According to a study published in The American Journal of Medicine, the 17.4 million marijuana smokers in the U.S. tend to be skinnier and have lower blood sugar.
As we noted in a recent post, consumers care about buying items from socially responsible brands more than they ever have before. But caring about something doesn’t always translate into action.
Would You Move To A Shrinking City If It Paid Off Your Loans?
That’s the plan of New York’s Niagra Falls. In the hopes of staunching its population decline and bringing a new generation of engaged youth, the city is accepting applications for urban pioneers willing to move in exchange for a little debt relief.
Niagara Falls is a poster child for population loss. The city had more than 100,000 people in 1950. Now they’re struggling to keep above 50,000, a number which carries more than just symbolic consequences: It’s the cut-off for HUD entitlement funding. “That’s a dollar loss right off the bat,” Niagara Falls director of community development Seth Piccirillo says. It means less money for everything from home repairs to police. But Piccirillo is worried about the private sector, too: “When was the last time an employer said, ‘I want to put 500 jobs in a shrinking city’? It doesn’t happen.”
A solution they came up with, literally on the back of a napkin, is called Live NF. It will reimburse up to $3,492 a year of your student loans for two years—if you move to downtown Niagara Falls. They had 42 applicants, and have just announced their first five winners, who range from an artist from Buffalo to a web designer with a Masters in Bible Studies.
Forget GDP: The Social Progress Index Measures National Well-Being
This new index tracks everything from opportunity to health to sustainability.
For many years, the powers that be thought that economic indicators were the ultimate measure of a country’s wellbeing. That’s starting to change. As we have discussed before, the general happiness of a country doesn’t always correlate with its wealth.
In fact, economic indicators don’t match up with a number of important indicators about well-being.
Hence the Social Progress Index, an initiative from The Social Progress Imperative and Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter that examines how 50 countries perform on 52 indicators related to basic human needs, the foundations of well-being, and opportunity.
The top country: Sweden. The U.S. doesn’t even rank in the top five…
Google’s Plan To Fight Human Trafficking With Big Data
A collection of tech and data companies are working together to track, map, and fight the criminal underworld that ships people around the world.
Google announced this week that it’s giving a $3 million Global Impact Award (part of a series of grants given to nonprofits changing the world with technology) to help three anti-trafficking organizations—Polaris Project, Liberty Asia, and La Strada International—create a Global Human Trafficking Hotline Network. While these organizations operate effective trafficking hotlines across the world, they don’t share their information. That’s the kind of big-data problem that Google can help with.
Nine months ago, Google Ideas convened a summit on exposing, mapping, and disrupting illicit networks—the kind that organize human trafficking. This is a big problem that’s often hidden from public discourse; last year, over 20 million people were trafficked across the globe, generating over $32 billion in profits.
Mike Merrill is literally selling himself. Not his body, his self.
Since 2008, the straight-laced entrepreneur has been selling shares of his person at Kmikeym.com.
As Joshua Davis at Wired tells the story, at first shareholders only voted on small projects, but now they make decisions about his most intimate life:
One anonymous investor sent Merrill on a date with a polyamorous woman. “She is currently seeing someone, but she has permission to date,” he wrote in his after-action report. “I’m of mixed feeling about that, but I recognize that this is a decision for the shareholders to make.” They decided against continuing the relationship but gave a 97% approval rating to a guy referred to as Jordon California. Feeling the weight of investor expectations, Merrill spent a drunken night “fooling around” with him.
The media attention has brought Merrill a number of new shareholders, but otherwise, life at KMikeyM headquarters continues, according to his latest email update: “We are working very hard on responding to the influx of new shareholders, our new venture Jumpbots, and we just completed moving in with our shareholder-approved girlfriend.”
If you want to own a piece of Mike Merrill for yourself, he’s currently going for about $15 a share.
The World Needs 1.8 Billion Jobs—But What If They Already Exist?
What if we were able to monetize the information we put on the Internet? A revolution in which people are paid by the networks they use could herald a new economy for the world’s jobless.
Plant a Tree; Lower the Crime Rate
Does a greener neighborhood give criminals more places to hide, or do green spaces keep crime down? This was an actual debate that seems to now be resolved.
When it comes to controlling crime, police tend to favor more policing, while social scientists see the symptom of deeper, social problems. Urban planners, on the other hand, focus on the trees.
Why Gun Violence Is Good For Wildlife
Because of a decades-old law, buying guns and ammo directs money directly toward conservation. And when gun sales spike as the result of fears of impending gun legislation, it results in a rapid influx of cash.
Amazing Photos Of Earth From Above, From Canada’s Tiny Space Program
Canadians go to space too, eh?
A very social media-savvy astronaut from the Frozen North recently took over on the International Space Station, and the images he’s been beaming back are incredible.
Here’s the story and more beautiful images from Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield.
“Working to reshape how big companies do business for the better is incredibly difficult, but it can also have a much larger impact than starting your own tiny project.”
The League Of Intrapreneurs: 4 Changemakers Making A Difference Inside Big Companies
These four winners of Ashoka and Accenture’s League Of Intrapreneurs have managed to make big changes inside their organizations.
1. Mandar Apte of Shell
2. Aparecida Teixeira de Morais of Tribanco
3. Graham Simpson of GlaxoSmithKline
4. Acha Carina Van Ginhoven of TNT Express
Sal Khan, of Khan Academy, on making a deal with Bank of America but still keeping the integrity of his project.
The nonprofit Khan Academy recently announced its first corporate partnership, with Bank of America. In exchange for significant financial consideration, BOA is featuring several Khan Academy videos on personal finance topics on a standalone website, and showing them onscreen in 5,400 branches around the country, in concert with a series of seminars.
Over sandwiches in Bank of America’s tower at One Bryant Park, Khan explained their decisionmaking process to Co.Exist. “We were at first a little skeptical—is this going to be a big corporation telling us how to make our videos or what videos to make?” he asked. Here’s how they vetted the deal.
“It was a six month vetting process. We were running various scenarios by them: do you really want us to explain to your customers how to pay off your debt? Or every detail of a mortgage statement? We wanted to make sure we had complete editorial control.”
“The whole point of my making this a nonprofit was so that no one would question what we were into it for. You do sometimes see not-for-profits compromising their values in order to reach other goals. With this partnership, and even when talking to donors, we’re getting better at saying no to things that are distracting us from our mission, and they’re respecting us more for it. What this partnership showed me was that by not compromising our values, it actually put us in a stronger position, because the value of our brand is in the credibility and independence.”
“For us the real value in this is the energy and expertise we get from them, and the co-awareness. We have six million users a month, but Bank of America has a relationship with one in two households in America. To see our brand in 5,400 branches, that is personally exciting to me. Even just amongst Bank of America’s 280,000 employees—if they all go home and work on Khan Academy with their kids, that will be significant.”
“Our two main things were one, keeping the site noncommercial: there are no interstitial ads before the videos, and when they appear on khanacademy.org, they’re not branded as Bank of America videos. And two, we didn’t want people to see us as beholden to a third party. We can do anything we want, on any topic, and Bank of America can take the stuff they feel is appropriate. “
“I have a naïve outlook on many things. So far it seems to have worked out. The world is a better place than most people assume it to be. Some might think—oh, a big corporation, they want to take us over or own us. But at the end of the day, most places are actually full of good people.”
Do you have any other tips for someone in that position?
Your Reputation Will Be The Currency Of The Future
In The Nature Of The Future: Dispatches From The Socialstructed World, Marina Gorbis argues that as more and more of our activities are quantified online, your actions could become a new currency.
The 4 Ideas That Melinda Gates Thinks Are Changing The World
From mobile banking to contraception, this is what she thinks is going to drive the next wave of advances for people in the developing world.
2. Local Development
3. Digital Green
4. Contraception education and access, from the bottom up.
What idea do you think is changing the world?