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 One laptop per child
picture BoingBoing, One Laptop for every Child in the Developing World:
Nicholas Negroponte and other MIT luminaries have been working on a project to build a sub-$100, hand-cranked WiFi laptop, with the objective of supplying one apiece to every child in the developing world. They've done lots of cool stuff along the way -- for example, they've remained committed to providing entirely free and open operating systems for the machines, so that their owners can tinker with them, improve on them, and publish their improvements (they turned down an offer from Apple to supply OS X with every machine because it fails this test -- parts of Apple's OS are proprietary and can't lawfully be modified by users).

Now they've actually demoed a working prototype for the Secretary General of the UN, which cost just a hair more than the final price: $110. Wired News has a short interview with Negroponte on the milestone:

WN: Is the goal literally to make computers available to every child that wants one in the world?

Negroponte: It's every child in the world whether they want one or not. They may not know they want one.

WN: Do you have any thoughts on what the long-term impact of giving all these kids a programming environment and an open-source ethic might be?

Negroponte: Those are two different questions. Giving the kids a programming environment of any sort, whether it's a tool like Squeak or Scratch or Logo to write programs in a childish way -- and I mean that in the most generous sense of the word, that is, playing with and building things -- is one of the best ways to learn. Particularly to learn about thinking and algorithms and problem solving and so forth.

And providing the tools for some people -- it's going to be a very limited subset (who will use them) -- to develop software that will be redistributed and versioned and so forth out into the world is also important. It's part of the whole open-source movement.

[ | 19 Nov 2005 @ 15:27 | PermaLink ]

 China wants to build four eco-cities
The Guardian:
The Dongtan development, on an island in the mouth of the Yangtze river near Shanghai, aims to build a city three-quarters the size of Manhattan by 2040. The first phase will accommodate some 50,000 people. It is on target to be open by the time of the Shanghai Expo trade fair in 2010.

Up to four more eco-cities will be built, though exact locations have not yet been revealed. Experts believe that the real challenge will be to build them in China's interior, in regions that have been polluted by heavy industry and depopulated by the movement of millions of Chinese people to the booming Pacific coast.

Head said: 'It is part of a new awareness of the environment by the Chinese government. They realise that with their growing population and economy they have to overcome the problems of environmental pollution and resource depletion.'

The eco-cities are intended to be self-sufficient in energy, water and most food products, with the aim of zero emissions of greenhouse gases in transport systems.

[ | 7 Nov 2005 @ 16:45 | PermaLink ]

 Eight year old child genius enters university
picture Korea Herald:
Song Yoo-geun, 8, wants to build flying cars, defying Newton's law of gravity, and the physics genius which has made him Korea's youngest university student may very well drive him to that dream.

Amid scholastic achievements that have confounded experts, the public spotlight is squarely on the child prodigy and his parents, both 46 and both former teachers. What has made Yoo-geun - born late November 1997 and actually just shy of 8 years old - so special?

His parents differ from the vast majority of Korean parents who show a passion approaching zeal for their children's education.

"No fixed daily routines for our boy," said Yoo-geun's parents. "Yoo-geun has a monthly schedule only. Rather than being confined by a rigid timetable, Yoo-geun has the freedom to explore every field he wants to."

While other children his age are first graders at elementary school, he is a freshman at the Physics Department of Inha University in Incheon, west of Seoul.

[ | 6 Nov 2005 @ 13:31 | PermaLink ]

 Loan tiny sums to micro-enterprises in the developing world
picture is the world’s first peer-to-peer, distributed microloan website. A great idea where PayPal meets Gates Foundation. The site allows you to lend a small amount of money, say $25, to needy microenterprises in developing countries. You receive repayment at the end of the loan period (normally 6-12 months) without interest. If they default on the loan, your loan becomes a donation – though none of the businesses have defaulted yet. A great low-risk, high-reward idea.
[ | 1 Nov 2005 @ 21:31 | PermaLink ]

oolsi is a blog about everything free.
We believe everything should be free! This site will keep track of websites and tools that share this philosophy and look at freeware in other aspects of life -- ie. saving money, living cheaply, making things yourself, and self learning.

Internet = Equality! You no longer have to be rich or well connected to educate yourself about anything or discover new things. We'll be keeping a log of places to do it!

[ | 26 Oct 2005 @ 20:18 | PermaLink ]

 Saint-Germain, the immortal alchemist
picture From Saint-Germain - a man beyond his time:
"A man who knows everything and who never dies," said Voltaire of the Comte de Saint-Germain. He might have added that he was a man whose origin was unknown and who disappeared without leaving a trace. In vain his contemporaries tried to penetrate the mystery, and in vain the chiefs of police and the ministers of the various countries whose inhabitants he puzzled, flattered themselves that they had solved the riddle of his birth.

Louis XV must have known who he was, for he extended to him a friendship that aroused the jealousy of his court. He allotted him rooms in the Chateau of Chambord. He shut himself up with Saint-Germain and Madam de Pompadour for whole evenings; and the pleasure he derived from his conversation and the admiration he no doubt felt for the range of his knowledge cannot explain the consideration, almost the deference, he had for him. Madam du Housset says in her memoirs that the king spoke of Saint-Germain as a personage of illustrious birth. Count Charles of Hesse Cassel, with whom he lived during the last years in which history is able to follow his career, must also have possessed the secret of his birth. He worked at alchemy with him, and Saint-Germain treated him as an equal. It was to him that Saint-Germain entrusted his papers just before his supposed death in 1784. However, neither Louis XV nor the Count of Hesse Cassel ever revealed anything about the birth of Saint-Germain. The count even went so far as invariably to withhold the smallest detail bearing on the life of his mysterious friend. This is a very remarkable fact, since Saint-Germain was an extremely well known figure.

[ | 26 Oct 2005 @ 20:14 | PermaLink ]

 India spy agency uses remote viewing
picture India Daily:

RAW India's equivalent of CIA has advanced quite a bit in recent days. Sources close to New Delhi report that RAW is using advanced satellite technologies and remote viewing techniques to look into foreign intelligence activities within India. Remote viewing is the paranormal activities with psychics that can sense into the future and unknown. CIA in America has used remote viewing for many years. Many times remote viewing has worked very well for the CIA and the Russian intelligence.
[ | 19 Dec 2004 @ 15:20 | PermaLink ]

 Roll-up solar cells
New Scientist:

Imagine wearing a jacket or rucksack that charges up your mobile phone while you take a walk. Or a tent whose flysheet charges batteries all day so campers can have light all night. Or a roll-out plastic sheet you can place on a car's rear window shelf to power a child's DVD player.

Such applications could soon become a reality thanks to a light, flexible solar panel that is a little thicker than photographic film and can easily be applied to everyday fabrics. The thin, bendy solar panels, which could be on the market within three years, are the fruit of a three-nation European Union research project called H-Alpha Solar (H-AS).
[ | 19 Dec 2004 @ 14:28 | PermaLink ]

 Rotating Appartments
picture All the appartments in this building in Curitiba, Brazil, are rotating 360 degrees. OK, there are some restaurants that do that in the top floor in various places, but this is the first time somebody did it with the whole building. Which posed some unique engineering challenges.
[ | 18 Dec 2004 @ 16:31 | PermaLink ]

 World's Tallest Building
picture BBC:

South Korea's Samsung Corporation has won the contract to build the world's tallest building, the Burj Tower in Dubai.

Workers have already started to clear the ground for the 800-metre high, 160-floor skyscraper and it should be completed by November 2008.
[ | 10 Dec 2004 @ 20:13 | PermaLink ]

 Who's it calling for?
picture CNN, Whale Sings Lonely Song

For twelve years, marine biologists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have tracked a lone whale whose song is at a completely different frequency from any other whale. This particular baleen whale calls at 52 hertz while whales usually sing at frequencies in the 15-20 hertz range. The whale doesn't follow normal migration patterns either.
[ | 10 Dec 2004 @ 02:30 | PermaLink ]

 Famous Atheist turns Deist

A British philosophy professor who has been a leading champion of atheism for more than a half-century has changed his mind. He now believes in God more or less based on scientific evidence, and says so on a video released Thursday.

At age 81, after decades of insisting belief is a mistake, Antony Flew has concluded that some sort of intelligence or first cause must have created the universe. A super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature, Flew said in a telephone interview from England.

Flew said he's best labeled a deist like Thomas Jefferson, whose God was not actively involved in people's lives.

"I'm thinking of a God very different from the God of the Christian and far and away from the God of Islam, because both are depicted as omnipotent Oriental despots, cosmic Saddam Husseins," he said. "It could be a person in the sense of a being that has intelligence and a purpose, I suppose."
[ | 10 Dec 2004 @ 02:12 | PermaLink ]

 Imaginary Friends
picture Via BoingBoing, this article.

Sixty-five percent of children say that by age seven, they've played with an imaginary companion. Children interviewed for a study by psychologists at the University of Washington and University of Oregon were considered to have an imaginary companion if they were able to discuss its psychological traits, "such as 'She is nice to me.'"

The study also showed that:

• While preschool girls were more likely to have an imaginary companion, by age 7 boys were just as likely as girls to have one.
• 27 percent of the children described an imaginary friend that their parents did not know about.
• 57 percent of the imaginary companions of school-age youngsters were humans and 41 percent were animals. One companion was a human capable of transforming herself into any animal the child wanted.
• Not all imaginary companions are friendly. A number were quite uncontrollable and some were a nuisance.

[ | 8 Dec 2004 @ 15:38 | PermaLink ]

 Extreme Ballooning
picture Here's a new trend in ballooning. This guy regularly flies around tied to a cluster of helium filled balloons. He seems to know what he's doing. As opposed to that more famous amateur balloonist, Larry Walters, who in 1982 tied a bunch of balloons to his lawn chair and accidentally shot up to 16,000 feet and interfered with the flights around the L.A. airport.
[ | 8 Dec 2004 @ 15:33 | PermaLink ]

 Trustegrities could change our Future
picture From Synergic Earth News: Timothy Wilken, MD writes: The Trustegrities will be three with separate but complimentary missions in service to humankind. The Earth Trustegrity will provide: 1) Access to land and natural resources for personal use at minimal or no cost, and 2) Access to land and natural resources for synergic production with appropriate charges payable to the Earth Trustegrity in lease or rental fees, licensing fees, and/or revenue shares. All rental fees, licensing fees, and/or revenue shares are entrusted to the Earth Trustegrity for Humanity as Community. The Life Trustegrity will provide: 3) Safety from crime and war, and full access to: 4) Comfortable, safe, healthy housing. 5) Good nutritious food 6) Good preventitive health services and comprehensive cradle to grave medical care, and access to the privilege of Reproduction based on fairness, equality, and mutual benefit to both humanity as Individuals and humanity as Community. This would include monitoring administrating, adjudicating the Trust privilege of Reproduction. 7) Access to animals and plants including native flora and wildlife for personal use at minimum or no cost. 8) Access to animals and plants including native flora and wildlife for synergic production with approriate charges payable to the Life Trustegrity in rental fees, licensing fees and/or revenue shares. All payments made are entrusted to the Earth Trustegrity for Humanity as Community. The Time-binding Trustegrity will provide: 9) Full education to an individual’s ability and interest regardless of age, 10) The opportunity to participate in synergic organization and invest their action and leverage to earn revenue shares and acquire property throughout their full lifetime. 11) Access to communication with humanity as individuals and to humanity as community for personal reasons, for synergic production and consumption, and for synergic consensus utilizing Unanimous Rule Democracy. 12) Protection of the intellectual discoveries and inventions of Time-binding whether they be in the Time-binding Trust, or the Property of living humans. (03/26/04)
[ | 15 Sep 2004 @ 10:45 | PermaLink ]

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Here you will find a cornucopia of ideas, resources, connections, information, inspiration and surprises, all aimed at growing, creating or discovering a world that works better for all of us.

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  • 2004-07-09
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  • 2004-06-26
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  • 2004-06-19
  • They Rule Now

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  • 2004-06-14
  • Human-Caused Global Warming Confirmed
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  • Peter Senge on awareness and environmental stewardship
  • The Dreaming Universe

  • 2004-06-13
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