Skip to content

“did you read?”: magical machines edition

April 4, 2011

Round two of interesting reads.  Here are a few snippets to entice you:

Washing Machines

And what’s the magic with them? My mother explained the magic with this [washing] machine the very, very first day. She said, “Now Hans, we have loaded the laundry; the machine will make the work. And now we can go to the library.” Because this is the magic: you load the laundry, and what do you get out of the machine? You get books out of the machines, children’s books. And mother got time to read for me. She loved this. I got the “ABC.” This is where I started my career as a professor, when my mother had time to read for me.” 

 –  Hans Rosling in his Dec. 2010 TED Talk, posted on “The Magic Washing Machine” by Gwen Sharp, Sociological Images.  Rosling deconstructs the ethics of efforts within the green movement to push for less energy consumption globally.  What happens when curbing climate change means individuals in developing nations are not entitled to the same conveniences, like the electric washing machine, that millions in post-industrial nations have long enjoyed?

Bicycles

“Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel.”

– Susan B. Anthony, quoted in Wheels of Change: How the Bicycle Empowered Women, The Atlantic, by Maria Popova, who discusses the little known role of the bicycle in the feminist movement. 


Solar Ovens


“The solar oven is a simple idea that has actually been around for a few hundred years. It is sometimes touted as a panacea for problems ranging from women’s rights to global warming. The Peace Corps distributed them in the 1960s, and last year, a cardboard version called the “Kyoto Box” won a prestigious $75,000 design prize. On the surface, the idea seems like a good one: Use the sun to cook food. Free heat. No wood chopping or carrying. And yet, the solar cooker has, ironically, not set the developing world on fire.” 

– Frank Bures, “Can You Hear Us Now?”,  Heifer International.  Bures explores why the top down approach of non-profit organizations introducing environmental designs, such as the solar oven, to beneificiaries is less sucessful than a bottom up approach of for-profit social enterprises designing products customers are willing to purchase.

What did you read this week?

Advertisements
One Comment leave one →
  1. Pop permalink
    April 5, 2011 3:45 am

    I am still thinking about the full implications of “why the top down approach of non-profit organizations introducing environmental designs, such as the solar oven, to beneificiaries is less sucessful than a bottom up approach of for-profit social enterprises designing products customers are willing to purchase.” I am not sure what constitutes a “for-profit social enterprise”? Seems like sooner or latter, the “for-profit” will clash with the “social enterprise”…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: