I got to attend a lecture by William Easterly on his new book, focusing on whether or not foreign aid can affect world poverty (spoiler: the past 5 decades don't give a very encouraging answer, but there are some possibilities). I can't recommend his books highly enough for people to get a good, independent, but very well argued critical perspective on the "Washington Consensus" model of development. I'm not going to repeat the majority of his points on accountability and feedback and such, as they're well-argued in his books.
There's a developing thread at Engadget about the branding efforts on the OLPC, as well as some argument to its utility. I of course jumped in, responding to someone talking about the value of laptops as a self-help style tool:
...just sending them supplies doesn't solve anything...
I used to use recipes as a good, non-new/Internet-y example of how you can still make profits (recipe books) with no attempt at copyright enforcement (who cares if you share the recipes, as long as you're not duplicating the whole book and re-selling it competitively, each individual recipe is like an advertisement for the publisher's entire series of cookbooks.