In February 1997 Richard Stallman published “The Right to Read” in the Communications of the ACM. The piece is a short science fiction story about two students in 2047 who run the risk of jail by surreptitiously trading e-books on their computer. This put Dan in a dilemma. He had to help her—but if he lent her his computer, she might read his books. Aside from the fact that you could go to prison for many years for letting someone else read your books, the very idea shocked him at first.
I wasn’t alive when Apollo 11 reached the moon forty years ago today. I was alive for Apollo 16 and 17 but less than a year old so my memories are dim. I do remember reading The High Road by Ben Bova from 1981 and dreaming of becoming an astronaut. That dream was never fulfilled and I’ve become less infatuated with space travel as I’ve aged. That seems sad. I don’t see many signs of optimism for the future of mankind today.
I shuffled off to an early morning Citizens League meeting on Thursday to hear Alex Cirillo Jr., vice president of community relations at 3M, talk about the Principles of Innovation. I went because I’ve been interested in this topic for at least ten years. I was also interested in seeing what the Citizens League would be like. Cirillo began the session with a short 15 minute presentation, a time limit he admirably fulfilled.
Let’s see what’s been on my mind for April 2009 On education. Two interesting articles on stress and the purpose of art education lead me to write about Educational Responses to Stress - Emotion and Arts A long essay by Bruce Western on reentry to society by former prisoners leads to Prisons and Punishment in America More thoughts on talent and justice: Talent, Work, and Justice Our crazy perception of time makes me ask Just How Long Ago Was the Civil War?
A test post.
Lux aeterna. Etc. etc.
I’m an occasional visitor to the local Socrate’s Cafe discussion group. Most of the time it frustrates me. It’s predominantly a white, middle-class group that never wants to talk about business or personal experiences with culture. The talk always returns to politics - usually national. And vague reifications about this culture does x, when it should be doing y. Business is one of my ongoing obsessions that I wish more people would think about in a serious way.
I heard a story on All Things Considered this afternoon about a book that was returned to Washington and Lee University in Virginia, 145 years after it was stolen. Let’s see 2009-145 = 1864. That’s nearing the end of the American Civil War. The Battle of Gettysburg took place July 1-3 of 1863. The South surrendered at Appomattox on April 9, 1865. Washington and Lee University is located in Lexington, VA near the western border of Virginia.
I’m not sure why this particular issue has begun to obsess me over the past few months. I think it’s connected to my wastage of talent that pervades the world and the crazy belief that poverty teaches us lessons. Punishment is also an American obsession. In Five Myths about prison growth John Pfaff offers a number of statistics and reports that he says prove that long sentences, low-level drug offenders, and technical parole violations have no effect on prison growth.
I mentioned a recent study about stress and poverty earlier today. In summary, there appears to be a link between allostatic load (a psychological and physiological measure of stress) and average performance with working memory tests. So how could we respond to this? Drake Bennett has a story at the Boston Globe about teaching emotional intelligence. Since Daniel Goleman published Emotional Intelligence in 1995 there has been a growing chorus of educational researchers and reformers calling for emotional education.
A few weeks ago I wrote a bit about the immense amount of talent that gets wasted or ignored in the world today. I claimed that the problem was based on a winner-take-all morality that has infused Western society. CEO salaries are just the most recent example. I think any argument that can be made against oversize CEO salaries can also be made against celebrity salaries in sports or entertainment.