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The new "Life skills your Parents should have taught you" Business
Today a group of investors including three tech space leaders, namely Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Eric Schmidt of Google and Evan Williams of Twitter, put $10 million in EverFi, a Washington based startup that creates online tutorials for college students. The topics currently covered are financial literacy, digital literacy and alcohol consumption. This round brings the total funding of EverFi to $21 million.
According to an article in the Washington Post, EverFi is currently reaching 4 million students across the States. The business model is based on grants from corporations, foundations and individuals for the high school student programs and direct sales to universities for the college programs.
Now, I don’t want to sound like an old fart but are we really that bad in raising our kids that we need startups to fill in the gap and teach them some of the most essential life skills? Will the next big thing be an iPad potty training app for toddlers?
On the other hand, this is also related to helicopter parenting and big data in education. Knowing that your child is a potential high risk drinker is of course a good thing but then I am not sure what consequences will follow. Who gets all this data and what conclusions will be drawn? Will we see some data points in the presidential campaign in 2048 that one contender used to be a high risk drinker in college where the other did not know much about financial literacy?
Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong that a startup like EverFi offers tutorials for life skills as there is apparently a growing group of teenagers who really need these tutorials. But to me, it also shows that there is something profoundly wrong in today’s society. And why is there no option for parents who want to buy the tutorial for their children and then go through it together at home? I suppose there is no interest.
We seem to be willing to outsource everything including parenting for more convenience though I am not sure what the freed-up time is used for. Sure, those topics EverFi is tackling are not the most fun ones to talk about with your teenage kid but those dialogs are nevertheless an important part of the upbringing, I feel.
For example, letting a commercial bank teach my children financial literacy is also a bit trusting the cat to keep the cream. Sure, banks are also interested in literate customers but in the end they want to have you as a customer and sell their credits to you.
If we avoid conflict in our families because there are services out there that will do this for us, family life might start to look totally different in the future. Sure, we all want to live a happy and peaceful life at home but conflict and for that matter solving conflicts is also an essential life skill that I think cannot be taught in an online tutorial.
As EverFi is planning to invest parts of the new funding in new courses, I suppose there will be tutorials on health and sex education.
Nevertheless, EverFi is doing an important job and I applaud them for that. I just wished that we wouldn’t need tutorials on life skills parents should teach their kids at home.
Picture via Shutterstock
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Duke researchers have developed the first gel-based synthetic cartilage with the strength of the real thing. A quarter-sized disc of the material can withstand the weight of a 100-pound kettlebell without tearing or losing its shape.
Photo: Feichen Yang.<p>That's the word from a team in the Department of Chemistry and Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke University. Their <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/adfm.202003451" target="_blank">new paper</a>, published in the journal,<em> Advanced Functional Materials</em>, details this exciting evolution of this frustrating joint.<br></p><p>Researchers have sought materials strong and versatile enough to repair a knee since at least the seventies. This new hydrogel, comprised of three polymers, might be it. When two of the polymers are stretched, a third keeps the entire structure intact. When pulled 100,000 times, the cartilage held up as well as materials used in bone implants. The team also rubbed the hydrogel against natural cartilage a million times and found it to be as wear-resistant as the real thing. </p><p>The hydrogel has the appearance of Jell-O and is comprised of 60 percent water. Co-author, Feichen Yang, <a href="https://today.duke.edu/2020/06/lab-first-cartilage-mimicking-gel-strong-enough-knees" target="_blank">says</a> this network of polymers is particularly durable: "Only this combination of all three components is both flexible and stiff and therefore strong." </p><p> As with any new material, a lot of testing must be conducted. They don't foresee this hydrogel being implanted into human bodies for at least three years. The next step is to test it out in sheep. </p><p>Still, this is an exciting step forward in the rehabilitation of one of our trickiest joints. Given the potential reward, the wait is worth it. </p><p><span></span>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
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