Yann Martel: ‘Transgression is central to art’

Is it acceptable to write a story from the perspective of someone who is completely unlike you?

  • Man Booker Prize-winning writer Yann Martel, a Canadian man, has written from the perspectives of a man with AIDS, a body-switching woman, an Indian boy, and 20th-century Portuguese widowers.
  • Is it acceptable to write from the perspective of someone who is completely unlike you? Martel believes these transgressions put empathetic imagination into practice, allowing your mind to go where your body cannot.
  • In Martel's case, it's the recipe for great art—books that have been loved and read by millions. "[W]e are who we are in relation to others," says Martel. "But the key thing is the empathetic imagination, and the empathetic imagination is the great traveler. And travelers necessarily cross borders. And not only do they have to but it's a thrill to do so. It's a thrill encountering the other."
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Why would NASA outsource missions to SpaceX?

When it comes new PR disasters, NASA isn't taking any risks.

  • Tragedies at NASA, such as Challenger and Columbia disasters, have impeded the organization from taking risks, critics say. Indeed, in terms of PR, these tragedies were particularly baleful.
  • Although NASA was once a contractor, its staff spearheading missions, today they are more a client. SpaceX is basically selling NASA a ride to the ISS.
  • Essentially, NASA has put the risk on private companies — if anything bad happens, it's on SpaceX, for example. This switch may better further space colonization goals, though, because the private sector has more flexibility, in terms of how business is conducted. Also, NASA, as a national entity, avoids the pall of a possible disaster.
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10 video games to help kids think big

We found 10 video games that kids will love (and they'll secretly be learning, too).

  • Educational video games endure a gimcrack reputation for being boring.
  • We list 10 games that can help players learn and may improve their cognitive skills.
  • The American Psychological Association recognizes other benefits to playing video games, including social and motivational.
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Revolutionary K-12 education might look like a creative incubator

What can a learning space achieve when it's optimized for both student and parent expression?

  • As America's mainstream education systems continue to disappoint both parents and students, schooling alternatives present a fresh opportunity and revolutionary approach to teaching children.
  • Collaborative learning communities help students to discover themselves and their passions while parents play an active role in their education. Inspired by Montessori, Catherine Fraise founded Workspace to provide children the opportunity to learn and grow outside the four walls of "school."
  • This video is supported by yes. every kid., an initiative that aims to rethink education from the ground up by connecting innovators in a shared mission to conquer "one size fits all" education reform.
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What NASA can teach us about education reform

If teachers weren't taught to fear failure, could they see greater success in the mission of education?

  • Matt Candler, founder of 4.0 Schools, questions why school has stayed overwhelmingly the same the past 100 years. As a teacher, he sees the future of schools embracing mutual curiosity in both students and educators.
  • He points to the example of NASA scientists, who approach missions with the idea that failure is welcome and necessary. Failure during preparation ensures the mission will succeed when the time comes to perform.
  • Candler suggests that this idea should hold up in discussions of education reform and how teachers are trained in their approach to learning.
  • This video is supported by yes. every kid., an initiative that aims to rethink education from the ground up by connecting innovators in a shared mission to conquer "one size fits all" education reform.
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