Sunday, May 20, 2007

One Laptop Per Child

I heard about the One Laptop Per Child project in February of 2006 (when OLPC had just opened their headquarters in Massachusetts). All I could think of was "wow, why didn't anyone think of this before?" Needless to say, it was going to be a tremendous undertaking- producing laptops for $100 apiece for the SOLE purpose of handing them out to kids in emerging countries (to start) so that they could have a fighting chance of competing on a worldwide level with more fortunate kids their age (who probably take things like this for granted). The idea behind it is that no kids should be "left behind" by the ever-increasing digital divide- an idea I've championed & kicked around in my brain in terms of what I can do here in L.A. (I actually had a great idea for a non-profit which addresses this same issue for inner-city kids back in 1996 but I've yet to be able to act on it...patience, there's still time & that project of mine can still come to fruition). It's really not very different from the FOSS (free open-source software) movement in that its basic tenet is that access to software shouldn't be determined by age, race, class, gender or socioeconomic status. OLPC just takes it one step further in that its goal is to give a laptop to EVERY child in the world. As you can see from the link above, there's lots of partners that have now gotten involved & the software which powers it is free & open-source & uses open-document formats (ODF) which is also something I'm a huge proponent of.

I've actually had some email correspondence with a couple people that are part of the project in those last 16 months in order to see what I could do to provide my help & expertise. Initially, they wanted people to talk to corporations & educational institutions so I spread the word in my own little way (to other techies, educators, etc. I know). Now that the organization is fully up & running (kids in rural areas who are given these laptops can connect to the world through broadband access which, to me, posed a significant, initial obstacle for getting the project off the ground), I feel like I can be more of a help. It should be noted that these aren't for commercial sale here in the U.S. but OLPC is planning on offering it in the near future.

It's about time I wrote about it in an effort to reach even more people & now that the infrastructure's fully operational, I think the time is right to raise more awareness. So please visit the OLPC website, take a look around & see what you can do- whether you donate money or your time, it's a wonderful program created by great visionaries who are revolutionizing computing as we know it. Now this is a "no child left behind" idea that's REALLY working.

And people wonder why I gave up on Catholocism a LONG time ago

The article from the link above states that the Vatican, along with the state, are censoring the right to satirize pictures of the Pope. Wow. I mean, wow. Not only is it a simple satire, but since when does the Catholic church have the RIGHT to censor free speech? Oh wait, never mind, they've been doing that since their successful suppression of druidic customs when they labeled them "pagans."

Nice to know what Catholics' collection plate monies from around the world (not to mention, some very poor communities) are going towards...

Happy Birthday, Malcolm X!

Malcolm X was born May 19, 1925. He'd be 82 years old if he'd not been assassinated in cold blood. This man was not only a great revolutionary but also a great mind. His life story inspired me when I read his autobiography in 1991- humble beginnings, getting caught up in negativity during his youth but then changing his life to lead and inspire hundreds of thousands of people before his untimely death. I suggest everyone to read his book The Autobiography of Malcolm X or watch the movie titled X. As always, the book was better but Spike Lee did a good job of proper representation in the movie as well.

Thank you, Malcolm. Your beliefs & teachings still live on to this very day.
Asa Lama Lakum, my brother.