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Friday, October 30, 2009


The following continues the serialization of Chapter 2 on education from SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity. Yesterday, I reported on the Stanford Marshmallow Test. Today, how to better educate that one marshmallow child. Actually, since writing this chapter two years ago, I have discovered new information. For example, the child was not only provided a marshmallow. This makes sense because I hate this confection. The choice was among a marshmallow, pretzel, cookie or toy. Thirty percent delayed gratification. All tests were conducted on the Stanford Campus at the recently established Bing Nursery School. One interesting sidebar is that Mischel probably couldn't conduct this test today because too many children have allergies, and...well... One more thing, the students who resisted and gained all those terrific attributes, didn't just physically ignore the treat--they covered their eyes, sang Sesame Street songs and so on. Oh, by the way, the one marshmallow child turned out to, among all terrible things, get FATTER, not exactly a great surprise. Also too, Mischel (who is still at Columbia University, and is just about 80, originally from Vienna--yes, he was taunted by Hitler Youths for being Jewish--spent some time at Harvard, and moved to Stanford University in my senior year there) is taking this all to a new level, as certain participants will be asked to come to Stanford to undergo a fMRI test (they want to find out what part of the brain makes this decision) to get to the truth of the matter. Wow! This is like a real life evolutionary mystery. Anyway, read the following and gain new information by clicking on the second reference. (I must warn you: 6 pages, but fascinating!!)

Don't Eat the Marshmallow (t-shirts now passed out to save our youth)

Goleman suggests classes, with parental involvement, in:


Emotional literacy

Social competence and development

In addition, include the following:

Identifying feelings


Impulse control

Anger management

Conflict resolution



Problem solving

Temptation resistance

A second recent analysis of this test pretty much reflected the reference of yesterday and my views. We need to better focus on the other 4 R's to prevent crime, reduce drug use, etc. If you have any kind of potential to save Planet Earth and Humanity, I implore you to click on that second recent analysis.


Eight years and one day after the stock market crash of 1929, the Dow Jones Industrials sunk 250 (2.5%) to 9713, while markets in the Orient rose and Europe fell. Black Tuesday, 29Oct1929, saw a drop of 31 (12%) to 230, which, actually, was not as bad as 24Oct1929, when there was a decrease of 38 (13%) to 261. Could Monday be monumental? A 13% fall would amount to minus 1263 to 8450. Only a little more than seven months ago, on 9March09, the DJI settled at 6547, so there is a long way to go. I'm actually looking forward to a minor crash, for that is the only time I buy. Finally, today, crude oil also fell, $3/barrel, to $77, and gold remained unchanged at $1046/toz.


Typhoon Mirinae, at 95 MPH, made landfall in the Philippines, and is heading straight to Manila. The storm is moving quickly enough that rainfall will be high, but should not be devastating.


Thursday, October 29, 2009


The following continues the serialization of Chapter 2 on education from SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity. I was googling The Stanford Challenge and just happened to stumble across the Stanford Marshmallow Test. I'm surprised more was not made of this revelation.

…The Stanford Marshmallow Test

The Stanford University marshmallow longitudinal (retest over time) study was run by Walter Mischel, and remarkably demonstrated how self-discipline can lead to success. The beauty of this experiment is that any parent today with a 4-year old child can determine how she will score in her scholastic aptitude test in high school, and, how well she will succeed in life. This would even apply to males, even though the decline of this gender group is appearing now to be almost serious.

In the 60’s, four-year old children were taken one at a time into a room and shown a marshmallow. The child was told he could eat it now, or wait until the experimenter came back from an errand, when he could have two. Some ate it immediately, but others waited as long as 20 minutes until that person returned. Fourteen years later, these same children took the SAT test, and those that immediately ate (impulsive) scored 1052 combined on verbal and math categories, while those who received two marshmallows (impulse controlled) scored 1262, a 210 point difference! The adolescents were then observed to have the following attitudes and capabilities in high school:

1262 Group .................................1052 Group
Assertive ........................................Indecisive
Could cope with frustration .........Overreacted to frustration
Worked better under pressure ...Overwhelmed by stress
Confident .......................................Gave up easily
Dependable ...................................Provoked arguments
Academically competent .............Poor students
Could concentrate ........................Impulsive
Eager to learn ...............................Sharp temper
Followed through .......................Still couldn’t delay gratification

Of course, a quick check of student backgrounds might well have explain some of this, for, chances are that the impulsive came from a lower income group, where that was the prevailing mode of action. Of course, too, an individual who knows the child cannot conduct the test because there is generally some trusting relationship, and the subject will almost surely be swayed not to touch the marshmallow.

The whole point, though, is that we then try to train these impetuous individuals mostly how to read, write and do math, when what they really need is to learn the four other R’s. The notable lesson to be gained is that these one marshmallow children are NOT doomed. This is what education should be all about. Read on (in Part 19...although here is one recent analysis).
The Dow Jones Industrials had its best session in three months, jumping 200 to 9963, while world markets were mixed. The Japan Nikkei is at 10017. Gold leaped $17/toz to $1046, while crude oil rose to $80/barrel.
Typhoon Mirinae (also known as Santi), at 105 MPH, made a course correction, and is now headed for Manila. Fortunately, the storm is moving quite quickly, and should come and go on Saturday.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


The following continues my serialization of Chapter 3 on education from SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity:

The Stanford Challenge

University President John Hennessy in 2006 announced The Stanford Challenge. I even got what looked like a personally signed letter of appeal, dated, September 2007. He intimated that there comes a time in the course of an organization when critical decisions must be made to have a monumental impact on their future and the world. Stanford is not that old, as the first student in 1891 was our 31st President, Herbert Hoover. Hennessy cites Frederick Terman and Wallace Sterling as laying the groundwork for Silicon Valley, and bemoaned the fate of GM, Ford and Chrysler for their apathy and IBM for its focus on mainframe computers. Not unlike horse and buggy or typewriter firms of their day, the world changed and they did not. Stanford will, he says.

Stanford will marshal University resources to address some of the century’s great challenges in the environment, peace and health through genetic mechanisms. Interesting that Simple Solutions for Planet Earth (or, Book 1) takes on the environment, Chapter 1 of this book does peace and Chapter 2 genetics. It’s almost like I was there when the plan was crafted. I’m sure I did not contribute a bit during my nearly four year stay there almost half a century ago.

As Stanford is an academic institute, Hennessy also indicated that the other half of their efforts will be on education (this chapter). Clearly, I’m going to have to send him a copy of this book to congratulate them for their perspicuity. More so, their commitment will be on K-12 education, and, in particular, starting a new charter school. He didn’t quite say that relationship was an important 4th R, but when they read this chapter, certainly, they might reconsider. Oh, they plan to raise $4.3 billion over the next five years to support The Stanford Challenge. To close, he quoted Jane Stanford: “our children’s children’s children” will thank us for the courage of that vision. Evidently, that is from whom I borrowed when I co-directed a NASA public education program on “Earth 2020—Visions for Our Children’s Children.” No, as I think of it, I contributed Earth 2020, it was Hans Mark, then director of the Ames Research Center (located down the road from Stanford), and later, Chancellor of the University of Texas System, who used Jane Stanford’s vision.

Now, the following experiment came way before this Challenge was announced, but if with more than $4 billion they can even approach the significance of these results, wow! I then give you…

…The Stanford Marshmallow Test (continued later this week)

The Dow Jones Industrials dropped 119 to 9763, with world markets almost all declining. Interesting and short article to view on the indicators showing that the economy seems to be recovering. Gold is sinking, down another $13/toz to $1028, while crude oil also slipped, now down to $77/barrel.
Looks like Typhoon Mirinae, now at 95 MPH, will weaken a bit and on Saturday squeeze between Manila and the portion of Northern Luzon that got the brunt of Typhoon Parma's rain. Already since last month nearly 1000 have been killed by these typhoons and more than 100,000 remain in evacuation centers. Of particular concern is that All Saints Day occurs on Sunday, when people visit cemeteries.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I'm now serializing Chapter 3 on education from SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity. I previously (Part 15) reported on the 4 added R's of education. Today I focus on the first one:


Sometimes called emotional intelligence (EI), on occasion social intelligence (SI), Daniel Goleman in the 90’s, then a science writer for the New York Times, wrote on both subjects. A more recent treatment, by Karl Albrecht, Social Intelligence, appeared in 2006. Wikipedia has ten pages on emotional intelligence and two on social intelligence, so that very well summarizes the field, which is what relationship is all about.

In 1920, Edward L. Thorndike of Columbia University used social intelligence regarding the skill to understand and manage people, while the first use of emotional quotient could have been as recently as 1985, when Wayne Payne had a doctoral thesis on the subject. The first published article appeared in 1990 and Goleman’s book, Emotional Intelligence, in 1994.

In the science of EI, there are four emotions: perception, utilization, understanding and management. Like an IQ aptitude test, there is a social quotient (SQ) test, but it has an acronym of MSCEIT (Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test). Further, those in the field dismiss this test as one of intelligence. In general, both IQ and MSCEIT show inheritance (60 to 70%) more dominant over the environment. From all indications, that more familiar measurement, IQ, is NOT a good predictor of job performance.

Goleman, a psychologist, claims that his EI test is a better predictor of workplace success, and is based on: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. Albrecht, a business writer, proposed 5 parts to his SPACE model: situational awareness, presence, authenticity, clarity and empathy.

The difference makers were abilities such as handling of frustration, control of emotions and getting along with other people. With respect to professional success and prestige, social/emotional abilities were four times more important than IQ.


The Dow Jones Industrials edged up 14 to 9882, with world markets almost all down. Gold was up a buck to $1041/toz and crude oil is at about $80/barrel.


Typhoon Mirinae, now at 85 MPH, will strengthen into a Category 3 typhoon, then slightly weaken before heading in the general direction of Manila, or just north, by early this weekend.

That disturbance that formed southwest of Hawaii is heading west.


This site today drew visitor #117, from:


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The island, with its fine natural harbor at Castries, was contested between England and France throughout the 17th and early 18th centuries (changing possession 14 times); it was finally ceded to the UK in 1814. Even after the abolition of slavery on its plantations in 1834, Saint Lucia remained an agricultural island, dedicated to producing tropical commodity crops. Self-government was granted in 1967 and independence in 1979.

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Monday, October 26, 2009


1. Professor Kiryun Choi (see Green Enertopia blog of yesterday) indicated to me that he leaves home every M-F morning at 7AM, and does not return until midnight...every night. There are academic/social/business obligations that are kind of required. [Which is one reason he is gaining too much weight, so in December, during the school break, he will be participating in an annual ritual--three weeks of fasting, meditation, water, vegetables, meditation at a Buddhist temple--for three continuous weeks. He lives there during this period.] He always has campus meetings on Saturday mornings, and wedding/funeral/etc. duties in the afternoon. On Sundays he treks. He said most of his active colleagues pretty much do likewise, and so do his Japanese associates. I don't know of one American professor with this schedule. Of course, this has been continuing for many, many decades, and the USA still seems to be doing okay. Chapter 3 of SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity (which is currently being serialized in this blog), identifies our universities as the reason for our success.

2. The highest one day casualties in two years occurred yesterday in Iraq. Two car bombings killed 150 and wounded more than 700. America also suffered one of it's deadliest days ever yesterday in Afghanistan, as 16 were killed, 14 in what appeared to be unrelated helicopter crashes not inflicted by the enemy. Bring them all home. Democracy can wait for another generation or two or more. Just make sure Israel has all the necessary intelligence and first strike nuclear capabilities.

3. When the dust clears, and that should be this year, the health plan to be passed by our Congress will have a public option. Without this club, we might as well not bother with any legislation. The rich will just pay extra to private insurers in order to cut in line and get better service.

4. No matter what they say, climate change legislation will wait until next year, and won't amount to much unless the summer of 2010 turns out to be a killer. On global climate change, John Learned sent a "Layman's Guide to the Global Warming Debate."

5. On the matter of furloughs in Hawaii, why can't K-12 and university teachers take them during the school breaks so education is not compromised? It's going to happen anyway. I guess the only union bargaining point is to hurt students, which is a hell of an attitude.

The Dow Jones Industrials dropped 104 to 9868, while world markets were mixed. Crude oil slipped further to $78/barrel and gold sunk $16/toz to $1039.

Neki is mostly gone, but another disturbance popped up south and west of Hawaii. It's a little unnerving that these storms are now initially forming close to Hawaii.

Oh, oh. Another disturbance showed up east of the Philippines, will strengthen into a Category 3 typhoon around Thursday, and, at this time, appears headed in the general direction of Manila.

Country #116 just entered this blog site:


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Lucayan Indians inhabited the islands when Christopher COLUMBUS first set foot in the New World on San Salvador in 1492. British settlement of the islands began in 1647; the islands became a colony in 1783. Since attaining independence from the UK in 1973, The Bahamas have prospered through tourism and international banking and investment management. Because of its geography, the country is a major transshipment point for illegal drugs, particularly shipments to the US and Europe, and its territory is used for smuggling illegal migrants into the US.

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I reviewed the Commonwealth of the Bahamas on June 27. Grand Bahama is an island of the Bahamas, and is only 55 miles from Florida.