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Open The Echo Chamber

A Blog About Development and Global Change

Last Build Date: Wed, 07 Jun 2017 04:51:49 +0000


Unsolicited publishing advice

Sun, 24 Jul 2016 18:16:24 +0000

Unsolicited publishing advice/reviewing rant to follow. Brace yourselves. When writing an article based on the quantitative analysis of a phenomena, whatever it may be and however novel your analysis, you are not absolved from reading/understanding the conceptual literature (however qualitative) addressing that phenomena. Sure, you might be using a larger dataset than ever used before. [...]

He’s not a weatherman, and the rapper is not the star

Thu, 28 Apr 2016 14:49:05 +0000

As many of you know, I tend to post when provoked to rage by something in the press/literature/world. These days, I am massively overtasked, which means I need special levels of rage to post. So hooray to Tom Friedman, who in his utterly frustrating column yesterday actually managed to get me there. I’m going to [...]

Not bugs, but features: Or, adaptation is harder than you’d think

Sun, 17 Jan 2016 22:17:57 +0000

Back in September, HURDL released its final report on our work assessing Mali’s Agrometeorological Advisory program – an effort, conceived and run by the Government of Mali, to deliver weather and climate information to farmers to improve agricultural outcomes in the country. You’d think this would be a straightforwardly good idea – you know, more [...]

Of Death Stars and Development

Wed, 13 Jan 2016 16:44:18 +0000

Look, I know there have been lots of Star Wars and development posts/tweets (here, here, here), so I won’t belabor things. But forgive me a quick observation after seeing the most recent Star Wars: isn’t the continual construction of bigger and more powerful flying orbs of death by the bad guys (the Empire, then the [...]

Development, Donors, and (the lack of) SDG politics

Mon, 28 Sep 2015 05:39:42 +0000

Last week, I published a short editorial in Scientific American’s SA Forum online that decried the near-total lack of organization or prioritization in the Sustainable Development Goals/Global Goals/whatever they are called this week. My argument was simple: by not ordering or prioritizing goals, the SDGs risk becoming an empty exercise that empowers business as usual [...]

A Sort of Homecoming

Fri, 22 May 2015 20:16:39 +0000

  So, I have news. In August, I will become a Full Professor and Director of the Department of International Development, Community, and Environment at Clark University. It is an honor to be asked to lead a program with such a rich history, at such an exciting time for both it and the larger Clark [...]

DOIs, The Winnower, and Open the Echo Chamber

Mon, 09 Mar 2015 01:22:24 +0000

I’ve been writing here on Open the Echo Chamber since July of 2010. Good lord, that is a long time. I’ve cranked out well over 250,000 words on the site (plus or minus 30 articles, or about three books, worth of writing). And for all of that effort, I have received exactly no credit at [...]

SDGs in need of rescue: so, what do we do?

Fri, 06 Mar 2015 15:27:58 +0000

If you’ve been following my SDG posts (here and here), you are probably at the point of asking what exactly we should be doing about them. Fair enough. I’ve burned two blog posts and about 2000 words on the problems I see with the new SDGs. As I tell my students, it doesn’t take a [...]

SDGs in need of rescue: Part 2

Tue, 03 Mar 2015 20:53:32 +0000

In my last post, I laid out the first of my concerns with the evolving Sustainable Development Goals. As I said, I think most of these goals fall into one of three categories: the impossible, the vague, and the “sounds good, but on second thought”. Having covered the impossible, I now turn my attention to [...]

SDGs in need of rescue: Part 1

Mon, 02 Mar 2015 03:26:39 +0000

Last week I was fortunate enough to spend a few days at Wisford House for a Wilton Park conference “Beyond aid: innovative governance, financing and partnerships for the post-2015 agenda.” The meeting emphasized thinking beyond aid, to the ways in which aid funds can leverage other, larger flows of money (i.e. private capital) in manners [...]