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Dave Cline of Virginia, Alaska, Colorado, California, Utah and Oregon

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Empowering the third world

Title Neil Gershenfeld and empowering the third world
Synopsis An open letter to Prof. Gershenfeld
Ms. Murphy-Bottari, (susan at

I was fortunate enough to see Prof. Gershenfeld on C-SPAN recently and wanted to open a communication between he and I.

While I commend Prof. Gershenfeld on his successes in penetrating the bureaucracy surrounding aid to the third world I'd like to point out one fact: eight million people die each year due to starvation.

Now don't think this is some plea to directly assist these people. That's not what I think should be done. Feeding them today does not stop them from starving tomorrow.

No, what I would like to do is open a discussion about empowering these people to feed themselves. And the way I see this happening is through one shared technology - photovoltaic energy generation to both desalinate water as well as provide energy to run refrigeration, lighting and communication/computer equipment.

Water is life.
With water crops can grow. Hygiene can improve. Life is better with adequate water.

Energy promotes knowledge and industry.
With energy children can study and learn. Communities can become productive. Knowledge can be shared and increased. Health and welfare flourish in the presence of energy.

All the third world has to work with at this point are land, sea and sunshine. What they lack is fresh water and energy. Get them these two missing ingredients and you can empower them to feed themselves. Empower them in this fashion and you can then install the Professor's micro labs and kick start their future.

Now how do we get these people desalinated water and energy? Well I have various ideas but I rather see those like Prof. Gershenfeld and yourself take this concept and run with it. I'd like to participate if I can but I have no connections to those of power or money and know that power and money is what it takes to get concepts like this in place.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to any comments you have on this idea.

Dave Cline


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