Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ringing in the year of 252009

In reflecting on the amount of change I witnessed in this single year I realized that I didn't actually know how long man, in its current evolutionary form, has been around. Doesn't that seem odd? As self aware as humans are, we have a horrible perception of time that is entirely of our own doing. It is of course honorable and sacred to note the year of the birth of Christ, and yet it has also created a great time-warp in the perception of ourselves. According to the consensus reported in Wikipedia, Homo sapiens evolved around 250,000 years ago. Considering the order of difference between 250K and 2K and the convenience to be gained, I think it is fair to just say that the year of man we soon will ring is actually 252,009.

I don't mean to replace our current convention, but I do think this fact is something that should be widely known and celebrated yearly. Why exactly should we diminish 247,991 years of progress for a measly 2,009? In a time when things are changing ever faster, perspective is critical. Think about it this way; it took an estimated 50,000 years for speech to develop then another 170,000 to develop drawn symbols, but then only 24,700 to creating writing. From there it took only another 4,739 years for man to develop the Gutenberg printing press (1439), and then just 464 more to produce the first production Ford Model A (1903). Then in a measly 66 years, man landed on the moon (1969). Eight (8) years after that the Apple II personal computer (1977) arrived and another 6 years after that, the first US commercial cell phone (1983). The next eight years saw the growing use of computers, networks, and other technology leading up to the formation of the World Wide Web (1991). In the 18 years coming to a close since, we've undergone a massive revolution in technology where storage and computational power double every two years.

I think I've made my point. So with that in mind I hope all have a Merry Christmas and a happy new 252,009!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

eTextbook Google 10 to the 100th Application

This is my second proposal for Google's 10 to the 100th project. Thank you everyone for the corrections and comments on the first one. This one is likely to be a bit rougher, but it isn't nearly as complicated so hopefully it will be almost as good.

8. Your idea's name (maximum 50 characters):

eTextbook – The evolving textbook

10. What one sentence best describes your idea? (maximum 150 characters)

eTextbook is a collaborative digital textbook that provides explanations for all different learning styles for K-12 and beyond.

11. Describe your idea in more depth. (maximum 300 words)

Print textbooks are obsolete in the information age. Schools spend millions of dollars every year buying textbooks that serve the learning styles of only a few groups of students. This makes them either too challenging for some or not challenging enough for others. Each school district uses different versions and publishers, making education inconsistent and inefficient.

While many textbooks come with supplemental materials, they are mostly inadequate and underdeveloped. My wife is a high school math teacher and constantly needs to create her own problems and projects to ensure that students are appropriately challenged. Not every teacher has the time or expertise to do this. Some materials are shared online, but it isn’t consistent and doesn’t always tie to curriculum.

The eTextbook will solve all these issues because materials can be shared by teachers and primary sections can be continually updated by experts. It will cover all subjects, providing links between history, science, math, language, and art. Digital ink is now a reality with readers already available for under $400, given economies of scale and advances, new versions will soon cost the same as a single textbook. Instead of lugging around multiple textbooks, students will have a durable reader that lasts all throughout their schooling. eTextbook won’t be limited by size either. If students need different explanations of concepts, it will be right at their fingertips.

Given success in developed countries, extremely high quality educational materials can be provided to developing countries at a very low cost. The OLPC is a nice idea, but its approach was backwards. Building the technology before the curriculum has left it disconnected from the day to day needs of a classroom. eTextbook will start with developing the curriculum first and will be available in a wide variety of formats, even perhaps helping the OLPC.

12. What problem or issue does your idea address? (maximum 150 words)

eTextbook will be a key to advancing education throughout the world. Static print caters to only a few learning styles, leaving many students struggling. eTextbook will provide learning approaches for all groups of students. Students and teachers will be able to provide corrections, share supplemental materials, and suggest alternative explanations.

eTextbook will be dynamic, unfolding individual steps to solutions of a problem, allowing students to move past where they get stuck without jumping straight to the answer.

eTextbook will link our knowledge back together as it was actually discovered in the real world. Science, math, art, and literature all occurred within the context of our history. The segmentation of our knowledge is not only inaccurate, but leaves the living connection behind.

Education is a fundamental human right. Since eTextbook will be freely available online, anyone that can be given access will able to access the entire world’s knowledge.

13. If your idea were to become a reality, who would benefit the most and how? (maximum 150 words)

eTextbook would most benefit children all over the world. It will also help educators by allowing them to focus more on the classroom and student progress instead of having to spend valuable time creating new materials. eTextbook will also help adults that need to learn or relearn materials so that they can help their children with homework or to return to formal education in the quest for better jobs.

14. What are the initial steps required to get this idea off the ground? (maximum 150 words)

Much of what is needed is already available, but there needs to be an organized consortium to create the eTextbook. Wiki’s already provide a collaborative medium. Electronic ink readers provide a portable interface for students. The main challenge will be creating and organizing the content. It will need to be organized by the grade levels, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that the content has to be the same as it is today. eTextbook will give educators the freedom to rearrange the curriculum allowing them to introduce simplified versions of more advanced concepts earlier in education. There will likely need to be funding to support the consortium and for purchasing readers for pilot studies. If the efficacy of the program can be proven within the first couple years, government funding should also be able to help with development.

15. Describe the optimal outcome should your idea be selected and successfully implemented. How would you measure it? (maximum 150 words)

The first year will primarily be about creating the consortium, and researching the organizational structure of eTextbook. I would like to see hundreds of educators and tens of institutions involved in these first stages. Curriculum should start with grade school materials that can be used in classrooms and evaluated and advanced with each year. Within 5 years there should be materials for all of K-12 education, with higher education rapidly expanding.

17. You may also submit 1 YouTube video (max 30 seconds long) explaining your project.

Coming if YouTube ever comes back online! - Well it didn't come back online in time, but here is is anyway:

18. If you'd like to recommend a specific organization, or the ideal type of organization, to execute your plan, please do so here. (maximum 50 words)

No time obviously, but I'd still be interesting in hearing from those interested in case this makes it to the second round in January.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Google 10 to the 100th Application

So I worked almost all weekend on this application for Google's 10 to the 100th project and I have to submit it today (yikes), so any quick feedback on wording, the YouTube video, and the idea would be greatly appreciated. Also if you a part of an organization that could help this become a reality, please let me know and I'll add you to application. Finally, any thoughts on a better name? This one is a play off Google's Knol - A unit of knowledge.

8. Your idea's name (maximum 50 characters):

Dyknol – A dynamic unit of knowledge

10. What one sentence best describes your idea? (maximum 150 characters)

Dyknol will be an online problem solving tool that uses a system of sciences organized around models to address the world’s most challenging issues

11. Describe your idea in more depth. (maximum 300 words)

Dyknol is a mash-up of Knol, data analysis and visualization, video, GIS, and other services that are all organized and structured around mathematical models recreating aspects of different problems being studied. Dyknol will be used in sponsored projects led by experts, educators, and policy makers to develop real solutions to our most pressing problems.

Similar models are already used both in academia and industry to reveal the root causes of complicated problems, forecast issues before they become a crisis, and test possible solutions. Models allow experts with conflicting explanations to make their assumptions explicit which can then be compared to real world data. Through this process even the most conflicted problems can be reconciled. Models can also be used to describe a problem at different levels of detail for different audiences. From grade school, to college, to professionals, we can help people engage with finding solutions to any problem they finding interesting.

This tool would be similar to the debates in Knol, but instead of simply an exchange of text, facts, and figures, Dyknol would structure arguments though a causal model that is based on real data and observations. There is already software for building these models, but it is all offline and unable to link data, text, video, and other media to help explain and justify the model’s structure.

Imagine this scenario on global warming. A grade school student looks at a simple model explaining the causal relationship between CO2 and global temperatures. They simulate the model with different rates of change in CO2 and see the impact it has on temperature. Within the same space a college student explores the more complex linkages between our energy needs and CO2 emissions, while policy makers work within Dyknol to come up with practical policies that strike the best balance.

12. What problem or issue does your idea address? (maximum 150 words)

Dyknol would address the key issue we have with solving any of the world’s most challenging problems; we have no effective means for resolving conflicting ideas and finding shared solutions. Dyknol will be a focal point for addressing any problem there is a large enough community to support it.

In the last few decades we have seen the challenges facing us grow ever more complex. While technology has helped keep pace, it has also caused new problems. Dyknol will give us a powerful tool for breaking down problems to reveal the root causes, as well as an ability to test policies and forecast issues before they become a crisis.

The science of systems has already been applied to designing physical solutions such as bridges and skyscrapers. It is time we bring it to the mainstream for addressing systemic issues that are not just physical, but intertwined with our social fabric.

13. If your idea were to become a reality, who would benefit the most and how? (maximum 150 words)

The whole world would benefit. With Dyknol, we’d finally be able to tackle the most challenging issues facing us today, before they become even more of a crisis. When listening to today’s society one can’t help but notice the overwhelming apathy mixed with frustration about the state of the world. Through this system we’d be giving people a way to learn the reality of our problems, affect change, and be part of something of purpose.

I personally believe that mankind has already been seeking to build this tool, but it has yet to take any real shape. Computers, the Internet, and connectivity are evidence of this change, but right now it lacks any real order. Structuring all this information is certainly no small task, but the science of systems is the key to making it happen. Building Dyknol, will help to bring about the global community we all hope for.

14. What are the initial steps required to get this idea off the ground? (maximum 150 words)

The first thing needed is a web application for building models. This will require programmers that understand web applications and numerical simulation. The models built with this application will then need to be able to be embedded in web pages and Wiki’s like Knol.

In the early stages researchers will need to be sponsored to address some of the most engaging and pressing issues. Energy, the economy, healthcare, education, war and conflict would all be ideal candidates for demonstrating the potential of Dyknol. After gaining traction, other problems could be sponsored by groups of stakeholders, i.e. health insurers on healthcare, oil, gas, and electric providers on energy, banks on the economy, and anything else that gets enough support for the researchers and moderators.

15. Describe the optimal outcome should your idea be selected and successfully implemented. How would you measure it? (maximum 150 words)

In the first year I would want to see the web application developed and tens of projects reaching thousands of registered users. I would also want to see several solutions that were discovered through Dyknol put into action. In the second year I’d want hundreds of projects and millions of users creating a comprehensive network of students, educators, and professionals. Many of the projects should also be officially sponsored both monetarily and with donated time.

Eventually I can see Dynknol being incorporated into the curriculum of K-12 and beyond, helping students discover the issues they want to work on in life. The ultimate measure of success will be achieving a sustainable world that is capable of solving any problem that arises.

17. You may also submit 1 YouTube video (max 30 seconds long) explaining your project.

18. If you'd like to recommend a specific organization, or the ideal type of organization, to execute your plan, please do so here. (maximum 50 words)

I have already received encouragement from numerous organizations that may be able to help with execution:
WPI - Department of Social Science and Policy Studies

Your organization! Please let me know if you would be able to help!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Terrorism Story Model

I finally got around to creating an online story version of my terrorism model from my Bachelor's Major Qualifying Project. I did these updates as part of one of my proposals for a Google 10 to the 100th project. I'll be posting the proposal online to try and get some feedback, but the general gist is to create an online social problem solving tool. This tool will models like this one that are linked to the underlying data and explanations for why the structure is the way that it is. The idea is that by tying our most challenging problems to models, we'll be able to come up with far better solutions.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Interesting timing

In my last post I laid out some of my thoughts on the vision needed to move us forward. Interestingly enough, today there were some additional hints that new ideas and technology for creating this vision are taking shape. First, Eric Schmidt gave an insightful talk on energy policy. There was also a good On Point story on NPR that I called in for (listen for me around the last 5 minutes) on education reform. The last nugget is a demonstration by Plastic Logic of a new e-reader that demonstrates the power digital mediums just on the horizon. Check out the video below:

Monday, September 08, 2008

What we have to do in the next 5 years

We are on the cusp of what some have called the event horizon or singularity. It is a reference to the edge of a black hole. Where not even light can escape, and beyond which all of our understanding of physics breaks down. Unlike a black hole however, our event horizon isn't the end of existence, but rather just a point that we can't currently see beyond. While there is a chance we could fall into a dark collapse, I believe that we finally have both the knowledge and spirit to take us to the other side.

It is a scary time for us. There is a lot of chaos and disorder. There are many that choose to add to that disorder, because they fear what is on the other side and would rather see us collapse back to some more simplistic time. But it is against our very own spirit. That spirit that drives us to seek answers and to use those answers to bring our dreams to life and an end to our nightmares.

So most of us fight against that fear that would have us bring it all down. The trouble is that we aren't doing nearly enough. We don't yet realize our own potential and how quickly we must be able to move.

There are hints out there however. This week the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will circulate its first beam. If you don't know what the LHC is, you simply have to read about its incredible history. It is the most complex machine mankind has ever built and it is eventually going to be able to recreate the conditions that existed just an instant after all time began for our universe. This machine is a testament to our potential to reach to the farthest depths of existence to understand what makes our world as it is. If we can build such a machine and learn from the experiments it will run, then what else can we do?

There is Tesla Motors and its Roadster. The Roadster is the first no kidding, all electric car whose first production models should be delivered this month. Getting 220 miles per charge, 256 mile per gallon equivalent, making it cost less than 2 cents per mile. Oh yeah, it's more fun to drive than a Porsche. Sure it is a 100K car, but they are using the rich to pay for the technology and should be able to have more affordable cars in only a few years. GM on the other hand has spent millions, perhaps billions and still has yet to produce a single production electric vehicle.

There is the smart highway. Imagine getting in your car and simply driving to the nearest smart highway where an optimized central control takes over and not only gets you where you need to go, but does it in a manner that is safer, more efficient, and faster.

There is the OLPC, which despite its difficulties, engenders a whole new way of thinking about education. Why do we have thousands of different math, science, history, and language books? Especially those covering the fundamentals? Can't we as a society develop an incredible digital interactive collection that will cater to different learning styles, yet reduce the waste of rehashing the same old information? Imagine now a medium that learns about its user over time, suggesting the explanations that it thinks a person will understand best given his or her own learning style. Why do we keep using paper books? Isn't the world changing faster than we can possibly print them? Why waste the paper and let our efforts be scattered across so many different areas, unconnected and unfocused?

First there is so much to be done for efficiency. There are LED lights that not only last over thirty years, but also use a tenth of the electricity. In addition to the changes in cars, we must ask, do we really need everyone to drive to work? And if so, does it really need to be every day? So many jobs could be easily done from home, but to be truly efficient we need the next generation Internet backbone. We need to be able to have instantaneous file transfers, high-definition video conferencing and ubiquitous access. Think of all the call center jobs that are getting shipped to India. Do you really mean to tell me that there aren't people in the US that would be willing to work from home for a low enough wage and that could at least speak and understand English clearly?

Beyond efficiency there is the distributed grid. In this grid, each home, car, office can dynamically change between a consumer, producer, or storage unit. You have technologies like nanosoloar which can allow solar energy to be harnessed almost anywhere. You have advances from MIT on electrolysis that will make the creation of the hydrogen and oxygen needed for fuel cell storage far more efficient.

Nuclear energy, despite the potential hazards can also be incredibly clean and efficient. The vitrification process used in the UK, France, Russia, and hopefully eventually in Hanford, WA and elsewhere in the US, can safely and nearly indefinitely trap nuclear waste so that it has no chance to be dispersed into the environment.

I could go on and on, but alas, sleep is important, and nobody really reads this anyway. My point is that we are right on the brink of our true potential. So many things are changing so quickly, and yet it is all too disorganized and unfocused. We need vision, and we need it now.

I'm so very concerned that we don't realize that right now the way that we affect this world is very much like piloting a giant freighter that takes 20 mile just to turn around if we needed it to. We also have about twenty captains providing course corrections, so that we never really have any true bearing. Most of these captains are also pouring more fuel onto the fire, accelerating our ship into murky waters. What we need now is to transform our ship into an agile craft that has a high tech navigation system that allows us to move ever faster while avoiding catastrophic obstacles.

Some may read this as just more doom and gloom, but to me it is really about hope. Hope that despite my fear for the worst we will somehow awaken and take the helm that we have been gifted with as stewards of this earth.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Uniquie Insight into the Workings of the Brain

Jill Bolte Taylor shares an interesting perspective on the brain after her experience with a stroke.

Friday, May 23, 2008

CO2 Not a Pollutant?

The recent ruling that CO2 is a pollutant by the United States Supreme Court made only a small splash in the news and was met with mostly cheers from global warming alarmist as well as several condemnations and predictions of economic fallout from the skeptics. What concerns me is that the CO2 problem has mostly been tied with global warming while spending little time considering less controversial issues. Despite what you believe about the link between CO2 and global temperatures, you simply can't ignore the fact that CO2 is now 160% above the average that has existed for the last 420,000 years (and likely beyond). The previous largest deviations never went past 122%, with lows around 80% of the average. Looking at the past 420K years of CO2 levels clearly shows that the earth has quite happily been hovering around an oscillating equilibrium of ~234ppm (parts per million). So what happens when you suddenly tilt that equilibrium in a period of say less than 100 years?

We will eventually find out, but here's a little experiment you can try at home with your dirty laundry. Start a load of laundry with about 14 shirts or other evenly sized items. After the wash cycle, take your sopping wet clothes out before the spine cycle kicks in. Let the washer pump out the water and then put 9 of your shirts evenly distributed around the bottom. Let the spin cycle start up for a few seconds.. notice that there is a little vibration, but overall it is quite smooth. Now take the remaining 5 shirts, wad them up and stick them to one side. Start up the spin cycle again. What happens? OK, so you probably don't have to actually do this to know that your washer will start wobbling horribly and making all kinds of noises that you will want to stop as quickly as possible.

The problem with thinking about CO2 as a pollutant is that in being an inert substance as well as an essential part of life doesn't make it as nearly as intimidating as all those nasty chemicals we hear about. The reality however is too much of anything no matter how seemingly harmless can be quite bad. Case in point, people actually manage to poison themselves by drinking too much water. The other problem is that science is just starting to understand where all this extra CO2 is going to go and what problems it is going to cause.

Today I finally saw a news story in the Seattle Times discussing one of these problems in the latest studies on the acidification of seawater. In a nutshell, the ocean has alway been an important carbon sink, absorbing large quantities of CO2 and sequestering it to the bottom of the ocean. The trouble is, just like any sink, they can fill up or sometimes backup when overloaded. Increased concentrations lead to increased levels of carbonic acid (the same substance in soda that gives it bite and leads manufactures to coat the cans so they aren't eaten away). This chemical imbalance in oceans could be very bad news, dissolving the shells of shellfish and killing fish eggs. The economic impacts could be devastating, not to mention the ripple effect of disrupting an ecosystem as vital as our oceans.

While I can understand the economic concerns with curbing CO2 production, as with any disaster, inaction is ultimately far more expensive. Our world has greatly benefited from past environmental actions not just because it protects our valuable resources, but also because it has challenged us to improve our technology and standard of living. Just try and imagine a world where sewers and factories still dump directly into rivers and oceans! I firmly believe that with just a little vision, we can create a lot of opportunities while taking swift action to control a very serious problem.

Anyway, the article led me to revisit some of the playing I did with historical CO2 and temperature data. Since my last post on the subject I fixed a problem in the data that made it look like temperature increases always came prior to CO2 increases (sometimes they still do!), and have normalized and smoothed some of the data to make it easier to look at. Below is the whole data set plotted. It makes it quite clear that there is definitely a correlation between the two. I'm still reserving judgment on the extent of and relation of causation, but as in my previous post am also quite concerned that reinforcing effects may actually release even more naturally stored CO2 that we aren't even considering still (think permafrost and desertification).

In the next plot I took the lowest point in the cycle of our current CO2 trend, which as was about 20,000 years ago. I then took the same bottom from the cycle preceding our current one (~140K-100K years ago) to see what ours should look like compared to what we are observing. This clearly shows that mankind is most certainly creating some new unknown cycle since we should actually be starting a declining trend in CO2 levels instead of the prominent "Yikes!".

Take what you will from this post, but I hope I've made it clear that no matter how you feel about global warming, we can't ignore the obvious. Carbon Dioxide is now a pollutant because we've changed the map. It's time we own up to our responsibility of stewards of this planet and take action to protect not only the earth, but also ourselves, for this is the only place we currently have to live.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Few Weeks with the XO

My "couple" weeks (that turned into more like a month) with the One Laptop per Child XO computer have finally come to an end. I would have liked to do more with it, but I do feel like in the little free time I actually had to use it, I was able to get a pretty good sense of where it is at and where it is going.

In short it is an idea with truly revolutionary potential. I emphasize potential not because I think it has short comings, but because just like anything in the world, realizing a dream takes more than a good idea and technology. It will take the right support, enthusiasm, and pragmatic process to get things going in a sustainable way. Anyway, here it is:
Time to take a short break and take another picture to complete my somewhat lame attempt at Escher like image.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Another call for Optimisim

I think one of the main issues with trying to find solutions to problems is that very often, when you point out a problem, people think you're being overly negative and that the problem will work itself out before a crisis actually happens. I think that these people feel that by calling it a crisis before it clearly becomes one is risky and foolish. Yet in the problems we face today, given the scale of the system, we can't always afford to wait and see.

Al Gore has been on a campaign to bring more awareness about the threat of global warming for many years now. While, as a scientist I know that there is most definitely a growing possibility of a crisis tens of years into the future, I also have concerns about making the crisis real before its time. Part of the reason is because of the above perception, which helps skeptics dismiss the problem of global warming simply because the indicators being used are still too uncertain, even in spite of the mounting evidence.

Yet waiting until we can be certain is not only even more foolish, it misses out on a very real opportunity. Dealing with global warming is an opportunity to be forward thinking, an opportunity to be a leader, and perhaps more attractive to critics; an opportunity to make a ton of money.

Al Gore has retooled his message to try and bring this kind of optimism to the fore, and while it will likely still be lost on many, I thought it was very well done. I also thought it was interesting since it taps into the same vein of hope that Obama has sought out. See for yourself below.

Friday, April 04, 2008

A Post From the OLPC XO

This post is being made from the One Laptop Per Child XO laptop that my parents sponsored during the "Give One Get One" program. It's going to be a bit short since it's not exactly easy being that it really is meant for children. That said it is truly an amazing feat considering the challenges. Sure it isn't perfect, but what totally new technology is?

So far I've been able to do everything that I wanted to. I'm online in the Dulles airport, using the free year of T-mobile Hotspot connection that was donated with each of the give one get one XO's. Thanks T-Mobile! The general functionality is fairly straightforward, but I still feel like there is a lot that I don't know about. The amount of instructions to help with this also leaves a lot to be desired.

Yet given the innate ability of kids to figure out new things I'm excited to let my parent's surrogate grandchild, Avery, figure it all out. I'm going to spend a few more days with it before sending it out, and I hope to try out a few more things. Okay, that's about all I can type on this. More to come from a regular computer.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A More Perfect Union

Barack Obama made a speech yesterday that is by far the best I've heard in my lifetime. No kidding. Through this speech, I believe he is trying to start an open and honest discussion about one of the most deeply rooted problems in American society. Racism. It is a long speech, but it is also a complex problem and deserves our attention and time. I hope everyone that votes in this election can find at least 45 minutes to see what kind of candidate Barack really is. If you choose to support him, I hope you'll consider doing it through my fundraising. Thanks, -Bruce

Barack Obama: A More Perfect Union

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I know many of us shy away from openly talking about governance for a variety of reasons, but mainly because we only associate it only with politics. I'm coming to realize, however, what a shame it really is that we don't. It is not only an American tradition, but the very means by which this country was formed. Sure it isn't what it should be and very often it seems to be a hopeless effort, but it really isn't.

As a scientist, modeling complex problems, I have come to understand that very often there are indeed insurmountable forces in a system that prevent change from occurring. The solutions to these problems therefore lie in difficult changes in a system that is deeply rooted and seemingly immobile. Yet changes do happen. What is interesting is that unlike the large forces keeping the world the way it is, it is rarely a single force that creates change. Instead it is in billions of little changes that pile up and redirect one of those large forces into a whole new direction.

We live in a world with nearly limitless potential and our faith, knowledge, and technology have taken us to places where no single person could have ever gone alone. So why do we still have so many problems? Is it because they are impossible? Or is it because we now know and fear how complex they are and how much work, failure, and retrying it will take? Or perhaps it's just because many of the people in power want to remain so and are unwilling to risk doing things truly differently.

I know that we all believe that there are different problems and different solutions that need to be explored, but one thing I know we all agree on is that there are a lot of serious problems. I also know that is it frustrating so little is being done and accomplished. So here's where I'll have to leave the discussion on improving governance and get political. As much as we disdain the world of politics as it is now, it is still a vital means for acting on our beliefs about governance. After many years of being frustrated with the choices given to me, I have finally been inspired to do more than make token efforts and simply vote. I have been inspired to look into myself and the world around me and cast out my own beliefs for all to critique.

I believe that we are finally on the cusp of real change. After thousands of years of slow and steady progress, we stand on the brink of a new world that will look unlike anything we've ever seen. We now have technology and knowledge that will redirect and amplify the growing force that is humanity in directions one could have only dreamed of. We must not only ready ourselves for this world, we must set a course for where we want to take it. If we do not, we could end up projecting this force aimlessly, causing great suffering instead of great prosperity and freedom.

So here it is... we are quickly approaching a presidential election. With an election comes an opportunity. A unique time where people can reevaluate, develop, and share their beliefs about governance and what it will take to get this world moving in the right direction. The trouble is, doing it right takes a fair amount of work and effort to sift through all the pundits, hidden agendas, posturing and overall nonsense to get at the root of the opportunity.

Yet despite this storm, I believe I've found someone that understands the desperate need for a totally new approach. I've found a candidate that has an unwavering faith that we can find solutions to even the most difficult of challenges. And I believe this candidate knows exactly where to start on the path to a new way of solving problems. I believe in Barack Obama because he believes in us.

Regardless of how you feel about Obama, I only ask that if you have not given him a chance, if you haven't gone beyond the sound bites or snap shots, to take a few more minutes to watch at least one entire speech by Barack. Many might tell you that he's simply another politician, but I believe he is the real deal. I think he is more capable than anyone I've ever seen for inspiring significant change, not because he has all the answers, but because he knows that the only way to find them is to re-energize our society and focus its efforts. He understands that even the best solutions will fail if you cannot get people behind them. Barack also realizes that if we fail to find solutions it will only be because he failed to listen.

If this has resonated with you in any way, I'm hoping that you will find out more for yourself and do whatever you can to support Barack. Forward a link to this post, write your own, make a donation to my fundraising, or do whatever you can to make the most of this opportunity. Any size donations are especially appreciated. Over one million people already own a part of his campaign, which is unheard of at this stage of an election, you can be a part of it too.



This is the speech that finally got me moving. I know it's almost fifteen minutes, but listening to its entirety is well worth it: