Bush Policy Ends Reading Rainbow


August 28, 2009 — imprint that date in your mind. It’s the last air date for the popular show Reading Rainbow.

The show, the third longest running PBS show after Seasame Street and Mister Rogers, ended its 26-year-run after funds to renew the TV show’s broadcasting rights dried up. However, funding is only part of the problem with renewing the show.

Under the Bush administration, the U.S. Department of Education instituted educational policies that put a “much heavier focus on the basic tools of reading — like phonics and spelling.” The move was a response to the rising illiteracy rates in the country.

Because Reading Rainbow was a show that taught kids “why to read” and not “how to read,” the show would have had to be reworked in order to be in compliance with the new policies.

I’ve posted one of the most popular Reading Rainbow episodes. It’s the episode that goes behind the scenes of LeVar Burton’s other popular TV show, Star Trek: The Next Generation. Enjoy.

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What’s That Thing in Oakland? Scraper Bikes


Vodpod videos no longer available.
I started seeing kids with these bikes around the time spinning rims started to come out on cars. I thought it was cute. They don’t have a car to put rims on, but hey, they got a bike. They can put rims on that. Who had any idea these bikes, in addition to being cool, could also be a source of positive change?

Watch the video.

Did you know you could also ghost ride the scrape?

Money CAN Buy You Happiness


Turns out all our common folklore on the power of money was wrong on this one. Money can buy you happiness, but only if you use it the right way. According to an article published by the Harvard Business School, money can buy you happiness as long as you spend the money on someone else.

The article states that even spending as little as $5 can “lead to increased well-being for the giver.” The results of this premise held true in three different studies conducted by a Harvard professor and two professors from University of British Columbia.

Maybe this explains my happiness at treating friends sometimes? [Also, if anyone needs to get happy always feel free to treat me. 😉 ]

Read the full article for more on the study and an interview with Michael I. Norton, the Harvard professor involved with the study.

Standard vs. Behavioral Economics


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Dan Ariely — the guy playing Behavioral Economics, author of the book  Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions and the James B. Duke Professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University believes that “life with fewer market norms and more social norms would be more satisfying, creative, fulfilling and fun.

And he thought this while at Burning Man.

Finally! Someone gets it. Someone is talking about the giant pink elephant in the economics classroom. Human beings are not always rational decision makers in the economic market. I’ve worked in marketing, I should know. Even Adam Smith idealized that Christianity would be the social norm that kept people from exploiting capitalism; Look what happened with that. To me, this fully enforces Ariely’s idea that it would far more prudent to have formalized social norms than market norms.

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Dan Ariely talking about his book at Google HQ below.

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