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Links December 2010

Aaron Huey gave a disturbing TED talk titled “America’s native prisoners of war” [1]. He says “the last chapter in any successful genocide is the one in which the oppressor can remove their hands and say ‘my god, what are these people doing to themselves, they’re killing each other, they’re killing themselves’ while we watch them die“.

Peter Haas gave an interesting TED talk about how the poor engineering work in Haiti contributed to the significant death toll from the earthquake [2]. He advocates training for builders to prevent death and property damage from the next earthquake which is a lot cheaper than cleaning up the mess after buildings have fallen down.

Wired has an interesting article on Phylo, a new crowd-sourced science game where you can sequence DNA [3]. The article also has links to other crowd-sourced science games.

Brendan Scott gives a good summary of some of the most interesting news articles related to Wikileaks [4].

Petter Reinholdtsen published a detailed and informative letter that Peruvian Congressman Edgar Villanueva wrote to Microsoft on the topic of a Peruvian bill to compell the government to use free software [5]. This has a lot of great ideas for anyone who wants to lobby their government for free software related legislation.

Melissa McEwan wrote an informative blog post about why she doesn’t trust men [6]. I can’t do justice to this with a summary so just read it if you are male.

Diana Laufenberg gave an interesting and inspiring TED talk about ways of teaching children [7]. Her main point was about embracing failure, having children learn from their mistakes. I think that perhaps embracing failure is only going to work with an exceptional teacher such as Diana, and that the majority of teachers would probably fail if they tried to implement it. She does have some really interesting examples of how she teaches so it’s worth watching even if you don’t agree with the central point.

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