Sunday, July 25, 2010

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Aloha Stadium?

What Hawaii ought to consider is putting a "roof" of shade netting (they make it out of recycled plastic bottles) supported/suspended from the highest points of the stadium (nobody can kick or throw that high), and making that structure useful 24/7 -- instead of only at night, when the national television audience has gone to sleep, or is watching more entertaining infomercials.

Then you can use that structure for many other kinds of events -- and actually attract people to a pleasant environment rather than the hostile one of being baked in the sun. The whole stadium is not designed with any intelligence and practicality for use as a community resource -- as is typical of major capital projects in Hawaii (need we say "Natatorium"?), and so we spend millions, and we're up to billions now, on projects that don't make any sense from Day One, that gives us an excuse to throw more money at it in perpetuity, trying to make a half-baked idea from the start, into Hawaii's Next Great Hope -- that Hawaii's politicians promise is the only thing separating Hawaii from Paradise.

It doesn't matter how good the new seats are -- because they can't stand up to that unrelenting sun, combined with the corrosive effects of the salt air. So first, you have to change the ambient operating conditions -- so that you can have concerts, conventions, fairs, any kind of event -- because one can control those conditions to a great extent -- as the challenge for every community to focus their talents and resources in overcoming, and even exploiting, rather than the resignation, that there is never anything one can do about anything so why bother doing anything else but eating and drinking (drugging) oneself to a premature and untimely death?

Meanwhile, we'll just wait for Uncle Dan to bring in pork barrel money for senseless projects without end.

The lack is not about money, but a community's will to change what can be changed, accepting what can't be changed -- and knowing the difference.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Do We Really Need More Money For Education?

"More money for education" always sounds like a good idea that can never be questioned as a solution to any problem, but it is time we asked if we are spending it on the right kind of education -- instead of just learning for learning's sake. That's not the kind of citizens we need, or is it the solution to the problem of unemployment and all the societal urgencies of these times.

Many of the employers, as well as social engineers, complain that the schools aren't providing the training and education they (enterprises) specifically need -- so maybe the funding should be given to them to do the kind of training they require to produce precisely those people they need.

The schools still think it is important to learn the medieval trivium as though that is helpful and necessary to succeeding in this day and age -- while nobody teaches the specific skills for everybody and anybody to learn what they need to know to specifically be successful at contemporary life. Instead all the money is being hoarded to prepare each succeeding generation for living in the past -- as though history will simply repeat itself if they keep obtaining more education and unemployment benefits.

That's not the way the world works. We don't simply need more money for schools and higher wages and benefits for teaching what no longer needs to be done (taught), but we need to fund the learning of what actually needs to be done. For this to happen, the learning/teaching has to be vertically integrated into the enterprises (businesses), and government should be the employer/trainer of last resort, and not permanent tenures and sinecures for people who cannot do anything else -- but teach all the useless information that has no value except in the schools.

This is long overdue, and the reason societies are falling behind the rapid pace of progress and change (improvement). The schools foremost, need to be improved, and not simply funded to do the same old things in the same way they've always done things before.

Especially for higher education, you don't need have them gather in schools. They can gather anywhere, and subsidized onsite job-training, is the only thing that makes any sense because nobody graduating from the present schools and universities, are going to be job-ready, unless they've been specifically trained for what urgently needs to be done -- no matter how much liberal arts indoctrination to always vote for the Democratic Party they've had (to vote for more money for the schools), and can recite the capitols of every state, and know the leaders of every country -- like the talk show hosts and editorial writers supposedly do.

Friday, July 02, 2010

The Evolution of Society and Culture

The Internet has supplanted the postal service, libraries, schools, books and newspapers -- who have to reinvent their original meaning and purpose. Most of these institutions came into being in the 19th century -- to address a lack of communications and information -- which is no longer true, and so rather than doing what we've done before, in the past, we need to do things that really need to be done in this day and age, and not realizing that, are the problems of these times.

If one grows up in a society (culture) in which everyone is educated, informed, and can access all the information (Internet), every person doesn't have to have that ability -- but a core commitment to solving actual problems -- rather than simply perpetuating them as their own job security -- that leaves no available resources for the exigencies of these times.

Most of the education, information and education process can be supplanted by state of the art forms -- which require a lot less labor for better.

The most disturbing trend of these times is the exploding growth of the health care sector and expenditures -- to perpetuate and enable a dying way of life -- requiring increasing many others, just to keep one alive -- with no prospects for a full recovery. That's not a vision of a viable and sustainable society -- in which the majority of the resources go to increasing dependencies -- rather than increasing self-reliance and true independence, and simply calling a greatly constricted form of life "independence," because one still is living on their own, and caring for themselves primarily. That is a truly frightening portent of the future -- which more money at, is not a solution but increasing the problem.

What has to happen instead, is that people have to get healthier and stay healthier all their lives -- but is not only possible, but now made inevitable except for the cultural lag in the recognition of greater possibilities -- beyond just doing the same things faster, easier, and requiring even more personnel. That way of life, is unaffordable, as well as it should be unattractive as the meaning and purpose of any society.

Thus concepts that were introduced but quickly forgotten in the 20th century, like job-sharing, increased leisure time (not necessarily unemployment and retirement but something productive and life-enhancing), co-housing, and integrated existences, are no longer just faddish thinking, but developments that point the direction society has to go -- whenever it wants to or not.

Change has always been the creative force in American life and society which has lately become a morbid preoccupation with maintaining the status quo and entrenched hierarchies, that has brought down every civilization in the past. Some people know the words, but they really are not the real prophets of change -- but are actually the defenders of the status quo, while designating themselves as "progressives," as though saying so, was enough to make it so.