Flashback to Peace Corps. Each of us was given a copy of David Werner's book, "Where there is no doctor". I'm looking for copies to give my teenagers for when they leave the home. It was basic good sense, and I learned things I still rely on today. From today's wikipedia:
Where There Is No Doctor: A village health care handbook is the most widely used health education book in tropical and sub-tropical developing countries. Based on David Werner's experiences at his Project Piaxtla in western Mexico, it was originally written in 1970 in Spanish as Donde No Hay Doctor. It has since been revised multiple times, has sold over one million copies and been translated into over 100 languages. The book is available for purchase, in either book form or on CD, at Hesperian's bookstore. Because the non-profit publisher's mission is making health information readily accessible to everyone, portions can also be download free-of-charge in pdf format.
The book was designed with no photos when I got it in Africa, so that it could be copied easily. Today, they distribute it free online (but request payment to cover their expenses, which I recommend). The book had several local remedies listed which they tested and found to be good and recommended be preserved... ancient knowledge of healing leaves and grasses. But some local remedies were not good... like denying water to children with diarrhea (leading to death from dehydration, number one cause of death in many villages). How do you tell if the "local" cure is good or not? I remember that one of the lessons Werner gave... If the cure somehow resembled what someone wanted (like rhino horn to cure infertility, or eating the hair of a dog that bit you), the associated image was likely the root of the "wisdom", and it was likely false. People are fooled by images... Our eyes deceive us.
And that's where I could title this blog "Where There Is No Science". Because the association of technicians who import, support, and repair used electronics with kids who burn wire is widely, widely believed, despite numerous studies showing it's patently false. Black kids burning stuff, it's accepted as proof that black men and women who buy stuff are the same as black kids burning stuff.
Intact units, particularly uniform (all the same type, which demonstrates a lot of rejected units), such as 17" monitors or 19" televisions, are likely to be 85%-90% reused. And photos of dirty chidren burning TVs never, ever show 900 uniform units being burned.
Why do white environmentalists believe that African tech buyers are primitive wire burners? Same reason old Chinese men think rhino horn will solve impotence. Lack of any knowledge on the subject, whatsoever. Stats and figures are made up out of thin air, and pictures of poor children serve as a good stand it for smart people if you've never actually lived over there, like I have.
|Large, regular load, paid for $$ by Africans|
It's easier to convince a good repair technician, like Kyle Wiens of IFIXIT, that Eric or Wahab aren't stupid. He can immediately recognize that "ewaste" never arrives all uniformly same size and type, stretch wrapped. Although he's seen burning in Ghana, he can also tell the difference between a load like this and a load being burned in a fire.
|Small, irregular loads at African City dumps|
The problem is, we have 5 actual studie, 5 of them, and they all say the opposite of what the American press has been saying about e-waste exports. NOT 80-90% bad. They say 85%-90% of used electronics exports are good.
So if you don't have time to read, try your eyes.
See the photo above. Now look at the photo of the dude burning the electronics.
|Non-uniform load, the way it comes in from USA|
Ok, I'm repeating myself.
It's just not important to people like Barbara Kyle at Electronics Takeback, or Mike Enberg, of to the folks at Greenpeace...
That 40 Africans were arrested, their life savings seized by Interpol. That EPA and BAN cite shipments which Egyptians paid $21 per CRT monitor for, and say they are being burned for $2 worth of copper, after an additional $6,000 in shipping costs paid for by the Africans.
Check out the reading list again. If you are a student doing your term paper on e-waste, you have a chance to do something important. You can read an actual study, and find out that actual black people are getting treated to a firehose of environmental disinformation, being blacklisted and run out of town on a rail.
If 89% of interracial marriages end in death, you can justify a ban on interracial marriages. But when the 89% is concocted, is a lie, is made up, and not supported anywhere, by any study, doesn't it make you mad to hear it repeated by CBS, PBS, USA Today, and NPR?
|Greenpeace and Basel Action Network's Kool-Aid. Don't drink it.|
So many reporters have repeated the false statistic now, that they are afraid to take an actual stand.
If 5 journalists say that rhino horn cures ED, it's easier to be the sixth reporter in the pack, than it is to see that not one of the previous 5 reporters had an actual statistic in hand that was worth anything.
This is pretty rare, to have society be so wrong, in such a bad way, about so many people. It's Dolly Parton rare, it's Dick Van Dyke rare, it's John Jacob Niles rare. You're sitting next to one of these famous people on a park bench, a la Forest Gump, and no one will believe you met them or talked to them.
I have about 35 friends / readers who know the truth. But we aren't being hosed, personally, so it's kind of on the back burner.
But people are still getting arrested, people from poor countries, because so many of us are afraid to speak to the guys holding the fire hoses. I love firemen, and I love environmentalists. The photo below is not representative of all fire fighters, and the Basel Action Network and Greenpeace are not representative of all environmentalists.
|Mainstream press, feeding us bad statistics about blacks via firehose|
Have a drink from the firehose. African geeks are getting arrested every day. Every day. Because we forgot how long CRT monitors work, we forgot how slow bandwidth makes a brand new computer a bad investment. We forgot what it's like to need good enough devices.
Like 89% of all statistics, BAN and Greenpeace made their numbers up on the spot.