Three months ago a devastating earthquake hit Haiti and within hours people from all over the world jumped at the chance to lend a helping hand. One such person was Tufts University graduate student Patrick Meier. Meier built an on line “map” designed to point out exactly where a person in need was using the longitudinal and latitudinal points of that person’s location. Meier got the idea from a company in Kenya called Ushahidi, who used modern, popular technology such as Twitter, text messages and emails to find people in need during an election crisis in 2007. Since then, Ushahidi has proved to be invaluable to crisis management all over the world.
Meier had previously done work with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and when he learned of Ushahidi’s efforts he immediately campaigned to get them funding in the United States. He is now a member of Ushahidi’s board and one of the cofounders of the International Network of Crisis Mappers.
Ushahidi Haiti began in Meier’s dorm room and at the “peak” of the project he had over 300 students working with him. One of the biggest struggles the group faced was translating the text messages they were receiving through their own short code emergency text line. In order to translate the messages a doctoral student at Stanford University found over 1000 people from all over the world who could speak Haitian Creole and translate the texts.
The first Tacoma Narrows Bridge was a Washington State suspension bridge that opened in 1940 and spanned the Tacoma Narrows strait of Puget Sound between Tacoma and the Kitsap Peninsula. It opened to traffic on July 1, 1940, and dramatically collapsed into Puget Sound on November 7, just four months after it opened.
Noting that we now live in an era of “confusion and ill-conceived stuff,” Ammunition design studio founder Robert Brunner, speaking at Gigaom Roadmap, said that by adding connectivity to everything and its mother, we aren't necessarily doing ourselves any favors, with many ‘things’ just fine in their unconnected state.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.