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WeGov

Mobile Health Initiatives Falling Short of a Cure

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, March 14 2013

As more and more mobile initiatives for the developing world are announced to great fanfare, a backlash has risen asking when we’re going to see concrete effects. Yesterday, the New York Times’ Fixes column turned an eye to the realm of mobile health, looking at some of the reasons why social limitations can work against mobile innovations.

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The US Military is Trying to Track Political Upheaval Via Social Media Content

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, March 14 2013

Cat Improving Military Strategy (from Memecenter.com).

Someone at South by Southwest may have already beaten them to programming drones to do the Harlem Shake, but the US military is still getting into memes.  An intelligence tool currently in development at the Office of Naval Research will track the spread of viral content online by actually treating it like a virus, using epidemiological models to predict how and where different ideas will emerge.

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Lessons from Kenya's Election

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, March 13 2013

Uhuru Kenyatta was announced as the victor of Kenya's 2013 election last week (Instagram).

A week out from the Kenyan election, a contested victory for Uhuru Kenyatta has summoned comparisons to the country’s 2007 ballot.  But this time around, political violence has been largely absent in the public’s response to the results.  The 2013 election may be better known for its technical difficulties. 

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WeGov

Worldwide Email Flow Reveals Patterns of History

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, March 8 2013

Social network analysis (SNA) has proven to be an effective tool for understanding how online behaviors relate to real-world societal conditions.  SNA of Twitter updates has given insight into information flow during natural disasters, as well as the organization and rhetoric of protest movements.  But what kind of patterns can be seen in pre-Web-2.0 communications? 

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WeGov

How Effective was Crisis Mapping During the 2011 Japan Earthquake?

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, March 7 2013

A house floats near Sendai, Japan after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami (Wikimedia Commons).

The March 2011 earthquake in Japan had a debilitating impact on infrastructure, and took a devastating cost in human life. Response to the disaster and the road to recovery were aided significantly by a wide range of communications systems. As in many disaster situations before and since, several crisis-mapping efforts immediately took off, filling in information gaps for survivors and providing a picture to the international community.  Two years later, how useful were these maps to disaster response?

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Putin Signs the Order For Russian e-Petition Portal

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, March 7 2013

Vladimir Putin (Wikimedia Commons).

Russian citizens will soon have their own e-petition portal, though they may not be able to demand the construction of a Death Star.  President Vladimir Putin signed an order earlier this week to create The Russian Public Initiative, a site will launch in April for e-petitions to the federal government, with regional and local petitions following later in the year.

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For American IT Giants, A Mission to Burma

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, March 6 2013

After nearly 30 years of U.S. government imposed sanctions, several American information technology firms sent delegates on a trade visit to Burma (Myanmar), for the first time in the Internet age.  Facilitated by USAID, the US companies – including Google, Microsoft, HP, Intel, and Cisco – convened with the Burmese Chamber of Congress during an economic conference in Rangoon on February 25.  With Burma’s bid to join the Open Government Partnership looming, the meeting raises questions of a military regime’s ability to foster government accountability and transparency. Read More

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#KenyaDecides, 140 Characters at a Time [Storify] -- UPDATED

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, March 6 2013

Votes are still being tallied for the 2013 Kenya elections, a ballot that has been characterized far more by open and civil discourse than the violence that marred the fallout from the presidential race in 2007. Read More

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Rocked by a Corruption Scandal, Spain's Government Limits Media Access

BY Julia Wetherell | Tuesday, March 5 2013

The Congreso de los Disputados, home of Spain's Lower Parliament in Madrid (Wikimedia Commons).

It’s not an easy time to be a journalist in Spain.  Even as the country’s ongoing economic and unemployment woes continue, and a political scandal of unprecedented scale rocks all levels of government, trust in the press – and incentives to produce objective journalism – are at an all-time low. 

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Will Mobile Banking Empower Women, or Just Telecoms?

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, March 1 2013

The "virtuous circle" of MFS, according to GSMA's study.

In many developing economies, while men earn wages outside the household, women are often acting behind the scenes as the money managers at home.  Yet a recent study found that mobile banking and financial services, which have gotten a lot of press as solutions for bringing economic empowerment to citizens in developing nations, has largely passed over women who could be using them.  Could m-banking strengthen women’s financial practices and narrow the digital gender gap? Or will promoting it only line the pockets of telecom corporations?

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