Daily Archives: April 19, 2011

Everything you learned might turn out to be wrong…

A few examples…
Allowances for kids A good idea? Or not? TV? Video games? Homework? Organized sports?
Greenest place to live…. VT? NYC? See also: Driving to Green Buildings: The Transportation Energy Intensity of Buildings
Moving bikes stay upright—but not for the reasons we thought
Ruby on Rails and the importance of being stupid
What is the *energy* payback for PV? (much lower than you probably think)
– Is the *money* payback for solar-hot-water faster or slower than for PV in New England? LINK
– True or false: Heating with electricity is more expensive/more environmentally damaging than heating with oil/natural gas/propane
Avoiding the Global Warming Impact of Insulation (I thought insulation was a good thing, you say? It is… but now we know XPS and spray foam are problematic)
A lot of what is taught in intro chemistry and biology and history classes are drastic oversimplifications
– Dispersant use in oil spills? A good idea? Or not?
– Financial derivatives? A good idea? Or not?
– Wildfires? A good idea? Or not? LINK
What do we know about teen suicide? (Lisa Pan/Brain “Neural Circuitry Underlying Early-Onset Suicide Attempt — an fMRI Study” — see 2:42 in this video — part 2 of “Losing Lambert”:
Language. Uniquely human? Tools? Fire? Music? Art? How smart ARE animals?
– What’s more important? Local or organic?
– Olive oil. Good or bad? or kinda OK?
Paper vs Plastic? Diapers: disposable vs cloth? Beans: canned vs dried? Cups/Plates: disposable vs washing?
– Soy milk vs Cow’s milk?
– Farming: to till or not to till?
– Margarine? A good idea? Or not? Vitamins? Vaccines? Farm subsidies?
– Dark chocolate? Wine? Aspirin? Some or none?

OK, so not everything is wrong obviously. But you get the idea. “The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know” is so right! But I guess the point is that we can’t freeze in the headlights in the face of this uncertainty. We’ve got to be comfortable with experimenting and thinking out of the box. Let’s go!

Experimenting and sharing the results
“Max Planck’s theory was way out of line. Nobody had any idea what he was talking about. People thought he was crazy.”
“The prime cause of the unease most observers have about our schools is the gap between the incredible complexity of life in the post-industrial age, and the relative simplicity of current school curricula…. The standard response in a situation like that is to panic.”

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Filed under contrarian, erik-green, experiments, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School, superinsulation, zero energy home