Tuesday, August 31, 2010

2010 Nic Marks on the Happy Planet Index

Instead of minute-by-minute Dow Jones updates that supposedly monitor the heath of the economy, society may benefit more from daily updates of, say, America's energy usage, in a manner that is not alarmist but actionable, serving as a progress ticker for the collective goal of getting the most 'happy life years' (happiness-adjusted life expectancy) with the least 'ecological footprint' (resource use).

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

2010 Jim Toomey on learning from Sherman the Shark

If we went by geography books alone, then the oceans are just a big puddle of blue paint, while in reality they teem with wondrous life-forms putting comic-book superheroes to shame, like the sea-cucumber (a web-spinning underwater Spiderman) and blowfish(the Incredible Hulk), and comic strips featuring them are a potent means to aid conservation efforts against marine-dumping and shark-finning.

Monday, August 23, 2010

2010 David McCandless on the beauty of data visualization

Elegant solutions to today's information problems of overload and lack of transparency, lie in visualization, which affords both compression and contextual awareness, like the 'Billion Dollar-o-gram' which shows that if budgets were squares on your monitor, then the combined African debt would be a tiny postage stamp, while the global cost of the recent financial crisis would cover the whole monitor!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

2010 Jason Clay on how big brands can help save biodiversity

Considering that just 100 companies control as much as 25% of the trade of the top 15 commodities with the maximum environmental footprint, sustainability has become a 'pre-competitive issue' on which these companies must co-operate to evolve and enforce best-practices and standards, thereby pushing producers to adopt more sustainable practices faster than consumers and NGOs alone can.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

2010 Sheryl WuDunn on our century's greatest injustice

The stark statistic of today's cross-border sex-slavery being tenfold that of the slavery of the 1780s, highlights gender inequity as our century's greatest moral challenge and recent success stories show that investment in girls' education in the developing world can lead to smaller families with wiser spending habits, offering donors return-on-investment in the form of a world less prone to violence.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

2010 Laurie Santos on a monkey economy as irrational as ours

Human decision-making in market settings is beset by psychological biases of relativity and loss-aversion, which are also demonstrated in experiments with capuchin monkeys, suggesting that the error-proneness of humans is evolutionarily inherited rather than an unintended consequence of complex technological design.

2010 Sheena Iyengar on the art of choosing

Being able to exercise independent choice from a multitude of options, which is considered non-negotiable in America is not accorded such priority in other cultures,and having to contend unaided with choices is not always desirable, especially in conditions where choice induces guilt or when differences between options are imperceptible.