Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cambiando los paradigmas de la educación RSA

¿Quién no ha odiado la escuela en algún momento? ¿Quién no ha dicho para para qué me sirve esto? Inclusive los mas geeks o ñoños han detestado hacer trabajos e ir a clases, no se engañen saben que lo han hecho.

No cabe duda de que la manera en que educamos necesita ser reformada. Esto no es nada nuevo y la gran mayoría de los países estan buscando como cambiar la forma de educar, tanto por motivos economicos como culturales. La educación actual esta basada en el modelo intelectual de la mente que prevalecía en la era de la ilustración, el cual hoy en día sabemos que no funciona, solo se requiere ver a la gran cantidad de políticos y administradores con títulos de grandes universidades los cuales brillan por su estolidez y su estulticia! (aprendanse esas palabras son la mejor manera de insultar a los incultos).

Habrá quienes digán que no todos nacimos para estudiar y que la escuela sólo sirve para sacar tu título y poder ganar dinero (lo cual no es nada cierto hoy en día), pero según los think tanks futuristas, para el 2040 todo el mundo va a ser un geek y no por los estudios, sino por la calidad y cantidad de acceso a la información que vamos a tener disponible.

Esto suena muy en linea con la idea de que muchos niños sufren de ADHD, ya que se distraen todo el tiempo viendo miles de cosas mucho mas interesantes de la que los adultos quieren que vean como poner atención a clases mal explicadas, lentas, y aburridas. Cuando en linea tienen todo un mundo interactivo y animado que les deja explorar a su gusto en su tiempo y con la profundidad que deseen el tema que les atrapa. Así todos tarde o temprano terminaremos siendo super ñoños en al área que nos atrapa.

Pero dejaré que el ganador del premio Benjamin Franklin de la RSA Sir. Ken Robinson les explique mucho mejor estas ideas en el siguiente video:

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Coordinating Disaster Relief

I am truly dumbfound to see the lack of great ideas and technologies being applied to disaster relief lately. There is a lot of good things that we should be doing beforehand, and it seems that we haven’t progressed much.

Not too long ago I found out that there is an agency within the UN that is dedicated to coordinating disaster relief efforts. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (website & Wikipedia entry) is the arm responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure coherent response to emergencies.

For those of you who don’t know much about it let me tell you a few interesting things that I think they done right:

They have the Consolidated Appeals Process, that approaches the donors and gathers money to fund long term development in some areas.

There is also the Central Emergency Response Fund, that ensure that funds are available immediately in response to disasters and emergencies.

ReliefWeb is together with the aforementioned Funds, the best that has come out of this agency. The website is like a central depository of information related to any kind of disaster relief activity that the OCHA is involved in. The main idea is that the information is disseminated as rapidly as possible across the world to anyone that might need it. Here you can track all the funding that is being pledged to the cause, you can find status updates, maps, all kind of policies that apply, key documents, and see who is reporting. You have access to information shared not only by the UN and it’s agencies but by the governments, NGO, news and media and even academic documents.

The GeoNetwork seems to be the place to find Find Interactive Maps, GIS datasets, Satellite Imagery and Related Applications but I couldn’t find anything useful on Haiti as of today. So I am not sure if it’s public info is restricted and it only shares “the good stuff” with the affiliated agencies, governments and NGO’s.

Finally the Who does What Where database seems to be a great source of information on finding out exactly who is responsible for what where. I cannot attest to this much, since you have to login to use the site.

I guess I should mention IRIN, the Integrated Regional Information Networks, which is a great source of information but it’s limited to only one region.

All in all I see this a great step towards readiness when it comes to disasters, but it’s not enough. There are three huge things that they are missing from the equation: technology, ideas and volunteer involvement. Let me address each of these.

When people see huge natural disasters or any other colossal problem that another group of humans are facing, they are moved by it and feel the need to help. Most of the time we do not know how to help. other than donating money to some of the organizations that we see on TV.

But I am sure there is always the need for skilled people in any disaster relief situation, whether is too help in the disaster area, or in their own countries with logistics and coordination and else.

For example we have RedR which is an international charity that provides training and recruitment services for the humanitarian sector, and very few people know about it.  There is also many online disaster plan workbook, that people should be told to read in their spare time so they can be ready to spring into action.

There are organizations like ATHA that train NGO personal and the like so that they know how to cooperate and coordinate civilians and military operations, strengthen security and protection of displaced persons among other things, but there should be something similar that trains common people on the basics of disaster relief, like CPR, or learning to identify symbols, to coordinate at a local level while the authorities arrive, to create temporary shelters, to start search and rescue operations in areas that do not pose a threat to them and else.

I am sure there is also the need for volunteers to help collect, organize and ship all the aid given in their own cities. There might be the need to donate boxes or other things to pack, and people might not even know about it and they might have their house packed of empty boxes that could be put to good use, just to mention some examples.

Here is where I think technology should be making it easier for all of us to become part of this disaster relief effort. If we can have a website where we have information on everything needed to get involved in aiding whatever disaster or humanitarian problem we treasure,using the latest technology, I think a lot of us will be much more involved.

I think a good website with all the web 2.0, web 3.0 and web 1000 or so, tools could do several important things:

1) It could begin by having a list of all the organizations that are pledging funds for each cause, so when i feel like donating I can pick and chose the one that I think it’s going to make a difference. It should have a description next to each organization, which states what are they planning to do with the money, how much do they need, how long will it take and even how much have they collected already.

That way I know where my money is going, if they are going to have enough to do what they say, if their ideas are worth it, etc.

2) It should have a good mash up of all the different news sources, whether they are news agencies like Reuters or AP, local media, NGO’s, of the local government. So that it a single page I can see all that is going on and who is saying what. While ReliefWeb has some of it, it has very limited news sources. Since this is a social site, it could have news from blogs and even a tweeter feed.

Filters could do wonders then to find specific information, and searching through the blogs and tweets we could find out, how some areas are doing, whether some bridges are down, it the have water ins some areas, etc.

3) A good and up to date app that links to Google earth, where all the reporters, relief workers and such could tag info, add data, put comments, add street views and use it to see which roads to take, at the same time the update information about different areas in real time.

4) Maps, facts, and all sort of data that is already available in the web should be mash up up immediately in the site. There should a map all kinds of maps readily available to look at, maybe using Google maps or what not, we should access road map, relief stations maps, population maps, emergency personnel deployment maps, etc. 

Data about hospitals, doctors, populations, gas stations and else should also be there either as a tag in Google maps or something similar, so that people can comment and update the status of each of this in as real time as possible.

Also technology could help not only with a website, but there are other needs as well that I think they are not being covered completely.

We need transportations, some 4 wheelers that are easy to deploy, not to heavy, maybe even foldable like the Japanese origami planes. We should have at least one shipping point from each continent, or maybe do some math and calculate 5 or 6 places where they can be stored and ready to get in the least amount of time anywhere they are needed. I am thinking they should be quite light so that a an Hercules C-130 can take them there asap.

We also need some quite temporary housing ready to be shipped and not the common tents that many countries are still sending, but something better, bigger I have seen really good one presented by Cameron Sinclair and some really good ideas in his Architecture for Humanity website. We should have a lot of those ready to be build.

Also we need people to design some cheap, efficient and easy to build and deploy sustainable energy and communication systems, so that we can speed up communications in every area and bring some electricity to operate medical and communications equipment.

Finally we need ideas, the main reason for the open social website that I propose is so that everyone can look at what happens and pitch in some ideas, sometimes the most simple and creative ideas come from unexpected places and we need them badly. People may not share them with those who could put them to good use, because the lack of channels to get your idea through, but if there is a place where you can share your ideas and contribute with others to help polish that idea so that it can become a reality then maybe we will be fairing much better each crisis.

I am convinced that there are millions of people out there willing to help in other ways that just donating money, and a lot of them have great ideas, many of them could help share and bring information to live, others with the right knowledge could help save life in those critical moments, and we should be doing everything possible to make this happen.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Social Invention

With the web 2.0 and the social networks becoming the standard in collaboration, there is still one things that I am yet to see: Social Invention.

There are many places in the web where people are collaborating, for example in YouTube, someone will post a video, and the people will comment on it, saying where is that place, what song is playing in the background, if there is some good comment people will vote it up and also the can post reply videos to it.

In the Encyclopedia of Life, people collaborate to catalog species, the post photos, and videos and all kinds of scientific info about it. So if there is a new paper publish on it, it could be linked to it.

In most new websites, people can comment and debate and complete the news. There are sites like WikiNews and AllVoices where the visitors are the ones who create, edit and upload the whole story, the can post links to other sites with more content, to blogs, upload more images, insert a map with the location of the news, videos, etc.

We also have sites like, that enable people to store, share & discover real-time sensor, energy and environment data from objects, devices & buildings around the world. The you can do all kind of creative things with that info, like this:

But with all this we are still missing a big part of the equation. A website where people can post there needs or ideas, like for example, maybe someone has come to realize that the way we do laundry at home is still quite tedious and so last century, so we might post the need for a new laundry system.

Then people can come in an collaborate to help design the new system and patent it and maybe even sell it to some companies. So maybe someone will help with the part of the system that helps with identifying the stains and someone else pitches in with some idea about how to inject the stain remover in that area of the clothes, and so forth and so on.

We need the get something like that going, it is not possible that with so many collaborative tools on the net we are missing the most important.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Lavar la Ropa

¡Que levante la mano a los que les da una pereza tremenda lavar la ropa! ¡No se hagan! …Eso así me gusta… Hay quién le da tanta flojera que prefiere solo rotar su ropa hasta que de plano se quita los pantalanes y se paran solos.

Es por eso que hago una convocatoria a todos los grandes inventores de nuestros tiempo a hacer algo más automatizado y sencillo.

Se me ocurre algo así como un ducto desde cada cuarto donde avientas tu ropa y pasa primero por algún tipo de detector que tiene sensores para los distintos colores, así la manda a distintas canastas según su color.

Una vez que se separa revisa el tipo de tela, esto podría ser con algún otro sensor, no se reflejando algún rayo y según la refracción podríamos saber que material es, claro habría que hacer una tabla de unos 500 materiales comunes para que los tenga ya el sistema. 

En base a esto divide de nuevo la ropa para la que requiere ciclos suaves y la que va por ciclo regular y así. Aquí un problema sería la ropa que esta muy sucia así que tendría que reflejar el rayo en varias partes para asegurarse que no es una mancha de café o vino en lo que esta pegando.

Lo que me lleva a pensar como le haría para detectar las manchas difíciles como café, vino, sangre, etc... Necesitamos que busqué donde están estas manchas y les aplique algún químico especial para cada una de ellas.

Finalmente las debe de pesar y meter a lavar con el tiempo y detergente suficiente para que salgan “rechinando de limpias”.

Con esto podrías poner una cadena de lavanderías automatizadas donde solo llegas como en el drop box de blockbuster y avientas la ropa, la pesa y te da un ticket para que pases por ella 2 hrs después.

Aunque pensandolo bien igual y tendría que ser una persona la que la pesara de inicio y te diera el ticket para evitar que avientes a tus mascotas o tus platos sucios.

¿Cuáles son sus propuestas para que esto funcione? ¿Qué se les ocurre que sirva para detectar las manchas, la tela, el peso, etc. ?

Monday, October 26, 2009

A penny for your thoughts and my friendships for your dreams

Twenty thousand doesn’t sound like a big number. Captain Nemo traveled 20,000 leagues under the sea in his famous Nautilus .With that amount of money it will be hard to find a good apartment in a big city. An average educated person knows about 20,000 words of the almost 1,000,000 words in the English language. With 20,000 kilometers you will only be at 20% of the distance from the earth to the moon. The biggest 5 hotels in Las Vegas have more than 20,000 rooms combined. And yet 20,000 days it’s all we have to make our dreams come true.

Every great novel, every great movie, every great story ever told has a constant! What is that constant you may ask? That there was someone, sometimes a guy, sometimes a girl, some others a town, a race, a country, that had a dream and no matter what happened they kept going after that dream until they finally got it (except in “the perfect storm”: such a sad story). Of course for each of these great stories there are thousands or more of people who never got even close to achieving their dreams.

You might find yourselves forgetting your dreams, you might talk yourself into believing that reality is better, that it’s best not to dream at all, and when you least know it, you are one of those thousands who never reach their dreams. But remember what John Updike use to say “Dreams come true; without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.”

Someone once wrote that what makes life worth living is the possibility of having your dreams come true! Too often desire can leave us heartbroken, tired of waiting, of wanting; it can wreak you life, but as though as it seems, it is the people who don’t have dreams, who don’t know what they want, the ones who suffer the most; because dreaming is embedded in our hearts, and the moment we stop dreaming, we hurt our hearts badly.

There are several reasons for not achieving your dreams, you might have fear of the dream coming true, and not being all that you expected. You might be waiting for others to do it for you, like hopping that the government will one day give you the medical aid you need and just waiting for it. You might be afraid of asking for the help of others or maybe you just don’t know how to get there, you got lost somewhere along the way, and it seems too late to find your way into that dream. Whatever your reasons might be remember what Goethe wrote:

“Whatever you dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.” 

A friend once told me that dreams are like stars, we might never reach them, but like the mariners in the sea, we chart our course by them. I am not sure If agree with her in the part of not reaching them, but we definitely guide our course by them. Every important decision, every cross road we come across, every hit we have to endure and wonder why we do it, in every single step of the way, we find the answer in our dreams. It gives us the energy not only to keep us going, but to do what in any other circumstance will seem impossible, that’s the magic of dreams: to bring within our reach that what seems impossible.

You can be certain one thing, apart from death and taxes, that no matter how hard you try there are going to be times when you just can push much further, that the shore it’s too far away and you have nothing more to give, and it is in those moments, when the people that truly believe in your dreams will give you the helping hand you needed so much. If you have shown excitement, passion and commitment to your dreams, others will come and join you, and help you build that dream.

Sometimes it’s hard for us to find the right people to share our dreams with, to find people just as passionate as we are, and so we give up the fight and settle for the best that has come our way. But we need not to give up, we should never give in, we should raise our voice so high that everyone out there can hear us.

If you think about Dr. Martin Luther King the first words that will come to your mind are. “I have a dream”, because he raised his voice high enough and people listened, and follow, and eventually help that dream come true.

With this in mind, I want to share a new dream of mine: I want to give common people a place to raise their voice, a place where they can share their dreams, a place where many can help each other to achieve their dreams, whether they are big or small, it might be just a silly thing that can bring a smile to someone face or something so big that will change the world as we know it.

So to get started on this, I have set a goal to help 20,000 people achieve their dreams. We will be posting all the info and how to make it happen at  Let us create a place where we can engage all kinds of people from all walks of life, so that can they come together to help each others. And I beg of you to attent to it now, don’t wait.

Hope you can join and helps us make this a reality. Now I will let John Lennon say the final words, which I myself couldn’t say it better:

“You may say I'm a dreamer,

but I'm not the only one,

I hope someday you'll join us,

And the world will be as one.”

Saturday, October 10, 2009

lo que nunca va a ser…

No deja de impresionarme el gusto que tenemos los humanos por hacernos tontos! Nos encanta creer que todo es posible en lo que nos conviene; como el ganarnos la lotería aunque ¡sabemos que no va a pasar! No sucede, por mas que compres el mismo número siempre no aumentan tus posibilidades ok? no! no! no!

O como el que un hombre que quiere con una chava que solo lo ve como “amiga” pueda andar con ella, (supérala)  y ella crear que el puede ser su “amigo” (deja de engañarte).

Las mujeres dominan el hecho de que un hombre que lo ven como “amigo” pero que quiere con ellas nunca va a poder ser su amigo de verdad, lo saben perfecto, todas, la bonitas, las feas, las altas, las flacas, la morenas, todas! TODAS!

Pero como les gusta engañarse al creer que todo lo que hace por ellas, escucharlas, cuidarlas, apapacharlas, regalos, salidas, etc, puede ser solo porque las quiere como amigas, no sean hipócritas! Que les quede claro, eso no sucede! el quiere una solo cosa, su mente esta fija en una cosa….sexo!

Mujeres, por favor entiendan que si a los hombres les dices hoy no puedo verte, el lo entiende como hoy no pero mañana sí. Si le dices es que me gustas como amigo, el entiende le gusto, quiere que intenté con más ganas. Todo lo que le digan a un hombre que no sea no nunca! estoy enamorada de otro, no te quiero ni como amigo, el lo va a traducir como: hay chance, necesito echarle más ganas.

Y los hombres, no me revienten las pelotas, ya es hora de que se pongan los pantalones y entiendan, no va a suceder. Si una mujeres les dice que no puede y no da opciones, eso significa no quiero, no le sigan, ya no le busquen! Si les dice que los quiere como amigos, no sean hipócritas tampoco y acepten una amistad que no quieren.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Diplomado en estudios sobre duendes

Por increíble que les pudiera parecer a varios, Islandia (la cuna de Bjork) tiene una escuela sobre duendes, la cual ofrece desde cursos cortos de medio día para los turistas, hasta un diplomado en estudios sobre duendes

No cometan el error de creer que esto es algo pequeño en Islandia que solo un grupo de gente la que creen en esto, como sucede en otros lados con escuelas del tipo. Al contrario de acuerdo con las encuestas recientes mas del 54% de la población no niega su existencia, 8% están completamente convencidos de su existencia y un 3% afirma que los ha visto.

La creencia esta tan integrada en el folklore local que como comenta Hildur Hakonardottir, ex director del museo, “Si la preguntas a la gente que si creen en los duendes, te van a decir que si y que no, si te dices que si, tal vez no crean, si te dicen que no, tal vez si crean”.

Inclusive cuentan que cuando empiezan a construir en lugares rocosos donde habitan los duendes, la maquinara empieza a enloquecer y dejar de funcionar sin ningún motivo aparente. Por lo que normalmente requieren la ayuda de un clarividente que pueda ver y dialogar con los duendes para llegar a un arreglo.

Y cómo logra uno ver a los duendes? No es algo que se pueda aprender, es algo con lo que se nace dicen los expertos. Normalmente toma cerca de 6 horas lograr verlos, aunque en ocasiones en menos.

“Si hay una roca en medio de un jardín y alguien le dice a un Islandés que es una piedra donde habitan duendes, ¿la volarían? No lo harían” comenta Terry Gunnell director del departamento de folklore de la Universidad de Islandia en Reikiavik.

Esto obligadamente nos lleva a preguntarnos '¿porqué más de la mitad de la población esta convencida de la existencia de los duendes en Islandia y no en otros países?’

El folklore panteísta, la cultura secular (Islandia obtuvo su libertad religiosa al mismo tiempo de su independencia), el idioma y la geografía del lugar, todo eso conjugado hace que se propague la creencia generación tras generación.

Parte del folklore local son las Sagas, leyendas que llevan siglos contándose y enseñándose en las escuelas, que describen eventos históricos, donde intervienen dioses nórdicos y suceden cosas sobrenaturales.

Gracias al hecho de que el Idioma Islandés no ha cambiado en casi mil años, las historias medievales de luchas entre duendes y trolls y vikingos siguen en pie y por lo tanto se sigue diseminando la idea de su existencia desde pequeños a todos los habitantes.

El hecho de que la Iglesia Católica no haya impuesto a los ángeles y demonios como los únicos seres sobrenaturales en el país, dio pie a que se desarrollarán todo tipo de ideas sobre seres sobrenaturales sin ser suprimidas por creencias religiosas, comenta Árni Björnsson el antiguo director de etnografía y folklore en el Museo Nacional de Islandia.

La geografía de Islandia, un tanto fantasmagórica con volcanes haciendo erupción y terremotos y auroras boreales, también ha contribuido a dejar la imaginación y tomando en cuenta que es el país con menor densidad de población, la gran mayoría de sus habitantes viven más cerca de la naturaleza que el uno del otro.

Ya que desde niños están en contacto con la naturaleza todo el tiempo y con las historias de duendes y trolls, es fácil entender porqué muchos de los que afirman haber visto duendes los vieron antes de los 8 años y sólo un puñado clama seguir viendo duendes en la edad adulta.

Pesando toda la evidencia, no queda duda porque en Islandia son tan famosos los duendes. Pero lo que todavía no nos explicamos, es como teniendo tanto folklore no tienen grandes escritores de ficción como Anderson o Tolkien.


Global Psyche: Magic Kingdom Psychology Today

Elf Detection 101, Slate Magazine

Belief in Elves Strong in Iceland, National Geographic (video)

Building in Iceland? Better Clear It With the Elves First, New York Times

Wall Street on the Tundra, Vanity Fair

OctoFinder Verified