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Showing posts from March 21, 2015

Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?

The fall of a former Nordic education star in the latest PISA tests is focusing interest on the tougher Asian model instead

School league tables


Dec 7th 2013 | From the print edition

WHEN the first Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests to focus on maths results were published a decade ago, Finland’s blue-cross flag fluttered near the top of the rankings. 

Its pupils excelled at numeracy, and topped the table in science and reading.

 Education reformers found the prospect of non-selective, high-achieving and low-stress education bewitching.

Every three years since then, 15-year-olds have sat PISA tests in maths, reading and science. 

In 2012 fully 500,000 heads were bent over desks for the exam in 65 countries or cities. 

The results, published on December 3rd, doled out a large helping of humble pie to Europe’s former champion. 

Finland has fallen by 22 points on its 2009 result, with smaller falls (12 points and 9) in reading and science. “The golden days are over,” lamented the Finnbay news website.

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Small change

What rhymes with protest?

None of this should h…


Watch the video here:

Steve Rowell

"In the Best of All Possible Worlds"

2011, 5 minutes 52 seconds, USA and Norway, English, 16:9, 1080p video with stereo sound

Collection: The Long Now Foundation

A short video from a larger research project “The Cold Coast Archive”, in collaboration with artists Signe Lidén and Annesofie Norn.

 Both this video and the collaborative project use the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) as a starting point for investigations into and extrapolations from the broader meaning of a remote landscape of contingency and preparedness. 

Built to withstand catastrophe, the SGSV is the most robust food-crop seed vault on Earth, buried in a frozen mountainside, on the arctic island of Spitsbergen. It was opened in 2008 and is currently hosting seeds from nearly every nation on Earth. 

Deep time, Disaster planning, Geopolitical speculation, and climate prediction, are recurring themes for both the place and the project. Spitsbergen is part o…

Why Norway is not panicking about the oil price collapse

By Paul Buvarp
Feb 11 2015

Norway’s petroleum sector is its most important industry. The petroleum sector accounts for 21.5% of its GDP, and almost half (48.9%) of total exports. 

In 2013 Norway was ranked the 15th-largest oil producer, and the 11th-largest oil exporter in the world. It is also the biggest oil producer in western Europe.

Oil is therefore regarded as a vital national resource and is the backbone of the Norwegian economy, though just like in the UK, its best years are in the past. Production levels have been dropping since the turn of the century, peaking at 3.5m barrels per day in 2001 to less than 1.9m in 2014.

Norway is not a member of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries(OPEC), and in principle it sets prices based on the current market. But with OPEC having a virtual monopoly on global pricing, Norway in effect remains subject to the cartel’s pricing decisions. 

Norway is thus vulnerable to the volatility in oil pricing, and with regard to the structure …

Dead Argentine prosecutor was zeroing in on a terror threat to the entire Western Hemisphere


MAR. 20, 2015, 9:53 AM


See Also

Bombshell report alleges Argentina, Iran, and Venezuela were once all bound together by sex, drugs, and nuclear secrets

Argentina's president just gave her most delusional speech yet

Iran Has A Lot To Gain From The Death Of A Crusading Argentine Prosecutor

As days go by, the mystery surrounding the death of Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman — who was found shot in the head in his locked apartment two months ago — becomes murkier.

But we're learning a lot more about the explosive findings of his decade-long investigation.

Testimony from journalists and government officials suggest that in addition to describing Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's hand in protecting the perpetrators of a 1994 Buenos Aires terrorist attack, Nisman was also working to blow the lid off the workings of Iran's terrorist organization in Latin America.

Nisman's decade of work on the subject pointed to Iran.

And according to the …

Caracas-Miami: la ruta de jets privados que más crece en América Latina

Luis Fajardo
BBC Mundo

19 marzo 2015

Un vuelo de jet privado de Miami a Caracas puede costar US$20.000. (foto de archivo).

Las dificultades de las aerolíneas en Venezuela han tenido un gran beneficiario.

Al tiempo que muchas líneas comerciales extranjeras han reducido o suspendido del todo su operación a Caracas, florece otro negocio: el de los jets privados.

La ruta de aviones privados entre Caracas y Miami es la que más crece en America Latina.

Y fue la segunda de más crecimiento en el mundo, después de la que une a Nueva York con Niza, en la Costa Azul francesa.

Eso sostiene la empresa consultora Knight Frank en su reciente reporte anual titulado "Informe de la Riqueza", que documenta las tendencias de gasto de los millonarios en el mundo.

El reporte acoge la última información disponible, en este caso para el año de 2013.

Pero en Miami, voceros de la industria aseguran que la tendencia no ha amainado.

"En los últimos cinco años se ha cuadruplicado la demanda en general por los…

How Big Is the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch"? Science vs. Myth

The remains of dead baby albatrosses reveal the far-reaches of plastic pollution on Midway Atoll, 2000 miles from any mainland. Credit: Chris Jordan, from his series "Midway: Message from the Gyre." Used under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

UPDATED FEBRUARY 7, 2013 -- While everything may be bigger inTexas, some reports about the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" would lead you to believe that this marine mass of plastic is bigger than Texas—maybe twice as big as the Lone Star State, or even twice as big as the continental U.S.

For NOAA, a national science agency, separating science from science fiction about the Pacific garbage patch (and other "garbage patches") is important when answering people's questions about what it is and how we should deal with the problem.

(For the record, no scientifically sound estimates exist for the size or mass of these garbage patches.)

The NOAA Marine Debris Program&…

James Dyson Wants to Use His Famous Vacuum Technology to Clean Rivers

by Kristine Lofgren, 03/21/15

Beneath their spotless surfaces, rivers are often incredibly filthy and not particularly easy to clean up. 

After all, you can’t just bust out your vacuum and suck up all of the debris lingering there, or can you?

James Dyson believes that cleaning our rivers is just as simple as creating a sort of larger version of his vacuum to remove all of that unwanted gunk. 

He calls his idea the M.V. Recyclone and it is essentially a river barge equipped with the same cyclone technology used in his vacuums.

Dyson originally unveiled the idea for Time magazine, but the folks over at Fast Company asked the inventor for a bit more detail on his incredible idea.

 According to Dyson, a large net would be pulled behind the boat, collecting garbage as it moves along. 

“The nets face upstream and skim the surface of the river for floating debris. The plastic waste is shredded on board and then different grades of plastic are separated by a huge cyclone–very similar to the way our…