Grand Challenges for the 21st Century

I've been thinking lately on the subject of Grand Challenges - those things that seem too big to address now but which are in fact achievable. In the last decades we have seen Challenges such as the complete sequencing of the human genome, the first fully-autonomous robotic vehicle, the landing of spacecraft on Mars, and finding the last significant component of the Quantum Physics model (the Higgs Boson) come to pass, so perhaps it is a good time to muse on new challenges.

Are we condemned to repeat history?

A wise man once said "those who don't understand history are condemned to repeat it." In the last few decades we have seen the apparent victory of capitalism in the wake of the collapse of the USSR, and in that time we have also seen its fatal flaws exposed in greed, aggrandizement and folly as the world economy teters on the brink of collapse.

Thanks for all the Fish: Can the world continue to fish the oceans?

Back in January I suggested a number of possible blog posts. Though it is disappointing that nobody commented publicly I have had a few encouraging conversations, so here goes on one of those...

Human Beings have fished for food for a very long time: it is certainly measured in multiple millenia. The seas and oceans are also vast, which in the past meant that the human impact of fishing was negligable. In the last few centuries, we have very rapidly increased the population by nearly a thousandfold. The sea, however, has much the same capacity as it always had...

On Lifelong Learning

Back in the 19th century, education was something you might go to school for, and but more likely practiced for as an apprentice or "junior". There was an expectation that you would be learning new skills through your life as you progressed through from apprentice level to senior or master. Fast forward to today and there seems to be an expectation that once you leave school, or possibly leave college, your learning days are over ...

The Education System

I have and continue to take an interest in education, and following the recent BBC TV programme "The Classroom Experiment" I've decided to put some thoughts into words, and in particular I would like to challenge the assumption that we know what school is supposed to be doing.