WorldWideFuture Weblog

the future of education, politics, science and art

Socially yours…

Been a while since I posted…October 09 to be precise, and not much before that. Truth is, been getting into social networking, Facebook and Twitter. As an observer of the trends into the future, I have been most intrigued about how useful FB and Twitter has become. I noticed a while back that companies were telling customers to visit their Facebook page rather than web sites. This is huge shift in the way of doing things.

On the occasion of my 55th birthday, and the start of my vacation, I hope to reinvigorate my blogging, perhaps cross posting from Twitter. If it still seems quiet here, come visit me on Twitter at ThePhotowagon.

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June 28, 2010 Posted by | Communication, education, future, politics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Author Nicholas Carr: The Web Shatters Focus, Rewires Brains | Magazine

Author Nicholas Carr: The Web Shatters Focus, Rewires Brains: Wired Magazine.

By keeping lots of brain cells buzzing, Google seemed to be making people smarter. But as Small was careful to point out, more brain activity is not necessarily better brain activity. The real revelation was how quickly and extensively Internet use reroutes people’s neural pathways. “The current explosion of digital technology not only is changing the way we live and communicate,” Small concluded, “but is rapidly and profoundly altering our brains.”

Everyone knows that attention span has been dwindling, but this article really strikes home and shows what we are dealing with. A must read for all teachers and those who want to impart knowledge and skills to the world wide future generation.

June 28, 2010 Posted by | Communication, education, future | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ultra cool Nissan Land Glider Concept

Must admit, haven’t been blogging for a while as I am getting into the Twitter/Facebook thing. So many things to do, so little time. However, I am still researching into the worldwide future and I came upon this awesome concept vehicle highlighted in Wired’s Autoblog: the Nissan Land Glider at http://www.wired.com/autopia/2009/10/nissan-land-glider/. Between this and the Leaf, hmmmm, Nissan might be the company to watch!

Nissan Land Glider Concept

Nissan Land Glider Concept

October 23, 2009 Posted by | Environment, future, sustainable future, transportation | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A wave of the future

Well, it has been a while since I last posted. The spring always brings a ramp up of work related activity, bumps most other tasks aside.  Tine for spring cleaning, including my brain!

Anyway, I’m taking another direction, returning to teaching after 10 years at a consultant at the school board level. A whole new kind of stress, but as a teacher of communications technology, I will be back in the action of keeping up to date with the latest technologies, and helping the next gen to understand their opportunities in the new age we live in.

Brings me to an awesome development I just saw from the people at Google, the empire that never seems to sleep! Google Wave will replace everything we have been doing to now…email, blogging, twittering, IM, photo  albums, you name it.

Long video, (1 hour -20min) but I have seen the future and it is exhilarating. Remember the time we were all hearing about modeless software? Maybe this is it, eh?

May 30, 2009 Posted by | Communication, education, future | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shai Agassi…meet Zenn

I read with great interest the cover article “Driven” by Daniel Roth in Wired Magazine (16.09 Sept. 08, page 118). The cover says: The Future of the Electric Car” and that seems just about right. In the worldwide future, design is more than just coming up with a product or service. Design must consider the entire scope, enterprise and life cycle of a designed solution. A designer of a product or service must consider the entire enterprise, or how it connects with the entire infrastructure of society. Consider how the world has changed since Edison invented the light bulb: even improving on the original design (for example: compact fluorescents) brings about a whole new set of problems (questions about the actual lifespan, the use of dangerous chemicals, disposal, environmental costs of manufacturing vs. incandescence, the list goes on. (My quote from teaching design: Design is what you do when you don’t know the answer…or the question).

The electric car is a case in point. Zero emissions are a noble goal, but how much will that car cost the consumer, or the environment? What chemicals will have to dealt with in manufacture; or in disposal? What do you do when your battery quits taking a charge? How much will a replacement cost? How much will it cost to build the infrastructure to support electric cars? I really would like to know the answers to these questions, especially from GM, who has been advertising its ephemeral Chevrolet Volt for some time already as if it already exists.

Shai Agassi, a young entrepreneur, has come up with an idea for building a sustainable (key word!) business (Better Place): an electric network that will support a new age of smart electric cars. Agassi’s idea is that you essentially lease the car and battery, and pay for its use through metered electricity. (Like the free cell phone paid for by usage or, going way back to that prime example of Chris Anderson’s Zero Economy, the King Gillette’s disposable shaving blade). The benefits are that you don’t have to buy an expensive car or more importantly, an expensive battery that will need replacing after so many charges. The car is provided to you, you pay for it by paying for the consumable portion: the electricity. The company develops the charging stations and the retailing infrastructure. If you need a fresh battery for a long trip, you just go to the charging station where they swap in a new battery in 10 minutes. You don’t need to worry about the cost of ownership and replacing worn out batteries. You pay for what you use, which is the way everything should be.

The idea is there, and Roth’s story outlines the process Agassi has been going through in finding a place to do trials, and a manufacturer to produce the vehicles and stations. A single car has yet to be produced. Brought to my mind our own (Canada) home grown electric car that is sold through out the world by the Toronto based Zenn Electric Company. Seems to me Agassi, you have a solution…Zenn already has the cars, and better yet the world wide license to develop electric vehicles using EEStor’s innovative high capacity battery system (three times the storage capacity of lithium ion). And, Transport Canada has finally allowed (just barely…they do need a kick in the ass) the use of these cars here in Canada.

Zero Emissions No Noise

The Zenn: Zero Emissions No Noise

Agassi…meet Zenn. Is this the solution we have been waiting for?

September 2, 2008 Posted by | Environment, future, transportation | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dreaming along Michigan’s Woodward Avenue

I just returned from the 14th annual Woodward Dream Cruise 2008 in Detroit Michigan. This is the largest celebration of car culture in the world, with two weeks of events leading to the 16 mile Saturday cruise down Woodward Ave. from Detroit to Pontiac Michigan. Over 1.4 million people lined the street to watch an estimated 30,000 cars go by and to take part in a wide variety of car culture events. This year we brought our 1991 Nissan Figaro, a Japanese import, into the heart of the American Motor City. I was looking forward to doing the cruise for quite a while. While every city has its “Woodward Avenue” (for me, from Windsor Ontario, the Canadian Motor City, it was Tecumseh Road), this one is special since it occurs where American automobile history began and was made.

Car fans lining Woodward Ave. Detroit Michigan August 16 2008

Car fans lining Woodward Ave. Detroit to Pontiac Michigan August 16 2008

I guess I was taking a chance bringing a Japanese import into the heart of a struggling Mecca of American iron. Only one person called me a traitor (!), but many, so many more were genuinely interested in this highly unusual car among unusual cars (unusual at least for us here in the middle of North America). People everywhere wanted to know…what is that? It was a great pleasure answering questions and posing for pictures. The reactions from people when they suddenly noticed it was right hand drive made the trip from Ottawa worthwhile.

My Nissan Figaro on Woodward

My Nissan Figaro on Woodward

My ride is a 1991 Nissan Figaro, one of only 20,000 made for the domestic Japanese market, and only made that one year. It is powered by a 75 bhp, 998cc 4 cylinder turbocharged engine, and gets about 38mpg or about 4-5L/100km. It is a one-of-a-kind design by the Pike Factory, a special design team at Nissan in the late 1980s – early 1990s. It is a retro styled car, based on 1950-1960s Italian and British sports cars. It was announced at the 1989 Tokyo Auto Show as “Back to the Future”, and you had to win a lottery to by one; 250,000 applied. To me it represents a very unique and radical exercise in small footprint automotive design, and it is a hit wherever it appears. I have taken it to many local auto shows, as well as MicroCarNorth in Orillia, Ontario; Boston for Gould’s Annual MicroCar Classic; and now the Detroit Woodward Dream Cruise.

Cruisin' the Dream Cruise 2008

Cruisin' the Dream Cruise 2008

While I was always interested in cars, I got interested in small footprint micro and mini cars after seeing some of them at our Ministry of Transportation’s fuel economy test facility in Ottawa. The facility had examples of Smart Cars (including a four seater!), various diesel and ethanol cars, and more importantly, a Honda Beat and some Japanese micro-trucks. There is so much more going on in the Orient and Europe in regards to high mileage and economic vehicles. I think that small footprint cars represent the future, and there is something to be said for doing more with less when it comes to engineering and innovation.

One of 30,000 cars along Woodward

One of 30,000 cars along Woodward

What does the Dream Cruise represent to the world wide future? In order to understand the future, we all know one must study the past, and the present. It was fascinating to see 100 years of history represented by the cars burbling along Woodward, both lovingly restored or customized. It was also fascinating to see the interest the automobile has on us here in North America, and it was most interesting to see the workmanship and pride of ownership of engineered machines represented along Woodward. It might be big business and big engineering that produce the vehicles, but the automobile truly comes alive when an individual customizes, restores or resurrects the machine. The automobile, though a mass market machine, represents the individual and individual freedom when put in the hands of the automobile enthusiast. Despite the rational arguments from mass transportation supporters, the automobile will never lose its appeal, and with some real innovation and futurethink, has an important place in the future.

SpongeBob surfin' Woodward

SpongeBob surfin' Woodward

What will become of the automobile in the future? For one thing, I don’t think the love of machines and of history will ever leave us. I don’t think that the lessons in innovation and engineering represented by the automobile will ever disappear. There is a direct link from Henry Ford’s 1908 assembly line to every device we now use, and will use in the future. Perhaps some of the future engineers who will design the 21st century were sitting there along the curb of Woodward Avenue, holding on to their Hot Wheels or dolls, waving to the men and women in their machines, dreaming of the day they too will have the opportunity to drive their passion down that long stretch of road.

More Dream Cruise Info:

Official Site for Woodward Dream Cruise

Detroit Free Press coverage

AutoBlog pictures

Keegy Canada coverage

My images at the photowagon

Fotos by Design Images of the cruise (with my Figaro in the lineup)

August 21, 2008 Posted by | education, future, transportation | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The dragon has awoken

I was invited to go to the People’s Republic of China in 2003 on behalf of the Shandong Press to talk about their proposed textbooks on technology and computer education. It was, to say the least, a life altering experience. China is all about an incredible history, and a story of the future of the world. What happens in China will ripple through the world in unimagined ways. I had told students in my talks on their future, that to take note of the China in the unfolding of the 2008 Olympics, as after many years and decades essentially hidden from western society, the dragon will awaken, and will take it’s place as THE world power of the 21st century.

The Great Wall at Badaling, north of Beijing

The Great Wall at Badaling, north of Beijing

A country of 1.3 billion people, 20% of the world’s population, which has been steadily tooling up as the world’s manufacturer, now will be demanding a huge share of the world’s wealth as it takes its place on the world stage. I read that by 2012, China will need 110% of today’s oil production just for its own use. Wired Magazine has an interesting article on power requirements for China. Imagine quite a different world wide future than we live in today (only a few years into the 21st century).

The problem with understanding China from here in the West and what it means for the future lies in having our perceptions altered by decades of cold war propaganda. Predictably, every time the media does a story on China they have to invariably mention the events of Tianamen Square of 1989, or their human rights record, etc. etc.. It is a broken record, the same old story endlessly and tiredly repeated. Trouble is, when I was in China in 2003, I got a much different view of an amazing people, with the same ideas and hopes and dreams as we all do. And while yes, China has its own history of human rights abuse (do we talk much about our own work with aboriginals?) it is time to give China a break and really begin to understand the dynamics of this land where everything is of epic proportions. Our understanding of the future relies on understanding the dragon that is China (and the elephant of India which is not far behind).

Locks for good luck at Confucious Temple at Mount Tiashan
Good luck locks at Confucius Temple at Mount Tiashan

I had to endure another report from Beijing on the CBC National TV report last night which got my ire up. Of course they had to interview the public in Tianamen Square and ask them about human rights yet again. This ever so dreary man-on-the-street interview report made me write this to them:

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Give China the benefit of doubt

It is getting very tiresome and predictable to have to listen to yet another commentary about China’s human rights history in a report about the upcoming Olympics (CBC National July 21, 2008). I hope that CBC, like other media, grow up and give us a more modern view of this long-hidden corner of the globe without resorting to the same old rhetoric too often seen through the blinders of western propaganda. Do you dredge up stories of Kent State or Abu Ghraib every time you do a story in Washington? The people of China have been working hard to showcase their amazing history, stunning present and unpredictable future to the rest of the world. As I have witnessed firsthand myself (in 2003), and as your street interviews so clearly illustrate, the Chinese people are among the most friendly, apolitical and eager to please people one can encounter anywhere.

One can only imagine the difficulties of ruling a billion plus people in an area the size of the continental US, or the difficulties of providing a life of freedom and hope for all citizens after so many years of deadly dictatorship. One can also imagine if the results of 1989 Tianamen Square would be much different if it happened instead on the Washington Mall. Mistakes and missteps have happened, and will happen, but it is time to give China what it deserves…time to treat the country with respect and objectivity and perhaps their governing body will be more willing to work with the rest of the world on the issues facing all humanity in the future.

I fervently hope that the Olympics in Beijing runs its course without a hitch, and that the world comes away in awe of this incredible country of 1.3 billion people who collectively have the same hopes and dreams we all do. I also hope that the western media, who come from countries of glass houses, put down their stones and give the People’s Republic of China the chance for respect they deserve without resorting to the same rhetoric of propaganda we have had to put up with for far too long.

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I hope we can get a clearer picture of this incredible country while they put on the quad-annual showcase called the Olympics, though I am not holding my breath for the media to drop its propaganda none too soon. The key to understanding the global future is to understand this part of the world, and the general public needs to have a fair and unbiased view. I have my own little travelogue through some of China in 2003 on my website at www.millenniumwave.com/china/china1.htm. Enjoy!

July 22, 2008 Posted by | education | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Intersecting interests: Politics, Education, Science, Technology and Art

Here it is, the beginning. My name is Michael Alexander Scott and I am an educational consultant by trade and a photographer by avocation. My areas of expertise are technology and business education and apprenticeship training. I have industry experience in computer data acquisition, photography and branding, and have worked everywhere from factories to wind tunnels to orthopaedic research to space hardware testing before getting into the teaching biz .

Why this blog, why now? I am concerned about the future. We live in a technological world yet we are saddled for the most part with an Industrial Age education system. We live in an era of disruptive technological change but we are held back by an antiquated political and social system.

Without the requisite education in technological and business matters, this generation of students are going to have great difficulty in coming to grips with Toffler’sfuture crashing into the present“. We are at a point where “if students are not trained to learn, then we are creating performing seals in a circus that’s about to be demolished.” (Dr. Bill Law, School to Work Conference, Toronto 2000)

So here we are, a blog about the world wide future. I hope to expose the misconceptions of what the role of education is, and the errors of scientific and technological discourse that is foisted upon the public by our politicians and our media. I hope to connect you, the reader, with centers of thought that should be considered when examining our future and where we should be headed. Maybe lofty, eh? Like any blog, it is all about opinions (and they won’t reflect those of my employer or government!)

I hope you enjoy, let me know what you think, and pass it on.

My web presence:

http://www.millenniumwave.com

http://photowagon.ca

Michael Alexander Scott,
Ottawa Ontario Canada

The illiterate of the future are not those that cannot read or write. They are those that can not learn, unlearn, relearn.
– Alvin Toffler

June 27, 2008 Posted by | education | , , , , , | Leave a comment