One of the reasons that Kiva seems to be wildly popular is that, in some way, it restores social capital (or the illusion of social capital) to the development industry. Disillusioned by the inefficiencies and ineffectiveness of monolithic organizations, ranging from the World Bank to UNICEF, middle class American philanthropists seem thrilled by Kiva's application of social networking to micro-lending.
Just a quick plug to promote the publication of a new issue at gnovis, where I am entering my second year as Managing Editor.
I won't get into the political reasons, but I've been trying to take a very small personal stand and boycott the Olympics (*cough* *Free Tibet* *cough*). However, for a sports junkie like me this is extremely difficult. My main strategy has been to go MLB.com instead of ESPN.com for my daily fix. However, technology has conspired against me... but it has also saved me.
First, how technology conspired to make me watch the olympics...
Over the last year, as I've mulled over various thesis topics, I've often returned to two imprecise concepts, "commons-based approaches" and "open culture", which I am now faced with sorting through in order to focus my research. In particular, now that I'm locking into "open culture" as my central topic, I need to decide whether to incorporate "the commons" or discard it altogether.
This post was originally published at gnovisjournal.org, then later cross-posted on my now discontinued thesis blog "Open Culture: the Future of Data, Code, Government and Culture," which chronicled my work on my masters thesis, "From Coding to Community: Iteration, Abstraction & Open Source Software Development."
I'm very excited to have settled on a thesis topic. It still needs to be ironed out quite a bit, and I'm not sure if I'll discuss it publicly for quite a few months, but it relates to Karl Marx, Linus Torvalds and David Korten... and it will be beautiful.
I just took a quick coffee break to read Wading in the Deep: Supporting Emergent Anarchies, a short article by Naeem Inayatullah at Ithaca College, which was given to me last week by a close friend of mine and a former student of Naeem's. Quite frankly, I was blown away... it has been at least three years since I read such a provocative piece on pedagogy in higher ed.
I'm no environmental economist, but something doesn't seem quite right about this quote:
"[Sugar] is a vital ingredient in the nation's food supply and you do not want to turn that over, in a great portion, to foreign suppliers... then you [will] end up being dependent, as we are on foreign oil."
-- Luther Markwart, American Sugar Alliance
(transcribed from this NPR segment)