Mathematics for Global Villagers
- I'm sharing a letter I wrote to our Minciu Sodas working group Learn How
To Learn. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/learnhowtolearn/
Hi Ricardo, Jacob, Mihal, Ed, greetings from Vermont! Yesterday I spoke
for two minutes with Stephen Wolfram about my proposal
We agreed that a good next step would be for me to write a proposal for a
smallest bit of work, which would be $2000, that is $1,000 for me as an
Investigator Coach and $200 each for 5 Investigators, for one or two
months of part-time work. And then if that was approved and went well it
would make sense to write a proposal for $15,000, which is $5,000 for me
as a Social Newtorker leading our work on a Challenge, and $10,000 for
The next two weeks I encourage us to think through how mathematics might
relate to our endeavors and our interests. I think that Stephen is most
interested in work that might show the value of our global team. He is
skeptical that such a team can do high quality work, yet he is very
interested in the possibility. So we should offer a project which we know
that we truly want to do and which we are interested to commit to in the
future and be a reliable source of mathematical information such as
numerical data, word problems, etc. The Includer project involves many
such design decisions that we do have an interest to collect data for.
And more generally, I think the project of "design for global villagers"
which would include Marcin Jakubowski's work, Mark Roest's vision, Ben de
Vries work, Peter Burgess's community impact accountancy, etc. would be
good to flesh out, start work on, and suggest. I ask for our ideas.
Ricardo, I will be traveling in Boston next week so its difficult for me
to schedule a call but much easier simply to try to call you when I am
online. The following week I should arrive in Chicago at David
Ellison-Bey's house and then it will be straightforward to schedule a
call. I think your ideas are great and we can set up our website
http://www.includer.org to organize the information. I think it's great
to have clearly defined, competing versions of the Includer idea and
document the progress being made on each one. Data relevant to design
including reports from the field on people's personal situations such as
the cost of Internet access, the bandwidths, all the variables including
personal income and expenses would be very relevant and a good
mathematical project to propose to Stephen Wolfram.
I hope next week to meet with Walter Bender of Sugar Labs (the novel
interface for One Laptop Per Child) thanks to Edward Cherlin and discuss
Thank you to all who gave answers at our survey
http://www.worknets.org/survey/ This was a very impressive part of my
presentation to Stephen Wolfram and all at the NKS Summer School!
Ricardo, I suggest that we design a survey of our participants in Africa,
India etc. regarding their access to the Internet and the computers. And
then based on that we consider the variants so that is driven more by our
participants situations rather than the technology. And then find leaders
for each situation and consider the technology that they might help us try
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Is it possible for us to have a phone call some time this week about the
way forward for Includer development? I can call you. If so, when is a
good day and time for you? The UK is 8 hours ahead of San Francisco at the
My diary is free nearly all this week, except for a chat with William
Wambura from Uyoga from 9 to 11 UK time on Monday.
You may have seen a few recent postings I made in learnhowtolearn, saying
I've been working on PDA-based Includers.
I've also added these updates to Worknets. Could you look at them before
we chat please? They are works in progress. I still need to add some info
to them. :-
PDA Inlcuder based on a Palm Z22 + Targus Infrared keyboard...
USB SyncBox flash drive copier, useful for Sneakernets and local File
I'd like to discuss which types of Includer to concenrate on,
team-building and setting up some online working area or website.
It could show the development-status of each design, with 'Reviews' in a
consistant style, like a magazine review or user-feedback :-
List of parts
What you can/can't do with it
What sort of 'ecosystem' each design needs to work in
Alternative products i.e. cost/benefit versus buying something else/a
This acts like a check-list, so we do the same analysis for each potential
design. We could fill in pages for Includer designs we have thought of so
far. Then we stand back and see which designs we want to pursue first. We
can chat about whether to work on a single design for a start or work on 2
or 3 in parallel. Working on a single design at a time a) Keeps the labour
and cost down, and b) Reduces confusion by only talking about one variant
at a time. We can discuss whether there are any advantages to doing 2 or 3
The main thing to discuss is who does the work and how it's organised.
Let me know a good day and time for you please.
Bye for now.