Sunday, November 26, 2006

Create Hats

Created by Daisuke Yamamoto

I'm always full of ideas, but rather consistently fall down in the execution of them; oh most of the time too lazy to try. Creativity requires both imagination and perspiration. Often it seems some people are willing to exert the effort, but worry too much about getting the ideas straight; rather the opposite to my temperament. Either way we all forget too often what fun it is to make things creatively. This beautiful Youtube video and the others of RinpaEshidan capture some of the joy in creating: mashing up ideas and something physical.

Recently I joined It's a wiki and platform for people to come together to do something good. It is a welcoming community, but the space is a bit difficult to navigate around. In late October an opportunity for nine $5000 grants was announced. Teams collaborated to create proposals in funding areas. The team I followed most closely was the Attacking Water-Borne Diarrheal Illnesses (WDI) Proposal. The group effort was so great to watch and I learned a lot about making proposals and about the problem of water-borne illnesses, the #2 killer.

Alas, the proposals were voted on and the WDI proposal was eliminated from consideration. Ah, but reprieve: the Omidyar Network announced matching funds for the eliminated proposals during the month of December. By this time, I was ready to jump in and participate. But I hate fund raising, it always seems to remind me that I don't have any money. Still wanting very much to participate and to help the wonderful organizations the WDI team identified as deserving for funding, I dusted off my party hats idea. Yes, that's right and you can find out more at my new blog; Hats for Health.

I'm such a sucker for attention, that the barest encouragement is enough to move my lazy bones. One of the participants of the WDI team wrote:
Roll on the day when the paper hat is associated as much in the public mind with the elimination of WDI, as a red ribbon is with the elimination of AIDS or a white wristband with the elimination of world poverty!
Whoo hoo! Roll on! Clearly it's going to take a lot more people making hats.

I've got a box of hats I made earlier in the year. Something a little disturbing is the YES!Paste, I thought was the greatest thing since sliced bread, has hardened like a rock making the hats brittle and fragile. I better re-think using it so much. White glue at least for some parts of the hats is probably a better choice.

I have been enjoying surfing around for paper hats. Something that's surprised me about it is that "paper hats" seems a term like "stop smoking" for attracting traffic to sites that have nothing to do with hats. Yes there was a warning page about "explicit content" but I was curious just what kind of explicit content about paper hats would be about. Shocking! But nothing to do with hats. Hats are a great expression of human ingenuity and I've found so many interesting sites. Jeremy Weate of Naijablog posted about the Abuja Carnival and his Flickr photo set is really worth a look for the hats and costumes.

Steve Ntwiga Mugiri posts on John C. Dvorak taking a pot shot at the OLPC $100 laptop. Dvorak calls the OLPC "a dangerous distraction" a point Steve generally agrees even while distancing himself from Dvorak. Oh yes, there a kernel of truth to "dangerous distractions" and I see it raised often in discussions about trying to solve the world's problems. In a forum of very earnest people recently one poster railed against reading fiction believing facts in too short supply. I don't think that way and a part of the reason is its very difficult to predict just what's going to be useful down the line.

In any case paper party hats are criticized as frivolous. Parties are important. They are times when we come together as a community. Having fun encourages an atmosphere of cooperation and a sense of possibility. It's very discouraging to know about suffering in the world, but not to imagine any way to ameliorate it. A paper party hat isn't worth very much money, they don't cost much to make, but they are worth a little money. Making paper party hats is a way to encourage people to consider human problems and to act in a small, but significant way, to solve them.

The intention of Hats for Health is to encourage people to help raise some money in December for matching grants to the good organizations working on water and water-borne diarrheal illnesses. You may find Hats for Health a little amusing, and perhaps even encourage you to make paper hats for other worthwhile efforts. The Flickr Party Hat Group Pool is still up and ready for your photos of party hats, paper and otherwise.

Please visit Hats For Health.

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