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Reading digest for 12/29/08 to 01/05/09

Interesting finds from around the web this week:

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Reading digest for 12/22/08 to 12/29/08

Interesting finds from around the web this week:

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The Girl Effect

Sometimes it is important to challenge the status quo and force change but that invariably lead to resistance and confrontation. Other times, it is so much more effective to embrace the constraints or unquestioned 'truths', take steps that no-one cares about within that existing framework and watch desired outcome emerge naturally.

As a means of effecting change and reducing poverty, my belief and commitment to organizations like Unitus that offer microfinancing solutions remains strong. This initiative also shows promise.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIvmE4_KMNw]

The Girl Effect:

The powerful social and economic change brought about when girls have the opportunity to participate in their society.

Because there’s poverty, and war, and hunger, and AIDS, and because when adolescent girls in the developing world have a chance, they can be the most powerful force of change for themselves, their families, communities, countries, and even the planet.

But while those 600 million adolescent girls are the most likely agents of change, they are often invisible to their societies and the world.

So what can you do about that? Help make girls visible. Stand up and be counted by becoming a fan of The Girl Effect, and getting your friends to do the same. Tell the world that you think the 600 million girls in the developing world deserve better – for themselves, and for the end of poverty.

That’s a start. Ready to learn and do more? Head over to girleffect.org.

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Bathroom remodel begins

After what seems like months on the go, we've finally had a couple of weekends in town and a chance to catch up on a few things on the home front.

First order of business has been to get a major bathroom overhaul under way. The bathroom in this house was in a rather sorry state when I moved in a couple of years ago, and various discoveries since have turned up 'concerns' like rotten floors, deep cuts into the joists, water leaking from the shower and tub and other surprises. I replaced the old, original plumbing last winter with PEX (story for another time) but that was really only the beginning.

We spent this weekend touring home improvement stores and finished with resounding success, having picked fixtures, fittings, flooring, tubs and a toilet that can flush a bucket of golf balls. Really.

Work on the prereqs should begin this week (trenching to the street water main, electrical panel replacement), with the real construction starting after the holiday. Exciting times.

oakley-bathroom

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Celebrating 'Change'

Tuesday was a very important day; there was a tense mixture of excitement and apprehension everywhere - on the bus, at the gym, at work, even walking around Seattle in the early evening where Amy and I planned to meet for dinner.

After a fine main course at Palomino, I couldn't resist but to check the count on my phone and it was right there: 333 electoral votes. All over before 9pm and I couldn't resist a subtle high-five.

As we made our way over to the Westin where the local Democrats were camped out watching the gubernatorial race, cars were honking horns driving up fifth avenue and people openly cheering in the street. We arrived just in time to be swept up into the excited crowd that filled the main ballroom to watch Obama's speech. And a great speech it was.

Making our way out through the lobby, there was a great contrast of ecstatic supporters and exhausted, passed out campaign staff. While the crowds were spilling out into the street with more shouting and celebration, I think deep down everyone realizes this is only the first step in a monumental task. But it has to begin somewhere.

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Spotted on Dexter Ave N

Reminds me of Lost. Sign reads "CALL SEATTLE CITY LIGHT AT 206-684-3000 WHEN LIGHT IS ON". What if it's flashing?!

PA200036

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As good today as it's always been

What better way to break a hiatus than with a bit of nostalgia.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cv4c4ER8Pzo]

Even after seven years (this Wednesday) away from Britain, this video makes me inexplicably homesick.