environment, technology

Wanted Dead or Alive: CO2 Reward: $25 Million

Sir Richard Branson along with Vice President Al Gore and some other unnamed (because no one loves them) people have offered up a $25 million dollar reward. What do you need to do to cash in? Invent a way to suck CO2 out of the air. Why? Well, Sir Richard said that:

The plot is often that no one believes the threat until it is almost too late and then the superhero steps in to save the day. Well, today we have a threat, we still have to convince many people that the threat is indeed urgent and real. We have no superhero, we have only our ingenuity to fall back on.

It seems an unlikely that anyone will win the “Virgin Challenge” (not to be confused with plots of 1970’s B-Movies or 2000’s A-Movies). But the great thing about this is that it keeps people thinking about climate change, and the reality that by 2100 the Earth could be nearly fifty degrees warmer on average1. People need to keep making the environment and issue, because it seems insanely easy for people to forget about it. People also need to see that this is a serious and urgent issue. That is what this prize is really accomplishing, if it can also create some sort of CO2 vacuum, then so much the better.

And just so you don’t think Sir Richard, the head honcho of Virgin, is fooling around— you should know that he has also pledged that for the next ten years all the profits from his travel companies will go to fighting global warming.

1 “Study Sees Earth’s Temperature Soaring by 2100.” Dunham, Will. Reuters

Standard
whatnot

An Inconvenient Truth for Public Education

I read recently about Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth getting banned in Federal Way schools (an area just outside of Seattle). It seems a parent complained and the school board decided that the movie shouldn’t be in the classroom. The claim was that it violated the district’s policy of teaching both sides of a controversial issue. This ban came despite teachers using additional materials and discussing the points (and counter points) of the movie.

This is why an American public education is worth less and less every year. The idea of a school board is cute, but it is bad. Is it an educated decision to place people who aren’t experienced educators in charge of a school? Would you let a person manage a restaurant if his main qualification was that he has eaten in one? Then why let a person who has been to school manage a school?

School boards are political, and politics has no place in education, democracy yes, but not politics. Community is important, but it’s time to ask ourselves if a local community has the global vision needed to get a quality education. Should we ask the neighbor next door if he believes that light is fast than sound, or should we look towards the global body of experts? If our neighbor believes it to be in opposition to his belief, should we be obliged to comfort him or to politely point him towards the experts? Does our neighbor really know how to best educate our children? Does she know better than the superintendent, principal, department chair, and teachers in the classroom. Does she know better than experts working in their fields?

Discussing controversy is good, as is intelligent debate, and people unwilling to accept a point of view when they have a discrete logical argument to disprove that point. Letting people declare a point invalid based on faith or a feeling of the issue being too confusing only hurts American education. It has to stop.

There is no reason to fear foreign invasion, terrorists, economic collapse or any of the other external threats to America which people agonize over, we will slowly fall apart of our own volition if we continue to let our children be educated by neighbors.

Standard