Friday, April 1, 2011

Various & Sundry, April 1

It's April Fools Day, and also opening day for the A's, and a friend has offered me a ticket! If it's for real, she's my new best friend for evah! If it's a prank, she's dead to me. DEAD! You hear me?

Ahem. Moving on.

I think it would be fun to get a set of these stamps from Jesus Hates Papyrus. I don't think they're generally available though. At least I haven't been able to find them. Jesus doesn't like it.

This blog entry will not come as a surprise, but as an affirmation that what you always thought was true is, in fact, true: success (in anything, I would assert, though this is about humanitarian aid) has to do with effective people rather than great technology.

In project after project, the lesson was the same: information technology amplified the intent and capacity of human and institutional stakeholders, but it didn't substitute for their deficiencies. If we collaborated with a self-confident community or a competent non-profit, things went well. But, if we worked with a corrupt organization or an indifferent group, no amount of well-designed technology was helpful.

After finishing All Clear, I was particularly intrigued by this obituary for Erlund Hudson, an artist "who captured life on the Home Front during the Second World War," such as these women turning bedsheets into bandages.

Finally, please listen to this week's This American Life episode. I know I frequently refer you to the latest This American Life episode because it is amazing. I'm going to do it again: It is amazing. You will be mind-boggled that such things can happen, and can continue to happen in the name of justice. And then when you have listened to the report, go to this website for an idea of what to do about it. "Kafkaesque," someone called it, and that about sums it up. Seriously, listen to this. It is riveting.

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