Wednesday, March 20, 2013

college students squeezed both ways

"Faced with continued budget cuts at the state and federal level, state universities continue to raise tuition and cut offerings, according to a recent analysis by the Center of Budget Policy and Priorities."

Hm. I wonder why we're having trouble keeping up with other countries in education?

Monday, March 18, 2013

US soon to be energy self-sufficient

"U.S. oil and gas production is growing so rapidly - and demand dropping so quickly - that in just five years the U.S. may no longer need to import oil from any source but Canada, according to Citigroup. And the International Energy Agency projects the U.S. could leapfrog Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world’s biggest oil producer by 2020. IEA sees the U.S. becoming a net oil exporter by 2030."

Here in South Dakota we get 22% of our electricity from the wind.  Things are changing rapidly. Cars are getting more energy efficient, so less fuel is needed.  This will change our foreign relations as well.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

tax wall street tranactions, a tiny bit

"The high-frequency traders that now dominate our markets would be hardest-hit by the tax. A top economist recently concluded that their lightning speed, algorithm-driven trading drains profits from traditional investors. And analysts fear that such mass trading strategies could lead to disaster if markets behave unexpectedly.
The new tax would discourage these kinds of trades, which would be a good thing.
Europe, at least, seems to agree. Eleven nations, led by the conservative German government, are on track to start collecting the tax by January 2014. Expected revenues: $50 billion per year."

This tiny tax of just 3 cents per $100 transaction not only raises revenue but also helps slow a dangerous Wall Street practice. Win win!  And just a tiny lose for the fat cats.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Can children teach themselves?

"He calls it the grandmother technique, and it goes like this: expose a half dozen or so kids to a computer, and let them have at it. The only supervision required is an adult to listen the kids brag about what they learn. It’s the opposite, he says, of the disciplinary ways of many parents—more like a kindly grandmother, who rewards curiosity with acceptance and encouragement. And it is a challenge to the past century and a half of formalized schooling.
Since this first experience in 1999, Mitra has been working to extend the notion of self-organized learning to address the needs of poor children, especially in developing countries, who have little or no educational resources. He is convinced that school children can teach themselves just about anything—that they can achieve educational objectives without formal direction. For these kids, formal education, at least as practiced in the U.K., where he is professor of educational technology at Newcastle University, is of little help."

I can see this as a supplemental way to learn, but not as the only way to learn.