Category Archives: History

This is Why (2015 vs the 1960’s)

Note:  This series premise is that we tend to see today’s world based upon what we experienced in the past. Different generations have different experiences, which can lead to different perceptions of what is happening in today’s world.

In this article we look at the 1960’s. 

The 1960’s – The Three Americas

The Decade of the Roar

The space race continued technological advancement for both the Soviet Union and the United States; however, USSR kept even the most simple advancements secret from everyone, including their own citizens. The space-related advancements for the United States were often generated by private contractors. The advancements that were not ‘Top Secret’ could be applied in open commerce and available to the private citizen. USSR didn’t lose the  Space Race when an American stepped on the Moon, they lost it when millions of Americans were able to buy consumer goods that incorporated technology generated by sending a human to the Moon.

This thrust America into the center of technological advancement in commerce. In addition to space technology, new super highways, power grids, and phone lines increased commerce. The capitalist system of “build only what we know will sell” was replaced with a new space age economy of “solve problems that no one ever thought of before.”

The downside of a growing economy is that when people have more money to spend, then greed steps up to take their money. It’s one thing for a business to raise their prices to cover additional costs, or to pay for improvements to their products or services, but when prices increased for the sake of greed, then worker wages must increase to help them pay for a higher cost of living. That was the root cause for the upward spiral of inflation in the 1960’s. 

Communist aggression and American pride clashed as China and Russia sought to halt the threat of bottom up government (self determinism) to their model of top down (power to the few.)  The space race was fueled by Russian moves to claim the ultimate higher ground. Russia, China, and the United States began winning over developing countries in a blatant attempt to win control of strategic regions around the world. Military might became a primary resource in diplomacy. Those who stood to make money through weapon development and sales were strong proponents of meeting aggression with aggression. Governments found that the concept of small wars as a means to prevent larger wars were more palatable to the public.

With the onset of smaller wars came the utilization of forcing young men into fighting wars, while those who made the decisions to fight went home to their families every night. The gap between those who sacrifice and those who benefit from war became crystal clear. Civil unrest across the nation against the Vietnam war created a split that was widely visible through national television news. America was no longer in a post-war honeymoon.

The Civil War purchased an end to institutionalized slavery, but it didn’t end white domination of African-Americans. Societal tools to humiliate and dominate black people created a divided America based on skin color.

Determined to no longer be oppressed, African-Americans began to challenge white society. This caught many white Americans living in communities outside of the South by surprise. Meanwhile in the South, some white groups committed heinous crimes in an effort to derail any African-American challenge to the dual-class society that protected white supremacy. 

Few people fully understood how the United States of America could become so divided in the two decades following the World War II. Small town people sought simplistic solutions to issues for which they had very little understanding. The complexities leading to the chaos of the 1960’s were two much for a ‘Mayberry RFD’ mind.

With the boom in suburban living, the segregation of the races led to a flash point in many major cities. Whites choose to run away from inner city issues to live a sanitized life that sucked taxpayer money out of the neighborhoods that needed it the most. From the comfort of their new recliner in their new subdivision, white people embraced small-town thinking. Nuke Russia, nuke Vietnam, nuke Cuba, war protesters were just drugged out hippies, Blacks were responsible for their own failings, etc. were typical of positions of the 1960’s Caucasian.

NEXT:  The 1970’s

THE SERIES:  The 1950’s    The 1980’s    The 1990’s    The 2000’s    Epilogue

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This is Why (2015 vs the 1950’s)

Why is the world like it is?

It is an interesting question. Unfortunately it is the wrong question. The world is what we perceive it to be and our perceptions are based largely on our experiences…or at least the experiences we tend to remember. This is why attitudes about the world are vastly different between generations. This doesn’t mean that age determines attitude, just that age contributes to attitude. 

So why do different generations tend to see the world differently?

The 1950’s – The Calm After the Storms

Mass Production of New Technology


If you were an adult, you just survived through the most massive conflict in history. Millions died directly or indirectly because of the war. The United States of America was expected to fold after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Instead, Americans pulled off a miracle by sacrificing normal daily life for a united country at war.

With victory in World War II came a fierce pride, but nobody was ready to rush into another war anytime soon. Despite that, a growing fear of Russia’s aggression put everyone on edge that they might be plunged into even a more horrible war than the one they survived.

Children of the 1950’s were witnesses to a traumatized adult population. Their grandparents lived through the Great Depression where the unthinkable financial disaster became everyone’s reality. Both grandparents and parents survived World War II. An event that stopped normal living and put everyone under the shadow of death and fear. Children also became a victim of the Cold War where fear of a global extinction event was a real possibility.

The massive industrialization for World War II created new jobs, more money, and a sudden burst of growth in the economy. Companies grabbed up anyone with advanced training or knowledge to incorporate advancements in technology created during the crisis of the war. People suddenly could afford luxuries like televisions, phones, cars and new homes. This prosperity was juxtaposed against the horrors that the world had experienced in the previous 20 years. It was truly the best of times and the worst of times. 

NEXT:  The 1960’s

THE SERIES:  The 1970’s    The 1980’s    The 1990’s    The 2000’s    Epilogue

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Management Study for God


On March 1, 2014, Kiser and Co. was retained by God to perform a study of the world management. After a thorough review of the processes and effectiveness of the current management practices on Earth we submit the following analysis and make the following recommendations.


FINDING ONE:  Ineffective World Leadership
Our researchers found the world leadership to be largely ineffective, self-promoting, and in some cases cruel and corrupt. In most advanced civilizations we would expect to see leadership to evolve into higher quality leaders as lessons learned from poor leadership would be applied to avoid repeating past failures. In fact, we have seen the reverse is true in many situations.

Key examples are Russia and North Korea. In both cases, the eventual failures of past leaders who used military force, prisons, politically controlled media, covert police enforcement, and corrupt practices have not deterred the current leadership of these countries to return to, or continue those practices. In addition, religious-based organizations seem to be among the worst offenders in promoting policies and practices that marginalize people and encourage hate and violence.

Immediate changes in world leadership will be required if management of the planet is to move forward.

FINDING TWO:  Lack of Vision
There seems to be a lack of concern for the future of the world. Consistently we saw an attitude that can best be described as “What’s in it for me?” Companies focus on next quarter’s profit, not long-term viability. Governments tend to lack any sensitivity toward the underprivileged, tending to blame them for their problems while passing laws that benefit the privileged at the expense of those who cannot afford the basic necessities to survive and prosper.

Again, immediate changes in world leadership will be required if management of the planet is to move forward.

FINDING THREE:  Obstruction of Progress
Many in leadership positions use propaganda and destructive techniques to prevent effective management. By focusing on meaningless, but highly controversial issues, some leaders have been able to keep discussions away from relevant issues and waste time through generating anger on topics among key population groups. The result is wild, pointless discussions on issues that cannot be resolved unless everyone works together. The key element in the obstructive leadership’s tactics is to announce that any compromise is a failure. In this way they create an “all or nothing” situation that effectively stops progress.  

Again, immediate changes in world leadership will be required if management of the planet is to move forward.

FINDING FOUR:  Inequality
We were shocked to discover the issues of inequality. The gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” is vast and continues to grow. People are grouped and identified with certain expectations that determine their treatment by the world’s leadership. Slavery has become replaced with subtle tactics of discrimination that tend to become more bold over time. In many cases, the discriminatory practices have become accepted as normal.

Again, immediate changes in world leadership will be required if management of the planet is to move forward.


Despite the scope of the problem, the solution is surprisingly simple.

PROPOSAL 1:  Downsize the Male Gender
Among the four major findings, men were found to be the principal source of the problem. The current ineffective leadership group (Finding One) is overwhelmingly male dominated and they tend to be the people who demonstrate a lack of vision (Finding Two,) an inability to compromise (Finding Three,) and promote inequality (Finding Four.) Without men almost every current issue disappears without any further action.

Eliminating all males will also result in many benefits. The world population will be dramatically reduced, sexual harassment will virtually end, most, if not all, wars will end, and most pay equality issues will cease. Issue after issue becomes smaller, or disappears completely without men on the planet.

It is difficult to find negatives to this solution; however, here are some of the areas that may feel the impact of downsizing the male gender:

Reproduction — A lack of males would seem to create an issue in the propagation of the human species; however, there is believed to be enough frozen sperm available to continue reproduction on a smaller scale and the new males will be raised in a female-dominated environment, which may weed out the personality and behavior issues of the current male gender.

Male-dominated jobs — There are few jobs that truly require a male worker. Just because females have been excluded from many jobs doesn’t mean they can’t be trained to perform the work effectively.

Sports — Without males, most competitive sports will end. We cannot find a downside to this issue.


It is believed that a 100% downsizing of the male gender may not be necessary for an effective change in world management. It might be more advisable to put all males on a 30-day Improvement Required Action. At the end of the 30-days those who have not demonstrated a clear reversal of  the findings of this study should be downsized. The remaining males could then be re-evaluated at 60 and 90 days to determine if the initial downsize resolved the problem or not. It is suggested that the changes required should be permanent as a condition of continued existence.

We do have recommendations about downsizing certain females; however, those may be handled on a case by case basis in a closed meeting with Human Resources.

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2013 Historical Milestones

This year has many historical milestones. Here are some of the more significant ones:

100 years ago (1913)

February 3 – 16th Amendment ratified authorizing the federal government to impose and collect taxes.
March 4 – Woodrow Wilson becomes 28th President

British freighter, Alum Chine explosion

British freighter, Alum Chine

March 7 –  British freighter, Alum Chine, explodes in the Baltimore harbor.
April 8 – The 17th Amendment is ratified requiring the direct election of Senators.
May 14 – The Rockefeller Foundation is chartered with a $100 million dollar donation from John D. Rockefeller.
June 29 – 2nd Balkan War begins. 
July 10 –  Hottest temperature in the world is recorded in Death Valley, CA at 134°F.
August 13 – Stainless steel is invented.

100 year anniversary of the Lincoln Highway

100 year anniversary of the Lincoln Highway

October 31 – The first transcontinental highway, The Lincoln Highway, was dedicated
November 7-11 – The Great Lakes Storm of 1913 sinks 19 ships.
December 1 – Ford begins the 1st assembly line.
December 23 – The Federal Reserve is established.

50 years ago (1963

March 21 – Alcatraz Island federal penitentiary closes.
March 22 – The Beatles 1st album is released.

Launch of the USS Thresher

Launch of the USS Thresher

April 10 – The Thresher, a US nuclear submarine sinks east of Cape Cod.
May 1 – Tab, the 1st diet soda is introduced.
May 15 – The last mission of the Mercury program is launched (Mercury 9)
June 16 – USSR sends 1st woman into space (Valentina Tereshkova)
July 26 – NASA launches the 1st geosynchronous satellite.
August 5 – The United States, USSR, and United Kingdom sign a nuclear test ban treaty.
August 28 – Martin Luther King, Jr. gives his “I have a dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial.
September 7 – Pro Football Hall of Fame opened.
November 22 – President John F. Kennedy is assassinated.
November 23 – 1st episode of the BBC’s Dr. Who aired.

President John F. Kennedy

President John F. Kennedy

November 24 – JFK’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, is shot and killed.
December 7 – 1st use of instant replay during a football game.
December 8 – Frank Sinatra, Jr. is kidnapped at Lake Tahoe, NV.

25 years ago (1988)

February 13 – Calgary Winter Olympics begin.
March 16 – Oliver North and John Poindexter are indicted for Iran-Contra Affair.
March 17 – The flight crew of Avianca Flight 410 allows their computer on their Boeing 727 to fly into a mountain while they are distracted killing 143. This is one of 22 aviation accidents in 1988 that killed 50 or more people.
April 4 – Republican Arizona Governor Evan Mecham is impeached. One of his achievements was to abolish the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday in the State.

Aloha Flight 243

Aloha Flight 243

April 28 – A flight attendant is sucked out of Aloha Flight #243 when part of the fuselage rips open in flight.
May 4 – With the Space Shuttle on hiatus after the 1986 Challenger disaster, solid rocket fuel stored at PEPCON in Henderson , NV catches fire and explodes.
May 15 – Soviet army begins withdraw from Afghanistan.
May 27 – Microsoft releases Windows 2.1.
June 14 – A small wildfire in Montana ignites. By the time snowfalls in the Fall over 1/3 of Yellowstone National Park will be burned.
June 23 – NASA scientist testifies that global warming has begun.
August 18 – George H.W. Bush and Dan Quayle become the official GOP candidates.

The man who spent almost 18 years trapped in De Gaulle Airport in Paris

The man who spent almost 18 years trapped in De Gaulle Airport in Paris

August 26 – A man is returned to De Gaulle Airport in Paris because his passport was stolen and he lacked proof of citizenship. Mehran Karimi Nasseri would remain trapped at the airport for almost 18 years (2006) until he became ill and was hospitalized.
September 17 – Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea begin.
September 29 – Space Shuttle flights resume after the 1986 Challenger disaster.
October 27 – Ronald Reagan orders the new U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Russia to be destroyed because of Soviet listening devices built into walls.
November 2 – The 1st computer worm (Morris worm) is distributed via the Internet.
November 15 – Soviets launch their version of the Space Shuttle. It was unmanned and it was never relaunched.
December 21 – Pan Am Flight 103 explodes over Scotland killing 270.

10 years ago (2003)

Space Shuttle Columbia breaking up over Texas

Space Shuttle Columbia breaking up over Texas

February 4 – Space Shuttle Columbia returns from space only to disintegrate as it passed over Texas. Unknown at the time, a chunk of ice fell of the Shuttle at launch on January 16 and punched a hole in the wing, dooming the flight. All seven astronauts died almost instantly.
February 15 – Prior to the American invasion of Iraq, over 10 million people world-wide protested the planned war.
March 19 – America begins its invasion of Iraq.
April 14 – The Human Genome Project finishes mapping 99% of human DNA.
May 4 – A massive tornado outbreak during the week exceeds any other week in U.S. history.
July 14 – A CIA operative’s name is leaked to the Washington Post, allegedly by the Bush staff in retaliation for her husband’s criticism of the administration on the lack of evidence of sale of nuclear material to Iraq.

Saddam Hussein with his two sons

Saddam Hussein with his two sons

July 22 – Two of Saddam Hussein’s sons are killed by U.S. forces.
August 21 – Mars makes its closest approach to Earth in over 50,000 years beginning an email hoax that Mars would be as big as the Moon that would continue for the next decade.
October 15 – China launches its first manned space mission.
October 24 – The Concorde makes its last commercial flight.
December 13 – Saddam Hussein is captured.

Five Years Ago (2008)

January 2 – Oil hits $100 per barrel for the 1st time.
March 25 – A 160 square mile chunk of the Antarctic Ice Shelf collapses
April 28 – India set record by launching 10 satellites on one launch vehicle.
May 12 – China is rocked by a 7.9 earthquake killing over 69,000 people.
May 25 – NASA lands the Phoenix surveyor in the northern polar region of Mars.
August 8 – The Beijing Summer Olympics begin.
August 17 – Michael Phelps wins his 8th Gold Medal.
September 10 – The Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland/France circulates its 1st proton beam.
September 15 – The Lehman Brothers file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
September 29 – The Dow falls by 777 points after the House of Representatives fails to approve a Bank Bailout plan.

President Bush signs TARP into law.

President Bush signs TARP into law.

October 3 – Shaken by the stock market reaction, the House reverses itself and approves a Senate version of the Bank Bailout bill. President George W. Bush signs the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) into law.
October 29 – Delta Airlines and Northwest Airlines merge to become world’s largest commercial air service.
November 4 – Barack Obama and Joe Biden are elected as President and Vice President of the United States.
November 26 – Islamic terrorists take over a hotel in Mumbai, India for two days.
December 11 – Bernard Madoff is arrested for the largest fraud in history.

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2012: The Year That Didn’t

Game over, man, game over...oh, wait, uhm, false alarm.

Game over, man, game over…oh, wait, false alarm.

A lot of things were supposed to happen in 2012, but they didn’t. Here are a selected few of the ‘didn’ts from this past year:

  • The Apocalypse didn’t happen on December 21, or any other day this year, nor the cataclysmic asteroid, the massive solar flares from the Sun, nor the shift of the magnetic poles. All part of the end of the world scenarios planned for this year that didn’t materialize.
  • 2012 will also be known for what Congress didn’t accomplish. It was labeled the ‘Do Nothing’ Congress for the obstructionist attitude of conservatives who sought to keep President Obama and Democrats from governing the country. 
  • Facebook was going to be the stock to own and once on the market the sky would be the limit on its per share price. Somebody forgot to tell the grumpy old white investors that the thing they love to hate was supposed to go big.

    The face that didn't.

    The face that didn’t.

  • President Barack Obama was supposed to be humiliated in a landslide loss to Mitt Romney. He wasn’t humiliated and he didn’t lose.
  • Romney also predicted that London’s security wasn’t ready for the Summer Olympic Games. They were and Romney publicly embarrassed himself and the United States.
  • Greece was supposed to have a major economic disaster and bring down the rest of Europe. It didn’t, but many still have high hopes it will collapse in 2013.
  • The Arab Spring of 2011 was supposed to lead to more democratic countries without dictators. Somebody forgot to tell Egypt.
  • Outlawing gay marriage was supposed to be part of many States final solution in destroying gays and lesbians. It turns out America isn’t that hateful, nor that stupid.
  • The Supreme Court was going to rule the Affordable Care Act as unconstitutional. They didn’t.
  • Climate change skeptics were financing studies to prove that Global Warming is a hoax. They didn’t and it isn’t.
  • The landing of the NASA/JPL’s mission to Mars was going to be too complex to succeed and result in a spectacular U.S. failure. The MSL (Mars Science Lab) rover team delivered on all their promises and Curiosity is going places no other country can hope to match for years.
  • Massive protests by the Occupy movement were going to lead to riots and a general societal breakdown. It didn’t happen, but the Occupy movement was heard at the ballot box in November.
  • America’s economy and unemployment were going to reverse and fall back into a recession in 2012. Our economy and unemployment continue to defy the skeptics.

Gloom and doom was the expectation by many during this past year. As bad as 2012 was supposed to be, let’s hope that 2013 will restore a more positive attitude in our nation….right after we fall off the fiscal cliff.

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What America Must Do: Step 6 – Reinvent Higher Education

Sans Students: Is this what university classrooms will look like in 2020?

Higher Education is an unmovable object with an unstoppable force heading straight for it and universities are at ground zero. Classrooms as we know them may be doomed and the question is whether our country will lead the world in adapting to a new model, or whether we will be the last ones to accept reality.

The Value of the College Degree
The unmovable object in Higher Education is importance of the college degree in American commerce. Business lives or dies on information. The person who can access, filter, analyze, organize, and explain information tends to be valuable in a company.

High schools are tasked to help students graduate with basic competencies, but they are dealing with children who are still maturing into adulthood and that process needs to be complete before they are morphed into business men and women.

Those who believe high schools should be vocational schools are assuming that all children will become a construction laborer or office drone, so why bother with college prep? The concept of education as a training ground for corporate zombies is too simple-minded to apply in a country that encourages all citizens to reach their maximum potential.

College is where young adults are given the tools to become valued business leaders. College classes require a student to learn how to access and report information, which is central in business competitiveness. The business that can out think its competition always wins, which may be why many top businesses are more concerned about the degree, not the major. A college degree is more than a piece of paper, it is a badge of achievement that says this person is ready for the business world.

The Relentless Rise in the Cost of College
The unstoppable force is the rising cost of a college education. With cuts in federal and state budgets a greater share of the burden is being heaped on those who are least able to avoid it. In Mitt Romney’s failed bid to be President he suggested that students should borrow from their parents to pay for college. That was one telling sign that Romney is out of touch with the real world the rest of us live in.

March 2012 protest in Sacramento over tuition hikes

In 1991 the annual average cost for a university education was at $7,602 or over $30,000 for four years of college. In 2001, that annual cost had risen to $12,922 or over $50,000 in four years. In 2011, the annual cost had risen to $22,092, which meant it cost over $88,000 for the average college four-year degree. That is the equivalent of buying a new car every year a student attends college. If the trend continues it will cost a student an average of over $41,000/year for college by 2021, which means a four-year college degree in 2021 may cost over $167,000.

Students and their parents are already outraged by the rising costs, but it is universities who control the expenses, and therefore control the costs.

Based on current trends, the average annual cost for college may exceed $40,000 by 2021

Students want to be competitive for careers that will lead them to higher paying jobs, but they have no means to afford college and the list of parents who CAN pay over $22,000 a year for four years are on a first name basis with Mitt Romney.

The Other Unmovable Object – Faculty
Teachers at the college level have traditionally been considered the most important asset to a university and for centuries they were treated with dignity and respect by administrators, but financial pressures have made them a target for saving money. While students face escalating tuition and fees, university faculty are also a target of the unstoppable force. Professors have been constantly asked to accept budget cuts and teach more students for the same, or lower pay. 

Some universities have replaced expensive tenured professors with temporary faculty employed by contract on a semester by semester basis. Temporary faculty make a fraction of a full, tenured professor. Not surprisingly, a teacher that may not be offered a contract the next semester tends to be more accepting of increased class sizes, or other cost-cutting measures.

What may be surprising is that a college teacher is likely not receiving a significant portion of the tuition paid by the students in his or her classes. A temporary professor may bring in $100,000 or more in revenue each year for the university, but a temporary professor is often paid less than $4,000 per class with no benefits. Low pay and increased pressure to do more for no additional money makes the teaching environment unpleasant for the student and professor.

A Revolution Caused by the Internet
Ironically, the Internet was originally intended to allow one university to have quick access to the knowledge database at other universities and research laboratories. As it expanded and became commercially available in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s the public began to have access to a vast storage of on and off-campus knowledge without a student ID. Within a decade homes across the world were linked into a mass of dynamic information via business and personal websites, blogs, chat rooms, and other social media sites.

Suddenly anyone could access information and share ideas and they didn’t have to pay tuition to have easy access to it. Certainly some of the information was in error, but often people found information that outpaced the knowledge produced in books. Universities no longer held the monopoly on information.

Government Must Change
State governments and Higher Education face these problems:

  1. A college degree is still a valuable achievement and desired by the public and business.
  2. Tuition and fees are too high and the public can no longer afford them.
  3. Professors have been devalued in a system where more and more of the revenue is channeled away from the them.
  4. University administrators and government legislators have created a paradigm for Higher Education that is unsustainable.

Social media has changed the expectations of the public. People expect to be able to have ready access to anyone to whom they are paying for a service.

Controlling advanced knowledge within ivy covered walls is no longer possible in a world where anyone can do a Google search and know as much or more about the most current knowledge on any topic. However, just doing a Google search does not teach a person how to filter, analyze, organize, and report that information.

State-run universities have a unique opportunity to reinvent Higher Education. The challenge is that they are the most unlikely to do it. Administrators have Accreditation organizations that are established to dictate what Higher Education is and will be today and tomorrow based on the best practices of yesterday. That doesn’t work in a world where today is already history that was recorded by over 340 million tweets a day (March 2012 data.)

When the unstoppable force hits the unmovable objects (value of a degree and the need for faculty) few things about Higher Education will remain unchanged. Now is the time for State-run universities to dodge the upcoming annihilation and take the lead in reinventing Higher Education. They can start considering the following guidelines:

  • Tuition must stabilize and regress. Fees should be eliminated. Universities can assume that there will be no money available to siphon off for student activities, the football program, or any other money-absorbing entity. 
  • Support materials (textbooks, etc.) will be digital only and the cost will be pennies on the dollar of what students have been paying. Goodbye, McGraw-Hill. Hello, Faculty Publishing.
  • Classrooms will be more like Boardrooms with fewer students where the Professor is the CEO of knowledge and students must bring their best or beg for a second chance with someone else. Much of the lecture and information gathering will be done via webcasts and/or outside of class time. ‘Class’ will be where the work outside the classroom is brought in for discussion and idea sharing.
  • Class schedules will not follow a semester system and will be on a schedule that is more like a project team.
  • Faculty will lead students while at the same time work toward advancing knowledge on the subject matter.
  • The most important person to the student will be the educational coordinator (i.e. Counselor or Adviser in the old paradigm) who will create an individualized degree that is based on achieving a level of mastery information handling, not a number of credit hours.

The framework in which this happens must be within a government structure. Private enterprise has proven that when they try to create a system of higher learning they fail. It solves nothing to make Higher Education a profit-based program that is a poor imitation of the old, outdated model. If government can successfully create a new model it will make the United States of America the leader of advanced knowledge. If not, we can expect to be exporters of our future.

Links to:

What America Must Do:  Step 1 – Silence the Wackos in Politics
What America Must Do:  Step 2 – An Extreme Makeover of Government at All Levels
What America Must Do:  Step 3 – Restore Government Revenue and Fair Taxation
What America Must Do:  Step 4 – Balanced Budget By 2015, Debt under 50% of GDP by 2020
What America Must Do:  Step 5 – Restart a Federally Run Space Program

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What America Must Do: Step 5 – Restart a Federally Run Space Program

USSR scared America into the space race and it led to our prosperity

Fifty years ago America was scared. The USSR had sent a man into space and he had orbited the Earth. The Soviet Union was also threatening to plant their ballistic missile weaponry in Cuba. The United States entry into the space race was out of a fear that if we didn’t respond quickly, it might be too late.

This dire situation caused a crisis-type response that defined who we are as a people. Ignoring profit or ROI (return on investment) we established our space program and became proficient at churning out new technologies. Almost overnight we had a new breed of people who literally became rocket scientists.

And then it happened. We discovered that space technology had terrestrial applications. That wasn’t the justification for it, but our space program suddenly pushed the United States of America into the role as the go-to nation for space technology applied to terrestrial application. For decades Americans and the world reaped the benefits of the new materials, equipment and knowledge that came from our effort to go beyond the safety and protection of Earth’s womb.

Young people became excited about the space program and suddenly universities had applicants knocking down their doors to become a scientist, mathematician, or engineer that would go on to shape tomorrow’s world. Space ignited learning and research at colleges that shook up their dusty libraries and ivy covered walls. Philosophy, religion, arts, economics, and literature were blindsided in the 1960’s and 70’s by new questions that challenged our old beliefs and standards.

In 2008, USA space competitiveness was dominant, but today it wanes

Meanwhile, in Russia, scientists were put under extreme pressure to be successful on an accelerated space program. Behaving more like a mega-corporation that pushed for immediate results, Russia’s government forced scientists to try to take major risks in a dangerous environment where failure meant loss of life. When the scientist did have a new breakthrough they became state secrets and the larger population did not benefit. For the Soviets, the space race showcased the failure of running a government like a business.

Fifty years later America can look around at our computers, cell phones, medical devices and almost everything we touch, consume, or use and know that the space program had a direct or indirect impact on its development.

Yet, today America is stagnant. We are desperately trying to be competitive in a global market that spends most of its time figuring out how to make things cheaper, but not better. We say we want young people to pursue careers as engineers and scientists, but there is no burning reason for a high school graduate to pursue those careers. Instead we have university Psychology programs that are filled to overflowing with students who are more inspired to collect a salary by listening to other people’s problems than in designing the transportation and living habitats for a colony on Mars.

The United States is desperate for water in the South and West, but everyday we waste it

For decades the western United States has been battling with a growing population and a dwindling fresh water supply. We also face aging community water and sewer systems that are in need of major updating and repairs. We face global climate change because the we have been filling the air with energy absorbing carbon from burning coal, gasoline and natural gas.

The concept of transporting power, water, and waste is based on 19th and 20th century engineering. Power has to be generated hundreds of miles away and then delivered to homes via power lines that can fail in a major storm. Expensive and overburdened water treatment plants transport fresh, clean water through miles of pipeline and is only used once and then it becomes waste. Purified water that would be the envy of many people in Africa and the Middle East is mindlessly sprayed on our lawns and used to flush our toilets. 

In space water has to be recycled, air must be purified, and power must be generated efficiently on a micro scale. That means focusing on self-sustaining habitats built that will face extreme conditions. On Earth, these technologies will pave the way to a shift from macro water, sewer and power systems (power plants and water and sewage treatment facilities) to cost-effective micro systems that free families from relying on expensive, polluting, and wasteful systems that are unsustainable. Everything we need to solve America’s terrestrial problems can be found by solving the  problems of extended human living in space. In addition, a renewed public space program will inspire High School graduates to pursue careers in engineering and science.

Space X Falcon 9 Engine Array – Redefining space technology

America needs to be pushed into using new technologies that break down the paradigms of the past. In the 1960’s we were pushed by the Soviets and the result was prosperity.  Today we need to push ourselves, not out of fear, but out of pride and courage. I have nothing against Space X or any other private or commercial space program, but prosperity doesn’t happen out of the pursuit of profit. Prosperity happens when everyone sacrifices from the board room to the break room for the good of the United States.  

Space X has made new breakthroughs in the bureaucracies and waste built up over five decades by NASA and its private contractors and they should be the model of a new public space program, but investors and ROI are not the reason America needs to take back the leadership in space exploration.

If the last 50 years have taught us anything it is that raising ships to the stars, we will raise all ships on Earth. It’s time to reclaim our space program.

Links to:

What America Must Do:  Step 1 – Silence the Wackos in Politics
What America Must Do:  Step 2 – An Extreme Makeover of Government at All Levels
What America Must Do:  Step 3 – Restore Government Revenue and Fair Taxation
What America Must Do:  Step 4 – Balanced Budget By 2015, Debt under 50% of GDP by 2020
What America Must Do:  Step 6 – Reinvent Higher Education

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