Juridical national measures on transport, politics and education
This second document deals around measures to
- Make a road-less/car-less system of transportation
- Improve the political system
- Improve the education system
- 1 Road-less/car-less system of transportation
- 2 Reform of the political system
- 3 Open source, base-education e-learning platform
Road-less/car-less system of transportation
At the moment, urban expansion is at his height and is causing enormous environmental damage. Road construction (which makes up a huge portion of this) is one of the main factors in this environmental desctruction. Not only do roads take up enormous amounts of space (for which forest land often needs to be cleared) but they also account to a huge decrease in biodiversity (as the forests are cleared which provide housing to animals) and as the roads are a source of noise/disturbance and work as a physical (virtually uncrossable) barrier for animals. These negative implecations of roads have been demonstrated by roads as the BR163, which cuts trough the Brazilian rainforest.
In addition, roads and cars have extra design-specific problems with them as easy clogging (with reduced speed/efficiency as a consequence) and a cost/or fuel-inefficient way of transport (ships and aircraft being much more efficient). These problems together with the costs of creating/maintaining the road itself have resulted in heavy financial losses. As such, a mitigation to a better system of transport is proving necessairy.
At the moment, cars and roads can (largely) be eliminated and replaced by a combination of
- in-city transportation: where (well-constructed) roads are kept in place, yet where cars are banned out
- and city-to-city transportation: where all roads and cars are to be eliminated (over time).
In-city transportation would rely on the following vehicles/modes of transportation:
- small or two-wheeled vehicles:
- electric scooters, segway PT's, Toyota winglets, bicycles, recumbent bicycles,
- cycle rickshaws, auto rickshaws, cabin cycles, velomobiles, motorised and human powered steps and monowheels,
- inline skates, heelys, ...
- communal transportation vehicles:
- subway, trolley, bus, monorail, folding city car (for point-to-point "cab"-trips only), skycab, Shweeb
- and by foot
City-to-city transportation would rely on the following vehicles/modes of transportation:
- by airways: regular communal airplanes, the new airships, personal air vehicles (PAV)
- by waterways: communal and personal boats and other water vehicles
- and by railways: trains travelling in non-eco-fragile environments or travelling underground
The city-to-city transportation vehicles should be seemlessly hooked up to the in-city transportation system/vehicles. This can be done by for example providing a good connection between trainstations, airports and busses, metros, skycabs, ...
Extra advantages for cities
Besides the environmental and increased efficiency advantages described by the elimination of (most) roads and cars, there would also be extra advantages for the city. As demonstrated in Shanghai and Seoul (see article), trough effects as the Braess paradox, traffic flow may be improved by implementing physical barriers in the city. By banning out the car (which can only be effectively realised in practice by putting up physical car-barriers as F-shape barriers or bollards) this same effect can be accomplished.
In addition, as cars (being 4-wheeled vehicles) would be largely replaced by 2-wheeled vehicles, the cities will almost inmediately be freed from the now contemporary traffic jams. This positive effect on the traffic flow and the enlarging of its capacity can be seen from cities that almost exclusively rely on 2-wheeled vehicles. Examples for this can be found in Dhaka (Bangladesh) and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam).
How the system can be implemented in practice Simply put, physical barriers as F-shape barriers and bollards would be placed at the edge of the city and would still permit passage to the city for 2-wheeled vehicles, but deny it for 3- and 4-wheeled ones. To still allow passage for 3-wheeled vehicles (and the occasional 4-wheeled one), provisions as retractible bollards (which may be opened only by certain people) can be placed.
The system would also be enforced by law by implementing a law that states that "all human-controlled, 4-wheeled vehicles intented for private use, are banned within city centres.
Outside the cities, 4-wheeled vehicles and cars would not yet be banned by law until further notice, and parking spaces would be set-up at the edge of town to provide people the further use of their car and allow them to phase it out gradually.
Note on the personal air vehicles
One of the new pillars of the system would be the personal air vehicle, which would allow people living outside the cities/city centres of swapping in their car for a better/more-efficient vehicle.
Aldough the best PAV-design or manufacturer is still to be determined, the best vehicles are those which combined a fully automated control with propeller-driven VTOL technology. These include the Aerovironment SkyTote, DM AeroSafe Group Aerocart, and Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey. Automated versions of these vehicles allow the use of zero-emission engine technology (as the compressed air engine, electrical engine on fuel cell, ...), unlike what is the case with turbofan or jet engine propelled vehicles (aldough hydrogen combustion is still a noteworthy exception to this).
- Design flaws of the road transport system
- Car-free cities
- Carfree movement
- Human-powered transport
- The BR-163 highway in Brazil
- Traffic bollards and F-shaped barriers
- Velomobiles, recumbent bicycles and cabin cycles
- Auto rickshaws and cycle rickshaws
- Personal air vehicles
- Heelys and PowerSkips
- Article describing the Braess-paradox
- The AeroVironment SkyTote
- DM AeroSafe Group Aerocart
- Smart Cities CityCar (folding) with automatic control
- The new airships as environmental transports
Reform of the political system
Why is a reform in the political system necessairy ?
As we have seen with the US government in 2001–2009, having a single person at the top is always hazardous given the size of the decisions he can make, and the consequences this may have as a result (e.g. climate change, US intervention in Irak, ...).
As such, we should have control mechanisms in place that ensure that no person, inequipped to hold such a powerful function/position is able to attain this position/function. Besides preventing of putting the wrong people in charge, we should also ensure that the people/groups at the base of the pyramid (ministers and political parties) work to address those problems/issues that are a priority, in that point in time and in that particular country. This means that completely independent research needs to be conducted and a huge variety of political agenda points need to be available. This requires a huge amount of political parties to be available, far more than the amount of parties currently available in any country (developed or undeveloped).
As a last issue, inefficient forms of government (forms of government that favor an elite; ie monarchies, ...) should be outruled.
Type of proposed government
Rather than having a single person on top (president, prime minister, ...), it is better to opt for a system where several people have the highest rank and can solve problems together and address the policy by compromise; (for the sake of convenience we'll refer to this group of politicians as the “upper politicians”. In most countries, something similar is already done using parties and their party leaders. In most instances however, each party leader of the most important parties all get a position as minister in one or another field. This clearly doesn't work and promotes corruption (this, as there is no direct communication and too much paperwork involved; the latter being prepared by the other members of the political party from which the minister was appointed from or from biased research units). Instead, ministers should be chosen independent of the political party they're in (so various ministers should be able to come from one party, and some most important parties may have no ministers coming from them at all). This can be achieved by the requirement for the political party members (political leaders or simple members) to have a degree in the field they wish to become minister of; no electing of an unschooled members (members without a degree) should be possible for this position. This can be made a legal condition, recorded in the law.
These people that are to all have the same, highest rank (“upper politicians” no presidents, prime ministers, vice presidents, ...should be able to be present) can be made up by ministers, each with their own jurisdiction (e.g. Minister of Energy, Minister of Environment, Minister of Home Affairs, Minister of Foreign Affairs, ...). A general set-up of the ministries should be made compulsatory and imbedded in the new system of government. At the moment, the ministries are all chosen by the country itself, and are thus all different based on the country (ie some have Ministry of Environment, others have a ministry of Ecology, still others combine some ministries -i.e. environment and energy, ...). Setting a uniform standard ensures that all countries all have a same amount of ministries and that thoses ministries are not handicapped by regretful combinations.
In order to stimulate as much political parties (with different political agenda points) as possible of being created, campaign financing should be outlawed. In instances where campaign financing is not outlawed, not all political parties are able to spend a same amount of money on their campaign. This handicap hence benefits parties that have much money (which is hence inheritly undemocratic) over those that don't have much money. This money comes from private founders/companies which often expect something in return (ie new laws that help them to increase their revenue), hence also promoting corruption. Instead of allowing political parties to set up their own campaign, information on the parties and their agenda points can be distributed via the public media, in shows specifically set up to cover elections. These shows can then cover each political party, in a uniform way. This measure would ensure that so much political parties will be created, that the party that is most crucially important in that point in time, and in that country, will attain the most votes/gets to power.
The meetings described can be held at set intervals (e.g. 3 times/year), or whenever urgently required. A similar set-up is also being followed in Tokelau, where meetings of island chiefs of state (or faipule) discuss regularly in country-wide meetings (or general fono's). Also, in many countries in Africa a (more or less) similar system can be found; knowingly the system of the "council of elders".
To give voters feedback, so that political parties can fine-tune their party on the main problems the voters put up front. At the moment, parties may have the intention to tackle both things people do and do not want to see handled. As such, the current political system can never be truly democratic (not one political party will ever completely be able to act in their representation, arranging things they do and do not agree on) To forbid ministers and political parties of talking freely/suggestively to press and other media; and with it reducing country leading into a farce. At the moment ministers can talk about 'proposed changes' and other matters without content, clearly giving fluent people an edge over the less-fluent ones (whilest genetically seen the latter might have more input). Besides this, in certain countries (e.g. in Latin-America), before elections things are announced that after the elections are never executed.
- Wikipedia's council of elders page
- Appropedia's Alternative Society page
- Wikipedia's Alternative Society page
- Movie recognising the current flaws of party politics
Open source, base-education e-learning platform
With the arrival of freely available (open-source) information from encyclopedia's as the Wikipedia and Encyclopædia Britannica and the arrival of on-demand courses from universities as the Open University, information and distance/e-learning has become available to everyone.
Now, the technology for distance/e-learning too is becoming well affordable (e.g. OLPC-project/50x15, Evo Projector, Espresso Book Machine, ...). Also, besides the lowered price of the technology, and the availability of a high-quality, uniform, open-source e-learning contents, the internet too is now providing a valuable tool for acquiring skills, learning and information gathering on the outside world (trough internet radio, google video documentaries, google earth maps, google books, open-source models (for diy-devices construction), ...
By combining this e-learning contents and low-cost technology, a completely new way of teaching and base education-approach can be given. This approach could, especially in the developing world, elevate the quality of education, decrease costs and increase the willingness of the poor of letting their children to follow education. Also, the system may be implemented in the developed world as well where similar advantages may be attained (albeith to a lesser degree).
Overview of the operation of the new distance/e-learning approach
|offline education packet (Wikipedia Release Version, books printed with Espresso Book Machine trough Google Books, ebook-resources as Tomeraider and Mobipocket and extra courses from universities and NGO's (e.g. from MIT's OpenCourseWare, Open University, the Survival School, SERE, ...)||on olpc/ultra mobile pc with headset and speech recognition, and on regular paper
used at home
|testing/revision of progress and lessons learnt
keeping of community gatherings (movie nights with educational movies, education/entertainment provision trough classical songs and audio, ...)
|on low-cost projector (Lumenlab Evo 1.2 or diy-projector), connected to the class' pc (preferably a Mini-ITX or other low-cost high-power pc as the DecTOP or Linutop; both equipped with voice recognition)
used at weekly class meetings The movies, audio and other educational material may be stored at a "base station", which connects directly to the wireless antenna and forms the bridge between the satellite internet and the community intranet. Over this intranet (which needs to be high-speed via WiMax, WiFi) the internet access is shared. Also, aldough the intranet should be very high speed, the satellite internet does not need to be (bandwidth requirements can be decreased by daily scheduled internet data (daily CNN broadcast, email via text-based protocol, ...). As such, monthly satellite costs (which are generally high) can be kept to a minimum (PS: Geekcorps Mali has done something similar, reducing bandwidth requirements by 80-95%).
|online educational material:
- Google Video
|on low-cost projector (Lumenlab Evo 1.2 or diy-projector), connected to OLPC/ultra mobile pc with headset and speech recognition
used at weekly class meetings P.S.: in countries where national (free) internet access is available, also on OLPC/tablet pc with headset and speech recognition used at home
As mentioned above, the main objective would be to provide base education for children (and young adults). The age range would thus be between 6–18 years. As widely known, basic education is the most important form of education people may receive and is able to keep children from participating in slave labour, crime, ... and ensure that they may become more prosperous than their parents (who are usually fishers/farmers in the developing world).
The project however is not intented for higher schooling/education, hereby thus ensuring that no competition exists with Universities providing distance learning courses. Not only would there be no competition, it would also provide the possibility of these Universities to aid in our project (as this may have benefits to them; e.g. on later recruitment, ...).
Intented achievements and further advantages
The project would focus on specific, usable/practical subjects and knowledge and disregard less usable subject-matters, still frequently given in schools in the developed world.
There would be a focus on:
- firstly, basic computer skills (to be able to retrieve the courses and other educational materials)
- basic knowledge on maths (basic calculating), geography (countries in the world and capitals, climate zones, wind systems, currents, ...), everyday technology (workings of electricity, energy production, how everyday technology as stoves, refrigerators, trains, ... work, ...), basic biology (evolution, origin of life, fotosynthesis, ..), the earth (raw materials, structure of the earth and solar system, natural phenomenons, ...), cultures (types and meaning of the main religions, greatest structures in the world, most important people, ...)
- practical knowledge and techniques to allow the children of aiding their family financially (e.g. cooking/food gathering, clothing repair/manufacturing, tying knots and sometimes house construction, construction of diy-domestic electric devices as passive solar heaters, water boilers, ..., field orientation, repair of electrical/mechanical equipment as personal vehicles and electric domestic equipment, basic herbal medicine, ...). Besides aiding the family practically/financially, it would also ensure that parents remain willing to keep sending their children to school. For this reason too, the classroom with projector would be used for special gatherings of the community (e.g. to display (educational) movies, ...).
- to provide knowledge on the types of jobs they may one day perform in society (thus job orientation) and aid them practically in this
- to provide knowledge on the outside world (showing real life examples of cities, cultures, types of world music, popular books, ...)
- to adapt them so that they may function in the international world (by learning them fluent (simplified) English, etiquette, fashion and personal hygene, ...) and adopt an environmentally and ethically sound lifestyle (see below).
Subjects that are not really usable in practice and which would be dismissed
Implecations for the Ubuntu/Fedora operating system, and the OLPC/ultra mobile pc with headset and speech recognition-version used:
- Only the international (English) version of the OLPC/ultra mobile pc is to be used and no translated forms are to be allowed
- It would also be helpful to demand the OLPC-team (if this is used) of implementing a WiMax-capable wireless receiver, a GPS-receiver into the OLPC and a satellite internet receiver (for satellite phoning, communication, ... ) This would allow the device to be even more helpful to the children and their families by allowing better field orientation and communication in times of emergency. If required for the gps-function, the amount of storage room too is best expanded (500mb might not be enough).
- Rather than Fedora, Goobuntu (perhaps along with the suggested modifications of my last letter) could be used, which may be better aligned with the educational (Google) services. Perhaps some suggestions noted in following document may be imbedded: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dcwtr665_190fz23z2gx or locally at Linux adaptations for UMPC design
- For Edubuntu, the KDE Edutainment Project may be better aligned with the subject matter (e.g. KLatin etc. should be removed, ...), better aligning of GCompris with the subject matter, better aligning and rethinking of the LTSP Thin Client (as the OLPC has better performance (500mhz CPU), and unique computer networking on its own)
Extra notes and considerations
- It may be helpful to write to National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, ... to open-source (part of) their picture/video archive. This so that this information/pictures/video documentaries, ... may be used to improve Wikipedia and Google Video. Alternatively, Google Video may opt to buy certain interlinking/key documentaries so they may be used in the courses.
- This project may also be linked with 3 other projects I worked out and sent to the Virgin Earth Challenge to maximise its humanitarian assistance.
- The project would best be sponsored by organisations as the World Bank, UN and/or by countries interested in introducing this project in their country. As the project is totally in line with humanitarian organisations, there might be no problem in this. In addition, trough resolution 2861, the UN has stated clearly to be interested in a global-wide/international learning approach (see UKOWLA: why link). Also, organisations as the Musk Foundation may provide financial/practical support.
- Organisations as UKOWLA and Global Kids may provide additional logistical support in setting up the system
- At least in some countries (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh), the project can make use of voluntary (unpaid) or low-payed teachers to lower expenses of the project (see below)
- Finally, certain countries as the Comoros (of which the present is condoning new ways of education as trough his TV-station Ulezi) may provide additional support for the possible set-up of the base education project along with its complete underlying system of national internet access and simplification of city services (as described in the linked document below).
Extra clarification on why a Ultra-Mobile PC (Samsung Q1, TabletKiosk Sahara, ...) is chosen over other computers (as OLPC, ...) and isn't this device expensive ? The main reason why this device is to be chosen is because it has just the right amount of computing power to still run a non-embedded (yet preferably simplified form of) Linux and perform cpu-intensive tasks (as playing movies, audio, ...)
In addition, rather than the OLPC (which is still quite big), the UMPC is still small enough to be carried along all the time. In addition, it makes the most efficient use resources, power consumption and finally deals with the archaic/outdated computer controls as keyboard and mouse. Finally, the screen size would be about the same size as the OLPC. When this is still not enough (e.g. movie nights, presentations, ...), the low-cost diy projector would be connected and used anyway.
On regards of the pricing, aldough this is still high, one must remember that other expensive equipment as radio, TV, ... no longer needs to be bought. In addition, given the expected success in the future prices will drop anyway (as more production initiates this) and perhaps (due to the use of on-server services; thus non-cpu labour-intensive apps as Google Maps), the cpu/technology used in the device does not need to be so high as what the Samsung Q1 uses, allowing some components of being lowered in performance/price (perhaps allowing the use of handhelds as the Nokia N770/800, Aeronix Zipit, Pepper Pad).
- Wikipedia Release Version
- MIT's OpenCourseWare-project
- Universities offering subject-matter via distance learning
- Extra possible input from survival schools, and NGO's
http://www.bamboostic.be/ (NGO focusing on bamboo construction techniques) http://www.survival-school.org/ (The Survival School, which has information on field orientation, construction, ...) (SERE program)
- Open educational resources
- Volunteerning (unpaid) teachers in India
- Low-paid teachers in Bangladesh trough BRACeducation
http://www.unesco.org/education/efa_report/chapter4.pdf (see page 32)
Non-compulsory learning approach
- Global Kids and Global Kids' Digital Kids Media Initiative
- President of the Comoros supporting new ways of education
- Goobuntu (Google Linux distribution)
- $100 laptop (OLPC-project)
- Ultra-Mobile PC with headset and speech recognition
- Mark Anderson of SNS predicting the rise of the UMPC in 2008 ("Ten Pedictions for 2008")
- Mark Anderson's interview by Peter Day (World of Business program; "GlobalBiz: Mark Anderson 01 Jan 08") In this documentary an overview of the "all-screen" Ultra Mobile PC is presented
- BBC's Digital Planet of 1 Jan 2008, marking the need of new technology for hands free writing
- E-slate handheld example showing that educational computers may be used no larger than 9x5 inches
- Tablet pc's already created at low cost, marking the possibility of lowering the price for UMPC's as well
- Class pc (DecTOP and Linutop) Note: the class pc will use the projector both as regular computerscreen as well as to allow many people to view movies
- Class pc (Mini ITX)
- Other possibilities (instead of satellite internet) for internet connection.
review of HSDPA Other techniques (iBurst, UMTS, ...) that can be used trough the use of a USB or integrated modem http://www.stompboxnetworks.com/intro.html example on how to connect a wireless modem with an access point (example shows WiFi; not WiMax); also w:femtocell devices are similar in approach
- Other possible low-cost laptops than OLPC/tablet pc
TabletKiosk Sahara/Axiotron Modbook (recommended; expensive dough) http://chinese.engadget.com/2006/10/12/china-sinomanic-notebook-appear/ (Sinomanic) http://www.classmatepc.com/ (Intel Classmate) http://www.zonbu.com/home/ (Zonbu) http://eeepc.asus.com/global/ (Eee PC) http://www.dataevolution.com/clio%20info%203.htm (Clio NXT) http://www.ink-media.com/ Ink PC
- My proposal for a improved Samsung Q1 Ultra Mobile PC, which is several times more efficient, being fitted with a dynamo (as the OLPC), speech recognition and touch screen and a simplified form of linux
- EELS (EduVision E-Learning System); on which most of the system is based
- Invineo Communications System
- Document describing the system of national internet access
- Reducing satellite internet bandwidth requirements by Geekcorps Mali
- DIY-router enclosure ($10)
- Geekcorps Mali VSAT study
- Internet access as a human right
- WiMAX as a tool to nationalise internet access
- Wifi-networks already covering allot of cities
- Espresso Book machine (EBM)
- Lumenlab's cheap and durable projector
- Projector build with LED-lamp
3M Mpro 110 Altering of DIY projector to include use of the longer lasting LEDs instead of HID-lamps http://hackaday.com/2006/05/23/ccfl-backlight-replaced-with-white-leds/ http://meuk.spritesserver.nl/projects/dlpbeamer/ http://www.elektor.nl/artikelen-als-pdf/2008/februari/led-it-beam.350445.lynkx
- Documents from which further possible subject-matter may be derived for use in the project
http://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=dcwtr665_9d8pdwh&hl=en (science/technology subject matter, lifestyle tuition)
- http://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=dcwtr665_4ds2cq7&hl=en (lifestyle tuition, ...)
- http://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=dcwtr665_5hdz48t&hl=en (lifestyle tuition, measurement units to be used, ...)
- Additional links on specific issues for Goobuntu/Ubuntu:
- KDE Edutainment Project
- LTSP Thin Client
- The OLPC's unique features to which Edubuntu needs to be adapted
http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Core_principles/lang-en (see networking) http://rfdesign.com/news/laptops-wireless-connectivity/ (see networking; the OLPC uses Nortel Networks P2P networking) http://laptop.org/en/laptop/hardware/specs.shtml (see better performance; trough the better CPU, RAM, ...)
PS: The base-education system might also be used together with a self-designed wallet system and other set of tools, to be worn at all times. This system/set of items may be found at Survival wallet