Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Be Proud And Part Of Those Celebrating Pride 2011,

Do you see any difference?
Sometimes I really wonder why all this animosity against the LGBT people all over the world. In the height and midst of these emotions, we fail to see that there are equally large number of people who support and accept the LGBT community. Largely we all fail to see how proud the people are of themselves.
Having grown up in the Netherlands, I never felt that the LGBT were different. In fact there was two couples in the same faculty where my father taught. So I grew up knowing, and feeling that they were no different from me. These couples had children and they were my classmates. I did not feel any difference in them either. I played, fought, laughed with them, the children and never knew any difference. So...
So when I landed in San Francisco, I did not mind the fun and bright people of Castro Street. I went to watch some of those parades, to celebrate the freedom they were seeking.
I feel we all should step up and support LGBT community because it is true part and parcel of the greater community. It does not matter if you are straight, I am and I have no problem what so ever, for being with, supporting LGBT.
So when I saw Googlers were celebrating their Gayglers and others all over the world, I felt that it is the path thee most of us should be taking.
In addition to our external efforts, we’re also working from within. Recently, we extended domestic partner benefits in regions such as China and Hong Kong. Last year, Google adopted a policy promoting benefits equality through a gross-up on imputed taxes for health insurance. We provided the equivalent of the Family and Medical Leave Act for same-sex domestic partners and updated the definition of infertility. Happily, over the last year we’ve been approached by many organizations looking to do the same.

Official Google Blog: Celebrating Pride 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

California : Take a look at all 70 state parks slated for closure!

We visit at least two or may be three national parks and countless state parks and recreational areas a year.

With new budget cuts, there are 70 state parks in California slated to close as of September 1. It looked like nothing but once I saw this slide show, it reminded me of the places I have visited and want to keep on visiting. We have marked Mount Shasta, Monolake, (and two National Parks) to visit this year. We have visited the two state parks, multiple times and I am sure I will never have enough.
It is sad that these places will be inaccessible to us and countless other people. Specially the children. We always take one or two children from our community with us when we visit national or state parks. Our last visit was to Redwood Parks belt in northern California with a bunch of children that lasted almost a week. (Oops sorry it was actually our last trip was to Death Valley but we did not take any children!)
Please watch this show, if possible in it's entirety and perhaps you too can donate, like we did so we might be able to save some of the parks.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Random Hacks of Kindness By "hackers for good" Build Applications For Humanity!

These days the news is full of all negative vibes and it really good to hear when people do good, not for themselves but for others, to be specific, for the mankind in general.
Started earlier this month, hackers from all over the world participated in RHoK, Random Hacks of Kindness, to build applications for humanity.
RHoK was founded by Google in 2009 with support from other industry luminaries and Governmental organizations like NASA, Yahoo, Microsoft, World Bank to build and support Open Source technology for crisis management. These crisis and the crisis spots are the exact reasons for negative news that I mentioned earlier.
Of all the RHoK efforts that are coming to fruition, according to Google;

"The UN, in partnership with the Colombia government, is considering adopting the shelter management system developed at RHoK Bogota to aid the 3 million victims of winter flooding in South America. Of the nine hacks submitted for judging at RHoK Sao Paulo, two are already in use and two others may be further developed and incorporated into the restructuring of the National Weather Service. The winning application at RHoK Philadelphia, developed in response to a problem proposed by the World Bank Water group, is set for further development at the WaterHackathon, RHoK's first community-sponsored event, later this year."

The RHoK Silicon Valley, One closest to us, also celebrating three winners;
  • SMS Person Finder enables anyone with a phone to interact with Person Finder, a software application that Google built to help people connect with their loved ones following a disaster. The Google Crisis Response team is working with this group to integrate their application into future Google Person Finder deployments
  • Hey Cycle makes it easier for people to reuse and recycle items by setting up email alerts when free items that they’re looking for are entered on freecycle.org
  • FoodMovr connects people with excess food to others who need it through a simple live application
So let us see what people can do and what others are already doing, please visit RHoK.org.

Official Google Blog: Thousands of “hackers for good” build applications for humanity

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Elders : Seeking An End To Child Marriage

Mary Robinson asked a young woman what she remembers about her wedding day. She replied, “It was the day I left school”.
This month Gro Brundtland, Graça Machel, Mary Robinson and Desmond Tutu, visited Ethiopia to bring together Child Marriage experts, activists and of course the communities which are affected by the Child Marriage.
In Ethiopia it is common for a 12 year girl to get married! It just does not compute in my head. How could a child of 12 know anything about life, let along a married life. The domino effects of child marriage will run long and far. First of all it affects the girl, her health, development, and her education.
Sometimes it is easier to get lost in our facebook chats, tweets, while a innocent 12 year girl is married off some where in the world.

Graça Machel : Why we are building an alliance to end child marriage
Gro Brundtland : Meeting child brides in Ethiopia
Via The Elders