Showing posts from October, 2009

Climate Warming and Palo Alto -> Miradi and the World

One day last month we were shocked to discover all the street trees on our quaint downtown street had been chopped down. Clearcut. To be honest, most of us probably never took much notice of the 63 mature holly oaks. They were just part of the landscape. Until they were gone. Suddenly the world seemed a little harsher. No more trees. No more shade. No more leafy beauty. Our hot summer (and autumn!) days became a little hotter. Our local version of accelerated climate change. Now, we’re not expecting the world to cry crocodile tears for us. The city made a mistake. But let’s put it in perspective. We live in one of the most comfortable cities in the country, if not the world. Rather, the incident demonstrated just how affected we are by something as simple as a chopped down tree (some citizens were so angry they threatened city officials). If a few dozen dead trees could cause so much grief, imagine living in a place where whole forests are being clearcut, coral reefs bleached, or en

Encyclopaedia Britannica Supports Bookshare!

The news is excellent. We just announced: Encyclopaedia Britannica Grants Digital Rights to Bookshare -- Major Reference Collections Now Accessible for Individuals with Print Disabilities Worldwide . Although it was possible, we never seriously thought about scanning the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Thanks to the support of the EB team, we now have direct access to digital versions of many important reference series, along with the ability to provide these books to people with qualifying print disabilities in Canada, the UK, India and all over the world! Our dream at Bookshare has been that every student with a print disability has accessible versions of every book that would be available to their peers without disabilities. We have already gotten close on trade books: juvenile and teen literature. We're working very hard on textbooks. This agreement gives us access to the last major frontier of equal access: reference works.


Just had a chance to meet Dale Ferrario, the founder and President of an innovative nonprofit social enterprise called FreshBrain . I'm always excited about finding out about a new idea that's already gaining traction. FreshBrain is focused on an important problem - filling the gap in the education that our teens receive, specifically in the area of 21st Century Skills. Skills around technology, creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration. Skills that they will needed to be successful in our future workplace and ever evolving global economy. Their website, , provides a social networking based platform where teens can innovate, create and share using a variety of technologies. A project based environment where they can interact with others, pursue their passion, learn, and have fun doing it. FreshBrain is already making great progress. They reached over 270,000 teens last year primarily on the open internet and have the goal to reach 2,000,

Jed Emerson: Steady Returns With Social Impact

Last week I was in New York City and had the opportunity to meet with many interesting people (and got lots of ideas). One key connection was with Jed Emerson. Ten years ago, Jed was the head of REDF, the famous social enterprise foundation in San Francisco. Jed's just published a new article in entitled Steady Returns With Social Impact . His point is: The little secret of this past year's capital crisis is that while many mainstream investments incurred significant losses in value, one category remained steady--with some investors significantly outperforming the mainstream market. It's called impact investing.