21 March 2014

This week in the world, according to me

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Columns He Wrote

A closer look at the launch of TOMS coffee, its partnership with Water for People and changing the philanthropic landscape.
What’s to be done about the stalled decline of fertility in Africa?
The fertility rate around the world is falling, but that is not the case in Africa. The Economist says modern contraceptives are needed, but is that right?

Disturbing documentary exposes lasting impacts of Indonesian atrocities

The documentary The Act of Killing exposes the legacy of the mass atrocities committed in Indonesia nearly a half century ago.

How after-school tutoring in Nepal hurts the students that can’t afford it
Research from Nepal shows that teachers are cutting short their time teaching to increase demand for their students to pay for after-school tutoring.

Video of the Day: development as the changing borders of Europe

Online activism has its shortcomings, but is not a failure
The debate over whether online activism through social media makes a difference continues. Two new research papers shed some light on what really happens.

Why are Mexicans sending less money back home?
Latin American countries are recovering from the 2008 financial crisis, remittances are again growing. But not in Mexico and there is a debate over why.

Gif Me a Break
I hope everyone enjoyed Holi/St Patrick's Day, on Monday.

Good Bits and Reads
  • When Goodfellas met College Basketball: The long-lasting legacy of a BC men's basketball point shaving scheme.
  • Don't turn to Google to track flu trends any time soon...
  • Comparing the Constitutions of the world -> India wins on length (146,385 words) and Bolivia on number of rights (88).
  • The steep fall of news media darling and once prodigy Tina Brown.
  • The Boy Scouts have an image problem thanks to its anti-gay stance. Donations fell by half in 2012.
  • World leaders as drag queens. (You read that right) 
  • Didn't we already agree that Kipling's White Man's Burden was racist? Well, Robert Kaplan seems to think that is wrong.
  • Nate Silver and company launched the new FiveThirtyEight, bringing data to journalism. Here are its predictions for the NCAA Men's Basketball tournament.
  • Salon speaks with the star of the movie that some have called porn and will certainly evoke strong feelings as it opens this week.
  • Way too many Americans believe in medical conspiracy theories.
  • "I am making peace with the idea that learning how to walk again, in life and in the shoes of grief alike, may not be a recovery that looks like my pre-injury self."
  • Only 15% of the year's 100 top-grossing films featured women in leading roles.
  • Father makes a breakthrough with autistic son, thanks to Disney movies. A moving article in the NY Times magazine.
Song of the Week

Sam Smith - Nirvana

Aid and Development Goodies
  • A bit closer to home, the poverty trap of low-wage work in the US.
  • Sam Loewenberg with a longish report on hunger in Kenya and why aid is not helping much.
  • An enlightening conversation with Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina that touches on wrong-headed conceptions surrounding development.
  • Meet the American PR firm that has one of Africa's more notorious President as a client.
  • Some more jaw-dropping stats on income inequality, from team Oxfam.
  • Sounds too good to be true: this $0.20 ointment could save up to half a million newborns a year.
  • strikingly honest discussion over the tension between resilience building and humanitarian aid in the MSF blog.
  • Maybe budget transparency isn't all its cracked up to be.
Twitter Diplomacy

Who said disagreements can't maintain formality, dear colleagues?

Shameless Self Promotion

I am competing in the annual Twitter Fight Club tournament for the very first time, next week. Think of it as the NCAA basketball tournament for Twitter foreign affairs nerds. I will be needing your votes on Tuesday to pull off a first round upset. Vote here and spread the word.

Those fish are playing it way too cool.