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A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

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Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Bringing Wikipedia To More Users, One Text Message At A Time

October 29, 2013, 4:45 PM

What's the Latest Development?

This month Wikipedia began a pilot of a new service, Wikipedia Zero, that sends articles to mobile phones via text message. The trial is taking place in Kenya, where the company is partnering with mobile provider Airtel, and will last for three months. To access the service, the user only has to dial *515# to receive a text prompting them to look for articles. Each article is divided into easy-to-read, text-message-sized chunks. 

What's the Big Idea?

On the Wikimedia Foundation blog, executive Dan Foy puts it simply: "Throughout most of the developing world, data-enabled smartphones are the exception, not the rule. That means billions of people currently cannot see Wikipedia on their phones." Africa in particular has seen an explosion of feature phone usage in recent years, and in some ways the industry is more advanced there than elsewhere, as companies like Wikipedia and Facebook look for new ways to work within the existing technology infrastructure. While HumanIPO editor Tom Jackson says Wikipedia Zero will be welcomed, he also hopes "it comes with the same warnings that European and American kids are given about taking Wikipedia at face value!"

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at BBC News


Bringing Wikipedia To More ...

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