you have to listen to this amazing speech from this year’s TED (a really cool conference with presentations from the world’s foremost experts on a wide variety of things).
in it, this woman recounts the experience of her stroke, talks about the nature of the brain and nirvana. it is truly awe-inspiring.
seriously. i almost cried. at work.
watch it now: http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/229
if you’re like me, you can’t wait for stephen colbert to announce his candidacy for lord and savior of both the known and unknown universe.
well he hasn’t done it here, but this interview is thoroughly entertaining.
the interviewer (npr’s terry gross) is one of the best interviewers ever (imho), and even she reveals herself to be a giddy fan of the illustrious mr.colbert. perhaps that’s why he granted an interview where he appeared out of character and answered questions about his family and catholic beliefs? at any rate, i love it.
this is a pretty clever little venture into the world of human belief.
here’s a taste of what you’re in for: “Suppose that several people of your acquaintance, including people who you’re pretty sure don’t know each other, all tell you that they have dragons in their garages–but in every case the evidence is maddeningly elusive.”
this is an inspiring story about this ostensibly great guy who is going to die soon. he’s in great shape, has a great sense of humor, and appears to be a wonderful professor, but pancreatic cancer is going to take him out in his prime.
as someone who went through both public and private schools in multiple cities, countries, and continents, including quite a few years of the best schools the american public school system has to offer, i can tell you from personal experience that the entire structure of american education has pretty much gone to shit (not that it was ever all that great of an idea in the first place).
this is a nice essay i came across that represents my feelings on the subject fairly accurately.
here are some highlights:
“…as long as [our country’s children] are learning meaningful, useful, and interesting worthwhile things, there should be no point in forcing them to fail in subjects that have no purpose or meaning for them. […] there is an “opportunity cost” in trying to teach [things] to people [who are] not likely to learn them and not interested in learning them at the time. Those students’ time could be much better spent [being taught] things they appreciate…”
“Schools ought to be places that nurture individual and social strengths, not places that, at great expense, forcibly try to inculcate and remediate what students cannot learn and what teachers in some cases cannot teach. In an ideal world, teaching would inspire students to want to learn as much as they can all their lives, and give them the foundation to do that. “
…and don’t think for a second that our way is the only feasible way anyone has come up with. there are lots of civilized countries around the world, and some have far superior educational systems. there are plenty of great educational philosophies and alternative schools that work wonders.. why don’t we make one of the ways that work the standard?