The Confusion of Microlending

The Times has an interesting story on a small imbroglio that has broken out in the microlending world, specifically concerning GOOD friends Kiva...

The Times has an interesting story on a small imbroglio that has broken out in the microlending world, specifically concerning GOOD friends Kiva and Global Giving. Namely, do you know where your money is going?Luckily, it's nothing insidious. The money all gets loaned out to people who need money. Rather, it's a question of perception and transparency. When you go to Kiva to donate money, you are not giving your $25 money to a specific entrepreneur, which is the idea that the company promulgated. But in reality, you're giving money to institutions that then give money; that goatherder whose picture you clicked on and your money aren't necessarily going to meet up. The blog post that made this clear (here) used only information from Kiva's site, but information that wasn't quite forward facing. Kiva has since changed the tagline on its website from "Kiva lets you lend to a specific entrepreneur, empowering them to lift themselves out of poverty," to "Kiva connects people through lending to alleviate poverty."Global Giving's problems are a little tamer, stemming from the fact that some of the projects you can fund (which you can do by subscribing to GOOD), are not nonprofits, but the nonprofit projects of for-profit companies. There is nothing wrong with this, it's just that no one was told. The CEO, Dennis Whittle, has written an interesting post at Huffington Post talking about the whole issue and GG's attempts at transparency.What's the lesson here? It's not that there is anything wrong with these two great, incredibly important companies, but rather about total transparency in the internet age. Everyone is going to find out the truth despite any misleading or obfuscation, and then someone else on the internet will care that you misled them. You might as well just be totally honest in the first place.

Some beauty pageants, like the Miss America competition, have done away with the swimsuit portions of the competitions, thus dipping their toes in the 21st century. Other aspects of beauty pageants remain stuck in the 1950s, and we're not even talking about the whole "judging women mostly on their looks" thing. One beauty pageant winner was disqualified for being a mom, as if you can't be beautiful after you've had a kid. Now she's trying to get the Miss World competition to update their rules.

Veronika Didusenko won the Miss Ukraine pageant in 2018. After four days, she was disqualified because pageant officials found out she was a mom to 5-year-old son Alex, and had been married. Didusenko said she had been aware of Miss World's rule barring mother from competing, but was encouraged to compete anyways by pageant organizers.

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One mystery in our universe is a step closer to being solved. NASA's Parker Solar Probe launched last year to help scientists understand the sun. Now, it has returned its first findings. Four papers were published in the journal Nature detailing the findings of Parker's first two flybys. It's one small step for a solar probe, one giant leap for mankind.

It is astounding that we've advanced to the point where we've managed to build a probe capable of flying within 15 million miles from the surface of the sun, but here we are. Parker can withstand temperatures of up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit and travels at 430,000 miles per hour. It's the fastest human-made vehicle, and no other human-made object has been so close to the sun.

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via Sportstreambest / Flickr

Since the mid '90s the phrase "God Forgives, Brothers Don't" has been part of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point's football team's lexicon.

Over the past few years, the team has taken the field flying a black skull-and-crossbones flag with an acronym for the phrase, "GFBD" on the skull's upper lip. Supporters of the team also use it on social media as #GFBD.

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