Author Archives: Sam Gardner

The Olympics I don’t watch

Although I have a  TV, with lots of channels including sports channels , I don’t watch the 2014 winter olympics in Sochi . Some of my reasons: I cannot see the athletes I know and I see a lot of … Continue reading

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Thinking fast and slow about disaster preparedness

Book: Thinking, Fast and Slow Author: Daniel Kahneman Getting back to my notes from “Thinking Fast and slow” by Daniel Kahneman, I am still amazed by the diversity of new insights the book provides on how (most) humans think . … Continue reading

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Thinking, fast and slow and the transparency agenda in development

I was reading “Thinking, fast and slow” by Daniel Kahnemann. It is a very good book. It challenges conventional wisdom and is so full of meaning that it asks for a regular reread to discover more hidden treasure. He explains … Continue reading

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The hunger games, the Paris agenda and political sciences.

I read the 3 parts of the Hunger Games trilogy in only a few weeks. A book that captivates so well its readers cannot be all bad. What amazes me most  is how “fantasy”writers seems to be better at captivating the realities of the … Continue reading

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The silent revolution: is the electric bike a black swan?

The media and the public are staring at the lacklustre growth in the sales of the electrical car, and meanwhile it seems they miss the revolution happening under their nose. For mobility in the city or the suburbs, the ideal … Continue reading

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Busan Aid Effectiveness, Power Impact Analysis and the Rights Based Approach

The use of big words and capitals in capitals I just used a title where most of the words seem to call for capitalization. It just shows how the development bingo is still in full swing, and we take ourselves … Continue reading

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David Brooks and the Art of Linear Thinking

In The New York Times, David Brookstackles the Fertility Implosion, the fact that , when women have access to reproductive rights and reproductive health services (like general health services but also anticonception) on average, they don’t like to spend their life … Continue reading

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Peak Oil, the problem or the solution?

I was reading the three futures black swan posting by Paul, and wondered whether Peak Oil would really be such a disruption to the way we work. It seems indeed that Peak oil is now mainstream in the public debate, … Continue reading

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Geo-engineering: ready or not, here we go

Climate change is a reality, and it means humans are in charge of the climate now. Putting carbon in the air used yo be a simple process called cooking, now it is geo engineering, as we know it changes the … Continue reading

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Development: The dictator’s handmaiden; Is bad aid almost always good politics?

I have just finished reading the Dictator’s Handbook, by Bruce Bueno de Mequita and Alastair Smith. I immediately reread some chapters. The book gives you an insight you feel you have known all along, but you just could not act … Continue reading

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Planning for collapse: making development interventions too big to fail and vulnerable to systemic risk.

The financial collapse in 2008 following the collapse of Lehman Brothers was enthusiastically prepared by the political and economical decision makers. In the 70s and 80s, in the name of more efficiency and free marked, regulations were more and more … Continue reading

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Admitting Failure: Join the Posse (Only for real Men)

I am all in favour of evolution in development practice and thinking, where normally, it is more important to cull downright dismal failures than to select only the best, as evolution needs variability to work its magic. Admitting mistakes or … Continue reading

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CSR and Public – Private partnership: before, we used to call this propaganda, corruption or tender procedures.

This my contribution to the first Aid Blog Forum on Corporate Social Responsibility. When I look at the different contributions on CSR, the negativity of the academia and practitioners oozes from my screen. For good reason. Who pays the piper … Continue reading

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Humanitarian needs and the way we fund the Horn of Africa

Some important annual milestones for needs based humanitarian donor budgeting just passed: the publication of the 2011 Global Humanitarian Assistance Report and the Mid Year review of the OCHA Consolidated Appeals. The GHA report analyses the available data on humanitarian … Continue reading

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Markets in everything: 2021: the secondary market for development products.

Francis Watanabe is project portfolio manager for the government. He acquires development interventions on the secondary market, to add to his portfolio on early child development. Innovators, like the Gates Foundation or Oxfam, or even local governments, start up their … Continue reading

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The Black Rabbit and Permaculture

I have been very quiet on my blog lately, as I was totally absorbed by my garden. It is the first time in many years I am living in a home with a real garden where I can grow my … Continue reading

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The Sphere Project: Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response and the Poverty Line.

The Sphere standards and humanitarian efficiency. The latest edition of the Sphere Handbook was presented on the 23rd of June, and the more I read it and think about it, the more relevant I find this standard. “The Sphere Handbook … Continue reading

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Is rent-seeking effective development practice?

I must admit, I only now read “The undercover Economist”. It made me look with new eyes to the set-up of my environment: development and humanitarian assistance. It made me also look again at some behaviour of development actors in … Continue reading

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Robin Hood Tax: I voted for it before I voted against it.

I am in favour of a financial transaction tax, because we can. Indeed, we all know nothing is sure except for death and taxes, so I honestly think that if financial transactions can be taxed, we should at least try. … Continue reading

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Galileo Day Campaign: 29 February 2012

Reposting, because it only gets more actual: The day to celebrate the Earth and Science Leap day is the single day we all think about our place in the universe, and how we know that place; it honors the earth … Continue reading

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