madness, of the march variety

Talk of March Madness is swirling around the office. I’m not a fan of basketball, but I’m on board with one college basketball tradition: the Jake & Amir video. Although, to be honest, when Goulet sent me this year’s video, my first reaction was shock that Jake & Amir still exists.

I couldn’t get any of the videos to embed in this post, but it is well-worth clicking through. If you like the original, there are others. Also, this year’s.

Oh sheesh y’all, ’twas a dream…

all I can say is, go on and bleed

I watch this interview at least once a year. It has nothing to do with policy, partisanship, or Trudeau’s response to the October Crisis. It just gives me hope that someday we might have a prime minister who stops to debate ideas on the steps of Parliament.

let there be light

Thoroughly enjoyed this Opinionator post by Tina Rosenberg. Africa has skipped landline technology altogether and moved straight to cell phone networks (which are far better — and cheaper — than the networks we have in Canada, by the way). Now, some areas seem poised to do the same with electricity, by skipping nationwide power grids altogether.

I attended an environmental fair in Nairobi last fall, and I was surprised by the number of booths touting solar lanterns designed for the rural poor (some of which also had an outlet to charge mobile phones, brilliant). However, they all had a similar pitch: buy this lantern and you’ll save money in the long run, because you no longer have to buy kerosene. From my non-expert perspective, it seemed that there was a major hiccup in the plan: where would Kenya’s rural poor get the cash for the initial investment in the lantern? The “saving money over time” pitch means nothing to someone living hand-to-mouth, and a major challenge to poverty alleviation is lack of personal savings.

However, from that Opinionator post, it seems like some initiatives have found creative ways of getting around this issue. I especially like SociaLite’s idea of paying for a service (light), instead of a product (a lantern).

In terms of problems of distribution (how do you get your product out to all of these remote villages), one idea is to ask yourself what you can find in even the smallest villages in the world. Easy answer: Coke. India’s government already jumped on this idea, using Coca-Cola’s distribution network to deliver the polio vaccine to remote areas.

Also, the water bottle light-refractor is just plain neat.

sleepwalk with me

Mike Birbiglia’s story in the “Fear of Sleep” episode of This American Life remains one of the most memorable stories I’ve ever heard on the show. Now, it’s a feature film. I’ve only seen one scene from Sleepwalk With Me, so I can’t vouch for the film beyond saying a) now I want to see the rest of it, and b) it is premièring at Sundance today.

The set-up: in his early twenties, Birbiglia had a series of increasingly spectacular sleepwalking episodes, stemming from the quintessential anxiety surrounding realizing you’re now an “adult” (whatever that is). True story.

Ira Glass wrote a blog post about the film, here.

come for the strip clubs, stay for the bagels

This episode of Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover makes me miss Montreal something terrible. Schwartz’s pickles, LARPers, and raw milk cheese. He clearly has good researchers.

He’s only wrong about one thing, which is why New Yorkers visit La Belle Province: “Because they want to get drunk, and they want to eat good <expletive deleted> food like this, out of a truck.” You forgot the rippers, Tony.

(Thanks to Goulet for the link. A brilliant way to spend 40 minutes on a Monday morning. Except now nothing in the fridge appeals to me, because I want a foie gras double-down from Joe Beef.)