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Africa, Clooney, and an Unlikely Space Race

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the everyone-wants-to-get-there dept.

Space 137

MightyMait writes "There's a plan underway to build a space agency run by African nations, and there is a (non-fictional) George Clooney connection. This BBC article details the history of space exploration in Africa as well as current efforts. Quoting: 'To Western eyes, it may seem rather inappropriate to launch space programs in sub-Saharan Africa, where nearly 70% of the population still lives on less $2 a day. Yet Joseph Akinyede, director of the African Regional Center for Space Science and Technology Education in Nigeria, an education center affiliated with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, says that the application of space science technology and research to "basic necessities" of life – health, education, energy, food security, environmental management – is critical for the development of the continent.'"

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137 comments

send Clooney to space (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45658513)

Good, it's about time someone did some non-fictional space travel. Might as well be Clooney.

Re:send Clooney to space (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45658543)

Gattaca!

Re:send Clooney to space (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 4 months ago | (#45658695)

Is there any space travel at all in gattaca?

I vaguely remember many shots of rockets leaving but no space.

And if KSP has taught me anything it's that having a nice and pretty rocket in the first stage doesn't mean in second stage you won't become a large ball of fire an debris.

Re:send Clooney to space (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 months ago | (#45659047)

No actual space travel, just the heartwarming story of how the guy with the life-threatening cardiac defect subverted screening procedures in order to endanger the entire mission, and all his crewmates, on a months-long journey to some other planet in the solar system.

It's a triumph of the human spirit, or something.

Re:send Clooney to space (3, Informative)

TrekkieGod (627867) | about 4 months ago | (#45659679)

No actual space travel, just the heartwarming story of how the guy with the life-threatening cardiac defect subverted screening procedures in order to endanger the entire mission, and all his crewmates, on a months-long journey to some other planet in the solar system. It's a triumph of the human spirit, or something.

That's a misunderstanding of the story. Vincent likely didn't have a heart condition. He got discriminated his entire life because his genetic profile said his DNA indicated he had a 99% probability of developing a fatal heart condition. He could be the 1 person in 100 with that DNA marker who never develops said heart condition, but in their society nobody was willing to give him a chance.

What he did was legitimately endure GATTACA's physical tests, spend an entire childhood swimming out farther and farther away from shore with his brother, and beat his life expectancy of 30.2 years. Everything indicating he had no health problems.

Re:send Clooney to space (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#45659735)

Everything indicating he had no health problems.

Or if he actually did have such problems, they weren't going to show up in the next few months. It's also worth noting that a society that hardcore about eugenics and authoritarianism wouldn't be above lying to get more people to genetically tailor their offspring. I wager that blowing past his expected lifespan like that was probably an indication that the prediction was proganda nonsense in the first place.

Personally, I found the story rather bizarre. It's nice that you're genetically perfect. But you won't be after a few months exposure to deep space radiation.

The hero is precisely the sort of person they would send instead of the shiny people. He's healthy enough to serve and not going to get any worse genetically by Gattaca standards. And he'd be far cheaper because of the huge bias against employing such people.

Re:send Clooney to space (2)

chihowa (366380) | about 4 months ago | (#45660837)

Vincent likely didn't have a heart condition.

I thought the treadmill scene, where his erratic heartbeat plays instead of the 'metronome' and he runs to the locker room clutching his chest, was supposed to show that he actually did have a heart condition.

Human spirit and all, I think the mushroom was right. At the very least, he was living on borrowed time. Not cool.

Re:send Clooney to space (1)

Silpher (1379267) | about 4 months ago | (#45659341)

In fact KSP teached me more than any documentary about space travel... period.

Re:send Clooney to space (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 4 months ago | (#45659545)

I wholeheartedly agree and if I had anything to say on the matter, planting a flag on each planet would become part of the elementary physics curriculum.

Re:send Clooney to space (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45658771)

Can we send him to the sun?

Joseph Akinyede (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45658519)

I am Joseph Akinyede, director of the African Regional Center for Space Science and Technology Education in Nigeria.

Having consulted with my colleagues and based on the information gathered from the Nigerian Chambers Of Commerce And Industry, I have the privilege to request your assistance to transfer the sum of $47,500,000.00 (forty seven million, five hundred thousand United States dollars) into your accounts. The above sum resulted from an over-invoiced contract, executed, commissioned and paid for about five years (5) ago by a foreign contractor. This action was however intentional and since then the fund has been in a suspense account at The Central Bank Of Nigeria Apex Bank.

We are now ready to transfer the fund overseas and that is where you come in. It is important to inform you that as civil servants, we are forbidden to operate a foreign account; that is why we require your assistance. The total sum will be shared as follows: 70% for us, 25% for you and 5% for local and international expenses incidental to the transfer.

The transfer is risk free on both sides. I am an accountant with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). If you find this proposal acceptable, we shall require the following documents:

(a) your banker's name, telephone, account and fax numbers.

(b) your private telephone and fax numbers —for confidentiality and easy communication.

(c) your letter-headed paper stamped and signed.

Alternatively we will furnish you with the text of what to type into your letter-headed paper, along with a breakdown explaining, comprehensively what we require of you. The business will take us thirty (30) working days to accomplish.

Please reply urgently.

Best regards,

No, do not believe him! (4, Funny)

cripkd (709136) | about 4 months ago | (#45658549)

Guys, this is a scam, do NOT reply to him!
Mr Joseph Akinyede, if that's your real name, I have already contacted the police and they are on their way!

Re:No, do not believe him! (0)

They'reComingToTakeM (1091657) | about 4 months ago | (#45658573)

Whoosh!

Wow, really? (1)

cripkd (709136) | about 4 months ago | (#45658649)

Meta-whoosh!

Re:Wow, really? (5, Funny)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 4 months ago | (#45658937)

What you have to ask yourself now is: What if the first woosh was the actual meta-woosh.

And just like that I invented the quantum woosh pair. The entangled meta woosh states now exist in super positions of themselves.

Re:Wow, really? (1)

thomst (1640045) | about 4 months ago | (#45659403)

Posting to undo an inadvertently-incorrect moderation. Still getting used to the "glide" feature on my Synoptics touchpad. I meant to moderate VortexCortex's comment +1 Funny.

Re:Wow, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45659889)

Is the Woosh Cat:
a) Dead?
b) Alive?
c) Both at the same time?
d) Neither?
e) A fast moving zombie?
f) A slow moving zombie?
g) A botnet zombie?
h) Michael Jackson's ghost?
i) All of the above?
j) None of the above?

Re:Wow, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45660257)

What if his name really is Joseph Akinyede and he is a scammer. Then there would be nothing meta about this at all.

Re:No, do not believe him! (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about 4 months ago | (#45658927)

I'm the real Joseph and this guys spamming is making it hard for me to find a contractor for my Sub Saharan Space Rocket(SSSR) program that I have been given the budget of 50 million dollars (50.000.000 US$) for.

If you can find someone to pay the Tender Fee of ten thousand dollars(10,000 $US) for the Liberian Aegis Bank Limited fees regarding this budget, we are authorized to pay you a maximum consulting fee(tax free under provision 123 of the SSSR contracting contract) of 650 000£ into an account of your choosing.

Please Contact as soon as possible, PO BOX 87877676(Road Twelve, Staden 1, 00300 Sweden).

Re:Joseph Akinyede (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45658621)

This is a good first time effort my friend. We would like to contract your services for future wrtings of these messages to gullible rich Westerners. You have shown that you have a good firm grasp of the English language and have not been influenced by too many action film and spy movie plots. We have noticed that everytime we manage to improve our use of your language in a written medium, more gullible people step forward to help with our schemes. Please contact me atAnyamondo.Cowaridi@yahoo.com with your most excellent resumen, bank account details (so we can pay for your services), private and fax numbers and a letter indicating why we should hire you. Signed by you personally. We look forward to aa most excellent and enjoyable future relationsip!

Agreed with Akinyede (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45658523)

When you have tens of millions in abject poverty, a few billions won't change their fate. Better to use it to advance your technological prowess and the spill over from that can eventually help the poor.

Re:Agreed with Akinyede (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45658675)

More specifically where it can help is in job creation. Where do you spend those billions? If you import resources and labour it's not going to help you, but if it's all spent at home (and Africa has plenty of resources and labour awaiting training) you're pumping a lot of money into the market while pulling people out of poverty. Those people then have more to spend which means the rest of the economy gets a boost. The problem Africa has had until now is very little investment and what there is (mining etc) tends to be exploiting their resources for the gain of foreign companies, so they haven't seen that happen before. I don't know whether it'll work as well has they hope, but I can certainly follow their reasoning.

Re:Agreed with Akinyede (2)

Cryacin (657549) | about 4 months ago | (#45658907)

Um... no... See "Broken window fallacy"

Re: Agreed with Akinyede (3, Insightful)

JWW (79176) | about 4 months ago | (#45659605)

This is not the broken window fallicy. They don't have any windows to break.

It's not like they had functioning rockets and threw them out so they could fix them.

Re: Agreed with Akinyede (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#45659639)

But they do have windows to break. Public funding comes from somewhere, either present or (more likely) future taxpayers. Those taxpayers are buying rockets (or more likely, rocket theater) - that's the "broken window", the economic activity that they're forced to fund.

Re: Agreed with Akinyede (2)

JWW (79176) | about 4 months ago | (#45659841)

That's not what the broken window fallacy is about.

Its not about generalized government spending. It about breaking things that are fine to spur on stimulus by spending money to fix the things that were broken.

Re: Agreed with Akinyede (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#45659867)

Its not about generalized government spending.

It is when the pretext as in this case is to stimulate an economy.

Re: Agreed with Akinyede (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about 4 months ago | (#45660267)

They aren't talking about pissing money away. They are investing in infrastructure that does not yet exist. Infrastructure spending often brings multiple returns on investment. If the US passed a bill to spend a 100 billion dollars repairing bridges and tunnels, it would not be an example of "the broken window fallacy".

Re: Agreed with Akinyede (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45661157)

If the US passed a bill to spend a 100 billion dollars repairing bridges and tunnels, it would not be an example of "the broken window fallacy".

No, it would be yet another example of Obama giving handouts to his union buddies.

Re:Agreed with Akinyede (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45659079)

You have just about every large tech company in Africa trying to mine anything they can get, so it isn't like they're an unexplored resource. (or in this case exploited resource). This is what people were complaining about when the US decided to "free Iraq", where were these "freedom fighter" concerns for countries like Africa that are littered with nothing but violence at every level of human depredation, at every corner of the country.

I was interested in space and all that but when you grow op you realize that this money isn't going to do a damn thing to solve the issues on this planet! And it is as if these space agencies have pretty much given up on the planet. Were going to be around for a couple billion years and the race will adapt to whatever is thrown at it. Take care of the shit going on first, then worry about space.

And lets say something does happen (the end) which could be at anytime then this was a waste anyway, they'll be few if anyone left with any knowledge, or skills to keep it going.

Clooney is a fuckin' idiot to begin with, like most of these celebrities they have no talent, they are only around because of there looks, I still get a laugh when they call themselves artists, or how they are changing there "craft", you watch one movie with them in it, and your pretty much going to get the same talentless performances from any other movie there in.

Re:Agreed with Akinyede (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#45659651)

And lets say something does happen (the end) which could be at anytime then this was a waste anyway, they'll be few if anyone left with any knowledge, or skills to keep it going.

Unless those people happen to be somewhere else where the bad stuff isn't happening.

Re:Agreed with Akinyede (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45659987)

You have just about every large tech company in Africa trying to mine anything they can get, so it isn't like they're an unexplored resource. (or in this case exploited resource). This is what people were complaining about when the US decided to "free Iraq", where were these "freedom fighter" concerns for countries like Africa that are littered with nothing but violence at every level of human depredation, at every corner of the country.

I was interested in space and all that but when you grow op you realize that this money isn't going to do a damn thing to solve the issues on this planet! And it is as if these space agencies have pretty much given up on the planet. Were going to be around for a couple billion years and the race will adapt to whatever is thrown at it. Take care of the shit going on first, then worry about space.

And lets say something does happen (the end) which could be at anytime then this was a waste anyway, they'll be few if anyone left with any knowledge, or skills to keep it going.

Clooney is a fuckin' idiot to begin with, like most of these celebrities they have no talent, they are only around because of there looks, I still get a laugh when they call themselves artists, or how they are changing there "craft", you watch one movie with them in it, and your pretty much going to get the same talentless performances from any other movie there in.

Oh goody... the opportunities... where do I start? OK, so here it goes:
1) It seems to me like you are calling Africa a COUNTRY! Sara Palin, is that you?
2) Apparently you think the space race was not worth a damn? What about the advances in material technology and elsewhere that it brought about? What about its contribution to the end of the very same Cold War that in large part fueled it to begin with?
3) If you have no space exploration, how do you expect to get a head start when (or if) good old Earth becomes insufficient to sustain mankind? What organizations like NASA are doing is slowly and gradually sow the seeds of something that we may need for survival a hundred, three hundred or seven thousand years into the future.

Re:Agreed with Akinyede (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about 4 months ago | (#45660373)

Were going to be around for a couple billion years and the race will adapt to whatever is thrown at it.

Two words: Extinction-level Event. Hence why we need to be able to get off the planet. Even assuming that doesn't happen for billions of years (wasn't there that hypothetical big asteroid that killed the dinosaurs? How many billion years ago was that?), you're assuming we won't have comprehensively fucked the environment in the next couple hundred years.

Take care of the shit going on first, then worry about space.

So basically, we're never ever going into space again. Okay then.

Re:Agreed with Akinyede (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45660443)

You shouldn't worry about fucking up the environment too much. Humanity will surivive for sure. In the hundreds of millions, most likely, of course, with reduction being caused by famine mostly. People that die off will mostly be the poor, which really can't contribute much to humanity until they're not poor, which requires a lot of energy, which requires fucking up the environment even more. Quite the trap 22.

Seriously. The only way to avert catastrophic (to humanity) ecological change is to figure out how to make poor people not have children. Keep population down in the billion level and humanity can do all it does and worry about the environment a lot fucking less.

About escaping to space... You realize you're not going to do that with billions right? Hundreds. Thousands maybe. It's certainly not going to include much middle class folk or poor people.

Re:Agreed with Akinyede (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about 4 months ago | (#45660627)

You'll have to forgive me if I don't take the survival of the human race as flippantly as you do...

The number that survives an ELE is irrelevant, as long as they are able to form a stable reproductive pool.

Re:Agreed with Akinyede (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45661271)

figure out how to make poor people not have children.

There are two strains of solutions that have been developed.
1) Capitalist solution - wealthy societies produce fewer children so encourage wealth creation and the population growth rate slows dramatically all by itself
2) Liberal solution - kill people, promote abortion (especially amongst non-whites), promote homosexuality, sterilize people (well, poor people anyway)

Keep population down in the billion level and humanity can do all it does and worry about the environment a lot fucking less.

Your hysteria about the environment and desire to reduce the population by 85% suggests you ideologically prefer solution 2). Another potential homicidal tyrant identified.

Re:Agreed with Akinyede (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about 4 months ago | (#45659583)

The proposal for building an African space agency sounds too good to be true. Most likely it will go into the pockets of corrupt government officials and contractors who won't get anything done and the project will be scrapped afters years in an artificial limbo.

I would say its better to put the money into getting people fresh water, sewage treatment, waste disposal and training/equipment for sustainable farming. They have to learn to crawl before they can walk.

Re:Agreed with Akinyede (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45660143)

The same argument could be made for just about anything "non-essential" such as Olympic teams, symphonies, museums, etc.. At least a space program has the potential to result in technological advances beneficial to the people. It would almost certainly have a positive effect on "STEM" education.

The thing is, it doesn't have to be a huge investment, at least not on the scale of traditional programs like NASA, ESA, JAXA, etc.. Launch services are getting cheaper, and the range of options is expanding. You don't have to build (or even buy) your own rocket, you can hitch a ride as a secondary payload, not to mention cube-sats and suborbital options. In a few years there will even be multiple options available for AU-funded astronaut flights (SpaceX, Sierra Nevada come to mind).

This is exactly the sort of market that Bob Bigelow wants to serve with his inflatable hab-modules. For a couple-hundred mil$ the AU could send an entire crew to a Bigelow station for a few months of research. Compared to the amount of money that regularly gets grafted or wasted in those economies, this is a bargain.

I have no idea whether any of this will be realized, but I don't think it's an "inappropriate" use of their money. Far from it.

[taiwanjohn: posting as AC to preserve mod points]

Great for African telco prices (3, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | about 4 months ago | (#45658559)

This will be very positive for regional telco prices. As more efforts like Regional African Satellite Communication Organization (RASCOM) move forward, Africa will enjoy much lower call cost and more bandwidth.
As Ethiopian jet maintenance shows, Africa will enjoy the benifits of its own space science technology advancements over time.

Space exploration is critical for Africa now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45658593)

Sure, $2/day is relative and can mean anything. Our grandparents lived a healthy life on about the same amount but due to inflation the dollar became worthless. Ignoring this though, I'm pretty sure not all of Africa is starving and there are some pretty damn wealthy countries there. Despite that, I don't think this warrants space exploration but rather an investment in weather manipulation would probably be best for the dry areas? Education / removal of religion would probably do them good. Can't feed a family of 10 from the good word, now can you? I know personally that preaching to not use condoms, and to have as many kids as physically possible is part of religious values but it causes a lot of poverty and spreads a lot of diseases. That's why I made that suggestion earlier.

Re:Space exploration is critical for Africa now? (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 4 months ago | (#45658611)

Sure, $2/day is relative and can mean anything. Our grandparents lived a healthy life on about the same amount but due to inflation the dollar became worthless.

I'm not sure what you're trying to demonstrate here. Your grandparents lived on $2 a day when $1000 bought you a car. Today's starving africans live on 2 of today's dollars, when $1000 buys a wing mirror. Your point is...?

Re:Space exploration is critical for Africa now? (2, Interesting)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 4 months ago | (#45658641)

The thing is, they can and do live on 50c a day, but you cannot. The whole situation is different there. I'm not saying that living on 50c a day is pleasant, but if you would try to live on that, you would die of starvation within 10 days or so, but they will still be there and be happily making even more babies to live in even worse conditions later.

Re:Space exploration is critical for Africa now? (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 4 months ago | (#45658689)

Anyone can live on 50c/day, as long as they are there.

It's common for backpackers to discover after a while in Thailand that they can live for 1€/day and decide that their plan to stay as long as money allowed made no sense, as a simple call to their parents for a tiny bit of money would pay them another year there.

that adjustment is included. Rice 8 cents per serv (3, Insightful)

raymorris (2726007) | about 4 months ago | (#45658751)

You're mistaken, it really is $2 / day, exactly like if you lived on $2 / day. You THINK you'd starve. In fact, you'd find out rice is 8 cents per serving. Potatos are slightly more. You've probably bought ramen noodles at 12 cents. You can eat on 30 cents per day. You're not eating at Olive Garden or drinking Starbucks, but you're eating.

At that, some people in Africa DO starve because they don't jhave the 30 cents per day. You could live off three packs of ramen per day, so can they - it's exactly the same. The only difference is that you and I complain about overdone pizza, they would rejoice over the same pizza.

Re:that adjustment is included. Rice 8 cents per s (1)

Megane (129182) | about 4 months ago | (#45660127)

12 cent ramen? Ewwww, that's the crap stuff. I'll keep splurging on the 16.7 cent Maruchan ramen, thank you very much.

Re:that adjustment is included. Rice 8 cents per s (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 4 months ago | (#45660309)

Thanks, you saved me from having to post that.

I'd add that things like cooking fuel are cheaper in the US as well. Where you'd have a problem, though, is housing. The governments in the US do not tolerate the same sorts of shanty towns that exist in Africa.

Re:that adjustment is included. Rice 8 cents per s (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 4 months ago | (#45661105)

Housing - exactly. In most of Africa, housing is basically free, since they steal the building materials and the electricity, coal or oil. That is the main diff between say Alabama and Nigeria.

The poor will always be with us (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 4 months ago | (#45658617)

Poverty is the oldest profession...

Re:The poor will always be with us (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45658665)

"A lot has changed in the past 300 years. People are no longer obsessed with the accumulation of things. We've eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions. We've grown out of our infancy."

Ooops, sorry. That's the kind of fictional work that George Clooney normally does.

Re:The poor will always be with us (3, Interesting)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 4 months ago | (#45658707)

Poverty is the oldest profession...

I disagree. Poverty is very unnatural. Many natural professions predate even the possibility of poverty: Hired muscle, Prostitute, Priest, Slaver.

Re:The poor will always be with us (3, Interesting)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 4 months ago | (#45658951)

Poverty is the oldest profession...

I disagree. Poverty is very unnatural. Many natural professions predate even the possibility of poverty: Hired muscle, Prostitute, Priest, Slaver.

This begs the question. Are the apes not poor by human standards? If we gave them jobs wouldn't they be impoverished prior, and haven't they been since before humans had jobs? Additionally: Have you never considered the first Hired muscle, Prostitute, Priest, and Slavers took up the job because they were too poor not to turn it down?

Re:The poor will always be with us (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 4 months ago | (#45658971)

No, they are not. Poverty is an artificial construct that depends on a previous one, which is property.

An ape can't be rich nor poor, as he has no property. The first thug, whore, shaman or slaver, did the "job" in exchange for something other than property. Be it protection, food or pleasure.

Re:The poor will always be with us (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45659543)

Poverty is an artificial construct that depends on a previous one, which is property.

Poverty is the absence of possessions. "Possessing" something means being able to make decisions about how that something is used.

An ape can't be rich nor poor, as he has no property.

An ape can possess a stick by having the physical ability to use said stick for that which an ape would want to use a stick. An ape cannot enter into a written contract with other apes regarding the stick, but he can assert ownership of the stick by repelling the efforts of other apes to use the stick. Thus, an ape can own property and be rich or poor. I suppose you are trying to make some idiotic Marxist or anti-capitalist or anti-human progress point about property. Just which silly, unrealistic utopian vision of the world are you pushing?

The first thug, whore, shaman or slaver, did the "job" in exchange for something other than property. Be it protection, food or pleasure.

Food is property. Protection is the guarantee of security for person or possessions. Collectivist ideologies destroy security by placing ownership in the hands of whomever claims to be using a society's property for the "good of the people" and lead to much abuse of drugs and alcohol. Pleasure is clubbing other hairless apes with sticks.

Re:The poor will always be with us (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#45659685)

Poverty is the absence of possessions.

If there are no such possessions to not have, then there wouldn't be poverty by that definitioin. Having said that, I'd say that poverty is the condition of having to spend most of one's time and resources satisfying basic wants such as food and shelter. That would make apes poor.

Re:The poor will always be with us (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45659771)

I'd say that poverty is the condition of having to spend most of one's time and resources satisfying basic wants such as food and shelter.

Different societies have different definitions of poverty. In black America "poverty" means spending most of the equivalent of $40,000 yr. in government handouts on crack while buying food with a stolen credit card.

That would make apes poor.

Do apes always spend most of their time satisfying basic wants? Seems like I've seen films of lazy-assed gorillas who just lie around chewing on banana trees all day.

Re:The poor will always be with us (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45659391)

This begs the question. [..]

No, it doesn't [begthequestion.info]

Re:The poor will always be with us (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45660103)

Poverty contrary to what many believe is a luxury allowing the most profilgate waste of humanity. Poverty is a luxury no nation can affort. Poverty is not a profession it is a waste.

I discussed in detail the economic progression of a tiny town in the Philippines with a city councilman. He had good plans and was making progress. I pointed out to him that the poor who lived subsitance in his community would be displaced by the progress towards prosperity. I also pointed out to him that he could neither afford to continue with the poverty or fail to make a place for the people displaced by progress. I pointed out that he must find a gentle way if possible to force these people to adapt to the world that was coming and that he did them no favor by allowing them to stay poor or allowing them to fail to adapt to the new way of living. I told him of the experience of the United States of America where we chose to allow people to remain poor by housing them in projects after displacing them. I explained how they and their successive generations were now bankrupting us and preventing our progress and nothing had been done to bring them into adapting to the future. --- He was incredibly thankful for the understanding and explanation of the problems ahead.

We need to understand these conditions for all of us. We all are affected. Probably the greatest problem with this is that human beings adapt over long periods of time and the adaptation of technology and its effects on us are nearly instantaneous.

Yea sure no problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45658711)

There is a video on the internet in which hundreds of Africans celebrate their first rocket launch. The launch attempt captured on the video is one of the funniest shits I've ever seen. Those goofy Africans. Space? I think they should wait one or two centuries for that.

Giving everyone $2/day: (2)

tlambert (566799) | about 4 months ago | (#45658783)

Giving everyone $2/day:

1.033 billion people * $2/day * 365 days/year = $754 billion

That's assuming that, because of local scarcity, the influx of cash doesn't just inflate the cost of everything, leaving everyone in exactly the same place they are today, only unable to afford food next year.

About the best aid we could possibly send to Africa would be to hire a bunch of Academi assassins to take down the corrupt politicians who are causing food aid to rot on the docks while the people the politicians want to oppress starve so that they can't rally sufficient effort to stage a violent overthrow of their corrupt governments.

Re:Giving everyone $2/day: (4, Funny)

tlambert (566799) | about 4 months ago | (#45658793)

"...hire a bunch of Academi assassins to take down the corrupt politicians..."

Maybe we should do a kickstarter?

Re:Giving everyone $2/day: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45659833)

"...hire a bunch of Academi assassins to take down the corrupt politicians..."

Maybe we should do a kickstarter?

With Bitcoin! And Blackjack and hookers. Don't forget the hookers!

Re:Giving everyone $2/day: (2)

Trepidity (597) | about 4 months ago | (#45658839)

The assassination thing gets tried now and then, but assassinated leaders have a habit of being replaced by other leaders, who are not always better. Sometimes, instead, they're replaced by multiple would-be leaders and a civil war, also not necessarily better.

Re:Giving everyone $2/day: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45660359)

> assassinated leaders have a habit of being replaced by other leaders, who are not always better. Sometimes, instead, they're replaced by multiple would-be leaders and a civil war, also not necessarily better.

In those cases you just try again until you deplete the pool of bad leaders, or terrify the remaining ones into being good.

Re:Giving everyone $2/day: (1)

upside (574799) | about 4 months ago | (#45659619)

Food aid is a poisonous gift. You might feed a bunch of people, but it undercuts the livelihoods of local farmers, and just creates dependency on handouts. Disaster relief is one thing, but without a transition plan towards self sufficiency it is almost worse than nothing.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/rights/commentary-dependency-hinders-development [globalpost.com]

I saw a documentary about the aid industry in Haiti, and it was quite disgusting. Local builders and plumbers living in tattered tents without proper sanitation, just living on hand me downs from aid agencies whose interest was already focusing on the next disaster. Real aid would help the locals help themselves, not pay for aid industry fat salaries and materials manufactured in the donor countries.

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/10/09/opinion/where-does-aid-money-really-go/ [cnn.com]
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9545584/Poverty-barons-who-make-a-fortune-from-taxpayer-funded-aid-budget.html [telegraph.co.uk]

Re:Giving everyone $2/day: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45659791)

Giving everyone $2/day:

1.033 billion people * $2/day * 365 days/year = $754 billion

/quote>

That's the amount the world spends on the military IIRC.

Re:Giving everyone $2/day: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45660243)

$754 billion is about the amount the US spends on the military, IIRC.

Sounds like politicing to me (0)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | about 4 months ago | (#45658827)

> the application of space science technology and research to "basic necessities" of life – health, education, energy, food security, environmental management – is critical for the development of the continent.

If a country can't even provide clean drinking water to their people then how in the fuck do they expect to give them space-age technology? It doesn't matter what they might learn from space travel, because they can't even make use of technology, like water purification, that was perfected more than half a century ago!

The first B in BBC stands for British, right? (1)

madenglishbloke (829598) | about 4 months ago | (#45658847)

So how come someone from the UK isn't allowed to access that page? FTA: We're sorry but this site is not accessible from the UK as it is part of our international service and is not funded by the licence fee. It is run commercially by BBC Worldwide, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the BBC, the profits made from it go back to BBC programme-makers to help fund great new BBC programmes. I can sort-of understand non-UK readers being prevented from seeing things paid for by the License Fee, but UK residents being prevented from reading something NOT paid for in that way? **facepalm**

TFA (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | about 4 months ago | (#45658855)

Well, I just learned something new today. Even though TFA is BBC, and I am UK, I'm actually region-blocked from viewing it!

BBC Future (international version)

We're sorry but this site is not accessible from the UK as it is part of our international service and is not funded by the licence fee. It is run commercially by BBC Worldwide, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the BBC, the profits made from it go back to BBC programme-makers to help fund great new BBC programmes. You can find out more about BBC Worldwide and its digital activities at www.bbcworldwide.com.

If you are looking for health, technology, science and environment news in the UK, please visit:
Health, Technology, Science and Environment.

You'd think they would just show me the page alongside whatever advertising they deem to be appropriate for their commercial service, but I guess there must be some arcane rule in their charter which prevents that.

Bureaucracy can be a strange beast.

IT IS THE BRITISH WAY !! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45659025)

And that sir or madam is the problem !! First wrong side of the road !! Blimey !! Whatever that is !! Second is paying for a license to own a telly or trying to hide from the triangulators looking for scofflaws !! B;imey !! Third is living on an island that if it were not for the American Gulf Stream would be colder than a witches tit !! BLIMEY !!

New idea for Africa what does your think about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45658873)

Spice Rice?

Yes?

Spice is already in-breed to the rice. No spice needed after market. Crowdsource?

Funding (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45659001)

Ahhh! So this is what all the nigerian spam was for! Funding for space program....

They could of told me this instead of trying to convince me that some late princes wife needs to transfer 1500000000$ out of the country and need my help (and my credit card number for ID verification!)

Quote (0)

IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) | about 4 months ago | (#45659421)

'To Western eyes, it may seem rather inappropriate to launch space programs in sub-Saharan Africa, where nearly 70% of the population still lives on less $2 a day

And he would be correct all around. I think Africa has larger issues to deal with first, before sending someone into space...but that's just my viewpoint

Re:Quote (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#45660167)

I think Africa has larger issues to deal with first, before sending someone into space...but that's just my viewpoint

Investment in space investment in Africa (which is a big place) is also investment in infrastructure in Africa, because you can't achieve it otherwise.

Africa needs space (3, Interesting)

XB-70 (812342) | about 4 months ago | (#45659425)

When I was a kid in the 60s, we had an African student stay with us. He was studying climatology. He was also fascinated by space. After graduation he returned to his home country. Using the information he had acquired, he collected satellite data on weather conditions (which was very advanced thinking for that time). He went into the country-side and advised local farmers of impending droubts, locust infestations and floods. The first year he did it, they were, at best, dismissive. When he went back to them after his forecasts has proved correct, they eagerly listened to him and it changed the agrarian economy. He also advised fishermen of temperature changes off-shore indicating optimal times to fish. This allowed local fishermen to get out to the fish before the huge Japanese trawlers came and took everything.

He went on to have his own department at the local University.

Of course, because of his good work, his nation rewarded him with threats to the lives of himself, his wife and his family so I won't state his name or other information about him here.

Might sound racist.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45659485)

But the real reason africa is in such disarray is because of corruption on every level. I don't see how you could get a space program going in such an inefficient climate.

In the unlikely case they got the ball rolling, all kinds of "officials" would chime in saying they don't have permits for this or that. Extend that for a couple of years, and it will brake the most powerful spirit.

Really sad, but realistic.

Re:Might sound racist.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45659849)

Why would pointing out the corruption of African govts be racist? It is a testament to the degree of indoctrination suffered by many westerners that they feel the need to carefully examine any negative statement involving blacks in any context for possible racial insensitivity. A crook is a crook. Africa didn't invent (well, maybe Africa did, depending on human origins) and doesn't have a monopoly on political corruption. The white countries of the west are wealthy and function well because they developed the cultures and institutions that create wealth and provide security in body and property for the individuals in those countries. There is no reason to feel guilty about coming from a well-functioning society and no reason to feel guilty about pointing out how screwed up other countries are. Such attitudes of excessive self-examination can lead to self-loathing which will inevitably result in Detroit.

Re:Might sound racist.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45660563)

But the real reason africa is in such disarray is because of niggers.

FTFY.

This is just the latest scam. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45659577)

This is just another scam to redistribute wealth, putting more money into the hands of the pillaging strongmen of Africa. Poverty in Africa is a product of culture. Changing African cultures is the only way that poverty can be significantly reduced. Pillaging govts perpetuate poverty. Opportunity encouraging govts create wealth.

Third world people = third world country (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45659633)

What a joke. "it may seem rather inappropriate to launch space programs in sub-Saharan Africa" - due to the fact that the average IQ of an African is 70. Which means they haven't got the BRAINS to have a space program, and thus don't deserve one. Unless 'whitey' does it all for them!

I know - white people can DESIGN and BUILD the rocket, spaceship, spacesuits, computers, mission control, radio equipment, etc.etc. then GIVE it all to worthless Africans, then the worthless Africans can fly an AUTOMATED rocket into space, and claim "Look, we Africans are just like you whites! Can we call come and live in YOUR countries now?"

Are you sick of this Jewish nation-wrecking yet? Of course not. You'd rather silence anybody who doesn't agree with your god, the T.V., and watch as your children's country is destroyed beyond repair.

United Nations thinks it's a good idea (4, Funny)

tomhath (637240) | about 4 months ago | (#45659677)

Yet Joseph Akinyede, director of the African Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Nigeria, an education centre affiliated with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, says that the application of space science technology and research to “basic necessities” of life – health, education, energy, food security, environmental management – is critical for the development of the continent.

Yea, send more UN money. I'm confident that the leaders of those countries will spend it wisely.

Only to the fools (3, Insightful)

morgauxo (974071) | about 4 months ago | (#45659955)

" it may seem rather inappropriate to launch space programs in sub-Saharan Africa, where nearly 70% of the population still lives on less $2 a day"

Only to the fools.

A space program creates jobs, develops technology and gives people somethig to be proud of and aspire towards. It will always be easy to count the money that goes into any space program but the benefits and money coming out will outweigh the cost. It's harder to count that though so the fools will always be around holding manking back.

I don't care what you are working towards, wherever you set your goals you will almost always fall a little short. If their goal is just to provide everyone the minimal basics, food, clean water and shelter then they will fail to do even that. If their goal is to make continual progress and achieve great things the outcome will still be less than the goal but the basics will be more than covered.

We don't need to convert populations living off of $2 into populations living off of $3. We need to convert them to healthy, prosperous and advancing communities everywhere and in every way.

Re:Only to the fools (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45660341)

Well Said. People adapt to the goals and expectations given to them in their environment.

As for the "West," given mass unemployment, stagnant economies, disappearing manufacturing jobs and reduced R&D development they are in no position to criticize.

Quite frankly many of them could use expanded space programs in their own countries. And particularly the US, which has lost 5,500,000 + manufacturing jobs in just the last 10 years to China and other Asian countries who take space exploration and scientific R&D seriously. Also the US continues to waste over $600 billion/year on pointless military expenditures (instead of infrastructure and govt supported R&D) while the rest of the world recognizes such behavior as pointless and invests in scientific research.

sigh (1)

koan (80826) | about 4 months ago | (#45660345)

"'To Western eyes, it may seem rather inappropriate to launch space programs in sub-Saharan Africa, where nearly 70% of the population still lives on less $2 a day."

To everyone's eyes.

The point is not the $2 a day (0)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 4 months ago | (#45660511)

The point is if the population are dumb enough sheep to be taxed to the tune of billions total to fund the likes of NASA, NSA and
a couple of other acronyms and don't do anything about it but sit there and find ways to rationalize it all because the cognitive
dissonance does cause some unease.

Yeah yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45660739)

We tried that before in the '70s. Look up OTRAG. What's different this time?

The USA has saved a lot of money. (1)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | about 4 months ago | (#45660775)

We've saved a lot of money not REALLY bothering with space -- not really being serious about it anymore. Instead we've got this REALLY IMPORTANT deficit, but it doesn't exist when bailing out banks and being in really expensive wars hiring contractor mercenaries for ten times the regular soldier.

And so we've kind of become less inspired, less a beacon of hope and progress, less interesting.

Wasting money on inspiring children, on basic research and on people always pays for itself. The alternative is to horde and grow less.

Equator (1)

GuB-42 (2483988) | about 4 months ago | (#45661007)

Several countries in Africa are traversed by the Equator, which is a good place for launch facilities.
Maybe that's the idea.

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