Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Why Should We Feel Alone


~Henry David Thoreau

Of Note: The Internet connects every corner of the world these days. Or at least it should. Without Internet connection, a country is isolated and incapable of advancement in every arena including political, financial, social, educational and medical. Africa, where connectivity is often simply a dream, is a case in point. Why? Civil wars and other unrest plus corruption poisoned the continent particularly during the 1990's when underwater broadband cables were being laid. Where satellite connection exists making Internet connection available, the cost for service is often 100 times or more what developed nations spend. For example, a modest one-megabit-per-second connection can cost $5000 a month in Sierra Leone compared with $35 in the USA. Based on this sorry state of affairs, the World Bank stepped up to the plate on January 20th and approved a project in Sierra Leone and Liberia that promised a "major infrastructure revolution." This came on the heels of a similar project in 2010 that connected the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal with high speed cable to Europe. The World Bank and others realized that connectivity was essential for sub-Saharan Africa to evolve. One official said: "A good Internet connection is a means of reaching development goals. Affordable Internet can help farmers bypass middlemen, allow sick people in rural areas to get medical care remotely and help increase government transparency." Of course, other infrastructure is essential for the connectivity everyone envisions, including electricity, which is rare in rural areas. But the city folk look toward an immediate future when they will be able to actively engage in world activities electronically. We can then welcome these nations into the global network and watch as the connectivity changes them forever.

Today's Weather Report: As the rest of the USA anticipated the mega-winter storm from hell, we are looking at sunny skies and 17 degrees Fahrenheit. From the weather map, it looked like we were right on the edge but others won't be so lucky. I say lucky, but am jealous that some will get snow they don't want, and we in northern Wisconsin would welcome a little freshening up.

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