(note: link to the Simpsons episode is now dead on Hulu… check it out on Youtube before Fox takes it down.)
Sure, it may seem counter-intuitive, or perhaps even downright discrediting to reference a recent Simpsons episode as illustrating one’s perspective on education. Keep in mind, however, the show built its reputation taking a stand on current events and pop culture. This clip follows suit, posing a few provocative questions, using a little tongue-in-cheek humor, and highlighting the irony of Facebook founder and Harvard-dropout Mark Zuckerberg’s recent $100-million donation to Newark public schools. Check out the Simpsons clip on
Where college degrees were once a ticket to limitless career opportunities and held as a point of pride, the Simpsons clip astutely points out that this is far from the truth anymore. We laugh at the punch line where Zuckerberg states, “Well, actually, I dropped out of Harvard,” following up with a condescending jab at the frivolous distribution of honorary degrees. Then again, we laugh when the Janitor speaks of his graduate honors, and how things “Didn’t work out so well.” We laugh at the irony of the money spent, the time invested, and the uncertain returns.
While there is no questioning the empowerment of learning, I can’t help but wonder What is the correlation between “success” and education? In fact, I’d even ask if there is any correlation at all.
Not 10 minutes after I saw this Simpsons clip, Seth Godin made a brief post entitled “Hacking Education.” In it, he quotes Arlo Guthrie, “You teach kids how to succeed when they successfully foil the educational system.”
Sometimes I wonder if Mr. Godin is following me, looking over my shoulder- his posts often echoing my exact thoughts at pretty much any given time (and that is not to say I’m half the thought-leader he is). On first blush I was in complete agreement- when kids think for themselves and overturn the system, you’ve taught kids to succeed. Seth read my mind again, question answered.
But then I thought for a minute…
1) What is success
2) Why are these kids foiling the system? What’s their drive?
In a select few cases, this quote may be dead-on. Some kids twist their education, grasping learning fundamentally and making the system what they want it to be, likely going on to do great things. Not often thought of as traditional academics, these students prime themselves to think differently, to overcome the adversity of a behemoth system, and as Seth might say, overcome their Lizard brain and do meaningful work. This might account for (a generous) 50% of those who “foil the system”. I’d argue, these kids weren’t taught to do this. They just did it. Example: Zuckerberg, Gates, and Branson.
Then there are the other 50% (probably more like 70-80%); those who foil the system to make their own lives easier, to do less and get more, to ride the wave of others to their own personal success. Those who foil the system for all the wrong reasons- not to do meaningful work, but to do less than what is asked to free themselves of any burden they feel unjust, riding towards mainstream “success” in the form of fame and fortune. In some sort of Pavlovian way, these kids have been taught this behavior. “If I do this/Don’t do this a certain way, then I get the benefit of ____.” Example: most of my classmates through high school and college.
Then there is the loaded question: what is “success?”
Is it Mark Zuckerberg’s success- young billionaire going down in the history books as irrevocably changing the shape of society? A mainstream view to be sure.
Or has Zuckerberg attained the antithesis of success by developing an application that wastes thousands of hours of potentially productive time, breaks hearts, and encourages destructive social measuring against peer’s “success?”
I cannot pretend to know the meaning of success, and thus cannot draw any correlation between one’s education and their relative success. What I can speak to, however, is the power of an undying desire to learn, combined with immense internal drive and discipline. The combination of these traits will surely lead to success, whatever your definition.
I happened to stumble across this in my travels of the internet (which are much more limited than I’d prefer, these days), and I think it’s the perfect thing to pull me out of my blogging hiatus.
rAndom international , a London-based design collective, have prototyped what they call “PixelRoller.” Somewhere between a printer and a paint roller, the device puts the human touch back into the painting process, allowing someone to quickly apply text or an image to a broad range of surfaces using the intuitive motion of rolling on paint.
Could you imagine if Banksy got his hands on one of these? This could put his stencils to shame…
Check out their site for a more in-depth explanation, photos and video demonstrating the device.
Things have gotten a little crazy in the past month. I’ve got a ton of stuff backed up that I want to post about and hoping to start posting regularly again in the next couple weeks. So if you’ve been checking regularly and were wondering where the new posts are (and there is probably only one person out there… mom…) I’ll be back and att’em soon enough.
I love to travel. I mean, I really love to travel.
And I hate to pack. Oh, do I loathe it.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been found at 2am, the morning before an epic trip, with the bathroom scale out trying to guess how heavy my bags were. There’s enough to worry about (oh man, I forgot my underwear…), and how much your bag weighs is just one more headache to consider as you’re running out the door. Given that weight restrictions are nothing new, it’s mind-boggling that it took this long for someone to develop a simple way of weighing your bags.
Digigrip has finally done it. Just press the button, and pick up your bag. Dumb-simple. (Nearly as dumb-simple is their website. Someone help these guys out.)
While I’d recommend packing as light as possible in just about any/every situation, there are those longer trips that certainly warrant a heavy bag. This little gadget can be quite a time and money saver come your turn at the ticket counter. Definitely worth the 20 Euros if you ask me. Too bad there isn’t a simple handle that can help you skirt the now-ubiquitous baggage fees.
Now if they could only make security/size restrictions/boarding procedures this ridiculously simple.
Note:: I also did a quick search on where to purchase one of these. Aside from getting in touch directly with the dude in Sweden, I have no idea. If you find out where to get one, lemme know, would yah?
UPDATE: Looks like the link has been broken to this product, not sure if they aren’t producing it anymore?
I’d really like to play with some thermoforming of Corian. If that doesn’t say “nerd,” then I don’t know what does.
The possibilities of DuPont’s solid surface material is pretty overwhelming. Just check out Amanda Levete Architects‘ installation for the Corian Supersurface Showroom in Milan. And this is the same stuff my countertop is made of?
Zaha Hadid has also done some pretty cool stuff with Corian in her store design for Neil Barrett in Tokyo. Both have used the generous pliability of the material when heated to make smooth, flowing forms that retain a high structural integrity. I’d like to know a bit more about the jig process that these projects must have used to get the precision in what I’d imagine to be a pretty fickle fabrication process.
Hailing from York Pennsylvania with Harley Davidson‘s largest manufacturing plant, I’ve always had a soft spot for two wheels and a powerful engine. This bike is a long shot from those thundering bohemoths, though.
Mission Motors introduced their Mission One Superbike earlier this year, an electric bike that does not skimp one bit on performance (… they claim you can power wheelie at 70mph. On an electric bike. Whoa.) A strong push in a transportation market trying to revive itself, the bike certainly makes it clear that just because you’re doing the environment a favor doesn’t mean you’re going to be putting along with the mopeds.
Aside from the striking speed, the bike is also touted for its agility, response, acceleration band, and battery range. And did you see the thing? It looks like its going 70mph while sitting still thank to design genius Yves Behar lending his talented hands with the fuseproject team. I’d go so far as to say this could be a completely novel genre of bikes, breaking the molds of cruiser, sport, and touring bikes perhaps not in form, but certainly in riding experience. Perhaps you’d opt for the whiz of an electric bike over that thunderous motor or whining engine (check out this video and listen to this thing purr). Oh, and there’s no shifting.
Better start saving now, though. The bike is going for a cool $70k. The company states that with an entry into the luxury market, they can get the technology out there and tested while working on some more attainable, average-consumer products for the future. I think I’ll hold out for one of those…