Monday, March 29, 2010

Hans Rosling and Population Stats

I first "met" Dr. Rosling when I watched his famous TED talk on statistics of development indicators:

And then today, I came across another video, where he uses lego to demonstrate the distribution of population growth:

Enjoy, and thanks Dr. Rosling :) Follow him on Twitter here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

SolarvibeSound: New homepage

Just updated the SolarvibeSound homepage. Some changes:
- Simplified, minimalist design
- Summarized purpose
- Embedded youtube video of latest mix on homepage

In the works:
- Hosting a music stream to be broadcast
- Embedding audio samplers within website (instead of youtube links)
- More consistency between homepage and social networks (Twitter, Grooveshark, etc)

Ever wonder how to subconciously score more on tests?

I got sent this article today (thanks, Aly) about how seeing the letter "A" before a test produced better results from students than seeing an "F".

An extract:
"We believe that the meanings inherent in the evaluative letters were enough to influence their performance through the motivational state that they produced. Exposure to the letter A made the students non-consciously approach the task with the aim to succeed, while exposure to letter F made the students non-consciously want to avoid failure. Research suggests that when people approach tasks with the desire to succeed they perform better than when striving to avoid failure."

Read the original article by ScienceDaily here.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Twitter for Teachers: Nine Reasons Why

I came across an article today on TechLearning titled "Nine Reasons to Twitter in Schools" by Laura Walker.

I have listed the abridged version here, but check out Laura's original article for descriptions.
  1. Twitter gives teaches more access to eachother;
  2. Content can be filtered for local- or global-settings;
  3. Twittering is a self-reflective process;
  4. An interactive workshop can be utilized from this platforml;
  5. An interactive newsroom can also be utilized;
  6. It can help develop your profession and gain crucial networks;
  7. Trains to filter content all over the web;
  8. 140 character-limit makes your communication efficient;
  9. It's suprisingly easy to use.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

For Hunza and Haiti

One of my classmates created the following video:

We are so busy with our individual lives that we forget that all the ends we are trying to meet concern other people. I didn't think taking a few minutes out to watch this video would help the people it talks about. After watching it however, I realized that the music, together with the images and the messages, have tucked themselves somewhere in the corner of my conciousness. So now, wherever I see the opportunity to do something physically about the issue at stake, I won't pass it by.

Thank you, IShams. I pray that your people, and those facing similar problems worldwide, find peace.

US wekas pressure on Kenya

I read this article in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, and found myself overheating on the bus to school.

The article discusses the uprising during the 2007 Kenyan elections due to hardlined support for the oppostion, Raila Odgina, against the incumbent, Mwai Kibaki. While the violence shook Kenya and much of East Africa, the two sides agreed on a power-sharing deal which is still sensitive to either side today.

As the WSJ article suggests, "Two years later, however, their coalition government reamains shaky and the country is on edge. The U.S. is increasingly impatient for the government to take steps to punish those responsible for the postelection violence, crack down on corruption and amend the constitution.

'We will not hesitate to give our opinions when we feel that's what needs to be done," Mr. Wycoff* said. "We will take strong actions when we think that's what needs to be done to move the reform process forward.'"

I understand the need for consistent and "safe" support towards the US. I also understand why the US would be concerned if one of their friends was having trouble. I further understand that the article goes on to discuss Kenya's corruption problems, and that it remains one of the US's highly-regarded East African nations.

But I have some questions:

1. Why make disapproval of locally-based problems public instead of work with Kenya to see what is and isn't possible?

2. How is a public show of dismay going to help?

3. Who is in charge of Kenya's borders?

4. What is the US's agenda in Kenya?

5. The article discusses how Kenya is the "bastion of stability in an East African region", and mentions Somalia, Sudan and Ethopia. Are there other states the US can and should be working with in the region? If so, what states are they and how can they work with Kenya? If not, why is there no room for cooperation in the East African region?

*Karl Wycoff is the deputy assistant secretary of state for African Affairs in the US