Facebook and Google Are Locking In African Customers With Freebie Deals

Facebook and Google have grand plans to bring the internet to developing nations, paying Lisa Rinna-sized lip service to altruistic visions of global connectivity. But let's always remember that these US tech giants are also gunning for new customers and the lucrative data that comes with them. » 3/24/15 8:55pm 3/24/15 8:55pm

Questions for the 90s: Should Robots Pay Taxes? Can Africa Be Saved?

The March-April 1986 issue of The Futurist magazine looked at the far off, futuristic decade of the 1990s. In an article titled "Issues for the 1990s," Edith Weiner and Arnold Brown examined what they saw as the emerging concerns of the world. Well, the world as seen from 1980s America. » 10/10/14 4:53pm 10/10/14 4:53pm

The Dirty Truth About Where Your Old Electronics Go

We all know we should recycle our electronics, but we don't really know what happens after we drop them off at the e-waste center. So filmmaker Alex Gorosh followed his old iPhones, all the way to Agbogbloshie, Ghana, the largest electronics dump in the world. It's a place so dirty and dangerous it's nicknamed "Sodom… » 9/02/14 2:49pm 9/02/14 2:49pm

Water Slides, Preservation, Ebola: What's Ruining Our Cities This Week

Los Angeles ponders the ethics of slip-and-sliding in a drought. UNESCO is being blamed for killing the cities it protects. Ebola is slowly decimating village by village in Africa. It's this week's look at What's Ruining Our Cities. » 8/24/14 2:00pm 8/24/14 2:00pm

​Africa's First Indigenous Aircraft Will Compete With Surveillance UAVs

While Africa's backyard space program has yet to get off the ground, the continent's first (arguably) homegrown aircraft has already taken flight. Throughout the continent, these ultralight two-seaters could soon fill the skies where long-range surveillance UAVs are too expensive to fly. » 8/19/14 11:40am 8/19/14 11:40am

Genetically-Modified Orange Bananas Are Ready for Human Testing

It's been nearly a decade in development, but a genetically modified breed of bananas that's designed to combat starvation will soon enter human testing. The bananas are rich in beta-carotene which turns into vitamin A in the body. For the children in Africa suffering from vitamin A deficiencies, this is a godsend.… » 6/16/14 3:20pm 6/16/14 3:20pm

Why Do So Many Books About Africa Have the Same Cover Design?

You know the one: A blood-red sinking sun, throwing a lone acacia tree into relief as twilight sinks over the savannah. You probably remember it from the Lion King. And according to dozens of publishers and designers, it's the platonic ideal for book covers relating to Africa. » 5/16/14 9:43am 5/16/14 9:43am

Shooting Baboons With Africa's Last Hunter-Gatherers

Africa's last full-time hunter-gatherers live in Tanzania. Gareth Wishart spent a month living with them. This tale is drawn from that experience. — Ed. » 5/15/14 4:20pm 5/15/14 4:20pm

Drones Could Help Reduce Poaching in Kenya by 96 Percent

Drones will soon fill the skies above Kenya's 52 national parks and reserves, after a successful pilot program showed that they're effective at stopping poachers. Very effective: In the pilot program, drones reduced poaching by a remarkable 96 percent. » 4/25/14 11:22am 4/25/14 11:22am

This busy street intersection with no traffic lights is just pure chaos

Anarchy. That's what it's like to drive on the streets of Ethiopia. There are no traffic lights, no painted lanes, no rules on who has the right of way, no fear of hitting the car in front of you, and basically no driver has any idea what the other driver is going to do until they do it. It's chaos and probably… » 4/22/14 9:04pm 4/22/14 9:04pm

How Delivery Drones Could Save Lives in Africa

What the first thing you think of when you hear the word "drone?" It might be killing machines. Or reconnaissance quadcopters. Or maybe a honey bee. But for a countless number of people in Africa, it could be a flying packmule with life-saving cargo. » 3/17/14 7:20pm 3/17/14 7:20pm

Seeking a Cheap Cell Phone Signal by the Light of the Moon

It looks like a cultish gathering of smartphone users, and in many ways it is: this image shows African migrants on the shore of Djibouti, holding their phones aloft to snatch cheap phone signal from nearby Somalia. » 2/14/14 9:20am 2/14/14 9:20am

The Mob Is Secretly Dumping Nuclear Waste Across Italy and Africa

Organized crime is famously good at exploiting time-sensitive industries like construction, fishing, and—of course—garbage removal. But revelations about millions of tons of toxic waste buried haphazardly and illegally by the mob are causing an uproar in southern Italy, where cancer rates are nearly 50 percent higher… » 1/31/14 2:00pm 1/31/14 2:00pm

Martin Luther King's 1956 tips for riding integrated buses, examining how design has helped an Alabama county, building instant cities in Accra and instant skyscrapers in Mumbai, and how two New York architects are tearing down the work of their former friends. It's all this week in our favorite Urban Reads. » 1/20/14 4:20pm 1/20/14 4:20pm

How a Giant Replica of the Vatican Ended Up In a Small African City

Construction on the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro, the largest church on earth, started 28 years ago in the small Ivory Coast city of Yamoussoukro. Planned by then-president Félix Houphouët-Boigny, who led the country through two decades of economic boomtime known as the "Ivorian miracle," the church… » 1/14/14 3:30pm 1/14/14 3:30pm

A Massive Road-Building Initiative Is Transforming Africa's Landscape

Africa is home to some of the poorest road networks in the world, which act as a major barrier for trade, education and healthcare. Not for long, though—as it's embarking on a frenetic road-building exercise that could revolutionize the entire continent. » 1/10/14 10:20am 1/10/14 10:20am

Even the U.N. Is Using Drones to Spy on People Now

The United Nations now has its own drone program. Its first unmanned aircraft took off earlier this week in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Joining some 87 countries with the capability, the organization says it's just keeping up with the world's technological advances. » 12/05/13 10:45am 12/05/13 10:45am

A Fake Slum for Luxury Tourists Who Don't Want to See Real Poverty

It's estimated that one in eight people worldwide live in so-called slums, which, in some cities, makes visiting these informally maintained neighborhoods unavoidable. Although controversial, the practice of "slum tourism" has become a popular way for tourists to engage with poverty on a personal level. But why go… » 11/25/13 3:00pm 11/25/13 3:00pm

This Floating Hotel Room Comes with an Underwater Fish-Peeping Deck

You probably want to visit the Manta Resort, a new getaway in Zanzibar—because, at the Manta Resort, you can actually get away from the getaway and stay a few hundred feet offshore in a floating hotel room. And then you can getaway again in the underwater bedroom built for watching fish. » 11/15/13 12:00pm 11/15/13 12:00pm

This Colorful Satellite Image Shows How the World Is Being Torn Apart

Don't be fooled by the bright, jovial colors of this satellite image, because it's hiding a darker truth: the world is being wrenched apart at its seams. » 10/30/13 6:19am 10/30/13 6:19am