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The Longest Now

Haiti Crisis Camp Street Cred
Tuesday January 26th 2010, 11:15 pm
Filed under: chain-gang,indescribable,Uncategorized

Every Saturday people meet up at MIT to figure out how to help the relief process in Haiti.

Video: What I did at CrisisCamp

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Massive destruction across Haiti
Thursday January 14th 2010, 10:16 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Tuesday’s major earthquake in Haiti has destroyed the heart of capital Port-au-Prince and its vicinity, including part of the presidential palace and many major hubs of international groups and embassies.  This sort of emergency was unexpected; there is no disaster relief system in place. Imagine Nature sacking a nation’s capital and you have something like the scene on the ground.  The President was interviewed on CNN yesterday at the airport, commenting on how he has no place to work (or sleep, but he said there was time enough to find a bed), and no communication network; and just needs a place to sit and communicate so he can help people.

Thousands of people are missing, including the head of the World Bank in the country and the head of the UN mission.  The estimated death toll is between 50,000 and 100,000.  Communications lines, airports, and other infrastructure have all failed.  Anderson Cooper yesterday reported that there is no air-traffic control for incoming pilots; rubble rescue teams are generally composed of groups of civilians working without tools.

The World Food Program is preparing a 6-month emergency food campaign, supplying ready-to-eat meals, first aid kits (various kinds) and satellite phones to the area.

Please donate to support the WFP’s work.

Haiti is already by far the most impoverished country in the Americas, with a normalized per capita GDP1 of $1300 in 2008 (Nicaragua is next, and twice as wealthy), slightly poorer than Chad.  Despite its intense proximity to wealther countries (it occupies the western 1/3 of the island of Hispanola; the eastern 2/3 are the Dominican Republic, with much richer farms and seven times its GDP) OLPC works with 13,000 students and teachers there, but so far our only word from them is that the country head of our program is alright.

1 – Purchasing power parity raises this to $1300 from a raw per capita GDP of $790.

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Censorship wars in China
Wednesday January 13th 2010, 4:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Google uncensors itself in China, and is playing hardball, prepared to be blocked there. This is officially a reaction to the latest revelation of snooping by highly-trained Chinese crackers.

What will other companies do or think?  Facebook for instance is officially pro-openness, and don’t feel they store much private data.   Nevertheless, they may start caring about the same issues of data security once they expand more into stricter regimes and users of their services start to disappear.

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Using Wikimedia Commons in a fast-paced world
Sunday January 10th 2010, 9:23 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Here is a great example of the value of Commons.  When the Nobel Prize announcements for medicine went out, whoever had to throw up a webpage about the winners needed high-quality images quickly.  They didn’t have time to ask the winners’ departments, for obvious reasons. So they drew from Wikimedia: two of the three images used were credited to Commons.

Since then, they’ve been replaced by the official photos of each professor; and now they all look perfectly lit and very much alike.  [I wonder if we can request inclusion in commons through the Nobel Committee’s digital team!]  But for the initial surge of interest and visitors, the Commons images were of tremendous use.

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Help support Wikimedia!
Friday January 01st 2010, 7:19 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s a glorious New Year!  Happy 2*3*5*67, everyone.  I’m spending the new decade in Tokyo, and love it here.  Now to find a few puzzle box craftsmen…

Meanwhile, Wikimedia is running its annual fundraising drive — please donate to support Wikipedia, Wikibooks, or your favorite wiki Project.

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