May 22, 2015

Lost in Translation

There was a stats conversion problem I had to do today, changing miles per gallon into gallons per mile. Gallons per mile, the end result of the problem, which might seem unusual to US drivers is actually how the rest of the world views gas consumption. My textbook said it best: Americans think of it as: I’ve got 10 gallons in the tank. How far can I drive? Where as most of the world says: ‘I’ve got to go 100km, how much gas do you think I need’ This little math (or maths, if we are continuing with our global conversions) problem actually epitomized … [Read more...]

Reflections on USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah’s January 19 Speech

This past wednesday myself and AIDemocracy Health Intern Sarah Davey went to see administrator of the United States Department of International Development (USAID) Dr. Rajiv Shah give a speech hosted by the Center for Global Development. The United States, and USAID in particular, have long been criticized for not providing enough foreign aide and of that given being highly inefficient.  Dr. Shah's speech was therefore designed to alleviate these concerns and highlight some major new changes happening within the agency. These proposed changes begin … [Read more...]

USAID announces Reform Agenda, early outcome of QDDR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 18, 2010 Press Office: 202-712-4320 Public Information: 202-712-4810 WASHINGTON, DC - The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has embarked on an ambitious reform effort, USAID FORWARD, to change the way the Agency does business-with new partnerships, an emphasis on innovation and a relentless focus on results. It gives USAID the opportunity to transform its agency and unleash its full potential to achieve high-impact development. Announced by USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv … [Read more...]

UPDATE: UN passes the Human Right to Water and Sanitation

Good news!!!  Just yesterday, the UN passes a resolution to make the right to water and sanitation a human right.  As I mentioned in my last post on the subject, this means that not having access to clean water and/or sanitation can be considered to be a violation of human rights -- something that requires international action according to the UN Declaration on Human Rights. According to Food and Water Watch, 122 states in the UN voted in favor of the resolution, and 41 abstained from voting on it. The bad news in this, is that the US abstained from … [Read more...]

U.S. has great potential in new Muslim community envoy

              The United States has taken a big step in U.S.-Muslim relations… we hope.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appointed the very first State Department envoy to Muslim communities—Farah Pandith. [1]   This follows President Obama’s promising speech in Cairo, Egypt which was lauded by Muslims, Europeans, and many Americans. People continue to have high hopes in this administration's dedication to reach out to the naitonal and worldwide Muslim communities.  For what it's worth, the following is my wish list for Ms. Pandith; I hope she does … [Read more...]

Students Lead the Cause for Green Campuses

In every generation there is a social movement that captivates the minds of the youth and challenges the establishment. A generation ago the battle was for social justice, today the youth fight for the global environment. On college campuses throughout the United States, from the gates of Cornell to the waves of San Francisco, universities have begun to create sustainability committees in an attempt to “Go Green.” These committees were formulated by the growing demand of their students to take a proactive role in greenerizing their institutions. … [Read more...]

A New Venture in Turbulent Times

Anyone with a business mindset can appreciate how a turbulous market can give rise to niche venture. Last June crude oil hit an all time high at $126.33 per barrel. For the same month in 2007, a barrel sold for $59.25. With the worst energy crisis in 30 years, Americans were forced to rethink their lifestyles, and with that a new niche was created. As American auto companies struggle to stay afloat, foreign automakers are importing their progressively efficient vehicles into the U.S. Starting as early as next year, three import vehicles will make … [Read more...]

Mutually Assured Destruction v. 2.0

Much has been made in recent weeks about what I like to call MAD 2.0--this time between the U.S. and China. Of course, the new MAD is not nearly as vindictive as the previous phase of international relations between the U.S. and the S.U.  It involves no bombs, posturing, or division of the world into spheres of influence (yet).  No, the new MAD is predicated on a simple fact: each country controls the other country's financial system. The Financial Times synthesized the situation rather succinctly.  China has made a policy of holding substantial … [Read more...]

Our Culture of Consumption

Sitting in a Starbucks I sipped my venti Iced green tea as I watched patrons order their laundry list of beverages.  I wonder if our ancestors could ever imagine the luxury of having our level of consumption.  We live our lives, unknowingly unaware of how much we actually consume and how much we throw away.   An American produces 1,584 pounds of waste per year while the world average is 330 pounds per person per year.  As a country, we consume 1/5 of the world’s 500 billion plastic bags that are produced annually.  The United States consumes 350% more … [Read more...]

U.S. to Launch Comparative Effectiveness Research with Stimulus

On Tuesday, Barack Obama is expected to sign into law the $787 billion economic stimulus package in Colorado according to this AP press release. With this action, the bill will bring many new spending initiatives along with the tax breaks negotiated during the House and Senate conference sessions. As expected, health care in the U.S. will receive a hopeful boost from this economic stimulus package. A couple important areas that will receive this new source of funding include $10 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and $1.1 billion for … [Read more...]