"I spent four years studying to get a degree in law, and I’ve spent almost as long trying to find a job. Here, unless you’re the family of someone in government, nobody will hire you. I sold my last cow, and now my money is almost completely gone. I’m getting evicted so I’ll have no choice but to go back to the village with my grandparents. At least we have farms there. After all this time in school, I’ve almost forgotten how to dig.”
It’s a horrible irony that at the very moment the world has become more complex, we’re encouraging our young people to be highly specialized in one task.Why Top Tech CEOs Want Employees With Liberal Arts Degrees (via fastcompany)
"Do you want to hear a funny story from when he was a baby? We were a little worried about him, because the neighbor’s children were the same age, and they were already walking. So we tried to encourage him by buying some tiny shoes and putting them on his feet. He didn’t walk, but he did say his first words: ‘Take them off!’"
"I’d been studying German for a few years, and I met this woman who gave me the opportunity to go to Germany for a full year. The brochure looked very nice. The program included hikes, volunteer work, singing in church. It was very expensive, but my family thought it would be a great experience for me, so all my relatives chipped in to pay the program fee. I was so excited for months. On the day that I was supposed to leave, I went to the airport, and waited in line to check my baggage. When I got to the front of the line, they told me that my ticket was a forgery. When I tried to call the woman’s phone, it had been disconnected."
If someone had designed a work regime perfectly suited to maintaining the power of finance capital, it’s hard to see how they could have done a better job. Real, productive workers are relentlessly squeezed and exploited. The remainder are divided between a terrorised stratum of the, universally reviled, unemployed and a larger stratum who are basically paid to do nothing, in positions designed to make them identify with the perspectives and sensibilities of the ruling class (managers, administrators, etc) – and particularly its financial avatars – but, at the same time, foster a simmering resentment against anyone whose work has clear and undeniable social valueOn bullshit jobs
The absurdity runs deep: America is using American military equipment to bomb other pieces of American military equipment halfway around the world. The reason the American military equipment got there in the first place was because, in 2003, the US had to use its military to rebuild the Iraqi army, which it just finished destroying with the American military. The American weapons the US gave the Iraqi army totally failed at making Iraq secure and have become tools of terror used by an offshoot of al-Qaeda to terrorize the Iraqis that the US supposedly liberated a decade ago. And so now the US has to use American weaponry to destroy the American weaponry it gave Iraqis to make Iraqis safer, in order to make Iraqis safer.The US bombing its own guns perfectly sums up America’s total failure in Iraq - Vox (via wilwheaton)
It’s not just ironic; it’s a symbol of how disastrous the last 15 years of US Iraq policy have been, how circuitous and self-perpetuating the violence, that we are now bombing our own guns. Welcome to American grand strategy in the Middle East.
African cities have become the world’s next property investment frontier in the post-2008 economic climate. International architects and property developers are scrambling to sell fantastical visions of new satellite cities, or in some cases entire city makeovers, to short-sighted governments.
An artist’s impression of Lagos’ new Eko Atlantic City development, currently being built on land reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean. According to the AfDB, 65% of continent’s population will live in cities by 2060.
Image 1 and 2: Artist’s impression of Lagos’ new Eko Atlantic City development, currently being built on land reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean.
The designs for some of Africa’s largest cities, dubbed “world-class cities”, “smart cities” and “eco cities”, are accompanied by artistic renderings suggesting visions of Dubai, Singapore or Shanghai. For instance, the plans by US-based Oz Architecture for Rwanda’s capital, Kigali (Image 3), ignore the city’s large informal urban population. A proposed new satellite city near Nairobi, Kenya, designed by New York-based SHoP Architects, promises a modernised and sanitised living environment for the middle classes. These smaller, mostly independent urban areas are far removed from the squalor and congestion of existing cities. Hope City, just east of Accra, Ghana’s capital, designed by Italian architect Paulo Brescia, is no different. African beehives inspired its large, linked buildings that contain all the facilities needed for residents and workers, thus eliminating the need to venture outdoors.
Other cities are expanding by filling in land to create new urban extensions. Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is one of Africa’s largest and poorest cities. Here in 2009 developers began filling the Congo River to support up-market retail and residential buildings, a process which destroyed the livelihoods of many small farmers along the river’s banks.
In Nigeria, the Lagos state government and South Energyx, a private engineering and construction firm, are creating “Eko Atlantic”, a 10-square-kilometre artificial island off the coast of Lagos, the country’s economic capital, where some 250,000 people can live and work away from the city’s congestion and pollution. When the project began in 2012, the Nigerian government demolished the floating shacks of the Makoko neighbourhood and left many residents of this fishing community homeless.
Do these new developments represent the “modernisation” of African cities? Should we be concerned about them? Yes, mostly because these urban plans ignore the realities of African cities and in many cases would directly worsen current conditions. Full city “make-overs”, such as the plan for Kigali, are leading to the removal of slum dwellers from central urban districts where income-generating opportunities and public services are concentrated.
Ed’s note: Read the whole article
Flickr was a treasure chest of innovation, but Stewart never even intended to make the damn thing. He’d set out, instead, to make a game called Game Neverending. It was a financial failure. Flickr was merely based on a set of features broken out of the game, but it took over the company and his life. You may have heard the regrettably trendy term pivot, where a startup abruptly shifts to a new strategy and suddenly thrives. This was one of the original pivots.
History has circled back on Stewart. After a few years at Yahoo, he quit and went back to work on his neverending game. This time he called it Glitch, it looked amazing and had a vividly imagined story line, but was conceptually similar to Game Neverending. Years passed. The game failed. Again. Then (again!) he broke out something he and his team had created by accident while making the game.
It’s a communications application, based on the system they created while building Glitch. It’s called Slack.
This is fascinating to me. His dream startup has accidentally become an incubator, spinning out other startups. Maybe there’s a model for repeatable innovation here.
“My happiest moments are whenever I see my mother happy.”
“What’s the happiest you’ve ever seen her?”
“When I was a child, some German doctors told us that I could have a surgery in Italy, and my legs would work again. She was so happy she started crying. But I never had the money to go.” (Erbil, Iraq)
Humans of the world started today folks.