Ted Talks

I'm a big Ted Talks fan.  http://www.ted.com/talks 

It's one of those things that I can go watch when I'm feeling down about mankind's stupidity and inhumanity, and feel like maybe it's not as bad as it seems, since there are a few people like these out there. 

One talk that I just saw for the first time recently, though it's fairly old, is a talk about education by Sir Ken Robinson.  In a nutshell, Sir Ken explains that the modern education system didn't exist as we know it before about the mid 1800s.  When the public education system was first invented, it was designed with the twin goals of providing a classical education (Greek, Latin, Shakespeare) for the upper classes, and reading and math for the lower classes.  The goal was to produce a few professors, and more importantly lots and lots of workers for the industrial revolution who could at least read. 

Public education has not really changed fundamentally since then, there are just more standardized tests.  The system is great if you want to turn lots of little Oliver Twists into factory or office workers, but it does so by destroying the creativity and individuality of the majority of the students.  What we need at this point in society, it's argued, (and as a species I would say) are not lots of workers who all think the same, but lots of creatives to move forward.  We can't imagine what the economy or the world is going to look like next month, let alone by the next decade.