ctrp313 The Era of Charter Schools

by bicyclemark 9 Comments

Charter schools in NYC are getting alot of attention over the past few years for the quality of education they are providing and the methods they use to do so. But what do we know about charter schools and how they function?

My guest today is Catherine Barufaldi of the Explore Charter School in Brooklyn, NY. For just over 2 years now she has worked at a successful charter school and has a lot to say about what sets her school apart from traditional public school.  In this program she talks about her experience while also explaining what exactly is a charter school and what do they mean for the future of education in the US.

Threatening NYC Water

by bicyclemark 2 Comments

Some of you may recall a great guest I had on the podcast last year, Al Appleton, the man who saved the NYC water system.

I thought of Al today as I read about how NY state has loosened restrictions on drilling for gas in the NYC watershed are. Using a method called horizontal drilling under the Catskill Mountains, there are proposals to drill for gas. This despite the risk that drilling would bring of spilling toxic chemicals into New York City’s drinking supply. Interfering with the water system could also force the need for building a water treatment plant which would cost an astronomical amount. This despite the fact that over a decade ago, concerned citizens and watershed experts like Al Appleton eliminated the need for building such plants by

Calculating Sept. 11th

by bicyclemark 0 Comments

As much as I hate what a giant clich? this date has become, there are still a few memories and pieces of culture I don’t mind revisiting.? Moreover I hope this day would be a reminder to put things in perspective, in my case to never forget how dangerous jingoism and blind patriotism have been for this planet since 9/11 and long-long before it.

If I could recommend 1 piece of audio that I replayed today, I recommend Radio Open Source’s episode on calculating the value of a human life. It features a very unique interview that I always remember, with the person put in charge of calculating the financial compensation for the families of those who died on this day in the World Trade Center towers. Go listen.


by bicyclemark

“Why don’t you write about your personal life”, Ms Thingk asked, “you know people love hearing about that stuff.” We sat there, two of the few people at a very cozy Williamsburg bar enjoying happy hour last night.

Amazing to consider how we know our friends and where we meet up in this era where distance no longer means very much. In her case, we met back in 2004/2005, in Amsterdam where she was studying at the U of Amsterdam where by that point, I was working. After that she moved to DC to work with a very important organization, and for the past 2 years… she’s become a Brooklynite. Even the people standing outside the corner shop seem to know her by name “Hey Ms Thingk!” they waved. Im sure they too would be sad to hear that she has indeed quit blogging.

Yesterday was in fact, full of highlights, including dinner with some very famoose Livejournalists and former PAris residents. But before any of that, it was my day to speak in front of my good friend, Prof. Brian Dunphy’s class at Brooklyn College, not to mention to spend a day walking in his shoes… which was fun.

I spoke about the history of personal publishing, not so much who did what, but what things have unfolded as they have. The conditions and ingredients that made it possible; because of course.. the fact that so many people consult blogs, podcasts, and vlogs in such mass numbers is not just a fluke miracle… it is because several key developments led us here. And those developments may not always be obvious to everyone.. so hopefully the class found it useful to hear me yap yap yap.

It has been a long time since I spoke before a lecture hall of New Yorkers… not sure if I ever have. And I tell you it matters because you can never assume you know what a new yorker knows.. they are keen observers, they are diverse, they are experienced beyond their years, and just when you think you’ve got something to show them.. they’ve probably got alot to show you. At the end of the presentation lots of students came to hand stuff to Brian and talk about class things. Just when I thought no one would dare come say hi.. several nice students turned to me and quietly thanked me and wished me best of luck. One girl specifically said perhaps the most simple and inspiring thing you can say to me “Keep doing what you’re doing.”

Thanks so much Brooklyn College, it was an honor to be a guest in your classroom.