Account of being attacked by a hippo

“I’ve no idea how long we stayed under – time passes very slowly when you’re in a hippo’s mouth.”

(Via Experience: I was swallowed by a hippo | Life and style | The Guardian.)

I just keep repeating the phrase “time passes very slowly when you’re in a hippo’s mouth” over and over again…

Gondolas in Lagos

An overlooked form of public transportation will be coming to Lagos.

“They started last year, and plan to have their system running in 2015.  They’ll have 13 stations, 8 miles of travel, and expect 250,000 passengers per day at opening with a full capacity of over a million passengers per day.  It will be a privately funded system, paying for itself with farebox recovery.  Because of poor power reliability in Nigeria they’ll build two redundant generators at each station that needs power.  They’ll have cameras and intercoms in each of the 300 cabins.  The total cost of the system will be $500M, and fares will be between $1.28 and $1.92 per trip.”

(Via Lagos gets a Free Gondola System – Seattle Transit Blog.)

Africa’s middle class

Boing Boing has a link to a pictorial essay about Africa’s middle class, something that many westerners are not exposed to (or even realize exist) due to reporting.

middleclassafrica.jpg

Africa’s Size Considered

Boing Boing posted a visualization of Africa that fits the US, China, India, and Europe into the continent.

Seriously, this map helps visualize the fact that when someone says ‘Africa is…’ and then makes a generalization, they’re straight up ignoring the size, varying differences, varying histories, and just… immensity and complexity that exists.

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What gapminder points out about colonialism

I often get people determined to defend colonialism by talking about the sorry state of African countries and telling me they would be better off if white people had remained in control.

While its true some countries have slid back, the truth is, its fewer countries than people realize. On the whole, particularly if you look at Hans Rosling’s graphs, conditions have been improving.

More startling is to watch his graphs showing what happens to China and India once they gain self-determination. Previous to that, mortality is high, income is low, for the majority. Within forty years both countries have accelerated madly.

African countries are not moving as quickly, but spend some time watching Hans Rosling. He’s reshaping narrative assumptions in important ways.

Watching these graphs, my intuitive sense is that all these countries would have remained flat, as they did for a long time under colonial rule.

When people talk about the glory days of colonialism, it’s a high level of development only for a tiny elite. Self determination has changed the world over the last 40 years drastically, with China and India leading the way.