Creative Commons License

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Notations From the Grid (M-End Edition): On the Reality of Our World

© Meddy Sale/World Bank
As part of our continued mission to bring our World to our properties, we hereby present the following for consideration:

In the aftermath of the 1994 genocide, the government of Rwanda established measures to address the impact of war and move toward national reconciliation. A decade of World Bank support for the demobilization and reintegration of Rwanda’s ex-combatants has enabled former combatants to overcome their fears and the communities’ mistrust in a bid to rejoin civilian life.
We are living in a time of disruptive technologies evolving at an exponential pace. How data is made to be convenient and credible plays an important role in shaping its future for the better.
© Dominic Chavez/International Finance Corporation
The World Bank and the Alibaba Group have been conducting joint research to examine how China has harnessed digital technologies to contribute to growth and expand employment opportunities through e-commerce development. This is what early findings show.
© Khasar Sandag/World Bank
“By 2050, nearly half of all the world’s youth will live in Africa. And another 40 percent in Asia. Will their education systems prepare the next generation to mitigate and adapt to the changing climate?”
Christopher Thomas – January 30
© World Bank
Get the bigger picture and immerse yourself in our long-form stories on ending extreme poverty worldwide.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Notations From the Grid (Weekly Edition): On Israel

As part of our commitment to help to change the conversation about our World, we hereby present the Alternative View to help with providing insights on our World as we support the work of Breaking the Silence as what is turning out to be quite an election season gathers steam in Israel with Former Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and Former Chief of Staff Benny Ganz join forces: 

I can't count the number of times I've heard from people that our tours have changed their lives. Each year we take thousands of people on tours of Hebron and the South Hebron Hills, and each tour always has one person, at least one, who has been deeply touched by the encounter with the contested reality of Israeli control over the occupied territories. Many of them also write about what they've seen, trying to somehow convey to others what's so hard to grasp in words. But recently, two journalists, Masha Gessen of The New Yorker, and Gideon Levy from Ha'aretz, attended our tours, and I think that the articles that emerged are the closest thing to the tour itself.

Even those who work overtime to suppress the reality in Hebron, can't ignore the writing of Masha Gessen, winner of the 2017 National Book Award. Gessen joined one of our tours of Hebron and described in depth what remains of one of the largest and most important cities in the West Bank. It is a highly recommended read, even if you've already been on our tour:
"You can recognize the houses in which Palestinians still live because they have cages-steel bars covered with fine chicken wire-on the windows, to protect the residents from stones thrown by settlers. When settlers squat in a house, they remove the cages. Unlike the Palestinians, they are here under the protection of hundreds of troops stationed at dozens of checkpoints."

Expanding the Limits of Jewish Sovereignty

Gideon Levy accompanied us on a tour that is still in its preparatory stages, and which depicts the history of the occupation from 1967 to date. Levy, who joined a tour with one of the founders of Breaking the Silence, Yehuda Shaul, returned with a fascinating article on the process that Israeli control over the occupied territories has undergone over the course of 51 years. He describes with gentle precision the transition from settlements to outposts, and from outposts to infrastructure, in order to prevent Palestinian territorial contiguity and to hide the price of decades of control over another nation from Israeli citizens. This is a must-read for anyone who seeks to understand how the occupation has become what it is on the ground today.
"Yehuda Shaul, 36, one of the founders of Breaking the Silence, a former Haredi and an ex-combat soldier, worked for about a year and a half planning the tour, writing the texts and preparing the maps, drawing on some 40 books about the settlements and other materials found while burrowing in archives. Shaul is a superb guide along the trails of the occupation – businesslike and brimming with knowledge, not given to sloganizing."

When the IDF Whitewashes the Occupation, the Right Wins

Last week I also wrote a piece for Haaretz on something that has been stewing for quite some time, and that ripened into an article when the new chief of staff, Aviv Kochavi, took office. For years the army has not only carried out the task of occupying Palestinian territories. It also takes pains to cooperate with supporters of the occupation by blurring and eliminating the violence necessary to preserve the occupation. I wrote, "The role of the army is not to hide from the public the fact that the mission it was sent to implement involves violence and the denial of permanent basic rights. Its role as a body sent to carry out missions on behalf of Israeli society is to report the truth and say - yes, that's the way it is. This is occupation and this is its price."

To read the full article » 

In addition, NPR has reintroduced a program that addresses the benefits of meeting people who are different from you. In the 32nd minute you can also hear an interview that the NPR team conducted with me, in which I tell about the experience that led me to join Breaking the Silence, and speak a bit about the possibility of creating change within Israeli society.

To listen to the full program »

This email is also an opportunity for me to thank you again, to thank everyone who contributed, attended our tours, and shared our testimonies. Without you we could not do what we do. Thank you.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Notations On Our World (Weekly Edition): On #ClimateChange

We decided to release this very telling retrospective from Michael Bloomberg as we were witness to transformation in Brazil, rollbacks in the United States and the continued challenges with weather Worldwide:

We close out this edition with this courtesy of the team at Atlantic Magazine:

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Notations From the Grid (Weekly Edition): On the Tech Scene

 2018 was a very disturbing year in many respects.   In our view, when a leading luminary makes his views known in such a way, all the so called "FANGS"  (Facebook, Apple, Google, etc.) must take notice:

Walt Mossberg (@waltmossberg) Tweeted:

1/ Some personal news:  I've decided to quit Facebook around the end of the year. I am doing this - after being on Facebook for nearly 12 years - because my own values and the policies and actions of Facebook have diverged to the point where I’m no longer comfortable there:

We hereby present this courtesy of the Washington Post on Privacy especially in light of the challenges of the past year : 

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Notations From the Grid (Weekly Edition): On the @POTUS Emergency Powers

As our team will be working to assess the emergency powers granted to the President of the United States, our team chose this to share some interesting perspective on the President's Emergency Powers:

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Notations From the Grid (New Year Edition): #RandomThoughts On Our World

2019 has begun in earnest!!

We hereby begin by sharing some thoughts & ideas as we look forward to our work here in our Property courtesy of the team at National Endowment for Democracy along with CityLab & one of our favorites, TED, with its' favorite talks of 2018:

Curator's Picks: Top Talks of 2018

Want to ponder some very big questions? Browse through TED curator Chris Anderson's latest playlist. Watch »
10 TED Talks • Total run time 2:23:51



Earlier this month, council members in Columbus, Ohio, approved $1 million for an unusual purpose: Starting in June 2019, the city will pilot a ride-hailing service to get expectant moms to their doctor’s appointments, grocery stores, and other daily essentials.
The “prenatal trip assistance” program will be small—lasting six months and serving 500 women—but it’s incredibly important. Franklin County has one of the highest rates of infant mortality in the U.S., with 150 infant deaths per year. Transportation is one strand in a web of reasons for this: Pregnant women who can’t find a ride to prenatal care visits are that much more likely to give birth preterm, the leading cause of infant death. Stress also plays a role, and unreliable transportation, among other conditions of poverty and race, can wear a person down.
So there were high hopes in 2016, when Columbus won a $50 million USDOT grant to use cutting-edge technology to improve the transportation system. The city committed as a focal point of its proposal to lift up low-income, pregnant women of color at highest risk for unhealthy pregnancies. But when I visited in late 2017, those promises had faded; there were no plans for a prenatal trip pilot, even as the city moved ahead on autonomous vehicle testing and other futuristic ideas.
My subsequent article sparked more conversation about whom urban technology is really for. And, after it was published, Columbus altered its DOT-approved project list to include a program for pregnant moms. So finally, next year, some women in Columbus will see a “smarter city” after all. Read my story today on CityLab: In Columbus, Expectant Moms Will Get On-Demand Rides to the Doctor
Laura Bliss

We Conclude W/this Perspective From the Peter Diamandis:

We forget how fast the world is changing today.
As we ring in the New Year, let’s take a brief look back 100 years ago to 1919, as a means to truly appreciate the extraordinary world we live in today.
First, the bad news:
  • World War I ended in 1919 with a total casualty count of 37 million.
  • The Spanish Flu finally ended as well, with a sum total of 500 million people infected (33% of Earth’s population!) and 50 million estimated deaths.
Proportional to the Earth’s population today, this would be the equivalent of a death-toll ranging between 200 - 350 million people. Absolutely devastating, and a reminder of how lucky we truly are today in the twenty-first century. 
On the positive side, while progress was glacial in speed, here’s everything I could find that would count as “Innovation in 1919”:
  • Women’s rights! The U.S. Congress approves the 19th Amendment.
  • The first passenger air service was offered between Paris and London.
  • UPS was founded as a company.
  • The U.S. Army completed its “first transcontinental motor Convoy expedition driving across the United States.” It took them 60 days!
  • The NC-4 Aircraft completed the 1st multi-stop flight across the Atlantic (19 days).
  • Raymond Orteig offered $25,000 for the first nonstop flight between New York and Paris.
What were the major technological inventions of 1919? There were two of them…
  1. Silica Gel was invented to keep humidity out of our packages; and,
  2. The Toaster (yup, that’s all I found on meaningful inventions).
In comparison (at least technologically) we have more achievements per hour today, than 1919 had in the entire year. We are truly living during the most extraordinary time ever.
So, how much difference can 100 years of progress make? A LOT.
AND, as we march toward the Singularity, it’s important to realize that the speed of change is accelerating… and every aspect of how we live our lives will change in the next decade.
In the next 10 years, those surfing on the tsunami of change (rather than getting crushed by it) will create more wealth than was created in the past century.
Every industry will be transformed… and how we raise our kids, run our companies and lead our nations will change as well.
You can be fearful of change, or you can realize it is happening and harness it.
For those prepared, exponential change will help us digitize, dematerialize, demonetize and democratize access to energy, transportation, education, health, knowledge and communications.
Technology will turn that which was once scare into abundance, over and over again.
So, as you charge into 2019, remember that “the best way to predict the future is to create it yourself.”
Warmest wishes and Happy New Year,
Peter H. Diamandis