Review: Kiva.org

Hey everybody:

So I was making a new loan tonight, and realized I haven’t said anything about Kiva.org on my blog yet! That is a heinous oversight that has to be remedied immediately.

I’ve been partnering with Kiva loans since 2009, when I first put in some money for a loan to a woman in Cambodia who runs a grocery store. Just the idea was so amazing that I was hooked instantly. It was almost beyond my imagination that $25 would go far enough where she lived to help put extra stock on her store shelves, and get the door on her house fixed. All that needed to happen on my end was to ease up on buying used books for a month, and maybe go without a couple other things.

The coolest part is that once I made about three or four loans the money started to recirculate itself. See, you CAN lend more, but the average amount is $25. So, as each business owner made payments, some of the funds came back to me. They sat in my Kiva portfolio as credit, waiting to go back out. Every time my inbox level reached $30 (to cover the $3 lending fee), I would send it back out to someone else. At this point, it’s like microenterprise owners around the world are lending to each other, using me and Kiva as a go-between!

Here are some screenshots from my Kiva accounts page. First, a quick overlook at my loan status:

Next, a look at how my loans break down by the gender of people I’m lending to:

Now the loans are broken down by what type of business people are in:

And lastly, a look at loans by country:

I would strongly encourage people who may not have thought about this concept to check out www.kiva.org and give serious thought to making a loan part of your giving experience.

As you can see, I’ve mostly been loaning to women. A good part of that reasoning came from studies about microenterprise I’ve read. They have found that when the lives and resources of women in different countries are strengthened, their whole communities benefit. Lately I’ve also been thinking about targeting loans to the Middle East. I mean, we’ve gone in and really bombed that area to bits. Don’t I have an obligation as an American to help rebuild it by empowering the people who live there?

If I had one wish with Kiva, it would be the ability to further target loans. I would like to be able to loan to other transgender people. Now, there are some countries where it’s just not possible to be out. But there have to be some places where having access to microenterprise could really improve the lives of transgender people.

But regardless, I am going to keep partnering with Kiva, because good work gets done there, and I’ve never seen $25 do so much! Do look into it folks.

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New App Helps Fight Pain

Wow…sometimes technology is truly helpful beyond what I expected. The SickKids hospital in Toronto needed to understand how pain afflicts children with cancer so they can develop better treatments for it. But it’s hard for kids to record their pain on a daily basis for so many reasons.

IPhone apps to the rescue.

They developed a game where the kids become members of the “Pain Squad”. Treating the pain like a police case that needs to be solved, the kids file “police reports” each day to help track the data and solve the case. Even cast members from Canada’s most popular cop shows lent their support.

I’ve popped the video in here…you should really take the three minutes out of your day to watch it. Pretty amazing stuff…

Review: Tweet My Jobs

Hey everybody:

So I’m back looking for work, and it’s not going very well. I’ve had a couple of interviews, but nothing’s really panning out. I know the same thing is going on with a lot of people who stop by my blog, so I thought I’d bend your ear to this new resource today.

Tweetmyjobs.com is pretty awesome so far! I got to upload and edit a resume. And before you groan, I have to tell you, TweetMyJobs has the best resume populator I’ve EVER seen! They actually got 90% of my information put in the right spot from the start. That’s never happened before.

They also seem to have really great inroads somehow. I just applied for a job with RiteAid that I never would have seen on Craigslist, but they tweeted it right to me through one of their channels I’m following. Of course, it also never occurred to me to apply for RiteAid. I think that’s probably another function they fulfill: expanding your brain. Sometimes when the hunt starts to get harsh, folks get tunnel vision.

Anyway, I HIGHLY recommend you hit up this site. Here’s a look at my new resume as an example: http://www.tweetmyjobs.com/resume/lincolnr

Hasan Elahi FBI Here I Am!

“Intelligence agencies…all operate in an industry where their commodity is information. Or restricted access to information. The reason their information has any value is because no one else has access to it. By me giving out the information, it has no value….If 300 million people started doing this, we would have to redesign the entire intelligence system from the ground up.”

Hasan Elahi is a professor at the University of Maryland where he is a director of Digital Cultures and Creativity. This is amazing…a few years ago he was picked up by the FBI at the airport (of course). After determining he wasn’t a terrorist, he was still concerned about being caught up again by other FBI agents who didn’t know he was “cleared” to be able to actually move around the country. You know, since he’s an American citizen and stuff.

So he decided to one up them, and recorded his entire life in pictures, geo locations, and other bits of data. His Ted Talk is awesome. Here you go!

 

The Student Loan Scheme

Most of us know by now, usually through direct experience, what a Mafia inspired deal the student loan industry is. But I haven’t seen anything lay it out in detail quite like this graphic before.

Enjoy!

 

Getting Arrested? Tell The World!

If you’ve been following the Occupy movement, you’ve seen people get arrested. Interactions with law enforcement can be confusing, and remembering everyone who needs to know is tough. Now, there’s an app for that.

I’m Getting Arrested lets you enter a pre-written text message, designed to be sent to anyone in your world who needs to know. Once the information is entered, a giant bullseye comes up on your screen, ready to be pressed.

To find out more, read this article: http://tinyurl.com/42vyolc

Ready to download it? Here’s the Android Market page: https://market.android.com/details?id=us.quadrant2.arrested

h/t to Rachel Maddow for the info!

 

Is It Time to Move Our Money

I read this article today about banks starting to charge $3/month fees for using your debit cards. It’s not all banks, and not all states (yet). But it is Wells Fargo (where I bank) and it is Washington State (where I live). I wasn’t too sure what to do about it. After all, I started up with WF because they have branches everywhere I have people, including rural Michigan. A lot of folks have been saying that it’s time to move our money to credit unions and local banks, but I didn’t think would work for me.

And then I saw that Salal Credit Union is part of a nationwide network of Credit Union ATMs. Apparently, a lot of them have agreements with each other to honor transactions. Including one in rural Michigan. Where I have people. And where I was a member growing up. So now I’m thinking about it.

One of the organizations working on this back to the credit unions and local banks/divorce the giant corporations movement put up this video on YouTube:

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Do you think it’s time to move our money?