbrush (for cleaning contact points) the right knowledge and a flat surface to work on. Repair manuals (which appear to be reverse engineered) are available, written in Hindi, English and Chinese and can even be subscribed to, but there is little evidence of them being actively used. Instead many of the repairers rely on informal social networks to share knowledge on common faults, and repair techniques. It’s often easier to peer over the shoulder of a neighbour than open the manual itself. Delhi has the distinction of also offering a wide variety of mobile phone repair courses at training institutes such as Britco and Bridco turning out a steady flow of mobile phone repair engineers. To round off the ecosystem wholesalers’ offer all the tools required to set up and run a repair business from individual components and circuit board schematics to screwdrivers and software installers.”
For consumers the informal repair culture is largely convenient, efficient, fast and cheap, reducing the total cost of ownership for people for whom a small drop in price may make the difference between having or not having a phone. The culture of repair also increases the lifetime of products lowering their environmental impact (though this could be offset by other factors such as inefficiency of using old batteries).
Aah, it warms me cockles.
CanTV – TV over wi-fi in rural Mali from Afrigadget
This is a very clever idea. With the help of the folks at Geekcorps, a radio station in Mali is using Wi-fi to stream video content to TVs running on 12 volt car batteries and sporting a handy cantenna (antennae made from cans).
What Came Out of Nairobi from It’s Getting Hot in Here.
Getting different countries to agree on a single plan of action in an area where they have very different priorities was always going to be like herding cats. From the looks of it, the bare minimum was accomplished and a lot of decisionmaking was put off until next year. Harumph and schmoo.
How to Fight Poverty: 8 Programs That Work from the World Bank’s Poverty Growth and Development Blog.
Recaps Tina Rosemberg’s article in the NY Times last week about effective programs for cutting poverty. My personal favorites are “Give the poor an ownership stake”, “Link of Villages”, “Hold the patient’s Hand” and “Universal Vaccination”. Showing my infectious disease strikes, I guess.
Treehugger has been making some great partnerships in the past few months. If you haven’t already, check out their Green Challenge done with Slate Magazine. This month though they are hooking up with Seventh Generation to hold a film contest. Make a 1 minute movie on the steps you and your peers are taking to stop global warming. They are offering up some tasty prizes to the tune of $25,000. Me likey likey.
Easterly and Sachs continue to spar from the World Bank’s Private Sector Development Blog.
Hmm, I’ve never read this “Road to Serfdom” of which they speak. Next for the booklist?
$402m Tidal Energy Plant For New Zealand from Alternative Energy Blog
Crest Energy could begin a tidal power project in New Zealand’s Kaipara Harbour next year. It is estimated that 200 megawatts could be generated from tidal energy – enough to power 250,000 homes. Not quite appropriate technology, as it costs $402 million, but nifty nonetheless.
Google TechTalks: Climate Change, Carbon Trading and Biofuels from Treehugger.
While I haven’t forgiven Google for its dodgy dealings with the Chinese government, I do appreciate their Techtalks. Listen to Thomas C. Heller and Stephen H. Schneider talk about Climate Change and Carbon Trading and Vinod Khosla talk about Biofuels. Each lecture is over an hour long.
Oprah Wants to Know about Your Global Warming Concerns via Treehugger.
The most powerful woman in TV lists two global warming-themed questions (” Are you worried about global warming?” and ” Is your family worried about global warming?” ) on the “Upcoming Shows” roster. Fill out the form and you could win a chance to be on Oprah.
It takes all types from the Gristmill.
Rapper and media mogul Jay-Z has joined the ranks of entertainment stars speaking up on environment, health, or development issues. Last week at the UN he shared stories from his recent trip to sub-Saharan Africa, where he focused his attention on the dire water and sanitation situation. MTV will air a 30 minute documentary on his trip Nov. 24th.
See the how-to video on Youtube (or should I say Gootube).
Get the Project Guide from Geek Corps