This (late) update is a hasty one because over the last 2 weeks the real world is distracting me from the virtual… but this is what I collected from my feeds…
- Test your African geography: 54 countries in 10 minutes. It seems simple, but you’d be surprised how many island-states you will forget…! [via AIDG]
- The Economist reassures us on the benevolent change in nature of the diamond industry, and the near disappearance of blood diamonds. Wishful thinking, I am afraid. [via Africa Unchained]
- The NY Times offers not one, but two reviews of Abderrahmane Sissako’s film Bamako, the surrealist tale of a mock-trial of the World Bank and the IMF in the Malian capital. If you have a chance, don’t miss this extraordinary movie.
Middle East & North Africa
- Bad news from Egypt, as a Abdel Kareem Soliman becomes the first blogger to be jailed in the country for insulting Islam and the President. Amnesty International said the ruling was “yet another slap in the face of freedom for expression in Egypt”. An on-line campaign to free Karim has been launched with the support… er… of the American conservative Cato Institute…
- Hossein Derakhshan discusses Internet censorship and how to beat it in Iran on the Guardian Unlimited.
- A couple of exchanges on Demos’ Greenhouse about a recent event they hosted with John Ralston Saul, a renowned philosopher, novelist, political penseur, who has provocatively pronounced the “end of globalism“. A quick scan, and it seems this provocative statement could simply be re-phrased as the rejection of neo-liberalism. Had he framed the debate in these terms, it would have sounded less plausible, slightly rehashed and probably less marketable than the grand statement above. But then, we all need to make a living.
ICT and creativity
- One for the geeks. Data Mining: Text Mining, Visualization and Social Media is Matthew Hurst’s impressive blog about his core interests: computational linguistics, artificial intelligence, data/text mining, gis, strategy, weblogs, online personal media. His is the beautiful map at the top of this entry – a whimsical image of the blogosphere from the edge of the core. [via La Russophobe]
- Y for Yendetta predicts the future of the digital divide: not access, not education, not gender, etc., but laziness: “Suis-je bovvered?” Good point, actually… [via Andrew Chadwick]
- Ming the Mechanic tells us about Wikipatterns, a ‘Wiki collecting patterns of practices for how to launch a successful Wiki. And anti-patterns for how not to do it‘. Wikid.
- AIDG has some fantastic entries, from one about the Battle of the Bulbs: Incandescent vs. CFL (Video) to another one about The Great Firewall of China, a site that lets you test whether your URL is being blocked in China (GlobaLab is, probably because it’s wordpress).
- Suzanne Smith on PSD blog puts an end to years of heated debates about the role of private finance investment in reducing poverty: ‘If you have ever doubted the importance of the finance sector in reducing poverty, a new paper will set your mind at rest. More finance sector development leads to more investment in tractors and fertilizers, leading to more food‘. If only we had more World Bank experts telling us children what’s right and what’s wrong, we’d all sleep better at night…
- Meantime, always on PSD, new research reveals that privatization in 2005 has hit new records, with ‘transactions concentrated in China, Czech Republic, Hungary, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine and the top ten deals are largely in banking and telecommunications‘.
- Siberian Light rounds up the events of the week, and these posts in particular have captured my imagination: ‘Copydude has posted photos of a bunch of Nashi activists running around Kaliningrad – dressed as 500 rouble notes‘ – ‘My morning with Yulia Tymoshenko – Laurence Jarvik posts his observations on her recent press conference in Washington. It seems she has ambitions of a tilt at the Ukrainian presidency in 2009′ – ‘Sean looks at Russia’s brand of capitalism and democracy‘ – ‘Tim Newman explains why Russians hate Americans‘ and ‘ The US has decided it wants a missile defense site in the Caucasus. Captain’s Quarters thinks its a blunt message to Putin that the US will not be cowed’.
- Juan Freire reviews a recent article on the Washington Post about Bruce Sterling’s self-congratulations about the green dot bubble and another one on the NY Times about Stewart Brand as An Early Environmentalist, Embracing New ‘Heresies’. Excellent read for the Spanish-speakers.
Corporat Social (ir-)Responsibility
- Corporate Watch updates us on how The Curse of Gold is Transforming the Pacific Island of Papua New Guinea, how Disney sweats over sweatshop charges in China, how Protests are Mounting against Canada’s Goldcorp Inc. in Honduras and how Earthjustice and Alaska Natives are protesting against drilling plans in the Beaufort Sea.
Blog Babble and random weird stuff