Meet iPhone Girl

Do consumers care about the people making our stuff?


Don’t believe me; meet iPhone girl…

In 2008 a British man fired up his new iPhone and discovered photos of a worker at the Chinese factory where his phone was made. He posted the photos on macrumors and in a matter of weeks the ensuing comment thread had nearly 700 comments and people all over the world were asking, “Who is iPhone Girl?”

iPhone girl became a sensation. Her smiling face was on cNET , on MSNBC, and in the Washington Post.

They tracked iPhone girl to a factory in Shenzhen where a company spokesperson called the incident a “beautiful mistake.” And it was for Apple. They had been blasted in the press for…

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Africa calls

“You can leave Africa, but Africa won’t leave you.”

That’s what the high-powered executive told me after I mentioned my upcoming trip to Kenya. He spent three years in Africa teaching English when he was in his early twenties. He never said what it was about Africa that makes it not leave you, but I expect he might not know.

That was on Wednesday night.

Today I saw a friend’s Facebook post that Africa was calling him to return, Liberia specifically.

I’ve visited sunny beaches and shantytowns around the world and, I must admit, it’s the beaches that tend to call for my return. (Oh Na Pali coast of Kauai, how I long for you!) Sure, I’ll never forget the dump I visited in Cambodia, but I have no…

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Chile Earthquate: The #ten4tues Project

Okay, since I started #ten4tues we’ve had more than enough earthquakes. I think we’ve more than met our quota for the year, so let’s stop having them.

That said, this week I’m supporting the relief efforts in Chile by donating $10 to the World Vision Project. I hope you’ll join me.

I know that some folks are hesitant to donate to faith-based groups and I understand and respect that. Missionaries haven’t always had the best reputation through the years. At their worst they are culture-killers that offer a message along the lines of “our God provides us with food. Worship Him and you won’t go hungry.” At their best, which is where I believe so many have evolved to today, they serve their fellow man. They don’t…

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The safest place in Hawaii during a tsunami

I spent the better part of my Saturday hoping that Hawaii (and everywhere else in/on the Pacific) didn’t get blasted by a tsunami. Eric Harr — CARE representative, IronMan, journalist, and Twitter-fiend — posted a video of his view from the relative safety of the Four Seasons in Kona.

This got me thinking about the time I hiked on Mauna Loa. There’s no chance of a tsunami getting you up there, but the lava, the boredom and the lack of water might.

I dusted off an old column about the hike…

Life, Death, and Lava
(I wrote this in 2002. It was one of the first pieces I ever tried to publish. I think I got paid $15 from some long-forgotten website for it.)

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Should I have my appendix removed before I travel?

Pending my release from being held hostage, I’m only a few months from Africa.  Now is the time to start thinking about vaccinations and pre-trip doctor visits.  That said, I thought I would dust off a piece from my travel column days and a photo of my brother with Malaria in France after our trip to Honduras. Good times.

My  Brother with Malaria

An Appendectomy to Go, Please

I’m not hardcore I have an appendix.

Legitimate children of Adventure prepare for their travels and expeditions for months if not years. They look into every possible problem and how to prevent it. The worthless appendix is like a time bomb to these neurotic adventurers, lying in…

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Held Hostage

Held Hostage by ApathyI’ve always wanted to be held hostage.

Not because of the messy bits – being blindfolded, asking permission to use the restroom, the failed escape, the proof of life, or even the Stockholm syndrome – but because of Barbara Walters.

If you’re held hostage and are released, you are pretty much guaranteed an interview by Ms. Walters. I’m not talking the View here. I’m talking 20/20 where the sharpness of Ms. Walter’s questions are inversely proportional to the softness of the lighting. The lighting would make me look 12 again, well, other than I wouldn’t have big ol’ buckteeth and a head a few sizes too big for my scrawny torso.

You suffer the bad…

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A year of giving: Team Morgan "the hitchhiker"

Sometimes in life you just stick out your thumb and see what adventures will find you.

That’s kind of the approach I’m taking to my year of giving $10 to a cause every Tuesday. I thought I would have to spend more time looking for causes to support. So far the causes have found me. I’ve supported groups helping in Haiti following the earthquake, and a homeless shelter in my hometown after my sister-in-law emailed me about a walk she was doing. This week is a bit different still.

I follow Matt Gross, the New York Times’ Frugal Traveler, on Twitter. Last week he posted this:

frugaltraveler Founder of hitchhiking site gravely ill, needs help.

I read the story of Morgan and his tumor he…

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Happy Valentines?: Gemstones lead to deaths in India


At least now I have a good excuse for not buying Annie jewelry this year for Valentine’s day. If you’re appalled by this practice, sign the National Labor Committee’s petition.

Watching this video reminded me of an experience I had in Nepal. I wrote a column about it years back. I dusted it off for your reading pleasure.

The Kathmandu Caper
By Kelsey Timmerman

On the streets of Kathmandu- Motorcycles weave in and out, cars honk their horns repeatedly jockeying for position, pedestrians scurry for their lives frogger-style while covering their nose and mouth from the dirt and stench. Tractors lacking gas caps slosh fuel this way and that, cows and dogs dine side by side on piles of trash. Chaos reigns supreme, but none lose their cool.

Amid the ruckus I stood…

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My corral is empty


I’m not famous.

I don’t need a corral for folks to line up in to buy a book and have me sign it. I don’t need blank cards for me to sign in case a student doesn’t want to buy a book, but still wants my autograph.

But when I was speaking at a The Check Your Label Symposium at IU’s Kelley School of Business I had both.

As a kid you dream about the day someone will ask for your autograph.  In preparation you practice.  You recall the Reds player you saw signing baseballs atop the dugout.  His wrist flashed across the baseball and a signature appeared. A looping, swooping, signature that assured the ball would never be hit…

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Every reader is my co-author

This morning I caught author Katherine Paterson on the Bob Edwards Show.  She lived in Japan and talked about the use of white space by Japanese artists.  The artist intends the viewer to fill in the space with their own imagination.

Patterson told Bob that she incorporates this into her writing and said something that really resonated with me…

“Every reader is my co-author.”

I’ve come to appreciate this because a funny thing happens when you write a book…someone reads it (hopefully). And when they read it and then they tell you about it, sometimes you’re left wondering if they read the same book that you wrote.

Awhile back two interviews of me came out on the same day.  One was in Ball State’s newspaper and the other was in a newspaper in…

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