The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Posts Tagged ‘Developing country

The environmental inverted pyramid in public perception

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Here’s an interesting “least, first”-related observation by Nate Silver at the excellent FiveThirtyEight.

We (Americans generally) believe the environment is in danger from global warming. But we don’t particularly believe that danger threatens us:

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The survey (.pdf), conducted by George Mason University‘s Center for Climate Change Communication, reveals that Americans are concerned about global warming in the abstract — but perhaps only in the abstract. Just 32 percent of Americans think global warming will harm them “a great deal” or a “a moderate amount” personally […]

These beliefs are not necessarily irrational. Climate change probably will have more impact on the developing world than the developed one, and it almost certainly will have more impact on our children than it does on ourselves. […]

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Without taking the time to question whether the perception of invincibility is correct, let’s observe that it raises the perennial least-first question: Will we have the courage and grace to act on behalf of others?

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Water-filled glasses, adjustable for anyone, may change 3rd-world life

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Check out this brilliant invention: These water-filled lenses can be produced by the millions and adjusted on-site by the users themselves, many of whom stand less than a one in a million chance of ever visiting with an optometrist.
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British inventor Josh Silver, a former professor of physics at Oxford University, has come up with a game-changer of a product design with his water-lensed glasses.[…]
Inside the device’s tough plastic lenses are two clear circular sacs filled with fluid, each of which is connected to a small syringe attached to either arm of the spectacles.

The wearer adjusts a dial on the syringe to add or reduce amount of fluid in the membrane, thus changing the power of the lens. […]

[W]ith very little guidance people are perfectly capable of creating glasses to their own prescription […]
Silver’s goal is to help the hundreds of millions of people in developing countries who suffer from poor eyesight […]
[I]n Ghana, Silver met a man … who had been forced to retire as a tailor because he could no longer see to thread the needle … He was about 35…
“We put these specs on him, and he smiled, and threaded his needle, and sped up with this sewing machine. He can work now. He can see …”
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Life-changing, don’t you think?

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Written by Monte

January 2, 2009 at 11:19 pm