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George Lucas Will Use Disney $4 Billion to Fund Education (hollywoodreporter.com)
146 points by waterlesscloud 1844 days ago | hide | past | web | 92 comments | favorite



I've always felt you could do the most good by funding a good chain of community colleges. One of the big causes of the explosion in for profit colleges is that in many areas have more students that want to enroll in community college than they have the ability to provide. For-profit schools fill the gap.

Community college has the stigma of "not real college," and I think they tend to get short shrift on funding because of that. What, you don't want everyone to go to a four year school?

There's a great article in the Atlantic[1] that makes the case that the way work used to be structured meant a more consistent learning curve - you got better at working one machine, you could transfer those skills to the next and learn on the job - whereas now there tends to be an initial barrier you have to clear before you can learn anything. You can't get a job programming machines until you know the languages and have the math skills, but there's no way to get there through another job. You have to put your life on hold before you can get to an advancement path. That's the main hurdle - once you're past that point you're on the more experience/better skills track again.

Community college shouldn't the focus so much because it'll reach nontraditional students and save money for students who want to transfer to four year schools but because the separation between no college and a good two-year degree is the biggest, hardest gap to cross and once you get people across it they're already most of the way to accomplishing whatever they want to next.

[1] http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/01/making-i...


I think this too. There are millions of unfilled jobs right now because people don't have the skills. The answer to that problem is not more crappy four year for profit colleges. Its community colleges that teah what people need to learn.


The Gates foundation funded this effort: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/mycollege-foundation-partners-... seeking to build a low cost, non-profit community college.


Hmm. Why not support ones that already exist?


Because then you don't get total control to emblazen the words "Gates Foundation" as you wish?


These types of comments are about the least interesting possible.


You can throw money at existing community colleges - but what good does it do if there's no visionary leadership?

Myself being primarily involved with filmmaking and film classes at North Country Community College - I am attempting this year, before I graduate, to change the filmmaking culture that currently barely functions at my CC. Ive seen enough from the students here, in 3 semesters worth of film classes, to know that these kids who have great interest and talent at our CC, who migrate towards taking film classes, they all have talent. Theres a spark of magic in each of their shitty flip-cam produced final projects. And these kids just slip through the cracks after the semester is done, because theres no infrastructure to catch or support them.

Flip cams do not command high levels of creative performance. They just dont, and its a shame these kids dont get the chance, now, to use better. Especially with the price of technology today.

I began attempting to make a change at the end of last Spring's semester, and get the school to budget competitive equipment for film classes. The process; Everything I tried doing through traditional bureaucratic methods of improving the school's filmmaking situation, was either a barrier or unefficiency.

By the time I go through the proper channels to make visionary culture change at the CC, Im already gone. Everything is a process of approvals and appropriations. Meetings. Decisions. Levels. Kicking things upstairs, come on! Ill be transferring to a top ten film school, like USC, that already has all that good stuff Id like to play with. And at that new school, im 'happy to be there' guy. That emotion, buries the ones I have attached to my CC. Once I have that access to proper filmmaking equipment, I could give a shit about the ills of the CC, regardless how much I loved the school.

However, I believe if I could now have the proper filmmaking equipment at my current CC, I would be making great films now, not two years from when I first started, and not at a 50k a year institution. If im making great films now, at 5k a year, dosent that shift my perception about what I would need out of continuing my education at a four year? wont my decision making be different at that point?

Im definately interested in the future of filmmaking and community colleges. So, heres a nice place to plug the fundraiser I set up to help get our school filmmaking equipment and establish a new film club.

http://www.indiegogo.com/filmequipment

at 28k, its competitively budgeted. the goal is to do the most with what amounts to table scraps of funding.

4 billion, and 28 thousand. Thats a lot of filmmaking to be created at every single CC in the nation. Im taking a stand to show the world how.


> You can throw money at existing community colleges - but what good does it do if there's no visionary leadership?

It's hard to have leadership when 90% of your job is triaging "things to cut this year," and the rest is dealing with the fallout. It's been like that in California for over a decade.

It's pathetic, and someone with a couple spare billions deciding to prop up the system would be welcome.


A bit of unsolicited advice for your indiegogo campaign: dropping the f-word in your campaign title (“seed filmmaking equipment for our college, you f ckers”) probably isn’t a great idea. I am not at all offended myself, but I think it may be off-putting to quite a few folks out there who may otherwise be interested in helping.


The rest of the copy of the campaign is also very poor, and makes me feel like OP is likely immature and that if I donated, my money would be poorly used. And the F word is what bothers me the least.


A lot of philanthropists in the US seem to become interested in education. Is this as true in, say, Sweden? I wonder if it is largely an artifact of the brokenness of American schools rather than the universal importance of education. (Not that education isn't important. It's immensely important. But maybe in some places it doesn't seem like a problem.)


Education is a big topic most places also in Scandinavia where it's more or less free.

But where there is active entrepreneurship in the US in this field, most of Scandinavia is copycatting others or developing government plans on how to improve education per. the PISA measurement scale.

The Scandinavian model is known for it's group oriented focus on learning where the new discussion is whether this is the right approach.

Among other things especially the tiger mom revolution from china is a big discussion and Canadas education system is very popular.

Finland seems to be the only Scandinavian country that is doing exceptionally well on the PISA scale.

My own personal believe is that there are to basic reasons why the quality of education seems to go down is.

1) Still too much focus on "learning by heart". It's obvious that you need to learn read, write and do basic calculation, but beyond that the most important thing to learn is, how to learn.

2) Parents outsources the job of raising their children to the pre-schools, kindergartens and so on. Forget about more money for education. If you can make parents more actively interested in their childrens education it will automatically raise the quality of the education they recieve.

More money for education is not going to solve those two fundamental problems.


Isn't it the case that people in the US invest more time participating in their children's education (going to the extremes of homeschooling), yet their pre-college education fares low in comparison? Also wouldn't it have a huge impact on productivity and education inequality if education became a family matter?


People in the US spend much more time working than those in almost any other developed country. Too much time. In Scandinavia overwork is socially unacceptable, while living a balanced life is desirable. For example, workers in the US get no statutory holiday, and most employers give 15 days, whereas in Scandinavia it is stautory 35-39 days depending on country.

As the vast majority of US children are not homeschooled, it's not relevant to the broader discussion. In anycase homeschooling is typically encountered in a religious setting, or remote locations.

Education is already a family matter, children whose parents provide a home environment conducive to learning will learn better, it's an inevitability. The tragedy is that such an environment is usually beyond the means of less wealthy parents, or beyond the abilities of those less-well educated. The solution of course, is good public schools (though the home learner will still be top of the class).

EDIT: I'm British, we have 28 days holiday and overwork is perfectly acceptable here. Our schools are doing poorly because of a mediocre and highly proscriptive curriculum which has reduced the job to spoon-feeding photocopied worksheets, and puts off anyone intelligent from becoming a teacher (the pay is awful too). This is compounded by a severe over-dependence on standardised testing which has further reduced the job to spoon-feeding only the photocopied worksheet required to pass the next test, and resulted in massive grade inflation for over a decade. Rote learning is the only lending, and there is little to no actual understanding anymore. But people think that the government should fix education, as it is a public endeavour, even if this means admitting that the government don't have a clue and simply using public money to fund private schools (see Charter Schools) which is the latest experiment, and so far seem to be working.


"People in the US spend much more time working than those in almost any other developed country."

To your point, you will find this paper interesting:

Europeans Work To Live And Americans Live To Work

http://people.hmdc.harvard.edu/~akozaryn/myweb/docs/final_wo...

Abstract:

This paper compares the working hours and life satisfaction of Americans and Europeans using the World Values Survey, Eurobarometer and General Social Survey. The purpose is to explore the relationship between working hours and happiness in Europe and America. Previous research on the topic does not test the premise that working more makes Americans happier than Europeans. The findings suggest that Americans may be happier working more because they believe more than Europeans do that hard work is associated with success.


And yet the Danes are considered the happiest people in the world :)


Fascinating, thanks.


I don't know if you could say that the impetus is largely because of the brokenness of the American education system. Online education startups like Coursera, Udacity, etc. have a far reaching effect on the rest of the world too. I'm willing to conjecture that a majority of students on Coursera right now are not US citizens, and that the appeal of (quality) college material to the rest of the world is a big factor. There are huge implications for universities to take advantage of this to spread influence.


Because many feel the system to be broke and with little real chance of fixing it. However if you look through the history of the United States many of the very wealthy contributed to education.

Current age issues is that for having existed nearly forty years the Department of Education has presided over an eleven time increase in the number of public school employees while enrollment over the same time increased only a little over eight percent. Yet test score improvements are nearly flat. The joke in the city nearest me is, if you want to know if someone works for the school just look to see if they have relatives in political office. Its as bad as people getting jobs at the airport.

Simply put, the system does not work and going through the bureaucracy to fix it isn't panning out. Toss in the fact that in many districts the union is in total control of the local politicians. Look at how much money they pour into politics, in California for example over sixty million dollars is being poured into support of Prop 32. This money is essentially transferred directly from the tax payer to the unions to fund their political agenda because teachers have no choice in how their dues are spent let alone they have no choice in paying them. We allowed a system to be constructed where we pay with tax dollars an interest who then uses those dollars to get even more.

Think of how all that money would benefit education instead. Actually we spend too much on education based on the results.

Want to fix education? First get the political money out. Forbid unions from spending money on political campaigns directly or indirectly. Second, give schools systems more freedom in assigning teachers. Currently in our area staffing is based on the employee needs and not the student needs. Third, Hold parents accountable for disruptive children. Fourth, run the school year round. Fifth, quit wasting money on schools which are merely monuments to the politicians who have them built (half billion dollar schools? hundred million dollar schools? Really?)


An Indian billionaire donated ~2 billion to education.

I have always thought investment into education is the optimal strategy for increasing the rate of human progress against time.


Philanthropy is much bigger in the US than in the Nordic countries so there is much more money to go around. That being said there has traditionally been a feeling among the rich that they have already given their share to education through the high tax rate.

Historically construction has been the most popular type of philanthropic project. But in recent years the scope has been broadened a lot because the welfare state has had to retract some of its branches, and thus education has also risen in popularity.


Good education in the US is very expensive, unlike in Sweden. For those of us who believe that quality education for everyone is good for society, it means it's broken. Other people believe that it's better to have excellent education for those who can afford it, and marginal education for the rest. Those people would not say it's broken.


I'm Canadian. I moved to VA for a couple of years. My children went to school there and we thought it was excellent.

We moved to the Boston area for a couple of years. We thought the school system was excellent there too.

We found some level of parent involvement is required in both countries to help over the rough spots and fill in the holes of missed knowledge.

None of our children have gone to a US high school so I can't speak to that. Up until that point I don't see much of a difference between the two countries and have negligible complaints.

That being said, I think computer based learning with the teacher only used to get over tough spots is what I'd prefer. (We can't risk a country-specific online school)


As a data point, 15 percent of Swedish university funds come from private donations [1]. That's supposed to be equal to the US, though I imagine that other types of educational institutions get considerably less in Sweden.

[1]: http://www.sulf.se/Universitetslararen/Arkiv/2011/Nummer-101... (sv)


Pretty sure this view is correct. Philantropy in general isn't very big in Scandinavia (at least from a private level), but at least in Norway most of it ends up being directed at developing countries. I don't think I've ever heard of someone giving money to domestic education outside of religious communities.


Paul, you wrote, A lot of philanthropists in the US seem to become interested in education. . . . I wonder if it is largely an artifact of the brokenness of American schools rather than the universal importance of education.

In the countries I know best, philanthropists donate to K-12 education, just as they do in the United States. But in the countries I know best, the school system in general gets better results per dollar, from public or from private investment. You may have noticed one of my posts on HN in which I said that I first came to Hacker News after a Ph.D. mathematician who was in the same homeschooling support group as I was at the time recommended that I read your essay "Why Nerds Are Unpopular" (2003).

http://paulgraham.com/nerds.html

Later on, another friend recommended that I read "What You'll Wish You'd Known" (2005),

http://paulgraham.com/hs.html

and after that I made a habit of visiting your site to read your new essays. Somewhere in that process I followed the "News" link on your site and discovered Hacker News, and I see I registered my user name here about four years ago.

Because I discovered Hacker News through your interest in education issues, I especially comment here in threads about those issues. I was introduced to the formal literature on education reform after an assistant principal at the local junior high school in Wisconsin I had just moved to from Minnesota recommended that I read John Holt's book How Children Fail. (You will find it an interesting read if you have not read it before.) On my own, I then went to the public library and found other books on education reform such as Charles Silberman's Crisis in the Classroom (quite an interesting book forty years later, to see what has changed and what has not in schools in the United States and Britain, the two countries he compared), and very radical books like Ivan Illich's Deschooling Society (1971). I have been studying education reform ever since, and have several shelf-feet of books on the subject that I have actually read, from a wide variety of perspectives, in my home office. During my two three-year stays in Taiwan (1982-1985, and 1998-2001), I was very alert to educational issues there, and I also have a huge collection of Chinese-language textbooks at home. My law degree was motivated by a desire to understand the legal framework surrounding the United States school system, the better to work to improve it. I have testified to committees of the state Legislature in Minnesota on education issues multiple times. I'm currently on the state board of directors of a parent organization here devoted to improving education of gifted children, and my paid work is providing supplemental mathematics courses for able learners from ten counties in Minnesota.

So I've tried to walk the walk in the real world before talking the talk about education reform here on HN. I notice you wrote of

the brokenness of American schools

and I would not go that far. United States schools do not do as badly as they might. But I find that even when I say that United States schools underperform compared to the level of spending devoted to them,

http://www.oecd.org/pisa/49685503.pdf

that this has evoked a fight club response here on Hacker News, with a persistent claim (poorly evidenced, based on the prior probabilities) that the United States is doing as well as any other country in educating public school pupils, correcting for the demographic groups living in the United States. I don't buy that, on multiple grounds, and I remembered a little while ago that one reason that statement is implausible on its face is that school systems in almost all other parts of the world have to teach young people to be proficient in one or more second languages (including but not limited to English) while learning all their other K-12 subjects, while Americans who have an acquired knowledge of any noncognate language (as I do) are exceedingly rare. More specifically, American schools are underperforming in teaching the most advantaged members of American society,

http://educationnext.org/when-the-best-is-mediocre/

http://educationnext.org/young-gifted-and-neglected/

especially in mathematics,

http://educationnext.org/teaching-math-to-the-talented/

while not doing well by the least advantaged young people in American society either.

http://www.oecd.org/pisa/pisaproducts/pisa2009/48165173.pdf

http://www.ams.org/notices/200502/fea-kenschaft.pdf

So while I haven't used your word "broken," nor the word "failed" that other Hacker News participants have falsely ascribed to my keyboard, I think it is fair to say that United States schools underperform relative to the huge investment made in them.

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/education/2003-09-16-edu...

"'There are countries which don't get the bang for the bucks, and the U.S. is one of them,' said Barry McGaw, education director for the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which produced the annual review of industrialized nations."

http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/08/education-spend...

"As you can see, the United States is exactly on the line of best fit [on a scatterplot of country GDP and country means on reading test scores]. American students scored about as well as you’d expect them to if all you knew about them was their average standard of living."

If a philanthropist can encourage further research in and understanding of how the United States and other countries could do even better in results for their already large investments in K-12 schooling, that would be a good contribution to society. And you, Paul, I suppose have much interest in this as the father of a child born since I discovered your writings.

The George Lucas Educational Foundation already funds the Edutopia website

http://www.edutopia.org/

but I'm not aware of that website receiving much attention from anything but its National Public Radio underwriting messages. Maybe more money will help the site do a better job of nudging reform along, or maybe the foundation needs a new focus. Among the big-money philanthropies, I think the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has gradually stumbled upon some helpful approaches for genuine school improvement, after several false starts.


This should silence all the questions of what will happen to the Star Wars franchise, it doesn't matter. Doing good is much more important. We will never relive the past of our childhood in many ways, including seeing another good Star Wars film. Our children (and the world) will be better off because of it and the original should be re-released every generation for them to enjoy also. Good play George, good play.


Setting this aside for a much more interesting question: What application of $4B would, right now, generate the most utility for humanity? Or alternatively, for the US?


If you know the word "utility", the people who actually seriously try to figure out the answer to that question live at:

* http://www.givingwhatwecan.org/ * http://www.givewell.org/ * http://80000hours.org/

None of these groups recommend giving to the Gates Foundation, btw. GF is better than average but it's not in the league of the best.

(I honestly think that if Gates, Buffett, or Lucas truly deeply cared more about saving lives than anything, they'd just hand $10M to Givewell, and that as a test for $100M the next year. I don't see how anyone with $10B to give could possibly not think this was a good idea - there's more than enough Givewell track record to establish the point.)


Thanks for sharing these links. Honestly, charity isn't something I think much about, but have a poor opinion of. Nice to be reminded that good applications of it exist, and that it's measurable and assessable. The 80,000 Hours site in particular looks like a great resource.

Also quite a recommendation coming from you - never fails to amaze me the people you find posting on here.


Maybe its obvious to others, but I think most philanthropists want to make sure their donation is unmistakenly theirs, attributed to them and highlighted with their name. This way you maximise all those nice social benefits to giving. Just setting a hands-off donation to Givewell doesn't reap quite as much.


If one is looking at it that way: why does it have to be a hands-off donation? I'm sure there are myriad ways for such a donation to be used as PR material.


Highways – Is what you're looking for.

It's not sexy. No one will ever raise money for it. But nine out of ten African aid projects fail because the medicine or the personnel can't get to the people in need. Blanket the continent with highways and then maybe get started on plumbing.


lol.. i miss West Wing too.


We have a winner.


For the world, building school infrastructure/education of girls in cultures that are hostile to neutral to their education

For the US, replication and forking off improved variants of the Harlem Children's Zone somewhere other than Harlem

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlem_Childrens_Zone


Are we sure building schools will help the girls? http://80000hours.org/blog/100-let-s-stop-building-schools


You're right. It is a complex problem more akin to Christian missionaries who tried to bring their religion to the country that they visited. The country/culture might actively resist change because it threatens the status quo. Can't just build churches, have to build a following. And, as the Crusades showed, that can lead to aggression and war.


Read the article you linked, then read what wallflower wrote. Wallflower didn't have propose just throwing up buildings.



There's a lot of compelling study about early childhood education. I would fund large-scale pre-K efforts.


That sum might go a long way toward alternative energy research. A significant breakthrough in solar energy accumulation, storage, and transfer could drastically change the way of life for everyone on the planet.


That's an unanswerable question except on the individual level, since it depends on your values and priorities as an individual. You can certainly point to some uses and say "that's a total waste". But "humanity", as a group, doesn't have coherent goals.


Realize you are ill-equipped to answer this question, donate it to the Gates Foundation.


The first thing that pops to my mind would be eliminating homelessness by building affordable housing for the those at risk of homelessness, the homeless and the hard to house.


Homelessness has many more contributing factors than lack of affordable housing. That focusing on solving the symptoms, not the underlying problems.


My suggestion is a "Housing First" strategy. Getting a person off the street and into a safe home is an important first step toward solving the issues that made them homeless.



Bah. Another billionaire wasting money on education. The last thing we need to do is spend yet more money on the endless money pit that has become the American education system.

Well, it's his money; he can do whatever he wants. It's a shame to see this when there are so many other places the money might do some good.


To be fair (and for all I know you could be 100% correct), it has not yet been made clear how he plans to disburse this money.

Maybe he isn't going to do it in the wasteful ways you predict. Maybe he is.. time will tell.


Nothing is impossible, I suppose, but he's the latest in a long line of really rich people trying to address this problem in recent decades. The others have had virtually no impact. Personally, I think if anyone would have succeeded it would have been Gates.


"To help an inefficient, ill-located, unnecessary school is a waste...it is highly probable that enough money has been squandered on unwise educational projects to have built up a national system of higher education adequate to our needs, if the money had been properly directed to that end." - John D. Rockefeller

Source: Wiki


Indeed, it's not so much spending on education, it's spending it the same way education donatations have always been spent (university endowments, buildings, etc).


Couldn't agree more. The discrepancy between academia and industry is disgraceful. I just finished a particularly academic Masters in CS, and failed to learn a lot of skills that would have been useful in the real world - specifically languages like C#, python, or Ruby, big-data, server administration, parallel/distributed programming, etc. I'm not opposed to learning these skills on my own but it's annoying that I am not more prepared for industry.


Did you work BEFORE you went to school? I think a lot of this could be avoided by having kids take 1-2 years between high school and college to work. Then they would know what to study. It is kind of a catch-22 though.

I gravitated towards the theoretical in my B.S. and Masters subjects because that's what I liked. In retrospect I should have learned more about OS's and such. Though I learned it while working through self-study, so it worked out OK.

My education gave the impression that all computer scientists did was various kinds of linear algebra, whereas I don't think I've used linear algebra once in 10 years of professional programming, even working at a video game company, and Google (i.e. I've actually had jobs more likely to use math than most programming I would say)

On the other hand, I don't think you should be annoyed... theoretical foundations are worth learning. A lot of stuff you mention will be less important or commodified in some way in 10 years. Your education is supposed to last your whole life, not just prepare you for whatever's hot the decade after you graduate.


This is a great point, but the logistics are daunting. I'm starting to think the idead "university" education is something like this: 2 + 1 + 2. That awards the equivalent of two degrees. Even one liberal arts and one more technical in nature. with a paid, internship for 12 months in between. You get credit for the work done in the field, and then this is more cost effective and time-efficient than 4+2+2 for a masters (saves 3 years of time and 2 years of tuition). By the time you are done, you are much more likely to be ready to "hit the ground running". [1]

_________

[1] This proposal depends on having a highly challenging and good quality work experience (not entry level garbage job), which might also be a conideration for many Uni's to manage. It might not be possible at scale.


Yeah, that's closer to what I think would work. But it's actually not all that different than "co-op" programs. For engineering majors, it's common to have programs where you work at a company for 6 months in the middle of school instead of a semester of classes.

I happened not to take advantage of that because I was having fun in college. But I know people who did.

Really, CS majors shouldn't be complaining that they didn't learn any skills in college, because they learned about the halting problem and network flow rather than source control and automated testing. Logical thinking is a transferable skill. Liberal arts majors should the ones complaining!

The current system is somewhat broken in that a lot of smart kids get sucked into academia without realizing how little what they're doing matters in the professional world. But there are a lot of other systems that would be equally or more broken.

I think there are some schools with a mandatory coop program for engineers. I think Waterloo in Canada? Looking back I think that's pretty close to ideal... within 4 years you can't really do much more for a student.


Notice the S in that CS. Science degrees are generally just that, and political science students don't get gigs in city council, state government, and White House.

What you were looking for is more of a trade school skills experience, which some community colleges provide, particularly for languages.


I keep seeing this. The reality is compared to the number of CS graduates there are only a tiny, tiny number of jobs where you can sit around worrying about whether an algorithm is nlog(n) instead of n^2 or if a language is NP complete. It's just disingenuous to pretend the bulk of CS degree holders won't be looking for software development positions.

It wouldn't destroy the university system to teach these people some useful software engineering skills.


Of all the stuff you mentioned, the only things that might make sense in a CS MSc programme are big-data (assuming you're talking about the really interesting parts of it, and not a Hadoop cookbook), and parallel/distributed programming (again, assuming you're interested in designing distributed algorithms, etc). The rest are just skills, and do not belong in a CS MSc programme, particularly one you describe as 'particularly academic'.


Most people doing those things learned all of them on their own. If you need a class to learn your tools, how are you going to figure anything out when you get a job and on day 1 you have to solve a problem that their isn't a class for?


SF author David Brin has some unusual suggestions for philanthropic billionaires looking to immortalize themselves with a significant legacy. For example, build a third-world university system ($5B), fund a manned Mars mission ($25B), or create an annual prize for whisteblowers ($1M annually plus witness relocation).

http://www.davidbrin.com/eon.html


http://www.edutopia.org/mission-vision ( The George Lucas Educational Foundation )

"Our Vision

Our vision is of a new world of learning, a place where students and parents, teachers and administrators, policy makers and the people they serve are all empowered to change education for the better; a place where schools provide rigorous project-based learning, social-emotional learning, and access to new technology; a place where innovation is the rule, not the exception; a place where students become lifelong learners and develop 21st-century skills, especially three fundamental skills:

-how to find information

-how to assess the quality of information

-how to creatively and effectively use information to accomplish a goal

It’s a place of inspiration and aspiration based on the urgent belief that improving education is the key to the survival of the human race. We call this place Edutopia, and we provide not just the vision for this new world of learning but the real-world information and community connections to make it a reality."


George, education is currently in turmoil. A Jedi Benefactor with $4B could help restore balance. Please consider Khan Academy. The padawans would be grateful.


I don't think Khan Academy is constrained by capital.


If I had this kind of money to fund education, I think I'd set up my own voucher systems in some inner cities. I think real choice and the real competition it can bring about are the only way to fix education in this country.


Good for him. I'm picturing him realizing that he's getting older, and that he can either keep spending money on kid's movies, or he can try to make a real difference in the world.

Education is a great thing to focus on too. My personal belief is that a lot of our social and political problems stem from a population that, on the whole, lacks critical thinking and analysis skills. When one can't think critically, emotion and fear take over, and people vote against their own interests or slide into apathy. If Lucas is planning to invest in high-school-and-below-level stuff, he might have a chance at changing that for the next generation.


This genuinely makes me hate myself a little less for the fifty bucks I threw at the last three movies.


Interactive movies. Psychiatry and schools, two birds w one stone.


Good Guy George


But what about Jar Jar Binks! Rabble rabble, hate hate!

---

I bet the internet feels silly at this point.


Jar Jar Binks Memorial Film School.


That's so foolish, he should be investing it into the ultimate medical technology of this generation, focus ultraound http://www.fusfoundation.org/MRgFUS-Overview/about-focused-u...


What's with all the posts on this?


What do you mean? It's a hugely important low cost high impact tech like 3d printers that doesn't get much attention. Why does that offend you?


I think it is because everyone thinks they know where money is best spent for research. There are tons of highly beneficial areas out there that could do great things with more funds.


That's the thing, it's not research. It's like 3d printers, there should be an ultrasound machine in every home. I'd like to see hackers work on it like they did with personal computers so the ultrasound revolution gets going. This is the crowd that can make it happen quickly (ultrasound revolution - daily cancer destruction, fat burning, localized noninvasive growth factor injections for heart/lung/brain regrowth)


dlDaily cancer destruction is quackery. Even if ultrasound kills cancer cells selectively (which is very questionable), it also kills health cells. Health cells don't grow and thus the cancer quickly takes its place. Prolonged treatment causes a feedback scheme which quickly leaves cancer.


It also offers the opportunity for precise delivery of medicine, so that you can get some growth factor there (like extracellular matrix pixie dust) and get tissue growth there as well.

Calling it quackery is absurd, thousands of people have treated with it already and companies like GE are investing in it. You must be retarded.


Eventually you'll grow out of this fear of death. If you are so obsessed with focus ultrasound, invest in it yourself.


I disagree, why will he eventually grow out of his fear of death? I think if the majority of the worlds population didn't believe in a god, afterlife, mother nature or something like the spirit world then we would have millions of people with a active fear of death.

The only people that truly don't fear real death are atheists that have made peace with that fact.

I am a atheist that has not out grown a fear of death, but I can't relate to anyone I know because they all say the same as you, "you will eventually out grow that fear", then I ask what if I am right and when we die we are forever gone and there is no afterlife? They say "Well that is unlikely, there is something else out there" So everyone I know doesn't fear death, because they think they will never truly die anyway.

Like I said, the only people on earth that really do not fear death are a small amount of the atheist population that have come to accept death as inevitable. But what I think is that if all of humanity was atheist, we would be pouring billions in immortality research.


I'd posit that the fear of death is really the fear of change.

You don't truly want to live forever, and lose everyone you know and will ever know. If everyone lives forever, then children will never grow.

Once you truly accept that change in not only inevitable, but extremely desirable, the fear of death is greatly diminished.


Death is completely painless non-existence. Absolutely nothing to fear about it.


I guess its the fear of non-existence. Of course once we are dead its not a issue, but whilst we are alive its something on some of our minds. (not wanting the party to end)


Yeah, fair enough, I've struggled with the same fear. I want to stay alive as long as possible too.


There's no way you could know that for sure.


Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome. Isaac Asimov


The page he points to heralds it as a form of non-invasive surgery (from what I skimmed). Based on your comment I was expecting some sort of immortality solution. Are you saying that investing in medical technology is a bad investment because we should just 'accept death?'


No, I'm all for the technology. It's just that the particular poster has a habit of banging on about how we need immortality research right now. Curing/alleviating illness and promoting immortality and two different things.


Still won't make up for the prequels, sorry George.


I disagree.


Enough to attend Harvard for a few years.




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