The One Where You Get Homework And Like It

Children on the Frontlines: The E-Waste Epidemic in Africa

I’m a little run down today. Allergies or some kind of crud, I suppose. I read this article today and I thought it would be worth passing along. So, go read it.

After you’ve read it: I’m not passing this along as a sort of horror story of what the so-called first world inflicts on the so-called third world. Though, that’s a valid interpretation and worthwhile thinking in its own right. In this instance, this story strikes me as deeply fascinating about the total life of our pieces of technology. William Gibson once described the future as being here, just not evenly distributed. This story is a prime example of exactly that.

It’s nasty, poisonous work. It’s also remarkable. I think it merits significant reflection on economies of necessity. Don’t you go thinking that this happens in only far away places like Africa. As though we think of ‘Africa’ as a single far away place where people live three hundred years in past. There are millions of vacant homes on the market in the United States. And what with the market demand for copper everywhere these homes, and other things, are targets for stripping wiring.

The future is here for many of us. But, it’s distributed far less evenly more locally than you might think. I read a book called Ship Breaker by a fellow named Paolo Bacigalupi. It’s a near-future science fiction title for young adults. Don’t let the store placement stop you. If you find the article fascinating, I suggest reading that book.

Now get. I’ve got to rest.

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