Posts Tagged ‘Bill Gates’

Bill Gates and “educational reform”

September 1, 2013


Bill Gates thinks he’s large and in charge.

First, he conquered the computer landscape with his programming (& plundering tactics) and moved on to other things.

His foundation delved into health issues and after much work they “eradicated” malaria. Another feather in his cap.

After seeing how well his Windows performs (not very, thank you) and knowing how viruses once-eradicated seem to come back bigger and stronger, I don’t think we need to thank him just yet.

Now, flush with the victory over an age-old disease, Gates has now set his sights on another major problem: education.

Call me skeptical but after the “advances” he has made in his earlier two conquests, I really don’t see how he is either 1- qualified to lead this fight, or 2- innovative enough to take us where we need to go.

Most revolutionary educators that I have read lately complain about the testing and “standards of learning” matrix now in place.

So, has Gates come up with a way to creatively evolve that process?

Heck no! He now insists that the way to improve education is the expand the practice to include teachers.

That seems a bit like patching a tire to fix it and, when the patch leaks, put some bubble gum or scotch tape of the leaky patch.

But what sort of thinking would one expect from a person who dropped out of school and even thought he could trademark the word “innovate”?

I shudder to think what product our educational system will produce if this dilettante is given free reign.



the Way the Universe Works

April 30, 2010

Cause and effect, action and reaction…

The balance of the universe is pervasive.

How do you create illness? Create doctors. How do you create pandemics? Create a center for disease control.

Does that sound farfetched? Lets look at the mechanics. A doctor is trained to treat disease (aside from expensive vacations, golf club memberships, and keeping malpractice insurance companies in business) and so at the core of every trained physician is the desire for… what? Disease, of course. Illness and human suffering. A doctor does not go through years of schooling without wishing for illnesses for him to treat. That means people have to get sick.

Returning to the tribe, as I so often like to do, we see that each tribe had a healer. This healer was much like anyone else in the tribe but had the gift and desire to heal others. They did not hang out a shingle and wait for the ill to beat a path to their door, they lived much as others in the tribe hunting, fishing, planting, tanning the leather, gathering food… in other words doing everything that the other tribal members did to survive on a day to day basis.

But when someone had an accident or fell ill, the healer would come by and mend or care for the person. In exchange, since the healer had lost the time they would normally have used gathering food or hunting, the recovered person would compensate the healer with food or other goods. Probably not as much as the healer would normally have gathered (because the ill person would not have been gathering either) but some nonetheless. The healer is paid in goods as well as the opportunity to heal, which has pretty much been downgraded these days.

The same applies to repair people. An automobile mechanic is hoping cars break down. Congressmen are hoping things go wrong so they can do something to fix it. All people in trades that fix things are – by the laws of the universe! – hoping things go wrong so they can be gainfully employed.

People truly need to feel like they are doing some positive good. Bill Gates, for all his wealth, really just wants to be regarded as being right in his vision of the computer for all of us. People keep slamming him and he never has gotten the recognition he wants so much. (Of course, I could be wrong and he doesn’t care about that at all – it may just be the money. It wasn’t the case with Cobain, but it might be here. Who knows?)

The opportunity to use your gifts and talents for helping others is a necessary part of one’s emotional and psychic well being, even though modern societies seem to minimize its importance.

Healthy, happy humans make a healthy and happy society. We are some distance from that at present but it would not be too hard to evolve into that world. It would create pain and havoc in the economy but it could be very easily done.

We have tried to downplay this part of life by concentrating on the external gratifications. Christmas presents are very big, splurges, spending sprees, pampering oneself… all the attention given to the external.

Unfortunately, changing the universe comes from the inside-out. A shiny new gee-gaw won’t really do the trick but in some momentary pause on the rush downward to personal and spiritual oblivion.

And it’s not just my thought, Newton’s Laws back it up.

American Mediocrity I

March 21, 2010

Whoa!! Wait just a minute there, fellow!

How can you possibly link those two words together like that? There is nothing mediocre about America. Why, it’s the best place the world has ever seen; more powerful, more technologically advanced, more… Yeah, you know… yada yada yada.

Let’s just take a step back and recognize ourselves.

America is great. But by which yardstick? Recently, population estimates show that for the first time in history more than half the population of the country lives in cities. Now, what is so great about that? Yeah, New York is the city that never sleeps, etc. Probably because it has to have one eye open all the time so it won’t get robbed. And I’m not just talking about petty theft, I’m talking about the wolves on Wall Street.

Okay, perhaps I am being a bit too harsh. My geography book says that the population of New York City is dense. So, I take its word for it.

Psychological studies have shown that people in cities have a much higher degree and rate of neuroses than do dwellers in rural areas. So we are quickly on the road to starvation when less than half the people in the country have to produce food for the urban populations.

This is going to lead to the next step: man-made foods. And here we are getting more to the core of the problem. For some reason, we have begun to believe the idea – drilled into us since Elementary School – that we are the greatest nation, Manifest Destiny and all that. Social scientists tell us that we are the natural progression from the dregs of mud bogs to the ultimate pinnacle of evolution.

First of all, who says we are a pinnacle of anything?

The world tries to imitate or duplicate what we have here. Most people rejoice in the fact but I see it as a reduction in the planetary diversity. We are all different so let’s revel in that fact and not try to normalize everything rather than trying to force our Americanisms on the world at large. Just because we say it is best does not necessarily make it so.

One of the prime examples of flexing muscles to enforce an inferior product is the case of Microsoft. They conspired with Intel to monopolize the computer industry and drove many companies with a better product out of the marketplace. This is part of the myth of a fair market system – Microsoft can say they prospered in an open market because the other products could not compete. That is patently BS as even a cursory look over the historical literature would show. The number of lawsuits against Microsoft and Federal fines, fills pages.

And to top it off, every Windows® system they have come out with lacks the quality their competition had that were forced out of the market because Microsoft bundled its software on every new system and the general consumer – not savvy to the computer systems – bought into the Microsoft version.

This is mediocrity at its best in the marketplace. But it is not just in computers that this goes on.

An engineering professor years ago told his class that any engineer worth the title could build anything that would last practically forever. The object of American engineering was to produce a product that would fall apart the day after the warranty expired.

That’s the American ideal! Planned mediocrity. We could engineer better but the American marketplace requires planned obsolescence. Why? Because our entire economy is based on this business model. All our industry, all our employment, all our financial institutions are built around this model of mediocrity.

So, what’s mediocre about America? America!