Green, Red, Black and Female

I recently read a very moving and persuasive article on Truth-Out.org, one of my progessive blog reading indulgences.  It was so powerfully written that I can’t help sharing some of my favorite quotes and some of the questions it flooded into my mind.  The Future Must Be Green, Red, Black and Female just had one of those titles that grabbed my attention and demanded to be read.

Robert Jensen is an outspoken activist and constantly inspires on how to make things happen in the future.

Our task today is not to scurry around trying to hold onto the world as we know it, but to focus on how we can hold onto our humanity as we enter a distinctly different era of the human presence on the planet, an era that will challenge our resolve and reserves.

 This point of view seems to be an essential part of the thought process of all of my friends and peers, we assume that we are creating the world we will live in.  But the challenging portion is that we don’t necessarily imagine that the world we will live in is nothing like the world of our parents, even less then how their world was like that of their parents.  There has been a fundamental shift in the power balance of the world; our population and consumerism have done nothing but grow for centuries, but can they continue to do that?

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a world where we decide for each other

From this, one can make a deduction which is quite certainly the ultimate truth of jigsaw puzzles: despite appearances, puzzling is not a solitary game: every move the puzzler makes, the puzzlemaker has made before; every piece the puzzler picks up, and picks up again, and studies and strokes, every combination he tries, and tries a second time, every blunder and every insight, each hope and each discouragement have all been designed, calculated, and decided by the other.

Georges Perec quote on La Vie mode d’emploi

This quote was found in the midst of an post entitled Graveyard of Giants which illuminates some of the issues related to the ship-breaking industry.  The author discusses ethical and economic issues to expose some of our hidden assumptions about out-sourcing to developing countries and our faith in capitalism.  However, I think that this quote serves as the most powerful message he speaks. In a world that is as interconnected as ours, no one is alone.  No decision you make as a designer of ships, buildings, roads, systems, computers, accounting methods, of anything, affects only you.  The responsibility and title of “adult” may very well be the acceptance of this selfless idea.  So please dear world inhabitants, take this to heart and grow up.

Hurdles to Education

In today’s New York Times, Andrew Hacker, the author of a book that has long been on my “to read” list: Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids — and What We Can Do About It wrote that in his opinion Algebra isn’t necessary for all students.  I really must agree.

As 21st century leaders and students we must ask ourselves whether the conventional wisdom of the mid-20th century applies to us.  Algebra is quite necessary for building of 21st century technology and solutions in programming, economics, engineering or research science – but is it necessary that everyone knows how to build these technologies?  I’m not talking about opportunity to learn – everyone should have the opportunity to take all classes – but as every student does not have the same skillset let alone the same interest, should every student be forced into the same math requirements?  And if so what should those requirements be?

Hacker brings up an alternative to the traditional algebra-geometry-trigonometry-calculus path that all high school graduates must make it at least halfway through before receiving a diploma:

Thus mathematics teachers at every level could create exciting courses in what I call “citizen statistics.” This would not be a backdoor version of algebra, as in the Advanced Placement syllabus. Nor would it focus on equations used by scholars when they write for one another. Instead, it would familiarize students with the kinds of numbers that describe and delineate our personal and public lives.

We as citizenry must decide how much information an individual can be required to learn before they can be a responsible citizen.  Currently, we blindly push everyone toward the same STEM career path without regard for their own skillset or the changing market dynamics that may require intellectual development in non-math fields.  Does this 20th century model really work?

A Balanced Diet

As I look towards summer, I always look forward to getting outside and getting in shape.  I just naturally eat less and work out more – summer is my diet.  This alone could make any woman feel great, but this video makes me wonder if there’s something deeper going on.  Maybe the summer helps me lose weight in other ways.

Let me frame this for you:  what do you really consume in a day?