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Posts from the ‘Collaboration’ Category


Ranking Kiva’s Partners – The Need Factor

Earlier this month I posted an analysis of which countries most need’s microfinance services (based on their poverty rates) and which countries are getting them (based on Kiva’s actual lending data).   This analysis provides an opportunity to update my ranking of Kiva in-country microfinance banking institutions from last fall, to include “relative need”. Read more »


Mapping Microloans

Mapping meets microlending, two of my favorite topics!   Having previously ranked the quality of Kiva microloan partners (and now, for several months, having used the rankings to steer my own loans), I thought I would do some quick and dirty visualization of the results.  As a bonus I’ve churned out some visualizations of worldwide Kiva lending, poverty rates, and the relative penetration of Kiva into the neediest countries in the world. Read more »


You Are What You Tweet

NASA’s ten field Centers (well, nine and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, technically a Federally Funded Research and Development Center) do the “heavy lifting” of NASA’s missions.   Each Center has a portfolio of skills, capabilities and missions entrusted to their care.   Each Center also has its own “flavor”, focusing on those things it does best.   (Actually, this is as much culture as it is flavor).   I was curious to see how strongly each Center’s “branding” might show up in our “official” tweets.

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Photojournal: Mongolia

This entry is a bit overdue; at the time of our nomadic homestay trip to Mongolia in 2009, NASA was just beginning a period of significant “disruption”, and I never found the time upon return to write or post about it. However, it was one of the most transformative trips of my life. I hope in this post I can capture in some small way the incredible beauty of both the landscape and the people of Mongolia.

First, a few words from “Badger” Byambatogtoh, the cutest kid in Bulgan Aimag:

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Ranking Kiva’s microfinance partners

Earlier this year (and a little behind the times) I got turned on to, the “social clearinghouse” for matching pools of small ($25 a pop) lenders with individual borrowers in developing countries. Kiva’s process of pairing lenders with borrowers is described here. Kiva fills a critical niche in breaking the lending process down into bite size chunks for lenders, screening and qualifying “in-country” partners (the actual lending institutions, to whom Kiva’s members effectively provide collateral).   I have been wanting a way to help identify the most “solid” of the in-country partners to lend with; in the “study” shared here, I have scraped a large amount of microfinance institution performance data and combined them into figures of merit, to attempt to somewhat objectively rank the Kiva partners.

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A Common Crowdsourcing Platform?

Here’s the executive summary:   A common smartphone app interface and underlying open API could unlock crowdsourced data collection across a number of different fields.  The trick … how to get critical mass. Read more »


Semantic Searching Meets Dataporn

Following up on my earlier discussion of semantic searching and scholarly research, I’ve done a little more digging on recent work done in this area, emphasizing the visualization problem, which should really be added as another “major advance” needed to operationalize semantic searching. Read more »


Social Networking, Semantic Searching and Science

Executive summary: The tools and tricks of scientific collaboration are still pretty old school.  With the ivory tower not being a major profit center, how can innovations in the private sector (which far outstrip academia’s capabilities) be brought over to accelerate scientific research and discovery?  (Caveat: I have no answers, just a problem statement!) Read more »


Facebook unzipped

So, the release of the “new new” Facebook, arguably another step down from the “old new” Facebook, makes it painfully obvious that these good folks just don’t have the User Interface gene, and maybe never will. My Facebook page is increasingly looking like the drawer in the kitchen in which random tools, bits of fluff, balls of wax and spare tacks end up, and that’s not a Good Thing. Facebook needs to bite the bullet and leave the UI up to the innovators and professionals. Read more »