They’ve been talking up this OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) for over a year now. What was originally a sub $1oo computer designed specifically for the 3rd world, is now a $200 geek project box. As a toy these things are incredibly cool. Low power consumption, Linux OS, solid state drive, and mesh networking are all neat ideas but I can’t help wonder if this initiative is misplaced.
I get where the are coming from. If each child in a developing nation had a laptop, they could reach out to the world and find out just how terrible their lives really are by comparison. Maybe they could blog about unimaginable poverty and starvation. Or AIDS! They could blog about a 50% AIDS infection rate. I’m not trying to poopoo on the OLPC parade but I think its all a little idealistic. The fact that nerds are buying these to play with shows how great the separation is between “us” and “them.” We have so much money that we buy EXTRA computers that we don’t need just to play with. I bet most of the OLPCs bought by American’s this month will either end up as iTunes servers or under the NES and GENESIS in the closet. I bet the ones that make it to impoverished nations will be captured by drug lords and/or sold for food.
The hierarchy of human needs doesn’t allow for actualization during a struggle for survival. Only when survival is a relative given can we worry about bettering ourselves. I really do support what they are doing but it sounds a lot like “give all the sick children new designer sweaters! Like Bill Cosby wore!” It’s just not what they need. Potable water might be a better place to start.
On a side note, the sickliness of my clan over the holiday weekend left me with two options. No comic, or cannibalize a previous one. So there you go. Don’t look at me like that. Your eyes are like shame-daggers.
DJ Jonathan Feinstein, hit me with the remix!
Here’s the remix blank for today’s comic. Have fun with it, get creative and email the result to comics at hijinksensue.com. You can change anything you want, not just the text. Go crazy. Surprise me. Have them in before Thursday.