Wednesday, November 30, 2011

X37: Replacement for the Space Shuttle?

Military's X37 could be scaled up to replace the Shuttle. Did you know the Pentagons Space budget of $26 billion is larger than NASA's ($18 billion)?

Article link:

Monday, November 28, 2011

2012: Year of Self Imposed Stagnation?

The Economist in its usual insightful way points out that politicians may create a self imposed stagnation on the U.S. and European economies in 2012.

I have to agree. This blog has talked about repeating the mistakes of 1937 - which they mention.

For details see the entire article at this link:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Think Global. Your Life Depends on It

Sunset tonight, Clear Lake. That's a quarter moon and the Google sky map app on the smartphone says that bright "star" below the moon is really the planet MERCURY...have a nice night.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

California's Moon Shot - Go All Electric?

California has put itself in a tough spot - how to meet its energy goals.

"California must be fully electrified 40 years from now with residents driving only electric cars and plugging them into a grid powered by carbon-free power plants if the state is to meet its most far-reaching climate goals, according to a new study."

But just like JFK's famous speech about going to the moon "within a decade" - at a time when we didn't have the technology to do it - California could benefit greatly from setting a difficult goal. It will have to invent its way to a carbon-free future.

The beneficiaries will be the United States which needs to move up the technology food chain to the next level - or stagnant as a technology leader.
Asia is already investing more into clean energy than the United States. That puts Asia in the drivers seat (no pun intended) in this emerging new industry.

"California's landmark 2006 greenhouse gas law calls for reducing emissions by 2020 to 1990 levels. But the law also sets a goal of cutting emissions an additional 80 percent by 2050.

Friday's study found that meeting that long-term goal is possible and does not require major technological or behavioral breakthroughs like the development of nuclear fusion or a mass conversion to vegetarianism and bicycle commuting.

But it will require a lot of innovation and investment, preferably starting now..."

California has had the vision and guts to do something that Congress has not. I predict it will create green jobs and technology that will put it ahead of states like Texas that are fixated on dirty fossil fuels as Asian nations lead in clean tech. We need the rest of the nation to undertake this same challenge.

The full article link is:

Friday, November 25, 2011

Americans Need to Start Thinking in Unison

Sunset tonight on Clear Lake. We AMERICANS need to start thinking in unison - to stay ahead of the global economy. Its not a R thing or a D thing - its an AMERICAN thing we need to succeed. China and India are passing us and we are not upgrading our skills and technology base to stay ahead.

That's what Global American is all about...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Asia: Light Years Ahead of U.S. in Clean Tech

A new report shows that Asia is investing billions more than the U.S. in "clean tech" and is light years ahead of us. Article link:

The report says: "Asia is investing hundreds of billions of dollars more than the US in clean technology, according to a new report by two research institutions. In the future, the US may be importing trillions of dollars of needed clean technology (and losing countless jobs to Asia) as a result.

In total, the report showed that China, Japan, and South Korea will invest about $509 billion in clean tech over the next 5 years, whereas the US (with our greenest President in decades, maybe ever) is only expected to invest $172 billion (about 3 times less)..."

There's more: "“Asia’s rising ‘clean technology tigers’ – China, Japan, and South Korea – have already passed the United States in the production of virtually all clean energy technologies, and over the next five years, the governments of these nations will out-invest the United States three-to-one in these sectors. This public investment gap will allow these Asian nations to attract a significant share of private sector investments in clean energy technology, estimated to total in the trillions of dollars over the next decade."

Moral: Forget Solyndra. It failed because we are being out-invested by our global competitors. We better get into the game or finish last...

Defense Study: Climate Change a Security Threat

According to a new Defense Study climate change presents a "security threat" to the U.S. Here is the link to the article:

"Climate change has the potential for significant impacts on all three of the basic elements important to national and international security: defense, diplomacy and economics," says the Defense Science Board report.

It goes on:
"The DSB makes recommendations for the White House, Defense Department and other agencies including:

Creating an intelligence group to address climate under the Director of National Intelligence
Support civilian satellites to monitor climate change
Decision making that assumes a 5.4 to 7.2-degree rise in global average temperatures by the end of the century

The report concludes in an appendix by assessing various "tipping point" events, such as the melting of the West Antarctic ice sheet and the potential for other nations, mentioning China, to attempt unilateral geoengineering schemes for staving off climate effects."

400 Million+ Chinese Have Studied ENGLISH -

In a recent "China Daily" paper, it states that during the last 30 years over 400 million Chinese have studied ENGLISH. That's more Chinese studying English than Americans who live in the U.S. (population 310 million)!

And how many Americans are studying Chinese? Actually, not many. In the past decade, thousands of Americans schools have stopped teaching any foreign languages according to the NY Times article:

Here are some highlight from the article. It states: "Americans have never been particularly interested in learning other languages and are even less interested today (with the exception of conversational Spanish).

Only 9 percent of Americans, compared with 44 percent of Europeans, speak a foreign language. The Web has only reinforced the smug American conviction that everyone worth talking to in the world speaks English."

So how does America compete in a GLOBAL ECONOMY when we don't learn other languages and know too little about other cultures?

It goes on to point out: "Richard D. Brecht, executive director of the Center for Advanced Study of Langauge at the University of Maryland, told me in 2003 that “America has no long-term strategy to build the expertise we need to understand other cultures. We’ve seen, in the worst possible way because of our lack of Arabists, where this short-term thinking leads.”

Their conclusion: "we don’t have enough diplomats, spies and business people who know other languages — is rooted in the much larger dumbing down of the American concept of what it means to be an educated person. Most states have dropped foreign language requirements for high school graduation, and most students complete college without studying any foreign language. We’re a Know-As-Little-As-You Can-Get-Away-With Nation and proud of it."

How to we win the future like that?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Climate Change Consequence - Raising Insurance Costs

Ironic, but what may finally create action on climate change is that it is increasing the costs of INSURANCE companies! Check out this article:

""In the last few years, weather related events have multiplied by five," said Swiss Re's Senior Vice President and Head of Sustainability Americas Mark Way. He said that as insurance companies shelled out more money due to natural disaster events, premiums would increase."

They also point out: ""The cost of these extreme weather events will keep ballooning. Cost as well as human impact will be profound..."

In 2011 we have had 14 Extreme Weather events that have cost almost $50 billion dollars!

And note this: "David Friedberg, founder and CEO of The Climate Corporation, agreed that as insurance premiums rise throughout the supply chain, commodity prices will rise, ultimately snowballing expenses.

"Because we are insuring our customers against extreme weather events, we model our services based on probability of events occurring," he said. "We've charged more over the last two seasons than we have historically."

"Lubber cited the recent Hurricane Irene, which some attribute to climate change, that caused over $7 billion in damages across the economy.

"The costs are being driven to all the parts of our economy," she said. She said it was time for business leaders, not only environmental leaders, to call for real change."

Recently a climate skeptic who was paid by the Koch climate change deniers ran a series of tests - and confirmed that climate change was indeed occurring.

Apparently the only way it will be taken seriously is when the insurance companies raise their premiums to pay for the consequences of more extreme weather caused by these changes.

Ironic indeed. But if that's what it takes to get us moving in the right direction before its too late for our planet, then its a good thing.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

America Turns Towards Pacific Asia for 21st Century

America's Future lies in ASIA, with is growing 10% year - not stagnant Europe which is growing less than 1% year. BBC News sums it up in this article:

This is significant. The 21st century will be an Asian-American century between China, India and the USA...

Obama: "The economy in this area is going to be the engine for world economic growth for some time to come. The lines of commerce and trade are constantly expanding.

"And it's appropriate then for us to make sure that not only our alliance but the security architecture of the region is updated for the 21st century, and this initiative is going to allow us to do that."

From my international experience, that's true. President Obama is putting us where we need to be - focused on the East. That is where our greatest exports will come from.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

American World Wrap Up - Obama Assassination Attempt to A Taliban Nuke in Pakistan?

Welcome to Global American® World Wrap Up –The Big Picture of World Events Impacting America Today -- in a nutshell

Obama Assassination attempt? Can the White House Withstand Heavy Weapons? The man who shot at the White House fired 7 rounds from an assault weapon - at least two of which struck the White House, one hitting a window that was backed up by ballistic glass. (The rest of the DC fed buildings have Armor Glass-type security film installed). The shooter proved that heavy weapons threaten our leadership, from the President to Congress, no less than Flight 93 of 9/11. This shooter has said that he was “called by Jesus” and “hates the President.” Sound familiar(But let’s not drag any Presidential candidates into this).

What if the next shooter uses a MANPAD or RPG? After the fall of Gadhafi in Libya, entire stockpiles of Manpads and other dangerous weapons remain unguarded. Untold numbers are already uncounted for – the remainder are easy prey for international weapons dealers who pray for this kind of opportunity.

The US and UN should have teams in Libya RIGHT NOW helping the Libyan government get these weapons locked up, counted and secured - before an American or European airliner gets hit by one. Or DC.MILITARY COUP in MUSLIM, NUCLEAR Pakistan? The civilian leadership of Pakistan is in danger of being toppled by the Pakistan military.

Why care? Because Pakistan has nuclear tipped missiles -- the only Muslim country with that capability, and the new guys with the keys will be the extremist fruitcakes. A Taliban nuke is not a good thing.

Pakistan has recalled their U.S. ambassador because he “asked for U.S. help to avoid Pakistan military from toppling the civil government.” The military has taken over previous Pakistan governments. Pakistan is the ONLY Muslim country that has NUKES, fitted on missiles. Israel, Europe, etc are not far away. Pakistan’s double dealing spooky ISI has extremist ties and operates in their own world not controlled by the civilian government. ISI has been helping launch attacks against U.S. soldiers in next door Afghanistan. Keep your eye on updates on this one.

Cyber Vandalism: How a Russian Cyber Attack Killed a U.S. Water Plant Pump. Next Hack: NUKE Plant pump? This week it was discovered a Russia hacker was able to cause a water pump failure at a U.S. water plant. The vandal didn’t even enter the pump room – he or she was sitting at a computer somewhere in Russia. What if it had been a nuclear plant pump? Tanks and supersonic aircraft are useless in this high tech war. It could be lost without firing a shot.

Our global computer/internet grid is now so thoroughly interconnected that we can steal each other’s technology and secrets worldwide from our armchairs 10,000 miles away. Imagine dedicated hacking spies doing that to the countries (USA, Europe) who have the No. 1 technology! Technology is our No. 1 asset. If we don’t protect it on a 21st Century level, it can be a world away in nano-seconds, and used to gain advantage if not defeat us.

Our technology assets are too valuable and vulnerable to global theft and sabotage to be ignored. We must fix it.

OCCUPY CAIRO (EGYPT) – People are people everywhere. Treat them unjustly and they hit the streets. It has happened again in Egypt where the people see their hard won freedom being stolen by the military, after enduring a 30 year dictator, whose 1% cronies made all the money and there was no rule of law, fairness or justice. Now the Egyptian people are getting to vote for the first time but forces are trying to deny them.

They went back on the streets of Tahrir Square screaming that the Egyptian military is trying to take over the government. They are right. The military has insisted on a secret budget. It doesn't want to take orders from a civilian government elected by Egyptians in the upcoming elections. It would be yet another dictatorship and defeat of democracy, not another military dictatorship. The people want a change. They want freedom and democracy. Anything could happen.

America's PACIFIC Era Begins. President Obama has started the beginning of the American Pacific era. It is a smart economic move that points America in the right direction for thriving in the 21st century – Asia. The stagnating markets of the West (Europe) represent the past.

America’s future prosperity lies towards the rapidly growing markets of East in Asia --which are growing fast and have a thirst for stuff Americans make, like Boeing aircraft, etc. It will mean billions in sales (and that means American jobs) to American companies in the coming decades.China and India (South Asia) are 40% of the world's population – 2 billion plus people total. Both countries have millions of young people with the math and science skills to fill the 3 million high tech, high paying USA jobs that are available today – enough to drop our unemployment rate to 6.1%

The problem? Americans don't have the skills for these 3 million unfilled jobs! And 90% of Americans who take the qualifying tests required by the company to be trained for those jobs are disqualified! That leaves only 10% good enough to get training.

That raises the question - are Americans lazy if they think it is too much work to get the degrees and skills needed to take these high paying jobs – jobs that will go to foreigners or remain unfilled otherwise?). Just asking…

China and India have growth rates of 9 - 10% versus a normal U.S. growth rate of 3% or less. Our future prosperity is tied to Asia. Europe will be our No. 2 most important economic partner.

How the Europe Economic Mess Could Kill US: If Europe goes down so does the U.S. economy! America sells a lot of exports to Europe, which at 733 million people is twice the size of the U.S. If the Europe market crashes so do those sales. Pray that doesn't happen. Again the Presidential candidates have it backwards – it is not that Europe will ask the U.S. for a bailout. Europe is bigger than the U.S. and whales do not swallow whales. But they can hurt each other.

A downturn in Europe will cost American companies export sales --that will cost jobs making that stuff here in the U.S. (the only country with $3 trillion in cash who could bailout Europe is China, and they aren't willing to do it) Europe’s austerity programs and lack of job opportunities for youth have fed their own Occupy protests -- including window-breaking, car burning riots.

Michael Fjetland
Global American Series
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Either I am getting FASTER or my computer/s are getting SLOWER. It has to be the latter - especially when i have two of them going and both of them are doing that stupid spinning circle thing - frozen like Congress in action. Ugh! Microsoft PLEASE get us some fast software next time PLEASE. It's bad when humans have to wait on the machines instead of vice

Friday, November 18, 2011

Poll on American Exceptionism: Americans are Split

Remarkable as it may seem, but even on the issue of "American Exceptionalism" Americans are SPLIT, according to a recent CBS poll.
Article Link:

It found: "Just under half, 49 percent, of Americans agree with the statement, "Our people are not perfect, but our culture is superior to others," according to a survey from the Pew Research Center. Forty-six percent of Americans say they disagree with the statement.

The percentage of Americans who think their nation's culture is superior has declined in the past decade, according to Pew -- in 2007, 55 percent called American culture superior, while about 60 percent did so in 2002."

There is an age split in the poll: "For instance, six in 10 Americans ages 50 or older say American culture is superior, while just 37 percent of Americans younger than 30 agree. Those who did not graduate from college are more likely than those who did graduate from college to call American culture superior by a difference of 9 percent."

But in a way, American attitudes are close to those of the Europeans: "the change in attitude about American exceptionalism does put the U.S. more in line with European beliefs -- 47 percent of Germans think their culture is superior, while 44 percent of Spaniards think their country is the best (fewer British or French citizens are inclined to call their respective countries the best).

Apparently the poll did not ask the Chinese or Indians --the two rapidly growing Asian superpowers -- about their cultural attitudes...

I am not really troubled by this. It's good to feel special about your own culture but not if it means that other cultures are viewed negatively. If you recall, during WWII Nazi superiority was carried to the extreme. None of us want to go down that road again...

Extreme Weather Cause: Climate Change

2011 has had 14 Extreme Weather events so far this year - from Super-tornadoes to triple digit heat waves to Floods to Drought. A new report out says that climate change creates extreme weather conditions.

That means we can expect more of these freak events that are causing so much damage.

"Unprecedented extreme weather and climate events" look likely in coming decades as a result of a changing climate, says the draft report.

A final version will be released later today...stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NBA Strike: Fight Among the 1% While Costing People Jobs, Cities Millions

Sunset on Clear Lake tonight.

Just saw a NBC report on how the rich NBA players and owners are fighting while the little people and cities lose their jobs and MILLIONS. Because the 1% are fighting among themselves. Have we AMericans lost our moral compass?

Have we forgotten the little people who survive from week to week?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Experts: Global Warming Irreversible by 2017

What is the most important question today? What is the most important thing in our lives? It's something we should ask on this 11-11-11. (In China that number is 'Good Luck').

Is it Joe Paterno's fate? Is it the Presidential election of 2012? Will it matter if our planet is killed by our own negligence by 2017? Plan to move to another planet if that happens? What fate does that leave our children?

The sharp spike in warming in the past year has shocked experts, who now believe if global warming is not neutralized by 2017 it may be too late to stop it - at the peril of our children and grandchildren. Something to think about when you see this 7 minute video. Check out the charts...

Check out the 7 minute video about a short fuse burning on the future of Planet Earth at:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Why NASA Needs More $$$$ - This is Why

WHY do we need to put MORE $$$ into NASA?

This is why...(as in avoiding future strikes by one of these aircraft carrier sized beasts that could put us back into the stone age)...

Memo to government: Plan Ahead! You can't prepare for this at the last minute...

Journists/Democracy Under Attack in Russia - With Guns and Beatings

Journalists are under attack in Russia, and so is "democracy." In fact, democracy seems to be as dead as some of the reporters who have been killed by vicious attacks for daring to report truth in Russia.

Russian reporters have been shot or beaten into a coma with baseball bats. For the full graphics, read the article at the above link.

Already, Mr. Vladimir Putin is shoving aside current President Medvedev for his third term.

It is also reported that it was a Russian nuclear scientist is the one who has helped Iran's quest for nuclear weapons, providing key technology support. That would explain Russia's resistance to more sanctions on Iran (see link):

Don't forget, the one country with as much nuclear firepower as the U.S. is Russia.

Russia joins Nicaragua, where Daniel Ortega of the Sandinistas won an unprecedented third term as President, and Guatemala as nations falling away from the promise of democracy - and back into "one man rule."

Ironically, it is happening as the "Arab Spring" movement has sought to eliminate decades old dictatorships.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

7 Occupatons with the Highest Hiring Demands

Check out this excellent article in U.S. News & World Report Money section about "7 Occupations with the Highest Hiring Demands." Link:

They include:
Registered Nurses
Computer Systems Analysts
Web Developers
First-line supervisors/managers for Retail
Computer Application software engineers
18-wheeler Truck Drivers
Retails sales people

The article also lists average pay...

And don't forget the solar jobs listed in our prior post.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Solar Jobs on the Rise

Want a job? Look to the solar industry which expects to GROW dramatically. In the next six months, 50% of the solar firms expect to add jobs.

"The solar industry is not only an economic powerhouse, but it's also a tremendous jobs creator," says Andrea Luecke, executive director of The Solar Foundation.

"the growth rate for solar jobs was almost 10 times higher than the national average employment growth rate of 0.7 percent.) Compare that to the fossil fuel industry, which experienced negative growth of 2 percent over the same time period. The Solar Foundation expects the number of solar jobs to grow by about 24 percent, or about 24,000 new jobs, by August 2012."

The BIG news? Solar prices are dropping like computer prices, increasing its competitiveness and affordability, as noted in this column by Paul Krugman:

Says Krugman: "we're just a few years from the point at which electricity from solar panels becomes cheaper than electricity generated by burning coal."

But a familiar problem has arisen. Job skills. ""Employers are saying, 'Look, we received plenty of applications. That's not the problem. We have more applicants than we can handle. It's just that they're not skilled enough,'" Luecke says. "The message here is that to get a job, you need to be experienced, you need to be able to hit the ground running."

For details, check out the link.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Europe's Ills Could Torpedo U.S. Recovery

Is it possible that a tiny little country like Greece could set in motion an economic Tsunami that could hit the U.S. like a tons of bricks - and torpedo our economic recovery?

Absolutely. After all, it's the global economy, stupid. The United States and Europe are close trading partners - the two biggest economies in the world. The problem is not just Greece, which the Europeans have enough money to keep afloat. The problem is that the debt burden in other countries, like Italy, is a far greater risk - and there's not enough money in Europe to fix it.

If Italy goes into the tank, or Spain, Portugal, etc. the United States will take a big economic hit. Don't take my word for it.

"there is the same fear now that a meltdown in Europe this time tied to sovereign debt, the debt of countries that are collectively known as PIIGS in an affectionate way - Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain. That debt is sitting on bank balance sheets in Europe. And there's a fear that the problems tied to the debt will bring down the banks and bring down the financial system in a way that cascades around the world again." Source: Wall Street Journal Reporter Sudeep Reddy via NPR.

"The economic health of Europe is vital to the prosperity of the United States," says Daniel Price, managing director at Rock Creek Global Advisors, who was President George W. Bush's top deputy for international economics."

And this:

"Our big banks are tethered at the hip to their banks," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. "They're all at risk. They're all exposed."
(Source: USA Today:

And the problem is not just American bank exposure. A Europe crash would also cut jobs in the U.S. from our exports:

"More than 20% of all U.S. exports go to Europe, making it the nation's largest trading partner. About 14% go to the 17 eurozone countries, behind only Canada and Mexico. Total exports to the European Union were $177 billion in the first eight months of 2011, up 15% from last year."

"(American) Industries that are most dependent on European trade include chemicals, transportation, computers and electronics. Companies such as Microsoft, IBM and Hewlett-Packard are heavily invested in Europe, as are aerospace companies such as Boeing.

If orders in Europe slow for aircraft or computers, "that can ripple right back into economic activity here," says Kent Hughes, director of the Program on America and the Global Economy at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars."

Another example: "The eurozone is the biggest market for U.S. companies with direct foreign investments. More than half the sales of American-owned foreign affiliates are in Europe.

Even now, "a lot of companies are sort of battening down the hatches in terms of their capital budgets," Orszag says.

The European crisis has been a drain on U.S. automakers for most of the year."

So, pay attention. Unlike Vegas, the problems in Europe will not stay in Europe. They could impact your job and investments.

And not one GOP candidate has addressed how they would deal with it in their economic plan (of those who actually have one).

Pass it on. And stay tuned...

Cuba's Economic Makeover -Creeping Capitalism

Something remarkable is happening in Cuba. After a half century of Communist dogma and a dead economy, capitalism is coming into the light for the first time. First it was a new rule that allowed people to own a small business like a restaurant. Then it was another rule that allowed the private purchase and sale of real estate.

Now a new rule allows Cubans, for the first time in 50 years, to buy and sell used cars (they still can't buy new ones --only the privileged few can do that). Check out this NY Times article on the change:

What a classic car? Get it in Cuba.

Something incredible is beginning to happen in Cuba - CHANGE. And Capitalism.

Perhaps they are following the China model - keeping the same government but allowing free markets and entrepreneurs room to flourish. Or they are just relieving political pressure since cars were being traded on the black market, but without a guarantee of a clear title). Obviously the old ways led only to stagnation.

Whatever it is, Cuba seems to be waking up from its long slumber under Fidel. Since his brother Raul has taken over, Cuba has been reforming for the better.

Here are a couple links to related articles on changes in Cuba:
Stay tuned...

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Biggest-ever jump seen in global warming gases

Latest reports are that heating of the planet has taken a HUGE jump as the world economies rebound from the recession. LA Times article link:,0,4278356.story

"The new figures for 2010 mean that levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst-case scenario outlined by climate experts just four years ago."

"The world pumped about 564 million more tons of carbon into the air in 2010 than it did in 2009. That's an increase of 6%. That amount of extra pollution eclipses the individual emissions of all but three countries — China, the United States and India, the world's top producers of greenhouse gases.

It is a "monster" increase that is unheard of, said Gregg Marland, a professor of geology..."

Bottom line: We are leaving our children a hell-on-earth if we don't address this before Earth looks like Venus (runaway greenhouse gases)...surface temperature on Venus is now 460 degrees.

I don't have kids, so its no skin off my nose. What about yours?

Can America Compete in High Tech 21st Century?

The American Skills Gap: Can We Compete in High-Tech 21st Century?

America, we have a (skills gap) problem. We have 3 million unfilled, high-tech jobs available right now - enough to bring the unemployment rate down from 9% to 6%! The problem? We don't have Americans with the skills to fill them! How do we fix this self-inflicted problem?

We are in a high-tech, space-age 21st century that requires complex math and science skills, yet many of the U.S. students willing to undertake that difficult mission are dropping out like flies to pursue easier subjects that won't help us invent the future. This is why Americans don't have the skills to fill these 3 million high tech, high paying jobs. Are students lazy? Are the math and science programs at colleges too stale? Or is the problem a bit of both? What's wrong?

The issue is covered thoughtfully in this NY Times article: ?

The good news: a lot of students are trying to improve their math and science skills to be the engineers our industries need, but the drop-out rate is extraordinarily high. It appears that a large part of the problem is that the courses being taught are "dry lectures” -- guaranteed to put off even the best students. Recognizing this, some colleges have "refreshed" their courses to make them more interesting and provide more "hands on" work. To quote from the NYT article:

"Research confirmed in the 1990s that students learn more by grappling with open-ended problems, like creating a computer game or designing an alternative energy system, than listening to lectures. While the National Science Foundation went on to finance pilot courses that employed interactive projects, when the money dried up, so did most of the courses. Lecture classes are far cheaper to produce, and top professors are focused on bringing in research grants, not teaching undergraduates."

Clearly, schools need to do a better job teaching these complex subjects. According to the National Academy of Engineering: "“Treating the freshman year as a ‘sink or swim’ experience and accepting attrition as inevitable is both unfair to students and wasteful of resources and faculty time.” It's also a roadblock to America building a high tech future instead of shipping those jobs overseas, or employing foreigners in the U.S. who do have those valuable skills.

Another problem is that the schools do not have the high tech equipment necessary to train people, as pointed out in this MSNBC article:

But some help is on the way: For example, at Notre Dame, the students now do four projects. They build Lego robots and design bridges capable of carrying heavy loads at minimal cost. They also create electronic circuit boards and dream up a project of their own.

In light of the shortage of the new digital skills required to fill the new jobs in marketing and advertising, Rutgers Center for Management Development started back in 2010 a series of executive education programs designed to give the advertising and marketing people of today a solid grasp of the core concepts and tools of digital marketing management. This includes its Mini-MBA: Digital Marketing program. Rutgers is the first major university to offer a “mini MBA” program in digital marketing with the goal of training students and those needing to update their professional skill-set for the kinds of digital advertising and marketing jobs now in demand.

But much more needs to be done. The Republicans controlling the House of Representatives have cut Pell grant funding students need. Space programs have been cut. Students are jumping into English courses where it is easier to get high grades then a job.

Meanwhile, China and India continue to produce graduates with the engineering and math skills needed by American industry in the 21st Century. If the United States is going to lower our unemployment and compete in the global economy, it will take a combination of student effort, government funding and college course improvements to add fuel to our economic engine.

Michael Fjetland
Global American® Series
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Friday, November 4, 2011

China's Space Dock - Cuba's Big Change

Two big events just occurred. China has successfully made its first docking in space - totally by computer. My sources at NASA say that NASA has NEVER achieved a fully automated docking like this. China plans to have its own space station operational by 2020 - just when the ISS space station is scheduled for retirement. It shows that the USA has a lot of work to do to remain a leader in this permanent space age. The second big event occurred in Cuba - where the government, for the first time ever, is allowing private ownership and transfer of property. Quoting from the linked article: "the law published on Thursday amounts to a major break from decades of socialist housing. For the first time since the early days of the revolution, buyers and sellers will be allowed to set home prices and move when they want. Transactions of various kinds, including sales, trades and gifts to relatives by Cubans who are emigrating, will no longer be subject to government approval, the new law says." Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Earth Test: 520 day Mission to Mars

The Russians are concluding a test to see if humans could survive a mission to Mars that could last 520 days - without a murder or other human crisis. They claim they have done it - with an all male volunteer group.

"The all-male team is made up of three Russians, two doctors and one engineer; a Chinese astronaut trainer; and French and Italian engineers, who were sent by the European Space Agency." It was a six person team.

NASA experts say that such a mission should involve an odd-number of people (you need a tie-breaker) and WOMEN.

520 days in space and no mass murder or fist fights? Why not employ the plasma engine of Ad Astra in Houston - earth to Mars in a mere 39 days! Back again in another 39 days.

Check out the study at:

Threat to America's Future: Failure to Educate

New results are out regarding American students' abilities in reading and math. The shocking conclusion? Only about 35% of 8th graders are proficient in MATH (see link). Reading proficiency is about the same.

That means more than 50% of our current 8th graders are NOT proficient in either reading or math! The United States seriously lags behind other developed countries --placing our kids at 28 out of 41 countries, behind places like Bulgaria and Slovenia -- in the bottom 1/3 of 41 countries!

This is why we have over 3 million high tech jobs unfilled - the failure to educate kids with the skills needed in the 21st century.

America's future is at stake until we reform our education system, increase the school days and expect more from our students who have to compete on a world scale in this century - or else they will be flipping burgers while the high tech jobs go to kids from Bulgaria and Slovenia...