Tag Archives: foundation

MacArthur Foundation hands out genius grants to 23 ultra-talented people

“A phone call out of the blue; $500,000 – no strings attached”

Reads the front page for the MacArthur Foundation. Sometimes called the genius grants, they are awarded to the ultra-talented in nearly any field – writers, scientists, photographers. Young and old, this year’s recipients range from 31 to 66 years old. And like the quote says, $500,000 over five years is provided and never talked about again, “in the spirit of fostering intellectual freedom.”

Officially called the MacArthur Fellows, 23 were awarded this year with a focus on “works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society.”

The foundation is one of the largest in the world worth $5.7 billion in 2011 – and awarding $230 million in that same year.

A selection of the winners:

Natalie Almada – documentary filmmaker capturing complex views of Mexican history, politics, and culture as both an art form and a tool for social change.

Claire Chase – arts entrepreneur forging a new model for the commissioning, recording, and live performance of classical music.

Dylan C. Penningroth – historian studying property ownership among former slaves and their children in the United States.

Terry Plank – geochemist probing the invisible but remarkably powerful thermal and chemical forces deep below the Earth’s crust that drive the motion of tectonic plate collisions.

Read about all 23 ultra-talented winners.

 

Source: L.A. Times

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Follow the Light chooses best new surf photographers, Shawn Parkin & Sara Lee

The Follow the Light Foundation (FTLF) was created in the spirit and memory of Larry “Flame” Moore who was Surfing Magazine’s Photo Editor for more than 30 years.

The organization awards a grant each year to best new surf photographer, helping to finance their dreams and push the sport and its lensmen forward.

- Follow the Light

 

Shawn Parkin – Overall Winner

 

 

 

Sara Lee – People’s Choice

 

 

// Videos courtesy of Swell Blog

Wikimedia Foundation votes to start a travel guide – as Wikitravel implodes

The Wikimedia Foundation has decided to create a travel guide in the mold of its non-profit, user-written and search engine results-hogging Wikipedia.

The foundation’s board of trustees on July 11 approved a proposal to launch an advertisement-free travel guide and noted that 31 of the 48 administrators of the Internet Brands-owned Wikitravel have pledged to join forces with the Wikimedia Foundation’s travel guide website.

The foundation indicated that Wikitravel is the current leader in travel wikis, but its advertisements and monetization efforts may turn off travelers and would-be contributors.

In addition, the foundation argues that Internet Brands has failed to keep pace with the times and that Wikitravel suffers from a “lack of technical support/feature development.”

Jani Patokallio, a Wikitravel admin based in Melbourne, Australia, wrote about the editors’ mass exodus from Wikitravel, and told Skift that the situation there had reached “the boiling point.”

 

Source: Skift – Wikipedia Parent to Launch Travel Guide with Wikitravel Rebels

 

 

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ARPA-E – a new federal agency created to fund research of promising, but unproven, energy technologies

ARPA-E: A Good Beginning for U.S. Energy Innovation

By Bill Gates

Clean energy and innovation are two areas that I’m passionate about, so I’ve been looking forward to investigating some interesting new energy technologies at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit this week.

ARPA-E is a new federal agency—the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy—created in 2009 to fund research of promising, but unproven, energy technologies. It was modeled after DARPA—the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency—which was established in the late 1950s to accelerate development of U.S. satellite technology to keep pace with the Soviet Union. Research at DARPA led to a number of fantastic breakthroughs, including GPS technology and the Internet.

The idea behind ARPA-E is to help the U.S. fast-track development of innovative energy technologies that wouldn’t typically be funded by traditional energy companies. If just a fraction of the projects are successful, they could reduce greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change, help the U.S. decrease its dependence on foreign oil, , and keep the U.S. competitive in advanced energy technologies.

I’ve been quite impressed with the people running ARPA-E. In less than three years, they have evaluated hundreds of proposals and made $521 million in grants to support 180 projects.

Keep reading – Bill Gates from The Gates Notes

 

 

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The Center for Human Imagination – new research institution from the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation

Imagination — one of the least understood but most cherished products of the mind and brain — will become the focus of wide-ranging study at a new center jointly founded by UC San Diego and the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation.

The two institutions have created the UCSD-based Center for Human Imagination, which will involve thinkers from fields as different as technology, sociology, politics, medicine and literature, especially science fiction.

“We are changing the world so fast right now and the level of transformation is profound,” said Sheldon Brown, the UCSD media arts professor who was named director of the center. “This is the outcome of imagination. We need a more thoughtful, deliberative approach to understanding how it works.”

The perils and positives of imagination were a defining theme for Clarke, the British futurist and science fiction author who wrote such acclaimed books as “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Rendezvous with Rama.”

“Every couple of years, we are literally doubling our understanding of how the brain functions,” Brown said. “We can ask specific questions about how imagination works.

 

Keep readingUCSD creates Center for Human Imagination

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White House creates – U.S. Ignite program – to make internet 90% cheaper and start building gigabit networks

The President is set to sign an executive order today (June 13, 2012) that aims to cut the cost of broadband construction across federal roadways and properties by up to 90 percent. The White House is also is looking to improve “next-generation applications and (the) digital experience,” running on networks that are a heady 100 times faster than what’s in use today.

Called – U.S. Ignite – the partnership aims to push the growth of next-generation broadband networks, teaming up with over 100 start-ups, universities and existing tech companies like HP, Comcast and Verizon for the project.

The National Science Foundation has thrown in $250 million to assist the partnership’s creation of a national 1-gigabit network that would connect together academic and developer hubs.

Mozilla has decided to team up with the foundation to offer up a $500,000 prize pot for developers looking to help create the “internet of the future”.

via Engadget

 

Follow the U.S. Ignite program on: FacebookTwitter

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Talk is cheap…so make a Long Bet (for charity) to prove your prediction

Pronouncements about the future come easy. Even when made with an air of authority, they’re usually just cheap talk, rarely revisited. Only the tiny fraction that have proven correct tend to be remembered, when their authors want to take credit.

But what if there were some cash at stake?

The Long Bets Foundation, a new project masterminded by Well founder Stewart Brand and Wired editor-at-large Kevin Kelly, hopes to raise the quality of our collective foresight by incorporating money and accountability into the process of debate.

The idea is simple. If someone makes a grandiose claim, any skeptic can challenge it – “Would you bet on that?” – and the Long Bets Foundation will keep tabs on the wager, whether it takes five years or five decades to come to pass. If proven right, a predictor can relish the victory; if wrong, the challenger gets the glory.

 

 

The Bets:

- Over a ten-year period, the S & P 500 will outperform hedge funds, when performance is measured on a basis net of fees, costs and expenses. – $1,000,000 – (Warren Buffet vs. Protege Partners, LLC)

 

- At least one human alive in the year 2000 will still be alive in 2150. – $2,000 (Peter Schwartz vs. Melody Haller)

 

- Large Hadron Collider will destroy Earth. – $1,000 (Joe Keane vs. Nick Damiano)

 

- By 2020, a professional sports team (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS) will integrate and have a woman as a team member/player. – $500 (Thomas Leavens vs. Martin Nisenholtz)

 

- By 2025, the states will have voted on at least one constitutional amendment to cede US federal power to a global government. – $800 (Thomas Quigley vs. Steven Midgley)

 

See more on the record bets.

 

By preserving the terms of the wager in public view, Long Bets promises to be more than a service for confident prognosticators. Over time, it hopes to foster better understanding of how predictions in aggregate work out in reality – what kinds of truths are easiest (or hardest) to forecast, and what kinds of people are right (or wrong) most reliably.

According to the Long Bets Foundation, all stakes are treated as charitable donations, tax deductible when the bet is made. Bettors designate nonprofits to receive the proceeds. Meanwhile, the foundation holds the funds in an investment account for the life of the bet, with half of the growth covering administrative costs. A competition designed to thrive in the public eye, Long Bets uses time as a teacher.

via Wired, May 2002

United Nations has gone mobile – so many apps for world peace and development

The United Nations has gone mobile…in a big way. In just a few clicks I found more than 10 iPhone apps covering everything from news to statistics to global photos.

Plus, a very cool short video about the apps from Jess3:

 

I’ve just downloaded all these apps and haven’t yet played with them, so no recommendations yet. Let me know if you have any suggestions or tips:

 
 
Pieces of Peace

The app makes it easy to get involved and includes some innovative (and fun) ways to learn about the work of the United Nations. An interactive photo-scramble game, “Pieces of Peace,” gives users the ability to have fun while they learn by unscrambling photos taken around the world that are related to the work of the UN. The game includes ways for users to learn as they play, helping build awareness and knowledge about international issues. Integrated social media options also allow users to organically share this content with friends, brag about their photo-unscrambling prowess, and encourage them to get involved.
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