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This is The Last Column You’ll Ever Need

by Mike Keeler

And your kids don’t need to study their math tables. And all the homework you did in high school was a waste of time. And you shouldn’t spend all that tuition money on college. There’s no need for college.

It’s all available online for free, thanks to Salman Khan. About six years ago, he started using YouTube to help his cousin with her math homework. Any time she had trouble with a concept, he’d film a short video explanation and post it online. He soon had a pretty good inventory of tutorials. And soon after that, folks who googled up “quotient rule” or “Tau vs. Pi” were finding his videos. He started getting hundreds of hits, then thousands, then millions. This drew the attention of Bill Gates and other donors. With their financial support, Khan organized all his videos and launched, an online portal to everything you always wanted to know about anything, in video.

You can learn how to find the first derivative of a function, in 8 minutes. Find out what happened in American history from Jamestown to the Civil War, in 18 minutes. Even learn how to raise $10MM in an IPO, in just 15 minutes.

The idea is catching on. Two Stanford professors recently posted their entire courses online, citing Khan as their inspiration. MIT, Harvard and Yale followed suit. And now, high schools are starting to integrate the videos into their curriculum. It’s all becoming available to anyone, anywhere, for free.

We think that’s awesome, everyone should have free access to the world’s knowledge. And, in that spirit, we checked Khan’s site to see what he had to say about the really important stuff. Where is the world’s largest hokey-pokey? What is bushusuru? Who is Lakshmi Tatma? And why are there so many stinkbugs but so few acorns?

And we found absolutely … nothing. No videos about the statistical probabilities of the 13th day of the month occurring on a Friday. No insights about soccer-player-voodoo-dolls in Mexico City. And absolutely nothing about PMS Red #137.

Oh well. We’re sure Khan will be getting to these critical topics very soon. But until then, we’ll keep filling up your inbox.

This column has gone all bloggy.

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