Saturday, May 24, 2008

Great sites to visit on the internet

There are some great things you can "learn" on the internet(assuming you understand English.)

Following is a none comprehensive list:

*Youtube: This really is the coolest of them all. What do I use it for? For starters there is the authors@google lectures. I watch Monty Python episodes, Black adder episodes, SNL clips, Letterman, Jon Stewart, Steve Colbert, Olbermann, Richard Dawkins lectures, Noam Chomsky lectures, Edwards Said lectures and so on.
*TED: This site brings the smartest, brightest, most creative people in the world and have them deliver "talks" about their cutting edge ideas once per year in the Technology Design Entertainment conference. One cool lecture that I watched was Dan Dennet talking about Memes. You can find many of these on youtube, but cut into 9-10min segments, while you can watch the whole lecture as is on TED.

Also most talks can be downloaded as MP3 or MP4 directly or through ITunes.
* Among the most interesting documentaries are the American Zeitgeist and another one about the Jewish Lobby in America.

Aside from the language barrier(which Jordan needs to work on,) I think the other big hurdle for people in Jordan in using these "free" resources and many others is the slow adoption of broad band internet. As of march 2008, there were only 49000 broad band subscribers, so assuming 4 people per household using the internet, that would be around 200K. Of the total internet users that translates to something like 15%, which is a rather low percentage.

I know that this percentage is growing, but that is really not fast enough. And to make these resources more useful, one needs to have a connection of at least 256K. The basic ADSL subscription starts with 128K, which is sufficient for everyday "browsing," but not even closely adequate for streaming video content. Furthermore the limitations of the number of Gigabytes downloaded per month is of no help either. Is is in a way like setting limits on the amount of stuff you can learn per month.

I really think that using these free internet "learning" resources will benefit Jordan. The question is, will the government do something to allow more people to access these resources. I think it would be a reasonable target to have 50% of subscribers using broadband in the next 3-5yrs.


Anonymous ArabianMonkey said...

You're so right. I'm regularly blown away by the growing amount of free learning stuff online. I often say that today you can get a free eduction online - provided, like u mention, one has a good command of English.

I recently started to list some of the open movement resources I'm aware of - check it out, there's so much cool stuff out there! Amazing...

11:33 AM  
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