Externalities From The Ethanol Boom

We’ve heard the critics say how the ethanol boom is causing the price of many of our food sources to rise. The New York Times reports that the United States is buying less than half the amount of food for aid than it did earlier this decade.

The higher food prices have not only reduced the amount of American food aid for the hungry, but are also making it harder for the poorest people to buy food for themselves, economists and advocates for the hungry say.

“We fear the steady rise of food prices will hit those on the front lines of hunger the hardest,” said Josette Sheeran, executive director of the United Nations World Food Program. The United States is the biggest contributor to the agency.

$100 Laptop (OLPC) Begins Marketing

The One Laptop Per Child project is beginning to market itself with a campaign dubbed “Give 1 Get 1“.

…on Sept. 24, the OLPC announced a money-raising gambit called “Give 1 Get 1.” Originally, the organization had no set plans to sell or distribute the computers in the U.S. Now it’s hoping to capitalize on widespread interest from American gadget fans to raise enough money to pay for shipments of XO Laptops to four countries that are among the poorest of the poor: Afghanistan, Cambodia, Haiti, and Rwanda.

Under Give 1 Get 1, which will run for two weeks starting Nov. 12, U.S. customers will be able to pay $399 to buy two laptops: one for themselves and one to be shipped to a child in one of those four countries. About half of the purchase price will be tax-deductible. Also, starting Sept. 24, people can simply “give” a laptop by making a $200 donation. Those who’d like to participate can sign up for e-mail alerts on the Web site www.XOgiving.org. The machines, which are being built in Taiwan, will begin shipping to U.S. customers in January or February.

This is actually really interesting. I’m sure a few of my friends will pick these up to hack and tinker with them.

Tech Museum of Innovation Announces 2007 Tech Museum Awards Laureates

Check out the Tech Museum Award Laureates!

For the seventh year, The Tech Museum of Innovation, one of the country’s premier science and technology museums, has today named 25 innovators from around the world to be honored by this year’s The Tech Museum Awards: Technology Benefiting Humanity. Presented by Applied Materials, Inc., The Tech Museum Awards honor individuals who are applying technology to benefit humanity and spark global change. The esteemed group of Laureates announced today was selected from hundreds of nominations sent in from 68 countries.

Link to press release.


Established in 2001, The Tech Museum Awards recognize 25 Laureates in five categories: Education, Equality, Environment, Economic Development and Health. These 25 Laureates have developed ways to use technology to improve the environment and the lives of people around the world. All of the Laureates will be showcased at The Tech in San Jose and featured on The Tech Award’s official Web site, www.techawards.org. One Laureate in each category will receive a $50,000 cash prize, announced during the annual Awards Gala, which takes place this year on November 7th. The Laureates are reviewed and selected by an independent international panel of judges administered by the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at Santa Clara University.

The Haas School of Business Starts A Socially Responsible Investment Fund

Quick plug for The Haas School of Business:

The Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley is starting an innovative new fund. Combining education with environmental consciousness, the school is launching a $250,000 student-managed investment fund with an emphasis on social responsibility.

Read more about it at Bloggingstocks.com.

MTV Launches Activism Social Network

Quick post on this:

Viacom Inc’s MTV will launch a new Internet social network sponsored by foundations operated by the founders of Microsoft and AOL to encourage youth activism.

The site, Think.MTV.com, is designed to be a resource for social and political issues, aiming to inform as well as let users connect with other like-minded people on issues from the environment to sexual health and discrimination.

Call for Acumen Fund Fellows Class of 2009

From their website:

Each year, the Acumen Fund Fellows Program provides extraordinary young professionals with a unique opportunity to use their skills to effect real social change with our portfolio organizations in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, India and Pakistan, and to build lasting relationships with other like-minded individuals. Joining us in September, fellows will spend one year working with our team and with local entrepreneurs, gaining intensive experience in price performance, logistics, distribution systems, scaling and innovative technology. Fellows will learn and apply these skills while enjoying an unusual level of responsibility both at Acumen Fund and within our portfolio organizations.

Ideal fellows include those who have already decided on a career in venture philanthropy, those who are seeking a career at the highest levels in the corporate world but want to better understand and have an impact on problems of global poverty, and budding social entrepreneurs who want to learn about managing organizations in the most demanding settings.

To read more, check out the application website.

Lending In The Developing World– Gaining Scale and Reducing Costs with Technology

Interested in how technology can enable and improve credit lending in developing countries? Check out this conference next week:

The International Finance Corporation and the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, in collaboration with Visa International, are pleased to organize a global conference on “Next Generation Access to Finance: Gaining Scale and Reducing Costs with Technology and Credit Scoring,” that will take place September 17-19, 2007 at World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C.

RechargeIT.org: A Google.org Project

From earlier this week, Google announced plans to invest up to $10 million in green startups and has a request for proposals out.

Google.org is committed to finding innovative transportation solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. Earlier this summer, Google.org launched its RechargeIT Initiative to accelerate the adoption of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and vehicle-to-grid technology through technical demonstrations, grant-making, advocacy and investments. As part of this initiative, we are issuing a $10 million request for investment proposals (RFP). We plan to invest amounts ranging from $500,000 to $2,000,000 in selected for-profit companies whose innovative approach, team and technologies will enable widespread commercialization of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, electric vehicles and/or vehicle-to-grid solutions. This RFP is global in scope, and we encourage responses from companies anywhere in the world.

This is great news, adding more potential investment dollars to the already fired-up alternative energy sector.

Revolution Through Social Enterprise At Pepperdine

Just a quick link to what sounds like a pretty interesting upcoming event:

Revolution Through Social Enterprise

Presented by the Geoffrey H. Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship & the Law

September 21, 2007

Across sectors, generations and disciplines, social entrepreneurs are identifying, addressing, and, in some cases, solving many of the major crises confronting our society today through the creative application of entrepreneurial principles. Bringing together youth, academics, nonprofit and corporate leaders, entrepreneurs and lawyers from around the world, this conference will showcase how the social entrepreneurship movement is transforming business, education, community development and philanthropy on a global scale.

To register for the conference, please click here