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Why Mobile Technology Matters for the World’s Nomadic Peoples

An ancient way of life discovers newfound viability by drawing on surprisingly modern innovations.

Camels marked with painted brands, though no phone numbers. Image by Mark Hay

A few weeks back, in a passing conversation I heard a story about a strange innovation cooked up by some nomads in a far away country. Looking for a better way to identify their herds and locate them when they wander off, these folks had apparently decided to paint their phone numbers onto the side of their livestock in lieu of abstract brands. To date, I’ve been unable to substantiate this tale (although I wouldn’t be surprised if it were true, as I’ve seen such painted-on characters used as quasi-brands at camel markets in East Africa in the recent past). But even if it is apocryphal, the story is far from absurd. It speaks to a real and verifiable revolution in the world’s nomadic traditions, fueled by the proliferation of cheap communications technology. These simple devices are rapidly conquering the challenges of modernity that have long chipped away at the viability of itinerant herding, laying the grounds for nomadism not just to survive into the new millennium, but to thrive—as few would have imagined—to the benefit of us all.

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Kids of Color Consume a Lot More Media Than White Kids

A new study finds there's a huge difference in how much white and nonwhite children consume media.



A new study at Northwestern University found a huge difference between the amount of media white and nonwhite kids consume. Minority children ages 8 to 18 consume an average of 13 hours of media content a day—about 4-and-a-half hours more than their white counterparts. In the last ten years, this number has doubled for black children and quadrupled for Hispanics.

The report finds that minority children spend one to two additional hours each day watching TV and videos, approximately an hour more listening to music, up to an hour and a half more on computers, and 30 to 40 minutes more playing video games than their white counterparts.

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@GOOD Asks: Should Governments Be Allowed to Track Civilians Through Their Mobile Phones? The Community Answers

@David Russo thinks that it could make sense to track potentially dangerous people like sex offenders. What do you think?

Yesterday on GOOD, Twitter, and Facebook, we asked our friends: Should governments be allowed to track civilians through their mobile phones?

We ask a question to our Twitter and Facebook faithful once a day, so if you’re not yet following @GOOD or a fan, make sure to sign up and participate in the conversation.

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Haiti Quake Recovery One Year Later: Six Things You Can Do

There's no shortage of NGOs working on the island nation, but the situation there remain dire and the recovery has "barely begun" according to Oxfam.