Monday, July 31, 2017

Ideas, Actions, and Inspiration for a Better Tomorrow - July 31 Edition

Media, Race, Culture

“I also think that right now more than ever a lot of young people are feeling very small, very helpless, and a lot of parents are feeling very confused, angry, small and helpless … so we bring stories like the Bessie Coleman story, someone who in [the] 1920s as a black female in the United States was told, “No, you can’t fly, you’re black, you’re a woman, and we won’t even teach you how to fly.” At that time, with all the incredible gender and racial discrimination that was going on in this country … she went [to France] and was the only African American and Native American female in her class. She learned how to fly and she comes back home with an international pilot’s license, which Amelia Earhart didn’t even have yet — she wouldn’t have hers for two more years.

I think showing kids stories like that [is important] and really getting to them and going, “Look at that, you can do that, you can do anything if you really just think outside of what is expected of you.” You look at obstacles and you say, “That’s not just something that’s in your way. That’s actually potential for something greater. By overcoming that, you could lead to something unexpected in yourself.””  ~  Karyn Parsons, founder of Sweet Blackberry

Technology, AI

"But an increasing body of research and criticism suggests that algorithms and artificial intelligence aren’t necessarily a panacea for ending prejudice, and they can have disproportionate impacts on groups that are already socially disadvantaged, particularly people of color. Instead of offering a workaround for human biases, the tools we designed to help us predict the future may be dooming us to repeat the past by replicating and even amplifying societal inequalities that already exist.

These data-fueled predictive technologies aren’t going away anytime soon. So how can we address the potential for discrimination in incredibly complex tools that have already quietly embedded themselves in our lives and in some of the most powerful institutions in the country?
In 2014, a report from the Obama White House warned that automated decision-making “raises difficult questions about how to ensure that discriminatory effects resulting from automated decision processes, whether intended or not, can be detected, measured, and redressed.”

Over the last several years, a growing number of experts have been trying to answer those questions by starting conversations, developing best practices and principles of accountability, and exploring solutions for the complex and insidious problem of algorithmic bias."

Health Care

"Citing the protracted uncertainty over the law’s future, many insurers have proposed big rate increases again for next year even though many are no longer incurring big losses in its marketplaces. People covered by one insurer in Maryland could see premiums rise by more than 50 percent if proposed rate increases go into effect, and premiums for plans in Virginia and Connecticut could increase more than 30 percent. In North Carolina, where rates are already among the nation’s highest, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina wants an increase of nearly 23 percent but said it would have sought less than half that amount under more predictable circumstances.

The politics are exceedingly tricky in a divided and dysfunctional Washington, but economists, insurers, doctors and health policy experts across the political spectrum agree that immediately addressing three or four basic shortcomings in the existing system would go a long way toward making the law more effective and financially stable."

Women’s rights, social media, Afghanistan

"In Afghanistan's patriarchal society, a woman's name should not be revealed, even on her grave.
"Mr X's" mother, daughter or sister, the headstone might read, rather than the name of the deceased.

Openly using the names of women is regarded as inappropriate and even an insult in the conservative Muslim nation.

On a birth certificate there is no sign of the mother's name. On a wedding invitation the bride's name is not mentioned - only the names of her father and husband-to-be.

But a women-led campaign on social media is starting to challenge the old Afghan tradition."

Sustainability, Economy

"In the face of renewed calls for trickle-down economic policy—such as proposed tax cuts for the rich and transnational corporations—we urgently need a clearly articulated theory and practice of sustainable economics that works for local communities. Enter a blessing of a book, Anthony Flaccavento’s Building a Healthy Economy from the Bottom Up: Harnessing Real-World Experience for Transformative Change.

Bottom Up is a comprehensive primer on the transition to a new economy—the place-based movement to rewire the economy for equity and ecological sustainability. It is rich in stories and detail for the curious or discouraged and those seeking a strategy to move toward a sustainable and equitable future. Flaccavento excels as a storyteller, reporting on successful “bottom-up” ventures and experiments in building new systems around food, energy, health services, worker ownership, community finance, and place-based arts and culture."

No comments: