Monday, April 17, 2006

Four Things

I've definitely got a hankering to post, and not much that I want to post about, so I'll take eninnej up on her "challenge".

Four jobs I've held:
- Short-order cook at the community pool snackbar. I still have pork roll.
- Lifeguard at the pool in the summer
- Student assistant at the U of Richmond computer lab. Learned a lot, did very little.
- Grad-school student librarian (my favorite job ever -- I will be a librarian for real in some future life)

Four movies I can watch over and over:
- The Princess Bride
- The Thomas Crown Affair (new one)
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
- Any Harry Potter movie

Four places I've lived:
- Aldan, PA
- Richmond, VA
- Cordoba, Argentina
- Nacaome, Honduras

Four TV shows I like:
- Gilmore Girls
- Charmed
- Crossing Jordan
- Scrubs

Four Family Vacations I've been on:
- Many summers at the beach in New Jersey -- they all run together
- Disney world when I was 8 and my brother was 5. We had a blast. I got sick in China at Epcot and my Dad lost his glasses and wallet and hat at Space Mountain even though they tell you before you get on to take them out and put them somewhere safe.
- A trip to Maine to visit my cousins that I don't remember but of which there are pictures, so it must have happened.
- I can't think of another. We were beach people. That was vacation.

Four of my favorite fast food dishes:
- Hoagies and cheese steaks from Phil and Jim's in Chester and PAT'S in South Philly (not Gino's, never Gino's)
- PB&J and chicken noodle soup at Panera
- kabobs
- Wafflee House waffles

Four sites I visit daily:
- Bloglines
- Washington Post Crossword
- BBC News

Four places I would rather be right now:
- A clean, sparsely-populated beach with my knitting, music, and a book.
- Costa Rica
- Home in bed
Only three.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Wired News: Laptop Detractors Shrugged Off

Wired News: Laptop Detractors Shrugged Off

I'm a little worried about this effort. On the surface, and from a Western perspective, this seems like a good solution to the digital divide. However, if you look at similar past programs, they have become seriously problematic. I'm thinking in particular of the early drive to bring mechanized agriculture to smallholders, resulting in rusting tractor carcases strewn about the developing world or sold on the black market; of the mosquito net distribution issue that resulted in black market use of the nets rather than home use to prevent malaria. Of course, having people purchase the computers will avert some of the potential value problems, but even at $50, they will be far out of the reach of those at the 'bottom of the pyramid'. Furthermore, who is going to service all those computers? I'm sure that Negroponte doesn't expect teachers and aid workers to become the help desk for all these devices, and they will break, many of them the first time they are used.

It seems to me that all this money would be better spent improving teaching skills and educational materials and infrastructure and access to education, especially for girls, rather than on a device of questionable value.