Tuesday, July 25, 2006

But does it require a high tech solution?

Another example of the tendency to look for a “promising new technology” to solve a problem that, it turns out, is already solved but simply lacks funding.

Granted this story is in CNet's news.com, a tech news site, where it wouldn't appear without an e-angle. So the headline is,

"High tech's slow march in land mine campaign
- The humble metal detector is finally getting an upgrade...”

But when you get into the story, you find this telling quote:

"We need more of what we know works, rather than new technologies," said Noel Mulliner, technology coordinator for the U.N. Mine Action Service. "New technology is not going to get into the field fast enough. We want more of the simple stuff."

"The best estimate” is that between 15,000 and 20,000 people are killed or injured each year; "in the 2004-2005 reporting period, those injuries occurred in 58 countries." But they’re in countries both poor and recovering from wars, not exactly your "attractive investment opportunities" or "emerging markets" with hot quarterly growth prospects.

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