He imagined that satellite broadcasting might help a hundred Indian villages save two cows a year and understood what an impact that might have. Says a commenter at PZ Myers’ place, on the occasion of Arthur C. Clarke’s death. Two cows a year; now that’s genius. I can’t presume to say whether this came true; I don’t have any data on satellites and Bos indicus. But I do have some numbers on fish.

Brough Turner likes to keep track of this stuff, and here’s an actual peer-reviewed study. You can get a presentation version here (pdf). On the coast of Kerala, not all that far from Clarke’s home, mobile phone networks deployed in stages down the coast between 1997 and 2000; this graph shows what happened next.

jensenplot.jpg

Price is on the Y axis, time on the X. Not just that, but the improvement in allocative efficiency led to an 8% increase in the fishermen’s profits and a 4% drop in the price to the customer; at the same time, the quantity of fish going to waste went down from 6% of the catch to near zero.

vsat.jpg

VSAT.

20071121_greensite.jpg

Ericsson RBS2111.

I was given Of Time and Stars as a very little boy; I am frankly terrified by the number of people posting all over the Web to say how much it inspired them with the sense of wonder and joy of science…what future was it preparing us for?


  1. Chris Williams

    What future? A better one than we’ve got: a worse on than we’d have had without him. Several million fanboys and girls grew up exposed to clear prose, opposition to nationalism, scepticism about organised religion, faith in technology, faith in humanity, and some great comedy.

    “The guest of honour pressed a button (which wasn’t connected to anything). The chief engineer threw a switch (which was).” – or thereabouts. From _Travel by Wire_. All there at the start.

  1. 1 » Two cows

    […] Actualités du Site Internet de RueDuCommerce wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptOn the coast of Kerala, not all that far from Clarke’s home, mobile phone networks deployed in stages down the coast between 1997 and 2000; this graph shows what happened next…. […]

  2. 2 emeris ramblings » Blog Archive » Cool

    […] when markets work the way they are supposed to due to some technology . The penny summery, fisherman in India got mobile phones, their waste dropped to zero, their […]

  3. 3 links for 2008-03-20 at Matthew Henty

    […] Two cows « Alternate Seat of TYR WOW – I’ve never seen such graphic evidence for the efficiency improvements caused by technological diffusion. Nice graphs! (tags: communication mobilephone development network efficiency economics) […]

  4. 4 Appreciating Clarke « Alternate Seat of TYR

    […] conservatives, history, memes, memorial, radar, rationality, space I liked this comment from Chris “Chris” Williams regarding Arthur C. Clarke: What future? A better one than we’ve got: a worse on than we’d […]




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