USIP's Science, Technology & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Science, Technology and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, July 7 - 13, 2011

Table of Contents

**Click here to subscribe to USIP's Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding News Roundup,
which includes a special section on Internet and social media.**

Kenya Opens its Books in Revolutionary Transparency Drive
When violence erupted after the 2007 Kenyan elections, a team of activists produced Ushahidi - a digital open-source platform to monitor crises in near real-time. Around the same time, a partnership between Vodafone and Safaricom, Kenya's largest mobile operator, produced M-PESA, the mobile banking system that has revolutionised the way many Kenyans manage their money. Projects from Ushahidi to M-PESA have put Kenya firmly on the map of ICT innovation in international development - a position and a trend the Kenyan government now seems eager to promote.
See the full article (Guardian, Claire Provost, 7/13/11)
[Return to top]

Popularity of Drones Takes Off for Many Countries
As the U.S. begins withdrawing ground troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, it is increasingly depending on unmanned aerial vehicles to track and kill suspected terrorists and other enemies. That has pushed production of the weaponized drones to new levels. But remotely controlled aircraft, especially the type used for surveillance, are becoming ubiquitous throughout the world, says Peter Singer, author of Wired for War.
See the full article (NPR, Jackie Northam, 7/11/11)
[Return to top]

How TileMill Improved Ushahidi Maps to Protect Children in Africa
In May I worked with Plan Benin to improve its Violence Against Children (VAC) reporting system. The system uses FrontlineSMS and Ushahidi to collect and visualize reports of violence against children. While these mapping services are great for places rich in geographic data, many places -- like Benin and other countries in the developing world -- are poorly represented by the major mapping services. In an effort to create a custom map with more local data, I tested out TileMill, Development Seed's open-source map design studio, with successful results.
See the full article (PBS, Paul Goodman, 7/11/11)
[Return to top]

How Digital Detectives Deciphered Stuxnet, the Most Menacing Malware in History
It was January 2010, and investigators with the International Atomic Energy Agency had just completed an inspection at the uranium enrichment plant outside Natanz in central Iran , when they realized that something was off. What the inspectors didn't know was that the answer they were seeking was hidden all around them, buried in the disk space and memory of Natanz's computers. Months earlier, in June 2009, someone had silently unleashed a sophisticated and destructive digital worm that had been slithering its way through computers in Iran with just one aim - to sabotage the country's uranium enrichment program and prevent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from building a nuclear weapon.
See the full article (Wired, Kim Zetter, 7/11/11)
[Return to top]

The Globe's Not Only Getting Hotter, It's More Unjust and Unstable Too
Over the next few decades, tens of millions of people will be driven from their homes. Unlike other refugees, though, their plight won't be blamed simply on the familiar horrors of war or persecution; they'll blame the weather. An ongoing drought crisis in East Africa has created massive hunger and aggravated conflict between groups vying for dwindling resources in an increasingly barren terrain. The United Nations estimated that in 2009, conflicts over cattle grazing and water resources led to several hundred deaths.
See the full article (Huffington Post, Michelle Chen, 7/11/11)
[Return to top]

Army Uses Radar to Spot Suicide Bombers from 100 Yards
The security at Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel wasn't nearly enough to stop nine suicide bombers from setting the place ablaze and killing 12 people last month. But the U.S. military thinks it can do better - by spotting treacherous individuals before they get close enough to cause serious harm. Meet the CounterBomber. The Army just awarded Science, Engineering and Technology Corporation (SET) an up to $48.2 million contract for a machine that could spot bomb-toting individuals from afar.
See the full article (Wired, Lena Groeger, 7/8/11)
[Return to top]

Click here to subscribe to USIP's Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding News Roundup,
which includes a special section on Internet and social media.

Did we miss anything?



Share this: FacebookDeliciousDiggMySpaceStumbleUponGoogleMicrosoftYahoo! BookmarksLinkedIn| Forward this to a Friend


Click here to unsubscribe