Editor’s Note: Contributors to this post will be part of a panel on the topic taking place on Thursday, February 9th in Washington, D.C. Sign up for the event here. This post is part of the Global Innovation Showcase created by the New America Foundation and the Global Public Square.
There are now over 5 billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide, according to the International Telecommunications Union, with global mobile penetration at 87 percent. In the developing world, where landlines are especially scarce in rural areas, mobiles have been used for governance, banking, agriculture, education, health, commerce, reporting news, political participation, and reducing corruption.
But the ubiquity of the mobile phone - and its application to a diverse and growing set of development goals - doesn’t guarantee economic or social progress.
Are mobiles just another high-tech solution to what are essentially systemic and deeply rooted problems? Are mobile solutions for combating global poverty overhyped?
By Fareed Zakaria, CNN
These are the dog days of summer, and in this hot, sweltering weather most Americans are busy working. (I know, I know, not you folks in the Hamptons.) Meanwhile, most Europeans are busy vacationing. Thus it has ever been - only it's getting worse.
Nowadays the average European gets about three times as many days of paid vacation as his counterpart in America.
Why do we do this to ourselves?
By Peter Gelling and Nicholas Dynan, Global Post
If popularity is power, we thought, how powerful are the world's sitting heads of state?
Social media gives us an easy way to quantify a leader's popularity (or a city's popularity, or a corporation's, and so on).
So we looked at the most popular social networking sites around the globe, including Facebook, Twitter, Orkut, Bebo, Badoo and several others. Most of the sites, we found, had no official pages for world leaders, so we nixed them. We then added up the friends, likes and followers of the rest to determine which world leaders wielded the most clout.
Here's what we found:
Social media is a powerful tool. Unfortunately — or, perhaps, fortunately — no one told the world’s heads of state. FULL POST
A new Gallup report shows cell phone penetration increasing rapidly in the Arab world over the past year - much faster than internet access. So while the revolution may not have been tweeted, as Malcolm Gladwell claimed, it may well have been texted. Here's the main point of the report:
Technology's pivotal role in the change that swept the Arab world in late 2010 and early 2011 underscores how quickly its young people are gaining access to information and communication technology. Gallup surveys conducted before the unrest show 87% of 15- to 29-year-olds across the Arab League say they have cellular phone access, up from 79% in 2009. Home and community Internet access are up, too, but not nearly as much.
Elon Musk is a 39-year-old engineer and serial entrepreneur. At 28, he co-founded popular e-payment company Paypal. He then went on to start SpaceX, the first private company to launch a rocket into space, and Tesla Motors, which builds electric cars.
I recently talked to Musk about inventions he thinks will change the world. You can check out the transcript below and watch part of our Skype conversation, which encapsulates Musk’s particular brand of big, big thinking (in particular, why we should expand human life into space).