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Escaping the poverty trap: modeling the interplay between economic growth and the ecology of infectious disease

The dynamics of economies and infectious disease are inexorably linked: economic well-being influences health (sanitation, nutrition, treatment capacity, etc.) and health influences economic well-being (labor productivity lost to sickness and disease). Often societies are locked into ``poverty traps'' of poor health and poor economy. Here, using a simplified coupled disease-economic model with endogenous capital growth we demonstrate the formation of poverty traps, as well as ways to escape them. We suggest two possible mechanisms of escape both motivated by empirical data: one, through an influx of capital (development aid), and another through changing the percentage of GDP spent on healthcare. We find that a large influx of capital is successful in escaping the poverty trap, but increasing health spending alone is not. Our results demonstrate that escape from a poverty trap may be possible, and carry important policy implications in the world-wide distribution of aid and within-country healthcare spending.

 

Escaping the poverty trap: modeling the interplay between economic growth and the ecology of infectious disease
Georg M. Goerg, Oscar Patterson-Lomba, Laurent Hébert-Dufresne, Benjamin M. Althouse

http://arxiv.org/abs/1311.4079


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Biotech, farmer associations key for climate adaptation - panel - Reuters AlertNet (blog)

Biotech, farmer associations key for climate adaptation - panel - Reuters AlertNet (blog) | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
Biotech, farmer associations key for climate adaptation - panel Reuters AlertNet (blog) LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - An increasingly extreme climate is presenting new challenges to farmers across the world, and biotechnology and greater...
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The potential for genetically modified crops and relation to climate change - which recently helped drive Monsanto to acquire The Climate Corporation  is once again in the headlines. At the recent Iowa discussion, five farmers from Malawi, India, Portugal, Argentina and Kenya said they were strong believers in using biotech crops to survive and thrive in the face of a changing climate, and said that farmers needed to share ideas and help each other improve farming techniques.  Trust.org does a great job in summarizing the ideas discussed at the event. Worth reading.

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WiSee

WiSee | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

WiSee is a novel interaction interface that leverages ongoing wireless transmissions in the environment (e.g., WiFi) to enable whole-home sensing and recognition of human gestures. Since wireless signals do not require line-of-sight and can traverse through walls, WiSee can enable whole-home gesture recognition using few wireless sources (e.g., a Wi-Fi router and a few mobile devices in the living room).

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WiSee has been developed by researchers at University of Washington and promises to bring a sense of awareness using wifi to buildings and environments. Very interesting indeed. Click on logo or title to learn more.

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GIS and PR: Essential tools for implementing development programs |

GIS and PR: Essential tools for implementing development programs | | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
Research based implementation of development programs is mainly assisted with Geographic Information System (GIS) and disseminated through Public Relations (PR).

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Ernesto Sirolli: Want to help someone? Shut up and listen! | Video on TED.com

TED Talks When most well-intentioned aid workers hear of a problem they think they can fix, they go to work. This, Ernesto Sirolli suggests, is naïve. Worth watching.


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Cities: Drivers of Sustainable Human Development & Prosperity

Cities: Drivers of Sustainable Human Development & Prosperity | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

As we plan for the future of our planet, it is imperative that we consider the effects of development on both the environment and human populations. A city is only truly sustainable if it uses natural resources efficiently while still fully meeting the needs of its inhabitants and a decent standard of living.

Recently, the UN Human Settlements Program (UN-HABITAT) launched its “State of the World’s Cities Report 2012/2013” which addresses the prosperity of cities. According to the report, the first step to achieving prosperity is to define the goal: What does prosperity mean in 2012? This is a difficult question to answer given the vast disparity of living conditions throughout the world. Additionally, it is imperative that the definition of prosperity today consider the needs of future generations. To this end, UN-Habitat developed a “City Prosperity Index,” which translates the five dimensions of prosperity identified by UN-Habitiat—productivity, infrastructure development, quality of life, equity and social inclusion, environmental sustainability—into measurable indicators (see page 15 of the report).

 

This definition of the prosperous city is consistent with the principles of a smart, sustainable and just city... further reading at the article link


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: Asgard: Web-based Cloud Management and Deployment

: Asgard: Web-based Cloud Management and Deployment | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

For the past several years Netflix developers have been using self-service tools to build and deploy hundreds of applications and services to the Amazon cloud. One of those tools is Asgard, a web interface for application deployments and cloud management.
Asgard is named for the home of the Norse god of thunder and lightning, because Asgard is where Netflix developers go to control the clouds. I’m happy to announce that Asgard has now been open sourced on github and is available for download and use by anyone. All you’ll need is an Amazon Web Services account. Like other open source Netflix projects, Asgard is released under the Apache License, Version 2.0.Click n the image or the title to learn more.

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The Mom-and-Pop Water Shop from SEEDMAGAZINE.COM

The Mom-and-Pop Water Shop from SEEDMAGAZINE.COM | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

The UN says that each person needs between 20 and 50 liters of safe freshwater per day for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. Yet more than one in six people worldwide don’t have access to this amount—and some 2.5 billion live without access to even basic sanitation facilities. Combined, these have a shocking impact: Globally, diarrhea is the leading cause of illness and death. But the failure of international intervention has left the door open for grassroots solutions: In both Indonesia and the Philippines, a small entrepreneurial approach to safe water provision has achieved massive scale in an extremely short time span. The “water refill” industry, which utilizes low-cost technology to purify water on site in locally run businesses, has received little attention in the West, but it represents possibly the most effective means for water delivery in the developing world.Molecular biologist Ranjiv Khush and hydrologist Jeff Albert are now hoping to replicate the Asian model in other parts of the world, beginning in East Africa.  Click on the image or title to learn more.

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Why Bill Gates Needs To Listen To More Gamelan Music

Why Bill Gates Needs To Listen To More Gamelan Music | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Despite the new agey title - interesting article at the design observer on mapping development timescales to those of the underpinning ecological systems that are required to support it, using balinese rice production as an example.  Worth a read. Click on image or title to learn more.

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Lemurs sliding towards extinction

Lemurs sliding towards extinction | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

A new assessment of Madagascar's lemurs shows they are far more threatened than previously thought. A group of specialists is in Madagascar - the only place where lemurs are found in the wild - to systematically assess the animals and decide where they sit on the Red List of Threatened Species. More than 90% of the 103 species should be on the Red List, they say. Since a coup in 2009, conservation groups have repeatedly found evidence of illegal logging, and hunting of lemurs has emerged as a new threat. Click on image or title to learn more...

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Open Data in Development Aid

This European Public Sector Information Platform topic report focuses on the question of how improved access to and analysis of data can help increase transparency, accountability and effectiveness to improve our understanding of how aid can be made more effective. Link to PDF file on web page. Click the headline to learn more...

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Open House: Smarter cities, smarter thinking

Open House: Smarter cities, smarter thinking | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

A good review of Open House: Smarter cities, smarter thinking meeting on the 28 June, 2012 . 

This year’s conference centred on the cohesive development of our cities. Delegates from BDP, Hawkins Brown, Nicholas Hare Architects, Pick Everard and Foster + Partners were among those present at the second day of the Open House Worldwide Conference 2012 hosted by CBRE in London. Worth reading. Click on image or headline to learn more.

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Engineering mosquitos to reject malaria | Ars Technica

Engineering mosquitos to reject malaria | Ars Technica | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
via RKelwick

 

by
John Timmer
"Pests that carry a human antibody make poor hosts for parasites.
One of the easiest and often most effective means of controlling the spread of malaria is to control the mosquitos that carry it to humans. Unfortunately, that has proven to be just as much of an evolutionary arms race as targeting malaria itself; mosquitos evolve resistance to pesticides almost as quickly as malaria has evolved resistance to drugs.

Recent efforts have focused on forms of control that don't impose a huge fitness burden on the mosquito population. This general approach has been tested in the wild on the mosquitos that carry Dengue fever, which scientists infected with bacteria that block the spread of the virus. Now, researchers are reporting that they've developed genetically modified mosquitos that turn mosquitos into a dead-end for the malarial parasite. Their method: have the mosquitos express antibodies against the parasite whenever it feeds on blood.

Antibodies have a relatively poor history when it comes to targeting malaria in humans. Vaccines against the parasite tend to be ineffective, because Plasmodium falciparum has evolved ways of evading an immune response, often completely changing the proteins that coat its surface in order to keep antibodies from recognizing it. But these changes are only triggered once the parasite is already inside the human body...."
http://bit.ly/LkMXEm


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Bill Gates: Here's My Plan to Improve Our World — And How You Can Help | Wired Business | Wired.com

Bill Gates: Here's My Plan to Improve Our World — And How You Can Help | Wired Business | Wired.com | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
Bill Gates on how innovation is the key to a brighter future, and how we're only just getting started.
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Who wouldnt want to talk about fertilizer with Bill Gates... or books, or education, vaccinations or development economics..for that matter. Worth reading.

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Fully Integrated Thinking - Process from HOK/GUILD Partnerships

Fully Integrated Thinking - Process  from HOK/GUILD Partnerships | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

FIT is a design process incorporating multiple stakeholder viewpoints andhelps integrate sustainability principles into the full range of the design cycle.  T he FIT process helps designers to understand the ‘genius of place’ and better leverage existing resources by linking place, challenges and outcomes.  It helps break down barriers between municipal and jurisdictional borders and facilitates communication across disciplines by focusing on commonly understand functions.  These factors can help reveal symbiotic relationships and solutions that address multiple problems.  The FIT process is scalable and generalizable across a wide range of situations.

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While there are many similar design processes with similar aims to HOK 's FIT, FIT is getting some traction in various projects world wide - especially in development. This is a good overview article introducing key tools and illustrated with examples.

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Big Data for Conflict Prevention

Big Data for Conflict Prevention | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
I had the great pleasure of co-authoring the International Peace Institute's (IPI) unique report on "Big Data for Conflict Prevention" (PDF) with my two colleagues Emmanuel Letouzé and Patrick Vinc...
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Bill Gates: How to Fix World's Biggest Problems

Bill Gates: How to Fix World's Biggest Problems | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
From the fight against polio to fixing education, what's missing is often good measurement and a commitment to follow the data. We can do better, writes Bill Gates.
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Good article from Gates on how being able to measure and improve performance is the key to sustainable development. Worth reading.

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Shareable: Rural Coops Show the Way to Urban Job Growth

Shareable: Rural Coops Show the Way to Urban Job Growth | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Rural Coops started out as necessities for powering rural communities. Can they show a way forward for urban economies?

 

"Rural electricity and telephone coops are one of the great sharing success stories in American history - largely due to coordination by the federal government. In 1934, only 11% of farmers had electricity compared to 90% in Europe. Private electric companies refused to serve many rural customers or price gouged them when they did. The Rural Electrification Administration (REA) was formed in 1935 to fix the problem by providing technical assistance and loans to electric cooperatives. Less than 20 years later, practically all farms had power due largely to electric coops."...


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Preserving Privacy in a Big Data World – Part 2 | Ericsson Labs

Preserving Privacy in a Big Data World – Part 2 | Ericsson Labs | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Vincent Huang has a great set of posts at Ericsson labs on preserving privacy in big data analytics. Over the last few years there has been a growing trend in the international development world to highlight the use of big data for development. Using mobile telephony call records, twitter postings etc as raw data sets that can be mined for indicators of social circumstances and systemic change. A key first step in this process is anonymizing the data so individuals cannot be easily identified from distilled results. Vincent's work discusses the requirements and algorithms used and is both a fascinating and essential read for anyone working in this area. Must read posts if you are involved in big data for development or working with private individual identifiable data sets. Click on the image or title to learn more.

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Using Fertilizer Wisely Could Help Feed 9 Billion People: Scientific American

Using Fertilizer Wisely Could Help Feed 9 Billion People: Scientific American | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
Farmers in the U.S.and China should use less fertilizer, freeing it up for application where such nutrients can do the most good...

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Using GIS Technology to Enhance Development Outcomes | World Bank Institute (WBI)

The Next-Generation of Geospatial Technology and the World Bank’s Role in Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to enhance Development Outcomes. Many work programs within the World Bank are now embracing the use of ICT tools for engaging citizens, gathering data, disseminating information, improving transparency and accountability, and ensuring better communication and collaboration. These tools have been employed both in country-level work as well as through efforts to open up the World Bank’s processes. Esri president Jack Dangermond and World Bank staff discuss  future possibilities of geospatial technology and how they can use those technologies to meet various development goals. Click on headline to see video of event.

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Complexity Science And Public Policy: Whither The Policy Maker? - Analysis Eurasia Review

Policy makers the world over are drawing increasingly on complexity science to help them make sense of a whole range of economic, social, political and security issues. However, complexity science has far-reaching implications for how policy makers understand the world. IN a good article by  Adrian W. J. Kuah on Eurasia review -- Kuah explores the dichotomy and its implications. Worth reading. Click on the title to learn more...

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Researcher will push emerging field of biodiversity informatics in Africa

Researcher will push emerging field of biodiversity informatics in Africa | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Biodiversity informatics is about how to develop, integrate and use information about life on Earth,” said Town Peterson, University Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and curator in the Biodiversity Institute. “We have a lot of raw data about biodiversity, which is to say we know places where particular species have been seen. But turning those raw data into usable information is a much bigger challenge.” In Africa, as in much of the world, there is scant availability of training in this important discipline. This is about to change. With funding from the JRS Biodiversity Foundation, Peterson will lead multiple training sessions in four African nations: Ghana, South Africa, Kenya and Egypt. CLick on image or title to learn more.

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Thinking poverty in the inner city

Thinking poverty in the inner city | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Interesting article on social-ethographic research and social cognition. Key quote "it is important to pay attention to what people articulate as their own understanding of how social processes work and how they as individuals might negotiate the complex social terrain, rather than simply looking at their actions…." Worth a read

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Open Data for Development Camp 2012 | *iHub_

Open Data for Development Camp 2012 | *iHub_ | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

The Open Data for Development Camp is part of The Kenya Open Data Pre-Incubator Program. This is a six-month experiment to help accelerate the ability for the public to make sense of data and to galvanize engagement around critical public issues. This event will take place from Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at 10:00 AM - Thursday, June 28, 2012 at 6:00 PM at Strathmore University. It promises a combination of Keynote Speakers, Workshops, Best Practices, Speed Geeking, Hack Space, Networking, Exchange of knowledge and needs, Sharing Data Sets, Co-Creation, Open Data Visualizations, and Inspiration.

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