I have come to the understanding the idea of "happiness" in advanced civilizations around the world is not necessarily shared with developing countries. A healthy bank account, nice home, diverse investment portfolio, multiple cars and ample vacation, to rest from all that success, are not necessarily quantifiers for happiness. However, beyond culture and geographical location there is a universal law that states we must continue to evolve and adapt to survive. Our nomadic ancestors taught us that static objects eventually succomb to the environment.
Thus no matter a civilization's location, there are endless opportunities to enhance and improve life. For example, many argue that automotive transport or inddor plumbing is not necessarily a benefit to specific developing countries. The daily treck of women gathering water by the river is not only a vital function of their society but a social excercise as well – where walking, laughter and community all take place. Inventions like the reimagined water wheelbarrow are the result of a new line of thought around culturally sensitive innovation.
Hans Rosling, an educator, scientist and statitician focused on global health, is one of the most captivating speakers to step on to the TED Talk stage, but it is really the fascinating picture data paints that commands our attention. I am posting an older Rosling TED Talk from 2012 which will likely galvanize you to seek out additional talks.
Traditional ways of giving internationally are complex. Donors typically give to international NGOs that manage money, fundraise, and implement programs through partner organizations abroad which have their own (usually hidden) cost structures. Overall it is hard for donors to tell how their money will be used, what this will cost, and whether there is any evidence that it works.
At GiveDirectly we've created a simpler way: we take money from donors and give it to the poor. We can do this because modern payments technology has drastically cut the costs of sending money directly to the extreme poor, at the same time as new research has shown the powerful effects this has on their lives. At GiveDirectly we see these trends converging to make direct giving the benchmark against which the old, top-down models are evaluated.
Continuing on with our July theme of how the Technology Age our planet is experiencing is influencing other industries…
We love entrepreneurs of all sorts. In particular we love entrepreneurs who create things that make our lives easier. In this example technology has a date with the world of couture. World's Best Travel Jacket with 15 Features (WBTJ/15) by Baubax is another Kickstarter project that has the potential to make travel easier and style effortless. The company is presenting a travel "hoodie" that essentially has a lot of slots to store things like smartphones, tablets, headphones, passport, wallet, etc. Nothing groundbreaking right? Wrong.
Baubax steps outside the box and closes the lid! First off, I must preface that my excitement behind this project is galvanized by a big pet peeve – I hate carrying things in my hands when I travel! I have a tendency to set important things down on counters, seats and security belts, only to have a cardiac infarction mid-flight at the realization that the "thing" is no longer in my hand. While I love all the little pockets, this Kickstarter project goes a step or two beyond compartmentalizing. For example my two favorite features are the inflatable neck pillow and foldaway gloves.
Neck Pillow: I love having a neck pillow just as much as I hate carrying a neck pillow through airports. I always debate whether I should carry that half-donut-ridiculous-looking-thing to keep from slobbering on the poor soul seated next to me, or just leave it behind! With the WBTJ/15 that quandary is solved. The neck pillow inflates and deflates within seconds and stays attached to the neck lining of the hoodie.
Foldaway Gloves: For some reason my hands do tend to be sensitive to temperature during flight – especially red-eye flights. Yet, I rarely choose to travel with gloves unless my destination requires the extra layer. Once again, problem solved with WBTJ/15. Gloves tuck under the sleeve opening when not in use.
There are a few more features beyond pockets, like a cup holder (yes, I wrote cup holder) and an eye mask. Check out the video and see for yourself.
If you look around you will see many things in your day-to-day life that have undergone very little innovation. For example, pens, scissors, light sockets, wall sockets, doorknobs, ceiling fans, and yes – relevant to this article – the hanger. The simple hook and hang concept has been credited to multiple inventors as far back as the late 1800s. Yet, little has changed… until now. You see it turns out this little Technology Age we are undergoing as a planet is helping to galvanize other industries like design, industrial, etc. and the hanger is the latest benefactor. Thanks to the Kickstarter (a tech age product) Hangdsgn (industrial design) is raising funds to manufacture a magnetic hanger sans hook. It sticks to the bottom of a metal rod and holds up to 2lbs of clothing. The only design flaw I see is the majority of closets consists of two big hooks and a single wooden parrallel pole – which does not play nice with magnets. However, this definitely has promise for retail. Good luck Hangdsgn!
The US Navy has built a prototype that extracts CO2 from seawater while simultaenously producing H2. Those gases are then converted to liquid hydrocarbons by a metal catalyst in a reactor system. Ok, so if the first two sentences of this blog article didn't drop your jaw to the ground then the fact that the liquid powered an internal combustion engine should. They are now moving to a full-scale commercial implementation. Why is this not on the cover of Times? I get local news is too dumb to grasp the gravity of this accomplishment, but why are scientists around the world not planning a ticker tape parade? Hello…Anyone there? This is huge!
Advances in modern medicine mean that Americans are living longer lives than ever before…but at what cost? Aging population growth — especially among those older than 85, who are most likely to require expensive long-term care, suffer disability or require assistance with daily activities — comes with serious financial consequences for aging Americans and their families.
MPH@GW, the online MPH offered through the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, created "The Cost of Aging in America" to explore some of the serious economic realities faced by aging individuals, caregivers, and health care professionals. Keep reading to learn more.
YouTube Excerpt: Each year nearly a million people in Europe suffer from a cardiac arrest. A mere 8% survives due to slow response times of emergency services. The ambulance-drone is capable of saving lives with an integrated defibrillator. The goal is to improve existing emergency infrastructure with a network of drones. This new type of […]
In 2010, the poverty rate in the United States was 15 percent; in Washington, D.C., it was 19 percent. But inequality and poverty are just one part of the puzzle when it comes to the general state of public health in the District. From crime to chronic disease to substance abuse, the District of Columbia […]
Over the years, we have done a considerable amount of writing on office ergonomics and found that adjustable desks are traditionally overpriced. Furniture makers like Anthro and Martin Ziegler charge thousands of dollars for the added luxury of raising a slab of wood up and down a few inches. Fortunately for the price-conscious consumer, IKEA […]
I have written several posts over the years about NUI Natural User Interface being the next great expedition in computing. When you can reach beyond the 2D limitations of your computer screen and interact with an application beyond the surface, computing will never be the same. This technology is already here but not quite ready […]
This story is such a wonderful mix of technology and humanity and connection that we simply have to share. It really is a simple equation. Kids learning English need to converse and the elderly just want someone to talk to. The power of online video is the solution. Grab a tissue and take a look. […]