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bastard.logic: How An Algorithim Caught The Ebola Outbreak

Science: this is why we keep you around:

Nine days before the World Health Organization announced the African Ebola outbreak now making headlines, an algorithm had already spotted it. HealthMap, a data-driven mapping tool developed out of Boston Children’s Hospital, detected a “mystery hemorrhagic fever” after mining thousands of web-based data sources for clues.

“We’ve been operating HealthMap for over eight years now,” says cofounder Clark Freifeld. “One of the main things that has allowed it to flourish is the availability of large amounts of public event data being accessible on the Internet.”


As anyone who’s ever (Read more…)

350 or bust: Saturday At The Movies

Wow. Don’t try this at home! * Man Tries To Hug A Wild Lion, You Won’t Believe What Happens Next!

Things Are Good: Ethiopia Opens Africa’s Largest Wind Farm

Ethiopia is looking to massively expand their energy infrastructure and renewable sustainable energy is a key part of their strategy. This is great to see new energy installations focus on the long-term effectiveness and viability of projects.

“Various studies have proved that there is potential to harness abundant wind energy resources in every region of Ethiopia. We cannot maintain growth without utilising the energy sector,” Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said in a speech at the launch.

Experts put Ethiopia’s hydropower potential at around 45,000 MW and geothermal at 5,000 MW, while its wind power potential is believed to be Africa’s (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: New Research Reveals How Quickly Climate Change Impacts Set In

The Sahara desert is about the driest spot in the world.  It wasn’t always that way.  It wasn’t always a desert.  About 10,000 years ago it looked like the grasslands of other parts of Africa today.  Then it changed and new research from the Horn of Africa shows it likely changed in a geological heartbeat.  It should be a warning to us all.

What the scientists found was that, far from shifting gradually from wet to dry, the climate in the Horn of Africa changed in perhaps as little as 100 to 200 years, incredibly (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Desmond Tutu: I’d not worship a God who is homophobic

Iconic retired archbishop Desmond Tutu denounces religions that discriminate against gays, declares he’d not worship a God who is homophobic.

The post Desmond Tutu: I’d not worship a God who is homophobic appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Regina Refuge #StopURdeportations

It’s been a year since a Regina Walmart illegally hired two foreign students, and triggered a drama with them confined to churches granting them sanctuary from the Harper Government’s punitive mean streak.

For Immediate Release June 18, 2013

One Year Anniversary: University Students Still in Hiding

This week marks one year since two University of Regina students went into hiding to avoid deportation. On June 18, 2012 Victoria Sharon Ordu and Favour Peace Amadi sought sanctuary in a local church appealing to federal Minister Jason Kenney to intervene in their case. Their honest mistake was to work at Walmart for (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Brazil Restructures Debt With African Countries

Brazil has announced that they will essentially “write off” about $90 million in debt from African nations. This is for helping the countries alleviate their huge levels of debt while helping create stronger economic ties between Brazil and their indebted partner nations.

“To maintain a special relationship with Africa is strategic for Brazil’s foreign policy.”

He added that most of the debt was accumulated in the 1970s and had been renegotiated before.

A spokesman for Brazil’s Foreign Ministry told Efe news agency that the debt restructuring for some countries would consist of more favourable interest rates and longer repayment (Read more…)

drive-by planet: Harper’s screwed up priorities

The Canadian Progressive | News & Analysis: Elizabeth May: Harper making Canada the North Korea of environmental law

By: Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive: Green Party leader Elizabeth May says Prime Minister Stephen Harper is turning Canada into a “rogue nation” and the “North Korea of environmental law”. The Saanich-Gulf Islands MP was reacting to Thursday’s shocking revelation that the Conservative government last week quietly withdrew from yet another important international body, the United Nations [...]

The post Elizabeth May: Harper making Canada the North Korea of environmental law appeared first on The Canadian Progressive | News & Analysis.

Yappa Ding Ding: Loliondo and the Shiek

The A marks Loliondo, a Maasai village in northern Tanzania.

I have written about the Maasai before, on this blog in The Wheat Field, and in African publications in the 90s. In the fight between pastoralists and farmers, I support the farmers, if only because poor countries need food sources. But in the fight between the pastoralists and the oil sheiks who want to turn Maasai land into the Disneyworld of Big Game Hunting, you have to support the Maasai.

At this very moment, the government of Tanzania is evicting Maasai from their land in northern Tanzania to please (Read more…)

Boreal Citizen: Women’s rights, religion and the population crisis

World population has increased from under 1-billion in 1800 to over 7-billion today–that’s just over 200 years. So that’s an extraordinary rate of population increase. If we saw that in any other species, we’d say, “Wow, that species is headed for a crash.” We don’t think that way when we see the human population numbers. We look at them and say, “Oh, wow–how successful we are.” –Richard Heinberg, in a speech at the 2012 Bioneers Conference

This week we decided to tackle the baby items: sorting them, cleaning them and selling them. During this process, I could not

. . . → Read More: Boreal Citizen: Women’s rights, religion and the population crisis

Dented Blue Mercedes: Doing something about anti-gay lobbying in Africa

If you’ve frequented any LGBT media at all, you’ve heard about Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill (often referred to as the “Kill the Gays Bill”), and possibly other anti-gay legislative bills that have been debated in African nations. Perhaps you’ve signed on to petitions directed to various governments to urge them to put pressure on those nations to drop this type of legislation.

And if you’ve been paying close attention, you’ll have seen that when governments do put the pressure on nations like Uganda, often the situation for LGBT Africans becomes worse, with political leaders vowing to enact extreme

. . . → Read More: Dented Blue Mercedes: Doing something about anti-gay lobbying in Africa

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Saturday reading.

- Hamida Ghafour writes about the effect of tax avoidance by the world’s wealthy on the lives of the rest of the population – particularly when coupled with austerity pushed based on a lack of revenue: The OECD is a fierce defender of free-market capitalism. But Saint-Amans says politicians are realizing that rules set up in the 1920s need reform because allowing corporations and the very rich to hang on to huge amounts of wealth is bad for the economy. “When you have a political crisis, I am sad to say it, you . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

The Canadian Progressive: Amnesty International: Sudan releases prisoner of conscience

by Amnesty International | Jan 20, 2013: Sudanese teacher and activist Jalila Khamis Koko, who was arrested by the National Security Service in March 2012, was released from detention after a court hearing today. Jalila was acquitted of all charges except those related to “spreading false news”, a vague provision of the criminal code often READ MORE

The Canadian Progressive: Canada-Benin FIPA: Stephen Harper’s new scramble for Africa’s wealth

“A FIPA is a treaty designed to protect and promote Canadian investment abroad through legally binding provisions,” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper With the new Canada-Benin Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA), Canada’s first FIPA in Sub-Saharan Africa, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has strengthened Canada’s foothold on the new scramble for Africa‘s wealth. First, the deal gives READ MORE

Canadian Progressive: World Forest Area Still on the Decline

World Forest Area Still on the Decline (via sustainablog) By Emily E. Adams Forests provide many important goods, such as timber and paper. They also supply essential services—for example, they filter water, control water runoff, protect soil, regulate climate, cycle and store nutrients, and provide habitat for countless animal species and space for recreation…

Art Threat: Friday Film Pick: Togetherness Supreme

Barack Obama was still just a U.S. Senator in 2006, but he was already spooling up for his presidential run. Seizing on his rising visibility and popularity, Obama made a mostly-business trip to Africa. The unprecedented buzz surrounding a senatorial trip culminated in his arrival in Kenya, the birthplace of his grandmother. And, as one does in Nairobi, Obama delivered his top card speech in Kibera, Kenya’s largest slum; he promised to combat AIDS, malnutrition and, of course, poverty. Then, as one does in Africa, he left. All that remained were his words, which for all their charm, fed

. . . → Read More: Art Threat: Friday Film Pick: Togetherness Supreme

The Disaffected Lib: Is China Grooming Africa for Half a Billion Surplus Chinese?

The theory, published in Asia Times, is that Chinese authorities have figured out their homeland can support a population of 700-million, max.   With current numbers at 1.2-billion, China has to jettison hundreds of millions of people.

“While a cottage industry of “China-in-Africa” experts has emerged over the past five years, on balance their explanations of why a magnetic like pull exists between the two continents is unsatisfactory. Certainly no one denies an array of state-to-state economic and geopolitical incentives recognized by both sides. After all, the simplified resources-for-infrastructure win-win is rather obvious.

“Yet and still neither

. . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Is China Grooming Africa for Half a Billion Surplus Chinese?

The Progressive Economics Forum: Mining in the NWT: Who Gets What?

In a recent blog post at Northern Public Affairs, Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox looks at the issue of ‘who gets what?’ when a mine is developed in the Northwest Territories (NWT).

Here is an excerpt from the post:


The resource extractor: they pay royalties (the NWT has the lowest royalties in the world), and costs of production, then sell the resource at a profit. A mine is “economic” when they can make a profit at a level that is worth it to them. The Government of Canada: gets all of the royalties; gets all the corporate taxes, gets income . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Mining in the NWT: Who Gets What?

The Progressive Economics Forum: Meilinomics II: Income from Within

The following is another excerpt from Dr. Ryan Meili’s new book, A Healthy Society: How a Focus on Health Can Revive Canadian Democracy, which fellow blogger Greg Fingas has been discussing.

The road to Tevele is red sand and sloppy in the rainy season. The pick- up truck bounces in and out of ruts as we head thirty-some kilometres from Massinga to this out-of-the-way rural community, located between the ocean and Mozambique’s national highway. I am travelling with Dr. Gerri Dickson, director of the Centre for Continuing Education in Health, and two teachers from that institution: Cipriano and

. . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Meilinomics II: Income from Within

bastard.logic: Provocation, Appropriation, and That Blackface Clitoridectomy Cake

Here’s an idea for truly provocative art. No more male artists, black or white, speaking for African women. No more ever-more-graphic ever-more-voyeuristic art on the suffering of African women. Stop using the female African body as raw material to be worked – unless you happen to live in one. Then, notice that African women are making their own work about their lives and struggles. Look. Listen. Learn.

Shailja Patel, ‘The missing ingredient in Sweden’s racist-misogynist cake’

h/t Blind Man With A Pistol

Related: T.F. Charlton & Ako Jacintho debate the meaning of the installation — on multiple levels;

. . . → Read More: bastard.logic: Provocation, Appropriation, and That Blackface Clitoridectomy Cake

Slap Upside The Head: Zimbabwean Senator Suggests “Sex Gadgets” To Curb Homosexuality

A Zimbabwean senator has recommended cutting back on prisoners’ food budget and providing “sex gadgets” instead as a strategy to reduce homosexuality from spreading throughout the country.

Speaking before a parliamentary committee this month, Ms. Sithembile Mlotshwa explained her, uh, logic: “Considering that some of the same-sex orientation—homosexuality—come from prisons and when those people are out they then spread that orientation, what measures are you putting in place to make sure that vice is stopped?”

“In other countries,” she continued, “they provide sex gadgets.”

“[The prisoners] can stay without food, but they want their sexual desires to be

. . . → Read More: Slap Upside The Head: Zimbabwean Senator Suggests “Sex Gadgets” To Curb Homosexuality

Art Threat: KONY 2012 and the mischievous media habits of slacktivists

Video still from Kony 2012.

I was swamped at work last week, when I took a little Twitter break to see what was going on in the world. My feed was bombarded with what appeared to be a video gone viral, called Kony 2012. Even celebrities like Rihanna, Taylor Swift, and Kim Kardshian, you know, the intellectual heavyweights, were endorsing the campaign to stop Kony.

Not knowing what a Kony was (something to do with ice cream? Who’d want to stop ice cream?), and not having time to look into it, I just threw up a Twitter update: @craigsilliphant

. . . → Read More: Art Threat: KONY 2012 and the mischievous media habits of slacktivists

Art Threat: Kony 2012: the photographer who shot the hipsters with a proud colonial mindset

Photograph by Glenna Gordon (detail).

By now you’ve heard of the Kony 2012 campaign, and I’ve already expended enough energy discussing it on Facebook to bring anything new and arts-related to the table.

However, the Washington Post has provided a different angle by interviewing Glenna Gordon, the photographer who shot the now infamous image of the founders of Invisible Children posing with weapons.

While I found it it baffling that three social media-savvy hipsters thought it was a good idea to pick up a couple of Kalashnikovs and a rocket-propelled grenade, I apparently didn’t give them enough credit.

. . . → Read More: Art Threat: Kony 2012: the photographer who shot the hipsters with a proud colonial mindset

Blevkog: Kony 2012

From Wikipedia: “Joseph Rao Kony (born 1961 in Odek, Uganda) is a Ugandan guerrilla group leader, head of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a group engaged in a violent campaign to establish theocratic government based on the Ten Commandments throughout Uganda. The LRA say that God has sent spirits to communicate this mission directly to [...]