“NAIROBI, 2 March 2012 (IRIN) – How is it that the world’s most popular fizzy drink reaches even the farthest-flung corners of the planet, yet vast numbers of children in developing countries die for lack of one of the cheapest and most effective preparations known to medical science?
The world’s second-biggest cause of child mortality, diarrhoea, kills about 1.5 million children every year. Three-quarters of these deaths could be prevented with a simple course of oral rehydration salts (ORS) combined with zinc tablets, at a cost of just US$0.50 per patient.
Yet, despite being heavily promoted by the World Health Organization since the 1970s, fewer than 40 percent of child diarrhoea cases in developing countries are treated with ORS. That figure falls below 1 percent when the treatment includes zinc, which reduces not only the duration and severity of diarrhoeal episodes but also the likelihood of subsequent infections.
“The challenge is not what to do but how to deliver [ORS] at very high coverage,” Abdulai Tinorgah, who heads the UN Children’s Fund’s Child Survival and Development section in Nairobi, told IRIN.”
via IRIN Global | GLOBAL: Follow the fizz, save a life | Global | Zambia | Aid Policy | Health & Nutrition.
“There are not only wrong answers. There are also wrong questions. There are questions which deal with a certain real problem but the way they are formulated they effectively obfuscate, mystify, confuse the problem. ”
via Good Thinking is Good Questioning. | Slavoj Žižek | Big Think.
“It was the last day of the International Society for Ecological Economics 2012 conference taking place in parallel to the UNCSD Rio+20 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and many of the big names of this relatively young and vibrant academic discipline were lined up to talk in the final plenary sessions.
First, we heard from the dual winners of the 2012 Kenneth E. Boulding Award, the world’s top honor in the field of ecological economics, Dr. Mathis Wackernagel and Dr. William Rees. Together, they formed, in the early 1990s, the idea of the ecological footprint. That simple conceptualization of the amount of resources we consume and the waste and pollution we emit as compared to the carrying capacity of the earth, has been so effective in conveying the conundrum of modern consumerist paradigm that it became one of the most popular indices to describe and evaluate sustainability.
In their talks they described a crystal clear picture of the deep mess we are in. Wackernagel talked about our resource overshot, or how many planets would be required in order to sustain the amount of resources we consume. Rees discussed the evolutionary, genetic, environmental and social conditions that make us predisposed to such self-destructive behavior as a human species. While lucid and fascinating, the message and outlook ended up being pretty gloomy.
In stark contrast, next on the stage was Robert Costanza, another founder of the discipline, with a very short but important message. For the most part, we know the gravity of the situation, however, explaining how bad things are has not been working too well as a method of affecting change. To affect change we need to create positive cycles of action and reflection. And with that, he gave the stage to prime minister of Bhutan.
His Excellency, Jigmi Y. Thinley, offered a speech that might have been the most positive message coming out of this entire frustrating, and for the most part, fruitless (if not destructive) process that Rio+20 has become. He said his country has decided some three decades ago to get rid of neoliberal economics that focus on maximizing short term economic gains measured by growth in GDP in favor of enhancing a more holistic framework of human well being.
The catch phrase is, of course, their Gross Happiness Index, but the approach is much more than that. To measure progress, they look at indicators such as education, access to health, employment rates, well being in rural setting and the list is much longer. And yes, he replied to a question, they do have a voluntary policy encouraging responsibility in reproduction rates, and no, they don’t think they necessarily need economic growth per se to do well for their people. Wow. While there is much room for improvement, Bhutan is doing well on many of these indices.
The caveat is, that if the rest of the world keeps measuring success in terms of GDP growth, these great achievements are lost in the all-encompassing picture of economic growth. His entire speech is well worth reading. So, why should we care about Bhutan? It is after all a tiny country at the Eastern Himalayas of about 700,000 people. We should care because Bhutan is a great example of a catalytic positive cycle Dr. Costanza and many others suggest is our way forward. It teaches us that when we make the good choices like balancing material development with cultural, ecological and spiritual values, positive change happens fairly quickly.
Bhutan’s approach is pretty simple, don’t consume more than what you have (in economic and environmental terms), and make sure your people have what they really need (food, education, health, freedom of speech, religion etc.). How hard can this be?”
via What Bhutan Can Teach Everyone at Rio+20 About Ecological Economics.
Interesting overview and backcasting look at ” The Minority Report ” film and its forward looking human – computer interaction and targeting info push technology….
“Well before filming got underway, Spielberg gathered together a team of experts from a variety of fields for a three-day think tank. That included people like virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier, Wired co-founder Kevin Kelly, Whole Earth Catalog and WELL founder Stewart Brand, writer Douglas Coupland, and a number of other scientists and researchers. They were tasked not only with making sure the filmmakers got things straight, but with dreaming up and thinking through much of the technology that fills the film’s universe.
The stand-out piece of technology from the movie is undoubtedly the gesture interface that’s used to interact with the “Precrime” system central to the film (more on that later).”….
via Minority Report at 10: a look at technology from today to 2054 — Engadget.
“Mr. Pavlov said the trick is knowing how ants work, generally in a line and following each other. A little redirection and they’ll go where you want.”
via Ant Photography.
AN : Astounding photography !
See more :
“When the SpaceX Dragon Capsule touched down last week in the Pacific Ocean after its successful unmanned mission to the International Space Station, it brought back with it from near orbit an increasingly undeniable truth: governments are losing their monopoly over managing certain complex tasks.
Indeed, as access to information increases and the cost of collaboration decreases, so too does our dependency on governments to manage complexity. As a result, a newly empowered civil society is reclaiming its rightful place between governments and free markets as a viable alternative that is capable of solving big problems. Through the use of crowdsourcing – fueled by general good will along with well-designed economic incentives – societies can now tap previously inaccessible creative potential of the masses. By shortening the distance between our collective intentions and our collective will, the message we send to governments is: The people have finally arrived
Projects like the SpaceX Dragon Capsule demonstrate, however, that governments need not disappear, but instead need to transform themselves in certain instances from service providers to service enablers. In the areas where governments do continue to act as service providers, they can take advantage of crowdsourcing to improve the quality of services they deliver.”
AN : The role of government does not have to be an either (only the gov’t) / or (not the gov’t) but rather you ( delegation to other sector ) / we ( partner with gov’t).
The role of collaboration and crowdsourcing is gathering momentum and value in our governance practises.
via The role of government in a crowdsourcing world | Forum:Blog | The World Economic Forum.