Isaac Asimov on the Internet over 20 Years Ago

In 1988, Isaac Asimov told Bill Moyers what he thought the Internet could become — particularly how people would use it to educate themselves at their own leisure:

I can’t help but laugh at how right he was. I’m sure he would have been thrilled to see the creation of sites like Khan Academy.

via reddit

Salman Khan Will Speak at TED

Salman Khan of the Khan Academy will speak at TED in March this year, in a session named “Knowledge Revolution”, curated and joined by none other than Bill Gates! I love the Khan Academy, and I’m hardly the only one. It seems the interconnected series of tubes are all abuzz about his refreshing and simple way of teaching through YouTube videos.

Can’t wait!

Dolphins See Themselves in the Mirror

This video may force you to re-evaluate your assumptions about the category “animal”:

It’s quite astonishing to see the obvious childlike wonder they display when confronted with themselves, especially considering that, as the scientist points out, our bloodlines have been separated for nearly one hundred million years.

If you find this fascinating, I highly recommend Jane Goodall’s TED talk What Separates Us from the Apes. Here’s an excerpt:

We have found that after all there isn’t a sharp line dividing humans from the rest of the animal kingdom. It’s a very wuzzy line, and it’s getting wuzzier all the time as we find animals doing things that we, in our arrogance, used to think “was just human”.

Changing Education Paradigms

Here’s Sir Ken Robinson describing what’s wrong with our education system and how we’re thwarting rather than facilitating children’s development with our dated assumptions. Drawing by the RSA.

We still educate children by batches. We put them through the system by age group. Why do we do that? Why is there this assumption that the most important thing kids have in common is how old they are? It’s like the most important thing about them is their date of manufacture.

Why Ricky Gervais is an Atheist

Ricky Gervais, the guy from The Office (UK), An Idiot Abroad, and tons of other comedy, wrote a surprisingly serious bit on why he’s an atheist:

Why don’t you believe in God? I get that question all the time. I always try to give a sensitive, reasoned answer. This is usually awkward, time consuming and pointless. People who believe in God don’t need proof of his existence, and they certainly don’t want evidence to the contrary. They are happy with their belief. They even say things like “it’s true to me” and “it’s faith.” I still give my logical answer because I feel that not being honest would be patronizing and impolite. It is ironic therefore that “I don’t believe in God because there is absolutely no scientific evidence for his existence and from what I’ve heard the very definition is a logical impossibility in this known universe,” comes across as both patronizing and impolite.

Arrogance is another accusation. Which seems particularly unfair. Science seeks the truth. And it does not discriminate. For better or worse it finds things out. Science is humble. It knows what it knows and it knows what it doesn’t know. It bases its conclusions and beliefs on hard evidence — evidence that is constantly updated and upgraded. It doesn’t get offended when new facts come along. It embraces the body of knowledge. It doesn’t hold on to medieval practices because they are tradition. If it did, you wouldn’t get a shot of penicillin, you’d pop a leach down your trousers and pray. Whatever you “believe,” this is not as effective as medicine. Again you can say, “It works for me,” but so do placebos. My point being, I’m saying God doesn’t exist. I’m not saying faith doesn’t exist. I know faith exists. I see it all the time. But believing in something doesn’t make it true. Hoping that something is true doesn’t make it true. The existence of God is not subjective. He either exists or he doesn’t. It’s not a matter of opinion. You can have your own opinions. But you can’t have your own facts.

Read the whole thing here.