Meeting online in 2013

The tl;dr is:

First Appropedia Jam for 2013: Sunday January 13, at 10pm GMT.

That's daytime Sunday in the Americas, and the morning of Monday Jan 14 in Asia/Australia/NZ - see the link for some local times.

Appropedia's monthly online meetups continue this year. They're a chance to work together to make fantastic resources for a sustainable and poverty-free society. We'll work on these resources together, and by making grand plans together.

This next one will be very low key as we're coming out of the holiday period (summer holidays for some of us - we're a global community). But the chat will be on as always, it being the second Sunday of the month. So pop in, ask questions and lend a hand.

I want to use the time to troubleshoot the wastewater articles, dream about the year ahead, and (as always) connect with people from the Appropedia community. Perhaps those things interest you, or perhaps you want to work on something different, like an article on a medical device for isolated communities, or organizing a guerrilla marketing campaign. Either way, we'd love to have your company. (We'll also do something bigger for February, so check back in early Feb for details.)

We're meeting on IRC. Details for joining the chat can be found on the Appropedia Jam page.

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Monthly chat – today, Sunday September 9

It's Appropedia's monthly chat time, 2nd Sunday of the month (or the Monday morning if you're in Asia/Australasia). It's an open discussion this month, so bring your questions about Appropedia, or your grand plan, or just come and find out how we're making a difference.

It's at 10pm GMT - some local times:

  • In the USA: 3pm PDT & 6pm EDT
  • London: 11pm
  • Eastern Australia (Melb/Syd etc): 8am Monday 10th
  • NZ: 10am Monday 10th

Easiest way to join the chat - just go here and enter a username. (Ignore the "Auth to services" box unless you have a Freenode account): http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=Appropedia It's an old-fashioned chat, a simple page in your browser with a box at the bottom for typing into.

See our Monthly chat page if you need more info.

Hope to chat with you then. If you get this message late, then my apologies. You can mark it in your calendar for next time.

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Appropedia on IRC

To chat with the Appropedia community, find us in the #appropedia channel on Freenode, where we talk about exactly how we'll be ramping up Appropedia this year, how this will change the world... and perhaps some lighter topics as well.

That's an IRC channel - Internet Relay Chat, which is very flexible way to chat.

In future we'll be announcing meetings and Appropedia jams at set times, but for now, come and say hi, and if someone's around, they'll say hi back - then ask your questions and make suggestions. I'm in the channel most of the time that my computer's on, so there's a good chance you'll find me.

There are a few ways to join the channel:

  • Via the web. This is easiest (but not suitable for older computers or older browsers). Go to Freenode Web Chat, pick a username and connect.
  • Chatzilla extension for Firefox (and other Mozilla browsers). Some suggestions for setup options here. With Chatzilla installed, this link will take you to the channel: #appropedia
  • A chat client that supports IRC, e.g. Pidgin. (I find Pidgin less easy and less sophisticated than Chatzilla, for the new user.)

For more ideas, see Appropedia:IRC‎.

And aside from the discussion channel, we also have a specialist channel:

Recent changes channel

Appropedia's continued survival depends on the Recent Changes Patrol - rolling back spam and other junk as quickly as it is put up, and helping other editors. You can be part of the patrol by joining the #appropedia-rc channel and getting a live - this allows you to see what edits are being made to Appropedia, with a link to the "diff" for the changes. Thanks to Danny B. from Prague, a hardworking member of the Wikimedia community, who set this up for us.

So, drop in and say hello. And be patient if no one's around to reply... there are a few of us using the channel so far, and it's increasing, but you might have to try at different times. (As for me, I'm on AEST, the eastern Australian timezone, so if you're in the US, I'm likely to be asleep during your business hours!)

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Shared vision: Open Source Permaculture

Update: Nothing came of this project, sadly. See comments for details.

Appropedia continues to be committed to free and open knowledge resources for permaculture, and we hope to have more detailed announcements on this soon. - Chris Watkins, 7 Aug 2013.

Original post:

We've been speaking with Sophie Novack and Evan Schoepke from the Open Source Permaculture project, and we're glad to announce that we'll be working together building the permaculture wiki on Appropedia, and that we're supporting their fundraising effort.

They state:

We believe that sustainability is for everyone. That's why we're creating Open Source Permaculture, a free online resource for anyone who wants to create a more sustainable world.

This resonates with us. We've been talking about open source permaculture for some time, and putting the idea out there in the permaculture community. Our "Permaculture wiki" page describes the state of things, noting various attempts which have sadly fallen over and others which have a more limited scope, and inviting others to join us. An open source permaculture wiki page (hosted by our friends the Open Source Ecology wiki0 looks at what we need in a website to really serve this vision.

We've made progress. We're now using an important tool for structured data, Semantic MediaWiki, which we can apply to a permaculture ecology to help map the relationships between inputs, outputs, plants, animals, principles and resources. We've cultivated the wiki platform, to enable open source permaculture to grow

But a key part of the ecosystem has been missing, until now: Passionate individuals who know permaculture, who are prepared to study and work on developing materials to explain and teach permaculture. That's what the Open Source Permaculture project is about and we're happy to point you to their fundraising effort. This is a vision that deserves funding, and deserves a vote of support. Please check it out, and ask yourself how much this kind of abundant future means to you.

The details of our collaboration are being worked out - it will be based on using Appropedia as the permaculture wiki, and I'm sure we'll be working together in other ways in this work to create an abundant and sustainable world.

By the way, for those unclear about what permaculture is exactly, here's a video from a community in San Francisco:
Read the rest of this entry »

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Communications and social media internships

Wherever you are in the world: if you're studying Communications, or wanting to break into the field, and you're passionate about solutions for positive change in the world, then this could be the opportunity for you. Appropedia is looking for interns - one to start in October, another to start in the New Year - to help us communicate and engage with people who might be interested in this project, as well as communicate with and strengthen our existing community.

The work will involve a mixture of interviewing, contacting and/or helping to write publicity materials. You can work part-time, and you'll have a lot of flexibility in how you work, but you'll have guidance always available.

There is a lot of potential to learn and to make a difference. I sometimes say, only half-jokingly, that Appropedia was built by engineers and scientists, so we're much better at doing stuff than at talking about what we do. But we've talked, and got better at it, and become active in social media, as we've taken our message out there. We're happy to share with you what we've learned, but we're also happy to learn from you and with you.

You'll need to take initiative, experiment and report on what's working and what isn't. We have a high respect for failure with enthusiasm, which is often the basis for future success, and even more often the basis for very valuable learning.

This is a virtual internship - you'll be working with people who might be on the other side of the world, but with email, chat and VOIP, that's not such a challenge these days. You can work from anywhere in the world with internet access. That requires you to manage your time, organize yourself and get things done - an online internship isn't for everyone.

If you have any questions or want to apply, please get in touch - email me on chriswaterguyAtsymbol.pngappropediaDot.pngorg, or leave a comment below, or on my Appropedia talk page. For up-to-date info on these internships, see: For more on all Appropedia's internship opportunities, see:

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Tech internships – positions open!

Want to be a geek for good? Help build a comprehensive database of knowledge for solutions in sustainability and in overcoming poverty - Appropedia.

We're looking for two to three interns with a desire to learn, a willingness to try, and at least basic skills in managing software and accessing a server. You'll be installing, configuring and testing software - focused on MediaWiki, with WordPress to a lesser degree, and possibly some other platforms and tools. Our intern team's tasks will include helping to build our spam defenses, and building features to enhance the community on Appropedia.

Knowledge of PHP and/or Python is a plus (but not essential). Likewise for experience with installing software on a server, and experience with the open source platforms that you'll be working with.

You will work as part of a team, with other interns and with mentors. We've been lucky to have an enthusiastic volunteer, Wesley, for the last few months, who's made a real difference to Appropedia. Now we're expanding the team.

This is a global, online project. Our address is in California but you'll be working with people on at least two continents. You can work from anywhere in the world with internet access. That means you need to be someone who can manage your time, organize yourself and get things done.

Is this you? Get in touch - please leave a comment either below or on my Appropedia talk page, and I'll get in touch.

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Appropedia Kiswahili

Chris Sam, a lawyer and teacher in Tanzania, volunteered to translate Appropedia articles into Swahili - or as it is known to its own speakers, "Kiswahili." Starting in February this year, he has translated over 50 pages.

More than 50 million people in Africa speak this language - the potential value of translating appropriate technology information and other development resources is clear. Chris shares the progress so far:


I am very happy to announce that Appropedia's Karibu Appropedia (Welcome to Appropedia) page has hit more than 1000 views. And I am more than happy for the steady growth of our Kiswahili readers. We still need more articles in Kiswahili and what should be put or translated to Kiswahili from you. Kiswahili is spoken in more than ten developing countries, if you have something suitable especially for the developing countries (article or anything that you think belongs to Appropedia) or want your project translated to Kiswahili or you have good Kiswahili content that you think belongs to Appropedia please suggest it here and play your part towards sustainability and richly lives. For Kiswahili help please contact me here or send an email to kiswahili Atsymbol.png appropediaDot.pngorg

'Nina furaha sana kutangaza kuwa ukurasa wa Karibu Appropedia wa Appropedia umetazamwa zaidi ya mara 1000. Na nina zaidi ya furaha kwa muongezeko wa wasomaji wa Kiswahili. Bado tunahitaji makala za Kiswahili na nini kiwekwe au kitafsiriwe katika Kiswahili toka kwako. Kiswahili kinazungumzwa zaidi ya nchi kumi katika nchi zinazoendelea, kama unakinachofaa na hasa kwa nchi zinazoendelea (makala au chochote kinachofaa Appropedia) au unahitaji mradi wako utafsiriwe kwenda Kiswahili au unayo maudhui mazuri kwa Kiswahili na unadhani yanafaa Appropedia tafadhali orodhesha hapa ili kufanya kazi yako kuelekea uendelevu na maisha ya kitajiri. Kwa msaada wa Kiswahili wasiliana na mimi hapa au tuma barua pepe kwenda kiswahili Atsymbol.png appropediaDot.pngorg

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Appropedia: Service learning in sustainable development

An academic paper in the Journal of Education for Sustainable Development reports on service learning with Appropedia as a platform.

It notes that contributing to sustainable development can be a way of improving students' academic skills - but this is expensive when it involves international travel, and as a result, few students have this experience.

The article describes two learning experiments with service learning programs based at and around the university, These experiments provided...

...solutions to sustainable development problems using Appropedia.org, the site for collaborative solutions in sustainability, poverty reduction and international development. The course successfully used Appropedia (1) as a forum for students who were geographically dispersed, (2) for a whole-class writing collaboration, (3) to coordinate a sustainability-focused outreach campaign to retrofit stop lights in communities throughout Pennsylvania and (4) to review class material with application to technologies for sustainable development.*

*Quoting from the abstract of Appropedia as a Tool for Service Learning in Sustainable Development by Prof Joshua Pearce of Queen's University.

More info about our learning programs:

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Biofuel Content Initiative

Jatropha seeds are a source of oil. (Source)
Jatropha

One of the practical outcome of the MovementCamp, which finished a few hours ago, formed during the post-camp online discussions. Jason Smithson (who works hard on Appropedia tech) and Darren Hill (years of experience with biofuels) agreed to join forces (cue theme music of Battle of the Planets) and work on a Biofuel Content Initiative, the first of our Content Initiatives. Darren's been working for some time on this, but is now bringing his work and his knowledge to Appropedia.

There's a lot of work to be done, but it will result in an extremely useful resource on biofuels - the good news, the bad news, the little known but important facts - and their relevance for tackling climate change and for international development.

If this interests you, check out that Content Initiative page - or leave a note and tell us what area you'd be interested in helping to build.

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Sustainability Co-creation at Smack Mellon

Smack Mellon

Appropedia President, Lonny Grafman, will be available in Brooklyn, New York tomorrow, June 24th, for open co-creation on sustainability topics.

Lonny is the resident artist on the Flock House in the Smack Mellon gallery for June 23rd and 24th.  From 12 to 6pm, he will be hosting open conversations on sustainable design especially for local apartment dwellers, families, change agents and entrepreneurs.

Follow the links for more information on the exhibit and directions to 92 Plymouth Street @ Washington in DUMBO, Brooklyn, NY.

Picture: View from Smack Mellon in Brooklyn, © Smack Mellon 2009

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