June 1st, 2007

smirking-winslet

A Numbers Game

Invest A Few Minutes Of Your Time

Screen the following video -- more of a slide show really: Shift Happens. Mrs. Dr. Phil got the link in an e-mail from another librarian and forwarded it to me. I've always liked playing with numbers, especially when looking at it from the perspective of the next paradigm shift. And it doesn't hurt that the background music is from the soundtrack to The Last of the Mohicans, a personal favorite of mine.

Huh?

Interesting that the most recent comments to the Shift Happens video in the last couple of days are taking issue with the veracity of the numbers, practically claiming that this is all propaganda of godless heathen socialists. Well, I'm adding editorial license here, but here's my point -- you can argue the exact details of the numbers, you can rightly question the quality of the numbers, but the numbers do give a different perspective to the usual points of view, especially from continental America.

Consider that the Sony PlayStation/2 and 3 would've been considered supercomputers when I was in college. All that computer horsepower and it isn't exactly being used to revolutionize physics, save the environment or even develop new investment schemes on Wall Street. Or the large populations in India and China, while they do translate into large numbers of people in the technical and educated ranks, are still producing large numbers at the other end of the educational and economic scales. You can question how much technological advance is really going on when most of the advances promised decades ago have still not been fully implemented.

But there are shifts going on, and those of us who are involved in education need to look at things like this or the Beloit College Mindset Lists (Class of 2010 or New Zealand's version for students entering in 2007) in order to keep things in perspective.

Dr. Phil
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