Paul Nyambe has gotten support from Fledge to develop his business, ZamGoat. He hopes to build a goat-meat market not only in Zambia but globally. (Jama Abdirahman)
Paul Nyambe has gotten support from Fledge to develop his business, ZamGoat. He hopes to build a goat-meat market not only in Zambia but globally. (Jama Abdirahman)

Button up shirts, wireless mikes and a puddle of spotlight. At first glance rehearsals for Fledge “Demo Day” look like any start up pitch event around town. But these entrepreneurs aren’t promoting apps and gadgets. They’re pitching businesses that will further development of their home countries — from Argentina to Zambia.

“Fledge is a business accelerator,” says Michael “Luni” Libes who founded Seattle-based Fledge three years ago to help support socially conscious start-ups, “We take applications from any entrepreneur anywhere in the world as long as they’re working on something important.”

Fledge wasn’t always as global. The first cohort was entirely American but the next had one team from Singapore and from there Libes says “It just grew.” This year Fledge had applicants from forty-five countries and all seven start-ups in this current cohort are international.

Peyton yawns and stretches as my sister Katie holds her during our first Skype conversation. (Screen grab by Janelle Retka)
Peyton yawns and stretches as my sister Katie holds her during our first Skype conversation. (Screen grab by Janelle Retka)

Instagram introduced me to my niece.

The next time I saw her was through iCloud. Then on Facebook. A few days later, via Skype.

In the next five months, I was immersed in photos of her furrowed eyebrows and wordless personality before we even met in the same place in the same time zone.

My oldest sister packed her bags to move from Seattle to Australia eight years ago for what we thought would be a three-year job contract. Before long, Katie had met my brother-in-law, Josh, and settled down.

Peyton Elise Barkley was born to them on February 24, 2014.

Separation of families across borders is an increasing trend, as globalization continues to make every part of the world more accessible. Emigration from the U.S., immigration into the U.S. and the military all contribute to the separation of families across international borders.

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James Keum (#auntieboi) and Lulu Carpenter #LadyBear discuss Ferguson and resiliency, during a #LuluNation + #SadBoisHypeClub show on November 18th. (Photo by V. Nguyen).
James Keum (#auntieboi) and Lulu Carpenter (#LadyBear) discuss Ferguson and resiliency, during a #LuluNation + #SadBoisHypeClub show on November 18th. (Photo by V. Nguyen)

Last Friday on World Radio Day, about 100 people gathered at the Seattle Public Library downtown to celebrate the roll out of 13 new low-power FM radio stations (LPFM, for short), that will be squeezing onto the airwaves over the next year.

On the amount of power needed to light a single light bulb, these tiny community radio stations will broadcast to their immediate surroundings, right up against the corporate and public goliaths already dominating the FM dial.

So why is one of the most tech-forward cities in the nation celebrating such a low-tech revolution?

Jane McGrane on her first trip to the US, taken in 1976 in San Francisco. (Photograph courtesy of Jane McGrane)
Jane McGrane on her first trip to the US, taken in 1976 in San Francisco. (Photograph courtesy of Jane McGrane)

When was the last time you saw a cow? If you lived in Kilmaurs, Scotland, the answer would probably be “this morning.” The town of just over 2,600 people is ringed by dairy farms, manure-filled fields, and cows, making them part of residents’ everyday life.

My mum, Jane McGrane, lived in Kilmaurs for almost 30 years. When she did move, just before she married my dad, Sean, it was to his hometown of Stewarton– an entire mile away. She worked as a hairdresser, then at a factory which made famous highland sweaters from local wool. My dad recalls walking along the mile of train tracks to visit my mum’s town, which still only has one traffic light.

A ferry docks into downtown Seattle. (Photo by <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/pasfam/16777186/in/photolist-gNkca-2Y9v2o-3eCoCD-5ZaaWV-8WRrQi-2fUx45-2tZgQ-fpmXvB-e1Cqhx-8JURMU-cN5NoC-NcQX3-a3S7Jm-9FZirj-8WUsbo-4FrAHU-8JUVdL-a8jC9n-eCe3u8-4FzgBN-e3GxNx-cK6EhN-cK6Cgw-awQQe2-dRZSbP-ay57rw-868JWo-dU6Tpt-4X3irM-ebGT4P-ebPyCw-4zVnNK-8DbZKL-asQqKu-7QuvvX-8sEowx-cBCGZC-fpmAKH-7SHWVt-cD97Fy-6uNuFD-6HLSU1-4QgLch-8jsMmN-9He6oi-8K4tQ2-e3GyCZ-51VcwQ-5nBSp7-abZDgo" target="_blank">Paul Schultz via Flickr</a>)
A ferry docks into downtown Seattle. (Photo by Paul Schultz via Flickr)

For many of us Washingtonians, ferries conjure up sentimental thoughts of trips to the San Juan Islands or images of ferries humming along Puget Sound with the Seattle skyline or Olympic Mountains behind them.

But the recent ferry accident in South Korea killing almost 300 passengers and another capsizing in Bangladesh remind us that as safe as we may feel on a ferry deck looking at the water go by, there is potential for disaster just like any other means of transportation.

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Protected African elephants at Samburu National Reserve in Kenya. (Photo by Alex Stonehill)

Every year as many as 50,000 elephants are killed in Africa for the illegal ivory trade. If this trend continues, African elephants could be extinct within a decade.

An increasing demand for ivory in emerging markets like China — where ivory is considered a sign of wealth — has led to the killing of more elephants than ever before.

The trading of poached ivory is a very lucrative crime that effectively carries little risk of prosecution for poachers. The ivory trade is the world’s largest transnational organized crime, involving complex networks of suppliers, smugglers, corrupt officials and buyers that are very difficult for law enforcement agencies to unravel.

But now science is providing a novel approach to attack ivory poaching at the source.

A car sports the unmistakable pink mustache of Lyft’s ridesharing service. (Photo courtesy of Lyft)
A car sports the unmistakable pink mustache of Lyft’s ridesharing service. (Photo courtesy of Lyft.)

After an almost year-long debate, Seattle City Council decided yesterday to limit rideshare companies Lyft, Sidecar, and UberX to only 150 operating cars in the city per company at any given time.

However, no limit was placed on the total number of authorized rideshare drivers nor the number of rideshare companies allowed in the city.

Neither taxis nor rideshare companies seem to be happy with the decision. According to MyNorthwest.com, an Uber statement following the City Council meeting called it “disappointing,” saying the driver cap would shut down the company.

Alok Vaid-Menon. (Photo courtesy of Alok Vaid-Menon)
Alok Vaid-Menon is an activist with the Audre Lorde Project and is one half of the queer South Asian poet-activist duo Dark Matter. (Photo courtesy of Alok Vaid-Menon)

On February 13, Facebook introduced a feature that allows U.S. English-speaking users to select from roughly 50 different gender identities for their profile information, as well as three different pronoun options (she/hers; he/his; they/theirs).

Since 1992, Satya Nadella has brought Microsoft engineering expertise, business savvy, innovation and the ability to bring colleagues together, says Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Yesterday was a historic day for Microsoft with Satya Nadella’s appointment as the company’s new CEO.

After a six-month long search following former CEO Steve Ballmer’s retirement announcement, the corporate board appointed frontrunner Nadella CEO over other candidates that included Microsoft executive vice president Tony Bates and Ford CEO Alan Mullaly.

A Microsoft leader for 22 years, Nadella has inspired tech and news analysts to predict that he will usher in a new era for mobile at Microsoft, which has long been stalled during Ballmer’s tenure. This has the potential to push the Gates-founded enterprise to its former legacy of groundbreaking innovation.

Sarah Stuteville (left) hitchhiking with friends in Spain in 2000. (Photo by Eroyn Franklin).
Sarah Stuteville (left) hitchhiking with friends in Spain in 2000. (Photo by Eroyn Franklin).

A week ago a young woman from Whidbey Island, Alec Zimmerman, went missing somewhere between Buenos Aires and Peru. When I read the news release, sent by one of my former students who is close friends with Zimmerman, my heart sank.

Zimmerman, 27, had been intending to hitchhike the almost 2,000 miles alone and was last seen, the release said, by the man she was staying with in Buenos Aires. She’d met him through couchsurfing.org, an online service that helps travelers stay with locals. He said she was headed out to catch a ride with a trucker named Angel.

It was Saturday and Zimmerman had last been seen on Tuesday. The trip was only supposed to have taken about two days.