Sunday, August 28, 2011

Why global problems don't get solved

Poverty, hunger, inequality, injustice... these are ooold international, very complex problems and there are myriad governments, institutions and organizations interested in their solution... and others interested in keeping the status-quo. And these are only the problems so well known that they have a short label attached to them. There are at least other 50,000 global problems, according to the Union of International Associations, although naturally the count depends on what you define as a problem and how you classify problems.

The Belgian-based UIA has produced over the years a monumental database of "world problems and human potential" (see also the Wikipedia entry) that includes a problems database, international associations dealing with problems, strategies for solution and several other sections.  

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Contact! Meeting an extra-terrestial civilization in Stanislaw Lem's Fiasco novel.

Contact! Meeting another civilization in Stanislaw Lem's Fiasco novel.

Stanislaw Lem has been for a long time my favorite science fiction author. Besides being a great writer, he is also a philosopher, sociologist , physicist and moralist so one always comes away from his books having learned something interesting.

"Fiasco" is one of his best novels. It is about the challenges of establishing contact with unknown civilizations elsewhere in the galaxy. The book has lessons for us in case beings from other planets ever visit Earth. ...

Monday, August 8, 2011

The greatest gift from my father

I like blogs that have a personal touch but are not dedicated exclusively to personal stuff. So this is one of these personal posts...

I had kind of a troublesome (for me) relationship with my father, but on balance, the positive things have exceeded the negative, now that I look back several years after he died. (...)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Online course exemplars

Architects have it easy. They can just look at outstanding buildings or cities to get ideas of how to design new ones. Also, architects frequently expound in conferences and publications the rationales of their designs.
It is not so easy for online course designers, because we lack a catalog of outstanding open course designs in several areas; and even if we can find one such course, the "why's" of the decisions taken by the designers are not usually included as part of the course.  (...)