30 April 2014

Want to Harm your Economy? Restrict Immigration

Yet another push for immigration reform in the US is underway. Lawmakers would be smart to cast aside their personal feelings about the issue and look at the evidence. It was already established that making a humanitarian appeal can lead people to support more relaxed immigration policies.

For the people who do not respond to empathy, there is another angle: our collective wallets.

Immigrants play an important role in the US economy and in other countries. Placing heavy restrictions that reduce the flow of migration can be harmful to economic health. That is the lesson from the UK, where economists with the UK-based National Institute of Economic and Social Research projected the impact of halving the nation's immigration rate.

Cutting immigration in the UK by 50%, as proposed by some conservative lawmakers in the country, would result in an aggregate GDP decreases by 11%, by 2060 as compared current projections. That is economics speak for saying that cuts to immigration will hurt the economy.

The damage goes much further that lower GDP growth. With fewer people coming into the UK, there are then fewer tax payers, which means less revenue, meaning fewer people have to bear the burden of taxes (aka higher taxes overall). It is a scenario that nobody really wants to face, but support persists to make cuts to immigration in the UK.

Continue Reading on Humanosphere...

29 April 2014

Prime Time Cable News Ignores HIV/AIDS - Report

When important news about HIV and/or AIDS breaks, do not tune into the evening news on Fox News, MSNBC or CNN. They probably won't report it.

That is the basic lesson of an analysis of coverage of the issue by Media Matters, for 2013 and the first quarter of 2014. Despite some rather notable breakthroughs, developments and announcements that have taken place over the last year, HIV/AIDS is not a priority issue for the leading cable news networks.

cable news HIV

CNN lead the way with a whopping 11 mentions, in 2013. Its more opinion-oriented competitors did worse with only 4 mentions each. To make matters worse, the few mentions did not often involve an actual expert on HIV/AIDS.

This year is not looking all that much better. MSNBC is holding steady with its pace of one story every three months. Fox News and CNN are lagging in their paltry coverage of the topic. It has not been for a lack of stories to cover.

Continue Reading on Humanosphere...

Dani Alvez takes a bit out of racism on the soccer pitch

European soccer (aka football) has struggled the past few years with racism, coming both from the stands and on the field (pitch). International and domestic organizers have sought to stamp out racism in and around soccer, but it continues to rear its ugly head. One insult is throwing a banana in the direction of a player.

Last weekend, FC Barcelona defender Dani Alvez was preparing to take a corner kick against opponent Villarreal when a banana landed in front of him. The Brazilian national immediately walked over, picked it up, quickly peeled it, ate it and took the kick.

"We have suffered this in Spain for some time. You have to take it with a dose of humor," Alves said about it to the BBC.

Continue Reading on Humanosphere...

27 April 2014

This Week in Review (from Idaho)

Articles He Wrote
I am passing through Seattle, San Francisco and LA over the next two weeks. Say hi if you are around.

Good Reads
  • Akex Oareebe says what everyone has been thinking for a long time, it is time for the NY Times to ditch Friedman, Brooks and Dowd from the OpEd pages.
  • Yankees fans are everywhere! An interactive map breaks down baseball fans by zip code.
  • Another 90s has-been is peddling anti-vaccine ideas.
  • The founder of Boston Brewery (aka Sam Adams), Jim Koch, says he has a trick to ward off getting drunk. Anyone try this out?
  • The lasting impacts of a failed Washington career that ended due to a scandal. 
  • Rolling Stone readers love John Hughes. They think Breakfast Club is the best movie of the 80's.
  • After years of rape allegations, the ax might finally fall on one of fashion's most divisive photographers.
  • A very unscientific survey finds that people from Montana and Alaska have the most state pride. Rhode Island and Illinois rate the worst.
Song of the Week
Future Islands - Seasons (Waiting on You)
(Say what you want about the lead singer's dance moves, but there are few performers that are this emotionally invested in what they create)

Development Doings
The Funny Pages
Hover text: "I can't remember where I heard this, but someone once said that defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you're saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it is not literally illegal to express"

22 April 2014

Week in Review: Styling and stories from the past week

Articles He Wrote
Picture of the Day

The vintage styling of Namibian fashion designer Lourens Gebhardt. See more on his tumblr page.

Good Reads
  • Harrison Ford tells the back story for what led to the iconic sword/gun fight scene in Indian Jones, in a reddit AMA.
  • This map shows the number of executions by US state as of 2014.
  • The NY Times investigates the handling of the Jamies Winston rape investigation, revealing just how terribly law enforcement did in its job.
  • A Raiders cheerleader sues the team for unfair working conditions and paying her below minimum wage. 
  • A Princeton study on US policy finds the rich get what they want and the middle class are left out. America is an oligarchy, they conclude.
  • Supposedly America’s 50 best coffee shops. The few I've been to that are on the list are excellent. 
  • Neat visual and interactive reporting explaining trends in how Americans die. Most of it is good news
  • Africa's many obstacles have allowed for local entrepreneurs to beat the West at reinventing money for the mobile age.
  • How the Africa's many obstacles, from widespread poverty to failed states, allowed African entrepreneurs to beat the West at reinventing money for the mobile age.
  • Washington's remorse over standing by during the genocide 20 years ago is enabling repression today, says Howard French. 
  • Why We Should Be Paying Attention to Elections in Burkina Faso.

16 April 2014

Call for Abstracts: Voice and Matter – Glocal Conference on Communication for Development

Deadline: 23 May 2014, 00:00 (CET)

Voice and Matter is the fourth annual Communication for Development conference arranged by Ørecomm – Centre for Communication and Glocal Change, this year merged with Roskilde University’s biannual scientific conference, Sunrise.

When? 17-20 September 2014
Where? Roskilde University (Denmark) & Malmö University (Sweden)The conference aims to explore the dynamic relationship – and possible convergence – between voice and matter in the context of communication for development theory and practice.

We invite researchers, students, practitioners, authors, artists and filmmakers to submit abstracts on the following themes:
  • New Social Actors and ICT for Development. The technocentric concept of ICT4D raises questions on the power over and use of technology. Who are the new social actors and new social movements? How do they pursue their goals using ICTs? This session invites theoretical and empirical reflections, uncovering emerging perspectives on technology, voice and matter
  • ICT4D Without ICT4G? As photos of all-male ICT4D conference panels and technology fairs dominated by men are circulated on social networks, questions about gender issues in ICT4D research and practice are more pressing than ever. This panel invites theoretical reflections andinnovative case studies on gender, power and the future of ICT4D.
  • The Present and Future of Development Journalism International development journalism is exploring new avenues to connect with different audiences and to communicate social change. This panel highlights new innovative approaches as well as discussing the challenges and limitations in an age where ‘everybody is a broadcaster’.
  • Fiction Matters Recent decades have in many parts of the world brought new genres of fiction to critical acclaim. New authors engage with movement, migration and change in ways that are debatedglobally. This panel will explore fiction, that in new ways engage with therelation between the social and the global, and between voice and matter.Histories of Diaspora Nation-states and national mentalities have shaped societies we live in through reductive classifications. New methods now move beyond this logic, allowing for improved understanding of the changing role of the state over time, and for new transcultural encounters. This panel explores methods in approaching the diaspora context in space and time.
  • Submission of abstracts are accepted until 23 May 2014, oo:oo (CET)
  • Accepted abstracts will be announced individually by 6 June 2014
  • Email your abstract of 200-300 words to orecomm@gmail.com with the subject "Voice & Matter Abstract"
  • Abstracts must include the presenter's name, affiliation, email and postal address.
  • Please name your abstract in the following way: name+surname_abstract
Questions? Please feel free to share this call for abstracts with colleagues, partners and friends.

14 April 2014

Kicking off the week by looking at the last one

Sign up for the Newsletter From the Cave (as seen below) to land directly in your already crowded inbox each week, by going here.

Articles He Wrote

Will the US foreign aid budget continue its decline?
Discussions in DC are now taking place over the Fiscal Year 2015 budget and the downward trend of foreign aid spending may resume.

US underfunding crucial global health research and development, warns group
A GHTC report warns that the political wrangling over federal budgets in Washington DC are putting crucial global health research and development at risk.

Income growth is great, just not for reducing child undernutrition
It has been held that improving the economies of developing countries can help reduce undernutrition. New research says that is not actually happening.

Genocide anniversary reignites French-Rwandan political tensions
Comments made by Rwandan President Paul Kagame about France's complicity in the nation's genocide throws cold water on the improving relations between them.

World needs to get its shit together on climate change
Another report from the UN warns about the negative effects of climate change on the world, but will it actually get people to take action?

Gif Me a Break

Stephan Colbert will be replacing David Letterman over at the Late Show next year.

Good Reads

  • Satirical spoilers for the final season of Mad Men that cut close to what could happen.
  • Two-thirds of the neighborhoods in the bottom fourth of the national income distribution in 1980 were still at the bottom in 2008. 
  • You like art (music, paintings, etc) when you believe the artist is eccentric (aka why people like Bjork and Lady Gaga).
  • USA Network is pretty much the anti-AMC, and it's getting the big audience. Here's why.
  • "Upworthy enrolls us in the establishment of our own organized ignorance." 
  • Coffee nerd alert: MIT mapped the neighborhoods served by independent coffee shops in San Francisco and Cambridge.
  • Tracking down the elusive great satirist Tom Lehrer, who continues to be an influence a half century after he suddenly stopped writing music.
  • A new series on Showtime tries to make climate change more interesting by using celebrities. See the first episode in full here.

Song of the Week

tUnE-yArDs - Water Fountain

Development Goodies

  • We "need a new way of thinking about the challenge of international development that goes beyond obsolete divisions of North-South."
  • What should be the role of the NGO?
  • “You’re just not that vulnerable enough” – the situation of urban displacement in Libya.
  • When an aid project goes wrong, who is responsible
  • Tina Rosenberg on the possibility of a green revolution for Africa.
  • Bill Easterly and Owen Barder debated aid, human rights and technocrats. 
  • Remember Sockket, the ball that kids play with and generates electricity? Tiny Spark actually investigates what happens to the much-touted balls. 
  • Twenty years ago, Rwanda descended into the madness of genocide. UN peacekeepers were stretched to breaking point – but one stood out, taking huge risks to save hundreds of lives. His story.

Tweet of the Week

08 April 2014

A belated, but not forgotten, week in review

Articles He Wrote

An AP report reveals that a US-backed program attempted to develop a Twitter-like service with the goal that it would help spark political unrest in Cuba.
USAID unveiled its new innovation lab to some fanfare and concerns about its partnerships with the private sector.
A documentary now in theaters provides an inside look at an oil company operating in Ghana following the discovery of oil.
Hospitals run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) have experienced looting and murdered patients, adding to the high concerns for South Sudan.
We have looked previously at visual representations of migration, but these two visuals manage to capture the scale of movement and its impacts.
Gif Me a Break
Good Reads
  • It doesn't matter how smart you know, politics blinds your ability to make reasoned assessments
  • The state of inequality and why it is cause for concern in six charts.
  • Recently discovered skeletons show the Black Death was spread by coughs and sneezes, not rats.
  • Why Shakespeare should be read with an accent closer to Scottish than British English.
  • "But here’s the thing the anti-vaxxers need to know, for the one billionth time: You’re wrong. Really, it’s that simple."
  • Catch up on the ongoing debate between Ta-Nehisi Coates of the Atlantic and Jonathan Chait of New Yorker over culture and race.
  • The use of a private debt collector has brought back de facto debtor prisons.
  • Remembering Kurt Cobain 20 years after his death.
  • The abusive behavior of one of the most controversial pastors in America.
  • The UN peacekeeper to saved hundreds of lives during the Rwandan genocide, 20 years ago.
  • It's a lot easier being a white guy, on Twitter.
  • Neil Young's new digital music player has raised more than $5 million on Kicksterter.
Song of the Day

The War on Drugs - Red Eyes

Development Goodies
Picture of the Week
See the rest of the 2014 National Geographic traveler contest photo winners here.