World Issues / Global politics

World Issues not limited to PCT that may have an indirect connection.

Shuttleworth sponsors copyright probe

An ITWeb article by Leon Engelbrecht starts:

[Johannesburg, 6 May 2008 ] - The Shuttleworth Foundation and the Canadian International Development Research Centre will, for the next two years, fund research in eight African countries on the relationship between copyright and education.

My Laptop from the One Per Child project.

(Published on p2pnet)
Last November I participated in the Give One, Get One program of the One Laptop Per Child project. I received my "get one" XO in late January, at the beginning of the shipments to Canada. After a few months of having it I wanted to offer my thoughts.

I could give you specs on the hardware, but those interested in that can find the details online as well as comparisons with other smaller laptops such as the ASUS eee PC. I didn't get my XO because of the hardware specs, and to be honest I didn't think I would use it much. I mostly wanted to donate to the project and have a prop to show politicians and policy makers when I was hand-waiving about Free Software.

How I would be voting for President if I were a citizen of the USA?

I wouldn't be able to vote for a president in the USA any more than I can vote for the Prime Minister of Canada. These are decisions made within political parties, and as part of that political center that overlaps both parties in the United States and many parties in Canada, I wouldn't be able to sign up to vote in the primaries.

That said, I agree with Lawrence Lessig when he articulates (in 20 minute and 10 minute videos on his BLOG) that there is something exciting about Barack Obama (Yes We Can Song).

New York Times headlines about the OLPC.

I find this New York Times article by John Markoff interesting. First the editors used the headline "demise of One Laptop Per Child" and now uses "Intel Quits Effort to Get Computers to Children". Inside the article John is quite clear that OLPC was really leaving Intel because Intel was harming the project.

At the meeting, the board agreed that Mr. Negroponte should make a final effort to end Intel’s efforts to disrupt One Laptop’s sales.

A rapprochement never happened, however.

“They played another dirty trick in Peru,” he said. “It’s a little bit like McDonald’s competing with the World Food Program.”

It is like some editor refuses to believe that it is Intel that is in the wrong, or that OLPC is doing well and might possibly be better off without Intel's involvement.

Give me rice, but give me an OLPC laptop too

Criticism of plans to get technology into the developing world is misplaced, says Bill Thompson in an article for the BBC.

For those waiting for my review, this might tide you over. I haven't yet received my own XO-1 Laptop, but am of course very excited. Some of my excitement is for the laptop hardware itself (very energy efficient, etc), but most for how this hardware is key to an educational project.

OLPC Give one Get one start tomorrow.

Starting November 12, One Laptop Per Child will be offering a Give 1 Get 1 Program for a brief window of time in North America. I plan to participate, and am excited to both be donating to this project as well as receiving an OLPC (As an activist geek wanting to demonstrate this project to other people, I am the child in my own life). There is a PSA up on YouTube, and a full-page ad (PDF) donated by the Economist.

Japan Embraces Open Software Standards

The ODF Alliance recently announced that Japan has joined Norway to be the latest country to have government mandates recommending the use of open document standards, something many consider to be a prerequisite before serious acceptance of open source software in government can ever be a possibility. How far behind is Canada in this regard?

How Hollywood, Congress, And DRM Are Beating Up The American Economy

Cory Doctorow has given this talk titled "Happy Meal Toys versus Copyright: How America Chose Hollywood and Wal-Mart--and why it's doomed us, and how we might survive anyway." a few times (for Google, UC Irvine), and he now has an article Information Week.

Summary, in my words: The US government has given up on manufacturing and much of the rest of their economy in return for what they thought would be a privileged "first mover" position in a new Industrial Information Economy. This new economy hasn't emerged, and won't likely ever emerge. Even with receiving over 50% of worldwide royalties the US has not been able to replace what they gave up with what they mistakenly thought they could gain. They are fighting against the Internet and peer production, which are increasingly successful methods of production, distribution and funding. These competing methods are quite different than what they envisioned.

Well, at least he's not a War Criminal*

A posting by Robert Weissman of the Multinational Monitor starts with this statement that puts the Word Bank in context:

Well, at least he's not a war criminal.

George Bush's new selection to head the World Bank, Robert Zoellick has that over his predecessor, Paul Wolfowitz.

But can't the world demand a slightly higher standard?

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