These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
“While sharing its financial results for the fourth quarter, Facebook on Wednesday announced a number of new milestones. The social network has now passed 1.06 billion monthly active users. Of those, daily active users passed 618 million on average during December 2012 and the number monthly active mobile users hit 680 million.
Here’s the breakdown from the release:
- Monthly active users (MAUs) were 1.06 billion as of December 31, 2012, an increase of 25% year-over-year.
- Daily active users (DAUs) were 618 million on average for December 2012, an increase of 28% year-over-year.
- Mobile MAUs were 680 million as of December 31, 2012, an increase of 57% year-over-year.
- Mobile DAUs exceeded web DAUs for the first time in the fourth quarter of 2012.” READ MORE 
The Wall Street Journal
Bill Gates: My Plan to Fix The World's Biggest Problems 
“We can learn a lot about improving the 21st-century world from an icon of the industrial era: the steam engine.
Harnessing steam power required many innovations, as William Rosen chronicles in the book "The Most Powerful Idea in the World." Among the most important were a new way to measure the energy output of engines and a micrometer dubbed the "Lord Chancellor" that could gauge tiny distances.
Such measuring tools, Mr. Rosen writes, allowed inventors to see if their incremental design changes led to the improvements—such as higher power and less coal consumption—needed to build better engines. There's a larger lesson here: Without feedback from precise measurement, Mr. Rosen writes, invention is ‘doomed to be rare and erratic.’ With it, invention becomes ‘commonplace.’” READ MORE 
“The ever-expanding focus of "transparency reports" released by Google and Twitter are among the best tools available to advocates for reforming electronic privacy laws, Electronic Frontier Foundation activist Trevor Timm said Tuesday.
In a Google report released last week, an update provided Monday, and a similar report from Twitter also released Monday, the companies outlined information on the number of requests by governments for information about users. Both companies say government requests are on the rise. As they increase, both companies are releasing more detailed information about those requests. Beginning with data from January 2011, Google is disclosing the number of individual user accounts about which governments request data. Twitter unveiled a new home for its transparency reports and announced that it would include the nature of requests for information coming from the United States, disclosing the number of subpoenas, court orders, and search warrants.” READ MORE 
“In 2000, the Millennium Declaration and subsequent agreement on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) effectively rallied the world around achieving a set of goals, aimed at reducing global poverty and improving the well-being of the world’s most vulnerable.
The MDGs provided a focus for the efforts and resources of governments, resulting in impressive progress towards some of the goals. Since 2000, more than 6 million Africans have started taking antiretroviral treatment for HIV/AIDS, 5.5 million lives have been saved because of increased access to and utilization of vaccines, and 50 million more children are in school.” READ MORE 
Stanford Social Innovation Review
The Truth About Disruptive Development 
“Ten years ago, I was preparing for my first contribution to mobile technology—the result of two years of work that would lead to the development of a conservation service called wildlive!, and which would mark the release of one of the earliest reports on the application of mobile technology in conservation and development. A lot has happened since then. There’s been an explosive interest and excitement—and, yes, hype—in mobile, and a sense that the technology can be the savior of, well, everything.
Back in 2003, you’d be able to fit everyone working in mobile for development (m4d) into a small cafe. Today you’d need at least a football stadium. m4d—and its big brother, ICT4D (information communication technologies for development)—have become big business. Although I didn’t need more proof of mobile’s supreme status in development, last month I attended Vodafone’s Mobile for Good summit in London. It was a high profile affair, and an extremely upbeat one. Yet I left with mixed feelings about where m4d is headed.” READ MORE 
How the G-20 Can Help the Open Government Partnership 
“As many colleagues and friends know, I'm not a huge fan of traditional multilateral organizations given their historic high-effort, low-return ratio. Having worked in and around some for a number of years, I grew weary of the rhetoric not always (or ever?) matching the reality of their impact.
But I'm setting my cynical self aside for a moment to pitch a basic idea for how the G-20 can help the nascent Open Government Partnership -- by encouraging non-OGP G-20 member states to join OGP. I think this is a low-effort, high-return idea.” READ MORE