The House in the Middle – Possibly the Most Insane Film Ever

The U.S. government wants you to keep your house tidy and clean. If you don’t, it’ll get blown up and burned to a cinder by an atomic bomb blast. Seriously. This is the entire message of this ridiculous 1954 U.S. government educational film about the effects of a nuclear blast. It seems obvious to me that if you were working for the U.S. government in the fifties you were just a drooling simpleton. This film actually goes from mind-boggling insanity to postmodern masterpiece if you squint at it in the right way. It represents nearly everything you need to know about the 20th century in America.

Aspects of Nuclear Radiation – 1950s Atomic Propaganda Film

In the 1950s, while the US army was intentionally blasting soldiers with radiation in order to study them as they melted and died, this film was made to minimize public worry about nuclear radiation. Governments always lie about nuclear radiation. They never tell the truth. So, as President Obama stands before the nation assuring us that no dangerous radiation will reach our shores from the sudden nuclear Armageddon of Japan, watch this reassuring little film and wonder.

Khan Academy Teaches Math and Science on YouTube

Salman Khan teaches math and science via YouTube video lessons.  It’s called Khan Academy.  He teaches a wide variety of subjects including algebra, calculus, biology, physics, chemistry and statistics.  He thinks everyone should be able to get an education for free and he does not think universities are doing it properly.  The education model needs to be rethought and rebuilt.  Many people think so and that’s why Kahn Academy has so many students and is attracting venture capital money.  He’s getting more viewers than most university web sites.  Here’s a PBS NewsHour piece about him:

Here’s a lesson on adding and subtracting fractions:

Are Children Philosophers?

The Philosophers’ Magazine has an interesting article about teaching philosophy to children.  There is research that suggests teaching philosophy extends benefits across the primary school curriculum.

Philosophical intelligence is the capacity of the mind to solve the recurrent problems of human existence. Some of those problems stem from the activity of the mind contemplating its own existence, others stem from the challenges humans face living in the world. Philosophical intelligence is our ability to organise our ideas and concepts into mental maps and models of the world. It involves processing information and trying to find meaning at a conceptual level, for example, by asking questions such as What is love? What is truth? What is beauty? But can children engage in this kind of questioning?

I think it’s a natural fit for kids to think philosophically.  They love asking big important questions that seemingly have no answer.  It’s the best of all games to play with a kid.  Big questions and even bigger answers!

Read the article: Can Children Philosophize: The Case For