Gongol.com Archives: June 2010
Brian Gongol

June 9, 2010

The American Way June 2010 update to the EconDirectory
Hundreds of websites about economics and business, ranked by daily average traffic

The American Way Gates Foundation puts $10 million into kick-starting mobile banking for Haiti
Haiti can't really recover economically from the earthquake of this year until its people can save and invest. And while banking via mobile phone may sound like a luxury to Americans, in parts of the world where many people remain "unbanked", mobile-phone services can be a nearly-ubiquitous (and very clever) substitute for establishing lots of expensive bank branches with prohibitively high barriers to entry for the unbanked poor. Plus, money saved in mobile-linked accounts is much safer to carry than cash, which can be stolen. The Gates Foundation is making the reward an innovation prize, with the largest rewards reserved for the competitors who deploy mobile banking services fastest and to the largest number of people. It's a great idea -- especially because it's using the market to create a sustainable improvement in human development, not just one-time charity.

Health Wolfram Alpha adds health indicators
The complex and evolving "decision engine" is now populated with World Health Organization data on the world's health. Very interesting stuff. If you want to improve the things that matter, you have to find ways to quantify them.

The United States of America Exercising the right to vote is a significant historical anomaly
Suppose that something like 100,000,000,000 people have ever lived. In that time, only a handful of nations -- mostly in just the last century or so -- have ever had a true representative democracy with a secret ballot. Even if the entire planet today had that kind of secure right to self-governance (which it most assuredly does not, considering China alone has more than a billion citizens who have no such thing as a free and fair vote), one's chances of having had the right to vote freely without fear of violence or reprisal would still be well under one in ten. In honor of those who don't have the right to vote -- not to mention one's ancestors, who likely came from lands ruled by kings, princes, and invading armies, those of us who have the right to vote today should exercise that right in every election, every time. Even when it's just a primary election: If you don't vote in the primaries, you're volunteering to have just one more choice than someone living in a one-party state.

News Fascinating urban ruins
Truly intriguing photographs of once-densely-populated places that were abandoned

Broadcasting Radio on-demand: Who gets leisure time in America?

Broadcasting Radio on-demand: Why we're going to have to hitchhike into space

Water News Researchers "surprised" to find more bacteria in bottled water than tap water

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