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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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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.


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