Kenyan Boy Scares Lions With Ingenuous Invention

Kenyan Boy Scares Lions With Ingenuous InventionLiving on the edge of Nairobi National Park, in Kenya, 13-year-old Richard Turere first became responsible for herding and safeguarding his family’s cattle when he was just nine. But often, his valuable livestock would be raided by the lions roaming the park’s sweet savannah grasses, leaving him to count the losses. So, at the age of 11, Turere decided it was time to find a way of protecting his family’s cows, goats and sheep from falling prey to hungry lions.

‘Simple and low-cost’

His light bulb moment came with one small observation. Turere realized that lions were afraid of venturing near the farm’s stockade when someone was walking around with a flashlight. He put his young mind to work and a few weeks later he’d come up with an innovative, simple and low-cost system to scare the predators away.

He fitted a series of flashing LED bulbs onto poles around the livestock enclosure, facing outward. The lights were wired to a box with switches and to an old car battery powered by a solar panel. They were designed to flicker on and off intermittently, thus tricking the lions into believing that someone was moving around carrying a flashlight.

‘Remarkable ingenuity’

And it worked. Since Turere rigged up his “Lion Lights,” his family has not lost any livestock to the wild beasts, to the great delight of his father and astonishment of his neighbors. What’s even more impressive is that Turere devised and installed the whole system by himself, without ever receiving any training in electronics or engineering.

The 13-year-old’s remarkable ingenuity has been recognized with an invitation to the TED 2013 conference, being held this week in California, where he’ll share the stage with some of the world’s greatest thinkers, innovators and scientists.

Were you impressed with Richard Turere’s invention? Do you think he will someday invent something even more remarkable?

Source: Teo Kermeliotis, CNN

Image: TED Blog

Elite Colleges Now Offer Free Online Courses

From Harvard to Stanford, a growing number of elite universities are throwing open their digital doors to the masses. They’re offering their most popular courses online for no charge, allowing anyone with an Internet connection to learn from world-renowned scholars and scientists.

The proliferation of so-called massive open online courses, or MOOCs, has the potential to transform higher education at a time when colleges and universities are grappling with shrinking budgets, rising costs and protests over soaring tuition and student debt.

Supporters say these online courses can lower teaching costs, improve learning online and on campus, and significantly expand access to higher education, which could fuel technological innovation and economic growth.


Last month, a dozen major research universities announced they would begin offering courses on the online learning platform Coursera, joining Stanford and Princeton universities and the universities of Pennsylvania and Virginia. The University of California, Berkeley said it would start making online courses available this fall through edX, a competing Web portal launched in May by Harvard University and MIT with $60 million in funding from the two schools.

So far, the new online courses are attracting mostly older workers who want to upgrade their skills and knowledge, but may not have the time or money to attend classes on campus. The new generation of online courses features interactive technology, open admissions, high-caliber curriculum and the ability to teach tens of thousands of students at once. The universities say the online courses are as rigorous as their campus counterparts.

Are you in favor of these elite universities offering free online courses? Do you think cyber courses can really undermine systems of colleges and universities?

Source: Yahoo News

Image: Boston