This is a message to officially announce a new blog: http://m4mdg.blogspot.com/
Not much yet, but I hope to raise a little bit of support for the Millennium Villages Project and for MVP-like projects (One.org, UNICEF, etc), and more importantly, to show that average people can make a difference. Lots of people run marathons, lots of people ride bikes, lots of people go hiking, skiing, canoeing, lots of people do lots of things... why not dedicate it to ending poverty?
We are the first generation that can end poverty, extreme poverty, across the entire world. Extreme poverty - defined as living on less than $1 a day. Over 1 billion people, 1 in 6 people in the world, live on this much every day. I've been lucky enough to meet some of them in the course of my job, to hear their hopes and dreams, to see their kids playing and crying and daydreaming just like any other kids anywhere else in the world.
We can help them... but better yet, we can help them help themselves work their way out of poverty. It's almost impossible to pull yourself out of poverty.... just like it's almost impossible to run a marathon by yourself - with no support and no training. We need debt forgiveness for poor countries, new technologies to fight hunger and disease, restructuring of global trade, and to follow through with our aid promises.
We can do it, and together we can make the world a better place.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Posted by Eric Holthaus at 7:55 PM
Finally, today we had our first real snowstorm of the season here in Brooklyn. For me, this was a much anticipated event (especially since we were beat by New Orleans)... but a snow day on the last official work day before break was a great surprise. So, as those of you who know me could probably guess, I spent the day working from home and taking pictures out of my window.
Later in the day I had a proper walk around the block, and took some more pictures.
We're almost done with the paper we've been working on for the last 2 months (read: I've been putting off for two months), which means that my time working directly with the Millennium Villages Project is also almost done. It's been such a wonderful experience, and it's helped me mature both as a scientist and as a human person.
This week I had an interview to continue on at the IRI, in a similar but more senior position. My role will be (hopefully) to support a range of similar projects on weather index insurance that the IRI is involved in around the world. My job will be in 3 parts: outreach, tool development, and basic research. The outreach will formalize some of the work I've been doing this year (most notably my trip to Malawi and Tanzania in July) - helping engage stakeholders on projects in the field. Currently, the projects I'd be working on are located in Central America and Ethiopia, with the potential for new projects in India and Indonesia and a few other places. For tool development, we're constructing a web-based application that can help with both education and implementation of weather insurance contracts. This is requiring me to (re-)learn some computer programming, but it's been fun so far getting up to speed again. Basic research will be the most similar to my job the past two and a half years, developing new methods and refining old methods for identifying climate-induced drought impacts using data from weather stations and satellites. Last night, the IRI had their annual holiday party, and it was so nice to think that I'll get to keep spending time with these people that I feel like I've just recently gotten to know a little better. They're so inspiring, and supportive of me and each other. On the way home, I thought to myself, my life is really wonderful.
On a related note:
My marathon training is also going well - and I've decided to dedicate my run to the Millennium Villages Project. I'll be running the National Marathon in Washington DC on March 21st. Any and all donations I gather in the meantime (which I don't expect to be much, but anything will help!) I'll donate to the MVP. I've also started another blog so I can chronicle my training and hopefully inspire other people to do something similar for similar causes. Idealistic, I know... but hey, that's how I roll.
I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday, and I'll be seeing some of you in a few days!
Posted by Eric Holthaus at 7:20 PM
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Yesterday I noticed the huge winter storm moving through the eastern half of the country - with a forecast of freezing rain in Nyack, wondering if I'd be able to make it home from work. I also noticed that snow was forecast for as far south as Memphis. "That's funny", I thought... "but surely it won't make it down to NOLA..."
(Pictures from NOLA.com)
AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA
817 AM CST THU DEC 11 2008
THE WINTER STORM ADVISORY HAS BEEN UPGRADED TO A WINTER STORM
WARNING ACROSS THE PCWA...EXCEPT THE LOWER PARISHES IN SOUTHEAST
LOUISIANA. ACCCUMULATIONS UP TO AN INCH ARE POSSIBLE ON THE SOUTH
SHORE...MAINLY ON BRIDGES...OTHER ELEVATED SURFACES...AND GRASSY
.PREV DISCUSSION... /ISSUED 737 AM CST THU DEC 11 2008/
COOP OBSERVER IN BRUSLY REPORTED 3 TO 4 INCHES ON THE GROUND AT
630 AM. IN ADDITION...STATE POLICE REPORTED NUMEROUS CAR ACCIDENTS
IN AND AROUND THE BATON ROUGE AREA DUE TO SNOW ON ROADS. TRAFFIC
CAMS REVEALED WHITE ON INTERSTATE 10 AND INTERSTATE 12. HAVE
UPGRADED ADVISORY TO WARNING FOR SOUTH MISSISSIPPI...EXCLUDING
MISSISSIPPI COAST AND FLORIDA PARISHES TIL NOON.
Posted by Eric Holthaus at 11:13 AM
Friday, December 5, 2008
Tough times... apparently GM and Chrysler are now both in talks about a possible bankruptcy as condition for accepting a government bailout. Chrysler has already hired a bankruptcy firm.
Can you imagine an America that has no American made cars? Is that such a bad thing? This is truly a sign of globalization... especially the globalization of capitalism. If Toyota can make the same quality product for a cheaper price, then why not reward them for that? Isn't that the result of the same value system that America was born on?
The problem is that 3 million people's jobs depend on the survival of the American car industry. Not to mention, more than a little bit of pride. These are the kinds of things that pure capitalism fails to take into account. The externalities of a big 3 bankruptcy will extend well beyond what any of us can probably realize right now.
So I say, bail them out, but make it hard on them. Make them promise to revolutionize the auto industry. Make them commit to being global leaders in sustainability. Make them pioneer the practical, affordable, ubiquitious 21st century transportation system. Not only electric cars, but how about public transit too? Buses, taxis, maybe some new system we haven't even thought of yet?
I would ride a Chevrolet subway car to work every day. Maybe they'll be doing just that in Kansas City in 2025.
Posted by Eric Holthaus at 1:10 PM
Wow, can you imagine? Face to face talks between Obama and Raul Castro in Guantanamo?
That's the kind of change I can believe in.
Posted by Eric Holthaus at 12:26 PM