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October 2011

Posts from September 2011

The Prostate Czech

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness month.

[did you know?]

As I've said before, I think using humor to communicate very serious subjects is powerful.

People have a tendency to ignore things that they don't want to think about. 

Not knowing, whilst the opposite of actually helping, feels somehow more comfortable than finding out and knowing for sure.

People often don't go to the doctor when they probably should, people don't tend to be rigorous in prophylactic measures recommended by doctors and so people often cognitively disengage from communication that makes them confront possible unpleasantness they would rather ignore.

These are not rational behaviors but they are very human ones. 

In a recent study, the primary reason people didn't go in to be screened for colon cancer was fear.

Research also suggests that simply making screening top of mind can lead to more people getting tests.

Humour is a very powerful human emotion and driver of behavioral change - using it to overcome fear and avoidance can be a smart strategy to drive awareness of the issue and open up a potentially awkward conversation.

Which leads me to introduce Branko:

Branko | The Prostate Czech

A Man. A Cause. A Finger.

He moves like a heavy Central European fog: dense, mysterious, yet insistent.

It is whispered that he hails from Kladno, a proud Czech Republic city steeped in masculine traditions of steel mills and mining.

Witnesses say he travels light, armed with latex gloves, a tracksuit, and very little patience.

His methods? Unorthodox. His touch? Unforgiving.

So contact your family doctor and get checked before you get checked.  


You can also follow him on The Facebook and Twitters.

[PS - The decision to get prostate screening is a complex and personal one - please check with your doctor - the consensus seems to be that men over 45 or 50 should probably ask about whether screening is right for them.]

50/50: Hackathon NYC

50/50: Make or Break from 5050good on Vimeo.

I've been back in Europe for a while sorting out life logisitcs and visas and that. 

This is unlikely to be of much interest to you but it reminded me that the world out there is, well, out there.

The American newsmedia is famously solipsistic - international affairs rarely take centre stage, or get mentioned at all, unless the affairs in question directly involve American actions.

You like to think that the media doesn't effect how you think.

Everyone does.

But it does.

Not necessarily in the big-scary-shouty-telling-you-what-to-think-political-agenda-OBEY way.

But in the subtle-insidious-things-that-aren't-in-focus-for-too-long-slip-out-of-consciousness-without-you-even-realizing way. 

It turns out East Africa is starving to death due to drought.

[Had you heard? Did I miss it on the news? With all the debt ceilings and everything I must have.] 

Millions of people in Somalia, Ethopia and Kenya.

Something in the region of 12million people are going to starve. 

It's too big isn't it?

It's impossible for most normal people to actually feel anything about this scale of disaster. 

Scale is important - we aren't programmed to understand big.

We live small lives, we can't see the emergent patterns in the world, and we find it really, really hard to FEEL anything at scale.

I quote you Bertrand Russell: 

If you are hungry, you will make great exertions, if necessary, to get food; if your children are hungry, you may feel an even greater urgency.

If a friend is starving, you will probably exert yourself to relieve his distress.

But if you hear that some millions of Indians or Chinese are in danger of death from malnutrition, the problem is so vast and so distant that unless you have some official responsibility you probably soon forget all about it.

And that's the problem. 

So some people in the UK and USA are trying to 'chunk' the horror into manageable pieces. 

50/50 is a collaborative platform for fund raising ideas.

A bit like Kickstarter for fund raising projects:

50/50 is a collaborative experiment, a platform of 50 little bets: digital projects created and run by individuals and teams of makers. Each project aims to engage a network of supporters to help spread the word and generate as much money for famine aid as possible.

They are trying to launch 50 projects in 50 days by the UN's World Food day - 16th October.

Plenty of time to get involved if you have an idea. 

And the lovely Farrah - read her post here - is organizing a hackathon in NYC - details below - in case you were free and wanted to go.

think small. feel big. 



* The dates: September 23-25
* The location: Grind, 419 Park Ave, 2nd Floor
* The sponsors: Grind (location) & AppFirst (refreshments and application hosting)

* The description:

The NYC Famine Hackathon is a project of the 50/50: Make or Break Initiative. 50/50 is a platform built to launch 50 fundraising projects in 50 days, with a fundraising goal of £1 million. Each project aims to engage a network of supporters to help spread the word and generate as much money for famine aid to the crisis in East Africa as possible. 10 projects are already live - we hope to develop at least 5 more here in NYC on the weekend of September 23-25.

In collaboration with our sponsors, application monitoring solution AppFirst, and newly launched co-working space Grind, we're bringing folks from the startup and development community together with designers and marketers to develop and launch at least 5 fundraising projects over the course of one weekend.
Join us at Grind (419 Park Ave) on Friday, September 23 at 6pm to kick off the Hackathon.

Registration for the event is available here:  

It is free, but space is limited, so registration is required.
For additional information, please contact Farrah Bostic at [email protected]