Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Thailand Government Cancels OLPC Participation

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the roll-a-hard-six dept.

Portables 196

patiwat writes "Thailand's new junta-appointed Education Minister has cancelled Thailand's participation in the One Laptop Per Child project and scrapped a plan to give a 2B1 laptop to every primary school student. He has also cancelled plans to roll out computers and a broadband connection to every single school in Thailand. The cancellation of half a million scholarships for needy students is being studied. He cited the lack of readiness of teachers and the need to focus on basic education standards. "We will not focus too much on technology and materials. We will focus on substance," he said. This comes on the heels of the cancellation of the Thai government's open source policy."

cancel ×

196 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

More hardware = More infrastructure (5, Insightful)

lecithin (745575) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012372)

"He cited the lack of readiness of teachers and the need to focus on basic education standards."

This guy needs to manage my Data Center. It is a well known thought (from a sysadmin point of view) that throwing hardware at an undefined problem may mask the issue for a time, but it does not 'usually' solve the problem.

High technology CAN be a liability if it isn't managed correctly.

Re:More hardware = More infrastructure (3, Interesting)

Ummu (830131) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012410)

I agree, but right now he seems to be focused on saving money instead of redirecting learning curriculum. I doubt he would bother to train better teachers.

Mod parent up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17012468)

Not quite nailing on the head as he's not going into enough detail, but he's pretty close. The Thai people know better than to go for OLPC, and this education minister is using no blanket statement to cover it.

Re:More hardware = More infrastructure (3, Insightful)

rwven (663186) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012532)

I think what the guy has realised is that a cheap laptop is certainly not going to be some silver bullet in the heart of bad education. It's going to take far more than a flashy new piece of hardware to turn around a stumbling educational system...

Even if the technology is managed perfectly, most of the kids are still going to look at these laptops as new toys and expensive nightlights...

Re:More hardware = More infrastructure (4, Informative)

SQL Error (16383) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012612)

I think what the guy has realised is that a cheap laptop is certainly not going to be some silver bullet in the heart of bad education.
Given what's been happening [bbc.co.uk] in southern Thailand [abc.net.au] of late, that's probably not the best choice of metaphors.

Re:More hardware = More infrastructure (2, Funny)

Safiire Arrowny (596720) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012950)

Why, are werewolves attacking Thailand or something?

Re:More hardware = More infrastructure (1)

strider44 (650833) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012628)

I fear that you're wrong, and the guy is just a conservative technophobe. Internet access in schools can be amazingly useful for helping the students teach themselves. No matter how many books the school has, it can't come even close to the amount of knowledge contained in the internet.

Re:More hardware = More infrastructure (4, Informative)

dch24 (904899) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012812)

I fear that you're wrong, and the guy is just a conservative technophobe
The new Prime Minister, Surayud Chulanont [wikipedia.org] , is a born-and-raised military man. He seeks to strengthen Thailand. I suspect that spending large sums on outside technology which will tend to increase the influence of outside media (such as the US and China) leads him to take a dim view of the OLPC project, along with the other cancelled and soon-to-be-cancelled educational initiatives. I don't think this action is related to the cancellation of the open source policy.

I do think Thailand is aware of the benefits of technology. They are having quite the political upheaval, though, and this is probably closely related to the Southern militants [wikipedia.org] . The southern part is where all the violence around schools is happening. (This post [slashdot.org] links to the BBC [bbc.co.uk] and ABC [abc.net.au] )

There is definitely a battle for the identity and control of Thailand. I think it's incredible how little blood has been shed in the recent coup. I hope that the government moves back toward democracy, but it looks like Thailand is becoming more of a Communist state.

Re:More hardware = More infrastructure (3, Insightful)

quigonn (80360) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013580)

The new Prime Minister, Surayud Chulanont, is a born-and-raised military man. He seeks to strengthen Thailand. I suspect that spending large sums on outside technology which will tend to increase the influence of outside media (such as the US and China) leads him to take a dim view of the OLPC project, along with the other cancelled and soon-to-be-cancelled educational initiatives.

(Metaphorically) killing off great opportunities for better education, and trying to reach some stage of technological autarchy, all from a man with a military background... sounds like a mix of the Khmer Rouge agenda with the North Korean Juche system, without all the suppression and genocide, of course...

No, I don't think that his goals will do his country any good.

Re:More hardware = More infrastructure (2, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013886)

``I hope that the government moves back toward democracy, but it looks like Thailand is becoming more of a Communist state.''

I hope you don't mean to suggest that communism is the opposite of democracy, communism is totalitarianism, or similar nonsense.

Re:More hardware = More infrastructure (0, Troll)

SQL Error (16383) | more than 7 years ago | (#17014006)

I hope you don't mean to suggest that communism is the opposite of democracy, communism is totalitarianism, or similar nonsense.
Well, let's see.

Soviet Union. China. Vietnam. North Korea. Cambodia. Cuba. And until relatively recently, Poland, East Germany, Romania, and the rest of Eastern Europe.

No, I don't get why anyone would think that communism was inherently totalitarian and anti-democratic, let alone brutal and dehumanising, just because this has been true of every country with a communist government, ever.

Re:More hardware = More infrastructure (3, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17014110)

``No, I don't get why anyone would think that communism was inherently totalitarian and anti-democratic, let alone brutal and dehumanising, just because this has been true of every country with a communist government, ever.''

First of all, "communist government" is a funny phrase, because communism was originally defined as a state where everyone is equal and there is no government, making "communist government" a contradiction in terms. Secondly, the governments you refer to weren't communist. They may have been called that in the west, or in popular usage, but if you look at the official terminology, they would be called "people's republic", "soviet republic", etc. In practice, these governments may have been autocratic, aristocratic, sort of democratic, or totalitarian, but certainly not communist.

The larger point is that communism is not a system of government, but more an economic system. You can have a "communist" the-community-owns-everything-no-single-person-own s-anything economic system, and any form of government, including democracy.

Re:More hardware = More infrastructure (3, Insightful)

pryonic (938155) | more than 7 years ago | (#17014228)

You're fighting a losing battle here. The word and idea 'communism' was hijacked during the McCarthy era and now is synonymous with evil and wrong. It's a short circuit in most Western people's brains that's basically been programmed from birth. They can't think around it - communism == EVIL!

The scary thing is the same is happening with "liberal", it's almost an insult to be called liberal these days.

As for NewSpeak, it's doubleplusgood!

Re:More hardware = More infrastructure (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17012814)

Last Sunday I heard a brilliant talk on the use of FOSS in Indian primary schools. It was pretty evident that the biggest problem is that the teacher does not know how to use the computer. The solution is education and development of easy software, which was oriented towards some very specific limited goals. https://foss.in/2006/cfp/speakers/talkdetailspub.p hp?talkid=183 [foss.in]

Re:More hardware = More infrastructure (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013410)

The guy has realized that his dictator friends might not have much interested in a learnèd populace. After all, that's what (real) democracies are about, and Thailand's a democracy no more.

Re:More hardware = More infrastructure (3, Insightful)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013500)

I think what the guy has realised is that a cheap laptop is certainly not going to be some silver bullet in the heart of bad education.

You're being generous. A cynic might suggest that this guy is trading away the technological future of his country's children at the behest of a well heeled international corporation.

Re:More hardware = More infrastructure (2, Insightful)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013890)

Fortunately, there are no cynics on /., though I totally agree with your implicit analysis.

Re:More hardware = More infrastructure (1)

TheUz (675711) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013960)

Ah, I wondered if anyone else had made that particular connection. How much does a coup cost these days?

TBH, I also think that line of reasoning is tenuous, at best, if not outright paranoid ravings ....

The very fact that it occured to both of us, at least, is kind of frighteni++++AT0***NO CARRIER***

Re:More hardware = More infrastructure (3, Insightful)

SmokedS (973779) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012668)

OK.
So, after a military Coup a major education project under way is canceled along with a reform of the countries IT policies, and teachers in the south of the country start to spontaneously grow bullet holes.

Call me crazy, but somehow I don't really think this new regime is honestly out to create the best education they can.

Re:More hardware = More infrastructure (2, Informative)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013494)

> teachers in the south of the country start to spontaneously grow bullet holes.

That's not because of the coup. There's an issue with Muslims in the south which has been going on for a long time (indeed, since the south of the country was annexed by the Thai leaders almost 100 years ago).

Having a coup is a Bad Thing, but they're possibly correct in stating that a laptop isn't the most efficient use of a great deal of money.

Relatively Expensive Solution (1)

reporter (666905) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012862)

Using the GDP-per-capita (under the assumption of purchasing-power-parity) [wikipedia.org] , $100 spent in Thailand is comparable to $495 being spent in the USA. $495 = $100 * USA_GDP_per_capita / Thai_GDP_per_capita.

$500 is not expensive but also is not cheap. There are better uses for that money.

As well, how much can an elementary-school kid get out of a laptop besides playing some games and doing e-mail? Playing games and sending e-mail can be learned in a day. They do not require the kid to own a laptop. He can learn that mindless simple stuff on the library's computer.

The story might be different with a high-school student. He would have enough mathematical knowledge or scientific reasoning to do some nifty projects for the local science fair. Alternatively, he could also use the laptop to write insightful political research papers solving the Iraq quagmire in which Washington is stuck.

The Thai government should consider buying a laptop for all freshmen in high school instead of the pouty kids in elementary school.

Of course, the first computer lesson in high school is "Here is how you write biting commentary in Slashdot. The Slashdotters love that stuff."

Library + Paper = same old failed infrastructure (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012890)

These laptops are designed to replace textbooks. The infrastructure required to print, distribute and inventory paper textbooks is bigger and more expensive than you might think. The OLPC devices are designed to be simple, rugged and self networking. Abandoning them will doom the country to an expensive past and yield the same results as it always has. No learning, no bread.

You, posting here on Slashdot are data rich. When was the last time you needed a library for anything? Sooner or later, everyone will realize how much cheaper and easier digital publishing really is.

Next thing you know, they will start pushing creationism.

Oh Well... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17012384)

250,000 less to show up on EBay.

not an Open Source failure (3, Interesting)

yagu (721525) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012386)

Hopefully, /.'ers and others won't look upon this as an Open Source failure, it isn't. It's (in my opinion) more of a triumph somewhere of sanity... Technology has it's place, but a laptop for every child smacks of the program's hubris and less of a sane approach to helping poor countries.

I think they show real insight when fearing little return on the effort because teachers are poorly trained. Heck, even in wealthy countries teachers consistently have no computer smarts (my sister is a teacher, she hasn't a clue!). Compound that with a techie-Linux platform (I love Linux, but for the mass public, with minimal background and training?) and this program was running off the rails from the beginning.

There are excellent examples of schools in the United States where huge investments in technology for schools showed no tangible gains in students' profieciencies and at the same time examples of poor schools shifting emphasis to basics, discipline, and community with strong academic results.

Technology for technology's sake is just that, but not much of a salve for third world economies, at least not by giving a laptop to every child. I think this is actually a positive development because it has (had) so many ways it could have gone wrong allowing companies like Microsoft down the road to point fingers at Open Source as the culprit, and if only Microsoft had been chosen to save the world.

(For the record, this whole OLPC effort would be just as much of a train wreck with Windows, just a whole heck of a lot more expensive.)

Re:not an Open Source failure - not a failure (5, Insightful)

sien (35268) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012590)

How do you know the OLPC program is a failure? What criteria were set for it to be a success that it hasn't met yet?

It hasn't even started yet. It may be a failure, but to declare it a failure is like declaring who has won the 2010 World Cup today.

The OLPC may go to more places than developing countries. There are a number of places that are doing a trial of the system.

With Libya's order going through they have enough to get serious volumes being made. Once they show that then other countries, including richer developed countries may be interested. OLPCs may work well as text book readers. How much does the average school system in a US spend on textbooks per student per year? Who can say now whether some of these uses will take off.

The OLPC may fail, but it hasn't failed yet and it is silly to describe it as having failed before it's even been tried.

Re:not an Open Source failure - not a failure (3, Insightful)

Americano (920576) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013174)

How do you know the OLPC program is a failure? What criteria were set for it to be a success that it hasn't met yet?
More to the point, what criteria were set at all for the program? All I see, looking at the laptop.org web site, are a bunch of fuzzy "Think of the kids!" generalities that talk about how wonderful it would be for the world's poorest kids in the remotest regions to have laptops. Not because there's hard evidence to show that having a laptop will substantially improve the quality of education for these kids, but because it'll make them feel good, and give them a sense of responsibility.

Don't believe it? Go look for yourself. The OLPC FAQ page [laptop.org] brings us such disarmingly trite generalities as:
Why do children in developing nations need laptops?
Laptops are both a window and a tool: a window into the world and a tool with which to think. They are a wonderful way for all children to learn learning through independent interaction and exploration.
That's right! Little Juan, Choudary, and Byung-Sun need a "tool" with which to think -- and I thought it was called a "brain". No, they need a window into the world, and a way to learn learning through independent interaction and exploration! Never mind that all of that can be accomplished *without* a $100 laptop in the hands of each child. Want a window into the world? Get them a good library with a few current events publications, and a computer lab with a few internet connected computers. You can build a heck of a good public school library (or 2 or 3) for $50 million dollars

But wait -- there's more in the FAQ [laptop.org] !
Why is it important for each child to have a computer? What's wrong with community-access centers?
One does not think of community pencils--kids have their own. They are tools to think with, sufficiently inexpensive to be used for work and play, drawing, writing, and mathematics. A computer can be the same, but far more powerful. Furthermore, there are many reasons it is important for a child to own something--like a football, doll, or book--not the least of which being that these belongings will be well-maintained through love and care.
Where to begin?? To compare a $100 dollar laptop with a pencil that literally costs pennies is ridiculous. And the final argument, that warm-fuzzy-hot-chocolate-lump-in-your-throat claim... "It's important that the kids OWN something to maintain through love... and care." Awwwww.... how can we say NO to that?! Once again, footballs, dolls, and books don't cost $100 per child.

Your final claim:
The OLPC may fail, but it hasn't failed yet and it is silly to describe it as having failed before it's even been tried.
Makes my mind boggle. By this same logic, anything that hasn't been tried, no matter how stupid, far-fetched, or wrong-headed, should be tried. After all, if it hasn't been tried, it's silly to predict that it will fail, right? Might as well just spend the 50 million dollars and see what happens!

50 million dollars (500,000 laptops * $100) is a LOT of money to gamble with in a developing nation. I'd much rather see them spend that money on projects that have been shown to have a significant positive impact on educational quality -- smaller class sizes; basic health care so that kids don't miss weeks of school; upgrading school facilities with good lights, good water, and a reasonable amount of climate control -- good roofs to keep the rain out, ventilation to keep things cooler in summer, heaters to keep things cooler in winter. Save the OLPC project until it's actually shown that a laptop in the hands of each child will benefit them, rather than wasting money, wasting time, and putting yet another cement block around the neck of developing countries.

Re:not an Open Source failure - not a failure (1)

grumpyman (849537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013570)

With Libya's order going through they have enough to get serious volumes being made. Once they show that then other countries, including richer developed countries may be interested. OLPCs may work well as text book readers. How much does the average school system in a US spend on textbooks per student per year? Who can say now whether some of these uses will take off.


OLPC original definitely is not just a text book reader, dude. By considering redirecting the target market, seems like you're admitting the idea of OLPC in developing countries is a failure.

Re:not an Open Source failure - not a failure (1)

Biogenesis (670772) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013748)

I think textbooks are a bad example to show where olpc gives a financial gain since the printing cost of a textbook is ~$5-$10, most of the cost is in the copyright.

Re:not an Open Source failure (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013442)

Yeah, let's be thankful to authoritarian military cocksuckers for showing us how a reasonable education policy is done. We should listen to those types more carefully, I'm pretty sure they have much to teach us in other realms as well. Right now I'm thinking civil rights, women's rights and labor laws. I can see it now, why bother providing schoolchildren with laptops, when they could serve their country much better toiling 12h a day in sweat shops.

Re:not an Open Source failure (1)

vhogemann (797994) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013822)

I don't see as a failure, because it isn't.

Sure, maybe Thailand need to organize their education system first... But look at Brazil, where I live, we already have a quite well organized educational system, it has been forgotten, but it seems that it's on our government agenda again.

Here we have the same educational program across all public schools, the government distributes free textbooks for the children, and most of the teachers come from public schools. Of course there are problems, like underpaid teachers and unequipped schools, but if we can trust the news these are going to be addressed as well.

So Brazil is ready for the OLPC, more than that, we NEED something like OLPC. There's already computers being sold with Linux, they have tax reductions under the "Computador Popular" program, that hope to make computers accessible for more people. Linux is well known around here, even among computer illiterate... and there's lots of active user groups.

Theres lots of OpenSource efforts within the governament also, the main government site uses ZOPE/PLONE (www.brasil.gov.br)! And probably I'm one of the few here at Slashdot that can brag about being able to do my taxes on Linux!

Now, if we only could get something like OLPC for small business... that would be a hit around here too!

Re:not an Open Source failure (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013972)

``Compound that with a techie-Linux platform (I love Linux, but for the mass public, with minimal background and training?)''

Oh, cut the crap. Linux is just the kernel that does the work behind the scenes. Users don't interface with the kernel directly. Your end users get to work with what's built on top of the kernel, and there's absolutely no reason that would be more "techie" than the stuff you would build on top of another kernel.

Even if your end users do dig down to the kernel level, Linux is a good choice, because it's well-known, open source, and widely used, meaning that users may know how to tinker with it, are allowed to tinker with it, and can apply what they learn to other systems they might encounter later on.

Besides that, Linux is free, supports a wide range of hardware, and is stable and well tested. All of these are advantages for a project like OLPC.

Steel ones (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012406)

You have to admit, that man has some. To cancel such a high-visibility project like this... Wow. Especially while admitted that they were ploys to get elected. Wow. Even while admitting that it was an election-winning campaign, he cuts it.

Not that I necessarily disagree with him. If those schools are worried about their power bills, giving the kids laptops and high speed internet is NOT the solution. Maybe the cuts necessary to pay the power bills could have come from some other crazy scheme, though. I dunno. I haven't seen their budget.

At least he didn't mention starving children, though.

Re:Steel ones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17012454)

Yeah, canceling an election-winning project takes big steel balls when you're a member of a government that gained power through force of arms. What a brave man.

Re:Steel ones (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17012602)

Which part of "military coup" did you not understand?

More likely, he is canceling this because the last thing a military dictatorship wants is informed citizens.

Re:Steel ones (1)

kegon (766647) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013782)

More likely, he is canceling this because the last thing a military dictatorship wants is informed citizens.

I find your lack of faith disturbing.

The military have always been in charge, what makes you think Thailand was not a military state ? Did you never wonder why Thai Police uniforms look similar to army uniforms ?

The military took over because they, and the people were sick of their duely elected Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, running the country so badly, doing dodgy deals, faking a re-election, indulging in nepotism. Thousands of people were turning up to protests in Lumphini Park every week.

The King would not go along with the military on this unless it was good for the people.

More likely he is cancelling OLPC because he doesn't understand it, doesn't have the money for it or industry "explained" to him why it's not a good idea.

Re:Steel ones (4, Insightful)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012656)

What surprises me is how few people really disagree with you here. I think there's a growing sense that OLPC is a boondoggle, and it is to their credit that more and more geeks are realizing it.

It occurs to me that one of the stories told about widespread internet use is that people would be able to do things like "look up how to fix their irrigation systems on the web". Well, I've been using the web since Mosaic 2.0, and I'm much less able to fix a truck, repair an irrigation system, care for a garden, or do a whole bunch of other things that I know a lot of other people who aren't using the net know how to do. If I want to learn how to fix a truck, I might use my laptop to find a school or a place to do it - but then I'm just replacing the yellow pages. I'm more likely to find someone in my own personal social network who has the skills I want to acquire, and hang out with them.

The one practical thing that net connectivity has given me is access to recipes for cooking that I didn't have before. If the OLPC enables children in the developing world to cook eggplant parmigiana, I guess that's a good thing, but it's probably a lot less ambitious than what the creators had in mind.

The early zeal of the project isn't even a matter of "having a hammer and seeing every problem as a nail," it's more like "having a cantaloupe and thinking it's a hammer, and then throwing your cantaloupe at vaguely nail-shaped kittens."

Re:Steel ones (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012826)

The one practical thing that net connectivity has given me is access to recipes for cooking that I didn't have before.

There are a few more:

  1. Books, all of them
  2. Pr0n
  3. Music
  4. Digi-Key [digikey.com]

But outside of that I guess you are right. I don't cook, so I can't say much about your recipe theory. I would only add news to the list, but that's hardly necessary, and all that matters will eventually propagate through traditional means anyway.

Re:Steel ones (1)

bogjobber (880402) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012880)

I'm not sure I know what you're talking about, but that's a great line.

Re:Steel ones (4, Insightful)

femto (459605) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013064)

It depends on the person.

Some people aren't into DIY, so they use the web to look for someone to buy from.

Some people are into DIY and use the web for things other than shopping.

In my case, some of the things I have used the web for are:

  • Information on growing food in my garden: varieties of plants, propagating from seed, care of plants, ...
  • Information on caring for and chemistry of swimming pools.
  • Design of irrigation systems and rainwater collection systems
  • Investigating the feasibility of systems to supplement my house's electricity supply
  • Information on house maintenance and how to do various jobs
  • Furniture and cabinet making

Probably not the things a person in a developing country might look for, but that is because I don't live in a developing country. It does demonstrate that the web is a useful reference library, and I contend that the web contains information that is useful to a person in a developing country, that they would otherwise miss out on.

For example I've heard of villagers using the web to monitor world prices for various crops they grow, placing them in a stronger bargaining position when the people they sell to try to understate prices.

I don't think there is any question that the developing world needs the Internet. The question is how to best get it to them. Many people seem to view the Internet as a luxury, which it is if used for entertainment or amusement. The flip side of the Internet is textbooks, meteorological reports, market prices and the like, which are necessities for anything but a subsistence life style. Maybe people in developed countries take these necessities for granted, so don't notice the Internet's role in providing them?

If not OLPC what then? Information can be distributed on paper but as the volume and timeliness of information picks up the Internet is cheaper. OLPC seems like a cute misnomer for "Internet without infrastructure".

Re:Steel ones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17013376)

yep. Most folks in the "developed" societies take for granted one of the things that actually enabled them to become "developed". that is access to information. And it's not how to grow tomatoes or corn, it is basic things like weather forecasts, politics, news, general culture. These things really have a big impact.

Re:Steel ones (4, Informative)

Potor (658520) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013154)

I taught in a Thai high school for a year. Thai children, at least in Bangkok, are quite proficient with computers, more so than you would think. BKK is rife with pc cafes and gaming spots, and the schools are largely wired. However, the level of teaching ALL SUBJECTS is appalling, outside of the private schools. Thai children constantly do very poorly on benchmark testing, within ASEAN itself.

It is not permitted to fail in a Thai school. So, the teachers either keep testing and testing until a pass is obtained, or they simply make the lowest grade a pass, and distribute the rest of the marks accordingly. I know, because I was forced to do this. The Thais need to focus on sham. And as far as I know, the Thai university system is not accredited.

In the provinces, things are the same, except not nearly as wired.

Re:Steel ones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17013292)

So, do you really need to repair your own truck? do you have an irrigation system that needs to be fixed? If you had those needs I am very sure you would be using the internet in order to find someone to do it, or learn how to do it yourself, or to inform yourself about the possible cost of the repair. That's the value of this project. Since for you the only practical value of net connectivity is finding cooking recipes, what are you doing reading slashdot? why do you post a comment on a story?

There is a lot of information on the web that potentially could be useful for many people, and it doesn't have to be about how to grow veggies or cooking chicken. It is history, news, weather, science, opinion, general culture, politics, basic access to information that can have a real impact in many people. Information that you obviously take for granted now that you have access to the internet.

Re:Steel ones (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012706)

You have to admit, that man has some. To cancel such a high-visibility project like this... Wow. Especially while admitted that they were ploys to get elected. Wow. Even while admitting that it was an election-winning campaign, he cuts it.

No bravery. He cut projects of the PREVIOUS government. They had a coup a few months ago, the army appointed the current government. It's traditional to cut the previous administration's pork barrel projects to make room for your own.

Consultation fees (-1, Flamebait)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012408)

And this just in, Thailand's new junta-appointed Education Minister has been given a substantial amount of money from Microsoft for consultation fees. When asked, Microsoft said "While we do believe that handing out laptops wasn't the correct direction for Thailand considering most of the computers already run Windows, it was most definitely not a bribe. Thailand's new junta-appointed Education Minister was consulted on completely unrelated matters. Trust us."

That would have been a real coup (1)

techmuse (160085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012414)

OLPC in Thailand would have been a real coup [wikipedia.org]

Teach a man to phish ... (1)

Bellhead (236422) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012418)

I think this is good news. As others have pointed out, poor people with computers will be tempted to hire themselves out as turing-testable spammers, sleezing URL's and keywords into blogs and comment pages and bulletin boards the world over.

Better to invest the money in basic infrastructure: the $100 laptop is not a key to education, but rather a cargo-cult curse that encourages developing countries and their citizens to expect pre-packaged solutions from the Great White Hunters.

Bellhead

Re:Teach a man to phish ... (1)

scoot80 (1017822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012460)

A very pessimistic way of looking at it. What it does give is the opportunity for kids who absolutely cannot afford a computer to have a chance to learn more about it. Which direction they choose is up the them. With good enough education, hopefully they would go in the right direction and use it for positive and productive means. In the end, the "Great White Hunters" as you like to say will always be in need of cheap (computer literate) labor...

Re:Teach a man to phish ... (3, Insightful)

Bellhead (236422) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012534)

With respect, I disagree: I don't feel that children in developing nations need a chance to learn about computers nearly as much as they need encouragement to dream of and plan for ways to improve their society using their ideas and their heritage.

Perhaps the "Great White Hunter" metaphor isn't the best choice, but no matter how it's expressed, the fact remains that computers are a product of, and therefore cursed by, the legacy of an industrial economy that wants people to buy things whether they need them or not. I don't think that "we" (the all-knowing, tall, white guys like you see on TV) have any right to tell the rest of the world that an abacus isn't just as good as a computer for counting.

The Western nations might desire "cheap (computer literate) labor", but what we need is visionary talent willing to risk new and different ways of solving our problems. Genius doesn't come cheap, no matter where it's from, but it's always cheaper than trying to convince the rest of the world to copy us and our way of looking at the world.

FWIW. YMMV.

Bellhead

Back to Thai One (0)

shashark (836922) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012442)

Democracy [google.com] off [washingtonpost.com] . Chaos [google.com] On [google.com] .

Re:Back to Thai One (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17013910)

What good is a democracy for if the entire politician system is massively corrupt?

Cancellation is extreme (3, Insightful)

alshithead (981606) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012444)

I don't see cancellation as being necessary. Perhaps a more moderate, phased in approach would work. Start with magnet type schools and go from there. Taking time to do it right makes sense but to outright cancel seems extreme.

Re:Cancellation is extreme (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012624)

Computers in magnet type schools do not require personal attention of the government, in any country. A mayor would be the right person to set up a few of such schools for children who can (and want to) take the course. And about cancelation - this is the right time, and the only possible time, to do it. Children don't need computers if their teachers haven't been trained to use them, as the minister points out. You can always spend money on computers, this is not a one time offer; in the mean time, he thinks it's more practical to use the limited funds on hiring more teachers and paying them more.

Good Decision (2, Funny)

CalSolt (999365) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012446)

An education minister that's taking serious steps to increase the quality of education in his country instead of just throwing money at useless projects? How do we get him appointed to the US cabinet?

Re:Good Decision (1)

ZzzzSleep (606571) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012528)

Quoth CalSolt
An education minister that's taking serious steps to increase the quality of education in his country instead of just throwing money at useless projects? How do we get him appointed to the US cabinet?
Stage a coup d'état [wikipedia.org] , perhaps?

Re:Good Decision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17012558)

A coup... DUH... democracy is for noobs.

Re:Good Decision (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012616)

An education minister that's taking serious steps to increase the quality of education in his country instead of just throwing money at useless projects? How do we get him appointed to the US cabinet?

A representative of the Junta will be happy to appoint your candidate as soon as they have assumed power.

And who said Juntas were all bad?

Oh well... (0, Offtopic)

zullnero (833754) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012448)

So sad. And my company was about to send 5,000 high paying tech jobs over there. Oh wait...no. That's right, the thought never crossed our minds.

Poll says Thai citizens ... (1)

guanxi (216397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012478)

Did you see the poll?

There was no poll -- who is asking the citizens? It doesn't matter what a poll says or what the citizens want. Unless, of course, the generals decide it matters.

Re:Poll says Thai citizens ... (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012650)

A poll about educational matters failed because the citizens couldn't read :-)

Makes sense (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012490)

I'm sure the money would be much better spent on basic education and materials than on computer hardware. The very idea that giving computers to children will somehow make them learn more is just stupid. Maybe there is a very small minority of kids that would take the computer and hack around and learn stuff, but the vast majority of the kids are going abuse the computers (both physically and software-wise) and not get anything out of them but smoke.

-matthew

Re:Makes sense (2, Interesting)

NeilO (20628) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013040)

According to the OLPC wiki [laptop.org] the concept is more than simply giving computers to children "to somehow make them learn more." Instead they write: "While the technical aspects create a platform for change, the real benefits will come from improved educational practice enabled by immersive access to connected laptops." So, no claim that simply giving children laptops lets schools off the hook.

The OLPC advances an idea (to me somewhat orthogonal to basic educational practice) that connecting laptops connects the students together in ways that gives rise to other beneficial effects. Since we're all sitting here reading Slashdot it's an easy analogy -- Slashdot creates a community with a shared common interest, but with diverse opinions on those interests, and at the end of the day it's that diversity that is of interest. We read to learn what others think. So OLPC (ought to) create a means for children to interact with other children with the same effect, but on many other topics besides "news for nerds." And that sounds like a fine idea to me.

Re:Makes sense (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013332)

According to the OLPC wiki [laptop.org] the concept is more than simply giving computers to children "to somehow make them learn more." Instead they write: "While the technical aspects create a platform for change, the real benefits will come from improved educational practice enabled by immersive access to connected laptops." So, no claim that simply giving children laptops lets schools off the hook.


Sounds a lot like "to somehow make them learn more" to me. Just a lot of hand waving.

Look, I've seen some pretty poor schools in the US.. schools that can barely afford basic building maintenance and books for students. I can only assume that your average Thai school is worse off. If this is the case, giving kids computers is a waste. It is an absurd misappropriation of resources. But please, by all means, show me I am wrong. Show me that Thai schools can, on average, afford basic materials, a secure environment, decent teachers, books, etc. If the basics are covered, then start playing with laptops and such. Think of Maslow's hierarchy of needs here. It applies very well to education.

-matthew

Alan Kay (1)

Ivan Matveich (998090) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013550)

You might be interested to watch this. [archive.org] These OLPC laptops are simply Mr Kay's "Dynabooks" with (heh) inferior software. And they are cheaper than the textbooks they replace.

Re:Makes sense (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17014028)

``The very idea that giving computers to children will somehow make them learn more is just stupid.''

Is it, really? I learned English from playing computer games, and got into programming at an early age, because I had access to a PC. There are various educational computer games that help develop reading, writing, logical thinking, motor, etc. skills. Also, computers are what countries and economies run on, and how people access the WWW (which contains a wealth of information), and communicate (email, chat, voice and video). Perhaps, the sooner people know how to use these things, the better.

Why not use old equipment rather than melt down? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17012496)

The real problem with the OLPC is that we have literally millions of good machines we are dumping as waste, calling them "obsolete". Instead of a stripdown-meltdown environmentally unfriendly "recycling" process, wouldn't it make more sense to organize a program for reusing perfectly good equipment instead? The targets of the OLPC project need food, electricity, and medicene much more than some ivory tower dream of sending poor kids new equipment that is no better what most in the US are just putting in landfills. The OLPC seems to me to just be a waste of resources

Re:Why not use old equipment rather than melt down (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013476)

The real problem with the OLPC is that we have literally millions of good machines we are dumping as waste, calling them "obsolete".


We are calling them obsolete because they are. OLPCs use very little electricity. An old refurbished PC would use up so much electricity that an OLPC would pay for itself in a year or two.

In case you haven't heard the news, energy prices are up and making electricity requires burning stuff, which in turns releases CO2 in the atmosphere.

Re:Why not use old equipment rather than melt down (2, Interesting)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013754)

Because the OLPC has lower power requirements, making it better suited to situations where electricity supplies are limited. If the lights dim when you turn on a few of those old clunkers (which will be fine, since they all have switched-mode power supplies and can run off anything from 160 to 300 volts, DC to 1kHz), or a substation fuse blows when you turn on more than one machine at once (those switched-mode supplies can draw tens of amps for a brief instant at power-up), then that might make you unpopular.

Not that it's an inherently bad idea to ship refurbished computers to some people. But the OLPC will be more useful in more situations than used kit.

What's stopping you from taking a year out to work with a programme where you will help the locals sort through the e-waste we're currently dumping in Africa [bbc.co.uk] to find any usable parts and assemble working computers (and probably other appliances) which could then be sold? All you'll need are a fine-tipped soldering iron, a digital storage oscilloscope, a known-working computer, a good set of tools, a generator and a few CDs of Open Source software. Be prepared to write the whole lot off if you don't make enough money to replace everything within the first year. You will also have to teach the locals how to do the work after you have gone home. It won't interfere too much with the OLPC project anyway, since OLPC's goals are different.

The truth has been revealed... (0)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012498)

"We will not focus too much on technology and materials. We will focus on substance," he said.

Translation: More Microsoft Office, no games (except mine sweeper).

Re:The truth has been revealed... (1)

alshithead (981606) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012518)

Dude! You have minesweeper at work/school? I wish...

Before OLPC... RRR (0)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012538)

The minister's points are valid. What good is a nation of kids who can point and click if they cannot write a decent sentence or do math without a calculator? Once the educational system is meeting certain basic standards of education in literacy and mathematics (the "three Rs" - reading, writing, and arithmetic), then taking the education of the children to the next level with computers is warranted, but until then, giving computers to a bunch of semi-literate kids with poor math skills is a stupid idea.

I didn't see my first computer until I was 11, didn't own a Pc until I was 13, and didn't own a PC with a GUI until I was 18. Yet here I am, a member of the "techno elite". It's not going to hurt these kids to get a good grounding in the basics and get the computers a little later in their education.

- Greg

Your experience does not translate. (3, Insightful)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012938)

I didn't see my first computer until I was 11, didn't own a Pc until I was 13, and didn't own a PC with a GUI until I was 18. Yet here I am, a member of the "techno elite".

Your schools could afford textbooks and libraries. That's why most of your peers are literate. Those things don't work where you can't afford them. Today, you consider electronic publications cheaper and better than paper publications. It's the same way for schools and that's the point of the OLPC program.

Re:Before OLPC... RRR (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013090)

"Yet here I am, a member of the "techno elite"." - blow your own trumpet some place else dickhead. Are you honestly navie enough to think the money this undemocraticly elected, military run government, cuts from this project is going to go into grass roots education? this money is going to guns, guns and more guns.

Re:Before OLPC... RRR (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013776)

And which countries, do you suppose, they are going to buy those guns from?

Re:Before OLPC... RRR (1)

Flyboy Connor (741764) | more than 7 years ago | (#17014124)

didn't see my first computer until I was 11, didn't own a Pc until I was 13, and didn't own a PC with a GUI until I was 18. Yet here I am, a member of the "techno elite". It's not going to hurt these kids to get a good grounding in the basics and get the computers a little later in their education.

I did not see a computer until I was 18 and went to college. However, I was so interested in computers before that time that I had bought programming books and wrote programs without even the possibility of compiling them. I took computer science as a minor, and I was humiliated. I had huge troubles writing even simple programs, because I did not really understand what computers were about and how they worked. At the same time, other students were producing programs that worked at incredible speeds. Later on I found out that these other students had had computers at home at least since they were 15, 16 years of age. However, by that time I had given up hope that I could ever mean something in the world of computing. That changed after I bought a C64 and started playing around with it. I got work as a commercial programmer, went back to college, and got a master's and later a PhD in computer science.

The point is that having had access to a computer in my teens would have shaved YEARS of my education.

Also, when I look back at how I used to write papers and do research, compared to how I do it now, I see that having access to something like the Internet speeds up research and education enormously. Sure, there's a lot of trash out there, but if you have never been without modern-day online facilities, you have no idea how much they really mean.

The OLPC is not for raising new programmers. It is for giving people access to a hoard of information and to facilities that allow them to collaborate with others in work and education. It is not the only requirement to get ahead in life, but it is incredibly helpful.

Thinking style of a Developing Nation's Government (1, Troll)

towsonu2003 (928663) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012568)

"We will not focus too much on technology and materials. We will focus on substance,"
Translation:
"We will screw our dear students by not giving them much needed educational materials. We will further screw our students by teaching them stupid, useless stuff. Because we think we cannot compete with the tech services offered by nations such as India et al, we will provide the so-called developed world with cheap, undereducated, unimaginative lumpenproletariat who will not and cannot act against oppression-thru-sweatshops. Therefore, we will be able to compete with other developing nations to provide you the cheapest possible labor."


Believe me when I tell you: I know how such a government thinks...

On the other hand.. (1)

cheros (223479) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012684)

OTOH, he *could* just be planning to replace "get high marks if you wear a short skirt" with people that actually care about teaching. Teaching in Thailand won't make you rich, but the free healthcare is what draws, and that doesn't always equate to capable people doing the job.

I'm disappointed, but this guy is 100% new AFAIK - it's actually too early to know what he'll do.

Re:Thinking style of a Developing Nation's Governm (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012722)

Ok, the student has now his new and shiny computer that can calculate tanh(0!/2). How much useful this will be if student doesn't understand what this notation means? And how much of a computer does your teacher need to teach math? Aside from the most basic arithmetic, all math is symbolic, and you don't need any computer to calculate integrals. An engineer does benefit from a differential equation solver in his pocket, but a student does not need to know the numeric answer; his task usually is to come up with an analytical solution that demonstrates his understanding of issues. Most math doesn't have a single, precise answer, and can't even be visualized (try to visualize an inverse matrix, NxM, for example.) And when a few, very few, students progress to the point they are ready to try some practical math, they will have access to a computer. Most students, though, will fall by the wayside - not everyone wants to be a programmer.

Understandable... (1)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012632)

In the world of politics, in ANY nation, this is a very understandable result. Computers can and do change the world every day, including enriching the imagination and lives of many, many children - but for all the wonders of the world of computers, they are quite simply NOTHING in the face of basic education needed to allow them to both exist and be useful to a society. Not that such education isn't present in Thailand, or that computers couldn't elevate or create new possibilities if made more common - but against the political landscape of the same resources being used for more basic education, even the cheapest electronic computing tools would appear as naive pie-in-the-sky fixes to a important set of problems. The importance of making technology available to everyone is a huge step towards advancing a nation towards excellence - but politically most people everywhere will vote first for the basic health and happiness of the everyday people around them, before striving for technological excellence.

Also, this isn't a permanent dynamic in a variety of ways. With a GDP of around $8,600 per person, both the affordability of more and more capable computers and the income per person can reach further towards eachother in a rather quick order. Also, despite the slight blow to open source in government, the growing private and educational sectors can pursue the technological excellence that the government at large cannot politically take up.

$100 computers will offer hope, and widespread open source adoption will bring deep innovation and economic improvement anywhere - but weigh that against $100 spent in many other ways, or the concentrated organized effort and political costs needed to push open source over commercial software wherever possible, and you don't end up with something politically possible now. That shouldn't be a shock.

I do think it sucks if anyone sees this as a blow against open source - but I don't see it that way. I do think it hopeful in a sense that governments can see the ideal behind open source development and emerging cheap technologies that can improve people's lives - but I don't think we should expect such things to be used as more than leverage in debates until there are no other cultural issues seen in competition against action other than just commercial value V. open source values. And at that point, no legislation will really be needed.

Ryan Fenton

Re:Understandable... (1)

zephc (225327) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013836)

This is the 21st century - whether or not this guy wants to believe it, technology is now an integral part of education. These guys either don't know, don't care, or fear how technology will empower their next generation.

Linux, Can't Win for Losing (all the freakin' time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17012638)



Which only goes to show, communism is DeAd ///

Glad to see that rationalism is not dead yet (3, Interesting)

melted (227442) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012906)

The guy sounds quite rational there. I mean, there's bad education and then there's complete and utter lack of education. If you're in a country where 10% of people can't read and write (1% in USA, Canada and European countries, 0.5% in Russia) - you'll be better off if you spend the money on teaching them how to read and write. No fancy hardware is necessary - just a pen, a book and some paper. If you're in a country where 95+ percent of people are literate but computing is not easily accessible to high schoolers - that one can benefit from OLPC type program a lot more. Things are incomparably worse in India (which is why I guess it declined to participate early on). 30% of male and 52% of female population can't read or write. In Nigeria, percentages are 25 and 40% correspondingly. In Brazil - 14 and 13% correspondingly. In Argentina - 3 and 3%. Based on this, out of four countries in OLPC project (Brazil, Argentina, Thailand and Nigeria), only one country - Argentina - can potentially benefit from spending on OLPC more than from spending on basic education. In order to run, you first need to learn how to walk.

High levels of government corruption in participating countries is not a coincidence either. Someone will make a lot of money on this, and you can bet it won't be teachers.

Re:Glad to see that rationalism is not dead yet (3, Informative)

patiwat (126496) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013244)

Thailand already has basic education covered. Thailand's adult literacy rate is male 95%, female 91%. For children, it is 98%. See here [ilo.org] . By your own definition, that would potentially allow Thai children to greatly benefit from the OLPC.

mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17013330)

insightful / informative

According to CIA factbook (1)

melted (227442) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013468)

Average literacy rate in Thailand is 92.6. Which means 7.3% of people can't read. That's one out of every thirteen people, completely shut off from education. If you're telling me that giving underpowered, incompatible laptops to 5% of the kids is better than teaching 7.3% of the population to read/write - I guess we'll have to disagree.

Gotta agree with Mr. Gates here. The primary vehicle for computerization in these countries will be the cell phone. It has sufficient processing power and connectivity is built in. The infrastructure is already available in a lot of places. Two things are missing from most cell phones right now - QWERTY keyboard and TV out. They can be added easily and cheaply.

Re:Glad to see that rationalism is not dead yet (1)

meadowsp (54223) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013808)

And according to this [wikipedia.org] the US is 97%, not too much better than Thailand.

Check out the related stories (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012956)

Thailand ministry slams open source. OLPC is all open source. Figure it out.

I look at the photo from Cambodia (1)

SaberTaylor (150915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012990)

on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olpc [wikipedia.org] of children holding up identical laptops, and I think

Socialism! Communism!

How about 1 computer kiosk per village? See where that takes us.

I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012996)

the one where Thailand announces a major plan to outfit all schools and public services with a massive rollout of Vista and Office 2007... all sponsored by a major price deal with Microsoft...

Evolution... (1)

posterlogo (943853) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013012)

Yes, we are a fairly intelligent creature, the human. BUT WE ARE WAAAAAAY MORE FRIGGIN' INTELLIGENT SINCE we started using tools available to us. First the "pen" and paper. Those are the bare essentials, but we've come a long way since then. Give them the friggin' computers and be amazed at what they can do. Tools do matter.

personal transport before personal computing (1)

cowboycarl (1027826) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013070)

This guy seems to have his priorities right. Seems to me like we haven't yet finished the One Pair of Shoes Per Child Project, Clean Running Water Per Child Project and the Effective Sewage Per Child Project. I know very little about the OLPC project, but it sounds like a pet engineering project that's trying to justify itself with a philanthropic spin. Most of the kids that will receive these computers would probably rather have a bike anyway. I was fortunate to have both a bike and access to a computer by the age of twelve, and the bike was more useful to me. Maybe I'm just experiencing a little irony after reading an earlier article about Electronics Waste in Africa...

Some contextual links deleted by the editors (2, Informative)

patiwat (126496) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013182)

Some links in the story submission were deleted by the editors.

The "junta" being referred to is the Council for National Security [wikipedia.org] , a clique of the Thai army that seized power in the 19 September coup [wikipedia.org] .

The Education Minister is Wijit Srisa-arn [wikipedia.org] , a former Opposition member of parliament.

http://en.wikipedia/wiki/ [en.wikipedia]

and in other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17013304)

...thailand has announced that a project designed to be able to provide thousands of books to individual students at a cost of around 150$ has been cancelled because it was too expensive and not technologically sound. They have decided that the old way of paying 5 bucks and up for single books made from paper is just way the bestus.

This minister is character from Dilbert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17013488)

"Mordak, Preventer of Information Services" got promoted to high places.

More hardware != more infrastructure (1)

grumpyman (849537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013532)

Free cars but no gasoline nor road, or with all the roads built but no cars nor gasoline (like North Korea).

Re:More hardware != more infrastructure (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17014044)

``Free cars but no gasoline nor road, or with all the roads built but no cars nor gasoline (like North Korea).''

You're right in general, but not in this case. IIRC, the OLPC laptops can be powered by hand and create their own mesh network.

Time to Call In These Guys: (1)

Jack Action (761544) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013640)

Cannibal Mercenary [imdb.com] .

The real question is: (1)

sam991 (995040) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013710)

If they're not using them, can we have them?

Ideal government industry partnership (1)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013802)

A military junta is the ideal form of governmet to support Microsoft, or the MPAA, or the RIAA.

Maybe we should try that here.

Wait.........

Cheers

Shock and Horrors! (1)

crhylove (205956) | more than 7 years ago | (#17014180)

A military junta is considering NOT empowering enterprising kids with some level of technological savvy? Call an ambulance, I'm having a heart attack!!! Next thing you know our own unelected military dictatorship will let all the black people drown, and make sure that 25% of the children in THIS country [heartsandminds.org] live below the poverty line.

Nah, that'll never happen, this is AMERICA!
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>