Adventures in Ethics and Science

I just found out about something cool for which the window of opportunity closes in eleven days:

Through November 26, the One Laptop Per Child project has a Give One Get One deal (in the U.S. and Canada) wherein you can donate a spiffy new and super-cool XO laptop to a child in a developing country and get one to give to a child in your life (although, presumably, your inner-child might persuade you to keep it for yourself if you aren’t acquainted with any kids).

The XO laptop is an impressive feat of engineering, and distributing these beauties is part of a plan that really speaks to me:

OLPC’s mission is to provide a means for learning, self-expression, and exploration to the nearly two billion children of the developing world with little or no access to education. While children are by nature eager for knowledge, many countries have insufficient resources to devote to education–sometimes less than $20 per year per child (compared to an average of $7,500 in the United States). By giving children their very own connected XO laptop, we are giving them a window to the outside world, access to vast amounts of information, a way to connect with each other, and a springboard into their future. And we’re also helping these countries develop an essential resource–educated, empowered children.

The Give One Get One offer won’t fit everyone’s budget — it’s $399 to donate an XO and to get your own (although $200 of that is tax deductible), which means that you’re actually paying for two of the laptops rather than magically scoring a freebie. But, in the event that it does fit your budget, it strikes me as an opportunity to help a kid’s possibilities get bigger while (paradoxically) making the world a little smaller and more interconnected.


  1. #1 Coturnix
    November 16, 2007

    Just a few more days, but I am seriously considering it….I got to play with one at Scifoo and I want one for myself!!!! But if I get one I’ll let one of my kids have it.

  2. #2 argotnaut
    November 16, 2007

    They’re also throwing in a year of T-Mobile Hotspot with this.

    Santa tells me one of these might be showing up under my tree — I can’t wait!

  3. #3 Coturnix
    November 22, 2007

    Juts got one for Catharine as she needs one the most. We’ll all play with it some and post a review.

  4. #4 Coturnix
    November 25, 2007

    Could not resist – got another one for my daughter….

  5. #5 Sigmund
    December 6, 2007

    I’ll take a wild guess here and say that this ‘pay for two, get one for you and one for a child in the developing world’ scheme is going to be the only business model that will work for the whole project. Developing countries have higher priorities other than computer literacy and have been extremely reluctant to put in significant orders for these laptops. On the other hand the geeky gadget allure of these things combined with a philanthropic feel-good factor of giving a third world kid the chance of getting a learning tool is a real marketing strategy that should not be underestimated.

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