School should serve the workings of its geographic locale as much as the chronological future of its students.


“Our history will be what we make of it,” as Edward R. Murrow said.  A global upgrade and making a better history means choosing the right tools.

We have the tools we need already.


In urban environments, cars are the wrong tools, bikes the right tool.

Cars move rather few people while eating up rather a lot of energy and terrain, with noise and danger their obvious by-products.  In great number, they battle each other for space and convey to each driver an unearned sense of power, ownership, and entitlement.

Bikes move many people for little energy while remaining quiet.  In greater numbers they are extraordinarily safe, weave the citizenry together, and inject youthful joy into the bloodstream of the day.

This is one lesson of Amsterdam.

Even a car–should someone invent it–that burns global warming carbon and spits out coral reef would lack the humility and grace a bike gifts its rider.

This implies two things.

First: 100 years from now cities of the planet will be lousy with bikes or the planet will be a lousy place to be a kid.

Second: The bike is as good as an invention will ever get and, like many tools, requires better application rather than technological upgrade.


Schools are tools.  The internet is a tool.  


Homework should help people find work they love, make that work viable, and keep money flowing.

Few people want to work the assembly line at Nike or Foxconn.  Certainly, no one who goes to Harvard or Stanford.  Yet very many people would be happy to be cobblers, including many of those who go to Harvard and Stanford.

Bread.  Shoes.  Coffee.  Beer.  Instruments.  Art.  When machines can make all these things for us for free it still won’t be as good as our making them ourselves.  We need things to do.  Just as the bike you pedal will always be better than a scooter you ride, a life of making will always be better than a life of having.  


Rather than rank them by athletic program, number of Nobel prizes won, wealth of graduates at age 45, or the gildedness of the campus, schools should be ranked by how much they give away: “Oh yeah, we still have the homeless in Harvard Square, but since the university flushed cash our way, offered up an army of students, and donated 1000 dorm rooms, there’s fewer of us sitting around Out of Town News.  Go Crimson.”

And let Stanford give preference of admission to those who use public transportation, ride a bike, and can grow a green pepper.

Because above the standard academic day and the world’s curricula these schools (and their peers) helicopter and dominate.  As choke points of the education industry, these schools determine what a world of parents and kids who will never ‘get in,’ shoot for and come to value.  For them, as for the excellent sheep who find their way into the “deserving” bin, this situation homogenizes character and distorts value.

If the best-known schools, those that in essence set the standard, changed their calibrators and demanded the daily practices the future needs, they might seed a democracy we can sustain.  If tiger moms knew that riding public transportation and being able to grow a green pepper meant a better chance of getting into Harvard or Stanford, the queue of SUV’s at Posh Suburbia High would shrink and soon even geniuses would be able to tend garden.  


Money is water, a common resource to share, an essential element in the system.

Schools and teachers should be money flushers.

Whatever the hell an “A” student is, an “A” human being is one who gives away 90% of what they earn.

It’s not how much money you have but how much flows through you that matters.


The metaphor “make it rain,” as used by the kids and the paparazzi-elite means, “the money will fall on me, as if from the sky.”

In nature, it does not rain on your yard solo. Your neighbor gets at least a little wet too.

The ‘make it rain’ metaphor, in other words, perverts nature just as Silicon Valley and Wall Street, drowning in money now exemplify.  (Consider the groundlessness there, the sea of disconnect in which they float, the parched thirst of so many of their neighbors.)

Molly only has two wages (5000 and 2000 a month) but both come with the requirement 1000 of that be used to support someone else’s venture, alleviate someone else’s pain, strengthen a stitch in the social fabric.  Laser-guided rain, we call it.  


The model is often small business. The owner is there or nearby. You are as good as your word or your willingness to chip in. If the boss is not around, the #2 has full control. Mom or pop, the kid they employ, a place that makes the surroundings cool, their street as much about citizenship as consumerism, and mills patrons into neighbors.

Meanwhile, the design challenge for a future in which some things must be scaled and in which small businesses should dominate is this: How do you make a Mac Air that is fun for the makers to make?


Earn no more than 1000 euro/dollars a day, whether in an hour or ten. Earn no less than 100 euro/dollars a day, maybe in an hour, maybe in ten.

Is the maximum and minimum yearly income calculable here off by a factor of 10? You’d need to argue why.

It is not off by a factor of 100 or 1000.


Ants and bees work on their own and explore according to their own routing system.  Yet Team Ant and Team Bee keep the soil active, the flowers up to snuff, and churn out that good, good honey.   

There is a model there too.


With one exception, James Bond is a prototypical teacher. He works with total independence, has endless resources at his disposal, a big team at his back and can solve all the problems he faces.  And he cares not at all about the money he wins in the poker game.

The exception is that Bond solves problems by killing people. A teacher solves them by talking, walking, suggesting homework and so forth.  This distinction is worth keeping.

A bee or an ant is really just an agent of the system, like James Bond.


 Every TED talk, every coach, every manager of any product or captain of any team speaks of “goals.”  Might the planet upon which we are all now ‘connected’ adopt a 100-year plan of updated global behavior?  The goal of decent food, safe and cheap ways of getting around, and students paid to do work that calls to their soul?

Can we put that on a sticky?

If production, distribution, and implementation of weapons can be made less profitable and more tiresome, that would be worth ideating too.


The power of capitalism and television and oil came with stark lessons about what we can do.  Landing on the moon, a kind of highlight of these forces, showed us once and for all that the place where we all live is no more than a common hive.  These forces also ripped up the landscape and rewired the mind, turning us all into an audience with a better or worse seat at the show.  

The internet makes us players.

A one hundred year plan to spin the world in a better direction has been communicable for generations now.  The whole world watched 9/11 in real-time.  We have common texts.

As an audience in which fear becomes paramount, the business of education profits when becoming an efficient (and so safe) cog is the promise.

As players, we can shape the machine to look like us, turn the hive into the place we naturally thrive.  Or, in human terms, a global village.


The better world we can all imagine, a better place to live, die, teach, learn, rant, rave, sing, dance and be requires only hard work, bravery, and generosity.  A system that makes us work as ourselves, all abuzz.

Now imagine a global village with a river running through it.  The river turns a wheel of wages, wages which pay people to do their thing and to give, to drop their laser-guided rain.  


The hardest thing to do will not be building a water wheel of giving or placing this in your village.  The hardest thing to do will be to pay for such a wheel in the village of your enemy even though, of course, that it is where it would do you the most good.   


A circular economy comes to this: poop out the love.  

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