Hacker Rewarded For Creating Electricity


[garhol] tipped us off about a self-taught hacker who brought a little light to his tiny home. [William Kamkwamba] dropped out of school because his family lacked the $80 per year for tuition. At the age of 14 he read books from the library and gained the knowledge he needed to built a 12 watt wind generator from junk parts. Wow!

We’re pretty used to hearing about creative people who end up getting punished for their hacks. Fortunately he has been rewarded for his brilliance. He’s now studying at the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg with a well-deserved scholarship.

His story comes to the surface now because a book about his experiences has just been released. We need more people like this, and they should be rewarded for their efforts like he has been. We’ve put the book on our hold list at our Public Library and can’t wait to gain some knowledge from [William’s] experiences.

Check out his short talk at the TED conference, embedded after the break.

[via BBC news]

60 thoughts on “Hacker Rewarded For Creating Electricity

  1. Sigh, it’s really sad when other people feel the need to use your name to make themselves feel better on a board full of people they’ll never meet. coldwar has every reason to be singled out. Sure, there are other ignorant comments on this posting, but none so obviously racist and ignorant as his.

    I could have any color of skin, could come from any country. It really makes no difference. I’ve known wonderful, intelligent people from all backgrounds, and of all varieties of skin pigmentation.

    You can bet that any further postings in my name on this page aren’t mine.

  2. OK Jack then let’s take a look at the FACTS. Man built a windmill-been done if not a thousand times in that day alone as the world converts to green energy. Let us report on all of Whitey’s windmills each time they are built to even it out a bit and not write while under the revisionist influence of white guilt. Go visit Holland sometime. You would be thoroughly unimpressed. He could have built a pump system for his village or a grain grinder (mill) but no he wanted personal electricity which is pointless when you have no water. I think these people should be a little more creative about finding food and water and stop living off handouts and then whining about GM food. I guess I should be happy there will be one less hand out. Maybe if the Library of ALexandria didn’t have such huge late fees! I would blame his government for having little to no infrastructure for its citizens (roads, libraries, schools for girls) and not the rest of middle class america. My church has sent clothes books and missionaries to dig a hole in the ground for these people. Did we get one scrawled thankyou note? No. Not even one grass and stick doll. I’d much rather fund an out of luck american at this point and help him/her out. I have met smart people from other countries constantly-it’s called college. Their countries send them over here for a free ride ala world diplomacy, whence in the case of our neighbors they bring their parents and grandparents over on a “Visitation Visa” that somehow lasts two years uh hum. Does it bother me I live in Little Seoul? No. Once detroit crosses over into the A2 and we have yet more “have-nots” stealing from the academic bubble here, more and more people are developing a NIMBY mindset, which means that A2 is on its way to white flight in the next ten years, which is funny to watch these douchy profs be culturally sensitive to the detroit thug that just cut in line in front of him shouting to his “niggas” on the cell phone.

  3. The kid did something for his family. Unlike you leeches who live at home with mommy and daddy I would love to smack ya around a bit…for all the positive comments I applaud you for saying nice things about the kid

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