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Hawai’i’s Shared Futures By Vision Foresight Strategy

Creating Stem Cells

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Two groups of researchers have announced the ability to create human stem cells from human skin cells. The teams, from Kyoto University in Japan and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, both used techniques inserting four genes into existing skin cells, causing the cells to turn into a pluripotent state. Scientists have good hopes that once other issues are worked out, researchers will be able to easily create stem cells to work with, eliminating the need for the ethical debates around the current sources of stem cells, namely embryos.

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Filed under: Biology

Learning Languages and Social Networks

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Live Mocha, a new site still in testing phase, is designed to help individuals learn new languages online. The browser-based service (meaning you don’t need any downloads or additional tools) draws upon the characteristics of social networks to connect learners with native speakers online. Thus, in addition to the more traditional self-learning tools also available on the site, the service provides the access to a global network of individuals looking to share knowledge and learn from each other.

Thoughts: One of the sadder examples of America’s less-than-ambitious or innovative approach to general education is the traditional lack of emphasis on developing a multilingual citizenry. Aside from the obvious benefits of being able to communicate with people from other countries, learning languages opens up windows onto other worldviews and cultures, and typically improves the learner’s understanding of their own first language. As globalization proceeds apace, more experiments like Live Mocha should be encouraged to increase the connections among people and across identities. This would have the effect of opening up more relationships and hopefully less intractable conflict.

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Filed under: Education, Identity

Hawai’i: the Reboot

2 days. 200 innovators. A new future for Hawai'i.


The Hawai'i Futures Summit 2009 October 16 and 17, 2009


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