Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Suriname-Guyana Submarine Cable System (SG-SCS)

Finally the contract is signed for better connectivity for Guyana! This new optical fibre cable begins in Trinidad and connects to Guyana and Surinam. Since it is under-sea straight to Georgetown it should be much more reliable than the existing Americas II which has a very long and trouble-prone over-land section from French Guiana to Georgetown.

According to the Stabroek News GT&T CEO Major General (ret’d) Joe Singh said that the new cable "will ensure sufficient capacity to more than cover all foreseeable transmission requirements". I hope Joe will not mind if I say that feel that even in ten years time this will change and there will be a need for even more bandwidth. By that time there will be more 'cell phones' (or what they have become) each of which may be using 100 times the bandwidth they currently do. And home PCs (or whatever) will be using 10-100 times the bandwidth they do now.

The Day the Earth Stood Still

One of the best movies of the year in my opinion - excellent. Has a very timely message too in this era of global warming and other environmental issues!

Friday, November 28, 2008

CIVIC - the Caribbean Virtual Community

I recently returned from the Dominican Republic where I attended an uplifting and inspiring workshop on IT issues for CIVIC - the Caribbean Virtual Community.
The community presently revolves around its email list and related web sites. Beginning on 2002 after a conference in Barbados, the community has grown steadily from 80 to more than 300 and continues to grow and prosper. The email list is used primarily to share information about Caribbean ICT issues.
The meeting in DR focused on strategies for the future of CIVIC and was a great success.
A new web site is under development which makes use of improved online tools. This is being done by the Carisnet Consortium which is working to strengthen CIVIC.

Carisnet Consortium
Caribbean ICT4D Clearinghouse

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Poverty of ...

Poverty... what to say? Upon reflection the world is not poor. The
resources are there. The problem lies with us, people. Those who control
the resources suffer from a poverty of vision, of unity and justice.

"Let your vision be world-embracing, rather than confined to your own
self." Baha'u'llah

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Some interesting new local web sites

There is the new GuyanaWiki site which is of considerable educational value. Much of the content is from Wikipedia but additional content and some great pictures have been added of wildlife etc.

And there is also much useful new content on the site of the Pesticide & Toxic Chemicals Control Board. This kind of information is really needed in Guyana for those in agriculture and should also be useful for students.

Also of interest are relatively new sites for the Police , the GDF , the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Guyana Energy Agency.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Software Freedom Day activity

The Guyana Linux Users Group (GLUG) held a successful, well-attended activity with numerous presentations including the new GuyanaWiki - see the GLUG site for details.
Another interesting presentation focused on Moodle at Kuru Kuru Co-operative College and mentioned other local sites using Moodle.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Traffic accidents reduced

I have been hearing radio reports for several months that accidents have been much reduced but now I have a source I can refer to in Stabroek News.
This is really good news and a real achievement by the police.
It would be really interesting to see data for the last ten years along with numbers of vehicles on the road.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

O3b low-cost bandwidth for developing countries

An intriguing announcement:
O3b Networks Ltd. today announced it will begin deployment of a new global communications infrastructure to provide high-speed, low-cost Internet connectivity to emerging markets in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.

It would seem that there may the possibility for us to get bandwidth at a fraction of what we are paying today...

Monday, September 08, 2008

President Bharrat Jagdeo on BBC

See here where "President Jagdeo sets out his views on how to reduce the 18% of greenhouse gas emissions caused by tropical deforestation."

Monday, September 01, 2008

And now ... techfest?

Science and technology are really lagging here in Guyana. A boost is needed. How about an annual 'Techfest' or 'Scitechfest'? A getting together of interested persons to talk and learn about science and technology which is relevant or just plain exciting. Not too many lectures though. Plenty of demos, videos, hardware.

But who is going to push this? And fund it?

Carifesta - retrospective

Carifesta has undoubtedly been a success. The multitude of people involved in making it successful need to be congratulated. Quite an accomplishment for Guyana given the short timetable and other challenges.

Guyana will reap many benefits from what visitors have learnt about Guyana.

Lessons learnt - many I am sure, most of which I am not qualified to comment on. I do suggest that the next Carifesta be more forward looking, use the internet more and make more use of the interest youth have in such things as video, blogging, social networking etc. Of course by then the technology will have moved on ...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Hot weather!

This week the weather has been unusually hot - around 32 Celsius instead of a couple of degrees less. Weather forecasts seem to indicate this will continue into next week... Frequent complaints are heard and most people now know enough to blame global warming. Whether this is true I cannot say but it seems very plausible.
See here for details of our climate. So far no official comments have been made on the weather.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

BBC Guyana documentary

The BBC is starting a 3-part documentary on wildlife in Guyana. Apparently new species were found while making it. Plenty of good stuff on the web site Lost Land of the Jaguar.
See also this news item.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

BrainStreet's online education venture

A friend of ours is making progress in offering online education here in Guyana. Initially it has aimed at secondary school students in Mathematics and English and a few other subjects. Check out the web site at BrainStreet.
The Mathematics content is (partly at least) from EduHub - see here.
Recently they have joined with UWI to offer a Management programme - see the Stabroek News.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tata cars

I saw a letter in the Stabroek News recently advocating the importation of the new Nano car from Tata in India. These small fuel-efficient cars will sell in India for around US$2500 which is their main attraction.
I hope we do see more such small efficient cars here though the cost will depend very much on how much tax and duty are added to the cost.
However there is a concern about numbers of cars on the road. Our road system would surely seize up if the number of cars doubled... See also this article in IHT. Ways need to be found to improve our public transportation system which most people use.

Friday, June 13, 2008

At the Baha'i World Centre

I am finally documenting a few moments from our (my son and I) trip to the Baha'i International Convention in April as part of a group of delegates from Guyana. The main purpose of the event was to elect the nine members of the governing body of the Faith. For more about the event see here.

This is a view from the part of the prison where Baha'u'llah was imprisoned.

Some friends relaxing at the visitor centre at Bahji.

A view of the building which is the seat of the Universal House of Justice.

A view looking down the mountain from the gardens around the Shrine of the Bab.

My son sleeping at Prague airport on the way back...

Truly an amazing trip and milestone in our lives.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Internet access for a traveller

While on our recent trip to the UK and Israel both my son and I needed periodic internet access. He was lugging a laptop, I was not! I was surprised to find free wireless access in Trinidad, Barbados and Tel Aviv but not in London. Both Heathrow and Gatewick required payment.
We had access from the hotel in Haifa - no problem there.
On returning to the UK to see my parents near Morpeth, we went looking for internet access only to find no wireless access and no internet cafe in Morpeth. And on a visit to the city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne we could find no internet cafe there either. So - travellers be warned.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Back again...

Have been away with little chance to access the net. Attended the Baha'i International Convention in Haifa and then went to see my parents (quite active 80-year olds). Have a very busy weekend with our National Convention and then a workshop to run. So next week I will have some time to do some blogging...

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Iwokrama carbon deal

A historic deal was just concluded between Iwokrama and a UK-based investor - a real achievement by Guyana and by Iwokrama.

From the Stabroek News article:
"For the first time investors will pay for the ecosystem services produced by a rainforest, including rainfall generation, climate regulation, biodiversity maintenance and water storage - utilities with global significance which are vanishing as forests fall," Iwokrama's Chairman Edward Glover said in a statement. The deal was first reported in yesterday's edition of the Independent newspaper in the UK.

And the significance is underlined by the fact that it has warranted an article in New Scientist:
Hylton Murray-Philipson, director of the UK-based financiers Canopy Capital, has signed a deal with Iwokrama guaranteeing a "meaningful" contribution to their running costs for five years, a deal which may be renewed.

In return for these funds, Canopy Capital is given "ownership" of the forest's ecosystems services and a claim on any profits that might one day be made from them.

Well done Iwokrama and Canopy Capital!

See also:
Mongabay article

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

More on biofuel

Two conflicting news items prompted me to blog this. On the BBC news site there is an item about the Indian Finance Minister criticizing the conversion of crops into biofuel by developing countries. I can see his point of view but ...

Here in Guyana I heard comments by Dr Narine of IAST pointing out the advantages of biofuels for Guyana where uncultivated land (not forest) and plenty of water are waiting to be put to use. The only thing missing is the expertise.

I trust that the international media will give a balanced picture. It is surely a case of 'horses for courses' - each country needs its own mix of solutions. No blanket remedies please. We need to exploit all resources wisely to meet world energy needs.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Lost for words

I have not posted anything lately as I am still pondering what to say following recent tragic events here in Guyana... two separate days of national mourning... my words are inadequate.
Yet life goes on and I remain optimistic. Many parts of the world are much worse off than we...

Monday, February 04, 2008

Moral issues of climate change

The recent issues of One Country has an article about a panel discussion on “The Ethical Dimension of Climate Change,” organized by the Bahá’í International Community and held on 30 April 2007 during this year’s meeting of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. An important aspect of the issue that needs more attention...
And there a local connection here, the Tahirih Naylor mentioned in the article lived here in Guyana for several years as a child. She may have been born here - I do not recall.
Kind of a late post. I suppose I have been distracted. Especially by the senseless violence that occurred in Lusignan a week or so ago.