Sunday, January 27, 2008

changing the world one loan at a time

My mom bought this book


for me off my wishlist which, by the way, is amazing and I recommend it.

The author, Muhammud Yunus, started a microlending institution in his native Bangladesh about 25 years ago (ish), and he and the Grameen Bank have been lending small amounts of money to the poor ever since. His goal is to eradicate poverty. The stories he tells are incredibly moving. He was the head of the economics department at a university in Bangladesh when he started questioning why economics and development practices don't help those who are below the poverty level. He saw how lending someone as small a sum as $27 (I think that was the amount) would be enough to start helping someone get out of basically a slave-labor situation. One of the things that's interesting about the Grameen bank is the extraordinarily low default rate, which is something like less than one percent (don't quote me on that number), compared to a much, much higher default rate amongst borrowers who actually have collateral.

With the book, my mom sent a note saying that I should check out which is a microlending organization that she had been lending with for a couple of years or so. I remember reading about microlending sometime back in the '80s and wanted to get involved then, but didn't know where to start. Kiva makes it very easy, and you can choose who you lend to. I recommend checking them out, too. They've been having a lot of publicity lately, which means that occasionally they actually run out of people who are looking for loans.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

am I the last person in the blogosphere to figure this out?

I just figured out how to do an RSS feed to get updates via Mail when the blogs I watch get updated. Wow! Does this ever simplify life... well, at least as far as catching up with blogs goes.

Did all of the rest of you already know this? I feel so... 20th century. I used to go surfing occasionally to see if people had updated. I would check a couple of blogs every day, with people who update all the time. Others I would check more often than they updated, and others I would check less often. Now I can get an update easily. Whoa... am I impressed with myself right now!

OK, back to other stuff.

I just got my first spam comment

Unfortunately, I guess someone (or maybe "something"?) noticed my blog! I have enabled word verification so that people trying to sell their schemes online can't take advantage of my site.

I still want to hear from the real live people out there, though!

For the real folks out there, thanks for the comments! I promise to be back when I can find a few more moments in the day. Now, does anyone have any advice about how to do actually do that?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

how fun!

I admit I used to love to play Tetris, back in the days when you had to feed quarters into a machine and stand in front of it for hours, moving a joystick back and forth. Yes, I'm embarrassed, but I was good....

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

waste not, want not

I heard this story about a guy who plans to not throw anything away for an entire year on NPR on my ride home today. Fascinating. Here's the link to his blog, where he'll describe the process for a year.

It's hard to imagine not throwing anything away for a year. Including recycling. Yikes! We don't have much trash (considering), but our recycling bins overflow.

I love composting, and having a yard (finally!), makes it (relatively) easy to do. I once had a worm composting system, when I lived in an apartment in the middle of the city, but it didn't work very well for me. I guess I didn't have enough worms or something. But composting outside rocks!

I'll be following his progress when I can make it to the computer. Yeah, you know, I'm not here very much any more.