Teen Poverty

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141118104849.htm

http://baltimore.suntimes.com/bal-news/7/101/33282/poor-kids-baltimore/

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How To Make STEM Interesting To Everyone

I didn’t like school. But if you look at it differently… This is the way I looked at it. When I was in a classroom, and the teacher was talking, I looked at it like [I was] training my mind to be sharper, more focused for when I play basketball. I just flipped it.

“So I’d be training for basketball even when I was sitting in the classroom. When I’m organizing my thoughts and notes and learning about history, let’s say Napoleon or Julius Caesar, [I’m thinking] what can I learn from that that’s going to help me over here [he motions to an imaginary basketball court], because this is what you’re passionate about? So if you take whatever you’re doing and you just kind of converge it into what you’re passionate about, then all of a sudden everything becomes f—ing interesting.”

Kobe On Education – Sports Illustrated

 

 

How Apple Got Village Beats At Such A Bargain

It takes Apple about a week to generate $3B in revenue and less than a to month to accumulate $3B in profit. Based on recent Apple trends and projected wearable trends, it’s not unreasonable to project that the combination of increased Beats Electronics revenue and “cool factor” boosts to iWatch and other Apple products will be significant. Expect to  see iPads, Airbooks, AppleTV, iWatch et al in many of the places we currently see celebrities rockin Beats headphones. For the sake of this discussion let’s say Beats increases Apple revenue 1 percent  a year for the next 3 years. That will pay for the acquisition – every dollar tied to Beats after that is gravy. Bargain is putting it nicely though it pales in comparison to the previous occasions when Apple(and others) had to pay little to nothing for access to “cool”. Clearly the Village will benefit. As noted in the previous post, Will.i.am has the right idea about what to do with the money and Dr. Dre/Jimmy Iovine have previously given an inner city university – USC an endownment  of $70M to launch a STEAM oriented business undergraduate degree program and we can expect more. At the same time, it has to be noted that most of the money is going outside of the Village because the technology was not developed here and the majority owners are not from here. This is not new –  African-Americans have not possessed the means of production for any of our great assets. Going back to the 1950’s Motown had only a small recording studio and no manufacturing or distribution capabilities. So the “cool” intellectual property had to be sold at a great discount in order to get it produced and into the market.  By the time we began to get access to the means of production and distribution, technology had changed the nature of the game(again – can you say ProTools? iTunes?) so  we’re right back where we started – more like DJay than we’d like to be.

A similar situation has been seen in film as this must-read Washington Post article on culture change and reparations shows. It makes the case that Gone With The Wind reached far more people than 12 Years A Slave and that it’s not even possible to achieve numbers like Roots which is still one of the most watched TV series in history. The article

looked at the 500 top-grossing movies released between 2007 and 2012, and found that of the 565 people credited as directors on those projects, just 5.8 were African-American.

Numbers like these are released every year. I have cited them constantly during my time as a professional critic. But “The Case for Reparations” provides us another way of understanding why these figures are so critically important. Even if the fight to give African-American artists more opportunities to make television, film, music, and books — and to do so with greater autonomy — succeeds, that victory comes with different rewards than might have accompanied it in the past. What are we winning if African-Americans get access to the machinery of cultural production precisely because they can attract niche audiences, and because their industries have given up on the idea that their work, or anyone else’s, might have truly mass appeal?

This is not quite the equivalent of turning a neighborhood over to prospective African-American homeowners as its property values crater, one of the dynamics Coates describes in his essay. But the idea that artists of color would gain access to the tools that might help them change our culture just as those tools become less powerful is terrible to contemplate. It may not be too late to advance the dream of reparations. But the swords and plowshares we might have used to fight the cultural battles that would make such a reconciliation possible are not what they once were.

 

So like post-WWII Israel, we could use some infrastructure investment. However, we can’t afford to wait on the political process. There’s enough knowledge and financial capital within the Village to make a meaningful impact – just remember to aim high!

 

Aiming High

Will.i.am on CNBC saying what he can do with his Beats deal money

I know how many STEM centers I can open with it I know what I can scream from this little hill I’m on, why it’s important for kids to get involved in some type of STEM education so they are not looking for jobs but they can create jobs. I have proof now you shouldn’t just try to be a musician and an athlete if you’re in the inner city but try to bring a consumer electronics product to market – it’s possible. The giants are the giants and the giants didn’t see Beats coming and now we dominate a market. … as crazy and as limited as it may sound it changed airports – before Beats were on everyone’s neck, you did not see headphone stands and Beats played a big role in that. So the next big thing is probably going to come from an unlikely candidate Some kid in some inner city or some developing world is going to come and triumph and bring something to market that could potentially even shake an Apple. (emphasis mine)

 

An Opportunity For NBA Players And Owners

With over 500 million followers and likes across the social media landscape, the NBA is well positioned to become a platform for technology innovation and education. Partnering with NSBE chapters and HBCU STEM programs and entities like Sports Technology Education @ MIT the NBA could begin in-house development of video games that would be appealing but not profitable enough for big name game development companies. MLB has gotten into the video game business(albeit for similar but different reasons) because it sees a long-term win.  In-house development capabilities would also enable the creation of apps and online services that would transform NBA Nation from a single sponsor to a thriving revenue generating network. All of these things will create an environment from which a new more representative generation of owners can emerge.  This effort could be kickstarted  with the fine that will be levied on Clippers owner  Donald Sterling!

Is Technology The Answer To The NBA Owner Problem?

Not entirely but follow the money & you’ll see it has to play a part. STEM fields have had a big role in creating the fortunes of roughly half of today’s  NBA owners. Robert Johnson, the first African-American majority owner of a major sports team says he used tech ideas and a lot of tech money() to purchase the Charlotte Bobcats:

Pay TV opened my eyes. Once I understood the technology and saw that the technology could take a signal and send it all across the country simultaneously to different stations, then it became clear to me that programming could be segmented and targeted to different audiences, and so it didn’t take a big leap from that to say, ‘Wow, wait a minute, that’s what we’re already doing in the black community with print.’ Ebony magazine, for instance, is a targeted magazine. To some extent, black radio is a targeted medium. I said, ‘Wow, you could take this concept of technology and target black programming, which has always been a dream of various individual black media types–creating a black-oriented network.’ The idea was talked about in various blue-sky articles that argued that cable was going to be the democratization of media, but nothing like that existed.

I took out a $15,000 loan from a bank and set out to form a business. My big break came when cable magnate John Malone, then CEO of Tele-Communications Inc., the country’s third-largest cable company, decided to invest in my company

The Market Nobody Wanted

This was 1980 – $15K would be $43K and $500K would be $1.4M in 2014. Johnson is far from alone, half of the current NBA owners created their wealth through STEM related fields:

  1. Hawks
    1. Levenson – United Communications Group
    2. Gearon – American Tower
  2. Celtics Grousbeck VC Medical tech
  3. Nets – Prokhorov – Mining
  4. Cavaliers – Gilbert -Quicken Loans
  5. Mavs – Cuban – broadcast.com
  6. Pistons – Gores Platinum Equity LLC(initially and mostly tech investments)
  7. Celtics – Lacob(Biological sciences) – Kliener Perkins VC
  8. Lakers – Dr Buss background in physical chemistry
  9. Grizzlies – Pera MSEE Apple, Ubiquiti Networks
  10. Timberwolves – Taylor(BS Math-Physics-Social Science) – Taylor Corporation
  11. Knicks – James Dolan – Cablevision
  12. Trailblazers – Allen – Microsoft
  13. Kings – Ranadive(MSEE) TIBCO
  14. Spurs – Holt – Caterpillar
  15. Raptors – Tanenbaum – Kilmer Group
  16. Wizards – Leonsis-AOL

Big Props to David West for cutting to the chase with his “Plantation Politics” tweets because a majority black league ought to have more than one black owner and one shouldn’t be surprised that owners aren’t/haven’t been rushing to distance themselves from Donald Sterling.  Slavery is a recurring theme here which may make some folk uncomfortable. However, discomfort can be a good thing. Harriet Tubman reportedly said “I could have freed so many more if they had known they were slaves”. Many of the NBA owners who leveraged STEM, were not actually STEM professionals themselves but they were aware of the potential and had access to STEM professionals. We need a village.

Expanding The Cosmos

I’m finally getting to comment on the first episode of Cosmos hosted by physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson which I found to be very good overall. I was struck however, by the claim that Giordano Bruno merely made a “lucky guess”. This is part of the same kind of poorly informed view that ignores earlier phases of science. Others @Slate @coreyspowell have pointed out, The Cosmos didn’t do a great job presenting the complexities of Bruno but these writers are also operating from an incomplete view.  As stated earlier in African Information Engineering Part 2 a close examination challenges

“the unscientific notion that early human thinkers were rooted in and blinded by religious views.”

Frances Yate’s Art of Memory makes a compelling case for how Bruno represents a path from Egypt to the growth of the scientific method. Newton and Leibniz were both influenced by Bruno and both intermixed religion and science(google Newton alchemy).

More important than correcting the historical record, is examining how Bruno(and those before him) were able to conceive of things they had no experimental data for. “Lucky guess” isn’t a solid scientific explanation.  Bruno was using sophisticated spatial/geometrical techniques to develop and test ideas.  In his posthumously published The Computer and the Brain, John von Neumann says

“…when we talk mathematics, we may be discussing a secondary language, built on the primary language truly used by the central nervous system.”

Perhaps The Shadows of Ideas are baked into the fabric of the Cosmos in a way that makes it possible for human consciousness to perceive the math science depends on. Maybe that’s why Adinkra symbols map very easily to supersymmetry. We don’t know but good science requires us to explore the facts we have at hand. We will all benefit from a more complete view of humanity’s journey and it may likely IMO prove to be necessary in order to comprehend the wonders of the Cosmos STEM is helping to reveal.