The Practical Radical

MapAfghan Update: New Maps from Afghanistanelectiondata.org

September 16, 2010
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I decided to do a specific blog on mapping of Afghan data, especially now since Afghanistanelectiondata.org has put together all the open source data that is related to the Afghan elections into one nicely laid out page.

I think this is a very nice example of what can be done again with keeping  electoral processes transparent. We saw something in the same vein with the maps during the Kenyan referendum (see my blog post Transparency + Accountability = Democracy, Kenya Style). What is as well exciting is that the data is provided – gotta love that opensource!

The new maps are really interesting. As well as the basic landcover maps, there is one on ethnic groups. experiences of corruption and female candidates. I have put a few snapshots of the maps below. If you click on them you will go to the actual map.

Ethnic Groups

2009 Experience of Corruption

I have as well left the old blog post on the Afghan insurgency in this blog – it is an interesting reference point on how far mapping has come in so short a time.

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Mapping the War in Afghanistan

This is an interesting map visualization of the presence of Taliban activity in Afghanistan from 2007 to August 2009. The maps are based on insurgent activity reports. They give a probable snapshot of “how things are going” in the war (not well me thinks). The use of maps combined with reporting is informative over time, though clearly there are possible issues with both data validity and overlap in time periods.

Areas of Taliban presence in Afghanistan during 2007 – November 2008
Areas of Taliban presence in Afghanistan between January and November 2008
Areas of Taliban presence in Afghanistan during January – August 2009

** Taken from the International Council on Security and Development website. The International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) is an international policy think tank working to combine grassroots research and policy innovation at the intersections of security, development, counter-narcotics and public health issues.


Restoring Sanity – Martin Luther King Jr. speaks on Honor and War

August 30, 2010
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There is no greater irony than to listen to Sarah Palin speaking on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., a man who gave his life for peace and justice and spoke out against an unjust Vietnam war, while she in the same speech extols the virtues of another questionable war in a far off place.

In her speech she makes admirable commendations of two soldiers who undertook honorable actions in horrific conditions. She cannot be faulted for this.

click more to see the rest of the article and video of her speeches …

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Who do Mama Grizzlies vote for?

August 27, 2010
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Obviously Mama Grizzly bears vote for Sarah Palin. Why? Because Sarah comes from Alaska, and so do grizzly bears and their mamas. Alaska is also close to Russia, which is called the “great bear”, and Sarah stares them down when she wakes up in the morning. She is fearless. She knows.

So … she can speak on behalf of grizzly bears.

Democrats don’t know grizzly bears. They probably have only seen them in the zoo. They haven’t lived in Alaska, and probably have NEVER seen Russia. But, Democrats have lefty friends in Hollywood who have deep pockets like that Star Wars guy who can make mean videos about our Mama Grizzly. They can get free wookie or ewok suits, which kinda look like grizzly bears.

So, vote for Sarah Palin, one angry Mama Bear.


The coming of the “Ice” Tea Party

August 23, 2010
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"Do not Resuscitate"

I very much dislike citycaucas.com, a well-read blog focused on the civic politics of Vancouver. It’s not that they don’t have well researched information, it is the outright partisan pettiness of the blog that bugs me. Their latest missive on the (possible) revival of the long-thought-dead conservative Non-Partisan Association (NPA) is one example of this (the picture above is from that blog – the caption is mine.)

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Guest Blog: What happened in South Africa shouldn’t just stay in South Africa

August 18, 2010
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The following is (my first!!) guest blog from two quite cool people – Kevina Power and Ron Harris (aka Os12). I will leave it at that and let them explain the rest …

Guest Blogger: Kevina Power

It was late fall 2005 when we left Kenya for South Africa to host 2 World Urban Cafes (WUCs); one during the 1st African Hip Hop Summit, and one during the monthly Black Sunday event in Soweto. As I write this lots of memories are flooding back… WUCs, Hip Hop, Friends, Soweto… it all feels like a dream, a damn good dream.

First let me explain some background; how did we end up in Kenya? South Africa?  To many other places far far away? Well, back then, when I was considering working with Doug on the World Urban Forum project of the Environmental Youth Alliance, I remember him trying to explain his vision to me… it was on a napkin I think, sitting in some cafeteria in downtown Vancouver. If you know Doug, you know he speaks from a place where he calls ‘the bleeding edge’ and indeed this World Urban Café plan of his was certainly that. You see, UN Habitat, the UN agency charged with ‘improving the lives of slum dwellers’ was going to host their 3rd Session of the World Urban Forum in our city, VanCity, the next year.

When Doug asked to meet with me, I thought it would be just another long lunch with Doug, talking about our lives, our city, our vision for the future. Little did I know that this lunch would change me forever. Jumping forward, about 8 months later, here I am, living in Nairobi, Kenya, a place I had not even knew existed a year before, working with UN Habitat and the Environmental Youth Alliance on the World Urban Forum, specifically implementing this WUC Concept in the lead up to the 2006 Conference in Vancouver.

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Support the Census Detainees!!!

August 6, 2010
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Never have so many owed so much to so few!

Free the census detainees!


Mapping the War in Afghanistan

August 5, 2010
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This is an interesting map visualization of the presence of Taliban activity in Afghanistan from 2007 to August 2009. The maps are based on insurgent activity reports. They give a probable snapshot of “how things are going” in the war (not well me thinks). The use of maps combined with reporting is informative over time, though clearly there are possible issues with both data validity and overlap in time periods.

Areas of Taliban presence in Afghanistan during 2007 - November 2008

Areas of Taliban presence in Afghanistan between January and November 2008

Areas of Taliban presence in Afghanistan during January - August 2009

** Taken from the International Council on Security and Development website. The International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) is an international policy think tank working to combine grassroots research and policy innovation at the intersections of security, development, counter-narcotics and public health issues.


Transparency + Accountability = Democracy, Kenya Style

August 4, 2010
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Stand up for Kenya - (the Nation, August 3, 2010)

Christabell’s facebook post says it all, a key constitutional referendum in Kenyan is so far violence free, unlike the last trip to the polls a few years ago. In part this is due to citizens (mostly youth!) tweets and posts providing real time monitoring, transparency, accountability …  leading to … Democracy.

Uchaguzi (which means “election” in Swahili) is a site driven by tweets and posts. The site provides real-time reporting on what is happening during the referendum in Kenya. Issues such as violence, vote counting, results, and polling logistics are uploaded and mapped on Google Earth. This information then becomes accessible to people locally and globally.

A snapshot from the map on the Uchaguzi site

Some examples of what is being reported

The development of launch site is important for Kenyans and for citizens globally. One has to wonder who might have been elected President of the United States in 2000 if this technology had been around?

If you are interested in this game changing technology go to my (yet to be published, but hey, take a look at the draft) blog post on Usahidi, the platform this site is based on.

Good Luck Kenya!!


Canada Day – Gone Fishing and Tired Out

July 1, 2010
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I don’t know about everyone else, but I am just pooped out. Tired. Its been a great and “interesting” ride the 8 months, but really, I do not have the energy to go out and celebrate Canada.

It’s not that I am not possibly more patriotic, but with the year being so far bookended by the Olympics and the G8; recovering from a global meltdown; a dysfunctional parliament; and, in Vancouver at least, rainy spring like weather … well … I just am too tired to party and play.

So, I am going to stick around home, surf the web, have lunch, hug the kids, put on a new batch of wine, and … chill.

Happy Canada Day.

* My favorite Gone Fishing song by Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong


Framing Our World – A Photo Collage

June 30, 2010
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This is a collage of photos done for the World Urban Forum in Vancouver in 2006 by KK Law. The photos were part of a larger exhibition focused on the perspective of youth on their city. Enjoy!

Generations of Woodwards

Cottonwood Gardens


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    Practical things that make me radical

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