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The OLPC in green and white  (Source: The OLPC Wiki)
Nigerian children get caught up on the Internets with porn

One of the aims of the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project is to give the underprivileged new opportunities and experiences they otherwise wouldn’t have. Interestingly enough, some school children are using their laptops to browse pornographic Internet sites.

According to a Reuters report, a reporter at the official News Agency of Nigeria discovered pornographic images on the donated laptops from a U.S. aid organization. It is unclear whether or not school children were actually caught in the act of browsing such websites.

"Efforts to promote learning with laptops in a primary school in Abuja have gone awry as the pupils freely browse adult sites with explicit sexual materials," reported the News Agency of Nigeria.

Perhaps in response to the discovery of the OLPC’s side features, a representative for the laptop project said that the computers will now be fitted with filtering software.



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In a country where Aids runs rampant
By PAPutzback on 7/23/2007 8:52:18 AM , Rating: 0
Let's give the youngters access to porn that'll help the AIDS and over population crisis.

They should be locked down to an intranet and maybe some key educational sites cached on to a local web server.

Even worse then porn, they'll search out how to make IEDs.




By Misty Dingos on 7/23/2007 9:14:42 AM , Rating: 5
Perhaps we could just let them alone and let them realize what is on the web in the first place. Utter anarchy. Sure I can see that blocking the kids from cruising porn sites while at school is a good thing. I can't imagine that having the kids on porn sites while the teacher is trying to teach geography is going to don anything for good academics. But the whole idea of this OLPC program was to put computers into the hands of millions of kids. At some point you are going to have to take off the training wheels and let reality set in.

These kids aren't going to learn how to build IEDs from the internet they will learn that from the local fanatics trust me they have a training program. And they aren't going to sudden increase the infection rate of AIDS in the area. What is more likely is that they will decrease AIDS but increase the level of awareness of how much violence is perpetrated in their world every day. What they do with that knowledge is up to them.

One other thing. You can not take a million kids to a candy store and tell them to keep their eyes shut and their hands in their pockets. It isn't going to work.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 7/23/2007 9:16:07 AM , Rating: 1
Yea, and that is of concern. Now your giving internet access to people who have desire to blow shit up. It's really not hard with the aid of google to learn what materials and what kind of detonator would be needed as well as methods and theory for constructing and designing bombs to do some serious damage.

Now on the flip side, its possible those that want to do this sort of thing have long since had internet access, it wouldn't be that far fetched.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By TomZ on 7/23/2007 9:24:44 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
Now your giving internet access to people who have desire to blow shit up

I don't see why children in developing countries would want to blow stuff up, let alone want to kill people, any more than those in developed countries. It's not like kids making bombs is a real significant problem in the developed world where kids have ready access to the Internet.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By mdogs444 on 7/23/2007 9:34:51 AM , Rating: 5
I see where you both are coming from. In one sense, getting computers, internet, and modern day technology into the hands of these 3rd world countries is a good thing to help them prosper. However, some of the african places have been in civil wars for a long time, and probably will not be ending soon. So could giving them increased technology be considered a good thing, or just another weapon to use for bomb making & communications. I dont know, but i guess giving an 8 yr old a computer cannot be worse than giving them an automatic weapon right?


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By Xavian on 7/23/2007 9:53:07 AM , Rating: 2
I'm always a believer that if you give any people on the planet enough Information that their society will eventually develop itself.

With most 3rd world countries drowning in Ignorance because of the lack of technology, so pointless wars caused by power-hungry warlords will continue to go unchecked by the populous by and large.

If people in general don't know there's something OTHER than war, warlords, pointless fighting and being displaced from their homes, then the pointless bloodshed will continue.

Sure there's a chance that 0.001% of people in 3rd world countries might want to blow stuff up and this will give them the information to do it, but the benefits of a massive surge of information (via the Internet) to these 3rd world countries far outweigh the downsides.


By copiedright on 7/23/2007 10:05:22 PM , Rating: 2
That is exactly right!

Many of the missionaries going over to third world areas are used to inform people of some basic things we all know, such as keeping sanitation away from the water supply.

Many still believe that the way to cure AIDS is to have s_x with a virgin!

As for the weapons argument, they already have imported weapons and explosives, additional information wont do much because they have no infrastructure to develop weapons.

So lets give them basic information access. In a way we are following the wise old saying: "Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. But teach a man to fish and he eats for the rest of his life"

Remember Charity is not a long term solution. Education and teaching of self reliance is!


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By xsilver on 7/23/07, Rating: -1
RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By Exodus220 on 7/23/07, Rating: 0
RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By FITCamaro on 7/23/07, Rating: -1
By TomZ on 7/23/2007 11:25:33 AM , Rating: 1
That's a pretty callous attitude. Just because the leaders in that region of the world are not doing a good job, the problems there are very hard to solve. Even the US, with all its "wisdom" and "power," hasn't been able to crack that nut yet.

And I have to believe that the people that live in the middle East are just like us and just like others around the world, they want to live in peace, raise their families, have jobs, etc. Suggesting they just all nuke each other is a pretty inhumane comment.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By omnicronx on 7/23/2007 11:57:57 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
I don't think there's been peace in that region of the world for the past several decades if not centuries.


Ya because it was under British rule, and before than ottoman empire. Then they withdrew leaving whoever wanted to be in power to achieve that.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By Ringold on 7/23/2007 1:53:32 PM , Rating: 3
Keep going further back. They were left to their own devices at times, and were in chaos. The times the region was peaceful was after General Muhammed ripped off the Jews and crafted a religion perfectly suited for mass conquest -- and got all the way in to mainland Europe before the only French man ever to live stopped them cold. That's not an exaggeration or propaganda -- pick up a history book, any history book.

I heard someone say a couple years ago that the world will continue to have grevious problems with Islam until the equivalent of a Martin Luther nails a moderate viewpoint to a mosque door, the religion fractures (again), and the Islamic Reformation runs its course. That took hundreds of years in Europe; we can only hope modern technology accelerates it to just a couple generations for them.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By bubbacub616 on 7/23/2007 3:42:27 PM , Rating: 2
I would go even further back. Human civilization first developed in the fertile crescent (egypt/israel/jordan/iraq). The development of crops and resultant biodiversity from the amalgamation of european african and asian ecologies has been mirrored more recently over the last 2-3000 years with this area being a crossroads or front were peoples and cultures collide. It is thus unsurprising that the area has been a bloody warzone for most of this time. Its tempting (especially with 9/11 rose tinted glasses) to blame Islam for all of our woes but I don't think this is necessarily the case here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fertile_crescent


By Ringold on 7/23/2007 5:42:05 PM , Rating: 2
Difference is, those that left the area and developed elsewhere have, for the most part, lead a peaceful prosperous existence with a recent historical focus on individual freedom, liberty, etc. I won't blame any of the problems of the 1900s on Islam really (well, they did start their campaign against us then, we simply didnt notice), but since 2001? Definitely; and probably for the rest of this century.


By nah on 7/25/2007 11:53:42 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
General Muhammed ripped off the Jews and crafted a religion perfectly suited for mass conquest


exactly how did he rip of the Jews--and as for crafting a religion for mass conquest---who ultimately ended up controlling most of the world by 1900--the Europeans

this hatred of Islam and Muhammad goes back to the middle ages when mothers would frighten children by using Muhammad as a bogeyman

for a balanced view of Muhammad--read the bio by Karen Armstrong an Oxford Scholar and articles by Wilfred Cantwell Smith of Harvard


By Ryanman on 7/25/2007 2:50:22 PM , Rating: 1
The obvious conclusion is those with religeous fervor are more likely to kill and be killed. You can't honestly say that they're killing each other for any other reason, or at least using religeon as a justification. In Iraq, we kill a bunch of insurgents a day. They kill each other so much more than we could ever possibly do, it's a neat little system that has only the flaw of killing civillians.

Natural Selection FTW.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By Oregonian2 on 7/23/2007 1:45:34 PM , Rating: 2
I think historically, those who are hated are manipulated into that hate by local politicians (or equivalent, dictator, etc) into making a scapegoat for problems people have. A cause of problems other than "them". Focus of that hate toward that outside power (or "other race" as it is sometimes) provides power to those who create the fiction. This technique has been used in history a LOT, and probably because it works well. Even mild versions of the same technique is used by all parties in domestic American politics. This also is why it's hard to impossible to fight by the outside "hate-ee", they're targeted by the local powers at large (political, religious, or economic) and those have a MUCH stronger control of their people's minds. It's, in effect, an marketing battle, not a battle of truth and justice or actual deeds.


By xsilver on 7/24/2007 4:33:17 AM , Rating: 2
exactly - it is a bit of a marketing battle and an issue of trust.
tomz said it well above where you would like to think that people in iraq or whatever are just like you and me but a lot of western people fail to realize this.

the -1 rating of my post above only shows me how conservative people are.
I'M FOR GIVING THE 3rd WORLD COUNTRIES A CHANCE - Im just laughing at how western media is considering something like this news - Its their bloody laptop, they can do what they want with it. JEEZ.

NEWSFLASH - there is something called pr0n in the internet, are the 3rd world denied access?


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 7/23/07, Rating: 0
RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By Misty Dingos on 7/23/2007 1:21:46 PM , Rating: 1
That is a pretty grim view of life in general there Master K. I question whether you have seen a sunny day or heard a bird singing lately. If not I suggest you eat lunch out of doors for a week or so. Weather permitting of course.

Having spent some time in third world countries I have a view point that the vast majority of people in any country just want to get along with life and be within reason happy.

The infinitesimal numbers of these OLPCs that end up being used by people that are bent to do evil will not invalidate the program. The ones truly desiring to do harm to others will find the money to access the internet anyway they choose. I don’t think the OLPC is going to be the terrorists go to internet connection.

Another thing, simply because you did not benefit from the use of a laptop in the class room (in a first world nation with an enormous and hopefully effective educational system) does not mean that these children in there situation will not. Showing these kids what is available in information through the internet may radically change their lives. While yours saturated from birth in an information drenched world was much less likely to be influenced by a laptop for your use at school.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By MoonSword on 7/23/2007 2:26:40 PM , Rating: 5
Grim view, maybe. Realistic is more likely. Fact is that OLPC is a tool, but like any tool, it needs to be used properly to be productive. All tools, even those with great potential, do nothing on their own. Hence, probably what Mr. K experienced in grade school. And any tool, even those with great potential, when misused can cause great harm. Hence, the concerns for violence.

I think that the OLPC is a great idea, but you can't just dump computers into a classroom that has never seen technology before and expect children to become educated. The educators in the classroom are likely to be just as perplexed by the technology as the kids they are teaching.

But Mr. K's suggestion to teach agriculture and equipment repair... now that's an idea. These skills will build a community infrastructure, a much needed infrastructure to improve quality of life. The computers can come after running water and electricity is available in every home, after there is enough food to feed the whole community, and after roads are built for travel and trade.

I like the OLPC concept. I want to see it succeed, but to be realistic, 3rd world countries aren't yet ready. As it stands right now, OLPC is putting the carriage before the horse and that (at least it seems to me) is why Mr. K. is critical of the idea.


By Master Kenobi (blog) on 7/23/2007 3:08:38 PM , Rating: 2
You pretty much nailed it.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By rcc on 7/23/2007 6:27:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But Mr. K's suggestion to teach agriculture and equipment repair... now that's an idea. These skills will build a community infrastructure, a much needed infrastructure to improve quality of life.


I agree, it's a place to start. But I can't help remembering back in the 60s and 70s, the uproar from the 3rd world nations when it was suggested in the US that we ship them farm equipment and knowledge rather than just food.

Now that was primarily the "warlord" elements hollering, because that would take power from their hands, but it's still an issue.

On a separate topic, given the main domestic output of Nigeria appears to be letters and emails trying to con people out of money, shipping their kids notebooks just strikes me as adding fuel to the fire and a providing training aids. If you haven't seen the 60 minutes piece on it, it's worth looking for.


By Ryanman on 7/25/2007 3:14:20 PM , Rating: 1
I Don't understand why we're giving laptops to kids that, I'm sorry to say, ARE gonna be soldiers or dead pretty soon. Why not open the net to farmers and adult workers who have already proved they can survive and who form the backbone of the african food supply.


By wordsworm on 7/25/2007 3:15:27 AM , Rating: 2
Education has the ability to give these children the chance at studying in ways that has been denied to them before. If some choose to educate themselves to become better warriors, then so be it. If others choose to learn about sex, I think that's good too. To each their own, and in nowise do I feel threatened by that. Teens doing research about sex is not a bad thing, pornography is not evil. Not all teens will choose these two things. Some might choose agricultural knowledge, it's hard to say. May those children follow their natural inclination regardless of its direction.

I think it would be quite useful for kids to send an IM that their house had just been raided, some perhaps raped, others killed. It's hard to see how this kind of technology will change the culture. In any case, education gives people power. If more people have power in the region, perhaps the balance of power will shift to that of the people rather than the few.

quote:
Laptops in a third world country in classrooms will not have any success, its just a waste of time, money, and resources.


Perhaps you figure the same about books, pencils, and the like. Education has no value in the hands of third world inhabitants. Well, my opinion is polar to yours. I think this project could be the greatest step to bringing global equality to the region. I believe in education, and this is the greatest tool that these kids have ever had access to.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By TimberJon on 7/23/07, Rating: -1
RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By Exodus220 on 7/23/2007 1:46:41 PM , Rating: 5
Are you an idiot? This is the stupidest and one of the most racist things I have heard. My word, take your narrow-minded head out of your butt.


By kmmatney on 7/23/2007 5:16:33 PM , Rating: 2
Although his post was a bit over the top, remember that Palestine had a kids cartoon show with a character that looked like mickey mouse, and they martyred the mouse

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6257594.stm

The mouse was beaten to death by an "Israeli Agent" in the cartoon.


By Ryanman on 7/25/2007 3:27:45 PM , Rating: 1
yeah it's "racist" because unfortunately it's true.
You know that 10% of muslims living in the UK think it's necessary to kill infidels to further their religeon? And these are the people that owe the UK a lot for taking them in when they had nothing. The fact is, these people have been brainwashed by their religeon, or at least the leaders of these religeons, to think that killing those that don't believe the same as them is good for them.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By TomZ on 7/23/2007 2:05:20 PM , Rating: 3
I agree with Exodus220 - that's a lot of hate for one posting - and a lot of sweeping, broad generalizations. The extremests that engage in the views that you express are just a very small fraction of the nations involved. Although the US's recent complete and total lack of anything close to competence in foreign policy over the past 5-10 years is really helping to grow the hatred that you describe.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By therealnickdanger on 7/23/07, Rating: 0
RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By TomZ on 7/23/2007 4:00:31 PM , Rating: 2
There is a cultural hatred that exists, and I agree with you that it does not exist due to, nor can it be eliminated by, US foreign policy in the region. But the ability of that radical element to influence otherwise reasonable citizens to join their cause, is certainly something that US foreign policy can, and has had, an effect on.

The Bush Adminstration has made two serious mistakes, in my opinion, in this region:

1. Practically no diplomatic engagement in the region (except for its unconditional support for Israel, regardless of their actions), and has taken a hard line to explicitly avoid discussion with regional powers who have different views than us (e.g., Syria and Iran).

2. Pro-active military action in the region, towards the goal of protecting American interests, seemingly without any longer-term plan that takes into account the needs of the Iraqi or American citizens, i.e., the primary stakeholders in this situation.

Because of these mistakes, US foreign policy has played into the hands of the radicals, by helping to create millions of unemployed in Iraq and elsewhere without much hope of a visible future. In these hearts and minds are fertile opportunities for recruitment by the radical elements.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By FITCamaro on 7/23/07, Rating: -1
By TomZ on 7/23/2007 5:03:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Maybe there's millions unemployed in Iraq because Iraqi's are blowing the fucking country up. Nah that couldn't be it.

Uh, no, there are millions unemployed because we removed/destroyed their economy, their government, their infrastructure, etc. We did that - you and I - with our tax dollars. Cope with it.
quote:
And what do you mean no diplomacy?

The Bush Administration has never had any serious peace talks with regional leaders in the Mideast - never in the entire 7 years he's been in office.

Bringing the might of the US military down onto a country, smashing everything to small bits, and then telling them to pursue peace and democracy is a stupid plan, it is not diplomacy, and it is not effective. Diplomacy and peace happens in meeting rooms between leaders, not by military action.

I'm not saying we're doing nothing good in the world - don't paint me with that anti-American whitewash - I'm just saying that American diplomacy in the Mideast is ineffective at best, and counterproductive at worst.


By wordsworm on 7/25/2007 3:26:41 AM , Rating: 2
So, you object to giving something back to Iraq after destroying its infrastructure so that it could not resist its oil being taken? Well, I guess that's optimistic at best. As you said, most of the money is going to arm terrorist groups. After all, for as long as there's little to no stability in the region, any government in place won't be able to focus on taking control over its own resources.


By Pythias on 7/26/2007 1:19:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
.. complete and total lack of anything close to competence in foreign policy over the past 5-10 years is really helping to grow the hatred that you describe.


That why they bombed the WTC 1993?


By feraltoad on 7/24/2007 4:34:47 AM , Rating: 2
I remember hearing on the radio of how a group of kids got arrested for constructing, from plans they got from the net, and firing a POTATO CANNON!!! Apparently some countries draw a hard line on wasting wasting food.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By omnicronx on 7/23/2007 10:45:03 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Now your giving internet access to people who have desire to blow shit up


Wow, would have expected more from you being a mod. I would be much more worried about American school children who actually have access to all the products to make just about bomb they can get instructions on how to make.

Nigerian children who probably got the porn on their computer from popups or malware/spyware are not the ones to be afraid of. Unless of course you are afraid of the dreaded Nigerian weapons of mass destruction such as the grenade on a stick, or the rocket propelled slingshot


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 7/23/2007 10:53:21 AM , Rating: 4
To get it out of the way. I'm not a mod. Notice it says (blog). :)

Now, I'm talking IED's, I'm talking communications for the various warlord factions that roam the country. Nigeria is a recruiting ground for terrorism, militiants, and other nutty groups out there, much the same as many of the countries just like it.

I also have to point out this is a United Nations effort, and well the UN is a joke as is this project. This is more for the PR than substance. Give in 5 years, and see that education standards in this country have not improved, if anything they might slightly decrease. Laptops do not help their education, give them modern text books, modern schools, a computer lab with desktops, etc....


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By TomZ on 7/23/2007 11:02:58 AM , Rating: 1
I agree with you that OLPC is just another PR/feel-good project that will amount to nothing in the long-term. Education requires a real investment in schools, teachers, etc. - you can't just throw a bunch of $100 toy computers at kids and expect miracles to happen.

All you have to do is look at computer utilzation at US schools, especially elementary schools, to see how critical computers are. At the schools in my community, there are 2-3 computers in each elementary school room. And I have yet to ever see them powered up when I am there dropping off or picking up my kids, visiting for open house, etc. I even asked the teacher once if they work - they do - they just have no use for them.

Granted, computers are more important as kids get older, but they are not essential. It's important to remember that there was no Internet and computers up until recently, and somehow, education happened anyway. I'm not saying that computers aren't helpful, but they are not essential, and for sure, they don't replace "real" things that are necessary for education, e.g., schools, teachers, books, etc.


By Ryanman on 7/25/2007 3:11:35 PM , Rating: 1
They're kind of important at my age, say. The problem is that a lot of kids my age don't use them correctly... I believe there was recently an article on this.
And when we DO try to use them corrextly, the filters are absolutely crippling. Ever tried to make a WWII powerpoint but have every picture or article about a gun filtered out?


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By omnicronx on 7/23/2007 11:40:52 AM , Rating: 2
And i totally understand there are various warlord factions that roam the country. But what makes you think these factions do not know how to make this IED's in the first place? They are not going to be asking the kids "hey kid go look up on the net for us how to blow up a house". You have a very valid point that in the wrong hands the internet can be a weapon, but not in the case of these children. So regardless if you think this program will work or not, these kids deserve the same chances all of us in North America get day in day out. The program just started, give it a chance!

As i previously mentioned


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 7/23/2007 11:52:48 AM , Rating: 5
Laptops for these kids isn't the answer. I'm not sure what is so hard for people to understand here.

Essentials for Education
-Modern Text Books
-Educated Teachers
-Schools with proper facilities
-Modern Curriculums
-Transportation to and from school
-Foods served at school
-Supplies like pencils, paper, rulers, etc...

Now when they are having a hard time with all of the above in the majority of their schools, do you really think for a second that laptops will magically help?

The answer, is no.

Your right, these kids deserve the same chances as the rest of us, so stop giving them laptops in grade school (NO SCHOOL IN THE USA DOES THIS) and instead give them stuff from the above. We have COMPUTER LABS in the USA, and we use them, give them computer labs in the schools and let them use them. This "One Laptop Per Child" thing is all marketing and PR. Only the UN could come up with such a retarded initiative.


By TomZ on 7/23/2007 12:06:29 PM , Rating: 2
I completely agree, and to that I would add that OLPC is another case where someone with technology is promising a "silver bullet" to solve the education problems of developing nations. I put such solutions in the same category as snake oil. Even if the intention is non-commercial, money spent on worthless initiatives robs resources and delays investment in real solutions.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By omnicronx on 7/23/2007 12:32:47 PM , Rating: 1
Who are you to tell the world that laptops are not the answer? Have you done any long or short term testing (let alone anyone)? Have you gone to Africa yourself and had some hands on experience in teaching these kids?

The goal of these laptops is to get it to kids that can not or will not get any of the things that you have listed.
Up to date textbooks, and books will cost a hell of a lot more than a few $99 dollar pc's for the classroom. Of course these children are not getting everything they need, but i think laptops are the best way to get these children at least some learning tools.

If you can think of a better 100$ way than by all means my ears are open.

P.S I would also like to remind you these are not american children, so stop comparing them. Please compare apples to apples, not a apples to oranges. I do not see why this program offends you so much, it is not paid by your precious tax dollars.
This is not just a UN initiative either, it was conceived by a US company and now has the support of Intel after they also tried to get into the market but backed off because of public outcry.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By TomZ on 7/23/2007 12:40:30 PM , Rating: 3
1. It offends me because it is a waste of money. Developing nations can afford waste even less than the US - it is even more important for them to use their available resources wisely.

2. Intel's involvement is due to their commercial interests - your implication that Intel endorsed the idea for other reasons is incorrect.

3. If you give laptops to kids without any educational infrastructure around it, guess how much it will help education - practically zero. The only thing they'll "learn" is ways to use it for entertainment purposes, e.g., the subject of this article.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By omnicronx on 7/23/2007 1:05:13 PM , Rating: 1
Ya well your baseless comments offend me. Once again you are basing anything you have to say on the fact that you think "THESE WILL NOT HELP THE CHILDREN".

HOW DO YOU KNOW! you don't, you are not in education, and you are not economist or you would have shoved it in my face already. You have no expertise at all whatsoever in this field, why should anyone take your opinion seriously.

There has been no testing on whether or not this will help the children, so why not give them a chance. GIVE THEM ATLEAST ONE RESOURCE
quote:
If you give laptops to kids without any educational infrastructure around it, guess how much it will help education - practically zero.

So your saying yourself these kids have absolutely nothing, and you are willing to take away the only thing they have, whether it helps them greatly or not?

And who the hell cares if its wasting money, its not out of your pocket. Of course intel is doing this for PR, but its not your money, and they wont be giving that money to charity if they were not doing this. Your whining about money makes just about as much sense as whining about how much the new york yankees pay in salaries, not your money, none of your business.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By TomZ on 7/23/2007 1:25:48 PM , Rating: 2
Why do you think it is smart for developing nations to gamble hundreds of millions of dollars on something so unproven? Hundreds of millions of dollars that could otherwise be spent building more schools, hiring more teachers, buying more books, etc. - i.e., other things that are proven beneficial for education.

Maybe there should be some studies first? No, they decided there was no time for that. Just field trials to test out the communication infrastructure. They'll do studies post-mortem to figure out if there was any educational effectiveness. But by that time, the money will be potentially wasted.

In the US, and I'm sure in other developed nations, we have a lot of experience with computers in education. And still, we have not got to the point where we put the computer as the #1 tool for education, have we? Have you heard of any schools closing, teachers losing their jobs, to computers lately?

The problem with we techy-type is that we think, often incorrectly, that technology can solve all the world's problems. OLPC is no silver bullet in this repect.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By omnicronx on 7/23/2007 2:01:20 PM , Rating: 2
First off i think you need to become a bit more informed,
http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_myths
They do not claim that this is the so called silver bullet as you have been calling it.

quote:
Hundreds of millions of dollars that could otherwise be spent building more schools, hiring more teachers, buying more books, etc. - i.e., other things that are proven beneficial for education.

I think your sentence should finish with two simple words, 'In America'. Other than that it applies to nothing, Africa is not the America so for the last time stop comparing the two. What works for your country will not necessarily work for others, and vice versa. The main difference between the two are these children actually want to learn, and i can not say the same about American children these days. So if nobody is willing to shell out the billions instead of hundreds of millions to get these kids books, teachers, etc.. why not go for the next best thing. Nobody says a laptop replaces books, teachers etc.. but to say they will not help them at all, and it will be more of a negative than a positive is plain stupid. I think it is a win if they get these kids interested in something, and actually get them to interact, which once again, is better than nothing.

quote:
Maybe there should be some studies first? No, they decided there was no time for that. Just field trials to test out the communication infrastructure. They'll do studies post-mortem to figure out if there was any educational effectiveness. But by that time, the money will be potentially wasted.


Wow so many things to say about this one.
1: Nobody has done anything like this before, so if anything this is a stepping stone to start a chain reaction such as push new things such as communication infastructure on the government
2:post-mortem? what the hell are you talking about, what does waiting for the kids to be dead have to do with anything, and how would you learn anything from that regardless.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By TomZ on 7/23/2007 2:18:01 PM , Rating: 2
Funny you would mention Africa. I was thinking about Africa too, in this context. One of the things I thought was amazing was the leadership school that Oprah Winfrey built for "only" $40M. In my opinion, initiatives like that are what can help developing nations, not technology toys like OLPC.

Oprah built a school for $40M that will educate hundreds of students per year that would otherwise not have any education at all. Don't you think that will have a lot more impact than distributing the equivalent cost in OLPCs?

You keep arguing that giving kids OLPCs is better than giving them nothing at all. And I agree with that, but it's not the point! The point is that money that is being spent on OLPCs could be better spent building more schools, hiring more teachers, buying books, etc. The money is being spent, why not spend it on something known to be worthwhile?

Also, I never said that giving them OLPCs would be negative. It is negative only relative to giving them something that will be certainly truly beneficial for education, like giving them education itself! What could be more beneficial than that?

RE port-mortum, I'm saying that it will be studied after the OLPC program has ended, not after the kids have died. Sheesh.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By omnicronx on 7/23/2007 3:04:45 PM , Rating: 2
I am done arguing,

quote:
The point is that money that is being spent on OLPCs could be better spent building more schools, hiring more teachers, buying books, etc. The money is being spent, why not spend it on something known to be worthwhile?


my final point is, the money needed to do what your are saying is atleast 1000 times more than what is needed for this laptop initiative, if the money were there i would say go for it, give them the teachers they need, but it just is not there. I believe this is a great stepping stone in that direction, to getting all kids the schooling they need, but it has to start somewhere, and will never happen all at once.

one final thing is that although it is great what oprah is doing, it only effects a tiny fraction of the kids in need, even if 20 or 50 of these were to open, the OLPC would probably still touch countless more children, and allow more people to at least have some learning access.


By wordsworm on 7/25/2007 3:39:06 AM , Rating: 2
Omni... just 1 regular school text book costs about $100. For the price of 1 regular school textbook, these students have the vast libraries available on the Internet at their command. They have a voice. They can communicate with each other. No person of any intellectual capacity would argue against the laptop program. It's the best initiative in the history of education since the textbook, pencil, and paper. There's no point in arguing points with people who believe Oprah's program is better than this in either scope, breadth, or importance.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By Ringold on 7/23/2007 2:26:39 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
HOW DO YOU KNOW! you don't, you are not in education, and you are not economist or you would have shoved it in my face already.


The bleeding-heart lefty has given me my first laugh of the afternoon, many thanks, many thanks.

First off, this is welfare. It's not cold hard cash in hand, but it's almost the equivalent -- it's a fish. We've given these third-world children a fish without teaching them how to use a damn fishing pole. They didn't have to work for it, so in the aggregate they're not going to appreciate these tools. The fact that they arent used widely anywhere else in the world seems a solid enough statement from the educational community that they're not valid instruments. Even if they were, I haven't heard of massive Nigerian teacher education programs to learn how to effectively teach using these laptops.

And since I really do have economics creds, allow me to point out the general failure of welfare programs in almost every form they've ever taken. One can pick in general terms any country that's implemented significant public welfare programs and just watch as it erodes cultural standards such as work ethic and desire for economic liberty. In America's poorest areas it has turned places like (parts of) Detroit in to third world countries, not motivated to do anything but blame others. It engenders dependence on government.

Giving these kids laptops may make bleeding-hearts like you feel better about the world but they're just wasting financial capital. Don't give me the "they're cheaper than textbooks" bullshit because India has been rock-bottom poor for years and it's pretty amazing they have one of the worlds premier engineering schools -- and stuff it full of their own students. And if you want to know what would be a better immediate expenditure of money for these Nigerian kids, the World Bank (or perhaps it was the IMF) found by studying it's many projects around the world that the most beneficial thing that can be brought to even the poorest, most destitute area is reliable electricity. They found that once in place clean water, food and economic activity follow on their own unaided. And that's what they really need -- economic activity. Economic growth solves all ills; soothes and moderates a nations political situation, reduces crime (gets people off the street), improves health, improves education, etc, etc. All of which can be seen with a history textbook that manages to incorporate decently economic history along with social and political history. Historian's don't know very much about economics, and it's clear in such books, but the trend is there for you to see. Ex: What gave the world the Nazi party? Hyper-inflation.

Well, I rest my case. I've yet to ever truly, deeply save a lefty friend from the depths of bleeding-heart liberalism with economic facts and figures, dont suspect I'll be able to now. (Though I have managed to get several Democrat friends to an extremely uncomfortable point (for them, amusing for me) where they know they're wrong but can't bring themselves to be "cold hearted" on economic issues and would rather just be wrong.) Can't say nobody told you, though.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By Ringold on 7/23/2007 3:03:36 PM , Rating: 2
I like being rated down instead of being countered with an argument proving massive state welfare has made Europe more competitive, or how the 1994 (or was it 95?) weflare reforms didn't get millions off welfare rolls and in to jobs, or how lasseiz-faire capitalist policies have hindered economic growth in the BRIC states and how that growth hasn't led to improved quality of life -- not just there, but everywhere growth occurs. Or in this case, how this laptop give-away differs significantly when American schools broadly dont use it and the few (high schools) that have tried it have had nothing but headaches from doing so. I guess rating down is easier then using facts or established theory to create a counter-argument.. sort of like.. how giving a laptop to an African kid is easier than thinking long and hard about structural reforms or infrastructure improvements.


By Master Kenobi (blog) on 7/23/2007 3:23:04 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, because we hide from the facts that destroy our claims. This is a typical stance of many hard liners.


By brandonmichael on 7/25/2007 3:24:08 PM , Rating: 1
I think you were rated down because you said "bullshit"


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By omnicronx on 7/23/2007 3:18:12 PM , Rating: 2
Welfare haha, i knew that would come into play eventually.

quote:
The fact that they arent used widely anywhere else in the world seems a solid enough statement from the educational community that they're not valid instruments.


Its not being sold in other countries for a reason mr economics, even countries with poor people such as china, Thailand, Pakistan etc etc.. The countries themselves are not impoverished totally, they still have their low, middle and high class. Most African countries on the other hand do not and are mainly made up of impoverished families who can not afford pretty much anything.

All i want you to do is compare apples to apples, do not bring up nazi germany, do not bring up the united states, they have nothing to do with this. And as for brining up this being 'welfare' once again, this is not your tax dollars why the hell do you care!

Your comments are far more right wing than mine are left wing.


By NEOCortex on 7/23/2007 4:55:57 PM , Rating: 2
I know you want people to find the perfect mirror situation to this one in Nigeria, but I just don't think that exist. So instead people are trying to use there own personal experience and knowledge to judge the merit of this program.

For example, I was home schooled growing up. I was taught (by my mom) basic subjects, such as reading, writing, arithmetic, history etc. If I wanted to learn something else, it was up to me to take the initiative and start looking into it. Although I did have a computer in the house (a 386), it was books I turned to when I wanted to learn a new subject. The only thing I learned from using a computer when I was a kid was computer programming, which was only to further my gaming interest. Just in case you were wondering, I came out just fine and I am now getting an engineering degree in graduate school.

Computers and the internet have progressed since then obviously, but I don't think they are anymore educational then they were back when I was a kid. For every educational or helpful website there are 100 websites with porn, flash games and general garbage. And since these PC's aren't anymore specifically geared towards education then the average PC over here in the states, I just don't see how kids in other countries are magically going to get the kind of education that they need from them.

I'm curious, what makes YOU think this program will work? You say that kids in Africa are different than kids in the states, and for that reason they will somehow be more interested in learning. I say kids from all over the world are much more similar than you think and that unsupervised and uneducated, they will most likely end up using a computer to look at porn or something else trivial.

Oh and I took a look at the Wiki link you posted for the OLPC, and I can't help but read the criticisms section. Some very good points are made there, especially in the "good use of money" section.


RE: In a country where Aids runs rampant
By Ringold on 7/23/2007 5:48:56 PM , Rating: 1
Typical; ignore elements of the big picture the mosaic it paints doesn't jive with your own stance.

You're correct, Mr. Non-Economist, that the OLPC isn't sold in those other countries, and also correct that many aren't as poor as Nigeria. That means absolutely nothing; by having more purchasing power, for an equal relative portion of their budgets they could simply afford more powerful/expensive laptops for their students. In America for what we spend per student per year we could easily afford to give every student an extremely powerful laptop. The fact that it doesn't happen, and the fact that most college classrooms consist of students listening and taking notes by hand (often from powerpoint slides -- but the issue isn't One Projector Per Teacher) seems to suggest that it's not needed. Again, I reference India, who produces excellent world-class students at very low cost -- all without a laptop.

And honestly, I don't care too much, but do take a lower opinion of Intel and other corporate partners who bitch and complain about the lack of skilled American workers but bend over backwards to throw money oversea's instead of here at home when what foreigners need are jobs and what we need is educational reform.


By TomZ on 7/23/2007 6:04:50 PM , Rating: 2
I figure the compaining about lack of skilled American workers is mostly justification for their push to raise caps on H1B visas, which tech companies want to use to provide a larger domestic employment market and/or lower total payroll costs.

Whenever I have had personally to hire qualified engineers here in the US, it was never a problem to find applications, although I've not had to hire hundreds of engineers at a time.

I just think that if there was such a shortage of qualfied workers, it would drive salaries higher to the point where it motivated additional people to train to enter the field, thus solving the problem. So I have to wonder if it is only the cost of the labor that is a problem for these companies.


By wordsworm on 7/25/2007 3:31:06 AM , Rating: 2
These laptops cost about the same as 1-2 new textbooks. With these laptops, they can read all the textbooks they need, and more. They're cheaper than traditional materials, not more expensive.


By TomCorelis on 7/25/2007 12:46:41 PM , Rating: 2
I think the question we need to be asking is, "How well is the OLPC being used to supplement or replace these Essentials for Education?"

With OLPC, you can conceivably evaporate the need for textbooks and school supplies, as the laptop handles that. Of course, without a proper learning infrastructure (as in, the rest of the list) OLPC *is* more of a waste. Not to say that it's worthless, but if these machines are just dumped on kids then it will be a much smaller percentage of kids and people (the more curious, enterprising ones) who will get any kind of measurable learning experience.

I'm trying to stay out of this debate as it seems to have evolved into a flame war, but this is my two cents.


By SmokeRngs on 7/24/2007 12:32:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Nigerian children who probably got the porn on their computer from popups or malware/spyware


Considering the OS the OLPCs run, it's unlikely they have porn on the system due to malware or spyware. I believe they run a custom Linux distro which means the vast majority of malware and spyware will not be able to install on the machine.

It's very likely the porn was saved onto the machine by the person whom was using it.


By roadhog74 on 7/25/2007 11:53:15 PM , Rating: 2
(n/t)


By invidious on 7/26/2007 12:10:57 PM , Rating: 2
more kids jerking off to porn in 3rd world countries
= less kids having sex at a young age
= 1. less spread of aids
= 2. less overpopulation = less famine

internet seems to solve all their problems!


By headbox on 7/28/2007 2:04:47 PM , Rating: 2
These "people" can't even maintain a farm- what good is a computer going to do? A few years ago they kicked out all of the white farmers saying they were being exploited... but none of them knew how to plant a damn seed and they began to starve. In 2006 the govt apologized and invited the white farmers back to save them. They are beyond help. They are people still living in the stone age. Handing them a computer is not going to keep them from living like savages.


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