For immediate release
August 7, 2006
Contact:
Emily Lenzner, NPR
 | 

"HACKING THE HIMALAYAS" - TECH CONTRIBUTOR XENI JARDIN'S 4-PART SERIES ON HOW THE INTERNET IS CHANGING TIBETAN LIFE

AIRS ON NPR'S DAY TO DAY TUESDAY AUGUST 8 - FRIDAY AUGUST 10


Washington, DC; August 7, 2006 - In Tibet and Northern India, the recent introduction of high technology and the Internet to the region has the Tibetan people struggling to reconcile their ancient traditions with rapid growth. Buddhist monks in Tibet are emailing each other from their temples, while young Tibetan refugees are learning computer code from high up in the Himalayas.

This integration of cutting edge technology in such an unexpected place is the work of international tech activists, including members of a hacker group called "Cult of the Dead Cow," who are working to install wireless broadband in these traditionally unconnected communities to help them become more self-sufficient. But how has this advancement changed things in the remote refugee community?

NPR's Day to Day technology contributor Xeni Jardin asked this question when she traveled to Tibet and Northern India to see first-hand how the implementation of wireless broadband is impacting Tibetan life. Her report airs as a four-part series - "Hacking the Himalayas" - on NPR's midday news magazine program Day to Day Tuesday, August 8 - Friday, August 11 (check local stations' air time of Day to Day at www.NPR.org/stations).

For her series Jardin interviews Professor Samdhong Rinpoche, the elected prime minister of the Tibetan government in exile, who believes the Internet has much in common with the Buddhist precept that everything in the universe links to everything else. Life, he says, is a network: "We Buddhists believe in the philosophy of interdependence. Nothing is independent, everything is related and interdependent. We have to connect with each other, and for connecting, we need communication. And for communication now there are tremendous facilities, and it is very good."

A multi-media slide show and photographs from Jardin's travels in addition to audio and narrative components will be available at www.NPR.org throughout the series. The complete series will be archived online at NPR.org.

In addition to contributing to NPR's Day to Day, Ms. Jardin is a contributing writer for Wired Magazine, as well as a tech culture journalist and co-editor of the collaborative blog BoingBoing.net.