Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Science Technology

Third World Research, Development & Innovation 222

tovarish writes "It is nice to see that countries like India are trying to research communication techniques in backward and rural areas. While tech savvy people like us enjoy the latest gadgets it is quite a challenge to develop gadgets which actually help the poor and illiterate. While India's satellite launches and outsourcing news are already covered in slashdot umpteen times, sometimes her sensible achievements should be covered too."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Third World Research, Development & Innovation

Comments Filter:
  • Flame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 11, 2004 @10:42AM (#10493048)
    Her sensible acheivements should be covered too? Can we mark the article blurb as flamebait? Lets keep the bias out of the story. Please.
  • Query: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @10:44AM (#10493071) Homepage
    While India's satellite launches and outsourcing news are already covered in slashdot umpteen times, sometimes her sensible achievements should be covered too.
    Query: What's so darned not-sensible about a satellite launch?
  • Are we allowed to (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lifix ( 791281 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @10:49AM (#10493107) Homepage
    "It is nice to see that countries like India are trying to research communication techniques in backward and rural areas." Who are we to call part of India "backward"? The Indian people are making enormous progress in a comparable short ammount of time. The Indian people have launched satalites for purley educational purposes and are determined to fight illiteracy in their country. In many ways the Indian attitude towards education is superior to our own.
  • Re:Newsflash!!! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by ravind ( 701403 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @10:49AM (#10493112)
    As an Indian, let me reassure you, India is very much 3rd world.
  • Must be hard... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Yvanhoe ( 564877 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @10:50AM (#10493120) Journal
    ... to be a nuclear power, a spatial power, to be the biggest democracy in the world and still be considered a 'third world country'...
  • Wrong Topic ??? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by allden ( 748789 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @10:55AM (#10493158)
    Shouldn't the topic be "India's, Development & Innovation" instead of "Third World Research, Development & Innovation" ???
  • Re:Flame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Draoi ( 99421 ) * <.draiocht. .at.> on Monday October 11, 2004 @10:55AM (#10493165)
    Considering how many satellites are launched in the US and just how much of *that* goes to "actually help the poor and illiterate", given how many poor and illiterate people there are in the US. Using terms like 'backward' and 'third-world' are just a little offensive, no?

    Glasshouses and stones and all that ....

  • Re:Newsflash!!! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by haluness ( 219661 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @10:57AM (#10493178)
    > As an Indian, let me reassure you, India is very much 3rd world

    Maybe in infra structural terms (that too in certain parts). But attitude wise, I don't think so
  • Re:Query: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 11, 2004 @10:59AM (#10493199)
    While India's satellite launches and outsourcing news are already covered in slashdot umpteen times, sometimes her sensible achievements should be covered too.

    Outsourcing too .. what's not sensible about creating employment and encouraging education ones country ?

    Can you imagine a country refusing outsourcing? How stupid would *that* be?

    "No thanks, we want our economy to be shit and our people to starve so we dont want money and jobs."

    What would our own congress do?
  • by qbzzt ( 11136 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @11:05AM (#10493234)

    Who are we to call part of India "backward"?

    We do this because a large part of India is still where the west was centuries ago. Shortage of clean water, primitive communication, small scale inefficient agriculture, etc.

    The Indian people are making enormous progress in a comparable short ammount of time.

    I agree, and I'm also very impressed with that. But the fact that they are working hard to get close to where we are now means they also identify their current situation as backwards in many ways.

    In many ways the Indian attitude towards education is superior to our own.

    Poor doesn't mean stupid. The richer the country, the more the people think they can afford to be stupid. That's one of the reasons that previously rich countries tend to lose their status.

  • Re:Priorities? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 11, 2004 @11:06AM (#10493247)
    " Wouldn't it be better to not teach these people to read and help them with water and food qualiity first?"

    RTFA. Ok I know this is slashdot and everything. But I am tired of yet another clueless american telling us about our priorities without knowing what is going on here. There are people without food granted. But these programs are trying to correct that. And these programs are not about supplying Mp3 players to people who cant read.

    I dont know why the moment technology is mentioned, mp3 players are the first thing that pops to his mind. Ironically, you have to get your priorities straight.

  • Re:Must be hard... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reducer2001 ( 197985 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @11:07AM (#10493250) Homepage
    What about the US? How about we stop building weapons and educate our children? I mean, come on! Who are we going to use our nucular tipped bunker buster bombs against? A couple of tired 'terrorists' hunkering in a cave on the Pakistan border? Seems like using a shotgun to kill flies to me.

    I think a few well trained special ops teams could do the work of many of our over-powered weapons.

    You know, or not.

  • by greenhide ( 597777 ) <> on Monday October 11, 2004 @11:07AM (#10493252)
    In my opinion, well-managed microloans are *the* way to bring developing nations out of poverty -- not necessarily large-scale foreign investment. Large-scale projects generally seem, to me, to have a 50% chance of failure, with the cost of failure being rather high. In contrast, these smaller ventures tend to be more successful because they are more compact and can deal more quickly with changing conditions (which is also the reason that small businesses in the United States pretty much power the economy even if they only make a small fraction of overall revenue). Also, the cost of failure for these ventures is much lower (although generally the failure is on a more personal, tragic level).
  • by PsibrII ( 671768 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @11:17AM (#10493336) Journal
    Come on guys, why do you even bother posting this stuff on here ? Everything on 3rd world tech turns into a huge troll for all the knuckleheads who say they don't need technology or electricity, they need food, water, english and some form of the xtian religion noone finds too offensive.
  • Re:Must be hard... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 11, 2004 @11:26AM (#10493411)

    India has always struck me as a bizarre place: one of the poorest places in the world and yet they still feel they can afford to have nukes.

    It's not a question of affordability, but a necessity. At least if you want to prevent a "regime change" forced down your throat. I bet North Korea, for all it's fsck-ed up condition would not have that happen to them...

  • by reporter ( 666905 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @11:32AM (#10493474) Homepage
    Here is an assortment of some Slashdot articles about India?

    1. GPS to coordinate the trains.
    2. low-cost broadband into remote villages

    In 1960, Japan was low-tech. It was just emerging out of a textile-based economy, yets its quality of life is much higher than the quality of life in India in 2004 (40 years later). Japan had no GPS to coordinate the trains, yet they were always (and still are) on time. Educational levels in Japan at that time were high. Kids in remote farming enclaves in Hokkaido learned algebra, physics, and chemistry.

    The solution for India's problems is not found in hi-tech. Consider the fact that the ratio of male babies to female babies in India is 1.20. In Japan, the ratio in 1960 is 1.05, which is normal. Low-tech did not cause this lopsided ratio in India, and hence, high-tech will not fix the problem.

    Look at India's huge investment in the space program and nuclear weapons. In 1950, Japan had almost no investment in such wasteful programs. The Japanese were committed to a program of emulating the West and engaging in practical enterprises to raise the standard of living as quickly as possible.

    India is a failure because its culture is a failure.

  • Re:Newsflash!!! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by ravind ( 701403 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @11:46AM (#10493645)
    Really? This place where you're from, does it have a name?

    You might be an Indian elite who lives in a city, parties in Europe and drives a Mercedes to work, but all you need to do is open your eyes and you will see the slums you are driving past on a daily basis.

    You need to acknowledge a problem before you can fix it. Wishful thinking will not make it go away.
  • by ShakuniMama ( 785662 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @01:03PM (#10494615) Homepage
    When you're surrounded by China and Pakistan, in probably the most hostile region in the world (I'm discounting Israel because Iraq, Iran, etc DO NOT have WMDs), you have to innovate to survive. Just because some sections of the society don't hae adequate food, water and shelter doesn't mean that funding into scientific research is completely stopped before all come up to speed. Most of the time, science is what uplifts the poorer sections of the society.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 11, 2004 @02:10PM (#10495340)
    Wired recently ran an interesting piece [] on the latest round in the wars over evolution in the schools. If this continues, what are the long-term consequences for biological research in the U.S.?
  • by Zibblsnrt ( 125875 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @04:07PM (#10496638)
    I think it is quite relevant, and I think you ad hominem attacks are rather uncalled for. What you are implying is that the US should be spending on research at least as much, on a per unit of wealth basis (still as of yet not defined to my satisfaction)as India is currently doing.

    I await your pointing out where I said any such thing. I'm a patient man, but I suppose I'll be waiting for some time.

    There are some highways, but it is not a comprehensive national system by any means. Highways in India are what we call roads in the US. Roads in India are any man-made attempt at surface equalization. Packed earth counts as a road. Gravel counts as a road. Even the World Bank indicates only 500km of highways in India are actualy more than two lanes.

    Yeah, I'm going to call bullshit on this one []. 500km out of 3.3 million kilometers of highways are more than two lanes? Puh-leeze. Give me more sources to back that up and I'll consider it accurate, but until then I'm gonna flatly reject this.

    Why don't you go ask the starving children, dozens of whom will come to greet you the moment you step foot in that country, if that research means anything to them. I have no doubt that perhaps some interesting research goes on in India, but clearly there is disconnect between the ultimate goal of research, ie building a greater civilization, and the research that is currently taking place.

    Heh. Calls me on ad-hominems and then starts throwing false dichotomies around as though they have a connect with the real world. How cute.

    My usual question is to ask you where you get the idea that a nation of one billion people is only capable of either doing "useful" research, or the stuff you're dismissing as frivolous. You imply that they shouldn't lift a finger to do anything other than the most basic-needs type of stuff and discard anything else because it doesn't have immediate practical benefits.

    People keep making this asinine claim that the United States and a couple of other western countries are the only nations which should - or should be permitted to - undertake any kind of advanced research, with this general overtone of "you're not ready for this kind of knowledge yet." That strikes me as little more than despicable, hateful condescension, and I give it little more than the tiny scrap of respect if almost deserves, and nothing more.

    Researching obscure technologies is a luxury for advanced civilizations, which comparitively, India is not.

    So what, are you advocating that Indian researchers should be told what they may and may not learn about? And who gives you the right to define what is an obscure enough technology for us Civilized Folk to be able to learn about to the exclusion of everyone else?

    Research for the sake of research is a modern sickness.

    No, it's a very old and beneficial one. The current sickness is the active defense of ignorance. Unlike knowledge for its own sake, this one is actually dangerous. The ignorance involved in condemning the idea of 'pure' research is astonishing, to say the least.


  • by PaneerParantha ( 713034 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @04:43PM (#10496932)
    It is my considered opinion that the editors of Slashdot deliberately post stories about India's achievements and their sole reason is to invite slashdotters to make fun of India.

    Stories about China's achievements get applauded as "humankind's" achievements while the same about India are booed as someone trying to achieve high status. A projection's of the reader's thoughts is what it is.

    You guys and girls don't even know the history of India and you don't know what a belief her people have in her "tryst with destiny" (Nehru's speech on midnight of India's independence). Why are these two things important? Because
    (a) history teaches us something. For those whose concept of ancient-ness is 200 years, this concept would probbaly have no meaning. Consider this, for most of its history, India was a rich country which was a subject of invasions and immigrations. It was called a "bird of gold." But Indians became complacent and gave more attention to arts, poetry (and probably sex - an ancestor of mine wrote Kamasutra). It got invaded so much that it was under non-Indians' rule for 1000 years.

    And now when we develop nuclear weapons to prevent repeat of history, you history-less people have the gall to tell us we are wrong!

    (b) we achieved higher things before and by doing technological innovation we are only going back to the same level, we don't aspire for any high frikkin status. That will come with time and accomplishments.

    Here is the bottomline, take it or take it.
    We will continue to use technology.
    We will continue to develop further technology.
    We will continue to do whatever it takes us to protect the borders and peoples of India.

    If you dislike it, close your eyes, stop reading about India, and keep licking China's a$$.
  • or buy an ipod (Score:4, Insightful)

    by samjam ( 256347 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @05:48PM (#10497482) Homepage Journal
    Some standard is being set in India which prioritizes how work is expended. Right now, that standard is NOT the well being of the people of India. Who cares if 100,000 people get to research all they want when 300,000,000 can't even read? Who is advocating ignorance here?

    Which is like saying I shouldn't buy an ipod while there are people starving anywhere. Or wait, I should't buy a cell phone. Or a CD. Or even another pair of shoes if my first pair has any wear left - as long as someone somewhere is hungry.

    If one of the 100,000 was going to do research in USA or India, let them choose to do it in India. Don't make them be a primary school teacher, they make hate it and put people off learning altogether.

    Its a tempatation when dealing with figures to step too far and make decisions regarding peoples lives and freedoms - remove an arm here, make someone work in a coal mine there - as if its OK because the over-all picture is neater.

    I think the other guy had it right.

  • Re:Flame (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Joey7F ( 307495 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @11:37PM (#10500192) Homepage Journal
    No they aren't, they are minor aggravations. 97% of men and women older than 15 can read and write. In India it is 60%.

    12% of our population is below the poverty line, in India it is nearly twice that.

    Plus, our definition of poverty is different from most countries. To give an example, my grandmother is below the poverty line. Her life consists of living in a reasonably nice house, balanced diet (even goes out to eat with my mother), shopping, watches tv and just generally takes it easy. Once a year she comes with us to Disney World or some theme park and she spends a week at the beach with us. I dare you to say she is impoverished.

    We don't really have true poverty in the United States. Think of it this way (this is not original, an instructor of mine gave me this gem) we think of a poor family as being in a small house, having one car that is usually older, one tv set, going out to eat on very rare occassions etc.

    You just described a middle class family from 1964.

    Sure there is a little bit of true poverty (and we can never get rid of it) but we are doing damn well as a nation and more importantly as my Indian friends like to tell me 'everyone here has a (good) chance at success with hardwork.'

    When was the last time you paused to think how lucky you are?


Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.