Opinion Editor, New York
Katharine's Feed
Oct 23, 2010
via PopTech

David de Rothschild rethinks plastic

Plastic is everywhere. It is a pervasive part of our everyday lives. It’s a huge source of waste and most of it is not even biodegradable. Worst of all, much of the plastic we throw out is designed to be used only once. So what can we do about a product that we use just one time and then never goes away?

Eco-explorer David de Rothschild, the founder of Adventure Ecology, believes we need to change the way we think about plastic. In addition to using and creating less of it, de Rothschild thinks we need to start recognizing used plastic as a resource.

Oct 22, 2010
via PopTech

A ‘frozen mouth’ finds a voice in the jungle

As a child, Alan Rabinowitz had a severe stutter. So severe that he doesn’t remember speaking his first sentence until he was 19 years old. He tried everything to get rid of what he called his “frozen mouth,” including shock therapy at one point. Although he struggled to communicate with humans, Alan felt a poignant connection with big, wild cats.

His stutter, he says, turned out to be his greatest blessing: “Stutters can do a couple things right. One of them is to speak to animals.” And so Alan has spent his life dedicated to preserving and protecting these big cats who provided him comfort and a sense of belonging as child.

Oct 21, 2010
via PopTech

A new technology to monitor water

A new technology is being unveiled today that monitors water quality. FLOW, as it is known, is the brainchild of Ned Breslin, the CEO of Water For People, a non-profit dedicated to improving the quality of water and sanitation in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

The first technology of its kind, FLOW (Field Level Operations Watch) is an Android mobile phone app that captures data on water points and sanitation projects in 11 different countries. The data is automatically uploaded to Google Earth so it is free and available for anyone to see and use.

Oct 19, 2010
via PopTech

The future of microfinance?

The way Ben Lyon sees it, the finance world is in the middle of a revolution, and the simple text message is at the heart of it.

Lyon created a system to bring formal financial services to microfinance institutions and poor entrepreneurs via a mobile phone. He believes the new software, to be launched by the organization he founded, FrontlineSMS:Credit, could change the world of microfinance by changing the way the poor interact with the institutions.

Oct 18, 2010
via PopTech

Welcome to PopTech

This week, PopTech, is hosting its annual conference in Camden, Maine from October 20-23. This year’s conference, centered around the theme of failure, is titled “Brilliant Accidents, Necessary Failures, and Improbable Breakthroughs.” As PopTech says, “In a complex and messy world, solutions to big challenges frequently follow unobvious paths to success.”

PopTech is bringing together “a network of visionary thinkers, leaders and doers in science, technology, design, the corporate and social sectors, entrepreneurship, education and the arts for a three-day, boundary-defying conversation about the nature of creative change.”

Aug 6, 2010
via Entrepreneurial

A chaotic kind of love: starting a successful non-profit

This is part of an ongoing series of interviews I am doing with women entrepreneurs, and part of the kickoff to a series on social entrepreneurship.

Recently, I spoke with Linda Mornell, (pictured at left with a Summer Search student) the founder and former CEO of Summer Search, an educational and character building program that gives low-income students the opportunities and support to transform their lives. Linda, A former psychiatric nurse, spoke about the challenges of starting a non-profit organization, which now has seven offices. She also addresses the potential hazards of being too invested in your company.

Aug 5, 2010
via Entrepreneurial

Social entrepreneurship series

This package kicks off a series centered around social entrepreneurship, leadership and innovation. With less of everything –- jobs, money –- we are confronted with what to prioritize and, therefore, are forced to think about how we want to spend our time. Is it with family? Is it changing careers? Is it contributing to a greater good?

This series capture what social leaders and innovators are doing now in order to improve the quality of life –– not just their own, but other people’s as well. It also provides expert advice on these matters.

Jul 7, 2010
via Entrepreneurial

Nassim Taleb on BP oil spill

Nassim N Taleb has been twittering about the BP oil spill. Here is one of his tweets from today:

My expl of BP spill in The Black Swan II : “don’t give the manager of a nuclear plant an incentive bonus based on cost savings”.

Jun 16, 2010
via Summit Notebook

Q+A with Corcoran CEO Pamela Liebman

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Pamela Liebman

I sat down with Corcoran CEO Pamela Liebman after she came in for the Reuters Global Real Estate Summit and spoke with her about how she got into the real estate business and why she’s stuck with it for so long.

Where did you grow up in New York?
Staten Island. I went to Curtis High School

Do you live still in New York?
I live in Warren, New Jersey and have another home in Miami, Florida.

Jun 16, 2010
via Tales from the Trail

Grading the president

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We asked some of our contributors to grade the president’s Oval Office speech on the Gulf oil spill. You can leave your own grade in the comments or via our poll.

Jim Saft, Reuters columnist

The military rhetoric, the spill “assaulting our shores,” is bogus and dangerous. I can see why Obama would want to use metaphors of attack and defense: when the nation is attacked people rally round the executive and poll numbers go up in a satisfying way. That is why this is both a much abused and increasingly dangerous technique among presidents, and not just Obama. Now that we have a War on Greasy Beaches to supplement the War on Terror. What next? Do I hear the distant sound of marching feet as an army marshals for a War on Unemployment or a War on High Fructose Corn Syrup? Spare me.