Yes, there should be an economic aspect to schooling

Many folks are concerned that schools today are mostly about churning\nout worker bees for uncaring corporations who are more than happy to chew up\nemployees and spit them out in favor of others, perhaps overseas, who are\ncheaper. Like Mike\nParent, my guest blogger this week, they are\nworried about mission statements like that of the The New Jersey High School\nRedesign Steering Committee, which states that it is 'working to build\npublic awareness and support for a more rigorous high school experience, one\nthat allows students to succeed in the workforce or in pursuing higher\neducation.'


I'm not one of those people. Although I, too, want my children to be happy,\ncreative, caring, self-directed, intellectually curious, and environmentally\naware, I also want them to be contributing members to society. And, if they\ndecide to challenge certain statuses quo, I want them to have the tools\nto be able to do that successfully. I think that means preparing them to be\npowerfully productive in the technology-suffused, globally-interconnected future\nin which they're going to live. If they can't play, work, thrive, and influence others in that\nworld, they're going to be marginalized, impotent outsiders.


So, with all due respect to Clay\nBurell, I see Did You\nKnow? 2.0 as a conversation starter for how the world is changing\naround us but, like Karl Fisch,\nI don't see it as an overt call for preparing students solely for economic\ncompetitiveness. Nor do I think it is fair to label William\nFarren's excellent Did You Ever Wonder? video as a 'vital\ncounterpoint' to the issues in the Did You Know? video. I see no reason\nwhy equipping students with 21st century skills is in opposition to preparing\nthem to be ecologically-responsible citizens. In fact, a strong argument could\nbe made that it is only by equipping our students with 21st century\nskills that they will be in a position to solve the massive problems that we are\nbestowing upon them.


Collins\nand Porras note that we should be embracing the 'genius of the and'\nrather than the 'tyranny of the or.' I agree. I will be preparing my\nchildren to be productive 21st century citizens and employees. I will\nbe preparing my children to be environmentally-aware and\neconomically-productive. I am hoping – and, indeed, counting on – many others\ndoing the same.


One year ago:
Online\nmultimedia textbooks: A strategic investment and Online\nmultimedia textbooks: Follow-up


How to make a black hole

Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.

  • There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
  • CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
  • Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
  • Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
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China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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