How Many Articles Can I Peruse in a Workday?

how many articles can i read in a dayAnd Can I Finish This Blog Post Before My Fiance Goes to Bed?

It seriously freaks me out when my fiance goes to bed before me. I have no idea why. He's just going to the next room and won't even completely close the day because the cat needs to be able to go in and out. But, I can't stand the notion of him asleep before me, with all of the lights out in the rest of the apartment. It's too much. I don't like it. When he shuts the light off by desk and I hear that 'click,' I start winding down as quickly as possible (not the right way to wind down, I know) so I can go to bed as soon as I can. It just feels late when he goes to bed before me and it feels like a sign I just shouldn't be up too much longer or else bad things will happen.

Anyway... Articles!

So, my first step to hustling is to get a record outside of our app and CMS of every article that we cover. We easily cover 400 stories a day: 20 to 30 stories per vertical plus another 100 or so for top news. No, I'm not going to read all 400 of those articles each day. That's not possible. But, a Google Sheet for each vertical with an easy glance at that day's 20 or 30 stories is much more digestible. With an easy glance of the source link and the description, I can pick out a couple of stories that look extra interesting or that look like they may have excellent facts, quotes or statistics that would make great social media content.

To build social media communities and, ultimately, fuel growth and get installs, our channels needs to present more online than what we're doing now. Our Twitter handles need to offer more than the lede sentence and the link to the update. The main handle needs to do more than tweet a lede and the original source link with the author tagged. All of that content is great, but because it's not much different from what's offered in the apps, there's little value in both downloading the app(s) and in following us on social media. Sure, someone may miss the story on the app and then catch on Twitter, or vice versa, but even that's kind of a poor value proposition. A major factor in making social media work for you is to have content tailored to the platform, where even though we're sharing the same story across Facebook, Twitter on our app, it should not look identical across the three platforms.

Separate Content for Our Newsletter

With the stories in a Google Sheet, I can avoid looking at the updates directly to have a fresh interpretation of the articles. A fresh interpretation is needed for our upcoming newsletter, although I do not know exactly the contents of this newsletter. I sent a survey to our mailing list since we haven't emailed them in over a year (hey, it wasn't my list to begin with, so I didn't have any idea who was on this list or why they were there). This survey asked how often they'd like the newsletter, what they would like it in and why they signed up in the first place. From the responses I've received, it's looking like this will be a weekly email that features summaries of our top stories. To be able to put such a newsletter together, I need to know everything we've covered for the week and then decide our top drones story, our top video games and a couple of our top breaking stories etc.

Getting this done shouldn't be a problem. The next step now is learning first-hand how many articles I can peruse in a given amount of time. Today, I'm going to give myself one hour and see how many articles I can get through. The day afterward, I may do 90 minutes or two hours, depending on my schedule and how well today goes. The goal is to see if this is a viable solution to a) finding great social media content in the stories we already cover and b) useful in finding ideas to cover for the upcoming newsletter.

If it doesn't work, then I'm not sure what I would do. At the moment, I need to be able to do this on my own.

TaxiBeat: Only Ride with the Best Drivers

taxibeat appWhen traveling abroad, transportation is one of the more difficult aspects to figure out during your trip. Besides the possible language barrier, many cities don't have high quality or standardized services, forcing tourists to pay high prices for that quality or to take their chances on a taxi or bus that's cheaper but not necessarily legal or legitimate. Fortunately, there's a new app that makes it easier to find a great taxi without having to change the rules or learn a new language. TaxiBeat is a mobile app that improves the taxi-hailing experience by allowing users to rate their drivers, as well as locate the closest available taxi. Instead of flagging any random taxi driver, you can choose your driver through the app based on your needs as well as the ratings of other TaxiBeat users. Launched in spring 2011, TaxiBeat has been downloaded over half a million times.

"We don't just strip out the tedious call to the taxi operator, nor do we service a 'blind date' between passengers and drivers," said Nick Drandakis, founder of TaxiBeat. "Instead, we provide at-a-glance info to help you choose which car and driver you want to hail, and then rate them afterwards"

The app, headquartered in Athens, Greece, has a network of over 15,000 drivers worldwide. Drivers register to be featured in the app individually, as TaxiBeat does not work with taxi companies or any other middlemen. All drivers have to do is submit their paperwork proving that they can legally drive a taxi in their country, and can be approved and profiled in the system as quickly as an hour.

"We don't choose the drivers," Drandakis said. "Only the best drivers want to be in the app. They aren't afraid of ratings."

Drandakis said that these profiles include more than the ratings of previous passengers. Those seeking a taxi can also find out it a driver speaks a certain language, includes mobile phone chargers in his/her vehicle, or is child- or pet-friendly. This information helps users choose a driver that can meet their needs, but also informs the driver on what customers may want so they can adjust their offerings and serve more passengers.

"We award good drivers and punish bad drivers," he said. "Our customers determine who gets the most jobs."

TaxiBeat is specifically targeting cities that face a big problem with the quality of their taxi services, so cities such as London and New York City won't be part of the app's network because those cities have great taxi services. Drandakis wants to leverage reputation for the taxi industry, since drivers typically work as anonymous service providers. The anonymity makes it difficult for them to build a repeat customer base. Drandakis wants to change this, which will ultimately improve the safety and service quality in these specific markets.

"This is an element missing in this market," he said. "[TaxiBeat] is the future of the taxi market. It's how it should work."

The app first launched in Athens, and is now available in Paris, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Mexico City. Over the next few months, TaxiBeat plans to launch in Turkey and Peru. The app is free to download for iPhone or Android devices.

photo credit: jm3 via photopin cc

What About Information Digestion?

information digestion dietAs I've previously mentioned, I finished reading The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption and, overall, I found it to be great read. Author Clay Johnson makes several excellent points throughout the book, essentially arguing that the problem is information over-consumption, not necessarily information overload. He uses health and nutrition as a metaphor, where we don't blame obesity on food overload but on food over-consumption, and that information over-consumption is the big problem for a variety of reasons. I do agree with Johnson, and I do agree with some of the solutions that he offers. One of those solutions is avoiding information and news sources that simply confirm our beliefs, typically sites and television shows that tell us that we are right instead of providing the facts or forcing us to challenge our notions or worldview. Another solution he advocates is a program called RescueTime, which monitors how you spend your time online and provides an accurate picture of your information consumption habits. From there, you can figure out what to cut and how to better spend that time that was typically wasted on mindless information consumption.

However, All that Is Only Half the Story

Limiting our information consumption and choosing the information we consume wisely are incredibly important. I don't disagree with that. I think the book falls short in what I'll call "information digestion," to keep with Johnson's health and nutrition metaphor. In regular health and nutrition, there's no reason to think about digestion. It's an involuntary bodily function that happens when it's supposed to, although eating the wrong things can mess with digestion and make it harder and more painful than it ought to be. However, with information consumption, we need to think about digestion too. We need to think about how we're interpreting the information, using it and acting upon it. We have to think about information digestion because it's not involuntary and how we digest information can change depending on our behaviors and attitudes.

Removing sources that just confirm our beliefs doesn't necessarily help because any news article or source can be interpreted as information that confirms our beliefs or that just presents one side of the story. For example, Huffington Post released survey findings earlier this month showing that only 36% of Americans have a lot of trust in that the information they get from scientists is reliable and accurate. Over 50% of Americans have a little bit of trust. With science journalists, 57% of Americans have a little bit of trust while 26% said that they don't trust science journalists at all to report on scientific studies accurately. These statistics make me wonder who these people would trust for information regarding scientific studies if they don't trust scientists or science journalists. I have a hard time believing that a politician or a lay person could report on scientific studies accurately or disseminate their contents reliably.

Hence, Our Need for Information Digestion

This is where information digestion needs to come in, as the source needs to be evaluated as well as the information the source is providing and what that information could mean or imply. Critical thinking needs to take place here, and we need to be willing to let information challenge our worldviews or what we believe. After all, it's still confirmation if we automatically write off the information because it came from a scientist or science journalist. It's also not good digestion if we approach the information with mistrust because it came from a scientist or science journalist because we might not necessarily take away anything valuable from that information. The idea of information digestion is a concept that merits an entire blog post on its own because it's a rather complicated concept. It's about recognizing when you have that bias, how to evaluate sources/information, and accepting the fact that you may not always be right or know everything. Not everyone wants to change their minds or admit that they are wrong.

New, Awesome, Fun Idea for My Blog

awesome news writingSince I spend about 30 hours a week devouring the news, I pondered over how to apply all that news consumption toward the blog. I like the news. I like reading the news. I like writing about the news. But, I don't want to do what others are paying me to do. It's best that I save those task for those who are paying me to do those things. As I said previously, I don't want to just do what everyone else is doing. I don't think that helps anyone, and some behaviors don't need to be replicated. I finally came up with that new, awesome, fun idea. It's based on the idea of "I Statements", where you express how you feel in the form of "I think" or "I feel" versus saying "You do this" or "You say this". I would apply this to various news events, explaining "I hate..." or "I like..." or "I accept..." to the correlating news story. This is a tactic no one else is doing, and I like that this method isn't necessarily constrained by what everyone else is talking about. Although, I could always pull the "I don't care about..." or "I'm annoyed by..." for those types of stories. Anyway, here's an example of what I'm talking about:

I Support: a Bill to Prohibit Employers From Using Credit Checks During the Hiring Process

Earlier this week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) introduced a bill that would do just that, citing that the practice disproportionately hurts poor people. The article highlights how this practice could hurt poor people more often, since it says they are used to disqualify people of color and that women are typically hit harder with divorces and given sub prime loans. Specific statistics or anecdotes aren't shown in the article, but this isn't why I support this bill.

I support this bill because credit reports are a horrible factor to use in the hiring process. First, there's no evidence to show that a credit report or score is correlated to a person's employability, or more importantly, on-the-job success. Yes, the research does show that those with higher credit scores also do well with "task performance", meaning that they tend to complete their tasks on time and do them well. But, a good hire is much more than someone who completes their tasks on time and does them well. A good hire is also someone who fits in well with company culture, who is an engaged employee (someone who loves the job as well as the company), who shows initiative and is willing to improve their skills. Finding someone who can do the job doesn't ensure that they'll be a good hire, and they'll be the person who sticks with your company beyond the first few months.

Second, credit reports can have mistakes on them. Credit checks are legal, and under Fair Credit Reporting Act, job hunters are allowed three to five days to fix mistakes. However, when 40 million Americans have mistakes on their credit reports and correcting those errors often takes a lot longer than five days. Of course, job hunters get those extra days to fix errors if the employer gives them a chance. Most don't, simply saying that they aren't going to hire you. Employers may be able to weed out a bad hire, but it's also possible they're rejecting a really good hire based on faulty information. Employers may want someone with a good credit score, but they ought to want someone who will succeed in the position. If that person who will succeed doesn't have the best credit score, then the employer is only hurting themselves by not hiring them.

I support this bill. I will talk to my representatives about this bill when the time comes.

Can I Just Be a News Expert?

news expertIs there such a thing as a news expert? I ask because that's what I want to be. If it already does exist, then that's what I want to be and I want to know what it takes to become a news expert. If it doesn't yet exist, then I'll figure out what it means to be a news expert, do that, and then call myself a news expert. Perhaps expert isn't the best word, especially if I have to create this position or persona. I looked in the thesaurus (cause that's what I do), and I like the sound of "news specialist" and "news master". I think "news artist" also has a nice ring to it, but I do have a little trouble envisioning what the news artist does on a day-to-day basis.

The Mothership is Calling Me Home

The mothership called when I was checking on my application status with I applied to be the guide for the US Liberal Politics section months and months ago. It's so long ago I don't even remember when I applied. I checked on my status, only to find out once again that they haven't gotten around to may application yet. While browsing their list of available topics, I discovered that was also accepting applications for their World News section! It's as if the Internet knows I'm in need of my mothership! I applied right away. I really don't know if I could handle both sections, but I'd love to do the World News section if I had a choice between the two. I'll be happy if I get one or the other.

I'm so glad to be doing news again. That was why I started my business. That was why I stopped freelancing. I didn't want to be stuck covering what someone else wanted me to cover or what other people thought was important. I wanted to cover what I thought was important and what I felt needed covering. I strayed from all that chasing marketing clients and using my marketing training to build an agency, even though I didn't really want an agency and had no intention of going into the marketing industry. I don't think I was really doing that work for the right reasons, and I don't think I ever had the confidence in myself to do marketing like I do to do the news. The news is just absolutely amazing! Each day you learn something new, and you never know what's going to happen next! It's truly a career path where every day is different. No two days on the job are exactly the same.

I'm Wondering How to Turn this Into a Business or Really Good Side Gig

I have two great news gigs right now, one with News Headquarters and another with a news app that's launching in January (when it launches, I can reveal the name of this app). I'm really enjoying the work I'm doing for both of them, and both of them also have room for advancement and additional work. If those opportunities come up, then I plan to take them and to drop some of my other clients if I have to. I'm absolutely happy to be reading and writing the news again. I'm thinking that what I might have to do is slug it out for the next year or two, working in the industry and figuring out where I can fill in what's missing. I'd like to use this blog and/or Stirring Media to do that, but I'm really not sure how without duplicating what's already being done. I don't want to just duplicate. I want to shake up the news industry with an innovative approach to reporting, delivering, and interpreting the news. I'm just not sure what that innovative approach is yet.

Contributing to the Information Diet

i love the newsThere's a book I read about two years ago called, The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption. I remembered that I liked the book and found it informative, but after two years, I've forgotten the premise and main points. Since it's a short book, and since I've gotten back into the news business, I've borrowed it from the library to read it again. I think this is an important re-read as I am fulfilling the role of creating news and content for the consumption of others. I've already gone through the introduction, which refreshed memory that Information Diet makes the case that the consumption of news/information should be treated like how we ought to consume food. The over-consumption of food can lead to a variety of diseases, and the same can happen with a hyper-consumption of information in general, or in the over-consumption of the wrong information. As summarized in the introduction of the book:

If unhealthy information consumption creates bad information habits the way unhealthy eating creates food addictions, then what good is transparency?... You cannot simply flood the market with broccoli and hope that people stop eating french fries. If large numbers of people only seek out information that confirm their beliefs, then flooding the market with data from and about the government will not work as well as the theorists predict.

The overall point is that it's not enough to put the good information and the good news coverage out there. You need to change behaviors as well, probably concurrently as you put out the information that's part of a healthy information diet. A point that I'd like to make about this concept is that over-consumption can lead us to a point where we aren't filtering the information to come to a logical conclusion or to weigh various sides very well. It's much like choice overload, as the act of filtering information means that you are making choices about which information is most credible, most relevant, or even the most truthful. If you have too much choice, or too much information to go through, then it's easier not to choose or to settle on ideas that confirm your beliefs or affirm what you already know or think to be true. Or, even to choose not to read any information at all.

"We choose not to choose even when it goes against our best self interests," as Sheena Iyengar says in this speech below about why people chose, or don't choose, in the first place.

Commitment to Good News Coverage

As I get back into the news industry and assess trends, study what I'm doing, and watch what competitors are doing, I need to look for a way to contribute to the information buffet and to encourage a healthful information diet. I'm not one to do what everyone else is doing, so I need to figure out what's happening and then fill in what's missing. Curation and aggregation are hot right now, but I'm not much of a fan of either. Too easy to spread information that's just incorrect while creating a system where too few people are the actual news writers and creators. It also can lead to an echo chamber where something that's wrong is shared and repeated before it's corrected. Curation and aggregation involves sharing and repurposing what other people are doing. When there's too few people, certain topics will be missed simply because everything can't be covered. When there's an echo chamber, there's also an incentive to report things that do well in the echo chamber, versus topics that need to be said and covered. I wish I had the answer to everything now. Perhaps I'll have a few more once I finish re-reading the book and work in the industry a few more months or years.

Bullet Journal, New Gigs, and Getting Things Back Together

Thanksgiving Been spending my time over the past few weeks working to get everything back together. I think much of it crumbled from under me because I wasn't spending enough time working, and because I didn't spend any time planning my branding. For my branding, I just threw something together, never really thought about, and so the mantra, positioning, and statement weren't as solidified and unique as they could of been. I don't think I would have gotten into trouble if I had planned those things because I would have had more concrete ideas about Stirring Media as a brand and business. I'm now spending time thinking about the business' brand as well as my own personal brand.

One Month of the Bullet Journal

I've given the Bullet Journal note-taking system for over a month now, and I like it very much. I actually find it to be a good complement to my inferno of productivity because it's two to-do lists instead of one, and also that the Bullet Journal can accommodate scheduling and longer lists. Longer lists can be lists that all have to do with one topic i.e. I have a list of the web pages I need to write for one client's project, but there also a tidy, safe place to keep my big-fat lists that come up from time to time. The big-fat list often contains many little things that I need to get done, most often things like updating my social media profiles or figuring out how to set up Google Authorship when you contribute to several blogs and publications. I would highly recommend the Bullet Journal for anyone who has never been particularly satisfied with the selection of planners and calendars that are currently available on the market.

Two New Gigs!

I"ve gotten two new news writing gigs, and I am very excited about both of them! One I started last weekend, and the other I'll be starting over the next few days. For the first gig (which needs to stay nameless because it hasn't yet launched), I essentially find news stories, read the story, write a 300-character summary, and upload the summary to the content management system. Kind of like a dream job for me, because I have to cover anything and everything, and the sooner I can summarize a breaking news story, the better. I work on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, so the only downside is that Friday night is particularly slow. It's the weekend for the whole world, and not much is happening on a Friday night or Saturday morning. Saturday and Sunday are a bit better, primarily because all the sports games are finishing up during my shift, and I can easily write a few summaries by simply reporting on a college basketball or professional hockey game that just finished.

My second gig is with News Headquarters, where I"ll be doing some general news article writing for one of their sites (not sure which one yet). The work sounds similar to the articles I wrote for Technorati, although this time I'll be getting paid, where I find a story and then create something new using a variety of sources. On the surface, it sounds like article rewriting, or rehashing, as I like to call it. The job totally can be, and that's the easy way out to do the job in my opinion. However, I do think that this practice could be done in a way that doesn't involve selling out your soul, where the sources and story are used to offer a new perspective instead of just write another article saying what everyone else has said. It means you have to be more creative and try to present an angle that hasn't been presented yet. I think that's where you'll differentiate yourself while creating something that will actually generate buzz and properly newsjack a story. Perhaps I should just think of this gig as getting paid to piggyback on the news.

5 Recent Research Findings that Challenge Notions of Politics and Society

recent political researchOf the many things that go unreported in major news outlets, one of those things are the research findings from major universities. Granted, research does get coverage from time to time, especially if its proven that video games are good for you. And, granted, not all research coming out of a major university deserves press coverage. But, this doesn't mean that there are excellent studies and findings taking place that aren't worth talking about, or considering because they challenge traditionally held notions of politics and society. Here are five recent research findings from major universities across the globe that shed light into how our world, and our government, really works:

Anti-Muslim Bias Tracked in Mainstream Media

Research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill suggests that organizations with negative messages about Muslims drowned out positive and moderate messaging in the mainstream media. Christopher Bail, an assistant professor of sociology who conducted the study, said that this emphasis by the mass media gave fringe organizations the chance to build networks and to raise funds. It also give little attention to public condemnations of terrorism of Muslims, even though the vast majority of organizations depict Muslims as peaceful, contributing members of our society.

Although the article doesn't expound upon the methodology, I suspect that plagiarism software was used for this research because the software makes it easy to track how many times a certain news release was posted, or copied, on another website. This methodology may also omit news articles that reference these news releases or use them as a source, but don't copy the text of the original release.

Remember the Lowe's Advertising Fiasco Over "All-American Muslim"?

Recent Examples of Anti-Muslim Bias in the Media

Women in U.S Congress Deliver More to Their Districts than Male Counterparts

Whatever women do, they must do twice as well as a man to be thought of as half as good. Luckily, that's not too difficult. - Charlotte Witton

Apparently, 2011 research from the University of Chicago proves Witton's words to be true in politics. In Congress, women outperform men in two main areas: sponsorship/co-sponsorship of legislation and obtaining federal discretionary spending for home districts. The authors don't go so far as to way that women are more innately talented in politics than men, as women who fill the seats of their deceased husbands do not outperform their male colleagues. They argue that the more discrimination a woman has to overcome to get elected, the more motivations and qualifications they need to win the election and to keep their seat in Washington. The researchers call this phenomenon the "Jackie (and Jill) Robinson Effect," where famed baseball player Jackie Robinson needed to be the absolute best to overcome the racial discrimination of his time.

Because of This, Our First Female President will Be AMAZING

Less than Half of Americans Think It's a Good Thing to Have More Women in Congress

Grandiose Narcissism Makes a Memorable President

What do Theodore Roosevelt, Andrew Jackson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy have in common (besides at one time being president of the United States)? They all have a distinct trait called grandiose narcissism.

Grandiose narcissism, as defined by research from Emory University, is an extroverted, self-aggrandizing, domineering, and flamboyant interpersonal style, and it's a personality style that's associated with greatness in the presidency. After all, the presidents listed as having this type of narcissism are the ones that are most often discussed and taught in history class. Few people know anything about Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore, the two presidents who scored low ratings for grandiose narcissism. Although this type of narcissism makes a memorable president, it doesn't necessarily translate into a well-liked or an uncontroversial president, as grandiose narcissism is also associate with rule bending, cheating, and impeachment resolutions.

Jumbo: It's Why American Soldiers Were in Vietnam, and Other Fun Facts

The Least and Most Narcissistic Presidents, If You're Curious

Haiti's Poorer than Medieval England (If Medieval England Were Around Today

An annual salary of $400 (as expressed in 1990 international dollars) is commonly used as a measure of “bare bones subsistence.” It was previously believed that this figure was the average income in medieval England. However, new research from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom found that the average income for this time period was closer to $1000/year, since a majority of the population in that time period could afford a varied diet as well as the occasional luxuries. This new figure for average per capita income also means that England in the Middle Ages was wealthier than Haiti today, along with 12 other countries in Africa and Asia (still expressed in 1990 dollars). Haiti, according to 1990 dollars, has an average per capita income of $686/year.

The authors note that these figures do not consider income distribution, where many in medieval England still live a bare bones existence while others were far better off than a varied diet and occasional luxuries.

What Happened to Caring about Haiti After the Earthquake?

Just How Dark Were the Dark Ages? [Video]

Political TV Ads are Overrated, In a Sense

Political advertising is powerful; no one needed research from Penn State to prove that. However, that their research did find was that people tended to overestimate the impact these ads have on others, especially negative political ads. With positive political messaging, people thought the messaging had more of an impact on themselves than on others. Either way, the researchers concluded that the more political ads someone saw, positive or negative, the more likely that person was going to perceive that these ads were affecting people.

I read in Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America that although constituents hate political ads, especially negative ads, the messages of these ads still stick with viewers. Viewers recalled the messaging, particularly if they didn't like the messaging in the first place. Political ads may annoy us during the election season, but they aren't going anywhere anytime soon because they work.

Almost $1 Billion Were Spent on Political Ads in the 2012 Election

A Look at Political Ads from a More Recent Election

5 Countries Threatened by Climate Change

countries threatened by climate change It's easy to say there's no scientific consensus on climate change when it's not your home that's in jeopardy. Even though the United States isn't going to be swallowed by rising sea levels (well, not exactly true when you consider Kivalina, Alaska), the country as a whole isn't at risk of nonexistence. We may lose a few states and a few stars on a flag, but America itself will still be around. However, the same can't be said for many other countries, particularly island nations, where rising sea levels are forcing populations to evacuate within the next 10 to 100 years, if not tomorrow. Below are five countries that could disappear from the face of the Earth, literally, because of climate change:


Rising sea levels don't just cover low-lying atolls like the 23 that make up the Republic of Kiribati. Rising sea levels also flood homes, kill crops, and ruin freshwater sources, and it's these problems that are forcing the population of 102,000 to consider emigration as the alternative. Currently, the main solution under consideration is to move to Viti Levu, Fiji’s main island, as President Anote Tong projects that the country may be inhabitable by 2050. The church group that owns the land has offered it to President Tong for $9.6 million, and the president will purchase the land for food security first. Eventually, the land will be used as the permanent home for the population.

Kiribati Man Could Be First Climate Refugee, Seeks Asylum in New Zealand

It's Actually Pronounced Kirr-i-bas

The Maldives

Mohamed Nasheed, former president of the Maldives, gives his grandchildren a 50-50 shot at inheriting an inhabitable country. Those odds aren't the best considering that Nasheed has children, but not grandchildren. Unfortunately, the Maldives isn't as easy to save as Kiribati, as the country has four times the population (spread over several hundred islands) and many more competing interests in how to save it and in what to keep alive. There's an interest in solar energy, but a lack of capital and expertise to execute that plan even though the country's dependence on diesel is bankrupting the country. There are many international investments into the tourism industry, but the industry also puts a huge strain on the remaining land and resources. The fishing industry is vibrant, but also threatened by the tourists who visit to eat the catch. Nasheed maintains that if the Maldives can't be saved, then coastal cities such as Tokyo and New Orleans are doomed as well, as a three-foot increase in sea levels is enough to submerge much of the entire country.

There's Already a Documentary on The Maldives and Its Upcoming Disappearance

Maldivian Government Holds Parliament Session Underwater to Draw Attention to Climate Change


Unfortunately for Kiribati, Fiji may be just another temporary solution that buys time, as Fiji is also threatened by climate change and without a solution (although one is being finalized). Although Fiji's larger islands have mountains as high as 4,000 feet about sea level, the country isn't just worried about the rising sea levels. Fiji is much more concerned about natural disasters that destroy homes and flood communities, leaving this already-fragile population more susceptible to water-borne and nutrition-related illnesses. Coastal and beach erosion also affect the nearly 900,000 people who live here, where saline intrusion into mangroves and freshwater will only make it harder for people to overcome the diseases and to survive on the land.

Fiji Has Already Relocated Villages

Australia and New Zealand Won't Reduce Carbon Emissions

Republic of Cape Verde

Not every island nation threatened by climate change is in the Pacific or Indian Oceans! The Republic of Cape Verde is off the western coast of Africa and its 10 volcanic islands are at risk of both drought and extreme flooding. Despite its name, Cape Verde is a dry country with only a few rainy days each year. Climate change exacerbates freshwater resources (half of the country already lacks access to a public water supply), like it's doing in many other countries, while rising sea levels encroach the coastline and severe storms leave the country's half a million people vulnerable to flooding. And, they are vulnerable, as 80% of the population lives along the coast. Poor countries like the Republic of Cape Verde are the most likely to be hit by climate change, and if they are hit, they will suffer the most.

Other Coastal African Nations are Losing Coastlines... and Entire Communities

Cape Verde's President Says, “What is happening to us will happen to all of us tomorrow.”

Federated States of Micronesia

A three-foot rise in sea level may submerge the Maldives, but that same sea level rise will render much of the Federated States of Micronesia uninhabitable. Even though this rise is projected to take place over the course of the next 90 years, countries like Micronesia are already seeing their homelands eroded away. Three feet is a lot for island nations that are only several feet above sea level. For example, cemeteries have been taken by the sea. and many islands are now just a beach as the tide touches the roots of coconut trees. Sea walls may be an option for some places, but the Federated States of Micronesia includes over 600 islands, and many of these islands are small atolls where a sea wall won't make a difference.

Ocean Levels Will Still Rise 3 to 6 Feet by 2100, Even if All Carbon Emissions Ceased Tomorrow

It's Not Entirely Up to the Western World - Island Nations Have Pledged to Do Their Part

I'm Not Doing Too Well at this New Niche

not doing too well Of the four questions I planned to do last week, I only did one of the four on the obscure topic of the national horse slaughter ban. The post did rather well for this blog, but I failed to keep the momentum going and to offer insight on a more mainstream topic. I also think my analysis could use many more facts, figures, and demographics to support it. The horse slaughter post was a bit philosophical. I can do much better.

This Week's Possible Topics (of Which I Will Do at Least Two, for Improvement)

  1. What reforms should be made to U.S. surveillance efforts?
  2. Will the newly signed student loan rate legislation make higher education more affordable?
  3. Does Bill Gates have the right ideas to reform American education?
  4. How can the federal government better the plight of wounded veterans?
  5. Should there be an increase in the federal minimum wage?
  6. What should Russia do with Edward Snowden after his one year asylum expires?
  7. Are European governments too lax in their protection of the Roma?
  8. What grade should the Turkish government receive for its human rights record?
  9. Is time running out for the Israelis to make a suitable peace with the Palestinians?
  10. Has Venezuela’s international profile taken a serious hit since the death of Hugo Chavez?

I Need to Change the Task

Currently, doing one personal blog post is part of my task list for each day. Because of my new niche and my goal for this week, delegating the task in that manner doesn't actually help. What I think I need to do is set that as the task for every other day, and then the days that aren't assigned to writing the blog post will be assigned to the necessary research. The main reason why I didn't get anything done last week was because I didn't spend the time doing the research. I am getting a late start to this week, which is why I'm shooting for two, but including the research as part of the points I can get for each day will incentive me to do the research. This also prevents that overwhelming writer's block, that burden where I need to do research and do a blog post in the same day.

Currently Reading Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In and It's Amazing

I am almost done with Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead (which is good, because I have way too many books to read right now, and this one wasn't on my summer reading list) and I think it's an absolutely phenomenal book. I've been wanting to read this book for a long time and I'm so glad that I finally have! She makes great points throughout the book, and what I particularly love is that I could relate to them even though I'm not a senior executive with two kids. The most profound point, to me, is that it's stereotypes about women that are holding women back because women are held to those stereotypes by others (and then punished for not adhering to them) and because women hold themselves to those stereotypes at times. It's ideas that women are supposed to be nice and nurturing, that women are always going to be the ones to take the brunt of the child caring duties, that women always have to worry about a family/career balance.

I loved that Sandberg encourages to break those stereotypes and not to worry about what others think about you. She says that it's more important to be comfortable with your own choices, to do what's best for you and your family, and to not leave the workforce before you've actually left. Don't turn down responsibilities and new opportunities because you're afraid a child is going to get in the way, so you're making room before there is even the prospect of a child in your life. Go for success now, while you can, before the child is expected.