To start off, this morning a good friend of mine Ken Schachter (studio manager at Gameloft Montreal) suggested I watch a few videos from the TED conference. I had seen these TED talks lectures discussed on many of the sites I frequent (boingboing, for example) but had always put off watching a lecture all the way through. Today, based off of the strong recommendation of a trusted friend, I decided to be more patient and sit right through one -- I ended up watching 3 back to back (and have barely scratched the surface).
One talk I found interesting (in particular for its somewhat counterintuitive claim that combatting global warming should not be the world's top priority right now) was given by Bjorn Lomberg. I found a youtube version of it which you can watch below if interested.
The email thread in which Ken suggested TED had started out with him pointing me to a project started recently by a couple of friends of his called Gifter. The 'About' section of Gifter reads:
Gifter is the brainchild of (amongst others) Austin Hill, founder of Zero Knowledge. Austin runs a blog called BillionsWithZeroKnowledge that talks a lot about his current passions: social entrepreneurship, philanthropy and online communities. One of his most recent posts was an interview with Tom Williams, a fellow Canadian entrepreneur who founded a company called GiveMeaning.
Gifter is a community experiment in social generosity.We want to see if we can
collect a million wishes from the Internet community and match those wishes with a million dollars of charitable donations.
GiveMeaning is an amazing idea. Sort of a natural extension of the Microloans concept that won 2006's Nobel Peace Prize: when a lot of people give a small amount of money to those in need, some amazing things can happen.
Following the points brought up by Bjorn in his TED talk, I have used GiveMeaning to make a donation to one of the several HIV/AIDS charities listed.
I love the fact that a link in an email I recieved this morning led me on this chain of discovery culminating in a donation to cause in a form and fashion I feel good about. Today I used the web to Do Good.