As a Muslim, I feel personally ashamed at what happened on September 11th, 2001. I know I shouldn’t be – I wasn’t (nor any Muslim I could possibly personally know) involved in that heinous act.
But Islam emphasizes unity. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Canadian Muslim, Arab Muslim, or a Bangladeshi Muslim. It makes me think: the 9/11 hijackers probably prayed in the direction of Mecca and fasted for Ramadan just like me.
Yet, the first thing that most Muslims around the world did was point out that the perpetrators of 9/11 don’t represent them or Islam. As if distancing ourselves ...
Have To Be Poor To Help The Poor?
If you follow me on Twitter, you already know I'm back in Bangladesh. When I'm Dhaka, I live with my maternal uncle and aunt. Lately, I've been noticing a trend.
Just a few days ago, when I came back home carrying a bunch of groceries, my uncle chastised me saying "you better not have used any donations to pay for those groceries!". In his mind, using donations - however small - for my own food, clothing, or anything that benefits me would be tantamount to stealing.
[caption id="attachment_3748" align="aligncenter" width="499" caption="Toilet paper, antibiotics, soap, and pajamas - not taking a salary from ...
An Open Letter to Invisible Children Supporters
Dear Supporters of Invisible Children,
A lot of you may be confused at all the criticism that Invisible Children (IC) has faced as of late. Perhaps you feel that this criticism is coming from people who fail to understand the mission and nature of IC. Alternatively, perhaps, you may feel that this criticism - while having some merit - has been unfairly blown out of proportion.
What I think needs to be understood is that there is no such thing as black and white. Invisible Children, as an organization, isn't some nefarious evil group robbing people of their money. But, at the ...
For this year’s Project for Awesome, I decided to pull out all the stops and show you guys a lot of the stuff I’ve been doing but haven’t had the time to put into individual episodes or videos. I keep saying that this project is less about me and more about the community behind it – hopefully this latest video helps convey that.
And, yeah, this video does use copyrighted music by Coldplay (part of EMI Records). I did enough research into YouTube’s agreement with EMI Records and am fairly certain this video won’t be taken down. But, of course, I also had to forfeit any chance of earning any ad revenue and (as I later found out) any reasonable chance of having this video being featured or promoted. EMI can also reserve the right to take down this video, region lock it, or place ads on it where they can earn all the ad revenue from it (just like the Counting Crows & Universal Music have region locked my Cyclone Sidr video and take all the ad revenue from it).
But that’s cool. This was a kind of video I wanted to make for ages. I just never could find the right match of visuals and music until I heard “Life in Technicolor ii” by Coldplay.
So what was I doing in Kenya? I had mentioned before that I had tagged along with Vestergaard-Frandsen. It turns out that the CEO of Vestergaard Frandsen decided to single-handedly create the world’s largest privately funded global health campaign.
The way I see it, the CEO of Vestergaard Frandsen basically packed his bags, liquidated a huge part of his personal savings, and went to Kenya to see how he could make a difference. Why does that sound familiar? 😉
I definitely feel a kinship with Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen – and his willingness to spend his own dime to do this is one of the many reasons I am proud to support these guys in whatever way I can.
I didn’t drink purified cow feces to be sensationalist. I also don’t consider myself a stunt man. This quick video up on my secondary channel on YouTube shows some of the reasons why I did this particular experiment and some of the science behind why I was at virtually no risk in doing it.
FACT:Over 1.1 billion people (that’s more than 1 in every 6 human beings) don’t have access to safe drinking water. So what does that mean? Do they go thirsty? More often than not, it means getting water from contaminated sources of water. That includes rivers which, in the developing world, often are contaminated because it contains waste from farm animals upstream.
That can change – and all it would take is $1.66 per person, per year. The LifeStraw Family is a product I learned about during my recent trip to Kenya. I tagged along with Vestergaard Frandsen which, in addition to helping me come to Kenya, was giving away thousands of these water filters to rural villagers in Kakamega. I have a lot of respect for Vestergaard Frandsen but even I was a bit skeptical at the claims they made about the LifeStraw Family.
First, they claim that the LifeStraw Family uses nanotechnology to filter water down to 25 nanometers. Not only does it meet US EPA guidelines as a microbiological filter but, they claim – it exceeds them. Not even their smaller LifeStraw Personal water purifier (which I use and carry with me) is that advanced. And, unlike the LifeStraw Personal, this product is supposed to last 3 years for a family of five. All for a total cost of $25.
It sounded like BS. Oddly enough, while their claims do hold up, a lot of BS was involved in the making of this latest video.
For the more academic approach to testing this product, please check out these test results from a study by the University of Arizona. As always, Vestergaard Frandsen which did pay for my trip to Kenya, did not do so with the requirement that I endorse their products. If I got sick from this test, this would have been a very different video.
Where do I begin? There was no one word that could describe how I felt as I was packing up to go home. I felt kind of foolish because the real straw that broke the camel’s back was my dead LaCie harddrive. When I got home, after the culture shock, I felt lucky. The blood tests I took here helped explained why I was feeling so sick, tired, and ill those last few months in Bangladesh. But, in the best case scenario, this problem was due to the iron-heavy drinking water in Bangladesh. What does that say about what awaits me when I return? I certainly don’t want to stop this project – although, given the financial (and now medical) strains, it’s only a matter of time until I have to stop.
This video is one of my sadder videos. It’s also one of the least watched videos on my channel. So if you haven’t already, please do take a look: