Like most of us, I guess, I have a very western perception of innovation and science. Think of Africa and computing, and OLPC jumps to mind.
Throughout my education I’d been taught a western-centric view of science and maths. Yes, the Chinese did fireworks, Chess came from India and the Arabs did some cool early work with numbers, but maths and science invention are a European (and more recently US) thing. Computing owes its existence to maths, so the industry in which I work owes its existence to the pioneering work of European mathematicians.
I’ll also add Ron’s book to the holiday reading.
The rest of the Africa series on TED is well worth a look too.