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A “Liter of Light” to Brighten the Poorest Homes

The logo of the Liter of Light project.

The logo of the Liter of Light project.

After downing a bottle of water, most people are probably inclined to toss it in the trash. Those people, however, don't realize that they're throwing away an ingenious means of lighting a home. Thanks to the ideas of a mechanic in Brazil, such “garbage” can bring light to homes in poor communities around the world. 

How does a plastic bottle turn into a source of light? The answer is both simple and brilliant. A small hole is cut in the roof of a house and a transparent, plastic bottle with clear water is fitted in. During the day, the sunlight is refracted by the water bottle and spreads 360 degrees around the room. These “lights” are usually installed in urban slums and narrow alleys, where lighting is typically poor or absent entirely. When necessary, some residents do use electric lights during the daytime, but money is tight and a water bottle in the sunlight has the power of a 60-watt bulb. Adding bleach to the water makes it cleaner and clearer, and each bottle can last up to five years before corrosion finally claims it for the scrapheap. 

The invention belongs to Brazilian mechanic Alfredo Moser, and the ”Liter of Light” project later adopted it on a large scale in Manila, where it used water bottles to provide sustainable, environmentally clean lighting to impoverished homes. Within a year of its inception, Liter of Light installed over 200,000 bottle lights. The organization aims to brighten up a million homes by 2015. The project is also working on a solar-powered, battery-attached version to provide lighting at night. It has also designed a mobile app that gives installation instructions.

Back in 2011, when the Green Cupboards blog ran an article on Liter of Light, a reader commented that this idea would make a great difference in India.

This is the most ingenious invention ever and surely needs great acclaim. I live in India where the villages have no electricity and the people have to rely upon kerosene lamps, many time staying in the dark because kerosene is usually in short supply. Hopefully some NGOs will latch on to this and make the life of the villagers less grim.

It took a few years, but Liter of Light is now active in 15 countries, including Bangladesh and Kenya, as well as India. Liter of Light’s India chapter engages volunteers in larger cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad. A message on the “Liter of Light – Bangalore” Facebook page urges people to donate their used plastic bottles to the organization, rather than throw them in the garbage.

Please don't throw those Cola bottles away. Do contact us and we will try to find ways to pick it up from the nearest possible place

Writing on Twitter, Pollinate Energy, another non-profit organization that develops clean-energy products for India's urban slums, recently congratulated the Liter of Light team for their good work.

@literoflighthq you're doing great work!

— Pollinate Energy (@PollinateEnergy) May 6, 2014

Other NGOs, such as the Sanskar India Foundation and Labour Education and Research Network (LEARN), are working with Liter of Light India to amplify the impact these bottles have on users’ lives.

Screenshot from the Facebook page of Litter of Light India showing installation in Hyderabad.

Screenshot from the Facebook page of Litter of Light India showing installation in Hyderabad.

Volunteer efforts are the heart of Liter of Light. A volunteer in Bangalore, Tripti, explains what drives the group:

We are eager to touch many more lives and lighten up the city in collaboration with like-minded organizations who want to take up this green movement with us.

Facts About India reports that 288 million Indians have no access to electricity. An innovative solution like Liter of Light could mitigate the consequences of powerlessness, while putting to good use what was previously just plastic waste.

Written by Alka
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Indian News Portal Says Thomson Reuters Has ‘Unethical’ Understanding of Copyright

Thomson Reuters in Times Square, New York. Photo by Flickr user m01229. CC BY 2.0

Thomson Reuters in Times Square, New York. Photo by Flickr user m01229. CC BY 2.0

Thomson Reuters is usually in the business of writing headlines about others, but the New York-based global media and information firm has found itself making headlines in India after digital media portal MediaNama received an email from the company seeking consent to use and redistribute its content.

The email read:

We are aware that you will be receiving numerous requests of this nature and that asking you to give a response in each case would be burdensome for you. We would ask, therefore, that you respond either to the address or e-mail address given below within 14 days of the date at the head of this letter only if you wish to refuse your consent. Otherwise, Thomson Reuters will presume that your consent has been given for the purposes set out in this letter.

Nikhil Pahwa, the founder of MediaNama, replied on the website in a post titled “Thomson Reuters: we’ll take your articles if you don’t tell us not to.” He called the letter “unprofessional and unethical” and stressed:

A lack of refusal to consent does not amount to giving consent, and I doubt that this rationale will hold up in the court of law.

And “just for the fun,” Pahwa sent a similar letter back to Thomson Reuters.

The behavior is strange for a multi-billion-dollar company, according to Saptarishi Dutta at Quartz India, who spun the situation into a more relatable one for readers: “Imagine being told by someone that she plans to take your car if you don’t respond to an email expressly stating she can’t actually take your car. Now imagine that assertion is made by a huge company.”

On Aug. 22, Pahwa wrote that he had received another email from Reuters, saying that the first message had been sent “in error” and promising that none of MediaNama's content would be used without their “express permission.”

The publication of MediaNama's letter garnered many reactions, especially on Twitter:

Can someone like @ThomsonReuters force a @medianama into authorising content use by default? Ominous, serious issue

— Madhavan Narayanan (@madversity) August 22, 2014

I would love to hear what the lawyers have to say about this one. via @medianama

— Jaskirat Singh Bawa (@JaskiratSB) August 22, 2014

I think @nixxin ought not to have denied Thomson-Reuters’ outrageous “request” to steal his content. Then, sued them!

— Rohin Dharmakumar (@r0h1n) August 21, 2014

How long until Thomson Reuters starts backtracking and spinning this?

— Joseph Weisenthal (@TheStalwart) August 21, 2014

Wow I just heard that Thomson Reuters is offering free content backup of blogs and websites? Great news.

— EthanolDefenceLeague (@sidin) August 21, 2014

One commenter on MediaNama's post doubted the authenticity of the letter:

It's very unlikely for a big company to issue a non-directed email seeking a legal contract. And, that too one of the world's largest media companies asking for articles from a little-known entity (no disrespect to any one). And surely, the letter signature would have matched the email id :P For technology reporters, email ID masking should be a known thing #justsaying

Thomson Reuters’ subsequent email suggests that the original note was indeed real. Although it appears that MediaNama's content is safe for now, the incident begs the question: What other media outlets have received notices like this? Global Voices urges readers to share similar stories in our comments section.

Written by Rezwan
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José de Espronceda – El canto del cosaco


¡Hurra, cosacos del desierto! ¡Hurra!
La Europa os brinda espléndido botín:
sangrienta charca sus campiñas sean,
de los grajos su ejército festín.

¡Hurra! ¡a caballo, hijos de la niebla!
Suelta la rienda, a combatir volad:
¿veis esas tierras fértiles?, las puebla
gente opulenta, afeminada ya.

Casas, palacios, campos y jardines,
todo es hermoso y refulgente allí:
son sus hembras celestes serafines,
su sol alumbra un cielo de zafir.
¡Hurra, cosacos del desierto! ¡Hurra!
La Europa os brinda espléndido botín:
sangrienta charca sus campiñas sean,
de los grajos su ejército festín.

Nuestros sean su oro y sus placeres,
gocemos de ese campo y ese sol;
son sus soldados menos que mujeres,
sus reyes viles mercaderes son.
Vedlos huir para esconder su oro,
vedlos cobardes lágrimas verter…
¡Hurra! volad: sus cuerpos, su tesoro
huellen nuestros caballos con sus pies.
¡Hurra, cosacos del desierto! ¡Hurra!
La Europa os brinda espléndido botín:
sangrienta charca sus campiñas More…

José de Espronceda – El Verdugo


De los hombres lanzado al desprecio,
de su crimen la víctima fui,
y se evitan de odiarse a sí mismos,
fulminando sus odios en mí.
Y su rencor
al poner en mi mano, me hicieron
su vengador;
y se dijeron
«Que nuestra vergüenza común caiga en él;
se marque en su frente nuestra maldición;
su pan amasado con sangre y con hiel,
su escudo con armas de eterno baldón
sean la herencia
que legue al hijo,
el que maldijo
la sociedad.»
¡Y de mí huyeron,
de sus culpas More…

José de Espronceda – La cautiva


Ya el sol esconde sus rayos,
el mundo en sombras se vela,
el ave a su nido vuela.
Busca asilo el trovador.

Todo calla: en pobre cama
duerme el pastor venturoso:
en su lecho suntüoso
se agita insomme el señor.

Se agita; mas ¡ay! reposa
al fin en su patrio suelo;
no llora en mísero duelo
la libertad que perdió.

Los campos ve que a su infancia
horas dieron de contento,
su oído halaga el acento
del país donde nació.

No gime ilustre cautivo
entre doradas cadenas,
que si bien de encanto llenas,
al cabo cadenas son.

Si acaso, triste lamenta,
en torno ve a sus amigos,
que, de su pena testigos,
consuelan su corazón.

La arrogante erguida palma
que en el desierto florece,
al viajero sombra ofrece,
descanso y grato manjar.

Y, aunque sola, allí es querida
del árabe errante y fiero,
que siempre va placentero
a su sombra a reposar.

Mas ¡ay triste! yo cautiva,
huérfana y sola suspiro,
el clima extraño respiro,
y amo a un extraño también.

No hallan mis ojos mi patria;
humo han sido mis amores;
nadie calma mis dolores
y en celos me More…

José de Espronceda – El estandarte ved que en Ceriñola


El estandarte ved que en Ceriñola
el gran Gonzalo desplegó triunfante,
la noble enseña ilustre y española
que al indio domeñó y al mar de Atlante;
regio pendón que al aire se tremola,
don de CRISTINA, enseña relumbrante,
verla podremos en la lid reñida
rasgada sí, pero jamás vencida.

José de Espronceda – El reo de muerte


Para hacer bien por el alma
del que van a ajusticiar!!!


Reclinado sobre el suelo
con lenta amarga agonía,
pensando en el triste día
que pronto amanecerá;
en silencio gime el reo
y el fatal momento espera
en que el sol por vez postrera
en su frente lucirá.

Un altar y un crucifijo
y la enlutada capilla,
lánguida vela amarilla
tiñe en su luz funeral,
y junto al mísero reo,
medio encubierto el semblante
se oye al fraile agonizante
en son confuso rezar.

El rostro levanta el triste
y alza los ojos al cielo,
tal vez eleva en su duelo
la súplica de piedad.
¡Una lágrima! ¿es acaso
de temor o de amargura?
¡Ay! a aumentar su tristura
vino un recuerdo quizá!!!

Es un joven, y la vida
llena de sueños de oro,
pasó ya, cuando aún el lloro
de la niñez no enjugó
el recuerdo es de la infancia,
¡y su madre que le llora,
para morir así ahora
con tanto amor le crió!

Y a par que sin esperanza
ve ya la More…

José de Espronceda – Fresca, lozana, pura y olorosa


Fresca, lozana, pura y olorosa,
gala y adorno del pensil florido,
gallarda puesta sobre el ramo erguido,
fragancia esparce la naciente rosa.

Mas si el ardiente sol lumbre enojosa
vibra, del can en llamas encendido,
el dulce aroma y el color perdido,
sus hojas lleva el aura presurosa.

Así brilló un momento mi ventura
en alas del amor, y hermosa nube
fingí tal vez de gloria y de alegría.

Mas, ay, que el bien trocóse en amargura,
y deshojada por los aires sube
la dulce flor de la esperanza mía.

Juan Boscan – Un nuevo Amor un nuevo bien me ha dado


Un nuevo Amor un nuevo bien me ha dado
ilustrándome el alma y el sentido,
por manera que a Dios ya yo no pido,
sino que me conserve en este estado.

A mi bien acrecienta el mal pasado,
tan sin temor estoy de lo que ha sido,
y en las yerbas compuestas que he bebido,
mi fuerza y mi vivir se han mejorado.

Anduvo sobre mí gran pestilencia,
hasta matar los pájaros volando,
y casi cuanto en vida fue criado.

Este influjo crüel se fue pasando:
y así desta mortal, brava dolencia,
con más salud quedó lo que ha quedado.

Juan Boscan – Garcilaso, que al bien siempre aspiraste


Garcilaso, que al bien siempre aspiraste
y siempre con tal fuerza le seguiste,
que a pocos pasos que tras él corriste,
en todo enteramente le alcanzaste,

dime: ¿por qué tras ti no me llevaste
cuando de esta mortal tierra partiste?,
¿por qué, al subir a lo alto que subiste,
acá en esta bajeza me dejaste?

Bien pienso yo que, si poder tuvieras
de mudar algo lo que está ordenado,
en tal caso de mí no te olvidaras:

que o quisieras honrarme con tu lado
o a lo menos de mí te despidieras;
o, si esto no, después por mí tornaras.