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Comment I've had them (Score 5, Interesting) 63

I lived and worked for years in a tribal village in Peru, and they were pretty common there. Studies seem to show that wearing shoes and socks helps keep you from getting bitten, but my anecdotal evidence seems to be that shoes and socks makes it worse. Sandals seem to be the best option. My kids always seemed to wind up barefoot no matter what they left the house wearing. Anyway, every night I would check each kid (waist down) for sand fleas with a flashlight. If we caught them early, they were no big deal, but if not...ouch! After 3 or four days, those suckers HURT! My son once had one when I went out of town that was probably a week and a half old, and it hurt so bad that he couldn't sleep. They almost had to anesthetize him to get it out (not a terribly safe proposition where we were) but with 5 adults holding him down, they were able to get it. Ugh. I would never let one of these grow in me on purpose.

Vegetative State Man 'Talks' By Brain Scan 202

c0lo writes "'Severely brain-injured Scott Routley hasn't spoken in 12 years. None of his physical assessments since then have shown any sign of awareness, or ability to communicate, thus being diagnosed as vegetative (vegetative patients emerge from a coma into a condition where they have periods awake, with their eyes open, but have no perception of themselves or the outside world).' Scott Routley was asked questions while having his brain activity scanned in an fMRI machine. British neuroscientist Prof Adrian Owen said Mr Routley was clearly not vegetative. 'Scott has been able to show he has a conscious, thinking mind. We have scanned him several times and his pattern of brain activity shows he is clearly choosing to answer our questions. We believe he knows who and where he is.' As a consequence, medical textbooks would need to be updated to include Prof Owen's techniques, because only observational assessments (as opposed to using mind-readers) of Mr. Routley have continued to suggest he is vegetative. Functional MRI machines are expensive (up to $2 million), but it's quite possible that a portable high-end EEG machine, costing about $75,000, can be used at a patient's bedside. Phillip K. Dick's world is one step closer."

Comment I live in one of Peru's OLPC communities (Score 5, Informative) 274

I live in a tribal village in Peru, and the kids here have OLPC laptops. The trouble is bigger than teachers who have not been educated to make good use of the laptops (although that is an issue too). There isn't electricity here, much less internet (except my personal VSAT). While a computer loaded with educational resources is useful without an internet connection, it is a nice shiny green and white brick without power. For all of the hoopla about hand-crank or foot pedal chargers, I haven't seen one. When my solar panels are pulling in enough power, I'll charge one up for a kid or even let them on the internet, but my resources are limited in these areas too. will be hard to REALLY evaluate the effectiveness of a machine like the OLPC until we have solved these basic infrastructure issues.

Comment Re:Not new (Score 3, Informative) 38

I live in a rural village in Peru. There IS money here, even though everyone here is a subsistence farmer. There are some government programs that wind up putting a very small bit of money in people's pockets. Sometimes people will leave the village for a few months to work a menial job in town somewhere. And sometimes, people decide to grow a small amount of a cash crop (like coffee or cacao), which they can then carry two days to sell for $1-$2 per kilo. Once money is in the village, it gets passed around for work or in trade for produce or game.

Comment Re:Depends on where I am (Score 1) 367

Sounds good to me. I do a city/village back and forth too. Right now, I'm in the city on my "fast" 600/256 kbps connection, but when I go back to the village next week, I'll be on a 256/128 kbps, ridiculously expensive VSAT system. Wireless isn't an option, between the mountains and the 200 mi to a city with non-dial-up internet. Beats the snot out of the 3x weekly shortwave radio check-in we did before. There's dark fiber run to the city, and it was set to turn on a few weeks ago. We're in Peru, so that means that we're likely still a few weeks off, but we ARE in any day now mode. When that gets turned on, I'll get a BLAZING FAST 3mbps for about double the $50/month I pay now. At least fruit is cheap here.

Comment Re:Ping (Score 1) 245

If your satellite provider is "doing it right" (and most of them do), they'll proxy everything on its way up from a datacenter somewhere with a fast pipe and send it all on up to your remote router in a chunk, and your request ends at the router in the next room. If they didn't do this, the latency would be a much bigger issue.

Comment Re:Ping (Score 1) 245

Try having VOIP with 600ms of latency, or just a video chat. It is incredibly annoying.

Much less annoying than having to route all of your communications through a short-wave radio. I'll take VOIP (or even video chat) over a terrible VSAT connection any day. In fact, I do. It's all a matter of perspective.

Comment Re:Ping (Score 1) 245

Yup, most days, via a bi-directional VSAT connection. It's slow, but usable. I browse Slashdot while it loads up (30-60 seconds). Once it's loaded, it's pretty snappy. Honestly, though, I figured the fractional (split up to 10 ways) 256kbps that I pay over $300 for was more to blame than the latency, especially with Chrome's and Firefox's DNS caching. (I wish I had the VSAT pricing and competition available in the USA!! Alas, VSAT options in South America are pretty limited. I'll take a look at this service too, but I expect it won't be available here.)

Comment Re:Also this is not the audience you want. (Score 1) 462

Actually, I've lived for a number of months in the last few years without internet access. The closest thing I had was a 3x/week short-wave radio check in for safety/big news. (I live the bulk of my time in a small, totally off-grid village in the Amazon.) My conclusion: VSAT. My new internet connection is ridiculously expensive, and worth every penny.

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