Friday, May 28, 2004

"Biggest obstacle to development is Superstition"

An unorthodox view on the challenge of developing was brought by the Minister of Environment and Science in Ghana, Professor Kasim Kasanga. He said irrational ways of solving problems based on superstition has become the biggest obstacle facing the nation, as was reported by a news report from Ghana.

"the challenges facing the nation today is to transform the minds, attitudes and behaviours in our society to appreciate scientific approach to doing things".

Prof. Kasanga referred to superstitious beliefs, which dominated road construction saying: "If a particular spot on the road is causing accidents the traditional thinking is that evil spirits or ghosts are operating there and must be exorcised. We spent resources to slaughter sheep and goats and pour libation as a way of driving away the evil spirit to prevent the accidents. But quite often the problem persists."

Kasanga said superstition had dominated almost the lives of Ghanaians that even a defeat in a football game was explained off in spiritually terms while the real technical problems were neglected.

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Bushy beards go online

Open University lecturers, famed for their bushy beards and leather elbow-patch jackets, will disappear from television channel BBC Two in 2006.

Instead, 185,000 students will rely on newer technology - such as (...) internet - to access the information needed for their home-based degree courses.

A OU spokesman said in a BBC article:

"When the OU started, the question was how could we best reach a mass number of students. TV was the easiest way at the time. It was modern and innovative for its day. In the last five years or so, that hasn't been the case."

He added that "The [new] learning experience is far more interactive and sophisticated than just looking at a lecturer in a studio."

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2B or not 2B

2B or not 2B is the name of an experiment of six bigger cities in the Netherlands with biometric passports.

This project aims to include fifteenthousand volunteers' fingerprints or face scan in test documents, not legally valid. It is presented here (in Dutch) as the first step towards the inclusion of biometrics in passports.

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