I held a workshop, supported by the VA, in Washington DC in 1999, called “Creating an Epidemic of Health” that was based on an earlier paper Creating an Epidemic of Health with the Internet. It was based on a notion of Jonas Salk, that this epidemic of positive health behaviors. Heather Wood Ion, a close friend of Salk’s, delivered this wonderful presentation that I think needs broader distribution.
“Survival of the wisest depends upon whether we use our tools as good ancestors of the future. Only a few are needed to visualize and to initiate a process that would become self-organizing, self-propelling, and self-propagating, as is characteristic of evolutionary processes.”
I just ran across this wonderful effort by Salman Khan to provide educational videos at the Khan Academy. He has posted over 1200 educational videos that are seen by 100,000 people around the world.
When I went back to my fellowship at Stanford after 30 years in industry, I was amazed to find that professors were closer to vice presidents of marketing than my vision of the academic scholar. Many seem to subscribe to the PT Barnum school of grantsmanship rather than the Thomas Jefferson’s “he who lights his candle at mine receives light without darkening me.”
It’s good to see someone being such a good ancestor, and restores my faith in the principles of the Enlightenment. As he says, “When I’m 80, I want to feel that I helped give access to a world-class education to billions of students around the world.”
It’s a shame that professors who are paid by public funds don’t do this, as well.
Keep up the good work, Salman.