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Remarks in Hudson
Remarks in Hudson, NY
My last three books were concerned with the physical arrangement of life in our nation, in particular suburban sprawl, the most destructive development pattern the world has ever seen, and perhaps the greatest misallocation of resources the world has ever known.
The global peak oil production event will change everything about how we live. It will challenge all of our assumptions. It will compel us to do things differently - whether we like it or not.
Nobody knows for sure when the absolute peak year of global oil production will occur. You can only tell for sure in the "rear-view mirror," seeing the data after the fact. The US oil production peak in 1970 was not really recognized until the numbers came in over the next couple of years. By 1973 it was pretty clear that US oil production was in decline - the numbers were there for anyone to see, because the US oil industry was fairly transparent. They had to report their production to regulatory agencies. And low and behold American production was going down - despite the fact that we were selling more cars and more suburban houses. Of course we had been making up for falling production by increasing our oil imports.
But it was more than that. The OPEC embargo was effective precisely because it was now recognized by everybody that the US had passed its all time oil production peak. We no longer had surplus capacity. We weren't the swing producer anymore, OPEC was. We were pumping flat-out just to stay in place, and depending on imports to make up for the rest.
That was a tectonic shift in world economics.
That's exactly when OPEC seized pricing control of the oil markets. We had a very rough decade. 20 percent interest rates. "Stagflation." High unemployment. Stock market in the toilet.
We had a second oil crisis in 1979 when the shah of Iran was overthrown. The 1970s closed on a note of desperation. Everything we did in America was tied to oil and foreigners were jerking our economy around, and it led the worst recession since the 1930s.
But we got over it and a lot of Americans drew the false conclusion that the these oil crises were a shuck and jive on the part of business and Arab oil sheiks.
How did we get over it? The oil crises of the 70s prompted a frantic era of drilling, and the last great oil discoveries came on line in the 1980s - chiefly the North Sea fields of England and Norway, and the Alaska fields of the North Slope and Prudhoe Bay. They literally saved the west's ass for 20 years. In fact, so much oil flowed out of them that the markets were glutted, and by the era of Bill Clinton, oil prices were headed down to as low as $10 a barrel.
It was all an illusion. The North Sea and Alaska are now well into depletion - they were drilled with the newest technology and - guess what - we depleted them more efficiently! England is now becoming a new oil importer again after a 20 year fiesta. The implications are very grim.
Now, some of the most knowledgeable geologists in the world believe we have reached the global oil production peak. Unlike the US oil industry, the foreign producers do not give out their production data so transparently. We may never actually see any reliable figures. The global production peak may only show up in the strange behavior of the markets.
The global peak is liable to manifest as a "bumpy plateau." Prices will wobble. Markets will wobble - as the oil markets have been doing the past year. International friction will increase, especially around the places where the oil is - and two-thirds of the world's remaining oil is in the states around the Persian Gulf where, every week, a half dozen US soldiers and many more Iraqis are getting blown up, beheaded, or shot.
The "bumpy plateau" is where all kind of market signals and political signals are telling you that "something is happening, Mr. Jones, but you don't know what it is." We'll only know in the rear-view mirror.
As of the past 12 months, Saudi Arabia seems to have lost the ability to function as 'swing producer.' The swing producer is the one with a lot of excess supply, who can just open the valves and let more oil out on the world markets, which inevitably drives the price down. Saudi Arabia has kept saying they would produce a million more barrels a day, but there's no evidence that they really have.
Well, the good news is that Saudi Arabia and OPEC can no longer set the price of oil. The bad news is that nobody can. When there is no production surplus in the world, that's a pretty good sign that the world is at peak.
Princeton Geologist Kenneth Deffeyes says that peak production will occur in 2005. We're there. Others, like Colin Campbell, former chief geologist for Shell Oil, put it more conservatively as between now and 2007. But by any measure of rational planning or policy-making, these differences are insignificant.
The meaning of the oil peak and its enormous implications are generally misunderstood even by those who have heard about it - and this includes the mainstream corporate media and the Americans who make plans or policy.
The world does not have to run out of oil or natural gas for severe instabilities, network breakdowns, and systems failures to occur. All that is necessary is for world production capacity to reach its absolute limit - a point at which no increased production is possible and the long arc of depletion commences, with oil production then falling by a few percentages steadily every year thereafter. That's the global oil peak: the end of absolute increased production and beginning of absolute declining production.
And, of course, as global oil production begins to steadily decline, year after year, the world population is only going to keep growing - at least for a while - and demand for oil will remain very robust. The demand line of the graph will pass the production line, and in doing so will set in motion all kinds of problems in the systems we rely on for daily life.
One huge implication of the oil peak is that industrial societies will never again enjoy the 2 to 7 percent annual economic growth that has been considered healthy for over 100 years. This amounts to the industrialized nations of the world finding themselves in a permanent depression.
Long before the oil actually depletes we will endure world-shaking political disturbances and economic disruptions. We will see globalism-in-reverse. Globalism was never an 'ism,' by the way. It was not a belief system. It was a manifestation of the 20-year-final-blowout of cheap oil. Like all economic distortions, it produced economic perversions. It allowed gigantic, predatory organisms like WalMart to spawn and reproduce at the expense of more cellular fine-grained economic communities.
The end of globalism will be hastened by international competition over the world's richest oil-producing regions.
We are already seeing the first military adventures over oil as the US attempts to pacify the Middle East in order to assure future supplies. This is by no means a project we can feel confident about. The Iraq war has only been the overture to more desperate contests ahead. Bear in mind that the most rapidly industrializing nation in the world, China, is geographically closer to Caspian Region and the Middle East than we are. The Chinese can walk into these regions, and someday they just might.
Some of you may be aware that the US faces an imminent crisis with natural gas, at least as threatening as the problems we face over oil. By natural gas I mean methane, the stuff we run our furnaces and kitchen stoves on.
Right here I am compelled to inform you that the prospects for alternative fuels are poor. We suffer from a kind of Jiminy Cricket syndrome in this country. We believe that if you wish for something, it will come true. Right now a lot of people - including people who ought to know better - are wishing for some miracle technology to save our collective ass.
There is not going to be a hydrogen economy. The hydrogen economy is a fantasy. It is not going to happen. We may be able to run a very few things on hydrogen - but we are not going to replace the entire US automobile fleet with hydrogen fuel cell cars.
" Getting hydrogen
Nor will we replace the current car fleet with electric cars or natural gas cars. We're just going to use cars a lot less. Fewer trips. Cars will be a diminished presence in our lives.
Wind power and solar electric will not produce significant amounts of power within the context of the way we live now.
Ethanol and bio-deisel are a joke. They require more energy to produce than they give back. You know how you get ethanol: you produce massive amounts of corn using huge oil and gas 'inputs' of fertilizer and pesticide and then you use a lot more energy to turn the corn into ethanol. It's a joke.
No combination of alternative fuel systems currently known will allow us to run what we are running, the way we're running it, or even a substantial fraction of it.
The downscaling of America is a tremendous and inescapable project. It is the master ecological project of our time. We will have to do it whether we like it or not. We are not prepared.
Downscaling America doesn't mean we become a lesser people. It means that the scale at which we conduct the work of American daily life will have to be adjusted to fit the requirements of a post-globalist, post-cheap-oil age.
I'm not optimistic about most of our big cities. They are going to have to contract severely. They achieved their current scale during the most exuberant years of the cheap oil fiesta, and they will have enormous problems remaining viable afterward.
What goes for the scale of places will be equally true for the scale of social organization. All large-scale enterprises, including many types of corporations and governments will function very poorly in the post-cheap oil world. Do not make assumptions based on things like national chain retail continuing to exist as it has.
Wal Mart is finished. [More below]
Many of my friends and colleagues live in fear of the federal government turning into Big Brother tyranny. I'm skeptical Once the permanent global energy crisis really gets underway, the federal government will be lucky if it can answer the phones. Same thing for Microsoft or even the Hannaford supermarket chain.
All indications are that American life will have to be reconstituted along the lines of traditional towns, villages, and cities much reduced in their current scale. These will be the most successful places once we are gripped by the profound challenge of a permanent reduced energy supply.
We are entering a period of economic hardship and declining incomes. The increment of new development will be very small, probably the individual building lot.
The action in the years ahead will be in renovating existing towns and villages, and connecting them with regions of productive agriculture. Where the big cities are concerned, there is simply no historical precedent for the downscaling they will require. The possibilities for social and political distress ought to be obvious, though. The process is liable to be painful and disorderly.
The post cheap oil future will be much more about staying where you are than about being mobile. And, unless we rebuild a US passenger railroad network,a lot of people will not be going anywhere. Today, we have a passenger railroad system that the Bulgarians would be ashamed of.
Don't make too many plans to design parking structures. The post cheap oil world is not going to be about parking, either.
But it will be about the design and assembly and reconstituting of places that are worth caring about and worth being in. When you have to stay where you are and live locally, you will pay a lot more attention to the quality of your surroundings, especially if you are not moving through the landscape at 50 miles-per-hour.
Some regions of the country will do better than others. The sunbelt will suffer in exact proportion to the degree that it prospered artificially during the cheap oil blowout of the late 20th century. I predict that the Southwest will become substantially depopulated, since they will be short of water as well as gasoline and natural gas. I'm not optimistic about the Southeast either, for different reasons. I think it will be subject to substantial levels of violence as the grievances of the formerly middle class boil over and combine with the delusions of Pentecostal Christian extremism.
All regions of the nation will be affected by the vicissitudes of this Long Emergency, but I think New England and the Upper Midwest have somewhat better prospects. I regard them as less likely to fall into lawlessness, anarchy, or despotism, and more likely to salvage the bits and pieces of our best social traditions and keep them in operation at some level.
There is a fair chance that the nation will disaggregate into autonomous regions before the 21st century is over, as a practical matter if not officially. Life will be very local.
These challenges are immense. We will have to rebuild local networks of economic and social relations that we allowed to be systematically dismantled over the past fifty years. In the process, our communities may be able to reconstitute themselves.
The economy of the mid 21st century may center on agriculture. Not information. Not the digital manipulation of pictures, not services like selling cheeseburgers and entertaining tourists. Farming. Food production. The transition to this will be traumatic, given the destructive land-use practices of our time, and the staggering loss of knowledge. We will be lucky if we can feed ourselves.
The age of the 3000-mile-caesar salad will soon be over. Food production based on massive petroleum inputs, on intensive irrigation, on gigantic factory farms in just a few parts of the nation, and dependent on cheap trucking will not continue. We will have to produce at least some of our food closer to home. We will have to do it with fewer fossil-fuel-based fertilizers and pesticides on smaller-scaled farms. Farming will have to be much more labor-intensive than it is now. We will see the return of an entire vanished social class - the homegrown American farm laboring class.
We are going to have to reorganize everyday commerce in this nation from the ground up. The whole system of continental-scale big box discount and chain store shopping is headed for extinction, and sooner than you might think. It will go down fast and hard. Americans will be astonished when it happens.
Operations like WalMart have enjoyed economies of scale that were attained because of very special and anomalous historical circumstances: a half century of relative peace between great powers. And cheap oil - absolutely reliable supplies of it, since the OPEC disruptions of the 1970s.
It will only take mild-to-moderate disruptions in the supply and price of gas to put WalMart and all operations like it out of business. And it will happen. As that occurs, America will have to make other arrangements for the distribution and sale of ordinary products.
It will have to be reorganized at the regional and the local scale. It will have to be based on moving merchandise shorter distances at multiple increments and probably by multiple modes of transport. It is almost certain to result in higher costs for the things we buy, and fewer choices of things. We are not going to rebuild the cheap oil manufacturing facilities of the 20th century.
We will have to recreate the lost infrastructures of local and regional commerce, and it will have to be multi-layered. These were the people that WalMart systematically put out of business over the last thirty years. The wholesalers, the jobbers, the small-retailers. They were economic participants in their communities; they made decisions that had to take the needs of their communities into account. they were employers who employed their neighbors. They were a substantial part of the middle-class of every community in America and all of them together played civic roles in our communities as the caretakers of institutions - the people who sat on the library boards, and the hospital boards, and bought the balls and bats and uniforms for the little league teams.
A lot of the knowledge needed to do local retail has been lost, because in the past the ownership of local retail businesses was often done by families. The knowledge and skills for doing it was transmitted from one generation to the next. It will not be so easy to get that back. But we have to do it.
Education is another system that will probably have to change. Our centralized schools are too big and too dependent on fleets of buses. Children will have to live closer to the schools they attend. School will have to be reorganized on a neighborhood basis, at a much smaller scale, in smaller buildings -- and they will not look like medium security prisons.
The psychology of previous investment is a huge obstacle to the reform of education. We poured fifty years of our national wealth into gigantic sprawling centralized schools - but that investment itself does not guarantee that these schools will be able to function in a future that works very differently.
Change is coming whether we like it or not; whether we are prepared for it or not. If we don't begin right away to make better choices then we will face political, social, and economic disorders that will shake this nation to its foundation.
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Law professor bans laptops in class, over student protest
Law professor bans laptops in class, over student protest
Posted 3/21/2006 7:44 PM
MEMPHIS (AP) A group of University of Memphis law students are passing a petition against a professor who banned laptop computers from her classroom because she considers them a distraction in lectures.
On March 6, Professor June Entman warned her first-year law students by e-mail to bring pens and paper to take notes in class.
"My main concern was they were focusing on trying to transcribe every word that was I saying, rather than thinking and analyzing," Entman said Monday. "The computers interfere with making eye contact. You've got this picket fence between you and the students."
The move didn't sit well with the students, who have begun collecting signatures against the move and tried to file a complaint with the American Bar Association. The complaint, based on an ABA rule for technology at law schools, was dismissed.
"Our major concern is the snowball effect," said law school student Jennifer Bellott. "If you open the door for one professor, you open the door for every other professor to do the same thing."
"If we continue without laptops, I'm out of here. I'm gone; I won't be able to keep up," said student Cory Winsett, who said his hand-written notes are incomplete and less organized.
Law School Dean James Smoot said the decision was up to the professor, but the conflict has caused faculty to consider technology issues as the school prepares to move to a more advanced downtown facility in coming years.
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Windows Is So Slow, but Why?
Windows Is So Slow, but Why? />/>
Back in 1998, the federal government declared that its landmark antitrust suit against the Microsoft Corporation was not merely a matter of law enforcement, but a defense of innovation. The concern was that the company was wielding its market power and its strategy of bundling more and more features into its dominant Windows desktop operating system to thwart competition and stifle innovation.
Eight years later, long after Microsoft lost and then settled the antitrust case, it turns out that Windows is indeed stifling innovation at Microsoft.
The company's marathon effort to come up with the a new version of its desktop operating system, called Windows Vista, has repeatedly stalled. Last week, in the latest setback, Microsoft conceded that Vista would not be ready for consumers until January, missing the holiday sales season, to the chagrin of personal computer makers and electronics retailers and those computer users eager to move up from Windows XP, a five-year-old product.
In those five years, Apple Computer has turned out four new versions of its Macintosh operating system, beating Microsoft to market with features that will be in Vista, like desktop search, advanced 3-D graphics and "widgets," an array of small, single-purpose programs like news tickers, traffic reports and weather maps.
So what's wrong with Microsoft? There is, after all, no shortage of smart software engineers working at the corporate campus in Redmond, Wash. The problem, it seems, is largely that Microsoft's past success and its bundling strategy have become a weakness.
Windows runs on 330 million personal computers worldwide. Three hundred PC manufacturers around the world install Windows on their machines; thousands of devices like printers, scanners and music players plug into Windows computers; and tens of thousands of third-party software applications run on Windows. And a crucial reason Microsoft holds more than 90 percent of the PC operating system market is that the company strains to make sure software and hardware that ran on previous versions of Windows will also work on the new one compatibility, in computing terms.
As a result, each new version of Windows carries the baggage of its past. As Windows has grown, the technical challenge has become increasingly daunting. Several thousand engineers have labored to build and test Windows Vista, a sprawling, complex software construction project with 50 million lines of code, or more than 40 percent larger than Windows XP.
"Windows is now so big and onerous because of the size of its code base, the size of its ecosystem and its insistence on compatibility with the legacy hardware and software, that it just slows everything down," observed David B. Yoffie, a professor at the Harvard Business School. "That's why a company like Apple has such an easier time of innovation."
Microsoft certainly understands the problem, the need to change and the potential long-term threat to its business from rivals like Apple, the free Linux operating system, and from companies like Google that distribute software as a service over the Internet.
In an internal memo last October, Ray Ozzie, chief technical officer, who joined Microsoft last year, wrote, "Complexity kills. It sucks the life out of developers, it makes products difficult to plan, build and test, it introduces security challenges and it causes end-user and administrator frustration."
Last Monday afternoon, James Allchin, the longtime engineering executive who leads the Vista team, held a meeting with 75 Windows managers and senior engineers to discuss the status of Vista. On Tuesday morning, Mr. Allchin met with a handful of his lieutenants and told them of the decision to push back the consumer introduction, a move that was announced publicly later that day, after the close of the stock market.
Brad Goldberg, a general manager of Windows program management, who attended the Tuesday morning meeting, said he was not surprised, because he had been involved in the decision. "But it's a different place than Microsoft a few years ago would have wound up," he said.
Like other Microsoft executives, Mr. Goldberg bristles at the notion that little innovative work has come out of the Windows group since XP. In the last five years, he said, Microsoft has released two versions of the Windows Tablet PC software intended for pen-based notebook computers, and four versions of Windows Media Center. To combat viruses plaguing Windows, much of the engineering team focused for 18 months on fixing security flaws for a downloadable "service pack" in 2004.
"The perception that nothing new has come out of the Windows group since XP is just so far from the truth," Mr. Goldberg said.
But last Thursday, Microsoft reorganized the management of its Windows division. Steven Sinofsky, 40, a senior vice president, was placed in charge of product planning and engineering for Windows and Windows Live, a new Web service that lets consumers manage their e-mail accounts, instant messaging, blogs, photos and podcasts in one site.
Mr. Sinofsky, a former technical assistant to Bill Gates, the Microsoft chairman, was one of the early people in the company to recognize the importance of the Internet in the 1990's. He comes to the Windows job from heading Microsoft's big Office division, where he was known for bringing out new versions of the Office suite Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and other offerings on schedule every two or three years.
The move is seen as an effort to bring greater discipline to the Windows group. "But this doesn't seem to do anything to address the core Windows problem; Windows is too big and too complex," said Michael A. Cusumano, a professor at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The Vista delay, Microsoft executives said, was only a matter of a few more weeks to improve quality further, not attributable to any single flaw and done to make sure all its industry partners were ready when the product was introduced. Vista will be ready for large corporate customers in November, while the consumer rollout is being pushed back to January 2007.
Mr. Allchin conceded in an interview that the decision was "a bit painful," but he insisted it was the "right thing." Mr. Allchin, 54, will continue to work on Vista until it ships and then retire, as he said he would last year.
Microsoft will not say so, but antitrust considerations may have played a role in the decision that Mr. Allchin called the right thing to do. As part of its antitrust settlement, Microsoft vowed to treat PC makers even-handedly, after evidence in the trial that Microsoft had rewarded some PC makers with better pricing or more marketing help in exchange for giving Microsoft products an edge over competing software.
In the last few weeks, Microsoft met with major PC makers and retailers to discuss Vista. Hewlett-Packard, the second-largest PC maker after Dell, is a leader in the consumer market. Yet unlike Dell, Hewlett-Packard sells extensively through retailers, whose orders must be taken and shelves stocked. That takes time.
Hewlett-Packard, according to a person close to the company who asked not to be identified because he was told the information confidentially, informed Microsoft that unless Vista was locked down and ready by August, Hewlett-Packard would be at a disadvantage in the year-end sales season.
Vista was also held up because the project was restarted in the summer of 2004. By then, it became clear to Mr. Allchin and others inside Microsoft that the way they were trying to build the new version of Windows, then called Longhorn, would not work. Two years' worth of work was scrapped, and some planned features were dropped, like an intelligent data storage system called WinFS.
The new work, Microsoft decided, would take a new approach. Vista was built more in small modules that then fit together like Lego blocks, making development and testing easier to manage.
"They did the right thing in deciding that the Longhorn code was a tangled, hopeless mess, and starting over," said Mr. Cusumano of M.I.T. "But Vista is still an enormous, complex structure."
Skeptics like Mr. Cusumano say that fixing the Windows problem will take a more radical approach, a willingness to walk away from its legacy. One instructive example, they say, is what happened at Apple.
Remember that Steven P. Jobs came back to Apple because the company's effort to develop an ambitious new operating system, codenamed Copland, had failed. Mr. Jobs convinced Apple to buy his company Next Inc. for $400 million in December 1996 for its operating system.
It took Mr. Jobs and his team years to retool and tailor the Next operating system into what became Macintosh OS X. When it arrived in 2001, the new system essentially walked away from Apple's previous operating system, OS 9. Software applications written for OS 9 would run on an OS X machine, but only by firing up the old operating system separately.
The approach was somewhat ungainly, but it allowed Apple to move to a new technology, a more stable, elegantly designed operating system. The one sacrifice was that OS X would not be compatible with old Macintosh programs, a step Microsoft has always refused to take with Windows.
"Microsoft feels it can't get away with breaking compatibility," said Mendel Rosenblum, a Stanford University computer scientist. "All of their applications must continue to run, and from an architectural point of view that's a very painful thing."
It is also costly in terms of time, money and manpower. Where Microsoft has thousands of engineers on its Windows team, Apple has a lean development group of roughly 350 programmers and fewer than 100 software testers, according to two Apple employees who spoke on the condition that they not be identified.
And Apple had the advantage of building on software from university laboratories, an experimental version of the Unix operating system developed at Carnegie Mellon University and a free variant of Unix from the University of California, Berkeley. That helps explain why a small team at Apple has been able to build an operating system rich in features with nearly as many lines of code as Microsoft's Windows.
And Apple, which makes operating systems that run only on its own computers, does not have to work with the massive business ecosystem of Microsoft, with its hundreds of PC makers and thousands of third-party software companies.
That ballast is also Microsoft's great strength, and a reason industry partners and computer users stick with Windows, even if its size and strategy slow innovation. Unless Microsoft can pick up the pace, "consumers may simply end up with a more and more inferior operating system over time, which is sad," said Mr. Yoffie of the Harvard Business School.
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"É muito mais fácil ensinar matemática e ciência do que artes"
PÚBLICO - EDIÇÃO IMPRESSA - SOCIEDADE
Director: José Manuel Fernandes
Directores-adjuntos: Nuno Pacheco e Manuel Carvalho POL nº 5823 | Terça, 7 de Março de 2006
"É muito mais fácil ensinar matemática e ciência do que artes"
Conferência da UNESCO reúne centenas de cientistas, professores e artistas. Separação dos processos cognitivo e emocional é "completamente injustificada"
Nas últimas décadas o ensino tem privilegiado o desenvolvimento das áreas cognitivas, esquecendo que "um currículo escolar que integra as artes e as humanidades é imprescindível à formação de bons cidadãos", disse ontem o cientista português António Damásio, durante a Conferência Mundial de Educação Artística, que a UNESCO promove em Lisboa até quinta-feira.
Para este investigador na área das neurociências, que interveio na sessão de abertura depois do director-geral da UNESCO, Koichiro Matsuura, e do Presidente da República, Jorge Sampaio, é necessário que a educação evolua de acordo com o princípio de que separar o processo cognitivo do emocional é "um erro".
"A divisão é completamente injustificada", defende Damásio. "A ciência e a matemática são muito importantes, mas a arte e as humanidades são imprescindíveis à imaginação e ao pensamento intuitivo que estão por trás do que é novo. As capacidades cognitivas não bastam."
Para o cientista, que diz compreender que os governos invistam na matemática e nas ciências por considerarem que isso os torna competitivos, "não devemos abdicar da educação artística só porque o tempo e os recursos são limitados".
Educar, acrescenta, envolve a mente e o cérebro.
Conceitos que estão habitualmente associados às artes - estética, belo, prazer - são na realidade "transversais". Não é por acaso, garante Damásio, que Einstein falava na beleza de uma demonstração matemática ou no facto de as equações serem "feias".
Apesar de serem muito diferentes um do outro - "o nosso processo emocional não se desenvolve com a mesma rapidez do cognitivo" -, são ambos fundamentais. "As emoções qualificam as ideias e as acções, sem elas não reflectiríamos", explica, acrescentando que a investigação actual defende que o desenvolvimento moral e ético se baseia em emoções. A poesia, a dança, o teatro ou as artes visuais podem ser usados para formar e treinar o espírito reflexivo, "o único que vale a pena ter".
A importância da imaginação
António Damásio não tem dúvidas em afirmar que "é muito mais fácil ensinar matemática e ciência do que artes", posição com que Ken Robinson, especialista britânico em educação artística e criatividade, concorda. "As artes exigem tempo e um tipo de empenho diferente", diz. "Muitas vezes os professores não estão lá para ensinar os alunos, mas para ensinar matérias. A preparação para as artes não é tão boa como a retórica sobre as artes." Robinson, que hoje vive nos Estados Unidos e é consultor do J. Paul Getty Center de Los Angeles, defendeu em Lisboa que a imaginação é tão importante para os alunos do século XXI como os números e as letras, apesar de as artes estarem quase sempre no fim da lista de prioridades do ensino escolar público.
"Temos tendência a separar as artes da ciência, quando na realidade são complementares. Os grandes cientistas são incrivelmente criativos e intuitivos. O processo científico valida, demonstra. É a imaginação que cria." Para Robinson, as artes devem ser vistas como motor de transformação do sistema de ensino: "Gastamos muito tempo e energia a tentar fazer com que o actual sistema de ensino assimile as artes, quando devíamos era pensar em formas de criar, através delas, um sistema novo." Lucinda Canelashttp://jornal.publico.clix.pt/noticias.asp?a=2006&m=03&d=07&uid=&id=67080&sid=7377
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Ensino artístico é fundamental, António Damásio
Ensino artístico é fundamental
2006/03/06 | 13:04
E não deve ser secundarizado face à Matemática e outras ciências, diz António Damásio
O neurocientista António Damásio considerou hoje que o ensino artístico é fundamental para o desenvolvimento de bons cidadãos e que o seu papel não deve ser secundarizado nas escolas face à Matemática e outras ciências exactas, noticia a agência Lusa.
O investigador radicado nos Estados Unidos, falava na Conferência Mundial de Educação Artística, que hoje se iniciou no Centro Cultural de Belém, em Lisboa, onde durante quatro dias cerca de 700 participantes de 150 países vão estar reunidos para debater a educação artística a convite da UNESCO.
«O teatro, a literatura, a poesia e outras artes criam emoções inesquecíveis e a sua aprendizagem é muito importante na criatividade, no desenvolvimento de capacidades ligadas à inovação», argumentou o investigador durante a primeira conferência deste encontro.
Director do Instituto do Cérebro e da Criartividade da Universidade da Califórnia, António Damásio é professor de psicologia, neurociência e neurologia.
Na sua intervenção, intitulada «Cérebro, Arte e Educação», o cientista alertou que, no mundo actual da globalização e grande velocidade de informação, as aptidões cognitivas das novas gerações desenvolvem-se muito mais rapidamente do que as suas capacidades emocionais e estas últimas são essenciais para a formação de cidadãos.
«Sabemos hoje que as crianças afectadas nos seus sistemas emocionais não vão conseguir aprender as convenções sociais em adultos», disse, acrescentando que a sociedade não deve subalternizar o plano cognitivo ao plano emocional.
António Damásio considerou «preocupante» o desfasamento entre o desenvolvimento do lado cognitivo, normalmente mais valorizado porque é associado à razão, e o lado emocional entre as crianças e jovens nas sociedades actuais e as suas consequências futuras.http://www.portugaldiario.iol.pt/noticia.php?id=654294&div_id=291
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