About Me

I'm an Explorer, Engineer, Writer, Public Speaker, and Entrepreneur. I write about exploration, travel, and science. 

Any views expressed on this site are my own.  

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Entries in Poverty (2)


The Road to Kanchipuram

This last weekend Megan and I went to a town called Kanchipuram. It's not on the main tourist circuit of South India. It's a town of about 150,000 people (barely a speck on the map in India), an hour outside Chennai. It's called the "City of a Thousand Temples" but we only learned that fact after we got there. We went because an outreach program run by the Divecha Center for Climate Change (where I'm working this summer) has installed a solar panel on the roof of a house owned by a sari weaver in a village disconnected from the main power grid. I wanted to understand what it was like to live there. And I wanted to understand the real value of just one lightbulb to the children of the village.

Before I get into the weekend, I wanted to capture what the road from Bangalore to Kanchipuram was like. We hired a driver to take us the 4 hours to the town. I thought about making this into a more formally written account, real legit-like, but ended up just copying my notes directly as I took them while sweating in the back of this non-AC car. I think it works just as well. So, here:

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Yes, India has a space program (what I did on my sick-cation besides watching Big Bang Theory).

(Update: I'm feeling much, much better. Space aliens did not burst from my stomach and it turns out Indian hospitals are even more efficient in some ways than American ones-- testing, pharmacy, making appointments, but absolutely NOT in the area of communicating. While sick, I had a lot of time to read and research the Indian space program. The following represents some of the fruits of my digging around on the ol interwebs...)

If you read my title and your first thought was “of all countries on Earth, why does India, a country with half a billion poor people dying of disease, hunger and terrible living conditions, waste money on space?” … you were about to make a horribly ignorant generalization.

So let me stop you right there before you do that. India’s space program was created for the purpose of DEVELOPING THE POOR AREAS OF THE COUNTRY.

Say what?!

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