Confession: I do not like traffic jams at all…one thing that’s been making it bearable for me is listening to Ted Talks and other podcasts on the Ipod (o.k, ok, i watch abit at stop lights and such). Thing is, i got a weird, albeit puzzled look from another motorist at a stop light because i was clapping my hands. An unintended consequence of watching inspiring ted talks in public places.
The video I was applauding to was that of Zeray Alemseged, specifically where he said
A positive African Attitude towards Africa is the Key
2 years ago i attended Wired Next fest in Chicago and blogged bits of it. I skipped last year’s fest because most of the exhibitions were just about the same as what i had already seen. This year it appears there is more new stuff, thus I am kicking myself for not going to LA. Instead i will look back at my old next fest posts and see what’s new this year. Thankfully the nextfest site has lots of info (doesn’t substitute for actually being there, believe me), plus there is bound to be coverage on science channel and the many blogs around the web.
Renewable energy tech
Then: GE Solar Exhibit
“The Sphelar solar cell can absorb sunlight coming from any angle, converting even indirect and reflected light into electricity â?? a marked improvement over traditional flat photovoltaic technology.”
Then: PKD – Phillip K Dick project “Do androids dream of electric sheep”
Now: Albert Hubo The first ever walking robot with an expressive face (and iconic hairstyle).
They’ve got lots of robots this year…including one that can play chess.
*lots of other great stuff, but a full comparison would make this post too long for you ADD types, plus i’ve got to catch some zzz’s then be back to write a post for you…’Where are the African futurists?’ hint…right around the web!
For those in the LA area its not too late to attend, you can get tickets for friday 14th, saturday 15th and sunday 16th. Friday is ‘learning day’ perfect for taking your children. Borrow nephews and nieces so you can see them get all wide-eyed with wonder and jaws dropping at the stuff they will see, or maybe that just might be your reaction to Next Fest. Feel free to come back to this post, describe, gloat and make me green with envy.
Via Ex Girlfriend Texted Hey 2007/08/070808211548.htm”>Science Daily
A study done by ICIPE (International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology) Nairobi shows that Tilapia in ponds significantly controls malaria causing anopheles mosquitoes.
After 15 weeks the fish reduced both Anopheles gambiae s.l. and Anopheles funestus, the region’s primary malaria vectors, by over 94 percent. The fish also decimated three quarters of the culicine mosquito population.
The findings present a win-win situation for Kenyans, who can use the fish to limit mosquito populations and gain food and income from them too. “O. niloticus fish were so effective in reducing immature mosquito populations that there is likely to be a noticeable effect on the adult mosquito population in the area,” Howard says. This control method is apparently sustainable, as the fish breed and provide a continuous population.
Basically if you’ve got a pond put some Tilapia in there to eat the mosquitoes. Good news, though stagnant pools of water are still breeding grounds… still an interesting study and a great suggestion for controlling malaria.
Disclaimer: Temporary departure from my typical topics, just had to get this out. will be back to the other semi serious stuff after this.
Comics at a bus stop.From Kenya no less!
From BBC: Humphrey Barasa has been drawing satirical cartoons at a bus stop along Jogoo Road for the past 6 years. I had never heard of him till today, i would love to see his work. Would be cool to give him a camera phone and have him post them to a blog if he doesn’t mind… Sort of like Accra Daily Photo blog.
Depending on your point of view, Camillo Villegas may be cool or uncool. For me, he belongs in the cool category just for this: [30 seconds]
Ninja Warrior on G4 channel. Hilarious, intriguing and just plain incredible tv!
Goodness gracious i finally watched Blades of Glory. If you enjoyed Zoolander, this movie is a must see.
“hey MacElroy, was that your routine or a performance of Cirque du so’lame?” – Chaz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell)
According to a Helio ad insert in Wired mag ‘The mobile User’s Guide to Social Etiquette’.
- The “Cool” emoticon with the sunglasses, its the virtual equivalent of the fanny pack. – totally uncool.
Via boing boing: The flowchart of Gangsta rap
I have a love hate relationship with rap, including the song ‘party like a rockstar‘. If its a cross between crunk and rock, would that make it a crock? – 1:30 mark is a bit funny though.
Blogs that suck all your content and masquerade it as theirs… very annoying. And bogus trackbacks to sites set up for ads. They typically do not have a contact form. Not nice.
Lighting Africa (LA) is a joint World Bank (IBRD) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) initiative aimed at developing the market for off-grid lighting in Africa and providing poor households and small businesses with access to modern, clean and affordable lighting products.
The grant competition is open to a variety of organizations, from entrepreneurs, LED suppliers and NGO’s. Click here for more information about the grant competition and here for the forum where you can ask questions about the grants process; It is also a B2B portal of sorts.
Via Core 77
Pardon the light posting…my attention has been diverted a bit to a couple of gigs that are keeping me away from the blog. While i get my schedule rearranged and all that good stuff…Please head on over to
A ’10 questions’ interview of Steve ‘Ntwiga’ and Afrigadget team at the Sietch.
Subscribe to the Global Voices podcasts
TIDE (Technology, Innovation, Design
and Everything)- Innovation Series Event *this Saturday September 1st,
10-12pm at Grand Regency. The guest speaker will be Joseph Mucheru, Google
Kenya CEO. The entrance charge is Kshs.1000. This talk is open to all
persons and is not a technology only event, it will focus on innovation in
Africa from a business and entrepreneur point of view.
Last but not least, check out the 5 dollar solar thermal water heater from Instructables (Requires modification).
I almost forgot…you have got to watch Vusi Mahlasela. From Ted Blog
AOB – Agony is: finding your web host’s site has been hacked into. so if the blog is not reachable, i have a backup, i am keeping my fingers crossed that it gets sorted soon.
From Sunday morning cartoon Timon and Pumbaa.
Via Leonardo Energy,
The Wind Turbine buyers guide [PDF]: “The article discusses small wind system components, wind turbine basics, and understanding the ratings. It also shows photos of the small wind turbines and lists several specifications for each.”
… providing financial support, capacity building and technical assistance to energy SMEs in developing countries. Using funding from the Russian Government, GVEP intends to set up two Regional Funds in West and East Africa to build local energy supply chains and grow economic development from the bottom up.
The list of other organizations in Africa receiving grants from Europe aid can be found here. [PDF]. Some of the organizations in Kenya on the list include:
Kenya Arid Land Development Focus – Renewable energy in Wajir
Kenya Tana and Athi rivers Development Authority – Community based mini hydropower development in upper tana river basin
Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) – Up scaling the smaller biogas Plants
“The Greek Orthodox Church in Cyprus has announced plans to invest $234m (Â£115m) in solar energy. Archbishop Chrysostomos II said the church would build a factory that would make photo-voltaic panels to capture the sun’s energy.” – Now that is a faith based initiative i could get behind.
Fun from The Daily show with Jon Stewart: An awesome lampoon of the Cape Wind project in Nantucket. Big wigs don’t want it because it will presumably ruin their long range view from their mansions.
Last week i happened to catch a great report on NPR about Latin American immigrants preferring to move to Spain instead of the US. Why? Because…
Experts say one of the main reasons is the emergence of an entire industry of financial services catering to immigrants.
Ecuadorians are the biggest group of Latin Americans in Spain. And in Madrid and Barcelona, there are shops where they can pay for appliances and have them delivered to an address in Ecuador. One company is test-marketing ATMs that allow users to pay for grocery purchases, medical treatment or cell phones in Ecuador.
Lucia Jimenez recently visited a branch of Mundocredit, an immigrant bank set up by one of Spain’s largest banks. It offers no-commission money transfers and the option of getting a mortgage in Spain for a home in Latin America.
Jimenez said that she is thinking about getting life insurance that she can eventually take back to her native country, Paraguay.
I found this very instructive to Diaspora because remittances to developing countries are constituting a growing percentage of GDP, as evidenced by figures from around the world. Specifically about kenya, from Next billion, some stats
Kenyans in the diaspora are contributing an equivalent of 3.8 per cent of national income through remittances.
In the year 2004, for instance, Kenyans living and working abroad remitted about Ksh35 billion ($464 million), which overshadows the net foreign direct investment (FDI) of Ksh3.6 billion ($50.4 million), which accounted for 0.41 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product.
Point is, there is an opportunity to cater for immigrants in the financial services like the Spanish government is doing for the Ecuadorian immigrants. Its a powerful incentive to bank with a specific bank over another if a line of credit specifically for investment in one’s home country, and portable life insurance is available. There are myriad financial products for sending money but i am not aware of similar products for purchase of homes, cars etc in one’s home country. I have heard of people accessing the equity in their houses and using that to purchase homes in Kenya. I am not a finance wonk, but would appreciate input from those in the know.
As noted by KP, Mama Mikes is running a campaign where you send airtime for $2.49 to Celtel, Safaricom and Telkom Wireless too. You can also pay for an electricity bill right on the website. It cost $9.99 – Decent price in my opinion.
If you aren’t checking mzalendo.com for information regarding your constituency, i am tempted to call you a bootleg Kenyan. I am just kidding of course, but seriously, there is lots of information there to stay informed even if you are miles away.
The Kenya Community Abroad issued a press release regarding the issue of Dual Citizenship and absentee voting, which you can read more about here. The world as we know (sorry to extend the much used cliche’) is increasingly flat. Dual citizenship and absentee voting IMO would be beneficial if not integral to Kenya. The inflow of remittance shouldn’t be the only welcome development, civic participation should be too. Mid last year I do recall Kalonzo Musyoka saying that if he were to become president of Kenya, that he would pass a presidential decree to allow for Dual citizenship. He even joked that if the Artur’s had Kenyan passports in addition to their Armenian ones, then really, isn’t it about time Kenyans got dual citizenship?
MUSIC, BOOKS AND ART.
There are still concerts happening around the US by African musicians, you can check if there is one near your city here. Ladysmith Black Mambazo is touring in September and Hugh Masekela’s remaining dates are:
Aug 31 2007 Tanglewood Festival, Lennox, Massachusetts
Sep 1 2007 Planet Arlington Festival, Arlington, Virginia
Sep 2 2007 African Festival of the Arts, Chicago, Illinois
Chris Abani, whose TED Talk is posted and highlighted by Hash, has several upcoming events in NY, Chicago, Vegas, DC, Minneapolis, Vermont, Miami etc. Check here if there is an event near you. I am hoping to read one of his books before i go for one of his events. His talk was very powerful. I recall just being transfixed by him when i listened to him in Arusha and again online. Particularly the part where he says that we as Africans need to explore what it really means to be African. I am simplifying a bit, but what i got from his talk is that we Africans also need to read our own literature in our exploration of who we are. I recall a post by David Seruyange about how some, if not most of us are mashups (David Seruyange has moved websites btw, so if you are a fan of his writing like I am, this is his new home), there is so much competing for our attention, but i think in order to be fully African (if there is such a thing) African arts, books and music help reconnect your being to that which is immutably you.
Move over Lion King! The Invincible Lions are the new game in town (scratch that…jungle).
Some great animations from Africa, click here for a post by Mweshi, highlighting some cool ones in the pipeline. I can’t wait to see these!