Links & Contents I Liked 201

Hi all,

Welcome to another link review-this time at bit more balanced between the 3 parts-so do scroll down to the end ;)!

Development news:
Lacking punishment for attacking aid workers; EU links humanitarian funding to migration discourse; even the FT discovers the #allmalepanel; crowdfunding innovations for development; the aid industry is constantly changing; did Angelina Jolie really plan to head the UN one day? Musical talent from Sudan; literary talent from Zimbabwe-and finally: How to be a horrible boss?

Our digital lives: Can a sewing robot disrupt garment the industry? How to be writer; assessing fake Internet traffic

Academia: Twitter as a teaching tool; career angst; pre-Brexit student chaos in the UK; predatory publisher buys legitimate medical journals.


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Apply to our Communication for Development online part-time flagship MA program!

As the spring application window for ComDev’s flagship 1-year MA opens from 15 September – 17 October we are once again looking forward to receiving your application.
Last not least, please note that under Swedish higher education rules all EU citizens (and Swedish residents) do not have to pay course fees for our program
Development news
Why Is No One Punished For Attacks On Aid Workers?

There's a 1991 solution to this 2016 problem. Twenty-five years ago, the Geneva Conventions set up the framework for an International Humanitarian Fact Finding Commission. The idea would be to establish an an unbiased group of seven individuals from countries not involved in the conflict under investigation. They'd gather facts and evidence on war crimes. But first, one of its 76 signatory states must sponsor an investigation. That's never happened — not even after MSF called on the Commission to investigate the Kunduz attack last October. MSF's Liu, at a speech in Geneva, accused governments of being "too polite or afraid to set a precedent."
Malaka Gharib for NPR Goats and Soda with an important reminder that attacks and potential war crimes on humanitarian aid do not need to go unpunished-it remains a political decision.

EU's secret ultimatum to Afghanistan: accept 80,000 deportees or lose aid

Meanwhile, the Afghan government is also struggling with internal turmoil, and has failed to revive the economy or produce jobs for the young who leave the country in droves.
It would be challenging for Afghanistan to absorb 80,000 deportations. So far, in 2016, about 5,000 Afghans have returned voluntarily from Europe.
“This is putting unreasonable pressure on the Afghan government, which is not able to respond to such numbers,” said Timor Sharan, senior analyst for the International Crisis Group in Afghanistan.
ECHO budget almost doubles – but migration strings attached
A senior European official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IRIN that the Turkish ECHO spending was overdue, meeting genuine needs, and its underlying humanitarian goals were compelling: “we can’t sit back.. it’s regretful we had to wait for refugees swimming across the Aegean”. He said that other EC development aid typically flows “very slowly”. Asked whether this level of spending by ECHO in a single country could be called entirely needs-based, he responded that “other considerations” always come into play, politics “kicks in”, and that Turkey was a “special case”.
Both pieces from the Guardian and IRIN are timely reminder that 'evidence-based' or 'needs-based' considerations for aid get thrown out of the window when political 'realities' seemingly demand alternative approaches. Once aid was needed to 'fight' communism-now it is needed to 'fight' migration...

All-male panels face backlash

All-male panels are now prompting criticism that makes them a public relations liability for organisations running events. In Sweden, a campaign with the label #TackaNej (which translates roughly as “no thanks”) is attracting supporters, from media personalities to academics and entrepreneurs, who refuse to take part in conferences and panel discussions that have no female speakers.
Sarah Murray reports for the Financial Times. Yes, the #allmalepanel finally makes it into the FT-labelled as 'public relation liability' and lacking any hint at 'diversity' that goes beyond the initial claim of 'add more women to panels'. Adding women to panels for better PR is not a 'solution' of course and the absence of critical, diverse voices in the business world will remain a problem.

Crowdfunding innovation in international cooperation

Each chapter is equipped with numerous examples of how organizations collaborate in a more innovative way thanks to the Internet. But also, particularly, to decision-makers in organizations, who want to know what are the experiences of these new forms of cooperation, and what consequences this has for traditional a organization. For example, one can see how startups are experimenting with open business models and are telling their business secrets in the form of open software, also what it means to work together with people around the world in one product. Or what importance can social media on internal innovation processes in organizations have; and how to build such processes systematically.
Christian Kreutz introduces his new ebook on open and crowdfunding innovation for the development sector.

Want to change the aid industry? Here's how to do it

Whether you perceive it or not, the ecosystem of aid and development entities is in a constant state of evolution – changing theory, changing practice, changing understanding about what it means to “help”. Today’s brilliant innovation will be tomorrow’s old hat. And the practice that you so passionately evangelise this week could well be proven harmful the next.
J.'s reminder for the Guardian with another reminder that generalized critique that the industry 'is not working' is not very helpful and that the sector is already am evolving Eco-system that adapts and innovates constantly (even when the Silicon Valley disruptors are not watching...)!

Jolie’s U.N. Ambitions behind Marital Crisis

TMZ news website said that Jolie was so obsessed with becoming the head of the United Nations, which caused major marital problems with Pitt.
Sources close to the couple were quoted by the news agency as saying that Pitt became “increasingly upset over Angelina’s political ambitions”.
The sources added that the actress had two political advisers and a “war room” to help with decisions and international image.
You can (and should!) criticize TMZ's approach to journalism-but at the end of the day they are well informed and know their sources. But I really wonder whether Angelina Jolie really thought she could run the UN (or any of its agencies)?!?

4 Artists From the New School of Sudanese Music Speak on Their Search for Home & Identity

“My relationship with Sudan is really painful for me. It’s based on a lot of rejection and my music-making, is sort of my way of making peace with it. My parents left Sudan forcibly,” she says.
Omnia Saed talks to artists from Sudan for Okay Africa. Very interesting observations between music, culture and the complex political realities of the country.

This Week in Fiction: Petina Gappah on the Insular World of Boarding School

There is indeed a thematic link in the collection. Rotten Row is the street in Harare on which you find the Criminal Division of the Magistrate’s Court. The book is made up of twenty stories about crime, seen from different perspectives. I also experiment with different approaches to storytelling: I use a court judgment, an autopsy report, and an Internet discussion forum, as well as other voices. I love the short story and want to master the form. I love the sentence-by-sentence, word-level attention that the short story demands, and that is its greatest pleasure.
Deborah Treisman talks to Petina Gappah for the New Yorker. Her writing on Zimbabwe is definitely adding to changing perceptions of 'Africa' and literature from the continent.

29 tips on how to be a horrible boss

When non-profit director and blogger Vu Le asked his Facebook community to describe what makes a horrible boss, he was inundated with responses. Warning: you may recognise yourself here
Nothing says 'Friday afternoon' better than a good, old listicle ;)! Vu Le (Nonprofit With Balls) collects a few good examples on horrible bosses for the Guardian.

Our digital lives

A Robot That Sews Could Take the Sweat Out of Sweatshops

Jonathan Zornow, the sole employee of a new startup called Sewbo, thinks the U.S. could bring garment manufacturing a little closer to home by automating the feeding of fabric into sewing machines—a step that to this day is done by hand. Zornow has created a process by which a robotic arm guides chemically stiffened pieces of fabric through a commercial sewing machine.
Signe Brewster for MIT Technology Review with an interesting reminder that automation and 'robots' will be a game-changer for garment manufacturing-beyond minimum or living wage debate. This would be huge for many developing countries...

How to Be a Writer: 10 Tips from Rebecca Solnit

The process of making art is the process of becoming a person with agency, with independent thought, a producer of meaning rather than a consumer of meanings that may be at odds with your soul, your destiny, your humanity, so there’s another kind of success in becoming conscious that matters and that is up to you and nobody else and within your reach.
Rebecca Solnit for the Literary Hub. Much of her advice also applies to other forms of writing (not just literature/fiction-even if she advises against writing blog post and other 'disposable bubblewrap'...).

Traffic Is Fake, Audience Numbers Are Garbage, And Nobody Knows How Many People See Anything

How many living, breathing human beings really read Techdirt? The truth — the most basic, rarely-spoken truth — is that we have no earthly idea. With very few exceptions, no media property big or small, new or old, online or off, can truly tell you how big its audience is. They may have never thought about it that way — after all, we all get as close as we can to what we think is a reasonably accurate estimation, though we have no way of confirming that — but all these numbers are actually good for (maybe) is relative comparisons. What does it really mean when someone says "a million people" saw something? Or ten or a hundred million? I don't know, and neither do you.
Leigh Beadon post for TechDirt is among other things also an important reminder for academics who are getting increasingly excited about social media data. The truth is, measuring traffic, likes or audiences is faulty at worst and intelligent guessing at best...

Using Twitter as a teaching tool can boost engagement and enrich classroom debate and discourse

Bringing together the different overall themes identified within the literature we are able to list the following key benefits of Twitter within the classroom:
Proactive participation and increased engagement
More engagement in Q&A sessions
A flipped classroom experience
Ability to connect with domain experts (academics and other professionals)
Ability to foster debate and discourse
Emergence of student topics of interest
Closer relationships between students and teachers
After-class discussion
Wasim Ahmed and Sergej Lugovic for the LSE Impact Blog. This is an important reminder that for every 'why I banned laptops/phones/PowerPoint etc. in my seminars' post there is also a very nuanced engagement with the benefits of digital technology use in and around the classroom.

Losing Your Way as a Scientist: How Not to Suck

A series of projects have worked themselves into an intellectual cul-de-sac that do not advance the big goals. Personal stressors and responsibilities restrict the time necessary to achieve professional goals. Work is tiring and tedious. There is a vague, but loud and persistent, feeling that what you are doing right now is not what you are meant to do with your career. These are not same as the day-to-day hassles of a researcher. Some of these hassles involve things like broken equipment, spoiled samples, difficult relationships with collaborators, data collection sites falling through, disagreements with supervisors, papers rejected, and grants unfunded. These day-to-day hassles are the price of admission to being a researcher that happen to everyone and everyone needs to cope. The big question is what to do when one finds that the big and slow moving ship of the research program and career are going in the wrong direction.
Steven R. Shaw shares some (self-) critical reflections on 'surviving' an academic career. It's better than many other pieces I have read recently that simply condemn the 'neoliberal university' and management for the state of higher education.

Students forced to share single rooms as university cashes in on pre-Brexit EU influx

Speaking to The Independent, a university spokesperson cited Brexit as one of the main causes for the crisis, since unexpected numbers of European students have hurried to accept places before Britain leaves the EU.
Peter Dunn, director of press and policy at Warwick, said Brexit had introduced “a great degree of uncertainty to student recruitment”. “We expected the number of non-British EU students to fall after the referendum,” he said, “but what actually happened was the number of acceptances increased.”
Unprecedented numbers of students across the board have accepted places at the last minute or through clearing in order to escape a potential hike in fees next year.
Rachael Pells and Lily Pickard report for The Independent on how the fear of Brexit and looming overseas fees for EU students leads to a rush for spaces at UK programs. I heard similar examples from a variety of colleagues who teach at major universities all across the country.

Canadian medical journals hijacked for junk science

“I am scared not just for science but also genuinely scared for the whole notion that publishing should be done by credible journals run by credible associations (with) credible editors. These predatory open access journals have nothing in them that is credible or authentic,” said Dr. Madhukar Pai, who holds the Canada research chair in Epidemiology and Global Health at McGill University.
Marco Chown Oved, Avis Favaro and Elizabeth St. Philip for the Toronto Star and CTV News. The lucrative academic (journal) publishing market comes up with new ways of cashing in on reputable science as predatory publishing companies try to bolster their portfolio with legitimate journals.


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