One in 11 Africans is now a mobile subscriber…Africa has an average of just one land line for every 33 people, but cellphones are enabling millions of people to skip a technological generation and bound straight from letter-writing to instant messaging.

This article from the New York Times today, “Cellphones Catapult Rural Africa to 21st Century, is amazing to read and contemplate. While some are happy to blast away at a perceived dehumanizing and enslaving role of technology (I am thinking here of outsourcing / offshoring complainers who see global economics as zero sum) we have this article describing amazing economic benefits of cell phone technology within developing nations. Consider this story from the article:

Before the tower went up, Ms. Skhakhane communicated with her husband by letter. She waited weeks for a response. The nearest public telephone, outside a little shop more than 10 miles away, has been broken since March. Ms. Skhakhane said she considered the $1.90 a month for a phone card to be money well spent. “I don’t use the phone very often,” she said, “but whenever there is something I really need to discuss, I do.”

And this week I have been thrilled over a skypeout podcast with a friend who lives over 400 miles away, that cost me less than one dollar for about an hour of talking. (If he had a microphone on his computer, it could have been free.) Both stories are exciting, but perceiving current technology trends from very different vantage points.

The end of the article, which references problems with cell phone battery charging in homes where candles are used for lighting, strikes a cord too. The technology information revolution is here, and everyone who wants to join in can do so. But the real revolution, the one that will tangibly change the world in ways we can hardly even begin to imagine, is the sustainable and renewable energy revolution. Whether it is solar power, fission, or something else….. when that African family can produce and use enough energy to meets its own needs– and mine can too– THAT is going to turn the world upside down. And I think that day is coming soon.


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If you're trying to listen to a podcast episode and it's not working, check this status page. (Wes is migrating his podcasts to Amazon S3 for hosting.) Remember to follow Wesley Fryer on Twitter (@wfryer), Facebook and Google+. Also "like" Wesley's Facebook pages for "Speed of Creativity Learning" and his eBook, "Playing with Media." Don't miss Wesley's latest technology integration project, "Mapping Media to the Common Core / Curriculum."

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