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One of the most important lessons I've ever learned is that it's OK to not have an opinion when you do not have enough information.

Whether the dramatic simplifications that IC promotes is worth the amount of energy they create, I do not know. Whether funding the Ugandan military will, in the end, decrease world suck...I do not know.

But you can join Kiva and your first $25 lent will be free and you can do it right now: http://www.kiva.org/invitedby/johngreen?utm_campaign=permurl-share-invite-free-trial-promo&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=johngreen&utm_source=fishingboatproceeds.tumblr.com
Good morning, Nerdfighteria.

So today, I made a video about NASA and the new space launch. Actually, I didn't make that video today; I made that video over the last few weeks. Michael Aranda and I have been working on the graphics, and NASA, and collaboration with me. We've been working on the content of the video, and all the cool B-roll and stuff, and so it's been a long time coming with that video.

Then, Kony 2012 everywhere and everybody's gonna expect me to make a video about this and I'm not going to; I have the NASA video! Yeah, I feel like I should be making a video about Invisible Children and the LRA and Uganda and Kony. And you know, that's what second channels are for. That's why Hankschannel exists. So, you know, subscribe. (clicks tongue) I'm a dolphin.

So here's the situation: this week, Invisible Children posted what is probably the most effective video in all of non-profit online video history. It is absolutely a masterpiece, and it was very effective at doing exactly what it wanted to do, which is to raise awareness of the atrocities that have been going on in Uganda and Central Africa for the last 20 years. And, yes, especially among the young people in America, this has greatly been raised.

The effectiveness of the video spawned from a number of reasons, some of them very cool, some of them not so cool. But of course with any big, exciting thing like this, that all of the youth of the Internet get in to, there was an immediate backlash. Within 12 hours,  there were like Tumblr posts linking to like, posts from 2006 talking about how Kony wasn't a big deal anymore, and Kony's totally still a big deal. Maybe in 2006 it looked like he was going to go away, but he didn't.

But there are also legitimate reasons for the backlash. Invisible Children is not highly ranked on Charity Navigator; they spend a relatively low portion of their funds on actual programs. But it's hard to measure a non-profit's actual output. I mean, if you measured it in terms of awareness raised, Invisible Children blows everybody else out of the water. If you measure it in terms of, like, on the ground money spent on, you know, like schools being built and vaccinations and stuff like that, they're not so good. The point here is that it's complicated, and guess what? So is everything, and I apologize for that.

What is much much much much much much much much more complicated than whether or not Invisible Children is an effective charity or not is the situation in Central Africa right now.  This is not an evil man who has completely destroyed the whole country all by himself. No, this is a screwed up situation in the most screwed up part of the world. The actual, like in-power government of Uganda and their army are not necessarily good people. There's lots of corruption; they're responsible for plenty of their own atrocities.

Giving that government a bunch of money and guns and technology, which is exactly what Invisible Children wants to do, is not something that's like a cut and dried, "Oh! This'll be great! It's fine, it's just some money and some tools!" You know, in 2013 what're they going to do with that money and those guns?  It's well-documented that the people of Uganda often do not support Invisible Children, or their rhetoric, or their mission.

Additionally, Invisible Children has been caught several times just makin' stuff up so it sounds scarier or worse than it actually is. I don't know why... I guess just to make really good videos. Even a lot of the stuff in the video that we all watched is, you know, anecdotal at best. Really none of that's what bothers me the most. What bothers me is they paint a very clear picture of what is in actuality a very messy situation. And they know this. They know that it's a messy situation. And it is absolutely the best way to make a powerful video, but it is not, it is not, it is not the best way to conduct international relations.

IC would like us to believe that our leaders are corrupt and evil and they don't care about the rest of the world, but the truth is that our leaders have been doing more in the past five years than they have for the past twenty, and that it's an extremely complicated situation and we do not want to go in there and be like, "Here! Have guns and money!" to a government that we know is corrupt and has committed atrocities before.

But here's what it comes down to: the honest truth, should we support Kony 2012? Should we support Invisible Children? Should we support the Ugandan government? Here's the straight-up truth: I do not know, I do not know the best course of action. Is that okay with you? Because if you look, you also do not know. We don't know the best course of action here!

I actually spit on the lens. I actually spat on the lens.

Here's what I do know: of all of the different systems for helping out people in poverty, microfinance has the best track record. The best track record of increasing stability, decreasing birth rates, increasing women's education, decreasing poverty. That's what we know works. We do know that giving governments money and guns can work, but often has very much the opposite effect of what we're going for.

The very good news that I have for you, right now at kiva.org, your first $25 lent is free, thanks to the help of some multi-millionaire. But don't stop at your first $25; please go sign up for the nerdfighters group. There's a link in the description. Go give your first $25 and then give more, and we can be the biggest, the best, the most bad ass Kiva group of all time! Us! Let's do that!

Nerdfighteria, I'll see you later. Goodbye.