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Just made my 5000th loan at Kiva.org the other day.
The $20K I originally invested has now cycled through more than six times, totaling nearly $130,000 in these $25 loans to mom-and-pop businesses in 66 countries. (My lender page is here if you're curious.)
So far, the repayment rate for my loans is just under 99.5 percent. And of course, the book about the whole shindig is the big rectangle at the upper right here.
In other news, if you're stuck for a holiday gift idea, Kiva Cards — like gift cards for any retailer, but you're giving your friend or loved one their first loan to a small business via Kiva — are pretty cool. You give, lend, and give the opportunity to lend, sort of all at once.
Kiva Cards can also be delivered by mail, email, Facebook, or your own two hands when you download and print.
If you haven't finished your holiday shopping and you'd like to be done in about twenty minutes, grab a few Kiva Cards here.
I've been alerted to this fun recent piece about Jeopardy by "G.F." at the Economist blog.
The writer was a contestant earlier this season, and he later interviewed several IBM programmers about Watson, their Jeopardy-playing computer, and the strategies they developed from extensive game simulation.
At the end, there's a surprising shout-out:
Prisoner of Trebekistan, a book written by Bob Harris about his multiple campaigns, dovetails neatly with their more exhaustive data analysis.
Yes, but Watson is smart enough to actually follow its own strategy. So there you go.