One could make a strong case that the reason why Barack Obama won the US presidential election is because of “Media Literacy” — not just the “Media Literacy” of his campaign workers, but that of a wide swath of the American electorate.
Russia's oligarchs have been suffering through the financial crisis. (It must be hard having to give up the chateau in France and the penthouse in London.) But one oligarch already pointed the way years ago.
Big changes are apparently underway at the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Foundation (referred to by many as the '$100 laptop project'). The organization has announced it is laying off about half of its staff and refocusing its mission. Included in its new intentions is that "Sub-Saharan Africa will become a major learning hub".
You can read the official announcement over at the OLPC blog, which goes into much more detail.
What this may mean for the fate of perhaps the most famous "low-cost laptop" remains to be seen, but a few things *are* clear: Since the idea for a $100 laptop gained wide currency in the aftermath of the World Economic Forum meetings in Davos in early 2005, and its first unveiling (of a sort) at the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis later that year, the landscape for 'low-cost computing', and the recognition that there are emerging markets in developing countries for such appliances right now, if the price is right, has changed radically. infoDev used to track about 50 'Low-cost computing devices and initiatives for the developing world', but gave up at the end of 2007, when the explosion of activity in this area made the maintenance of such a list increasingly unfeasible (and, given that one of the rationales for such a list was to highlight that there was a lot of burgeoning activity in this area that people didn't know about, increasingly unnecessary). While many of the highly-publicized commitments to buy the OLPC XO laptop for use by students in developing countries have not (yet) materialized, it is a testament to the attractiveness in many quarters of the vision (if not its implementation) of the 'one laptop per child' idea that the of the relevance of computer use in schools continues to gain traction in many ministries of education and parliaments around the world.
Brian Schwarz of the China Challenges blog reports on the difficulties facing workers in China due to the financial crisis. Governments around the world are gearing up with various stimulus packages, but in the meantime prospects don't sound very good:
I received this missive from a friend:
December 11, 2008
Some latest published reports, journal articles, and papers.
- Crops for a Salinized World - Science - 12/5
- Eyes west: Could the United States topple Europe as the driver of international climate-change regulations? - Nature - 12/18
- Climate talks defer major challenges - Nature - 12/18
- News Update
This is the first blog entry of what I hope to be regular updates from the financial sector and related areas across the East Asia and Pacific region. So, let’s see how the New Year began in Asia.
Unfortunately, the bad news keeps coming on the economies in the region in terms of exports and industrial output. Exports and industrial production fell 6.2 percent in Malaysia in November and exports from Thailand fell 18 percent in November. Surveys of consumer confidence, business sentiment, and manufacturers across the region have all shown significant declines.
One intrepid soul has managed to take Doing Business to a whole new latitude. Tom Davenport, a senior manager in FIAS, arrived at the South Pole on January 2, and he made sure to bring along his Doing Business flag.