Critical Thinking, Humanities Needed for Widespread Educational Success

There are two visions of what education can provide, as a service: it can provide the opportunity for integral cultivation of the full human self, with the aim of yielding productive, conscientious citizens of a dynamic, free society; or, it can produce workers to take their place in a faceless workforce, where individual rights are subsumed in the thrust of the major forces that govern society.

For most of our history, we have understood the value of citizenship-focused education, a humanizing process whereby the individual is introduced to higher-order critical thinking and the ability to formulate and pursue knowledge in new and unique ways, but the trend toward standardization and processization of our educational system has shifted the focus away from the humanizing effects of education and toward the idea of an able workforce.

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Fuel Efficiency: Hybrid, Electric, Solar or ‘Exotics’ (discussion)

The quest for the most fuel-efficient vehicles has entered a new phase, with major government private-sector investment in research and development for industrial-scale commercial production of a new class of gas-electric hybrid vehicles and EVs (all-electric cars). Swiss-based Solar Impulse is building the world’s first 100% solar-powered airplane, an achievement that will revolutionize the travel, industrial production, transport and fuel sectors. Now comes the news that the Chevrolet Volt will shatter the existing paradigm for fuel efficiency, achieving 230 miles per gallon (mpg).

Nissan claims to have better comparable performance for their LEAF model, and Tesla is preparing a fleet of high-performance “100% torque 100% of the time” EVs. Solar panels are creeping into automotive design, for supplemental power for commercially sold vehicles, though they have long been the subject of engineering competitions that race solar-only prototypes. Organic solar concentrators (dye-treated SV-edged windows) allow for the highly efficient use of existing window surfaces to capture solar power and generate electricity.

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