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Poverty P*rn: a reflection of deeper issues

Last Friday I had the opportunity to share a panel discussion on “Designing New Narratives: from poverty porn to agency” with Leah Chung, Maharam Fellow and RISD student, and Victor Dzidzienyo, Associate Dean of the College of Engineering Architecture and Computer Sciences at Howard University.

Corporate Narratives, ICTs, and Development

original image courtesyOnce upon a time, a very long time ago, before even Google or mobile phones and long before Facebook, there was just the Internet.

In politics as in development, success is fleetingly fleeting

This blog has frequently pointed out that economic growth successes don’t last — rapid growth is fleeting.  
After last night’s election, we are reminded that political success doesn’t last either. An action in one direction is followed by an equal and opposite reaction in the other.

Red states & Blue cities: Divided we’ll endure anyway


Happy election day! Aid Watch is unable to maintain any pretense of doing its normal business in the midst of all the excitement. Please vote early and often for the candidate of your choice, as long as they passed 8th grade science.
This cool 3-D map shows the Red – Blue split in a way that captures the large Democratic vote in large urban areas. Thanks a lot, cool mapmaker, now we seem even more divided.

The Coffee Party Manifesto

The Coffee Party is alarmed that our discourse has been hijacked by Partys named after other Beverages. The Coffee Party is for all the reasonable people, which happens to be correlated with drinking good coffee.
Here is our manifesto:

Eyes Wide Shut: Philanthropy Action on the “Rescheduled” Sachs vs. Clemens/Demombynes debate


Tim Ogden at Philanthropy Action issues a petition for the “rescheduled” (quotes in original) Sachs vs. Clemens/Demombynes debate on evaluating Millennium Villages, which was supposed to happen last Wednesday, to be indeed, well, rescheduled.

Physics Envy in Development (even worse than in Finance!)

Andrew Lo and Mark Mueller at MIT have a paper called “WARNING: Physics Envy May Be Hazardous to Your Wealth,” also available as a video.  The takeaway, which is equally relevant to Development as to Finance (the actual topic of the talk),  is that inability to recognize radical UNCERTAINTY is what leads to excessive confidence in mathematical models of reality, and then on to bad policy and prediction. 

Imagine how much harder physics would be if electrons had feelings! (R. Feynman)

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