The Epic Boom and Bust of the Ostrich Feather Market

by Kelly Jensen Kelly Jensen Digital Collections Specialist, California Academy of Sciences, gives one of five Shift Ignite talks earlier this year at the Shift Forum. A fascinating tale of tulip-mania (but with feathers!), this five-minute Ignite talk reminds us all what happens when social behaviors rapidly change. Kelly Jensen: Hi, I’m Kelly Jensen. I’m …

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Alternative currencies are the future and matter for development

Lorenzo Fioramonti, University of Pretoria When I began to teach in 2012, I decided to start my course with an analysis of how money affects social order. What my students found particularly fascinating was the then-nascent world of cryptocurrencies, which I described at length as a crucial feature in the future of money. Some colleagues …

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Famine creeps up on Africa with little media attention

John R Campbell, SOAS, University of London Major political events in the US and Europe have preoccupied western media over the past year. Chief among these has been Donald Trump’s rise to US president and his continuing efforts to establish a credible domestic and foreign policy agenda. Before that, the inability of the European Union …

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Reliable weather data affect farmers’ yields

By Alex Abutu [ABUJA, NIGERIA] A project that started in 2012 is helping smallholders in 17 African nations obtain reliable and accurate weather data to increase crop yields. Lack of reliable weather information in most parts of Africa is making many households lose from agriculture, experts say. The Trans-African Hydro-Meteorological Observatory (TAHMO) project was started …

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Sweet potato project improves nutrition and incomes

By Samuel Hinneh [ACCRA] Farmers and entrepreneurs in West Africa are benefiting from a project that offers improved sweet potato varieties and market access. The US$4 million project that began in April 2014 and ended last month (March 2017) was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and implemented in Burkina Faso, Ghana and …

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