Showing posts with label microsoft. Show all posts
Showing posts with label microsoft. Show all posts

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Would aid flourish without religion? | The question | Comment is free |


If it weren't for organised religions, would there be as much humanitarian aid in the world? If not, why not?

Medecins Sans Frontieres Médecins sans Frontières transformed their Port-Au-Prince offices into a makeshift hospital after the Haiti earthquake. Photograph: Médecins sans Frontières/AFP/Getty

Would humanitarian aid flourish without religion? In one sense, the answer is obvious. There are entirely secular organisations, like Médecins sans Frontières, or Oxfam, which function without any religious allegiance at all. Most successful charities in the west, whether they are religious or not, must stress that they are not biased in their giving if they hope to raise funds. Yet it is also true that religious networks are essential to the delivery of aid and education: the Catholic church runs a third of all the schools in Africa.

Organised religions are able to connect congregations in the developed world with their counterparts in the developing world and make both feel that they are part of the same great enterprise. As the (atheist) psychologist Jonathan Haidt has observed:

"In the US, religious believers give more money than secular [even] to secular charities, and to their neighbours. They give more of their time, too, and of their blood. Even if you excuse secular liberals from charity because they vote for government welfare programs, it is awfully hard to explain why secular liberals give so little blood."

Muslims are enjoined by their religion to give 2.5% of their income to charity and many do, while the rich, secular nations of the world struggle to give 0.7% of their GDP to foreign aid.

This isn't a question about whether believers are morally superior. But it does seem they find it easier to translate compassion into action. Is this really true, and if it is, what can the secular charities do to match them?


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I hope this guy stickc to his promise, spending his billions to defeat global poverty

'I will not be leaving my $56bn fortune to my kids', says Bill Gates |


MICROSOFT founder Bill Gates has revealed he won't be leaving his estimated $56 billion fortune to his children when he dies.

Instead the global software giant brainchild, who ranks alongside the Medicis, Romanovs, Rothschilds and Rockefellers as one of history's wealthiest people, told UK newspaper The Sun that his billions will be spent defeating global poverty.

"I will give the kids some money but not a meaningful percentage," he said.

"Setting the number so that they need to work but they feel reasonably taken care of is hard to figure out."

Bill Gates and his wife Melinda have three children - Jennifer, 14, Rory, 11, and eight-year-old Phoebe.

"I knew I didn't think it was a good idea to give the money to my kids," Mr Gates said.

"That wouldn't be good either for my kids or society. So the question was, 'Can I find something that had incredible impact?' I knew I wanted to do that."


Sunday, April 18, 2010

| Mail Online : Microsoft's Chinese workforce, too tired to stay awake Showing Chinese sweatshop workers slumped over their desks with exhaustion, it is an image that Microsoft won't want the world to see. Employed for gruelling 15-hour shifts, in appalling conditions and 86f heat, many fall asleep on their stations during their meagre ten-minute breaks. For as little as 34p an hour, the men and women work six or seven days a week, making computer mice and web cams for the American multinational computer company. This photo and others like it were smuggled out of the KYE Systems factory at Dongguan, China, as part of a three-year investigation by the National Labour Committee, a human rights organisation which campaigns for workers across the globe. The mostly female workers, aged 18 to 25, work from 7.45am to 10.55pm, sometimes with 1,000 workers crammed into one 105ft by 105ft room. They are not allowed to talk or listen to music, are forced to eat substandard meals from the factory cafeterias, have no bathroom breaks during their shifts and must clean the toilets as discipline, according to the NLC. The workers also sleep on site, in factory dormitories, with 14 workers to a room. They must buy their own mattresses and bedding, or else sleep on 28in-wide plywood boards. They 'shower' with a sponge and a bucket. And many of the workers, because they are young women, are regularly sexually harassed, the NLC claimed. The organisation said that one worker was even fined for losing his finger while operating a hole punch press. Microsoft is not the only company to outsource manufacturing to KYE, but it accounts for about 30 per cent of the factory's work, the NLC said. Companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Samsung, Foxconn, Acer, Logitech and Asus also use KYE Systems. Microsoft, which exports much of the hardware made at the factory to America, Europe and Japan, said that it is taking the claims seriously and has begun an investigation. One employee told the NLC: 'We are like prisoners. It seems like we live only to work - we do not work to live. We do not live a life, only work.'The NLC's report included an account from one worker whose job consisted entirely of sticking selfadhesive rubber feet to the bottom of Microsoft computer mice. But the monotony of sitting or standing for 12 hours, applying foot after foot to mouse after mouse, was not the worst of the worker's testimony. It was the militaristic management and sleep deprivation that affected the worker most. 'I know I can choose not to work overtime, but if I don't work overtime then I am stuck with only 770 Chinese yuan (£72.77p) per month in basic wages,' the worker said.
'This is not nearly enough to support a family. My parents are farmers without jobs. They also do not have pensions.
'I also need to worry about getting married, which requires a lot of money. Therefore, I still push myself to continue working in spite of my exhaustion. 'When I finish my four hours of overtime, I'm extremely tired. At that time, even if someone offered me an extravagant dinner, I'd probably refuse. I just want to sleep.'
Charles Kernaghan, executive director of the NLC, said: 'It sounded like torture - the frantic pace on the assembly line, same motion over and over for the 12 hours or more of work they did.' Microsoft said it was committed to the 'fair treatment and safety of workers'. A spokesman added: 'We are aware of the NLC report and we have commenced an investigation.
'We take these claims seriously and we will take appropriate remedial measures in regard to any findings of misconduct.'

Friday, January 09, 2009

Windows 7 Beta

Microsoft's mouseless revolt: new touchscreen system in Windows 7 | News |
MICROSOFT has developed a touchscreen operating system that could signal the end of the computer mouse.

Windows 7, a test version of which will be available from today, is part of Microsoft's attempts to restore its reputation for innovation and to catch up with Apple, whose touch-screen iPhone has been a huge success.

Microsoft says the new version of its software could revolutionise the way we use computers, The Australian reports, paving the way for touch-screen monitors in every home. About a billion people around the world use Windows software.

Users will be able to perform simple tasks such as selecting a folder without using a mouse, and write on the screen with a stylus or finger.

The new Windows system also has a multi-touch feature that will allow more than one person to manipulate objects on the screen simultaneously.