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Technology takes away conversational intimacy

(11/06/13 6:02pm)

Mark Twain put it best when he was quoted as saying, “Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who with their soul encourages another person to be brave and true.” His words emphasize just how powerful personal communiqué is against technology’s inability to properly convey our own complex sentiments and passions.

Ideas from TED talks may be useful for citizens in urban communities

(11/06/13 6:14pm)

To stay with the theme of my previous column, published earlier this week, I would like to share a few TED “talks” for citizens of urban communities. The TED (Technology, Engineering, Design) conference series was started in 1984 as a forum for the hard sciences, but quickly became a forum for all innovative ideas in areas like health care, public-policy and finance.

Mayoral power over metropolitan economies

(11/10/13 5:18pm)

After the financial crisis, if it was not clear that we live in a worldwide economy, it is clear now. Stories about auto plant closures have been replaced by hysteria over Greece’s debt burden and our own fiscal crises. Local unemployment rates have been put in the context of data from the International Monetary Fund. The whole affair can make local politics seem trivial. And even mayors with considerable renown like Michael Bloomberg of New York, Julian Castro of San Antonio and Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans can seem inert.

American education not providing desired results

(11/10/13 5:20pm)

America is facing an education crisis. As a country, our ranking in the world as an educational powerhouse is slowly slipping away. Finland and South Korea are current beacons of educational might. Those two countries produce some of the best students in the world, yet America, one of the most prosperous and wealthiest nations, struggles with the concept of quality public education.