Thursday, January 16, 2014

TPP and Intellectual Property

I find that communication is the most important "Alternative to Violence". As such, my largest concern about the proposed TPP trade deal is its grave impacts on modern communication methods and intellectual property.
  • TPP has provisions to criminalize basic aspects of downloading and streaming content. 
    • That chills internet communications that all of us, including social reformers, depend on for our work. 
  •  TPP internationalizes extension of copyrights more than 50 years after the author's death, curtails "fair use" provisions, and more.
    • Extended copyrights don't encourage authors, they merely prevent access and re-use of works that publishers don't want to bother making available at a reasonable rate. For instance, you still can't play "Happy Birthday" on the radio without paying a hefty fee to Warner Bros. 
    • This puts barriers and frictions in the work of our educators and inter-cultural communicators. 
  •  TPP enables more frivolous patents, and makes them more enforceable in more countries. 
    • Computer software is the worst jungle of "patent trolls," that could be impacted by the TPP.
    • But the TPP would even make surgical procedures patentable. Imagine a doctor unable to perform a procedure because she fears a patent lawsuit!
    • Intellectual property regulations can also enable or undermine agricultural green revolutions in low income countries. QUNO has been studying this recently. 

Electronic Frontier Foundation statement (like the ACLU for electronic communications)
International Business Times article on TPP
NYT on Patent Trolls
QUNO on Intellectual Property in Agriculture

Monday, July 8, 2013

June 2013 Progress Report

I will be taking a leave of absence from the PhD program at Boston University during 2013-2014, and I promised professors and friends that I would keep them updated with my activities. So I will provide a monthly posting in which I will briefly summarize my progress on profession-related items over the previous month.

Outline of Post:
  • Recap To-Date
  • May 2013
  • June 2014
  • Plans for July 2014
Recap To-Date:
This May, I finished my first two years of my Economics PhD program at Boston University. I chose to take a 1-year leave of absence before my 3rd year, primarily to focus on accelerated language-learning methods (link1 link2). I have also been working with a small youth group called OJEPAC in Gisenyi City, Rwanda coordinated by Elisee Hakuzweyezu. I took a more personal role with this group in developing its Early Learning pilot program, which currently includes five mothers (link3). Depending on its progress, I may also continue to follow up with this EL pilot.

May 2013:
  • Finals week formally ended May 11.
  • Wrote and coordinated summaries for papers in the IED Discussion Paper Series.
  • Finished up my end-of-year tasks related to the Graduate Student Organization's initiatives on Academic Open Access.
  • Worked on Rwanda projects, prepared for trip to Rwanda.
June 2013:
  • Prepared for Rwanda trip.
  • Completed my work for the Spring 2013 IED Research Review deadline (link4).
  • Visited OJEPAC in Rwanda for 2.5 weeks and worked with Elisee to determine a program for the organization that will work for all stakeholders.

Plans for July 2013:

  • Follow-through with pending Rwanda items.
  • Ramp-up study of memory techniques.
  • Continue with routine work in Economics: 
    • Read theoretical and empirical papers.
    • Review portions of Davidson and Mckenna's Econometric Theory and Methods.
    • Improve my Stata toolbox.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Early Learning on-the-cheap: Guide Document

Check out the current Guide Document! It's a manual for Early Learning that should be achievable for a $4/day households, or even less.

Guide Document in English, and Kinyarwanda.

For more background, read the packaged information from Brillkids, and the forum posts like this one about notable Early Learners, and documentation of our Rwanda pilot project with OJEPAC.