Four short links: 2 January 2012

Finland Schools, Open Source Prezi, Debit Cards for Hackers, and Sensor Startups

  1. What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland’s School Success (The Atlantic) — Accountability is something that is left when responsibility has been subtracted. This is a magnificent article, you should read it. (via Juha Saarinen)
  2. impress.js (github) — MIT-licensed Prezi-like presentation tool, built using CSS3 3d transforms. I’ve never been happy with the Prezi because I fear data lock-in. This might be a way forward. (via Hacker News)
  3. Facebook Offers Debit Cards to White Hat Hackers (CNet) — paying vulnerability bounties without handing out cash. I figure it’s the start of a loyalty program. Will Facebook learn what the hackers spent the money on? Interesting possibilities opened up here.
  4. Green Goose — interesting startup selling consumer sensor hardware. My intuition is that we’re platforming too soon: that we need a few individual great applications of the sensors to take off, then we can worry about rationalising hardware in our house. The biggest problem seems to me that we’re talking about “sticking sensors on milk cartons” rather than solving an actual problem someone has. (“There are no sensors on my milk cartons” is not an oft-heard lament)
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  • Thomas54

    The Finnish education piece was most interesting. Very relevant to the UK, also.

    Thanks for the link.

  • Gwen Jenkins

    I don’t buy the final argument of the education piece though. The definitions of diversity and homogeneity are too shallow. I suspect if you looked at Finland immigrants, you’d see that they’re expected to become Finnish very quickly–sacrificing their native customs and values to the privilege of living in Finnland. That was the “American melting pot” theory of the early 20th century, and educational theory emphasized erasing those differences. But the “melting pot” idea was rejected in the ’60s and ’70s and educational theory followed suit.

    The article compares immigration in each country. But descendants of even the earliest immigrants to American often still identify with their original nationality (my mother’s family does things “because we’re English,” although we were here for the Revolution); does Finland have African-Finns and Italian-Finns, or by the 2nd generation are they just Finns?