How big is the continent of Africa? Check out the map below done by Kai Krause.
2010 has seen the World Cup in South Africa and FESMAN happening in Senegal. On December 10, the UN proclaimed the year beginning on 1 January 2011 the International Year for People of African Descent.
The Year aims at strengthening national actions and regional and international cooperation for the benefit of people of African descent in relation to their full enjoyment of economic, cultural, social, civil and political rights, their participation and integration in all political, economic, social and cultural aspects of society, and the promotion of a greater knowledge of and respect for their diverse heritage and culture.
The General Assembly encourages Member States, the specialized agencies of the United Nations system, within their respective mandates and existing resources, and civil society to make preparations for and identify possible initiatives that can contribute to the success of the Year.
“The History of Cornrow Braiding” has taken the art of cornrow braiding to the next level. The folks at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), have developed a site which examines the African cornrow hairstyle and it’s relationship to four geometric concepts: translation, rotation, reflection and dilation.
The site even hosts a software for individuals to create their own patterns based on the number of plaits, starting point, starting angle and other variables.
Jacqueline Green from Expert Village breaks down the history of cornrows a bit more:
As our offline discussions around technology and digital media continue, Beta Bahil and co-sponsors of Sankofa 2.5, the Atlanta BDPA and Noire Digerati, will be presenting the panel discussion “Color Me Black: Exploring the Presence of the Africana Culture in Comic Books, Graphic Novel and Animation.” The panel will take place on Saturday, September 4, 2010, as part of the Auburn Avenue Research Library’s Alien Encounters program.
Currently, confirmed panelists include Dawud Anyabwile of Big City Entertainment and Creator of Brotherman Comics:
Nicholas Da Silva of the comic book Dread and Alive:
Also, we will be joined by Joseph R. Wheeler III, artist and founder of ONYXCON, Atlanta’s annual Conference/Convention which celebrates the very best of the impact, contributions, and presence of the African Diaspora in popular arts and culture. Below is a brief interview with Joseph at 2010’s ECBACC conference.
The event is targeted at youths and the community who are interested in the persons, technology, and process used by leading thinkers/creators in Animation and Comic Books.
(The following is a thought piece of a potential product or service idea. If something similar exists already prior to the posting date on this blog, woops, please send me your link and I’ll post it online. If not, then Beta Bahil, LLC accepts all the ‘wow, great idea’ glory and is open to working to implement this offline. The Kindle product is discussed as they have the waterproof case. We are not getting paid by Jeff Bezos to write this. Further posts on other e-Reader/Tablets to come.)
Tuesday afternoon in Addis Ababa or Abidjan and a university student is heading home from class. On the way, they pop into a local café or kiosk to grab a quick snack, coffee and pastry. Sitting there, they pull out the course syllabus for their Sustainable Development class and skim down to a reference for a book entitled “Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things.”
Usually, the student would have to first find out if the book is available at the University or local library. If not, the search begins amongst friends and family, local and abroad. Once the book is found, the student would have to go to the local photocopy facility to copy the sections of interest($$), as they would have done for other handouts received in class.
It is well known that the availability of textbooks and other reference materials are a problem in countries such as Ethiopia. Marie Paiva wrote in “A Quick Glimpse at Public and Academic Libraries in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia”, about her observations after visiting the Addis Ababa Public Library in the Sidist Kilo area of the city. Some key points of interest in the article, published in February 2008, included:
“ -current budget for acquisitions is about USD $4,500 per year; and they do occasionally receive donations from private organizations and NGOs.
-users are mostly from nearby high schools and colleges, and the library contains 220 seats.
-collection consists of 20,000 volumes which do not circulate.
-most of the titles I picked up appeared older and well used.”
To solve this, there have been successful efforts to collect new and used books and ship them to under-resourced communities. Ethiopia Reads, founded by Mr. Yohannes Gebregeorgis, is one that has focused on both the supply and delivery of books for children in Ethiopia. These projects involve soliciting people, communities, and publishers to obtain their books, store and then find a way to ship them to the end destination(i.e. partner institution or school). Mr. Gebregeorgis and the Ethiopia Reads team are heroes for overcoming and managing the acquisition and logistical issues that made the program what it is today.
But what about the college student who needed that book on sustainability?
We wave our collective hands in the air and in comes the HaLaHaMaSa(only name I could think of on the spot)iCafé. Presumably located near the Uni, the café allows the student to sit, grab a drink and browse through a waterproof and sealed Kindle that is attached to each of ten tables.
The waterproof feature is not for the unlikely case of flooding in the city, but more to the durability of an e-reader that can withstand any potential spillage/wear and tear that exists in that environment. Kindle is the e-reader developed by Amazon. Watch the video below that describes the Kindle DX.
The optimal scenario is that each student has their own device, like the plan by WorldReader.org, but there also exists an opportunity for a different service model that is a hybrid with the existing internet café model. The difference from a traditional internet café is that instead of just allowing people to browse the web and web content, they are provided an alternate reading experience and material. Roll-out of such as service is also fast, as one would be partnering with existing cafés and kiosks who could handle the upfront costs of the Kindle units.
Now there are still a lot of pricing related issues:
1. How much should the books cost in a developing market?
2. Access to scientific journals and publications?
3. Consistent access to electricity(though the readers are optimized for long battery life, it may not be longer than some electricity shortages)?
Check out the spillproof tablet, Qooq, that provides interactive recipes, instructional videos. Targeted at kitchen oriented individuals with a passion for cooking, the form is perfect for a e-reader cafe.
Though I haven’t covered the financial considerations in detail, you can’t miss the obvious savings in collections and transport of such a scheme. Instead of book collections, people would possibly collect Amazon voucher cards or send e-book credit to students, or any individuals needing the books, via sms. When the student arrives at a Kindle station, they would log into their account and access the necessary books. If they have bought the book, it would remain active on their account for future use or can be made available for others who use that particular Kindle device.
Problems Solved Are:
Lack of Material
Theft of Material
Built in Dictionary
Ability to Read PDFs
Ability to print from e-reader
The Sankofa 2.5 Community Forum and Workshop took place at the Auburn Avenue Research Library on April 10, 2010. Panelists Camaal Moten, James Harris, Amani Channel and Chidi Afulezi covered topics ranging from mobile learning, digital literacy, augmented reality, to video blogging and the importance of leaving a digital footprint for future generations to access our stories.
Thanks to the Program Division of the Auburn Avenue Research Library for their support and assistance, the panelists and community members in attendance. We will be organizing more workshops in the coming months. Until then, you can view photos from last Saturday at our Facebook Fan Page.
If you are interested in the intersection between heritage, culture and technology or if you generally want to know what new gadgets and technology are out, you won’t want to miss our upcoming and FREE Sankofa 2.5 workshop. As stated above,
In an effort to close the digital divide in our community, the Auburn Avenue Research Library, in collaboration with Beta Bahil, LLC., will host the Sankofa 2.5 community forum and workshop. The event will bring together leading experts, in the areas of mobile technology, mobile learning, social and new media. Panelists will present their work and the technologies that are redefining the way we consume, create and distribute content and interact with one another.
The workshop will be taking place on Saturday, April 10, 2010. You may view the Facebook event page at http://tinyurl.com/ycsk7fk. Subjects to be covered include Social Media, Digital Storytelling, Mobile Learning, Appropriate Technology, Video Blogging, iPhones and other new media technologies.