Embrace technology, Amazon founder urges Third World

Herald staff

SEATTLE — Developing nations can save valuable resources by adopting digital technology, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos told a conference on Third World development Tuesday.

Bezos, Time magazine’s Person of the Year for his work on electronic commerce, said replacing real-world resources with virtual alternatives can help the environment.

"Take a look at the gasoline wasted on shopping on a typical 20-mile trip round trip," Bezos said. "You will use 60 percent of that energy if you order online and air express it overnight on a 1,000-mile trip. If you order it ground delivery, it’s just 10 percent of the energy."

Bezos joined other high-tech leaders at the "Creating Digital Dividends" conference sponsored by the World Resources Institute.

  • Ford Focus defects: Ford Motor Co. said Tuesday that it was voluntarily recalling more than 351,000 of the popular model year 2000 Focus subcompact cars with at least one of three suspected defects. Owners of 260,390 Focus vehicles will be asked to have the vehicles’ rear wheel hub assemblies inspected and replaced if necessary. Ford said it has received 15 reports of rear wheel and brake drum assemblies separating when the hub retaining nut that secures the rear wheel bearings became loose. Owners of 33,225 of the cars will be asked to return them to dealers to have the cruise control cable inspected and, if necessary, replaced.

  • New Web surfing appliance: 3Com unveiled its "Internet appliance" for the home on Tuesday, in a bid to redefine a company best-known for its Palm unit. The $499 device, named Audrey, joins a suddenly crowded field of user-friendly "anti-computers," including the iPaq sold by Compaq and competing appliances expected shortly from Gateway and Intel.
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