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Food Distribution in the Horn of Africa Goes High-Tech - by Cathy Herholdt - October 10, 2012

Getting food into the hands of the hungry in the Horn of Africa is about to go high-tech. Seattle-based humanitarian organization World Concern is piloting a new mobile phone app in the drought-stricken region, aiming to streamline the process of tracking food distributed to hungry families and payment to local merchants.

The system tracks beneficiaries and the food they receive via bar codes that are scanned into a mobile phone. Merchants have an I.D. card with a bar code, which is also scanned so they can be paid via wire transfer almost instantly.


World Concern

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2012 Innovation to Inspiration - i2i Awardees

submitted by Albert Gomez

Congratulations to the 2012 i2i Awardees. Over 150 high quality submissions were vetted by the joint Investment & Corporate review committee based on the potential positive impact of the submitted innovations for the planet and society. Join us as these leading companies present their inspiring technologies to the SXSW Eco community, October 3-5, in Austin Texas!

[Research] Data on Nonprofit Cloud Computing: Anywhere, Anytime Technology for Social Change

submitted by Albert Gomez - by Beth Kanter - September 20, 2012

“Cloud Computing” is when you use software on the Internet versus your local hard drive or local computer network.  It makes your data and documents available anywhere, anytime.

TechSoup has just released the results of a global study of NGOs about cloud computing with some interesting findings.


2012 Global Cloud Computing Translated Survey Results

Safe Cities Initiatives

submitted by Mike Kraft

Terrorism, man made incidents, natural disasters and the current global economic climate, have forced cities to implement Safe City technologies and strategies. Safe City key elements include Social Media Analytics/Monitoring, Critical Infrastructure Protection, and leveraging emerging homeland security technologies to gain greater situational awareness for law enforcement professionals. The purpose of this group is to discuss emerging trends and technologies in the Safe City arena and serve as a networking environment for Safe City professionals. Emerging technologies in this area are PSIM (Physical Security Information Management), Biometrics-Access Control, Social Media Analysis-Monitoring, Explosives and Narcotics Trace Detection and Tactical & Emergency Communications Systems.

Twitter’s New Lifeline Feature in Japan Helps People Find Relevant Accounts Quickly During Emergencies

submitted by Janine Rees - by Matthew Panzarino - September 22, 2012

Twitter just launched a very cool feature in Japan called Lifeline. It allows Japanese users of Twitter to use their postal code to find and follow local accounts that are important in emergencies.

These could be accounts that are maintained by city, district or prefecture governments, which will be updating in the event of natural disasters or emergencies. These accounts could also include local media and utility companies that are informing customers about electricity outages or other necessary services.


Images: Venezuelan Refinery Under Scrutiny After Deadly Blaze

Venezuela's Amuay refinery during the disaster. (Photograph from Nuevo Dia/European Pressphoto Agency)Image: Venezuela's Amuay refinery during the disaster. (Photograph from Nuevo Dia/European Pressphoto Agency) - Brian Handwerk - August 30th, 2012

Fires raged at Venezuela's Amuay refinery after a predawn explosion rocked the facility on August 25 and left at least 42 dead, dozens wounded, and hundreds of homes demolished. The blast was the world's deadliest refinery accident in 15 years.

The catastrophe's exact causes haven't been determined, but Energy Minister Rafael Ramírez, president of the state's oil company Petróoleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), said on Venezuelan television that a gas leak had appeared in a fuel storage tank area and formed a cloud that burst into a ball of flame despite the efforts of workers.


Agri-Cube grows mass quantities of vegetables in a one-car parking spot

External view of the 11.7 square meter Agri-Cube E garden factory

Image: External view of the 11.7 square meter Agri-Cube E garden factory

submitted by Samuel Bendett - Brian Dodson - August 14th, 2012

Daiwa House, Japan's largest homebuilder, has introduced a line of prefabricated hydroponic vegetable factories, aimed at housing complexes, hotels, and top-end restaurants. Called the Agri-Cube, these units are touted by Daiwa as the first step in the industrialization of agriculture, to be located in and amongst the places where people live, work, and play.

More and more people desire sustainable, organic produce for their own use, and are turning to urban farming in an effort to insure the highest degree of freshness.


MSN's The Cities Issue

cities issue logo

Image: The Cities Issue logo.

Our special issue dedicated to the cities of the future has its eye squarely toward China, because the cities of the future are increasingly going to be speaking Mandarin -- even more than you realize. It's no longer news that China has embarked on the largest mass urbanization in history, a monumental migration from country to city that will leave China with nearly a billion urbanites by 2025 and an astonishing 221 cities with populations over 1 million. But this isn't just about size: It's about global heft.


Cellphone-Style Algorithm Reveals Cholera Source - by Jacob Aron - August 16, 2012

CHOLERA is spreading through the villages of South Africa. Malicious rumours are proliferating on Facebook. These may be disparate situations in scope and impact, yet an algorithm similar to the one a cellphone uses to find its location can home in on the source of grief in both.


Microfinance - How Kiva Works - The Story of a Kiva Loan

submitted by Susan Steinhauser

Kiva is a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world. Learn more about how it works.


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