I came to Evoke in large part because I enjoy seeing interesting ideas. The intersection between game design and other disciplines of social analysis and manipulation is fascinating. That includes the use of social networking software and social psychology to make more addictive games (for example, Farmville), the use of games to enhance marketing and customer participation (Foursquare), or using games to persuade people to spend more effort on otherwise unappealing or frustrating tasks (The… Continue
Added by Samuel Freilich on May 17, 2010 at 5:00am —
(Finishing a few missions before wrap-up.)The Barefoot College
in India is an interesting example of how to create synergy between indigenous knowledge and modern technology and ideas. Among other projects, they've been working on electrifying rural villages with solar power
Some key ideas they use in meeting this goal:
- For community improvement… Continue
Added by Samuel Freilich on May 16, 2010 at 4:53am —
Challenges to tackle:
- Slavery, human trafficking, and labor conditions; the future of work
- Political repression; fighting for freedoms and political power
- Climate change
Where to focus:
Who to encourage to play:
How to change the game:
- Less ripping off Heroes. That show isn't even well-written to begin with.
- Less rather…
Added by Samuel Freilich on May 8, 2010 at 6:55am —
Building and maintaining public trust is key if you want a coordinated disaster response effort. If people don't trust those responding to the disaster, they won't be cooperate, and may act in counter-productive ways. Without trust, coordination goes out the window.
The Nieman Guide to Covering Pandemics mentions a few interesting,… Continue
Added by Samuel Freilich on May 5, 2010 at 5:54am —
By that, I'm not asking whether the indigenous knowledge of today will be preserved decades into the future. Though that's an interesting question
in its own right.
But even given a radical reversal in the trend of communication and transportation costs, I don't see new groups becoming culturally isolated in the near future. Nor do I see the groups that are currently somewhat isolated remaining so.… Continue
Added by Samuel Freilich on April 28, 2010 at 5:30am —
I'd expect that Boston is actually likely to be a fairly resilient city. On a port, access to a (now relatively healthy) waterway. On major rail routes. Moderately walkable. Decent public transit. Fairly strong civil and medical services. Not located in an area that's geologically active. Some concerns about flooding, but otherwise little concern about storm-related disasters.
I couldn't find a centralized summary of Boston's plan for resilience, but there seem to be a large number of… Continue
Added by Samuel Freilich on April 21, 2010 at 10:48pm —
Probably one of the most dangerous crises faced by cities in the near future will be resource riots, where a shortage of food or fuel. The world saw some of this already, in the fuel and food price surge
leading up to the current economic collapse.
There are several sorts of information you'd want to keep track of in such an emergency:
1. Locations where roads are blocked, or where bus and train… Continue
Added by Samuel Freilich on April 16, 2010 at 4:46pm —
Here's a program to educate women in Darfur
, a region living under dictatorship, suffering from resource shortages, torn by cultural conflict and war. What became of the graduates of this program ten years later?
Does their knowledge of nutrition give them better-nourished families? Are their families healthier as a result? Does the resulting spare money and time give them more time to think about ways to… Continue
Added by Samuel Freilich on April 15, 2010 at 7:30pm —
It seems that charitable causes that attempt to help women fall into one or more of the following categories:
1. Give resources to women because women are disadvantaged in general ("affirmative action"). For example, see this running/walking based fitness program for women
, while they attempt to address a problem for women (isolation / depression / bad health), they don't argue that… Continue
Added by Samuel Freilich on April 15, 2010 at 5:51pm —
Browsing the WomenWatch
feed, I came across an article on the ongoing battle over child marriage in Yemen
, and remembered that I'd seen some excellent commentary
on that story recently. The post notes that child marriage is as much motivated by economic factors as… Continue
Added by Samuel Freilich on April 12, 2010 at 7:29pm —
Well, I looked into Kickstarter and I've been active with Kiva, and there's not much in the way of community currency movements in my area. I went looking for similar ventures and found a few interesting things.
First, there's Microfundo
, which applies the Kickstarter model of microfunding to music specifically. So does SellaBand
uses a… Continue
Added by Samuel Freilich on April 8, 2010 at 3:30am —
A key idea: The greatest paradox of modern society is the failure of labor-saving technology to free human beings from work.
Agent Ezra Ho has done an excellent job
blogging about The Zeitgeist Movement. Their idea is to abolish money by effectively ridding the world of scarcity
, having resource-management done by AI as opposed to distributed… Continue
Added by Samuel Freilich on April 3, 2010 at 6:54am —
So, quite a bit to comment on in the past few chapters: Citizen X turns out to be less ideological and more like a more anarchistic version of Reddit
, with some members (including our would-be infiltrator, Cipher) still interested in the potential for anonymous citizen journalism. Cipher runs into the team in London and finds he's got an in with Eureka, who's really bad at secrecy (or maybe just has a thing for shaggy guys with beards). Interesting, given… Continue
Added by Samuel Freilich on April 1, 2010 at 7:31am —
Not far from where I live, the Charles River flows between Cambridge and Boston, out into Boston Harbor. Here's an excellent example
of a water-system greatly affected by human intervention.
The Greater Boston Area currently gets several benefits out of the Charles River Basin:
- Economic / recreational, the river basin is a popular center for sailing, the river has fish again, swimming is again possible on parts of the…
Added by Samuel Freilich on April 1, 2010 at 2:17am —
Water Day 2020 was a day of recreation worldwide as billions gathered at rivers, lakes, beaches, and oases. Public celebrations of all sorts, with speeches and ceremony honoring the efforts of local water stewards and scientists. It's amazing to see people swimming in bodies of water expected to dry up years ago, or those considered unfit for humans last decade. Some are taking swimming lessons for the first time due to the occasion, those more experienced are lining up for races or other… Continue
Added by Samuel Freilich on March 31, 2010 at 10:39pm —
The good news about water scarcity is that water isn't that scarce. Human use of water systems has far more to do with the water cycle and ecosystems than the use of non-renewable energy resources. Yes, there are ways to use energy to make marginal water systems more useful, and adding technology to retrieve water more easily and avoid dying of ch***ra makes for a good investment. But for the most part it's about having access to healthy water systems at all. The problem is mostly one of… Continue
Added by Samuel Freilich on March 31, 2010 at 5:14am —
Powering any device with a single source of energy will be even more of a losing proposition in the future than it is now. Rather, power grids should be powered by renewable energy best suited to local conditions, and the power should be distributed to devices. Not a very exciting answer. But it's simply the truth that there's very little overlap between "objects best-suited to work as consumer electronics" and "objects best-suited to generate electricity from natural sources of power". Sure,… Continue
Added by Samuel Freilich on March 24, 2010 at 6:36am —
Of all the major problems the world faces in the next decade, power seems to be the one least likely to be solved by radical new technology. Note that this is not a bad thing. We have great technologies for generating power from wind, water, and sunlight, with potential for significant (but incremental) technological improvement. More complex power sources, too: Geothermal heat, salinity gradients, nuclear fission (including fast breeder reactors and so on), maybe fusion. But seriously, if… Continue
Added by Samuel Freilich on March 23, 2010 at 5:20am —
While doing the Quest for this week, I chose Tokyo for the "place I've been" to discuss. What's the biggest problem Tokyo faces? Power, I figured. I knew Japan imported almost all of their oil, and that Tokyo was a densely-populated city that uses a lot of electricity. I also knew that Japan's per capita energy consumption was much lower than that of the US. But it occurred to me that might be the wrong measure, so I set out to do a bit of research.
I did some back-of-the-envelope… Continue
Added by Samuel Freilich on March 22, 2010 at 5:34am —
One agent is trying to organize a project to pick out the best submissions
for past missions. If you think this is an interesting idea and you'd be willing to help, comment to that effect on that discussion. (The organizer also wants to pick out worse posts, which I care less about, since I don't expect those with the worst posts care if other people think less of them on account of that.)
Added by Samuel Freilich on March 20, 2010 at 5:00am —