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Technology: using power for good

Social media and increasingly accessible smartphones help groups mobilise around the world. Photograph: Prasit Chansareekorn/Flickr Vision

Image: Social media and increasingly accessible smartphones help groups mobilise around the world. Photograph: Prasit Chansareekorn/Flickr Vision

theguardian.org - March 13th, 2014 - Hansdeep Singh, Jaspreet Singh and Linda Raftree

Technology has huge potential to be used for social good. Mobiles and mapping software can be used to gather data, and visualise patterns and trends; predictive analytics can be used to help translate 'big data' into useful statistics; unmanned aerial vehicles can monitor real-time crises; and social media helps mobilise groups around the world.

These technologies are getting more accessible to diverse groups by the day.

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Strawberry Trees Offer Free Public Solar Charging for Gadgets

submittted by Margery Schab   

      

Strawberry Energy

treehugger.com - by Derek Markham - March 14, 2014

In a bid to bring more renewable energy choices to the public, while educating people on the benefits of solar power, one Serbian startup is building public solar charging stations that will energize mobile gadgets and serve as a social hub.

The vision of Strawberry Energy is to make renewable energy sources more accessible for all people, and to show that solar power and other clean energy solutions aren't just abstract concepts, but are instead practical and desirable. The way they're helping to get that message across is through their public solar charging stations, dubbed Strawberry Trees, which offer free charging for mobile devices, and in some cases, free WiFi.

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Humanitarians in the Sky

 submitted by Luis Kun

     

Lawmakers need to ensure their new regulations do not run counter to the humanitarian imperative.
Photograph: CorePhil/DSI

Drones are already a game-changer for disaster response

theguardian.com - by Patrick Meier - June 6, 2014

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) capture images faster, cheaper, and at a far higher resolution than satellite imagery. And as John DeRiggi speculates in "Drones for Development?" these attributes will likely lead to a host of applications in development work. In the humanitarian field that future is already upon us — so we need to take a rights-based approach to advance the discussion, improve coordination of UAV flights, and to promote regulation that will ensure safety while supporting innovation.

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New Field Guide Explores Open Data Innovations in Disaster Risk and Resilience

Citizen mapping can help pinpoint damage and locate risks, such as hillside instability that could threaten communities.  GFDRR

worldbank.org - March 19, 2014

  • The new World Bank Group field guide provides practical guidance for governments and organizations as they build their own open data programs for addressing disaster risk and resilience.
  • It shows how participatory mapping projects can fill in government data gaps and keep existing data relevant as cities rapidly expand.
  • Among the guide’s success stories are projects that quickly mapped disaster damage in the Philippines after Typhoon Yolanda and helped improve urban planning in Kathmandu.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

CLICK HERE -  Open Data for Resilience Initiative: Field Guide (134 page .PDF file)

Turkey PM Erdogan Threatens to Ban Facebook and YouTube

      

Mr Erdogan has increased his majority at each parliamentary election

bbc.com - March 7, 2014

Turkey's PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his government could ban Facebook and YouTube, arguing that opponents are using social media to attack him.

But President Abdullah Gul later called such a ban "out of the question".

Allegations of corruption against Mr Erdogan have been repeated on the social media sites.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

These $100 3-D-Printed Arms Are Giving Young Sudan War Amputees A Reason To Go On

huffingtonpost.com - by Eleanor Goldberg - January 23, 2014

Fifty thousand people, many of whom are children, have lost limbs in the war in Sudan. The number of victims is staggering, but one company is working to help by developing inexpensive prosthetics that can be made in about six hours.

. . . A team is capable of producing a low-cost, 3-D-printed arm for about $100.

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Seven Principles for Big Data and Resilience Projects

                                     

100resilientcities.rockefellerfoundation.org - by PopTech & RF Bellagio Fellows - October 10, 2013

The following is a draft “Code of Conduct” that seeks to provide guidance on best practices for resilience building projects that leverage Big Data and Advanced Computing. These seven core principles serve to guide data projects to ensure they are socially just, encourage local wealth- & skill-creation, require informed consent, and be maintainable over long timeframes.

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FUKUSHIMA DISASTER: IMPACTS AND CONTINUING THREATS

Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) Report, 2013

More than two years since the nuclear disaster began at the Fukushima Daiichi reactors, its impact is massive and widespread. It will be decades before the full scope of the impacts of this ongoing disaster is fully understood but significant health, economic, environmental and social consequences are already evident and quantifiable. Furthermore, independent expert analyses has documented extraordinary industry influence on government regulators, especially widespread collusion among the Japanese government, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the owner/operator of Fukushima, and the nuclear/utility industry. The Fukushima disaster leaves Japan with massive economic loss, radiation exposure to children and others, and a nation grappling with an uncertain nuclear future.

FULL REPORT HERE

Brazil's Controversial Plan to Extricate the Internet from US Control

            

Brazil's president Dilma Rousseff is proposing a controversial set of measures to wrestle Brazil's internet from US control. Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/AP

President Rousseff expected to bring the conversation about the continued role of US-based supernetworks to the UN this month

theguardian.com - by Amanda Holpuch - September 20, 2013

When Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff postponed her official visit to the US in protest of National Security Agency spying activities on Tuesday, it seemed like a routine bit of diplomatic posturing.

But another one of her proposals could perhaps be more significant: a set of measures intended to extricate the internet in Brazil from under the influence of the US and its tech giants.

Openness the New Model for Society

 

submitted by Albert Gomez

No Straight Lines - by Alan Moore - September 7, 2013

It has been said that privacy is dead. Not so. It’s secrecy that is dying. Openness will kill it.

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