From noted BBC Documentary Filmmaker Terry Jones comes
this remarkable footage.
I have to admit that just watching this makes my heart race. This is already beyond superfantastic incredible – just imagine what this colony could do with XO laptops!! They could check out weather reports over the Southern and Pacific oceans before take off. Get a heads up on local hotspots along the way, or maybe on some exciting side trip excursions. They could even file a proper flight plan to comply with FAA regulations!
And that’s just on the journey north! Once they land the synergy possibilities are mind boggling. With the proper translation and language packs installed, I’m already seeing some amazing avian cross species learning taking place between our penguins and those tropical toucans. Just imagine the profound growth potential as these two wildly different communities come together and share and document their deep cultural histories using the Record and FotoToons programs on the XO!
And when it’s finally time to say goodbye and begin the long flight back to Antarctica, they can continue their new found friendships thanks to the XO’s chat and email – or with tech assistance from olpc’s support gang, maybe even Skype!
It seems that my dream to be the first to bring the XO laptop
to the penguins of Antarctica has died a snowy, icy death.
Why is it that every time you get an idea of unimaginable brilliance,
someone always beats you to it?
In my Antarctica/XO research/google image searches I came across this heart sinking photographic evidence that the XO laptop has already arrived upon Antarctica’s shores.
My only hope is that this is only a photo op, and not an actual deployment. In my favor, there seems to be no evidence of teacher training, maintenance plans or curriculum integration. In fact, the penguins do not yet seem to have even discovered this tantalizing technological marvel only meters away from them.
Still it’s only a matter time. Definitely when I get to Antarctica, I’ll need to hunt down this particular laptop and check its journal. Though I pray for brilliance in the form of amazing etoys, pippy and turtle art projects, I fear that without proper outside guidance, I’ll mostly see chat sessions and a lot of maze games. And I shudder to even think about what’s going to be in that internet browser cache.
Protected by their totally slammin red NSF Polar Jackets, the passengers of a Boeing C-17 Globemaster are released to the Antarctic ice
The austral summer season is nearly over so it looks as if I’ll have to wait until at least October 2012 to start my initial Penguin Laptop pilot.
Obviously the way to do this properly is to acquire a National Science Foundation grant. That way I’ll be able to arrive in style via the cargo hold of a luxurious Boeing C-17, courtesy of America’s Forward Antarctica Base in Christchurch, NZ – as well as enjoy logistics support from the US Navy. Plus if I play my cards right, I can snag a snazzy NSF Polar Jacket which could be ever so helpful for impressing the snow bunnies that populate the ski lodges of the Barbarian Alps.
The danger of course is that lost in the glaze of catchy titles like, Interplay of iron limitation and dynamic irradiance in governing the phytoplankton distribution and Quasi-Lagrangian measurement of polar stratospheric cloud particle development, the bureaucrats at the NSF could potentially fail to see the genius of my proposal.
In which case I may have to gain passage on a National Geographic Cruise Ship Expedition, and fight my way through the hordes of amateurs with their massive Nikons and Canons swinging from their necks, so that I may do my vital work.
Should such a tragedy befall me, my mantra will then become, as always, it’s for the penguins.
Apologizing in advance for the crudity of this rendering
I have to admit, at first the problem of powering these laptops had me stumped.
Penguins colonies in Antarctica are pretty much off the grid, and the idea of running electrical lines just isn’t practical with the heavy yearly snowfall. Most deployments would use solar, but with the continent’s long winters of complete darkness, I fear this option would be less than useless. Small backpack diesel generators which the penguins would wear could conceivably work, but refueling would be an issue and besides it could very quickly become an environmental disaster. And don’t think I didn’t consider backpack nuclear fusion generators. That would be awesome as hell, but just too expensive.
So I’m wracking my brain, trying to think of what energy resources Antarctica does have to work with and suddenly it just all comes to me in a flash. Wind! Average speed oh say 40 mph, peak, 200 mph. That’d supply the few watts needed for the XO’s screen and processor, no problem.
My first thought of course would be these cute as hell propeller hats for the penguins. But upon further reflection, I realized the neck strain from wearing such a thing in 40 mph plus winds would make concentrating on the small precise movements necessary to move the programing tiles around in Etoys nearly impossible.
So I’m going with a three blade prop on a telescoping rod with a small backpack to house the magnets and electronics. Plan to prototype it with LEGOs and a gutted XO hand crank from OLPC-SF. Then it’s just a matter of getting it out there to the Maker community for feedback and then on to Taiwan for production in volume.
Yep. I think we can call this energy problem solved.
Were the Southern Ocean to suddenly turn a singular shade of dark purple,
and mysterious giant floating letters spelling out “Satellite” and “View” suddenly
appear off Antarctica’s Atlantic facing coast, this is approximately what the
continent would look like on a cloudless day from earth orbit
Gotta admit this whole venture is getting me just a little excited.
Antarctica has been on my horizon since my early teens when they were picking Eagle Scouts to ship out there on an annual basis. Though I failed to be chosen, (Due to procrastination issues, I failed to even fill out the application form) the great white continent has in years since drawn me with an unyielding, relentless pull.
To now think that I could be making a real difference, instead of being down there just to launch some weather balloons for a few Boy Scout publicity stills, sweetens the pot even more. If all goes per my thinking, I will literally be transforming the lives of dozens of young, impressionable penguins. And should this wild experiment succeed, from there, hundreds, maybe thousands, maybe even an entire lucky species of say Adélies, Chinstraps, Emperors, Gentoos, Macaronis, or Rockhoppers penguins.
Or maybe, just maybe – dare I even think it?…all of penguindom.
Can you even begin to imagine the future for these two youngsters once they strap themselves into the raw, awesome potential of the XO 1.75 laptop?
The revolutionary One Laptop per Child XO laptop has active deployments on every continent on the globe save Antarctica.
Why is this? A strong argument could be made that it is because children in Antarctica are fairly rare.
But penguins are another matter. There are a ton of them. Plus have you ever seen a documentary on penguins? Freezing temperatures, long separation from their families and spouses, months without light or food, fighting off seals just to get a bit of fish. Difficult problems yes, but problems that have been and can be solved by proper education. Just wait till we have these young penguin chicks trained on the latest in open source computer technology, guided discovery and constructionist thinking.
That’s when we will see Antarctica’s penguins really start kicking ass.