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Science

ThinkCycle: Solving World Problems With A Cluster of Brains 161

Posted by timothy
from the hope-some-good-comes-out-of-it dept.
eaglemoon writes: "ThinkCycle is an MIT Media Lab project to apply SETI@Home principles to design problems for underserved communities. Only, intead of donating spare cpu cycles, you donate spare 'think cycles.' Their aim is to build a community of designers, inventors and innovators that want to collaborate on developing novel solutions to some what intractable problems like clean water access , cholera treatment and appropriate shelters. Their aim is to encourage an "open source" ethos for tough design and technology challenges."
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ThinkCycle: Solving World Problems With A Cluster of Brains

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  • This sounds familiar (Score:1, Interesting)

    by roberto0 (242247) <roberto0@gmai l . c om> on Thursday May 16, 2002 @01:49PM (#3531883) Journal
    Wait. What is that called where people do things without some tangible benefit for themselves?
    Communism?
    No.
    Communitarianism? Maybe.
    Oh yeah...That was an episode of Star Trek Hoe could I forget?
  • mirror site (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TimButterfield (16686) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @01:56PM (#3531938) Homepage
    In preparation for being slashdotted, they have already posted a mirror site [mit.edu] link.
  • by Mysticalfruit (533341) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @02:03PM (#3532008) Homepage Journal
    His infant son recently passed away from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and he's been enlisting people who've got some spare time to throw it at creating a baby monitor that can be used to collect statistics so in time, that information can be used to determine what symptoms cause SIDS. So far he's gotten tons of responses.
  • I like this idea (Score:2, Interesting)

    by epseps (39675) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @02:17PM (#3532093)
    Too often we tend to see the world in terms of technology (as in computers). Open source has alot to offer the "digital divide" but this fails to consider that in many places of the world you have to overcome the "sewage divide" and "electicity divide" before you can even have a digital one. I think an "Open Source" type solution is a good idea for providing for the more basic needs of poor countries.

    As an example of this, I was in Haiti on vacation in December (I hate relaxing vacations...I can relax at work) and it is quite amazing how much human time and energy is spent just keeping clean, getting drinkable water, cooking, in a place where the population doesn't have access to plumbing or electricity. I figured it would be about 3 to 4 extra hours of work each day...time that cannot be spent at another job, learning to read or just having time enough to consider your own existance.

    Selling fresh produce for extra cash is difficult becuase of poverty of your potential customers and lack of refrigeration limits the time that it can be sold, cooking it requires getting charcoal from a vendor (this is why Haiti is deforested), raw sewage on the streets makes whatever food that is cooked still risky (in this suburb of Cap Hatien the tallest structure in town was a two story pile of dried sewage in the middle of the street.)

    Clearly something needs to be done, and all the other plans have always had contracts, agreements and treaties tied in that equalled that only a few people would profit from a "project" but the situation of the general population would remain unchanged. I hope engineers, earth scientist and botanists get involved in this.
  • Doubters.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tarquin Sidebottom (239733) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @02:48PM (#3532268) Journal
    There seem quite a few people concerned about it not working because problems will be too complex. Two cases that this could be so suited too. Both effective yet so simple. 1 - the clockwork radio. 2- The guy that recenbtly realised that if you put one pot inside another, fill the gap with wet sand, the evaporation of the water makes it act as a crude fridge. The idea is now sweeping across africa & co. In both cases, the execution is so simple it was the original idea that eluded everybody. This is the sort of thing that ThinkCycle could achieve.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 16, 2002 @03:23PM (#3532436)
    ShouldExist [shouldexist.org] is a Scoop community website for people who have innovative ideas to donate. Know-How Wiki [umontreal.ca] is a community website for people who have problems to solve, or who have advice to give on how to solve them. Any kind of problem, really.
  • by jejones (115979) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @03:57PM (#3532630) Journal
    ...because I'm heavily reminded of Marc Siegler's nifty SF novel Earthweb [the-earthweb.com]. I commend it to everyone's attention for its depiction of the functioning of "idea futures" markets. (Contrary to an earlier troller, a very capitalistic idea.)

EARTH smog | bricks AIR -- mud -- FIRE soda water | tequila WATER

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