Or how Greta Thunberg can create more converts.
“Nature is not a temple. It is a workshop, and a human being is the worker in it.” _ Ivan Turgenev
Item 1: The outbreak of coronavirus that threatens to create a global pandemic and the tragic sudden death of basketball star Kobe Bryant both remind us that the unexpected can happen quickly and that we humans live in an environment that can at times be ruthlessly hostile.
Nature, fate, providence, or whatever one chooses to call it, works in inscrutable ways. The virus will spread and endanger millions, if humans do not stop it. It has no will or conscience and would inexorably destroy those who are dearest to us, in a matter of days. And, before downing Bryant’s helicopter and killing him, his young daughter and seven others, fate or gravity did not pause for a millisecond to ponder the sadness that it would inflict on hundreds of millions all over the world through such a senseless death.
Modern society is generally free of deadly viruses and helicopters are generally safe to fly. But it took centuries of human progress to get there in both instances. And it will take more human progress and ingenuity to seal the cracks in our vigilance that allowed the coronavirus to emerge and spread, and the helicopter to crash .
Item 2: Last week in Davos, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin volunteered that climate activist Greta Thunberg ought to get an economics degree before preaching her message to grown-up policy makers. That is more confidence in university economics departments than most of Miss Thunberg’s critics would be willing to concede. It is true that Miss Thunberg’s message is incomplete, but that is not for lack of economic pedigree. The building blocks that are glaringly missing from her campaign are 1) a better understanding of Turgenev’s aphorism on nature and man, and 2) a trip or two to China, India or other fast developing countries.
Sami J. Karam speaks to Nadim Curi, CEO of the anti-crime app CityCop.
Powered by its successful rollout in Latin America started in 2014 and further boosted by funding from startup accelerator techstars, CityCop has staked a claim to turn its “social platform for community watch” into the global leader in crime reporting and public safety.
What Waze has done for traffic globally, we have done the same for public safety.
What we are doing at CityCop is to make all of this information [about crime incidents] that today is private or is lost, to make it public. The criminals have always taken advantage of this lack of information. They have always the same modus operandi, in the same areas, at the same hours, against the same unaware people. CityCop is making all of this information public for the people to be much better informed of what is happening.
Starting in Austin, CityCop plans to expand to San Francisco, Chicago, New York and other cities. Curi’s ultimate ambition is to turn CityCop into a global “Waze against crime”.
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by Ravi Srinivasan
(Ravi discussed this post at the BreakingBank$ podcast. His segment starts at 20:10.)
Modi’s demonetization was the other November 8th global earthquake.
A thorough historical record will show that not one but two man-made events shook the world on 8 November 2016. One was of course the election of Donald Trump to the US Presidency against the predictions of nearly all polls and pundits. The other was the Indian government’s shock and awe decision to withdraw from circulation all ₹500 ($7.3) and ₹1,000 ($14.6) rupee bank notes, equivalent to 85% of the country’s paper money. Although the first event dominated the headlines, the second will have a greater impact on over a billion people in India and elsewhere.
This process known as demonetization is the latest in a series of initiatives by the Modi government to modernize Indian society and to increase financial inclusion and digitalization. Along the same lines in the past two years, other government efforts have included the ambitious and unprecedented Aadhaar national identification system started in 2012, the Aadhaar-based remittance system offered by the National Payments Corporation of India in 2013, and the Jan Dhan Yojana drive to bring financial services to lower-income segments of society. Some private players such as Paytm, Citrus Pay, Mobikwik and Freecharge have also moved in lockstep with public initiatives. Read more
Strawberry Fields – Forever?
You didn’t build that ….. 332
I built that ………………… 206
Well, I guess that settles it: you didn’t build that after all. Or maybe you did, but not all of it. Or maybe like the convoluted John Lennon above “you think you know a yes, but it’s all wrong. That is you think you disagree.” Whatever. Rather than an economic mandate, November’s election was more of social commentary on the Republicans’ habit of living with eyes closed. Their positions on what Conan O’Brien labeled “female body parts” – immigration, gay rights and student loans – proved to be big losers, and they will have to amend rather than defend those views if they expect to compete in 2016. I suspect they will. Political parties are living social organisms that mutate in order to survive. We will see straight talking Chris Christie or Hispanic flavored Marco Rubio leading the Republican charge four years from now versus a reenergized Hillary Clinton. It should be quite a show with a “No Country for Old (White) Men” caste to it. READ MORE.
It’s an uninspiring truism to say that technology has changed our lives in ways that we never imagined. But as the iPhone 5 is cheered as one of humanity’s greatest developments since the first slice of bread, it’s time to take a step back and evaluate how. Is technology creating new opportunities for healthy, active and engaged aging? This question may be less fun than asking Siri the meaning of life, but the answer to it may well shape the social and economic success of the twenty-first century and how happy we can be in this new era of older societies.
Our tech-savvy, app-obsessed, 24-hour-plugged-in culture doesn’t seem to care much about how technological innovation can transform population aging from an economic sinkhole into a foundation for growth and shared prosperity. For all the “progressive” and “visionary” mythos that lionize Silicon Valley entrepreneurship, the kids in California are pretty far behind the curve on this one.
Yet, while the iPhone 5 hysteria reached its tipping point, a horde of policy wonks, academics and business leaders got together in Tokyo to ask the right questions about how technological innovation can write a better future for an aging society.
At Waseda University in Tokyo, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) held a joint conference entitled, “Anticipating the Special Needs of the 21st Century Silver Economy: From Smart Technologies to Services Innovation.” The conference may sound less sexy than Apple’s unveiling of the iPhone — and, make no mistake, it was — but its significance might just be even greater. READ MORE.
In Juanga, India, a village of less than 3,000 inhabitants, the adults typically work as farmers on small plots of land earning less than $2 a day. They live in extended families in two or three roomed bamboo thatched mud huts, surviving on rice and dahl.
Unable to see the value of education, the parents typically take their children out of school before they turn 16 to earn money. Women frequently deny themselves trips to health clinics and they lack knowledge of basic preventative healthcare measures.
They also lack basics such as drinking water, electricity, food, healthcare and infrastructure, but cell phone towers are often ubiquitous.
One American non-profit organization is using this proliferation of phone masts to bring empowering mobile technology to these destitute villagers. READ MORE.
In 1974, an Indian Bollywood Hindi-language film was released with the title Roti Kapda Aur Makaan (English translation: Food, Clothing, And Shelter), referring to the bare minimums of life. If it were to be released today, the director of the movie would need to add the word Internet to the title because access to the Internet has become a necessity for many people over the past decade.
In a recently published Forrester ForecastView report titled “Forrester Research World Online Population Forecast, 2012 To 2017 (Global),” Forrester found that 2.4 billion people across the world use the Internet on a regular basis — i.e., at least once a month — from home, school, work, or any other location via a PC or a non-PC (mobile) Internet access device. This is expected to grow to 3.5 billion by 2017, representing nearly half of the 2017 overall world population of 7.4 billion. Our forecast provides the details of the Internet population in 56 countries across five regions. READ MORE.