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Opinion | The Joy of Standards -
Feb. 16, 2019 | The New York Times | By Andrew Russell and Lee Vinsel. Dr. Russell and Dr. Vinsel study technology..

Our modern existence depends on things we can take for granted. Cars run on gas from any gas station, the plugs for electrical devices fit into any socket, and smartphones connect to anything equipped with Bluetooth. All of these conveniences depend on technical standards, the silent and often forgotten foundations of technological societies.

The objects that surround us were designed to comply with standards.........The number of technical standards that go into some products is astonishing, and the complexity of the methods used to create these standards is perhaps even more remarkable. A 2010 study found that a laptop computer incorporates 251 standards. Companies such as I.B.M. and Microsoft created some of these standards — but only 20 percent of them. The other 80 percent of the laptop’s standards were developed by private or nongovernmental organizations that facilitate collaboration and cooperation among technical experts......These facts should prompt some reflection about the exercise of power in a technological society: Amid concerns about the excesses of market power and government regulation, nobody seems to worry much about the private groups of experts who created 80 percent of the laptop’s standards. Standards created this way, known as the “voluntary consensus” process, are ubiquitous........The basic irony of standards is the simple fact that there is no standard way to create a standard, nor is there even a standard definition of “standard.” There are, however, longstanding ways that industries and nations coordinate standardization efforts. In the United States, the system of voluntary consensus standards is coordinated by ANSI, the American National Standards Institute.......The standards-development organizations accredited by ANSI follow a bottom-up process. It begins when someone proposes a draft standard, which then goes through a period of public comment. A panel of stakeholders and interested parties then seeks to resolve points of friction. Eventually this process, which often takes years, results in a final published standard.
design  standards  NGOs  technical_standards 
february 2019 by jerryking
Joe Clark’s new book: Canada is the country that ‘lectures and leaves’ - The Globe and Mail
Nov. 01 2013 | The Globe and Mail | CAMPBELL CLARK.

Our country, Mr. Clark argues in How We Lead: Canada in a Century of Change, should “lead from beside.”
foreign_policy  foreign_aid  diplomacy  Canada  Canadian  leadership  books  soft_power  Joe_Clark  NGOs  international_relations  Commonwealth 
november 2013 by jerryking
Jake Porway, Data Scientist Information, Facts, News, Photos -- National Geographic
Data scientist Jake Porway (Ph.D.) is a matchmaker. He sees social change organizations working to make the world a better place, collecting mountains of data, but lacking skills and resources to use that information to advance their mission. He sees data scientists with amazing skills and cutting-edge tools, eager to use their talent to accomplish something meaningful, yet cut off from channels that allow them to do so. He sees governments ready to make data open and available, but disconnected from people who need it. For Porway, it's a match waiting to happen and the reason he founded DataKind (formerly Data Without Borders). It connects nonprofits, NGOs and other data-rich social change organizations with data scientists willing to donate time and knowledge to solve social, environmental and community problems. Ultimately, he wants to build a globally connected network of dedicated experts who can be deployed at a moment's notice to tackle any big data science task worldwide
data_scientists  DataKind  data  match-making  haystacks  PhDs  open_data  nonprofit  NGOs  volunteering 
july 2012 by jerryking
"Ploughing with the former foe."
Lucas, Louise. "Ploughing with the former foe." Financial Times 10 May 2012: 14. Infotrac Newsstand. Web. 13 May 2012.
Document URL
NGOs  SABMiller  Unilever  palm_oil  Nestlé  agriculture 
may 2012 by jerryking
David Tafuri: Wireless in Gaza -
AUGUST 25, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | By DAVID TAFURI. If
young Palestinians have access to better information today, they may
make better decisions tomorrow....One reason is the proximity of the
Palestinian territories to Israel, which is the region's leader in
Internet development. Another factor is the high rate of literacy in the
territories, estimated at 92%. Perhaps most significant, however, is
that Palestinians' isolation—and inability to travel and import or
export goods—means that the Web is their main way to connect with the
outside world.

Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) responsible for helping develop the
Palestinian economy view the Internet as the most promising sector for
job creation. Already, companies in the West Bank like Exalt
Technologies and Asal Technologies are making money on the Web and
invigorating the economy.
Palestinians  Web  hacks  programming  NGOs  Gaza 
august 2010 by jerryking

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