The community of Doe Bay, Orcas Island, off the Washington coast, have set up their own internet service, with antennas in trees. Using a directional microwave link to the mainland (10 miles), and a lot of shorter links and relays, the network now supplies around 50 residents with 30-40 Mb synchronous connections.
“This has been a total grassroots effort,” explained Chris Sutton, DBIUA co- founder and board member. “We’re neighbors helping neighbors. The Doe Bay community repeatedly asked our local Internet service providers for better service; we received no solid answers or solutions. So, in the tradition of Doe Bay’s pioneer spirit, we rolled up our sleeves and did it ourselves.”
LIMA – Peru’s University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC) was about to open the applications for the period 2013, so they needed to get students’ attention. Lima, the capital, and its surrounding villages such as Bujama are located in the coastal deserts of Peru. In these places, there were many people suffering from the lack of clean and potable water.
The rain in this region is almost zero, but its atmospheric humidity is about 98%. Inspired by this, UTEC built the first billboard that produces drinking water out of the air. The billboard has unique technology that captures the air humidity and turns it into drinking water. The billboard has already produced about 2,496.42 gallons of drinking water in a 3 month period, an amount that equals the water consumption of hundreds of families per month.
Mfangano Island now has a 1Mbps Internet connection. For those of you reading this over a high-speed cable, DSL, or fiber connection in a developed country this may not sound terribly impressive. However, when you consider the four major challenges we had to overcome to bring this meg of data to a remote island nestled at the mouth of Winam Gulf in Lake Victoria, you might think again as to the level of this accomplishment.
A small local NGO that had never before worked in the telecom space had to figure out how to design and build a tower that could be welded by local craftsmen to tight technical specifications. The tower they built supports one end of a 90km wireless link (60% of which is over water), pushing the limits of long-distance WiFi’s capabilities. The whole operation is powered by a hybrid solar/wind electrical system, because no other power is available at the tower site.
Finally, every single piece of equipment required to put this all together had to be ferried to the island in a small wooden boat and hand carried up a grueling two hour hike.
[youtube=http://youtu.be/uQu_Jppvzyk]Real help for Africans
We’ve seen how governments and agencies are willing to spend billions of taxpayers dollars to fund the dumping of obsolete “AIDS drugs” on the African continent. Bill Gates, who has been moving his vast fortune out of software and into a portfolio pharmaceutical companies before the bottom falls out of Microsoft, is a huge booster for testing experimental drugs on Africans.
While these ghouls “give” billions as part of a mission to turn Africa into a colony of the pharmaceutical industry, PlayPumps has a better idea. Why not make it easy for rural Africans to get access to clean water? As demonstrated in the West not much more than 100 years ago, when clean water is made available to a population, they become healthier and their life span and productivity increases.
This technology is ingenious and it demonstrates how easy it is to solve the real problems of the world – if the “philanthropists” actually care about helping.
Tablet test: Nicholas Negroponte, founder of One Laptop Per Child, describes experiments involving children in Ethiopia at MIT Technology Review’s EmTech conference.
With 100 million first-grade-aged children worldwide having no access to schooling, the One Laptop Per Child organization is trying something new in two remote Ethiopian villages—simply dropping off tablet computers with preloaded programs and seeing what happens.
The goal: to see if illiterate kids with no previous exposure to written words can learn how to read all by themselves, by experimenting with the tablet and its preloaded alphabet-training games, e-books, movies, cartoons, paintings, and other programs.
Early observations are encouraging, said Nicholas Negroponte, OLPC’s founder, at MIT Technology Review’s EmTech conference last week.
Sugatra Mitra installed a computer in a hole in a wall on a street in Kaljaki, New Delhi to see how effectively children could teach themselves technology as part of what would become his Hole-in-the-Wall Project. The computer had a cover to protect it from the elements, an opening for the kids’ hands to reach the keyboard, cable internet, and a webcam to track the progress.
Left alone and with no incentives or instruction, over three hundred children were able to go from never having touched a computer to tech whizzes. With these initial results, Mitra expanded the project to 23 more sites and was able to show that children across India were able to reach technological literacy at the same rate, independent of their location or economic status. Mitra proved that kids are information sponges, much more apt to keep up with technological changes than older generations, and that the only barrier to technological insertion for most kids is simply a lack of access.
Mind you, beware of people who believe technological insertion is a good thing per se… reminds me of the ARPA report to congress in 1972: “the long-sought goal is direct and intimate coupling between man and the computer.”