Saturday is a work day in Juba, but it’s also a day (the only day) when we have reliable internet because we’re not at the Ministries. Taking advantage of this improved access, I wanted to post some of the articles that I managed to read during the week and thought that other people might find interesting.

Technology will Set You Free. Ethan Zuckerman jumps off Clinton’s Internet Freedoms speech to talk using internet circumvention to provide information to people living in closed societies. He concludes that while the State Department should fund circumvention efforts in the short-term, it isn’t the long-term answer (too expensive, only provides access to international content, and doesn’t protect publishers from cyber-attacks). He also highlights three theories of how access to information can drive change and argues that theory we adopt should influence our policy decisions. I liked: that he tied the policy and the technology together. I wished: that he didn’t imply that his three theories for change as mutually exclusive. State should be pursuing policies to support access to external information, tools for internal organization, and forums for debate that connect a countries citizens to those living in the diaspora.

Bureaucrats are Unhappy. The Buearocratics, a series of beautiful portraits by Jan Branning of bureaucrats around the world in their offices was worth struggling with Juba internet. I liked: the way that common themes connected government employees throughout the world. I also liked that my office in the Ministry of Public Services is nicer than any of the offices in the photographs (albeit with less character). I wished: that more of the bureaucrats smiled.

Senator Brownback is on the Case. Senator Brownback suggested to Secretary Clinton that having a South-Sudanese basketball team tour around the United States might help resolve the crisis in Sudan. I liked: that the Senator from Kansas knows that the Dinka are tall. I wished: that the Senator was as keen to remember that 4 million people are at risk of starvation as he is to recall that Manute Bol can dunk.

Cool Product of the Week: Bloom Energy Server is a fuel-cell that uses natural gas produces 100 kilowatts of power for about $800,000. With incentives, that’s about $.09 a kilowatt. (In DC we pay approximately $.20 a kilowatt and it’s powered by coal.) It’s cleaner and cheaper. The current version is geared to large companies, but they plan on building a consumer version for $3,000 that will recycle the carbon-dioxide to produce more power (and have zero emissions).