e-publishing on the rise in Africa

The great thing about writing for e-readers is that my customers can, theoretically, be anywhere on the globe. My Kindle books are already available in two of the BRICs- Brazil and India- and that’s likely to keep expanding.

The article argues that the rapid growth in internet access and smartphone usage in Africa is creating reading populations that never before existed. I should investigate ways to reach them.


via BBC News – Will e-publishing help Africa switch on to reading?.

The Miniature Pyramids of Sudan

The Sudanese invaded Egypt in 730BC and ruled the country until 656BC. Whilst they were there, they were so impressed by the tradition of pyramid building, that they took it back with them. At first only royals merited a pyramid, but the practice trickled down to the nobility over time, leading to graveyards full of mini pyramids.

The truth isn’t enough for some people 1

When you wonder what would happen if a conspiracy theorist were to come across a genuine conspiracy (or, at least, a crime committed by more than one person, which I think qualifies as a conspiracy), you know the result isn’t going to be anything like a Mel Gibson movie. You know it’s going to be more like this-

I have a go-to blog to keep track of conspiracy theories. Luckily for me the guy who runs it is also a Christian fundamentalist, creationist homophobe. So this one blog keeps me up to date on what’s incensing the intolerant and uninformed without having to follow any others.

Late last week he ran a story he’d picked up from another paranoia site called infowars, which I believe is considered some sort of nexus for this stuff. The story- well, the basic story- is that a British outfit called New Forests Company is working with the Ugandan government to evict farmers from land so it can be planted with trees which will be traded as carbon offsets by large polluters. The Ugandan Police or military, possibly with NFC’s knowledge and approval, were violent in their eviction tactics, leading to at least one death. To compound the heavy handed evictions, the farmers received little or no recompense and have been moved to land they can’t get as good a yield from.

This much of the story, at least, is backed up by Oxfam, who have started their own investigation.

This is unpleasant, another example of representatives of a developed nation corrupting, or taking advantage of the corruption of, a less developed nation for profit. It’s been the way throughout history, from the first explorers up to BP in Iran and Shell in the Ogoniland area of Nigeria. We should do something to draw attention to them, punish the perpetrators and get the dispossessed back their land.

Did the conspiracy theorists say any of this? Or suggest signing up to Oxfam’s Grow campaign to find out what you can do about it.

Of course they didn’t.

They layered a confection of a conspiracy theory onto it, inventing connections which aren’t there and obscuring the truth beneath their fantasies. This isn’t another example of corporate misbehaviour, they say. Instead it’s all about “mainstream media silence, climate change and humanitarian scams, neo-colonialism under the guise of protecting against climate change, land grabs, and UN and Big Pharma eugenicists working towards population reduction as part of a global regime”. This sewage of talking points they regurgitate, trying to force their pet hates into holes that aren’t even there, hides the real crime.

If these people who like to think of themselves as brave seekers of truth and revealers of corruption really were then they wouldn’t belittle genuine problems by including them in their fantasies. If they truly cared about the victims of this Ugandan land grab they’d stick to reporting the unpleasant truth rather than discarding it so they can repeat their unbelievable fantasies.

Ultimately, as I’ve said before, the rantings of conspiracy theorists distract from crimes that really have been committed and help no-one but the criminals whose escape they help to cover.

Update A commenter across the way found this article from the Guardian and this one from the BBC which suggest the land grab is bigger than just NFC’s actions.

The Journey to Forever

Journey to Forever is a pioneering expedition by a small, mobile NGO (Non-Government Organization) involved in environment and rural development work, starting from Hong Kong and travelling 40,000 kilometres through 26 countries in Asia and Africa to Cape Town, South Africa.

Our route will take us away from the cities and populated districts to remote and inaccessible areas (usually also the least developed and poorest areas), where we’ll be studying and reporting on environmental conditions and working for local NGOs on rural development projects in local communities.

The focus will be on trees, soil and water, sustainable farming, sustainable technology, and family nutrition.

The aim is to help people fight poverty and hunger, and to help sustain the environment we all must share.

The solar still information was found in The Journey to Forever‘s online library, which I shall have to trawl through for other useful snippets.

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