Third world Vietnam has better education than the USA

March 28, 2013 · Posted in innovation, sharing · Comment
Vietnam teaches children how to program computers in elementary school. This article points out many ways and reasons Vietnam provides much better education than the USA.

An important point is that learning to program computers is expected of everyone in Vietnam. In the USA there is a stigma against students who are “too smart” and athletes are praised and have lots of money spent on them. Vietnam and Asia in general views being smart as the highest status and athletics as a hobby at best. I suspect that also contributed to overall better health among Asians because athletics isn’t a hostile exclusionary clique. Its just something people do for fun.

My favorite part of the article is:

Due to a lack of funds, the school could not afford two CS teachers, so half the school was unable to take CS. I asked what a teacher’s salary was. $100 per month. So I went to an ATM and bought them a second teacher for the next year.

When you see fabulous results then people are glad to freely support it. Even more so when it costs less than a cup of premium coffee.

Zero Mines, cheap-low-tech land mine clearing tool

June 6, 2012 · Posted in innovation, sharing · Comment 

Zero Mines is a group of people worldwide working on Open Source solutions for clearing land mines so people can grow food, travel, and live safely. Here is my suggestion.
Cheap-low-tech landmine clearing tool
Over 100 million land mines have been deployed around the world. Most of the places where these land mine are located are impoverished. The area that needs to be cleared is vast. The ideal solution would use cheap, easily available materials, that can be put together by anyone so that local people can quickly clear their own land.

The standard military approach to clearing a mine field is to use a heavily armored vehicle with a motorized flail to trigger the landmines. Armor is one way of staying safe while detonating a mine but not the only way. Distance is another.

A strong rope is cheap and can pull a heavy object across a mine field from a distance to detonate any mines. But you typically must go forward into a mine field. So how can you pull something towards you without first putting it in front of you? There is a very simple way.

The device I described fits those requirements. It is just a big rake rotating on a pivot pulled by a rope or cable from a safe distance to trigger mines.
1. place the pivot
2. pull the rope or cable from a safe distance or behind sand bags
3. sweep the rake over area to be cleared
4. move pivot / rake to cover more area
5. repeat

Dragging an object a distance from the arm would reduce the damage to the arm but even if the arm is damaged it is cheap and easy to replace. This might not be enough for all uses of the land or all types of land but can quickly clear an area for human travel and light use. If you need to go deeper use a heavier object and tines to dig up the ground.