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:Hexayurt Project Header}} [[Category: Speculative]]= Introduction =
Let's print a basic curriculum on each Hexayurt so that people can read useful information, relevant to their own health, comfort or survival, on the buildings we are going to send them. Furthermore, let's put the kid's material near the ground, and the more adult material further up the walls.
So what to print?
= Wikipedia-type Content =
We could do a lot worst than pick a few dozen of the more useful articles from Wikipedia and other open-source materials and reprint them. However, there are some severe problems with this approach:
* Wikipedia articles are long and boring
* They are not written as how-to guides
* They use a very large subset of the
* Some articles could be just plain wrong and misleading at the time they were taken and printed
However, as a very basic starting point, we could do worse.
How To Live Wiki Content =The how-tos from this web site might provide more targeted guides but we have none written at this time.
= Repurpose Books =
Another approach would be to try and get reuse rights to books like [http://www.hesperian.org/publications_download.php#wtnd Where There Is No Doctor]. However, we need a skilled team to know which books to obtain, and there may be unforeseen problems in the transition between the printed page and the printed wall. However, this approach offers the best access to high quality information in the immediate future.
One possible source of books, already scanned and ready to go, is the [http://www.green-trust.org/atlibrary.htm Appropriate Technology Library].
After reading through [http://www.hesperian.org/publications_download.php#wtnd Where There Is No Doctor], it seems to me that wall/page space will become scarce quickly. There is a lot of information to get to the people, and printing just the basics of a topic won't get the job done, especially when it comes to medical situations with "If... then..." predicaments. This could lead to a need for ''lots'' of text on ''lots'' of walls.
'''Socio-cultural implications''' of this include changing conceptions of space and territory. Is a yurt the territory of the family who lives in it? How territorial will they be about the information printed on its walls? Is the potential for conflict here reason enough to develop a very basic 'curriculum' for each yurt, so that each structure is completely info-autonomous?
= Custom Basic Educational Curriculum =
The right approach is a [[basic educational curriculum]] targeted to each area. A BEC would provide introductory reading materials, so that those who already read English could teach others. It would have material for children and adults alike and focus on practical knowledge, explaining concepts like germ theory and crop rotation, thermodynamics in the context of drying food or making fires burn better, and so on.
These basic scientific models are incredibly powerful. Consider that the [http://www.epigee.org/guide/sdm.html Standard Days Method] gives excellent birth control results with essentially no technological base. Any culture with counting could apply this technique, and there is no solid reason that a stone age culture could not have maintained the technologies to apply this method ''if they understood the principles giving rise to the practice''.
A properly prepared knowledge packet could describe a wide range of tools and techniques, all of which can be implemented with field-
availble technologies, giving many of the benefits of 21st century science to people in essentially medieval living conditions. Of course, there are severe cultural problems related to magical thinking or cultural taboos which sabotage the success of some of these tools. Deep expertise and monitoring of results are required to ensure that this part of the project works.
= Large Knowledgebase Distribution =
There is no need to print the same material on every hexayurt. One approach would be to take a much, much larger knowledgebase and print a common set of materials on every yurt (instructions on hand washing, basic geography, whatever seems relevant) and then fill the remaining walls with parts of the larger corpus. Assuming 50% of the walls are devoted to printing parts of the larger knowledgebase, a 100,000 person camp has several million pages of text available to it. One would require a lot of replication to ensure that loss of a single building didn't make a bigger text useless - long books could span several buildings - and god alone knows how one could do indexing so you could find the building with the text you need on it... but if a sufficiently cheap and flexible printing solution can be found so we can put different material on each building, we could get '''enormous''' quantities of knowledge into the hands of those who need it most.
= Language and translation issues =Most of the readily available material we have is in English. Most of the internet-connected writers who might participate in an open project speak English. So it is likely that a lot of the text will at least start in English. The BEC could be written in one of the reduced-vocabulary Englishes. One candidate is the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_English
/ Voice of America's Special English]. This might also simplify translation and machine translation efforts.
Also, and this notion needs to be checked - my guess is that in most parts of the world, in a small camp, at least a few people will speak English well enough to teach people how to speak and read it. For short term deployment this is not going to help, but if people are going to be stuck in camps for generations, it seems like we could print as much material in the local languages as possible and the rest of the material in English and hope for the best. One approach would be to have machine-translated local language text running beside the English originals.
My guess is that a combination of these approaches could be tried at first and we could collect field data to see what was most useful.
= Cultural Issues =What happens if something printed on a hexayurt is unacceptable for cultural reasons? The birth control instruction hexayurt winds up in a camp where
people are angry and insulted at having improper materials sent to them.
I don't know how to avoid these issues. I don't even know where to begin to address them.
Cultural anthropologists should help decide what is printed and how it is printed, but even with their best guesses, some times things will fall through the cracks.