Today, after I got the kids off to school, I ran four miles, wrote two blog posts, frittered a little time away on Facebook, cleaned a couple of rooms in the house, and came up with a plan to save human civilization.

 

I guess I should probably explain that last one. You see, along with everything else I do in a day, I've become addicted to the free educational videos from Khan Academy, a website where on any given day you can watch videos on everything from biology to finance to history to arithmetic. The site currently has a library of more than 2,400 videos and 150 practice exercises, and those numbers are growing everyday.

 

The face behind Khan Academy is 34-year-old Salman (or Sal) Khan. The former hedge fund analyst started making the videos to tutor a young cousin over the Web after he found out she was having a hard time in math. Soon, other friends and family members were asking for his help. Khan posted his videos on YouTube, and they instantly went viral.  

 

Now, with backers like Bill Gates (whose kids reportedly love Khan Academy) Khan has been able to quit his day job and focus full-time on bringing a world-class education to everyone. He has been steadily working on increasing access to his videos and offering kids at cash-strapped schools extra tutoring in the subjects that vex them. But he's also working on making sure that his videos reach all kids — even those without access to regular schooling. Khan recently received $2 million from Google to translate his videos into Mandarin, Hindu and Spanish.  

 

So that means that while I'm messing around with brain teasers about alien abductions, a child in a poor village somewhere on the other side of the world may be learning how to represent the structure of organic molecules. Now that's how to save human civilization!

 

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