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back to article US culture to spread worldwide by means of Kindle, not iPad

The US State Department has defended its decision to deploy thousands of Amazon Kindle devices over the next five years, saying that putting the bid out to tender would be pointless as Amazon's rivals just won't do the job. The $16.5m figure comes from a Justification and Approval document published earlier this week, which …

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Silver badge

What about the TV?

> helping people learn [ American ] English and understand a little more about American culture

I was under the distinct impression that american TV exports had already done that. All my english-as-a-second-language friends and colleagues have a recognisably american "twang" to their spoken english, usually picked up from TV programmes and the teaching material they were exposed to.

Maybe what these Kindles are for is to redress the balance a bit. To correct some possible notions that every american cop will shoot you as soon as look at you, that every crime can be solved within an hour and that their soldiers can drop into any country in the world, gun in hand (and suitcase, and shoulder holster and tucked into belt and another hidden in their sock - just in case) with impunity.

After all, this sort of programme has got to be cheaper than trying to teach their own citizens (or, it must be said: ours, too) another language.

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Pint

Re: What about the TV?

And then there's me and my friends picking up British accents from Doctor Who and the Python gents. What a silly world we live in.

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Anonymous Coward

SPREADING US CULTURE BY KINDLE

Spreading US culture, hmmm,

Obesity, waste, pollution, gun crime, fast food, corn syrup, GM crops, animals for human consumption full of steroids and hormones, aids, bible bashers, sects, war, collateral damage, rendition, detention without trial, executions of innocent people, food waste, enormous portions, super size, private health service where the poor suffer if they can't afford the insurance, ignorance, intolerance, Hollywood films that distort history, drones dropping bombs on children...

Anyone want to add to it?

What a wonderful world.

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Bronze badge
Pint

"Anyone want to add to it?"...glad to

George Bush...x 2

Sarah Palin

Michele Bachman

The Supreme Court (oxymoron alert!)

Rush Limbaugh

Bill O'Reilly

Sean Hannity

News Corp

There are plenty more...but I'm about a quart low right...and it's getting near beer-thirty.

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Black Helicopters

Re: SPREADING US CULTURE BY KINDLE

Isn't that what the CIA and US War Inc. is for?

Although these days they tend more to outsource their "culture" to private contractors like Ntrepid and CACI International.

I believe world plus three-legged, shell-shocked dog has had its fill of US Culture®, thanks all the same.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: SPREADING US CULTURE BY KINDLE

'Have a nice day' don't you just hate that?

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Anonymous Coward

British accents..?

That would be that indistinguishably identical way of speaking, which unites the residents of the East End of London, deepest South Wales, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle, Glasgow, the highlands of Scotland —and all points in between, would it?

</pet annoyance no.341 >

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WTF?

Re: SPREADING US CULTURE BY KINDLE

AIDS?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: SPREADING US CULTURE BY KINDLE

My wife thinks I (and by extension) British people are miserable bastards for hating it.

I don't hate it here because when people say the usual version (have a good day/afternoon/evening/night) it's just another throwaway valediction. In Britain however, it's alien and because it's alien it sounds insincere.

La la la la ... (actually I didn't want to).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: SPREADING US CULTURE BY KINDLE

"Spreading US culture, hmmm,

Obesity, waste, pollution, gun crime"

I think the entire POINT is to spread the bits of culture that AREN'T those bits. Y'know: Huck Finn, To Kill a Mocking Bird, et al. There's plenty of it there. You just have to turn your TV off for a few minutes...

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FAIL

@ObSolutions, Inc Re: AIDS?

No...sorry...that honour is apparently linked to a member of the Commonwealth...one Gaetan Dugas of Canada.

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Bronze badge

"... hanging around the American Air Division Memorial Library in Norwich, before it burnt down."

It is worth mentioning for those not acquainted with the story that much of the library's collection was saved or replaced. In fact if you ever want to gen up on USAAF activities in north-west Europe and their aircraft you could do worse than drop by at a Norfolk library.

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Anonymous Coward

"...you could do worse than drop by at a Norfolk library."

Yup. All the old stuff is tucked away upstairs. The Forum is a lovely building.

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Anonymous Coward

"US Culture" .... an oxymoron if ever there was one

Anon... cos I don't fancy a stretch in Gitmo....

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Joke

The tired, old joke went something like

"What's the difference between America ( / Australia / wherever) and yoghurt?"

"Yoghurt has a thriving culture"

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Anonymous Coward

"while Apple's iPad was rejected because it was just too capable"

I don't imagine that would have bothered the UK government any; as long as it has an Apple badge, and it's the most expensive then it's fine.

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Anonymous Coward

These days UK.gov would be suggesting the Raspberry Pi, not realising it's just not capable.

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Anonymous Coward

How much greasing was required here.

As clearly Amazon being a locked down brand, would usually be insanity to go with.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How much greasing was required here.

In the real world, decisions are based on the capability & cost of the platform. I know FOSS zealots froth at the mouth when it's suggested a FOSS solution isn't synonymous with being the best solution, but sometimes that is the case.

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FAIL

Re: How much greasing was required here.

It's locked in that the MOBI files you buy from Amazon are locked, but there's millions of free ones out there, and Calibre will convert EPUBs as required. The battery life is the killer: upwards of a week for me and I read a lot! Tablets can't touch that.

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Trollface

Re: How much greasing was required here.

"The best solution", of course, depends on what the requirements are.

If a core requirement is that the range of accessible content should be strictly controlled and tightly locked down by a central authority, then obviously FOSS is completely out of court before you even begin. Kindle is definitely the way to go.

After all, the point is to spread "American culture". We don't want any nonsense about "freedom" or "participation", do we?

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Headmaster

Any suggestions for the 50 books to be chosen?

I'll start you off: "Democracy in America" by Alexis de Tocqueville

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Silver badge

This is why it has to be amazon

"Amazon will be required to monitor the devices, reporting back on everything that has been read "

Until I read that I thought there are a number of wi-fi enabled e-readers that could do the job (unless they specifically wanted 3G). It's spying on the readers that Amazon does better than anyone else.

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Silver badge

Re: This is why it has to be amazon

Since they will be in American consulate type places and have content selected by the American equivalent of the British council - I don't think this is exactly part of a massive covert surveillance operation.

ie Somebody in Afghanistan is reading the Anarchist Cookbook or we have detected a user in London reading Das Kapital - send in the CIA

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Coat

So... Danielle Steel, Stephan King, Beetle Baily cartoons, and Twilight/Shades of Grey stuff?

/mine's the one with Bored of the Rings in pocket

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Anonymous Coward

Makes you wonder wehat Old Uncle Sam is up to.

Juxtapose this story with that from a week ago regarding the White Houses' declaration that it will feed and host in hotels, journalists from around the world that come to the US to write stories favourable to US policy.

Why is Uncle Sam going on the offensive like this? What's he planning now for the world?

A few years back we all raged over the COMINTERN doing similar stuff. Nothings really changed, has it?

AC because I too (despite always wanting to see it) doin't wanna be banged up in Gitmo either.

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WTF?

That Many?

"Those devices will end up in American Reading Rooms* around the world, helping people learn English and understand a little more about American culture - they'll be preloaded with 50 books to that end,"

That is hilarious, 50 books that define "American Culture", an oxymoron if ever there was one.

They should be distributing millions of them within the US, preloaded with 50 books that explain there are other people and countries in the world.

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Thumb Up

At least it's not iPads

Let's be thankful for small mercies.

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Headmaster

Er...

"Creating an association between speaking English and being well educated helps American business abroad?" Not quite. It's more like "Creating an association between speaking English and being well compensated helps American business abroad".

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Childcatcher

Bless the USA

What are you Britons, or English, or whatever you call yourselves doing? Two things. Jack and Shit. By the way, the Kindle Fire is bad ass.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bless the USA

1) Paying attention in school so that we know the difference between the English and the Britons.

2) Designing the chips that run your kindle fire.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bless the USA

Not heard of the BBC World Service, then?

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Bronze badge

Title? Why do you discriminate against commoners?

Now the Germans can respond "If we had won, you wouldn't all be speaking English."

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