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Cowbird

Cowbird

My friend Jonathan Harris never ceases to amaze me. He’s one of the most thoughtful and talented people in the world. His latest project Cowbird has an audacious goal- in his word, to become the public library of human experience, kind of like a Wikipedia for real life (but much more beautiful).

How are they going to get there? They’re pioneering a new form of participatory journalism rooted in simple human stories.

occupy

The site is organized into Sagas, Stories and Diaries, and the slogan says it best: To be a witness to life.

Above is the Saga of Occupy Wall Street, and specifically Jonathan’s story about being arrested at Occupy Oakland.

It’s easy to submit and organize your own story or saga.  They can be in any form of media.  On the site now the mix and sheer breadth of documented experiences is fascinating to see.

Jonathan

Within the profile of a user, you can see that a specific person’s (in this case Jonathan’s) appearances in different sagas, their own stories, and their relationships.  It’s a little social-network like, but it’s what happens in your life that ties you to other people.

The organization is incredible, and I would expect nothing less from Jonathan!

Check it out and share your own story!

Giving Back To Japan

History

I’m back in Japan, but this time the purpose of my trip is much different than usual. I’m not here to shop, I’m not here to meet people on business, or to sing karaoke.

I’m here in service, and I’m here to give back.

Long story short: I’ll be joining a mental health team led by my father up to parts of Sendai and nearby Fukushima.

I’ve been given my radiation dosimeter and mask, and will be taking other precautions to remain safe– but this will undoubtedly be a difficult and reflective experience.

For decades, my father has led mental health care professionals into places of terrible natural and man-created disasters. I rarely have had a chance to join him, but the tragedy in Japan hit me too close to my heart to not do my part.  I owe Japan infinitely for it’s inspiration and impact on my life.

Primarily, our team will conduct trainings for volunteers, school officials, nurses, social workers, as well as workshops directly aimed at local children affected by the earthquake and tsunami disaster– all to fight off PTSD which affects so many people after these kinds of disasters.

This is his team’s second trip here already this year– you can read (and see) more about the first trip here.

To help raise money and pay for the hard costs and realities of this kind of work, we broke down the prices of travel, airport shuttles, gas for the cars, translators, food, radiation detection equipment, and more. Check it out, and if you can kick in, every little bit helps.

You can read our journal containing updates from the field and reflections here.

I will also be tweeting as much as I can from the field, and updating with pictures on here.

Wish us luck, and thanks for reading.

Help Amit!

Brownbones eventbrite

My friend Amit Gupta (interviewed on here back in 2007) needs our help.

The best thing you can do is get anyone you know of South Asian descent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, or Sri Lanka) to take a very simple, free, painless test and spread the word to their friends.

Seth Godin will give $10,000 to the match.

More info here. Go swab yourself.

September and October Travel



I’m back in the USA for a few days after an incredible time in China and Japan.  I’m here for about a week before I head off again to Abu Dhabi, Oman, Japan, and then South Africa and Mozambique.  I was trying to find a good way to show the travel I’ve done over the past two months and found this nifty little site called Tripline.  You can watch my flights like a movie now.

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