The New Literacy Rate
If I were to send you back in time to 1500, a time when people were just learning how to cope with the recent disruptive invention of the moveable type printing press, you could have lived a very respectable and comfortable live (by the standards of the time) without being literate.
In fact, literacy rates were about 10% for men (and 1% for women). But, in the 150 years following the invention of the printing press, society reorganized around this new information technology, and unsurprisingly literacy rates increased by 2-3x. It should be noted that the common ability to read generally preceded the common ability to write.
Fast forward a few hundred years, and literacy (aided by population density) continued to increase significantly. Today, in developed societies, literacy rates are near 100%.
There's a parallel in this story for how we should think about the disruptive information technology pervading our current era. Literacy is to the printed word as programming is to the internet.
The speed of innovation has increased, it will happen faster than it did in 1500, but I'll predict that we'll see a cultural movement towards learning to understand and write programming languages. Things in our past, like Alice, and things in our present like CodeYear is giving us a glimpse of a time to come.
If you aren't literate in this fashion, now is a fantastic time to start. It will afford you with the same competitive advantage that literate folks had in 1500.
PS - There's some magic in Aaron Patzer's suggestion that students be allowed to take programming courses that count towards their foreign language requirement. This would be a fantastic way to encourage young folks to develop competitive skills and would create a lot more cohesive thinkers.
Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen discusses whether our society should always defend free speech rights, even for groups who would oppose such rights.
- Former ACLU president Nadine Strossen understands that protecting free speech rights isn't always a straightforward proposition.
- In this video, Strossen describes the reasoning behind why the ACLU defended the free speech rights of neo-Nazis in Skokie, Illinois, 1977.
- The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Want to be smarter than you were yesterday? Learn to have better conversations using these 3 design principles.
- What is a great conversation? They are the ones that leave us feeling smarter or more curious, with a sense that we have discovered something, understood something about another person, or have been challenged.
- There are 3 design principles that lead to great conversations: humility, critical thinking, and sympathetic listening.
- Critical thinking is the celebrated cornerstone of liberalism, but next time you're in a challenging and rewarding conversation, try to engage sympathetic listening too. Understanding why another intelligent person holds ideas that are at odds with your own is often more enlightening than merely hunting for logic errors.
A consortium of scientists and engineers have proposed that the U.S. and Mexico build a series of guarded solar, wind, natural gas and desalination facilities along the entirety of the border.
- The proposal was recently presented to several U.S. members of Congress.
- The plan still calls for border security, considering all of the facilities along the border would be guarded and connected by physical barriers.
- It's undoubtedly an expensive and complicated proposal, but the team argues that border regions are ideal spots for wind and solar energy, and that they could use the jobs and fresh water the energy park would create.
The reason one diet does not suit all may be found in our guts.