IPA’s weekly links

Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action.

  • Nudgers dreams have come true, iOS 10 will feature organ donor registration, putting behavioral economists’ favorite outcome in people’s pockets.
  • The excellent TinySpark podcast interviews NPR investigative reporter Laura Sullivan, who with ProPublica’s Justin Elliot, exposed massive waste and inefficiency at the Red Cross, which diverted emergency vehicles from Sandy to press conferences, and drove empty trucks around neighborhoods for show. It also raised half a billion dollars for Haiti, but only built 6 homes. Sullivan contrasts the Red Cross’ Haiti approach to Doctors Without Borders, which asked donors to stop donating when they had reached full capacity and more funding wouldn’t help.
  • Why Do So Many Graduate Students Quit? (The Atlantic) is worth reading for people considering a Ph.D.

The work was delicate: Skulls can fracture. The earth shifts. Move the dirt too roughly, and it swallows bones into its folds and mixes them with other bodies. An errant stroke can brush away a remnant of a blindfold, a piece of rope, a cranium fragment with a bullet hole, the bullet itself: the criminal evidence needed to prosecute a murder.

  • The above from a profile of forensic anthropologist Fredy Peccerelli who has spent 20 years in Guatemala recovering over 10,000 people’s remains and documenting evidence of war crimes.
  • The Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act has finally made it through Congress and is on its way to President Obama’s desk for signature. Among other things, it will require rigorous outcome-focused evaluations of many USAID programs.

And if you’re stressed at work, perhaps the most relaxing live stream is literally a live stream with bears catching salmon in Alaska (full page with more views here, h/t Jeffrey Davis).