- BuddyPress.org - supported by the good folks at WordPress, this is relatively simple, but you need to install and host the software.
- Grou.ps looks like a good option, and being a hosted solution, should be far less work than BuddyPress - see this thread on a GlobalSwadeshi discussion for more info and options. Grou.ps and BuddyPress are both open source.
- Develop your own site in (say) Drupal. This is probably not a good idea - it's only really worth considering if you have enough money to employ coders, a lot of patience and willingness to debug and actively maintain over coming years, and if you have site needs that can't be satisfied with, say, a tweaked version of BuddyPress. And don't think you'd be saving money by not paying for Ning - that seems unlikely once you add up your costs.
A story in the Australian zine Crikey on allegedly dodgy behavior in the aid business.
Transparency International’s executive director Greg Thompson says that transparency of financial information and ownership is important because developing countries often don’t have resources for strong tax regimes. Transparency International would prefer to see tax havens closed but where they do exist, it favours a mandatory register listing all beneficial owners. If aid companies “are receiving money including for strengthening financial systems then they should lead by example by being transparent and open about their finances”.
The article is a little fuzzy - e.g.
GRM International handles hundreds of millions of dollars worth of government contracts each year. Yet, according to its most recent financial statements, GRM International Pty Ltd doesn’t make a profit and hasn’t had any employees since 2005.
Now while this is suspicious, I don't think it's the same as saying that the whole set of companies hasn't made a profit. Have profits been paid out anywhere by the subsidiary companies, and has tax been paid? How much? And definitely the subsidiary companies have had employees.I'd like to see a much more detailed investigation.
(The quote above comes from a series on Crikey called Who profits from our foreign aid? "a joint investigation between theAustralian Centre for Independent Journalism and Crikey".)
Once producers are on a level playing field, they can accept their constraints, and do what they do best - make an efficient process for making money within those constraints, and compete in the market place. Eggs from relatively comfortable and healthy birds will no longer be a premium item - and that's good.
The bill, A.B. 1437, requires that all whole eggs sold in California as of Jan. 1, 2015, come from hens able to stand up, fully extend their limbs, lie down and spread their wings without touching each other or the sides of their enclosure, thus requiring cage-free conditions for the birds.
- We have our first "travel intern," documenting projects in South America: Isabell Kimbrough: First Travel Intern, First Blog (she's had to break her trip due to health problems, not travel-related but seems to be recovering well). We also have a "Travel Intern Steward," acting as a support. Both are volunteers.
- Curt has begun a concept of "Initiatives" to focus effort on particular areas (the travel internship is our first one). Appropedia takes the Initiative!
- We've participated in various activities which raise the profile of the project (an online book, see Thrivability: A Collaborative Sketch, and participation in an art exhibit, Sustainability Co-creation at Smack Mellon and a community sustainability plan, Humboldt Sustainable Future),
- I blogged on an OECD related blog: Can the internet help the poor?
- We continue promoting the idea of service learning with Appropedia, (Students and Appropedia), and have had some new classes engage in this - including a writing class doing copyediting, as well as new classes in various aspects of sustainability.
- We're improving some technical tools (Converting to wiki format just got easier), and I'm using my bot more.
- As contributors take an interest in certain areas, we're getting new pages. I'm hoping to encourage what might be strategic areas, and we've now got some headers for key pages improve navigation between topics, categories, project pages etc. E.g. see the article Sustainable city living with its header.
Axed and humiliated: someone should give this poor bastard a hug
Apart from the very Australian language in the title, I liked this for its empathy.
What about Google Maps and other free commercial offerings which usually do a good job? True, OpenStreetMap and Wikimapia sometimes give more helpful info, especially in the developing world, or when searching for a building or landmark. But why should I particularly care about a community-operated project like OpenStreetMap?
Answer: Because OpenStreetMap is creating open knowledge. There are many restrictions on the commercial maps, and their ultimate aim will always be commercial, but with OpenStreetMap you can use it for any project, whether non-profit, for-profit, or in direct competition with one of the big commercial map providers. And being easy to contribute to, it can be improved at short notice when needed, e.g. at a Crisis Camp.
On the wiki:
He likes to provoke with counter-intuitive claims, but there's generally a good portion of truth in those claims. For a taste, listen to Are environmentalists bad for the planet?
Climate conspiracy theories? Actually, that's in reference to theories about who "really" wrote Shakespeare's works: Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?
Now, I do believe that conspiracies happen, especially in the worlds of business and politics. But when plots require the compliance and/or silence of many disparate people, they become fragile and unlikely.
Some real digging and critical thinking is required to distinguish hidden plots from imagination.
Massively scalable ultra low cost life support infrastructure isn't a hobby - it's the airbag for a massive financial/ecological crash.
But people confuse being ready to help people survive that _possibility_ with thinking it *must* happen, or even wanting it to.
From Twitter, here, here, and here.
Vinay and I have sometimes debated the likelihood of a complete crash of the US economy (i.e. one serious enough that food chains will stop working and millions will be homeless). But those are secondary questions - it's enough that this sort of crisis is likely to happen somewhere to require us Be Prepared.