Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Is literacy the most effective means of reducing global warming?

In the graph below, we have plotted literacy in India against fertility by state.
We need to do some proper calculations of the deviations, but it looks very much like a very high inverse correlation between fertility rates and literacy rates.

Therefore one of the following is true:
1. Higher literacy rates cause lower birthrates;
2. Lower birthrates cause higher literacy rates (highly unlikely);
3. Something else causes lower birthrates, and higher literacy rates as well.

Our next step is to find out if #1 is true.

It has been suggested that lowering birthrate is probably the most effective method of reducing global warming. (See http://www.optimumpopulation.org/reducingemissions.pdf)
Therefore if we can lower birthrate cheaply by making people literate, we can reduce global warming by making people literate.

To see a full-size version of the graph, please click here.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Welcome to IdeasWise.
There are a growing number of innovations newlsetters and blogs that address material innovations, but we'd like to see innovations in the field of the mind, particularly related to education.

Here are some questions we’d like to see solved.

  • Why are 24% of the population of Liverpool unhappy?  What could we do to fix it?
  • Why is depression so prevalent – estimated at between 5 and 20% of the world population?  How do we fix it?
  • Why does poverty prevail in the rural areas of developing countries?  How do we fix it without using the old-fashioned aid model, which doesn’t seem to work?
  • Why do migrating birds fly in formation using astonishing coordination that appears to defy all known rules of biology and physics?  What can we learn from this about the possibility of how groups of humans can behave?
  • Why can a savant can be brilliant at maths but can’t understand a joke?
  • Why do teachers in India never get sacked, even when they don’t turn up for work?  The teachers’ unions don’t have that much power, surely?
  • What do we have to do to the education system to encourage people to stop voting for incompetent politicians?  
  • How do you handle someone with a huge ego?
  • How do you cure shyness?
  • How do you cure bullying?
  • What do you do with someone around whom you have to walk on eggshells?
  • What to do about domestic violence? Can perps be treated, or do we concentrate on the victims?

How to transform a school

  • Coach the dumbest kids on whatever skill they are best at, so that they enlarge their self-esteem. 
  • Offer kids a course in rapid learning techniques, especially mind-mapping and memory techniques.  See www.MemoryWise.net
  • Offer kids a course in advanced communication skills, so they lose all their shyness and learn to sell themselves.  See www.CommunicationWise.net
  • Get school counsellors trained in assessment, so they can spot Aspergers, autism, dyslexia, mood disorders and personality disorders, and other special needs, and know what to do with each.
  • Train kids in meeting procedures, and have them run their own school council, which acts as an advisory board to the school. 
  • Run a class that teaches about bullying, criticism and belittling from friends or family or teachers, loneliness and depression.  All kids need to know that these things exist, how to alleviate them for themselves or others.