According to World Bank estimates, some $317 billion in remittances were sent to developing countries in 2009. This money is often a vital income-stream for recipients. But according to a new policy note from the World Bank’s Payment Systems Development Group, a combination of fees and currency exchange spreads took a significant chunk out of this money. In the 3rd quarter of 2009, the global average total cost for sending migrant remittances was 9.4 percent.

What’s more, some of the poorest countries face some of the highest average costs. One of the most telling statistics from the report: Mexico alone has more remittance collection points than the entire continent of Africa. The most recent data show that Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has the highest average costs of any region of the world (Figure 3 below). (More detailed data can be accessed on the Remittance Prices website.)

Ben Cato Clough and Luke Upchurch's "When Copyright Goes Bad" (from Consumers International) is a great, 15-minute mini-documentary on what copyright can do, what it is doing, and what it needs to stop doing. Appearances by Fred Von Lohmann - Electronic Frontier Foundation; Michael Geist - University of Ottawa Law School; Jim Killock - Open Rights Group; and Hank Shocklee - Co-founder of Public Enemy.

The Boomers' adolescent lives were transformed by the auto, which gave kids the mobility to get away from their parents' oversight -- the emblem of this transformation being the teen couple screwing in the back seat at a drive-in (protected from unwanted pregnancy by the Pill). This is often cited as an example of the wild directions in which the Law of Unintended Consequences can hare off.

"Child pornography is great," the speaker at the podium declared enthusiastically. "It is great because politicians understand child pornography. By playing that card, we can get them to act, and start blocking sites. And once they have done that, we can get them to start blocking file sharing sites".

Rick Webb: "The telephone was an aberration in human development. It was a 70 year or so period where for some reason humans decided it was socially acceptable to ring a loud bell in someone else's life and they were expected to come running, like dogs. This was the equivalent of thinking it was okay to walk into someone's living room and start shouting."


Concern Worldwide has pioneered the use of M-PESA for emergency cash transfers in Kenya and this study highlights Concern’s experience, which shows that despite initial software and logistical challenges, mobile phone technology offers a unique and empowering approach to efficiently deliver. In addition, the partnership between Concern and Safaricom demonstrates that the private sector has significant and unique abilities to enhance the effectiveness of emergency response, and more importantly they can do so while maintaining their core business principles.

The post by Erik Hersman raises issues about open source software and tools created in Africa and ICT for Development (ICT4D). In the post Erik contends that although it is great that these tools are being used for development oriented Non Profit work, the technology (tools and software) themselves should be separated and not classified as ICT4D tools.

What is ICT4D (ICT for Development)? It’s usually defined as the application of technology in third world countries, not as technology. In other words, a technology platform or tool is not ICT4D, though it is used by ICT4D practitioners to do their work.

As you may (or may not know), Erik Hersman is one of the main people behind Ushahidi, a powerful tool which has been used to aid crisis management in several instances including Haiti (and initially in Kenya during election violence there).

The FCC has given Hollywood permission to activate the "Selective Output Control" technologies in your set-top box. These are hidden flags that allow the MPAA to deactivate parts of your home theater depending on what you're watching. And it sucks. As Dan Gillmor notes, "Fans of old TV science fiction will remember the Outer Limits. Given Hollywood's victory today at the FCC -- they'll be able to reach over the lines and disable functions on your TV -- the intro to the show takes on modern relevance."

The FCC says that they're doing this because they believe that if they do so, the MPAA will start releasing first-run movies (the ones that are still in theaters) for TV. They say that Hollywood won't make these movies available unless they get Selectable Output Control because SOC will stop piracy.

This is ridiculous.

Crunching the numbers on the pay-what-you-like Humble Indie Bundle package, the Wolfire people noticed a curious thing: Linux users contribute twice as much as Windows users. "So far, the average Mac user is donating 40% more, and the average Linux user is donating 100% more!" I've got a half-formed theory in my head that living in a world where people are generous and share makes you generous and sharing, while living in a world where people are stingy and proprietary makes you stingy and proprietary. This would be why Econ students play the Ultimatum Game more cruelly than civilians.

"What do you want to eat?" asked Colicchio of the audience. "If you are what you eat, we're going to turn into a bunch of chemicals and overly processed nonsense. Go out and find your local farmer, support your local farmer, and just eat something that's better for you. You'll be better for it and actually what you're going to do again is create a lot of local jobs."

Tags like the names of people and places, actions that need to be taken or locations where things have occurred. It’s is an open service that we host on our servers, meaning anyone can use it in their applications. It will work with Word Press, Drupal, Frontline SMS, other aggregators like Managing News and more.

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