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Category: Travel and Culture

How to Travel Alone, pt. 2

How to Travel Alone, pt. 2

The following is part two of a three-part post on the joys of solo travel. The other day I talked about the need to be prepared.  Today, I will talk about going with the flow. _ 3.  Be adaptable “A good traveler has no fixed plan and is not intent on arriving.”  – Lao Tzu I think you need to strike a balance between planning and winging it.  Do enough research to cover your bases and make sure you don’t…

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How to Travel Alone, pt. 1

How to Travel Alone, pt. 1

The following is part one of a three-part post about the joys of solo travel. “It seemed an advantage to be traveling alone. Our responses to the world are crucially moulded by the company we keep, for we temper our curiosity to fit in with the expectations of others…Being closely observed by a companion can also inhibit our observation of others; then, too, we may become caught up in adjusting ourselves to the companion’s questions and remarks, or feel the…

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Thoughts on Rugged Altruism

Thoughts on Rugged Altruism

One sign that the U.S. political scene has reached rock bottom is David Brooks writing one of his weekly columns about development workers in Nairobi.  In “The Rugged Altruists,” Brooks discusses the virtues possessed by three smart, young development workers in the course of doing this work. The first is courage – a willingness to move to a place foreign in all senses of the world.  They go to learn about what they don’t understand, and put themselves in situations…

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Caylee’s Law and Irrational Legislation

Caylee’s Law and Irrational Legislation

Casey Anthony, the young mother accused of killing her two year-old daughter Caylee, was found not guilty of first-degree murder.  The world, it seems, is very angry that a young girl has been denied justice.  Unfortunately, the reaction will be similar to other injustices involving children or sex (in the United States): a radical, emotionally-driven push to ratchet up the penalties for a broader set of crimes and put in place irrational safeguards to ensure that such injustices never happen…

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The Evolution of Develop Economies

The Evolution of Develop Economies

“Write without pay until somebody offers to pay you. If nobody offers within three years, sawing wood is what you were intended for.”- Mark Twain I think about this quote a lot, and by a lot, I mean once, two days ago, when I saw it referenced by Roger Ebert as he discussed his two years of weekly submissions to the New Yorker caption contest finally paying off.  It was linked to by Robert Mankoff, the cartoon editor of the…

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The Next Viral Video (Congrats to Anica and Navin)

The Next Viral Video (Congrats to Anica and Navin)

Today I was cranking away at work at the way-cool iHub, when I got a message from a friend with a link to the Boston Globe.  When I opened it, I had to smile, since it is amazing.  A good friend, former prom date, and the only person I’ve ever met who is definitely smarter than me (except for all the other people) just got engaged, and it made it to the Globe: Navin Kumar, 27, caused a scene at Harvard…

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Dispatch From a Shrinking Planet

Dispatch From a Shrinking Planet

“I don’t know where I’m going but I’m on my way.” – Carl Sagan Develop Economies, the alter ego for my life on the road, is almost a year and a half old.  I’ve been to three continents, eleven countries, and spent too many hours in buses, planes, ferries, and motorbikes.  And the people I have met along the way have been memorable. In the Philippines, I spent most of my time with Filipinos, a handful of laid-back Australians in…

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Music in Ghana: High Life, Hip Life, and Gospel

Music in Ghana: High Life, Hip Life, and Gospel

As a generalization, African music is some of the best in the world.  In fact, most of the rest of the best music in the world is derived from African music, in one way or another.  Jazz, blues, bluegrass, rock and roll, and reggae can trace their roots to an African lineage.  I’m not sure why the number of African bands to make it on a global scale is so limited, but it is a missed opportunity.  Graceland by Paul…

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CNN is a Joke

CNN is a Joke

CNN is supposed to be a serious news outlet.  To see its penchant for outrageous self-calls, one need look no further than its slogan, “the worldwide leader in news.” Of course, it’s not, and never has been.  If BBC and Al Jazeera are Hemingway, CNN is R.L. Stine (though CNN International, and specifically Fareed Zakaria, are pretty good).  But CNN.com, the website component of CNN, makes the television network look like The Sun Also Rises. Its hard-hitting news stories, with titles…

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Islam is a Religion of Peace

Islam is a Religion of Peace

On long bus rides and flights (of which there have been many during the last 18 months of traveling through Asia and Africa, for a combined total of at least 200 bus-hours), I listen to podcasts.  It is a way of depositing knowledge into my brain while still admiring the scenery.  The one I listen to the most is an NPR podcast called “Intelligence Squared.” It is described as “Oxford-style debating on America’s shores.” It is both intellectually-stimulating and fits…

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