[p2p-research] Remarks by the President on the "Education To Innovate" Campaign | The White House

Paul D. Fernhout pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com
Tue Nov 24 01:12:19 CET 2009

Now, the students from Oakton High School are going to be demonstrating the 
"Cougar Cannon," designed to scoop up and toss moon rocks.  I am eager to 
see what they do -- for two reasons.  As President, I believe that robotics 
can inspire young people to pursue science and engineering.  And I also want 
to keep an eye on those robots, in case they try anything.  (Laughter.)

Discussed here:

Interesting, coming from someone who gave an order within three days to use 
killer robots in a way that killed children.

"Missiles fired from suspected US drones killed at least 15 people inside 
Pakistan today, the first such strikes since Barack Obama became president 
and a clear sign that the controversial military policy begun by George W 
Bush has not changed. Security officials said the strikes, which saw up to 
five missiles slam into houses in separate villages, killed seven 
"foreigners" - a term that usually means al-Qaeda - but locals also said 
that three children lost their lives."

But I like this part of the speech (will they be open source?):
"The MacArthur Foundation and industry leaders like Sony are launching a 
nationwide challenge to design compelling, freely available, science-related 
video games."

But, sadly, they are still promoting "competitions" even in that 
"challenge", plus another part: "Time Warner Cable is joining with the 
Coalition for Science After School and FIRST Robotics -- the program created 
by inventor Dean Kamen, which gave us the "Cougar Cannon" -- to connect one 
million students with fun after-school activities, like robotics competitions."

"We need competition in order to survive."
  "Life is boring without competition."
"It is competition that gives us meaning in life."
These words written by American college students capture a sentiment that 
runs through the heart of the USA and appears to be spreading throughout the 
world. To these students, competition is not simply something one does, it 
is the very essence of existence. When asked to imagine a world without 
competition, they can foresee only rising prices, declining productivity and 
a general collapse of the moral order. Some truly believe we would cease to 
exist were it not for competition.
   Alfie Kohn, author of No contest: the case against competition, disagrees 
completely. He argues that competition is essentially detrimental to every 
important aspect of human experience; our relationships, self-esteem, 
enjoyment of leisure, and even productivity would all be improved if we were 
to break out of the pattern of relentless competition. Far from being 
idealistic speculation, his position is anchored in hundreds of research 
studies and careful analysis of the primary domains of competitive 
interaction. For those who see themselves assisting in a transition to a 
less competitive world, Kohn's book will be an invaluable resource.

So many assumptions in that speech that are questionable these days...

--Paul Fernhout

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