The Amazing Cottage Economy of Indonesia

During my recent visit to Medan Indonesia, one impression that struck me was the amazingly rich number of cottage businesses, especially along the main roads. Within a couple of blocks, you can literally find nearly any kind of consumer retail business, grocery or food stand, and even some manufacturing.


Common residential / retail home in suburban Medan. Newer buildings have newer construction techniques, but basic architecture remains the same.
[SOURCE: © 2013 Greg Chase – According to Creative Commons License, use with attribution.]

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Bali and the Double-Edged Sword of Globalization

I recently returned from a month-long trip in South East Asia that included a week in Bali. The whole trip was an amazing experience that will be fodder for a couple of more blogs. However, some of my biggest impressions were made in Bali:

  1. How well Bali still retains its unique culture and background
  2. How rapidly certain parts are being homogenized and paved over by the usual global resort and shopping brands.

Barong fights Rangda in a Balinese traditional dance performed by professional dance company.
[SOURCE:] © 2013 Greg Chase, under Creative Commons License, use with attribution.

Barong and Rangda costumes being delivered via parade between local Balinese temples as part of festival.
[SOURCE:] © 2013 Greg Chase, under Creative Commons License, use with attribution

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If Resilience Was Called Abundance, We’d All Love It

Cross posted from my guest blog at Vtricity.

When was the last time you heard the term Resilience? Was it when you took high school physics class? Unless you have a job of planning for worst possible circumstances, you rarely even confront the term in day-to-day usage. Even talking about resilience probably feels morbid, like buying life insurance or planning your will.


Thinking resiliently: are ducks really flood-proof chickens?

[SOURCE: © PopTech, used according to Creative Commons License]

Definition of RESILIENCE

1: the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress

2: an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change

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What Makes a Neighborhood?

What do you consider to be your neighborhood? Is it the proximity around where you live? Is it a sub region of your town or city with identifiable boundaries? Is it a sense of identity centered around landmarks or local institutions such as a school? How much of that is from historical roots of families? Or, is it simply just the relationships between people residing in your area?


Typical neighborhood in Cyprus
[SOURCE: Wikimedia Commons, used under Creative Commons License]

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How “Financial Innovation” In US Financial Markets Stymied Real Innovation

After all the financial shenanigans by Wall Street that have been uncovered over the past decade, it’s a wonder we aren’t all back to stuffing our mattresses with bills.

[SOURCE: (c) IMTFI, used under Creative Commons license]
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The World Has Ended, And So Begins A New World



You might not have noticed but the world has officially ended. According to Mayan calendars, and doomsday politics, it’s all over.worldend

[SOURCE: © Tim Green, used under creative commons license]

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Neighborly Acts of Altruism and Resilience Post-Sandy

As Superstorm Sandy roared through New York and New Jersey, most of us saw the horrendous pictures of flooding and destruction wrought by the storm on the news and on our social media feeds. Then came the final hours of the election campaign, and suddenly many of us not directly impacted by Sandy are no longer hearing about the aftermath.

The truth is that while many people have had their power and utilities restored, there are many still with out. Lines for the few gas stations that have power are immensely long, and this is leading to price gouging by a few “enterprising individuals“. In especially hard hit places such as Queens and Staten Island, people have been evacuated, or are trying to survive without access to utilities and basic services.

In response to this chaos and suffering, stories of ingenious resilience, and heroic neighborliness have emerged. Stories such as:

1) The fourth grade girls who dropped off bagged lunches for the hungry, complete with motivational drawings on each bag.

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