Archive | Op-Ed

Finland is throwing away everything that made its schools the best in the world

alamosbasement (CC BY 2.0)

alamosbasement (CC BY 2.0)

Dennis Hayes, University of Derby

It easy to lampoon education reforms in Finland that aim to scrap the teaching of traditional subjects in favour of broader topics. The new initiative could see history, geography and languages replaced for periods by interdisciplinary “phenomenon-based” projects on topics such as the European Union. Instead of sitting in rows learning facts about the world, pupils can rush around corridors or the web and collect information in a spirit of “joyful learning”.

Ridicule was my immediate response but what is happening has serious and sad consequences. It will ultimately waste not only children’s time, but their education.

The reasons given in Finland for the reforms are a familiar: this set of initiatives is necessary to meet the challenges of working life in “modern society”. What it means is that education is no longer valued for its own sake but is seen as having instrumental value for the economy.… Read the rest

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Florida’s Bathroom Law

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mike LaBossiere via Talking Philosophy:

Being from Maine, I got accustomed to being asked about the cold, lobsters, moose and Stephen King. Living in Florida, I have become accustomed to being asked about why my adopted state is so insane. Most recently, I was asked about the bathroom bill making its way through the House.

The bathroom bill, officially known as HB 583, proposes that it should be a second-degree misdemeanor to “knowingly and willfully” enter a public facility restricted to members “of the other biological sex.” The bill proposes a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Some opponents of the bill contend that it is aimed at discriminating against transgender people. Some part of Florida have laws permitting people to use public facilities based on the gender they identify with rather than their biological sex.

Obviously enough, proponents of the bill are not claiming that they are motivated by a dislike of transgender people.

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Help Wanted, Now Hiring – Leader of the United States

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I view America like this: 70 to 80% [are] pretty reasonable people that truthfully, if they sat down, even on contentious issues, would get along.
And the other 20 percent of the country run it. ”

— Jon Stewart, The Daily Show

On the heels of President Obama’s and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s on-going food fight, Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails and foreign contributions to her foundation, more shootings in Ferguson, and Congressional gridlock over budgets – we will hire a new President next year. Our recent hires have struggled: President Obama’s job approval averaged 42.6 percent for 2014 and former President Bush averaged 37 percent his second term. Congress approval in 2014 averaged a historic low of 15 percent. Americans now tell Gallup that government is our number one problem – even surpassing the economy.

Here is the rub: We get the leadership we select. If we want better leaders we must upgrade our selection criteria.

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Andrew Cohen, Or the Guru Who Disappeared

Eliezer Sobel at The Daily Beast has written a piece, “What Happens When Your Guru Disappears?” covering the 2-year sabbatical of Andrew Cohen, founder of EnlightenNext magazine (formerly WIE, or What is Enlightenment?) and former leader of a global spiritual organization. Two years ago – despite multiple allegations of psychological abuse and cultish behavior – Andrew seemed to be at the peak of his success. He’d just published a new spiritual book crystallizing two decades of teachings, Evolutionary Enlightenment, with a forward written by Deepak Chopra and endorsed by the likes of author Howard Bloom, Jean Houston, Michael Murphy and Barbara Marx Hubbard. Andrew was also old chums with the midwestern integral philosopher Ken Wilber (see: Sex, Ecology, Spirituality)interviewing him each issue for the “Guru and Pandit” dialogues. Core teachings in Andrew’s evolutionary spirituality owe much to Wilber’s intellectual synthesis of Eastern spirituality and Western psychology, a meta map of human consciousness evolution.… Read the rest

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‘Dark Money’ Funds To Promote Global Warming Alarmism Dwarf Warming ‘Denier’ Research

The global warming icon for the ubx. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The global warming icon for the ubx. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In response to yesterday’s post, “Climate change deniers & their dark money sugar daddies,” (which royally pissed some of you off) a reader sent us this article to share with the Disinfo crowd. An alternative perspective never hurt anyone.

I think what this tells us, both this post and Eleanor Goldfield’s, is that both sides have an agenda to push and we should be wary of the propaganda on both sides. Though, I’m most likely preaching to the choir here, so read on…

James Taylor writes at Forbes:

Global warming activists claim vast amounts of untraceable special interest money fund global warming skeptics and give skeptics an unfair advantage in the global warming debate. The undeniable truth is global warming alarmists raise and spend far more money – including far more untraceable special interest “dark money” – than global warming skeptics.

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Can a documentary move a social issue agenda forward?

As a member of the film distribution community, most notably relating to documentaries, I have watched more than my fair share of non-fiction films, and studied over years the release patterning of even more. One thing I have learned is that there are no shortage of topics to choose from when it comes to a filmmaker selecting a theme to focus on. From a tour that guides you through Hermitage Masterpieces to a biography of Aleister Crowley (In Search of the Great Beast), films are created and released on a broad spectrum of non-fiction subjects. That was the case in 1984 when I first entered the industry, and that is the case now… 31 years later.

One area that I have seen great expansion is that of films addressing a social or political issue with the agenda of raising awareness or causing viewer perspectives to sway in one direction or another.… Read the rest

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Writing My Way to a New Self

Fredrik Rubensson (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Fredrik Rubensson (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Hana Schank on writing and introversion via Opinionator:

So the head counselor had been surprised to discover upon my arrival in New Hampshire that I was still the same mildly morose, shy and apathetic person she’d known me to be as a camper. I still didn’t cheer appropriately at soccer games. I still felt like an impostor when singing the camp songs. Camp spirit was still a mortifying concept for me.

“What happened to that girl who wrote the letter?” she asked.

She’s in here, I wanted to respond. But she only comes out when I’m writing. You thought you were hiring Writing Me. But instead what you got was Actual Me. Big mistake.

For many years after, I assumed all writers were like me, with a secret extroverted, passionate alter ego trapped inside an introverted person who kept to the corners of rooms.

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Individualism vs. Personality

Daniel Spaulding writes at Soul of the East:

In a West that declines as surely as the course of the sun, opponents of the incipient World State often define the modern situation as a dialectical struggle between collectivism on one side and individualism on the other. Usually “collectivism” is meant to define any manifestation of state power, be it fascism, communism, the liberal managerial state, or globalist technocracy, though many would expand the classification to include traditional religious institutions and even the family.

What is less clearly defined is “individualism,” a slippery term that means different things to different people. Popular opinion holds that “individualism” is the ability to choose and follow one’s desires for self-expression, be it spending one’s money how one prefers or something more trivial such as dying one’s hair blue.

When viewed from the perspective of a dialectical clash with collectivism, especially the state, the notion of individuality does take on a weightier significance than its more trivial manifestations, i.e.

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Are you afraid of technology? You shouldn’t be

Many people fear technology, and have great reservations about kids using smartphones and computers. Anthony Kelly/Flickr, CC BY

Many people fear technology, and have great reservations about kids using smartphones and computers. Anthony Kelly/Flickr, CC BY

Nary a week goes by that doesn’t see a new mainstream media story on the dangers of technology use. Just the other day I spotted one talking about how smartphones are making us dumber.

Yet the original study cited in the news story is actually more about how mobile phones help us to be more intuitive than analytical, and stop us from “overthinking”. But it’s particularly interesting that this study, like many others, gets framed up as a “fear of technology”.

It makes me wonder why many people appear to be so afraid of technology? To answer this question, we need to consider motivations, and perhaps even look at where this argument tends to appear the most, which is in reference to children and education.

Think of the children

The ABC caused some controversy in the mainstream media a couple of years ago when an episode of Play School showed a presenter using a toy computer to send e-mails and a toy smartphone to “tweet” his friends.… Read the rest

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The Art World’s Descent into Irrelevance and Degeneracy

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Cainus Maxus writes at Alternative Right:

Today’s Art world is so far gone, so lacking in any substance, even anything naive and amusingly humanistic, that it befuddles any average person with a working sense of reality. The irony of all this is that Art is dominated by the Far Left, and the Far Left claim to idolize the working man – at least around outsiders. Instead they succeed only in alienating him, and this is no surprise because artists don’t really care about average people – but like everything else in society, they must adopt the veneer of militant humanism.

Ludicrously priced junk goes for obscene amounts, and the average working man shakes his head because he feels he’s being fooled. While he bleeds from his hands, hammering in steel at the job site, or biting his lip when his boss is verbally reaming him, he wonders how those pampered artists, with their 10 dollar soy mocha lattes are enjoying the day duct-taping a blow up doll to a chair and dumping paint on it as an expression of “feminine rage” against the always present “patriarchy.”

The politics of the art world claim to have the common man’s best interests at heart – always vying for socialism, for the working class, “Equality,” “Freedom” – but he knows they don’t really care.

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