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Cell-Phone Data Might Help Predict Ebola’s Spread

On the move: This model of West African regional transportation patterns was built using, among other sources, mobile-phone data for Senegal, released by the mobile carrier Orange.

Mobility data from an African mobile-phone carrier could help researchers recommend where to focus health-care efforts.

By David Talbot on August 22, 2014

WHO grants ethics approval for use of experimental Ebola drug - Zmapp

The World Health Organization declared Tuesday that it's ethical to use unproven Ebola drugs and vaccines in the outbreak in West Africa provided the right conditions are met.

"In the particular circumstances of this outbreak and provided certain conditions are met, the panel reached consensus that it is ethical to offer unproven interventions with as yet unknown efficacy and adverse effects, as potential treatment or prevention," the agency said in a statement.

The panel said "more detailed analysis and discussion" are needed to decide how to achieve fair distribution in communities and among countries, since there is an extremely limited supply of the experimental drugs and vaccines.

The statement from the UN health agency came amid a worldwide debate over the medical ethics surrounding the Ebola outbreak. However the agency sidestepped the key questions of who should get the limited drugs and how that should be decided.

WHO says 1,013 people have died so far in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and authorities have recorded 1,848 suspected or confirmed cases.

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.

(VIEW COMPLETE ARTICLE)

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.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

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.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

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.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

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.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

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

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