Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Stay Tuned. . .An Arkansas Plan Featuring World's Third Largest Company

OMG my brain is on fire, and I'm only on page 130 (of 733) in Nader's Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us. I will have to say, though, that I would be further if it weren't for the charming middle school English teacher from the Hot Springs area that I met today in B&N. We talked for a long time about teaching, the evil NCLB, and I couldn't resist sharing Cory Doctorow's award-winning Little Brother and Charles Murray's Real Education with her. It sure is uber-convenient to do this in the middle of a bookstore where you can just pull them right off the shelf!

So, by the time I settled down and and starting reading, all I could think was: here it is, the blueprint. Nader is spelling it out for us in excruciating detail. At first I sighed heavily when I saw the massive tome, but once you start reading, you will understand, too.

And what else happened? Well, I obviously am inspired. And I have an idea that involves Arkansas's very own beloved Wal-Mart. Are you interested in joining me? If so, let me know, and as Ralph's billiionaire heroes say. . ."Stay tuned!"

oh, and P.S. I wanted to buy the book from Wordworth (locally owned here in LR) but they did not have a copy. I advised them they better order some and fast.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Nader's "fictional vision that could become a new reality"

Well, after watching Ralph Nader speak on Democracy Now this afternoon, and spending the past two solid days sending out freelance inquiries to build my "real job," I feel like treating myself to devouring all of Nader's new Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us in hopes of some more inspiration. Can you imagine how billions of dollars distributed to hundreds of thousands of Americans mobilized to eradicate the higher ed debt trap would turn this country around overnight? Nader's cascade of thoughtful comments were motivational and I highly recommend viewing Amy Goodman's interview here. And Mr. Nader, won't you pleeeeeease add Little Rock to your book tour? See you at the bookstore!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Talk Vs. Action: Broadband and Economic Development in AR, Including Workforce Education

Coming to you live from the Breakthrough Solutions Conference, sponsored by the U of A Cooperative Extension Service: we've been talking about, planning, and beginning to establish broadband across Arkansas for a few years now. Should be some interesting updates from today. Don Macke, Director of the RUPRI Center for Rural Entrepreneurship at the Univ. of Nebraska gave a dynamic keynote address. The crux of his message: supporting PEOPLE (aka citizens) who want to stay in their communities and helping them start their own small businesses. I'll be downloading his remarks to youtube soon.

Monday, September 7, 2009

"If it's digital. . .it's going to be free."

An opinion is brewing just under the surface in the minds of millions of American students and parents, a.k.a. consumers of higher education: the current price of a college degree is no longer worth that set price. I predict that within ten years, tuition prices will be driven down drastically, as consumers choose other (many digital) options.

Thanks to Chris Anderson, here is a quote from his new book (see right and below):
"If it's digital, sooner or later it's going to be free." - one of his "free rules" that I believe we can now apply to higher education. So start today, by refusing to pay the exorbitant prices for current college tuition and fees. Why? Because equal quality offerings exist online today, and the market is pushing those prices ever downward online.

Anderson says, "In a competitive market, price falls to the marginal cost. The Internet is the most competitive market the world has ever seen." Free is "not just an option but an inevitability. . .so psychologically attractive that marketers will always find ways to invoke it by redefining their business to make some things free while selling others. . .In the digital realm, you can try to keep Free at bay with laws and locks, but eventually the force of economic gravity will win."

Anderson's Free: The Future of a Radical Price is a dense, well-written 256 pages that will especially appeal to those interested in economics. His anecdotes and graphs increase the readability of heady subject matter. And it is available, of course, for free, online (see below).

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Chris Anderson Makes a Good Case

I just picked up Free: The Future of a Radical Price at my local library, and can't put it down. I'll post again after I've finished reading. In the meantime, you can read it for free online at multiple locations, including googlebooks and as an audiobook on itunes