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Category Archives: Technology

The Androids are coming, is aid ready?

This post is the second in a series by Dennis Whittle. Dennis is the CEO of GlobalGiving, an international marketplace for philanthropy. In my last post, I argued that the “operating system” used by the current international aid agencies is stuck using IBM punch cards while the rest of the world has moved on to[…..]

Also posted in Big ideas | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Is aid stuck using IBM punch cards?

This post was written by Dennis Whittle. Dennis is the CEO of GlobalGiving, an international marketplace for philanthropy. When I went to college in the late 1970s we used punch cards like the one pictured here to put information into the (mainframe) computer. Over the next thirty years, competition in computer technology led to rapid innovation.[…..]

Tagged , | 24 Comments

How the development of technology averts Shakespearean tragedies

Juliet texts Romeo: Going 2 play dead, LOL! Huff Post unearths email incriminating Iago after 24/7 coverage of Desdemona-cheating-on-Othello rumors Hamlet gets treatment for depression, starts blog “Rotten in the State of Denmark” Brutus orchestrates Twitter campaign to overthrow Julius Caesar MacBeth double-checks Facebook page of Three Witches, comments: “no way I’m basing career decisions on[…..]



This map of how popular different tourist places are was generated by an Estonian programmer using the number of photo uploads to a popular site. Yellow is the most touristy, followed by red, blue is not very touristy, but grey is nowheresville. I am a little suspicious about the methodology after I saw Toledo, Ohio show up[…..]

Also posted in Maps | Tagged | 16 Comments

Scratch and win for authentic malaria drugs

Here’s a problem most people in rich countries don’t often have to deal with: wondering whether the drugs you’ve just picked up from your local pharmacy will kill you, save your life, or give you just enough active ingredients to create a new drug-resistant strain of an otherwise curable disease. Counterfeiting does happen in rich[…..]

Also posted in Global health | Tagged , | 16 Comments

Mysteries of technological miracles

UPDATE 11 43 am May 7: on something else on which I had been procrastinating forever: my iPad just made me a dentist appointment. I just did a tech upgrade and my productivity has quintupled. And I don’t know why. Even the word “upgrade” is in doubt. Typing is more awkward. I make typos. I[…..]


Time for toilet deregulation?

UPDATE 10:34AM, 4/16 SEE END OF POST Right now, India has more cell phones than toilets. That’s the headline buzzing over the wires today, thanks to the latest phones-to-toilets ratio released by the United Nations. It’s certainly a dramatic factoid. But it’s not just true of India’s 1.2 billion-strong population — this lopsided statistic is true[…..]

Also posted in Big ideas, Entrepreneurship | Tagged , , , , | 17 Comments

This device WILL change the world

No, no, no, not THAT one! I meant the one below: It’s going to be a long while before very many poor people have iPads, but there is already one TV for every 4 people in the world.  I remember being in a remote village in Ghana with 30 people crowded around a TV set, so 1[…..]

Also posted in Academic research, Global health | Tagged , , | 21 Comments

Jeff Sachs, welcome to Twitter!

As of 11 am today (2/26), Jeff Sachs has started posting on Twitter as @jeffdsachs. Here is some of the early traffic in which yours truly has a tiny stake (I have omitted who did the T for privacy): (anon): Just noticed that @bill_easterly is following @jeffdsachs but not vice versa / Hilarious @bill_easterly: This hurts[…..]

Also posted in Aid debates | Tagged , | 8 Comments

The iPad and women’s rights

Within seconds of the unveiling of the iPad by Steve Jobs, Twitter lit up with women complaining and/or joking that the name immediately made them think of a certain feminine hygiene product. #iTampon was the #1 trending topic on Twitter yesterday and remains so this morning. Could this be one of those unintentionally revealing moments[…..]

Also posted in In the news | Tagged , | 29 Comments
  • About Aid Watch

    The Aid Watch blog is a project of New York University's Development Research Institute (DRI). This blog is principally written by William Easterly, author of "The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics" and "The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good," and Professor of Economics at NYU. It is co-written by Laura Freschi and by occasional guest bloggers. Our work is based on the idea that more aid will reach the poor the more people are watching aid.

    "Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody may be looking." - H.L. Mencken

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