Latest

On the blog

Be Encouraged

It’s easy to be discouraged, even cynical, these days.  We’re inching towards defaulting on our national debt.  China is worried we’re acting like a third world country playing financial chicken.  As our government sputters over issues of consequence, the House did just muster the “courage” to pass one bill to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency […] Read More

New Building Blocks in Education

Education correlates with income.  Using Ted Rosling’s wonderful Gapminder program I’ve created a graph showing showing how adult literacy correlates with income around the world. If you want to see these trends change over time (my chart only shows the situation for 2007), try this interactive animation of the data. The Bureau of Labor Statistics data […] Read More

Creating Value: Something from Nothing

By Michael Gordon Physics Pop Quiz. Can something be in two places at the same time?The answer from advanced physics is a clear (ifcounter-intuitive) Yes. Can you create something from nothing? We all know that you can’t — except scientists explain thatyou can, by taking a vacuum (nothing)and blasting it into its dense, complementary matter […] Read More

Microfinance, Science, and Moving Ahead

(This entry was inspired by Jonathan Lewis’ blog entry on the Huffington Post and Social Edge, where I have cross-posted these thoughts. Science seeks the truth but frequently does not arrivethere, at least at first.Theconsequences can be mistaken beliefs and misguided practices that become soentrenched that they are almost regarded as laws of nature.The practical […] Read More

Funding Education for Poor Students

By Michael Gordon 1 Comment Funding poor students could be the next big thing in microcredit and other innovative forms of microfinance that are so new that they don’t even have names. Microcredit is put to many productive uses: as a cushion against the financial ups and downs of poor people whose lives are so […] Read More

Evolution and Invention

How can we make sense of all the changes taking place aroundus?More importantly, how can wecreate the change necessary to attack our most pressing societal problems? Short answer:building blocks.I willreturn to this theme again and again in other posts.But for now: a preview. Eric Beinhocker’s Originof Wealth leans on the theory of complex systems to […] Read More

Brazil Could Teach the US about HIV/AIDS

Those of us who seek societal change have to think about how we can create impact. As an educator, I have the opportunity to share my ideas with students, who can think about them, modify them to suit their needs, and apply them to problems they are attacking. That source of impact is my privilege. […] Read More

Commencement: Innovation for a Better World

My daughter graduated from Oberlin College on Memorial Day.The ceremony took place in a park withlittle shade on a crystal clear day, the kind you get in the Midwest when thetemperature spikes 40 degrees in twenty-four hours.It was sweltering. But the true intensity came from the anticipation of what liesahead, measured in people to be […] Read More