Web Reads: Why do we give our cast-offs to the poor?

by Susan Olasky
Posted 10/30/14, 02:00 pm

Selfish giving. In the relief and development world, the acronym SWEDOW (Stuff We Don’t Want) has come to stand for the practice of giving our cast-off stuff to the poor, especially abroad. Sometimes the giving is just silly (bras to Africa campaigns), but sometimes it’s harmful. Sometimes the attitude affects Christians, as this blog entry about a cell phone shows.

Solving equations. Another reason to require algebra of all students hits the dust. An app on a smart phone can solve algebra problems with a click of the camera, as this video shows.  

Resisting retirement. In “Old Masters,” The New York Times looks at people who continue working into their 80s and 90s. It opens with an essay by Lewis Lapham, and includes short interviews with Ellsworth Kelly, Carl Reiner, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Tony Bennett, and others. Great photos accompany the story.

Geographic determination. The Guardian had a worldview-illuminating profile of Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs, and Steel, who reduces human cultural development to accidents of geography. Here’s how The Guardian puts it: “Why do some civilizations prosper, while others collapse? … Why? Because 8,000 years ago—to borrow from Guns, Germs and Steel—the geography of Europe and the Middle East made it easier to farm crops and animals there than elsewhere.”

Susan Olasky

Susan is a book reviewer, story coach, feature writer and editor for WORLD. She has authored eight historical novels for children and teaches twice a year at World Journalism Institute. Susan resides with her husband, Marvin, in Austin, Texas. Follow her on Twitter @susanolasky.

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