Access to the Web is a Human Right: How to Make It Happen
Teodora Zareva is an entrepreneur, writer, board games geek and a curious person at large. Her professional path has taken her from filmmaking and photography to writing, TEDx organizing, teaching, and social entrepreneurship. She has lived and worked in the U.S. and Bulgaria and is currently doing her MBA at Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford. Her biggest passion lies at the intersection of media and youth development. She is the co-founder of WishBOX Foundation, a Bulgarian NGO that helps high school students with their professional orientation by organizing events, courses, summer camps and developing digital media resources.
Two decades after creating the World Wide Web, in a speech at an MIT symposium, Tim Berners-Lee said that "access to the web is now a human right". Probably not many people know, however, that only 25.6% of the world population has internet access. This means there are 5 billion people worldwide who cannot benefit from the well of information we all take for granted.
Kosta Grammatis, an ex-avionics engineer, wants to fix this injustice. He has already started an ambitious project attempting to give the whole world “internet access as ubiquitous as the air you breathe”, as he puts it in his TEDxAthens talk. His foundation, ahumanright.org, wants to build a free communication network available anywhere in the world because just like Berners-Lee, he believes that access to information is a human right.
The plan is to recycle old infrastructure, namely the most powerful communications satellite ever made, currently owned by a bankrupted company. Grammatis wants to buy the satellite and then move it to a place where it is needed. He is using the power of the Internet to crowdfund his project, and he has already raised almost $62,000 from the $150,000 needed to complete the initial phase of the project.
According to Kostas the Internet is the most important tool people could have because it helps them to help themselves. “People need to have the power to solve their own problems,” which is exactly what access to information gives them. He believes that as long as there is free internet access to all, people will not only find ways to get the necessary devices to use it but also to solve the bigger problems present in their lives and communities.
One thing is sure, if Kostakis’ dream comes true, it would stand as a testament to the power the digital age has bestowed on the individual, to help not only himself, but the whole world as well.
You can help Kostas’ mission by donating on his website: http://buythissatellite.org/
Read an interview with Kostas in NewScientist.
photo: Ivan Plata
Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.
- Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
- Alcohol's effects on the brain range from temporarily limiting mental activity to sustained brain damage, depending on levels consumed and frequency of use.
- Understanding how alcohol affects your brain can help you determine what drinking habits are best for you.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.
- A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
- It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
- Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.
Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.
Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons
13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.
It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.
But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.
John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."
What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.
Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.
The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.
- The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet.
- The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta.
- It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.
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