The world is much better; The world is awful; The world can be much better - Our World in Data
The world is much better. The world is awful. The world can be much better. We have to study the data to know all three perspectives on global living conditions.
“When You Get That Wealthy, You Start to Buy Your Own Bullshit”: The Miseducation of Sheryl Sandberg | Vanity Fair
Harvard Business School invented the “leadership” industry—and produced a generation of corporate monsters. No wonder Sandberg, one of the school’s most prominent graduates, lacks a functioning moral compass.
ethics  facebook  harvard 
10 days ago
Spring 2017 - The Dark Side of Transparency
It is now almost impossible to read donor literature or attend charitable conferences without being bombarded by growing demands for greater openness, transparency, and self-revealing in giving. It’s said that foundations won’t realize their full potential, and may even fall into ineffective and self-serving ways, unless there is a transparency surge beyond existing disclosure requirements. However, in interviews I conducted for a dissertation at Oklahoma State University, “The Opacity of Private Philanthropy,” both grantmakers and grantees reported several reasons why quiet, discreet foundation practices can lead to better giving.
philanthropy  transparency 
11 days ago
Opacity of Private Philanthropy
Calls for greater transparency among corporations and social institutions continue to grow in the literature. Many contend that greater transparency is needed to reduce potential for wrong doing and enhance the capacity of interested outsiders to protect the public's interests. Yet, transparency is not a cost free objective, there are consequences to imposed transparency.
philanthropy  transparency 
11 days ago
Materials for Two Theories: TIMN and STA:C: Re-reading Eric Hoffer’s The True Believer (1951)
• “Should Americans begin to hate foreigners wholeheartedly, it will be an indication that they have lost confidence in their own way of life.” (S. 73)
• “If free enterprise becomes a proselytizing holy cause, it will be a sign that its workability and advantages have ceased to be self-evident.” (S. 88)
• "The quality of ideas seems to play a minor role in mass movement leadership. What counts is the arrogant gesture, the complete disregard of the opinion of others, the singlehanded defiance of the world." (S. 91)”
Social_Science  changing_minds  politics 
20 days ago
Consequences of erudite vernacular utilized irrespective of necessity: problems with using long words needlessly
Most texts on writing style encourage authors to avoid overly-complex words. However, a majority of undergraduates admit to deliberately increasing the complexity of their vocabulary so as to give the impression of intelligence. This paper explores the extent to which this strategy is effective. Experiments 1–3 manipulate complexity of texts and find a negative relationship between complex- ity and judged intelligence. This relationship held regardless of the quality of the original essay, and irrespective of the participants’ prior expectations of essay quality. The negative impact of complexity was mediated by processing fluency. Experiment 4 directly manipulated fluency and found that texts in hard to read fonts are judged to come from less intelligent authors. Experiment 5 investigated discounting of fluency. When obvious causes for low fluency exist that are not relevant to the judgement at hand, people reduce their reliance on fluency as a cue; in fact, in an effort not to be influenced by the irrelevant source of fluency, they over-compensate and are biased in the opposite direction. Implications and applications are discussed.

Oppenheimer, D. M. 2006. Consequences of erudite vernacular utilized irrespective of necessity: problems with using long words needlessly. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 20: 139-156.
jargon  plain_english 
24 days ago
Research: NIH peer review percentile scores are poorly predictive of grant productivity | eLife
Peer review is widely used to assess grant applications so that the highest ranked applications can be funded. A number of studies have questioned the ability of peer review panels to predict the productivity of applications, but a recent analysis of grants funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the US found that the percentile scores awarded by peer review panels correlated with productivity as measured by citations of grant-supported publications. Here, based on a re-analysis of these data for the 102,740 funded grants with percentile scores of 20 or better, we report that these percentile scores are a poor discriminator of productivity. This underscores the limitations of peer review as a means of assessing grant applications in an era when typical success rates are often as low as about 10%.
peer_review  publishing  challenges  competitions  prizes 
28 days ago
'Hearts and Minds' in Iraq <span class="bankhead"> As History Shows, Ideas Matter More Than Who Pays to Promote Them</span> - The Washington Post
Contrary to what is commonly believed, CIA funding of intellectual "propaganda" projects -- including direct cash payments to American and foreign journalists -- has usually been done with the lightest touch. In my direct experience, and in reading files covering CA activity in Europe and the Middle East, I never saw an instance in which agency officers manipulated the final product. What was regrettable was that CIA officials often didn't have the linguistic skill or education to match the countries they covered and had no real grasp of what their CA assets were writing.
4 weeks ago
The #Resistance Has a New Grift, and Liberals Are the Perfect Mark - Truthdig
They are victims, really, of our deranged national culture of politics as consumer choice, party as lifestyle and preference. They now find themselves atomized, without any route for collective action beyond chipping 10 bucks into the crowdfunding bucket; they can evaluate politics only superficially, and so anyone who says bad things about bad guy number one is good enough.
4 weeks ago
The first <strong>"bottom-up" history of the world</strong> resides in an Austrian salt mine. "It's a global project &mdash; and its history is written by everyone"
The first <strong>"bottom-up" history of the world</strong> resides in an Austrian salt mine. "It's a global project &mdash; and its history is written by everyone"
archive  personal_data  person 
4 weeks ago
Wellcome and Gates join bold European open-access plan
On 5 November, the London-based Wellcome Trust and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Washington, announced they were both endorsing ‘Plan S’, adding their weight to an initiative already backed by 13 research funders across Europe since its launch in September. The plan was spearheaded by Robert-Jan Smits, the European Commission’s special envoy on open access.
4 weeks ago
The Extraordinary Pierre Omidyar
a simple, low-cost, technocratic market solution to the problem of global poverty
omidyar  philanthropy  paranoia 
6 weeks ago
A Fourth of Young Foundation Employees Think Their Group’s Work Is Irrelevant - The Chronicle of Philanthropy
One in four entry-level and midlevel foundation employees think their organization’s work is not "relevant to what’s happening in the world today," according to a survey released Wednesday. Forty percent think their organization is in touch with the needs of the people and places it supports, and 24 percent say those communities have a voice in the decisions the foundation makes.
8 weeks ago
RoboValley | Quality mark for AI and robotics
The Foundation for Responsible Robotics (FRR) and Deloitte are developing a FRR certified quality mark for AI and Robotics. This quality mark will ensure that best practices are met for the responsible design and development of the technology.
8 weeks ago
Horizon 2020 endangered by low success rate, says EUA - University World News
the cost of unsuccessful bids is €1.4 billion (US$1.46 billion), compared to the €5.5 billion allocated to the first 100 calls, and as European universities are mostly funded by public budgets it is the taxpayer who is paying the bill.
unfunded  philanthropy  proposals 
8 weeks ago
A reservoir not an ocean - visualizing and operationalizing collective collections - Lorcan Dempsey's Weblog
When I think of the Google Books initiative now, three things stick with me. The first is simply what an audacious idea it was – to digitize all the books. The second is that without it, the book literature is less accessible than the web literature, which seems a pity. Google Books has allowed fine-grained discovery over the topics, people, places and so on which otherwise would largely be hidden between the covers.

The third is more subtle, but marks an interesting shift in how we think about library collections and books in general.  Before the initiative, we thought of the books in library collections as a vast expanse. We could not see the edges. They were like an ocean. Afterwards, the aggregate library collection appeared more bounded, more finite. More like a reservoir which could be measured and managed.
books  archives 
9 weeks ago
Tips from a Foundation Insider: How to Avoid Common Mistakes and Make Your Best Case in Writing Proposals to Foundations - The ALLIANCE
Program officers usually cannot bend the guidelines and impassioned pleas to do so will not be a good use of your time or theirs.
10 weeks ago
The Failures of Foreign Aid (and some potential solutions) Part 2 - the Giving What We Can Blog
"As an example of effective foreign aid, Singer points us to the United Nations Millenium Villages Project. This was a project to provide simple interventions to put extremely poor people on paths to sustainable growth that would continue even after the Millenium Villages Project stopped." * funny: other accounts say MVP was a huge failure.
development  aid  IYI 
10 weeks ago
25 Years of WIRED Predictions: Why the Future Never Arrives | WIRED
25 Years of WIRED Predictions: Why the Future Never Arrives | WIRED
future  predictions 
10 weeks ago
Guest Post: Think Sci-Hub is Just Downloading PDFs? Think Again - The Scholarly Kitchen
What is being asserted by the authors here is that Sci-Hub is launching password-cracking attacks *itself* and then using the credentials as a revenue source. Additionally they imply that someone from Sci-Hub planted (plants?) malware. Perhaps there is good evidence for these claims, but it isn’t in this article.
copyright  sci-hub 
11 weeks ago
Americans Want to Believe Jobs Are the Solution to Poverty. They’re Not. - The New York Times
Here is the blueprint. First, valorize work as the ticket out of poverty, and debase caregiving as not work. Look at a single mother without a formal job, and say she is not working; spot one working part time and demand she work more. Transform love into laziness.
12 weeks ago
In praise of technocratic top-down grantmaking.
september 2018
Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas | Are the Elite Hijacking Social Change?
“Business elites are taking over the work of changing the world,” Giridharadas observes. “Many believe they are changing the world when they may instead—or also—be protecting a system that is at the root of the problems they wish to solve.”

Giridharadas uncovers the internal contradictions of those who work for social change from positions of privilege and wealth. He also delves into the shortcomings of strategy consultants who bring McKinsey-style analysis to social issues; the limitations of venture capitalists who fund social solutions; and the problems with thought leaders who give well-paid speeches preaching win-win opportunities for business and society.
august 2018
The Thriving World, the Wilting World, and You – Anand Giridharadas – Medium
Our deliberations about what to do about this extreme winning and losing are sponsored by the extreme winners. This community was formed by stalwarts of American capitalism; today we sit in spaces named after Pepsi (as in the beverage) and Koch (as in the brothers); our discussion of Martin Luther King and Omelas is sponsored by folks like Accenture, David Rubenstein and someone named Pom; we are deeply enmeshed and invested in the establishment and systems we are supposed to question. And yet we are a community of leaders that claims to seek justice. These identities are tricky to reconcile.
august 2018
Gospels of Giving for the New Gilded Age | The New Yorker
Anand Giridharadas is a journalist who, in 2011, was named a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute. The institute is financed by, among other groups, the Carnegie Corporation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Gates Foundation. The fellowship, according to its Web site, aims to “develop the next generation of community-spirited leaders” by engaging them “in a thought-provoking journey of personal exploration.”

Giridharadas at first found the fellowship to be a pretty sweet deal; it offered free trips to the Rockies and led to invitations from the sorts of people who own Western-themed mansions and fly private jets. After a while, though, he started to feel that something was rotten in the state of Colorado. In 2015, when he was asked to deliver a speech to his fellow-fellows, he used it to condemn what he called “the Aspen Consensus.”

“The Aspen Consensus, in a nutshell, is this,” he said. “The winners of our age must be challenged to do more good. But never, ever tell them to do less harm.” The speech made the Times; people began asking for copies of it; and Giridharadas decided to expand on it. The result is “Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World.” “I hadn’t planned to write a book on this topic, but the topic chose me,” he writes.
august 2018
Look at Me! - Columbia Journalism Review
As a rule of thumb (and with some notable exceptions), the profit margins you could achieve selling a good or service were directly correlated to the total idiocy and/or moral bankruptcy of the demand you drummed up for it.
media  criticism 
august 2018
How to add site to IPFS and IPNS – Coinmonks – Medium
IPFS allows to place p2p content inside web applications and simple web pages. Also you can hosting whole static site in peer to peer(p2p) IPFS network. So other people, who owns IPFS nodes can share your site and be a peer of your content and distribute HTML, CSS, JS and Images from their nodes. After that — if you node stops, the site will live, while someone with an IPFS node will keep a site on his node.
august 2018
The Price of Privacy: What’s Wrong with the New Shadow Giving System | HistPhil
How much dark philanthropic money are we talking about? It’s hard to say, exactly, given the laxity of disclosure rules and donors who keep finding new ways to operate with less transparency.

Yet the biggest story here is the stunning rise of donor-advised funds. DAFs must reveal where their grants go, but they don’t have to say which of their clients provided those gifts and few DAFs reveal such information voluntarily. Just 10 years ago, DAFs moved a total of around $7 billion in grants. In 2016, they moved more than twice that amount. Of the top 10 grantmakers in the U.S. today, more than half are DAFs—all moving money in ways that don’t reveal their donors. Earlier this year, even close observers of the DAF world were surprised to learn that a DAF managed by Goldman Sachs had quietly become among the largest such entities in the U.S., thanks to big infusions of wealth by billionaires that include Steve Ballmer and Laurene Powell Jobs. All this represents a dramatic shift from an earlier era of philanthropy in which top donors created private foundations that operated with relative transparency.
august 2018
Noam Chomsky on Fascism, Showmanship and Democrats' Hypocrisy in the Trump Era
Some ideas are not even rejected; they are unthinkable. Like the idea that US aggression is aggression; it can only be “a mistake,” “a tragic error,” “a strategic blunder.”
consensus  politics  nuclear 
june 2018
BBC - Future - How an abandoned lab could show us the future
The Amani Hill Research Station in Tanzania was once one of East Africa’s leading laboratories – now it is a shadow of its past glory. Rachel Nuwer visited to find out what happened, and discovered lessons about the fragility of scientific progress that the whole world should consider.
responsible_innovation  development 
may 2018
Design Thinking Is a Boondoggle - The Chronicle of Higher Education
Do you know what design thinking is? 

Your answer to that question will depend largely on where you sit. Design thinking is often centrally associated with the fabled design and consulting firm IDEO, most famous for crafting Apple’s first mouse and the look of the Palm V personal digital assistant. But in recent years, it is Stanford University’s design school (or "d.school" — their asinine punctuation, not mine) that has become most associated with design thinking. IDEO will charge you $399 for a self-paced, video-based design-thinking course, "Insights for Innovation." Stanford will charge you $12,600 for a four-day "Design Thinking Bootcamp" called, likewise, "From Insights to Innovation." Clearly, there’s money to be made from design thinking.

If you’re confused, you’re not alone. Confusion is a common reaction to a "movement" that’s little more than floating balloons of jargon. If design thinking (for short, let’s call it the DTs) merely involved bilking some deluded would-be entrepreneurs, well — no harm no foul. The problem is that faddists and cult-followers are pushing the DTs as a reform for all of higher education. In th
design_thinking  consulting 
may 2018
GrantCraft Roles at Work
Grantmakers manage a lot of expectations about their work. We've talked with hundreds of grantmakers about what their foundations and grantees expect of them to get their work done - and what they expect of themselves.  Our card deck, a tool we've named Roles@work, collects the 29 roles grantmakers mentioned most often.
may 2018
swisspeace: About us
swisspeace is a practice-oriented peace research institute. It analyses violent conflicts and develops strategies for their peaceful transformation. swisspeace aims to contribute to the improvement of conflict prevention and conflict transformation by producing innovative research, shaping discourses on international peace policy, developing and applying new peacebuilding tools and methodologies, supporting and advising other peace actors, as well as by providing and facilitating spaces for analysis, discussion, critical reflection and learning.
may 2018
EFF and Coalition Partners Push Tech Companies To Be More Transparent and Accountable About Censoring User Content | Electronic Frontier Foundation
Groups Release Specific Guidelines Addressing Shoddy, Opaque Private Censorship

(as opposed to high qualify, transparent censorship")
removals  exclusions  takedowns  archives  censorship 
may 2018
After 5 years and $3M, here's everything we've learned from building Ghost
There are seemingly no good nonprofit funding options for journalism/tech
One big surprise in the last 5 years has been discovering that there are really no good funding options for journalism/tech. We've bootstrapped from day 1 and always planned to be totally self-sufficient. But initially we did think that there might be grant funding or support that we might be able to benefit from. It turns out: No. Absolutely none.

I thought between the Knight Foundation and the Mozilla Foundation and the Ford Foundation and the Google News Initiatives — there might be a path to getting a lil' help. However, they all seem to be limited to helping only projects in their own countries (mostly the US) and selecting who is awarded grants appears to be often more about who you know, than what you do.

I'm still curious about this. Are we missing something?
philanthropy  tech 
may 2018
A Grant Maker’s View: Money Doesn’t Make Us More Powerful — or Smarter - The Chronicle of Philanthropy
Among our bad habits, we:

Trash talk other foundations and bad-mouth nonprofits.
Give advice without understanding context and don’t seek advice from nonprofits.
Don’t trust nonprofits to spend the money where they see it’s most needed.
Fail to make clear what we do or don’t fund and rarely fund for more than one year at a time.
Operate on longer decision cycles than it takes to conceive and give birth to a baby.
Ask for extensive individualized information and evaluation for small amounts of money.
Allow personal interests to drive foundation strategies and set grant priorities without getting feedback from nonprofits and the people they serve.
Punish nonprofits for accumulating too much money in their reserves.
Act like we are superior to nonprofits.
Exclude nonprofits from foundation gatherings because we don’t want them to pitch us.
Everyone in foundations does these things, and most of the time we don’t even realize we are doing them. So why do we act this way when we’re aiming for the same change as the nonprofits we support? One of the biggest reasons is money, and particularly the perceived ownership of money.
may 2018
Fidelity’s donor-advised fund is shaking up charitable giving.
Fidelity makes money by encouraging people to donate money to Fidelity Charitable. And the data suggest that DAFs are not aiming to mimic established foundations, either in longevity or cost structure. DAFs, in fact, generally give that money away pretty quickly: 38 percent of the original dollars donated are gone within a year, and 74 percent is doled out within five years.
may 2018
Global Philanthropy Environment Index: Global Philanthropy Indices: Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis
The 2018 Global Philanthropy Environment Index is the world’s largest and most comprehensive effort to document the state of global philanthropy and the factors that enhance or inhibit its success. The index was previously the product of the renowned Hudson Institute, under the title The Index of Philanthropic Freedom.
may 2018
::.Václav Havel.::
this world of truth, however uncomfortable to live in, offers at the same time definite advantages: finding himself outside the universe of real power and traditional practical politics, that is, outside the matrix of utility, tactics, success, compromise, and the inevitable manipulations of half truths and deceptions, the dissident can be himself and can even make fun of himself without danger of becoming ridiculous to everyone.
peace  havel  politics  propaganda 
april 2018
Against metrics: how measuring performance by numbers backfires | Aeon Ideas
to what extent the culture of metrics – with its costs in employee time, morale and initiative, and its promotion of short-termism – has itself contributed to economic stagnation?
april 2018
The Key to Everything | by Freeman Dyson | The New York Review of Books
The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies.
complexity  books 
april 2018
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