Internet Travels

*sigh* the Internet. From updated software to the Himalayas’.

I thought that I might just describe today how I got lost in an interesting maze of Handbrakes to Schools in the Indian Himalayas.

So, I was doing my normal morning Internet browse, off discovering what new and interesting tidbits of information I could discover. On Freshmeat, I learnt that there was a new version of Handbrake, a popular (and very, very awesome tool) for converting DVDs into other formats so they can be viewed on iPods and iPhones.

Cool, I thought. Upon reading the changelog, they listed a couple of changes to ‘ghb’. What was ghb, I wondered? Well, a Google found that GHB was infact Gamma-Hydroxybutyric Acid. Indeed, Gamma-Hydroxybutyric Acid was not what I was looking for, but it did start the wild search party.

From learning all about GHB and it’s affects, Wikipedia was only more then happy to teach me more information. Xyrem, manufactured by Jazz Pharmaceuticals is a orphan drug. What’s an orphan drug? Well, it’s a pharmaceutical agent that has been developed specifically to treat a rare medical conditions.

Since the market for any drug with such a limited application scope would, by definition, be small and thus largely unprofitable, government intervention is often required to motivate a manufacturer to address the need for an orphan drug. One of the interventions that can be undertaken by a government is to create a government-run enterprise to engage in research and development, otherwise known as a Crown Corporation.

An example of a Crown Corporation is the Australian based National Broadband Sceme, which is owned and operated by the Department of Communication and the Digital Economy.

On the DBCDE site, there was a media release sent out: “A reminder for Australians affected by floods about the Satellite Phone Subsidy Scheme”. Naturally, it was time to have a look at who was offering and what the price of satellite phone are. $1,000+. One of the coolest phones being the Thuraya XT. (ZOMG! It has a color screen!)

Looking for how much it actually costs to have a satellite phone (ie, monthly charges) I found a page listing where the Thuraya phones are used.

Leading me to an isolated village situated in the Indian Himalayas, Kargyak. In September 2009 the Surya Civic Association finished construction of the specially designed “passive” school-building heated by sun, fully ecological and also compatible with local structures also in terms of appearance.

It’s pretty cool and I suggest you take a look.

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