North Korean Flag*
- Ever think about how difficult it would be to access information without a computer? (Remember trivia competitions before iPhones?) Question Box has come up with a simple but clever way of connecting people in rural agricultural communities in India to the internet through a call centre. “The premise behind Question Box is that many barriers keep most of the developing world from taking advantage of the wealth of knowledge available through Web search engines.” A similar model has been launch in Uganda, but the slower internet connection and lack of relevant local information on the internet meant that Question Box had to create their own database of answers.
- This week I met Maurice Adema, managing director of Sundaya. He strongly believes that energy illiteracy is the reason for our energy crisis. “If I told you a man was 3m tall and 25kg you would understand something doesn’t make sense. But if I told you I ate 300MJ for breakfast this morning you would have no idea whether this was a lot or a little.” He advocates “getting rid of the Watt” because the unit is “useless and confusing”. Instead Adema says we should implement the “Joule standard” to simplify the way we talk about energy. His views make a lot of sense to me – you can read his more detailed explanation in his free short book, available here.
- Yesterday I was taken to a North Korean restaurant called Pyongyang here in Jakarta. I thought it was just the food that was North Korea, but wikipedia tells me the entire set up is North Korean. “According to Swedish journalist Bertil Lintner, the restaurants are one of several overseas business ventures of Room 39, a North Korean government organization dedicated to acquiring and laundering foreign currency for the North Korean leadership. The North Korean staff, who live on the restaurant premises, are said to be thoroughly screened for political loyalty and to be closely watched by on-site North Korean security agents.” I wonder where exactly the US$15 I spent will go and how many North Koreans have had the opportunity to try such a delicious and opulent meal.
* Image from John Palveka. Some rights reserved.
three-reasons-to-love the interweb:
1. The double complete rainbow
2. The joy of RSS
3. Endless linking. Around and around and around.
Three-reasons-to-love Internet Connectivity in my Mauritian home:
1. I have to sit on my balcony to use the internet. I have discovered I can see the sunset from my balcony. And the moon rise. And the ocean.
2. Sometimes it just doesn’t work. And then I get to blame deep sea cable issues for not being connected.
3. But, most of the time, it does work.