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How Good Design Helped Bring Light to a Remote Area of Indonesia

1.3 billion people around the world live without electricity. Here’s how a design challenge is starting to change that.

The Cut Out the Darkness donation ceremony in Sone, Indonesia

Last month, 110 solar lanterns dangled from simple wooden poles as part of a small evening ceremony in Sone, a remote Indonesian village in the mountains of West Timor. Before the lanterns arrived, Sone’s inhabitants were among the 1.3 billion people around the world who live without electricity, making such nighttime gatherings a rare occasion.

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Indonesia’s Dynamite Deterrent to Fish Poaching

President Joko Widodo will risk angering his neighbors to protect his country’s fishing industry.

Screen shot from slideshow posted by Yanu ari, via YouTube

On December 5, 2014, a group of Indonesian officials and press stood looking out at three ships on the water. Each of the vessels was a Vietnamese fishing boat, captured operating in Indonesia’s waters illegally, cleared of its crew and impounded. Suddenly, they all blew up.

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Indonesia’s Crazy Income Gap Has a New Enemy: The Internet

Economic growth isn’t enough to overcome poverty.

Free WiFi in Jakarta. Photo from Flickr user Charles Wiriawan.

Indonesia has lately experienced an unprecedented burst of fiscal optimism from international investors, with many hailing it as Southeast Asia’s next economic powerhouse. But just two weeks ago, Indonesia’s Central Statistics Agency revealed the nation’s smallest decline in poverty in over a decade, leaving nearly 28 million people living below Indonesia’s “basic needs” poverty line.

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Cryptocurrency Regains its Reputation in Paradise

Can a renowned tourist hub in Bali become a bitcoin wonderland?

The luxurious Hotel Santika, now accepting bitcoin / Photo courtesy of santika.com

Ever since Mt. Gox, once the world’s largest bitcoin exchange, filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, it’s been hard to take big cryptocurrency projects seriously. Once heralded as an independent, universal, and secure utopian currency, many now see bitcoin as one more site of human error, greed, and duplicity. So when two bitcoin entrepreneurs from Indonesia, Oscar Darmawan and William Sutanto, floated a plan this spring to convert an entire island to bitcoin compatibility, even crypto enthusiasts were skeptical. But as they reveal more of their business plan, and the project continues to gain momentum, it seems like they just might have found a recipe for success. They’re calling their venture BitIslands, and tapping the renowned tourist hub of Bali as their, hopefully, first cryptocurrency paradise.

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