Long Reads: The internet’s birthday, McDonald’s health push and radical learning

Richard Jackson’s Long Reads looks at a prediction of the internet from 20 years ago, McDonald’s tough road to health and a school with a difference.


Freedom from fries – Michael Spector (The New Yorker)

“McDonald’s alone serves twenty-six million people every day at its fourteen thousand American outlets – more than the population of Australia.” It is these sort of mind boggling facts that make this article great.

When the economic system favours fast food outlets with subsidies for cheap meat, how do the more trendy healthy food stores compete with them? On the other side of the patty, how are McDonald’s going to change the tide of public opinion for those who are fleeing from the fast food giant, armed with the knowledge of what the Golden Arches actually put on their menu?


Tomorrow’s internet turns 20 – John Herrman (The Awl)

In 1995, Ted Leonsis then senior executive for AOL made some predictions about the future of the internet for Time Magazine. In this article, journalist John Herrman revisits them to check his accuracy. The major oversight is he didn’t recognise the potential for cat videos on the Internet.


The tech elite’s quest to reinvent school in its own image – Salman Khan (Wired)

Every year it seems someone comes along and claims they are going to revolutionise the education system, but it usually putters out due to bureaucracy and parental concern. On that note, there are often parents who, despite innovations in education, say things like “Well if it was good enough for me!” This isn’t the right attitude.

These new schools rarely take off and become the standard for education in a country, but often remain single entities. Sorry to sound pessimistic, but best of luck to Salman Khan who established the Khan Lab School, a trial model that allows students to learn at their own pace and it incorporates technology into almost every element of the learning process.



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