With college costs skyrocketing and the number of jobs for new grads on the decline, it’s no wonder that students are questioning whether a degree is worth the investment. But given that the jobs of the future are projected to require some form of post-secondary education, a key question is how to provide academic knowledge and industry-specific training that will prepare students for the future. The answer might come from a throwback to the Middle Ages: apprenticeships.
People worrying about the US losing its lead to China should stop the nonsensical talk about declining math SATs, and look to the difference in our investments in high speed rail. The know-nothing GOP have cut our investments to zero, but that’s lunacy:
Just as building the interstate highway system a half-century ago made modern, national commerce more feasible in the United States, China’s ambitious rail rollout is helping integrate the economy of this sprawling, populous nation — though on a much faster construction timetable and at significantly higher travel speeds than anything envisioned by the Eisenhower administration.
Work crews of as many as 100,000 people per line have built about half of the 10,000-mile network in just six years, in many cases ahead of schedule — including the Beijing-to-Shanghai line that was not originally expected to open until next year. The entire system is on course to be completed by 2020.
For the United States and Europe, the implications go beyond marveling at the pace of Communist-style civil engineering. China’s manufacturing might and global export machine are likely to grow more powerful as 200-mile-an-hour trains link cities and provinces that were previously as much as 24 hours by road or rail from the entrepreneurial seacoast.
Zhen Qinan, a founder of the stock exchange in coastal Shenzhen and the recently retired chief executive of ZK Energy, a wind turbine producer in Changsha, said that high-speed trains were making it more convenient to base businesses here in Hunan Province. Populous Hunan has long provided labor to the factories of the east, but its mountains have tended to isolate it from the economic mainstream.
Mr. Zhen ticked off Hunan’s attributes: “Land is much cheaper. Electricity is cheaper. Labor is cheaper.”
Around China, real estate prices and investment have surged in the more than 200 inland cities that have already been connected by high-speed rail in the last three years. Businesses are flocking to these cities, now just a few hours by bullet train from China’s busiest and most international metropolises.
Meanwhile, a shift in passenger traffic to the new high-speed rail routes has freed up congested older rail lines for freight. That has allowed coal mines and shippers to switch to cheaper rail transport from costly trucks for heavy cargos.
Because of this shift, plus the construction of additional freight lines, the tonnage hauled by China’s rail system increased in 2010 by an amount equaling the entire freight carried last year by the combined rail systems of Britain, France, Germany and Poland, according to the World Bank.
The bullet train bonanza, and the competitive challenge it poses for the West, is only likely to increase with the opening of the 820-mile Beijing-to-Shanghai line, which will create a business corridor between China’s two most dynamic cities. The railway ministry plans 90 bullet trains a day in each direction.
The trains will barrel along at initial speeds of 190 miles per hour, with plans to accelerate to 220 miles per hour by the summer of 2012, if the first year of operation goes smoothly.
Even at the initial speeds, they will take less than five hours to cover a distance comparable to New York to Atlanta — which requires nearly 18 hours on Amtrak.
China’s huge investment in high-speed rail may be instructive to the United States, whether for proponents of federal rail investments or critics who consider bullet trains a boondoggle.
President Obama, who has proposed spending $53 billion on high-speed rail over the next six years, faced a setback in his budget deal in April with Congressional Republicans, who eliminated money for that plan this year.
Last fall, newly elected Republican governors in Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin turned down federal money their Democratic predecessors had won for new rail routes, worrying that their states could cover most of the costs for trains that would draw few riders.
We need to start building an infrastructure connecting our major cities that scales to what is needed in a post-automobile economy. Imagine a 5 hour train ride between Chicago and New York, or a 1 hour train ride between Boston and New York.
The entrenched mindset of cars and highways is an impediment to real cost savings for business and new opportunities for innovation. There is no possible way to have trucks moving goods or cars driving people at 220 miles per hour, but it is totally possible with trains.
We are also at the perfect time for this investment since the US can borrow money at 2%, which is the lowest it has ever been, and likely to be cheaper than we will see in decades. I won’t even mention the benefits of employing a few hundred thousand unemployed people building the lines and the trains.
And let’s not forget that the US has fallen behind in the maintenance of the current, now obsolete highway infrastructure to the tune of at least $1.6 trillion as of 2008, more like $2 trillion at this point. And most of that is unfunded, so the bridges, on ramps, and streets are falling apart.
Developed by Jelena Vuckovic, associate professor of electrical engineering at Stanford University, and Gary Shambat, a doctoral candidate in electrical engineering, the nanoscale light-emitting diode (LED) can send data at 10 billion bits per second.
Vuckovic had earlier this year produced a nanoscale laser that was similarly efficient and fast, but that device operated only at temperatures below 150 degrees Kelvin, about minus-190 degrees Fahrenheit, making it impractical for commercial use. The new device operates at room temperature and could, therefore, represent an important step toward next-generation computer chips.
“Low-power, electrically controlled light sources are vital for next-generation optical systems to meet the growing energy demands of the computer industry,” Vuckovic says. “This moves us in that direction significantly.”
I pulled some data from a presentation from the K5 Learning Blog. Kids today are amazingly connected, but less involved in the physical world:
More US kids aged 2-5 can play a computer game than ride a bike.
19% of kids aged 2-5 know how to play a smartphone app; 9% know how to tie their shoelaces.
More kids aged 2-5 can open a browser than swim unaided.
Kids aged 0-8 spend an average of 1 hour 44 minutes watching TV or video daily, 29 minutes reading, 29 minutes listening to music, 25 minutes playing computer or video games, and 5 minutes using new mobile devices.
Kids aged 8-18 spend 7 hours 38 minutes using entertainment media daily: more than 53 hours per week. That’s an hour more than 2004 (6 hours 30 minutes). Because they multitask [non-rivalrous media] they pack 10 hours 45 minutes into those 7 hours and 38 minutes.
65% of kids aged 0-8 watch TV at least once per day. That’s 37% of kids aged 0-1, 73% of kids aged 2-4, and 72% of kids aged 5-8.
Kids under 2 spend twice as much time watching TV and videos than being read to (1 hour 54 minutes versus 53 minutes per day).
For kids aged 8-18, live TV consumption declined by 25 minutes from 2004 to 2009, but total TV consumption went up thanks to the Internet, cell phones, and iPods. 59% (2 hours 39 minutes) consisted of watching live TV, and 41% (1 hour 50 minutes) consisted of time-shifted TV, DVDs, online, or mobile.
53% of kids aged 2-4 have used a computer, 90% of kids aged 5-8 have.
25% of kids are going online daily by age 3, 50% by age 5.
Cell ownership among kids 8-18 rose from 39% in 2004 to 65% in 2009.
7-12th graders spend an average 1 hour 35 minutes per day sending and receiving texts.
51% of kids aged 0-8 have played a console game, 81% of kids aged 5-8. 17% of kids aged 5-8 play console games at least once a day, 36% play then at least once per week.
27% of kids aged 2-5 screen time is used with new digital devices.
29% of parents have downloaded apps for their kids aged 2-5 to use.
iPod ownership for kids aged 8-18 rose from 18% in 2004 to 76% in 2009.
23% of kids aged 0-8 watch educational TV shows, 8% use educational programs on the computer, 7% play education games on new mobile devices.
Profitero has been named as the winner of the 2011 IBM SmartCamp London award. They help retailers maximise profits by analysing online competitive information on thousands of products and dozens of competitors, helping to build smarter retail solutions.
Profitero was selected from more than 80 entries and won due to its outstanding technology, innovative business plan and alignment with IBM’s Smarter Planet strategy. They will receive three months of mentoring from IBM and go on to square off against other SmartCamp winners from around the globe to compete for the title of “IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year.”
Today, 83 percent of midmarket CIOs surveyed by IBM have identified analytics, the ability to extract actionable insights from “Big Data” as their top-priority investment area. Profitero represent a new generation of entrepreneurs who are entering the market with technology and business model designed to capitalise on this trend.
While passive data gathering can be useful, measurement is far more valuable when coupled with conscious, active experimentation and sharing of insights. Likewise, the value of undertaking the experiments themselves is proportionately greater if the organization can capitalize on those experiments in more locations and at greater scale. In combination, these practices constitute a new kind of “R&D” that draws on the strengths of digitization to speed innovation.
Available massive amounts of data paired with cheap processing power will boost the experimentation and learning dramatically, as the microscope did. But having witnessed the great organizational inertia when it came to rely on the results from e g Finite Element analysis instead of extremely expensive physical testing - and in my experience it was full scale car crash tests - I am hesitant to think that this will have impact on how traditional organizations do things. I can rather see that universities, entrepreneurs and skilled amateurs will provide the lion part of the growth in this area. The innovation story will then mainly be written by small research groups or curious individuals who have an idea that they will try out in an experiment with a huge body of real data. And some of them will find definitely strike gold…
“A new model developed by scientists of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) allows the potential presence of bluefin tuna to be tracked through daily updated maps, helping to protect endangered stocks and fight illegal fishing.”—Satellite data can help protect bluefin tuna | Physorg.com
After a decade of hearing about “the Internet of things”, where everything will have an IP address, I’m starting to finally believe it. What’s changed? The Open Hardware movement, which is doing for connected devices what the Web did for information.
The old vision of the Internet of Things came to us from the likes of Cisco and Nokia, which were trying to promote end-to-end connected device standards (that used their gear, natch). Think of that as the ‘Information Superhighway” era of the net, those days in the early 90s when the wired future was going to be brought to us by AT&T and Cablevision.
The new vision is more akin to the Web, which was brought to us by, well, us. The engineers agreed on some basic open standards — HTTP, HTML, TCP/IP — and we did all the rest, creating the Web with our own ideas, uses and creativity.
Today, the new Internet of Things model is based on simple open standards: Arduino, WiFi and Web APIs. The model is open innovation and community creation. And the devices are being created by regular people with their own needs, not big companies.
Look around your house. Everything that has a proprietary embedded processor in it is a candidate for being reinvented with Open Hardware. That’s how the Internet of Things is going to finally become a reality.
Find Every Food Truck In The City With The Tweat.It App | Gothamist
Tired of tracking down each and every food truck on their own individual Twitter account? Yeah, it’s hard to keep track of all the Korean tacos and cupcakes and fancy grilled cheeses cruising around out there. That’s why Tweat.it was invented, and now, you can finally get it on the go.
Jess Eddy and Joel Potischman created the Tweat.it website last year as a way to help street food fans track down any food truck in the city, in real time. As soon as a food truck tweets their location, it’s updated on the app’s map, alongside the app’s mini truck-only Twitter feed. It’s a great way to visually plot our your next meal
ABOARD one of the world’s largest container ships, moving almost imperceptibly through the seas off Vietnam, it’s easy to appreciate the economies of scale that allow a T-shirt made in China to be sent to the Netherlands for just 2.5 cents.
Biodiesel can be made from plant oil or animal fat. Used cooking oil from restaurants is common, but for biodiesel to contribute significantly to reducing fossil fuel use, there needs to be a way to mass produce it from plant-derived raw materials. The problem is that synthesizing biodiesel is complicated. That’s where E. coli comes in.