Humanitarian Technology

By Ryan Bank | What Ryan Bank is reading, often about Emerging Technology, Social Data, Disaster Response or Global Health.

Let’s Make Bitcoin The Biggest Humanitarian Tool The World Has Ever Seen

<b>Editor’s Note:</b> <i>Lorelei Kelly is Research Fellow and Smart Congress policy lead with the Open Technology Institute at the New America Foundation. She is based at The X-Lab. Matthew McKibbin, is a bitcoin enthusiast and industrial hygiene specialist at George Washington University.</i><p>News junkies of the …

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Predicts A Long List Of Breakthroughs In Global Health And Development By 2030

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Worldwide child deaths will be halved over the next 15 years, polio, guinea worm and river blindness will be eradicated, and there will be a single-dose cure for malaria.<p>The predictions appear in the annual letter from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, chaired by the …

Public Health

Bill and Melinda Gates want to fix banking

Bill and Melinda Gates have taken on some of the world’s messiest problems, funding projects to improve the design of toilets and condoms and even create urine-powered fuel cells. Now, in their annual letter published today, they’re outlining ambitions to tackle another messy sector: banking.<p>The …

Banking

Google is teaming up with environmental groups to help fight illegal fishing

Google will team up with SkyTruth, a digital mapping organization, and Oceana, a marine advocacy group, in an initiative to fight illegal fishing.<p>They're planning to create an interactive tool called Global Fishing Watch, which will gather fishing data using boats' Automatic Identification System. …

Facebook Adds Emergency Check-In Feature for Natural Disasters

Facebook will now prompt users to confirm if they're okay during natural disasters and emergencies.<p>In 2011, when a deadly tsunami set off 30-foot tidal waves that crashed into the shores of Japan, flooding entire cities and damaging nuclear power plants, Facebook became an instrumental tool in …

Facebook

The Diseaseome Could Take Medicine Beyond the Genome — NOVA Next

When scientists first published the initial results of the human genome in 2001, we seemed to be on the precipice of a revolution in medicine. …

CyArk is Digitally Documenting World Heritage Sites in 3D

CyArk, a nonprofit organization that’s setting out to create a digital archive of the world’s heritage sites, has gained a valuable ally in the form of Microsoft.<p>Microsoft has partnered with CyArk to build an all-new online portal to showcase the planet’s treasures. CyArk is looking to digitally …

Microsoft

A Wind Turbine Inside A Floating Blimp Can Bring Power Anywhere

Designed to rise 1,000 feet in the air and deliver electricity to the ground, the Buoyant Airborne Turbine is a blimp on a mission.<p>Not all wind turbines are alike. While the great majority are large steel towers fixed to the ground, a few are shaped like gliders, kites, and blimps, and move around …

Is the Internet Making Us More Democratic?

<i>Matthew Carpenter-Arévalo is a peer at #DemocraciaEnRed, a Latin America-based movement to promote the evolution of democracy through modern tools.</i><p>While discontent rooted in the offline world continues to be the source of protests worldwide, few can argue that the lowered cost of communication …

Traditional Media

Turkey blocks Google DNS and Twitter's IP addresses in attempt to further censor Twitter

The Turkish Government blocked Twitter a few days ago after it was used to expose alleged government corruption. Turkish residents began using Google’s public DNS service to circumvent the block.<p>Today, a publication based in Turkey is reporting that the Turkish government has also blocked Google’s …

Censorship

Surreal shot of African migrants looking for a cell signal wins World Press Photo of the Year

World Press Photo has awarded its illustrious Photo of the Year award to American photographer John Stanmeyer for his surreal image of African migrants in Djibouti searching for cell signals from neighboring Somalia. It's a scene that quite literally couldn't have happened just a few years ago; a …

Photography

Data Viz: Who Feeds The World’s Hungry?

An interactive graphic shows that international food aid is one of America’s specialties.<p>When you live in a country like the U.S., where political leaders can’t even agree to continue feeding their own constituents, it’s easy to forget that one in eight people around the world will go to sleep …

These Are The States That Won’t Be Ready For Future Climate Disasters

Some states are planning for big weather events. Some are not. If you live in Delaware, watch out.<p>How ready is your state for climate change? Take a look at this map to find out. It shows how each state’s disaster planning strategy–a.k.a. “State Hazard Mitigation Plan”–treats risks from global …

Esri Enables Federal Agencies To Open GIS Mapping Data To The Public

A debate in the technology world that’s been simmering for years, about whether mapping vendor Esri will allow public geographic information systems (GIS) to access government customers’ data, finally has an answer: The mapping software giant will take an unprecedented step, enabling thousands of …

GIS

Five unusual ways in which Indians use mobile phones

<b>The mobile phone in India has many uses other than making calls and sending messages. For hundreds of millions of people, a mobile phone is sometimes the only piece of technology in their homes. This has led to unique uses for the phone in the country - the world's fastest growing market for mobile</b> …

Silicon Valley’s Next Big Goal: Fixing Our Broken Food System

A raft of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists made their money in tech, and now want to do something with an even longer-lasting impact<p>At ali Partovi’s Partovi Porktacular, the assembled tech-and food-world luminaries, dressed in their best jeans, nibble on tortellini stuffed with locally foraged …

Silicon Valley

At Sochi Olympics, Crowdsourced OpenStreetMap Trounces Google Maps

If you're looking for detailed maps of the Olympic sites around Sochi, Google maps may not be your best bet. OpenStreetMap, the crowdsourced …

Maps

If Twitter isn’t the most valuable data source around, it’s at least the most flexible

Advertisement<p>1 Comment<p>Credit: Pond 5/Cienpies<p>The amazing thing about Twitter (s twtr) is how fast its day-to-day users became the group that<p>stands to …

Bill Gates says the world is 'better than it's ever been' but aid must continue

Bill Gates published his annual letter from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation this week, focused on debunking three myths that the ex-Microsoft boss says are blocking progress for the poor across the world. In it, Gates says that although many people think "the world is getting worse," it's …

Philanthropy

This Apple iWatch Concept Design Is Simply Incredible

Everyone's hearts go aflutter at iWatch rumors, the supposed wearable wrist computer that Apple could launch as early as this year.<p>A designer named Todd Hamilton took a stab not only at what the still-speculative watch might look like, but how it might actually work to make calls. Check it …

Apple

This $50 Box Will Cover Your Online Tracks—If You Don't Mind Waiting Around

The Safeplug box plugs into your router and reroutes its traffic through Tor, helping users escape detection. But be warned, it takes some time.<p><b>The way most of us surf the web now</b>, traffic takes a pretty direct route. The request you make for a website goes directly from your computer to a server …

Cybersecurity

Scientists want to turn smartphones into earthquake sensors

For years, scientists have struggled to collect accurate real-time data on earthquakes, but a new article published today in the <i>Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America</i> may have found a better tool for the job, using the same accelerometers found in most modern smartphones. The article …

Earthquakes

5 Ways Cities Are Using Big Data

New York City released more than 200 high-value data sets to the public on Monday — a way, in part, to provide more content for open-sourced mapping projects like OpenStreetMap.<p>It's one of the many releases since the Local Law 11 of 2012 passed in February, which calls for more transparency of the …

Nate Silver Predicts That You, Too, Can Be A Data Master

The Web’s greatest prognosticator believes that you–yes, you–can learn to be data literate, if you’re willing to get your hands a little dirty.<p>Everybody has a crush on Nate Silver.<p>The statistician-author-blogger calls elections and awards with titillating accuracy–and from what he’s said before, …

Nate Silver

Social Media Aids Humanitarian Work in Syria

There's no obvious solution to the ongoing civil war in Syria that has an estimated death toll of 100,000 civilians and displaced more than 1 million citizens since 2011. In a country rampant with sectarianism, more than 1200 rebel groups are fighting against the ruling government of President …

The Power of Teaching Girls to Code

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that by 2020, there will be 1.4 million jobs in computer science. But American universities are on track to …

Google tries to fuel innovation outside of Silicon Valley with new Tech Hub network

Advertisement<p>6 Comments<p>Google(s goog) is looking to cultivate innovation in some of the more obscure tech markets in the North America. It announced …

Commercial drone market stirs excitement (and worry)

The budding civilian drone market is raising concerns over safety, regulation and privacy.<p>Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are no longer confined to the battlefield; soon enough, a civilian market will emerge and share the same airspace with manned commercial aircraft. Remotely operated …

Drones