Friday, April 29, 2016

Guyana signs Paris Agreement on climate change

Guyana was one of many nations signing the agreement. The statement by President Granger at the event said in part:

"The Cooperative Republic of Guyana, in the short-term, up to 2020, will:
• improve timber monitoring and maintain a high level of timber legality;
• increase value-added activities in the forestry sector so as to augment carbon storage in long-use wood products;
• intensify the sustainable management of our indigenous communities which own and manage 14% of our national territory;
• introduce a national Emissions Reduction Programme (ERP) to add two million hectares under conservation, encourage more efficient mining and logging activities and implement Reduced Impact Logging (RIL).
• invest in solar power, wind power and hydropower to transition more rapidly to renewable sources of energy and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels."

Looks good so far although somewhat vague. Ratification by Guyana is still required.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

MOOCs update

I have been doing MOOCs regularly with Coursera, Futurelearn and Edx and mention a few below that I did recently.

But, please note, the platforms for these three leaders have important differences so if you have experience with one then don't assume the others are the same. Also then content differs with Edx have more academic courses and Futurelearn more for the casual learner. Coursera has some of both.

Modelling climate change
Currently doing a course called Religous Literacy

Strategies for successful Aging
Monitoring climate from space
Exlporing our oceans

Critical Thinking in Global Challenges
The Science of the Solar System
Planet Earth...and You!
Energy and the Earth

Sunday, January 24, 2016

World Bank report on the internet and development

According to a New York Times article, The World Bank recently released a report (World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends) which had both positive and negative findings regarding the impact of the internet.
"Those who are already well-off and well-educated have been able to take advantage of the Internet economy, the report concluded pointedly, and despite the expansion of Internet access, 60 percent of humanity remains offline."
"...the vast changes wrought by technology have not expanded economic opportunities or improved access to basic public services in ways that many had expected. Rather, the report warned darkly, Internet innovations stand to widen inequalities and even hasten the hollowing out of middle-class employment."
" also takes pains to say that expanding access will not be enough for citizens to take advantage of the benefits. It also recommends enabling companies to compete, strengthening the skills of workers so they can obtain the new jobs and making government institutions accountable."

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Some local IT news

Some quick items before year-end.

Wi-fi for schools
According to Demerara Waves:
"The eGovernment Unit  has begun rolling out Wi- Fi networks in schools, while Hinterland and remote areas are expected to benefit from internet access by the end of the first quarter of 2016..."
This will be a challenging project. The article indicates that there is currently a pilot project at one school. Access will be restricted using a whitelist.

Open source
This important issue got some coverage recently.
Hacking vs open source
Open source in public service

Samsung smart school pilot project
Samsung and Starr Computers along with the Ministry of Education worked to set this up. This system has been piloted in many countries but I could not quickly find an independent evaluation. Will be interesting to see what happens over the next year or so. May be I can follow this story.

The World Is Not Falling Apart

I posted an item on this topic one year ago and here another from the same source!
An article from Slate pointing out the upward trends.
"The only sound way to appraise the state of the world is to count. How many violent acts has the world seen compared with the number of opportunities? And is that number going up or down? As Bill Clinton likes to say, “Follow the trend lines, not the headlines.” We will see that the trend lines are more encouraging than a news junkie would guess."
Not that there are not downward trends but there are upward trends too!