“Humanity’s Public Library” beamed from outer space

We might take the Internet for granted, but it hasn’t reached all corners of the world. Now a company is looking at building virtual libraries to cater to the four billion people who don’t have access to the net.

Sounding like something straight out of a sci-fi novel, Outernet is aiming to beam data from satellites.

A new device called the “Lighthouse” can deliver access to free books and images without coming up to road blocks like costly infrastructure, data fees and censorship.

People would still require access to mobile phones, but the developers insist they are becoming much more common more in remote locations

Rather than providing full Internet Outernet will stream a data feed to the user that currently includes a collection of 49,000 free e-books in the public domain.

People would be able to store information on the Lighthouse, so they can access it whenever they feel like it. Outernet bills itself as “Humanity’s Public Library” and sees its mission as spreading information and education.

“Imagine what our world and global economy can accomplish when education is truly universal,” Karim said. “If we can can provide a Library of Congress in every village in the world, why should we not?”

Displaying premmies in a Coney Island ‘Freak Show’ exhibit saved 6,500 lives

Incubators for premature babies are an essential piece of hospital equipment that we expect to see in every  neonatal ward,  but this wasn’t always the case. Met with skepticism about their competency, one doctor found an unusual way to use the technology, now credited with saving thousands of little lives.

Determined to prove their effectiveness, the developers took an usual road, using them to preserve tiny babies lives, while exhibiting them

Dr. Martin A. Couney knew he wanted to counter the horrifyingly low survival rates babies faced, and came up with the unusual idea to exhibit the tiny humans as part of Coney Island’s ‘freak show’, in an effort to save their lives.

‘Exhibit’ Beth Allen and Dr. Martin Couney, Luna Park, 1941 Source: Coney Island History Project


The ‘child hatcheries’ as they were initially known, were first set up in Berlin, before Couney moved to America, where he built a baby exhibit at Dreamland. Also known as Infatoriums, they eventually found a permanent home in the amusement parks of Coney Island.

Hoping to capitalise on people’s curiosity while tugging on their heartstrings Couney was able to save many lives, and without cost to their often-struggling parents. Charging an entry fee to the ‘exhibit’ allowed him to fund the project.

Aside from the freak show element of having your baby gawked at, it was a lifesaving operation run very professionally under Dr Couney’s leadership. Nurses maintained strict infant care, behind the glass that separated the otherwise normal looking hospital ward from hordes of viewers.

Nurses with premature babies at the Infatorium exhibit Source: Coney Island History Project

‘Graduates’ of the program often returned to thank Dr Couney for saving their lives, and view the latest tiny recruits. Some even became doctors themselves.

After forty years, the exhibit closed in 1941, as people were used to the phenomenon of baby hatcheries. More importantly, Cornell’s New York Hospital finally opened a premmie hospital ward. Coney’s 80 per cent success rate proved undeniable and incubators became accepted as an established medical treatment. Dr Couney died in 1950 having achieved his goal, depite it being achieved in one of the craziest methods in medical history.