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Amazon rainforest has its first wireless city under poverty alleviation initiative by Intel

Amazon rainforest has its first wireless city under poverty alleviation initiative by Intel

Amazon rainforest has its first wireless city under poverty alleviation initiative by Intel
September 20, 2006

Intel unveiled what it is calling the “World’s Most Remote Digital City” in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. The wireless, high-speed Internet network installation in Parintins, a town on an island in the Amazon River, is part of the tech firm’s initiative to treat the world’s poor as a market. Some economists have argued that addressing the world’s poor in such a manner could bring benefits that they have not seen through historical aid efforts.

Intel says it plans to invest more than $1 billion over the next 5 years to improve access to computers, the Internet and technology for people in developing communities.

A news release from Intel appears below.

Intel Chairman Unveils The World’s Most Remote Digital City

Amazon Effort Marks Global Movement to Bring Technology to the Next Billion People

In one of the most remote inhabited places on Earth, the Amazon, Intel Corporation has created a wireless, high-speed Internet network for residents to access vast resources of medical, educational and commercial knowledge through computers. The project is part of the Intel World Ahead Program, an initiative in which Intel plans to invest more than $US 1 billion globally over the next 5 years to accelerate access to computers, the Internet and technology for people in developing communities.

A boat transporting the 60 donated desktop PCs to Parintins, Brazil, pulls into port. Image courtesy of Intel.

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$100 laptop for children may be nearing production
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The $100 laptop may be nearing production after One Laptop per Child (OLPC), the nonprofit group behind the device, confirmed that the governments of four countries are in talks to purchase the machines.

Bill Gates says laptop for the poor is a joke
– March 15, 2006

Microsoft’s Bill Gates mocked a $100 laptop computer for developing countries being developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). MIT, with support from Google, AMD, Brightstar, News Corporation, and Red Hat, is developing the low-cost laptop to boost education efforts in the some of the world’s poorest regions. According to MIT, the Linux-based, full-color, full-screen laptop will use innovative power sources — including batteries or hand crank — and aims to do most everything that a standard laptop can do except store large amounts of data. The rugged laptops will be WiFi- and cell phone-enabled, and have USB ports, a 500MHz processor, and 1 gigabyte of storage capacity using flash memory instead of a hard disk.

The digital transformation of Parintins, a town on an island in the Amazon River, is expected to improve the healthcare and education of its 114,000 residents and advance the lives of future generations.

“Technology has expanded what is possible in Parintins,” said Intel Chairman Craig Barrett at a dedication ceremony today in the Amazon rain forest. “It is now a place where wireless broadband links to the Internet bring the expertise of specialists, sophisticated medical imaging and the world’s libraries to a community reachable only by airplane or boat.”

Working with the Brazilian government and business and education officials, Intel and its collaborators installed a state-of-the-art WiMAX network for a primary healthcare center, two public schools, a community center and Amazon University. Intel also donated and installed telemedicine equipment at the health center and computer labs at the two schools where students and teachers can regularly connect to the outside world for the first time.

“We’ve been blessed with this project,” said Parintins Mayor Frank Bi Garcia. “We’re really isolated and don’t have the conditions to receive the Internet with cables. So we’re receiving it wireless, from antennas, from satellites — access to wireless Internet is a great pleasure for us. This project will prepare this generation for the future.”

Intel led the effort in the island city on the Amazon River with support from Cisco, CPqD, Embratel, Proxim and the Bradesco Foundation, as well as Amazonas State University, Amazonas Federal University and São Paulo University.

Intel aims to extend wireless PC access to millions of citizens in Latin America and train more than a million teachers about the effective use of technology in the classroom. In Parintins, Intel has already trained 24 teachers through its education initiatives. The Intel® Teach Program teaches teachers how to use technology to improve the way students learn. The Intel® Learn Program provides job-readiness skills to underprivileged students between the ages of 10 and 18.

“The student, from the moment he gets in touch with other people, other cultures, with other information beyond the borders of his country, he gets a lot of benefits,” said Goncala Do Nacimento Pinto Filha, a fifth grade teacher in Parintins. “The community can keep up with evolution. It can feel equal in social terms as well.”

As part of Parintins’ digital makeover, Amazon University is starting a telemedicine program developed jointly with the medical school of Sao Paulo University. The new capabilities — including real-time, video interaction between specialists and patients hundreds of miles apart — give the town’s 32 doctors faster and greater access to the latest medical data or second opinions.

“Telemedicine for us is like a new weapon, a weapon from the future,” said Dr. Gregorz Maciejewski, municipal secretary of Health in Parintins.

Doctors say telemedicine will also help in preventing the spread of such diseases as AIDS and leprosy.

The solution in the Amazon is to be followed by others planned by Intel for isolated communities in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, where electricity and telecommunications are unreliable or antiquated and transportation is difficult.

The wireless infrastructure includes short-range Wi-Fi radio transmissions and WiMAX, which has an extended transmitting range of up to 30 miles. WiMAX is designed to be a less costly and more efficient way to build wireless computing and communications networks for broadband access.

Intel, the world’s largest chip maker, is also a leading manufacturer of computer, networking and communications products. Additional information about Intel is available at and at the Amazon Press Kit.

Occurring annually from September to April, the dolphin hunts are regulated by the Japanese government and conducted by groups of fishermen who herd hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dolphins and small cetaceans into shallow bays by banging on partially submerged rods that create a sonic barrier. The dolphins are then corralled into nets and dispatched in a brutal manner: speared, hooked, hoisted into the air by their tails, and finally eviscerated alive. The methods, say researchers, result in a long and painful death for these intelligent marine mammals.

The Japanese government has made the unsupported claim that the animals compete with local fishermen for limited supplies of fish and that the drives are in fact a means of pest control. Also, the “Act for Dolphins” consortium maintains that, in spite of the fact that the hunting of dolphins and use of their meat has waned in popularity, the government is actually encouraging the public to consume more dolphin meat; in addition to human consumption, dolphin meat is also used as pet food and fertilizer. The drive hunts also result in the capture of live dolphins for aquariums and interactive swim programs in Japan and China, in direct violation of the Code of Ethics maintained by WAZA.

“The Japanese dolphin drive hunts are an abominable violation of any standard of animal welfare, and these hunts inflict measurable pain and suffering on animals that are intelligent, sentient, and socially complex,” said Dr. Diana Reiss, Senior Research Scientist and Director of the New York Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Research Program.

The “Act for Dolphins” campaign involves scientists and veterinarians from the New York Aquarium, Emory University, the School of Medicine at the University of San Diego, Dalhousie University, the University of Hawaii, the University of Notre Dame, and professionals from the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The immediate goals of the campaign are to raise public awareness of the dolphin drive hunts , to boost measurable support through the group’s website petition ( which currently includes over 22,000 signatures, and to convince the Japanese government to end the hunts on ethical grounds.

According to the group, the ethical argument for ending the drive is supported by a solid foundation of scientific evidence indicating that dolphins possess the mental and emotional capacities for pain and suffering on a par with great apes and humans. It is also increasingly clear that dolphins have social traditions and cultures, complex interdependent relationships, and strong family ties all of which are susceptible to disruption or even dissolution in the drives.

“The scientific evidence is abundantly clear—the Japanese dolphin hunts are an assault on intelligent, sentient, and emotional beings with brains that should make us all stop and think” said Dr. Lori Marino, Senior Lecturer in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology at Emory University.

Aside from the issue of welfare, researchers point out that the dolphin drive hunts also raise concerns about the conservation status of several species of cetacean taken in the hunts, which indiscriminately target all species of cetacean. Besides bottlenose dolphins, which make up the bulk of the annual take, the hunts also include striped dolphins, spotted dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, false killer whales, and short-finned pilot whales.

Most of the species are included on the World Conservation Union’s Red List of Threatened Species. Also, the hunts have resulted in growing criticism from relevant management organizations on both conservation and welfare grounds, including the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the treaty organization that regulates the hunting of the great whale species.

Members of the public wishing to support the “Act for Dolphins” campaign can do so by signing the online petition to end the dolphin drive hunts in Taiji and Futo at

This is a modified WCS news release

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