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Edward B. Rackley on those $100 laptops for 3rd World kids we've been hearing so much about:
I'm soon headed to northern Uganda to research violations against children by the Lord's Resistance Army and the Ugandan National Army. I'll keep one eye skyward for any falling laptops--although such spacejunk is already common in rural Africa. I used to work with Dinka pastoralists in Southern Sudan who decorated their cattle by hanging discarded CDs from their horns. The CDs were recovered from the trash pits of international NGOs working to improve the lives of southerners during the war with Khartoum. Of course they had no idea what the CDs were, other than round reflective disks once used by foreigners. What would the Dinka do with laptops? Maybe trap wild game in the mighty jaws of the hinge mechanism connecting keyboard and screen.On discussions of the laptop at Davos:
Their debates over how to solve the global 'digital divide' bear the mark of all starry-eyed social engineering endeavors, with the world's digitally illiterate providing a conveniently captive set of guinea pigs. Lack of food, water, education and safety for many in the developing world apparently matter little when you can throw a $100 laptop at the problem.
"Nicholas Negroponte of M.I.T. shows off his $100 laptop"--NY Times caption and photo.