The TED Fellows program brings together young world-changers from many fields, from art to tech to activism, and encourages them to mix and combine and think big. On Monday morning we heard from a representative sample …
Graffiti’s unifying vantage point. Street artist about this jaw-dropping mural.
How to correctly bring Internet to Africa. The African continent is huge, with more than 50 countries and 2,000+ languages. Bringing widespread Internet connection won’t be as simple as plopping a metal bird — or a balloon, or a satellite — in the sky. Erik Hersman is a technologist who creates platforms for open Internet in Africa. The problem is, not only is Internet penetration very low, only about 30 percent, but often the services available, like Wikipedia Zero and Facebook Free Basics, are very limited “lite” versions, where users can only visit certain approved sites, and can’t share video or music files, for example. Although companies such as Google and Facebook do have growing initiatives to bring access to the world, lack of digital infrastructure for reliable, full Internet is inhibiting open acces … yet it’s what we should be asking for. “Africans want access to the internet just like everybody else in the world, and for the same reasons,” Hersman says — and because of this, innovative and affordable wi-fi solutions for a mobile society are the future.
The widespread damage of cluster bombs. After meeting a young Lebanese refugee named Mohammed, Laura Boushnak became intimately acquainted with the catastrophic consequences of cluster munitions. When released during flight, cluster bombs release hundreds of bomblets, incurring a range of destruction incapable of discriminating between target and civilian. Many of the small bombs fail to explode on impact and thus lay dormant, waiting to harm any unsuspecting farmer or child who happens to encounter the mine by chance. The victims who survive these encounters, like Mohammed, often suffer wounds leading to multiple amputations, which severely hinder their ability to provide for their families, and can also lead to extreme psychological consequences. Because a large portion of these victims live in extreme poverty, they are unable to afford proper care and prosthetics and are forced to rely on humanitarian aid. A number of countries have signed treaties vowing to stop the use of cluster bombs, but major producers, like the U.S., Russia, and China, have not. During the Vietnam War, it is estimated that the U.S. dropped 2 million tons of cluster munitions on Laos alone, of which 9-27 million bomblets may remain unexploded. Although 98% of those affected by these weapons are civilians, major financial institutions continue to invest in companies that make them. Until action is taken, there will continue to be untold numbers of people just like Mohammed, unable to find employment and desperate for any sort of change.
What do you do when you are failed by medicine? about her talk.
Invigorating, revitalizing, refreshing. Musician