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If anything, humanity (and children, as per your example) have always been damaged by LACK of information, not by free access to it.
With that information disclosed, it could be analyzed by independent experts all over the world who would then pitch in with all sorts of things your ubermensch Japanese engineers missed.
At any rate, in principle it's always a bad idea to have this attitude towards information that belongs to the public. This attitude of "we, the old men in power know better than you ignorant childen" which is demeaning at best and leads to catastrophe at worst.
I don't know if developing math skills helps with what is mostly a craft such as programming, but I think that encouraging an anti-intellectual atmosphere in the programming community will only lead to an even greater abundance of insultingly crappy code that consumes more effort and causes more frustration than any other factor in the industry.
As I said, the elderly Japanese better realize they don't really have a whole lotta options here. Robots? that's a pipe-dream and everyone knows it. The Japanese are just in denial, and the longer they keep it up, the longer it's gonna hurt them.
This man has no friends, and all everyone wants from him is his work.
It is true that he would most likely be way better off if he used that work to make himself rich, but that's up to him and it's insulting to propose that he owes it to complete strangers such as us.
Only the iPhone/iPodTouch + GoodReader app + pdfs combo actually satisfies my mobile book reading needs: I'm carrying the phone anywhere anyways, the screen size has proven itself big enough for reading (though one has to get used to it) the app mentioned has pretty good functionality and dealing with bare pdfs (wish it supported djvu, alas) spares me from corporate arbitrariness and other bs.
Using this combo, I wonder why anyone would want a Kindle or similar non-pocket sized devices. If you have to carry something large, why not just get a book instead?
"Save the children" rather than fixing some of the underlying problems. For example, Iodine deficiency is perhaps the most cost effective human capital fix there is. Yet the Gates foundation has only given a few million to that cause as far as I can tell. Vaccines are sexy, saving children is sexy, makes your altruism feel good. Iodine in salt - not so sexy, no discernible results for 20+ years, no great feel good effect.
Oh awesome - Nikolas Kristof wrote about it : here
Unfortunately, the most cost-effective aid interventions tend to be the kind that are incremental and save only a small proportion of lives—and are thus least satisfying to the giver. For instance, my wife, Sheryl WuDunn, and I have recently published a new book, Half the Sky, arguing that educating and empowering women is the most effective way to fight global poverty and extremism. In the book we call on the U.S. government to adopt a program to help poor countries iodize their salt. Right now, about one-third of families in poor countries don't get enough iodine, and the result is not so much goiters as diminished intellectual capacity. Iodine is essential to brain formation for a fetus in the first trimester, and if a mother lacks iodine her child may end up mentally retarded. More commonly, children in such areas lose 10 to 15 IQ points, with girls particularly affected for reasons that aren't fully understood. This is a lifelong intelligence deficit and a significant burden on poor countries, and it can be resolved very cheaply; iodizing salt costs a couple of pennies per person per year.
Studies have suggested that iodizing salt brings real economic returns of nine times the cost—and yet we don't do it. The reason is, I think, that the results are statistical, not visible. You can never look at a child afterwards and say, "This girl would have been retarded if it weren't for iodized salt." All you can do is note that retardation rates fall and that, a decade later, school performance improves significantly.