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I read a plausible argument for this sort of institute recently in TIME (can't recall the exact article, but it's probably behind a pay wall anyway). The gist was that perhaps private donors should fund the highest-risk research, leaving public money (and maybe mom-and-pop donors) to fund research that has a higher likelihood ab initio of success (but perhaps a lower payoff if successful). In an era where public (tax dollar) funding for research in general is tight, this makes sense to me. "Safer" research will be easier to fund with tax dollars.
Toggle Commented Jan 19, 2018 on The Numbers King at Engineered
While I agree with you that many classics are best appreciated later in life, I don't see that as a reason to defer (or eliminate) an education in the humanities. (As an aside, I suspect teenagers might appreciate "The Diary of Anne Frank" more than people my age.) You are right about the critical thinking (b.s. detection) aspects of a liberal arts education _done right_. That feeds into the idea of an enlightened voter, one who can see through the arguments of politicians on both sides of an issue. Since college students will be voters by the time they graduate, I'd feel better if they had their b.s. detectors tuned by then. A study of history (and maybe poli-sci) is also particularly important. My current superannuated self can look at contemporary insanity and put it in the context of history I experienced (threat of nuclear war, with the unintentionally humorous duck-and-cover drills; race and anti-war riots; Watergate; ...). My 18 year old self relied more on having read about the second world war, the US Civil War, assorted plagues etc. to keep a sense of perspective. Unfortunately, as in all disciplines, the "done right" part is not a given. I enjoyed most of my lit classes, but one stinker in particular could have been enough to turn me off to humanities had it been my first. Still, better the occasional time-waster than a gaggle of engineers with no humanities background, busily at work ... designing SkyNet.
Airline employee speaks while attendees scurry to the airport -- not exactly irony, but close.
An instructor-accessible database of evaluation dates is a great idea, but I don't know that I would trust the students (at least the undergrads) to enter the data. You might find a surprising number of exams/due dates on Fridays (students trying to free up three day weekends), sports game days, the Big Brother season finale, concert dates, ... Having the instructors enter the data is also problematic, as a quarter of them won't bother and another quarter will put down intended dates at the start of the semester and then change them without updating the database. And so the clerical staff get stuck with another job ...
Toggle Commented Mar 4, 2016 on Student Workload at Engineered
Very interesting post, but ... "No one in the 20th century comes close to Richard III in matters of evil"? Hitler? Stalin? Mao?
Toggle Commented Dec 19, 2015 on Shakespeare in the workplace, Part 1 at Engineered
I agree about the lack of risk-taking, which I ascribe in part to majors gobbling a bigger share of the curricular pie (squeezing out electives) and in part to students obsessed with GPAs (and their perceived effect on hiring). I see a problem with the associate degree, though. The curriculum for the first two years varies substantially from school to school and major to major. Particularly after a change of schools, a student with an associate degree might be looking at 2.5 years of additional schooling.
I very much hope that Bueno de Mesquita and Smith are wrong. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld recently ripped her a new one on CNN and in Fortune ( "Furthermore, shareholder wealth at HP was sliced 52% under her reign against the S&P, which was down only 15% in that bearish period." I'd hate to think anyone would make a deal with those sorts of consequences motivated by personal gain and not be the belief (however erroneous) that it would be good for the shareholders. (I'd hate even more for someone that selfish to be running the country.) I'm no business maven, but do I remember wondering at the time how merging two companies that were losing money on a commodity good (PCs) would produce a company that would actually make a profit on them, rather than just losing money twice as fast. I'm still wondering.
This is an interesting post, but I'm not sure I buy your argument about revenue per seat, for two reasons. First, if a show is not SRO, is there any reason to think that moving it to a larger venue would increase ticket sales proportionately? Do customers behave in a way that inhibits ticket sales when the venue starts to get full? Second, might there be a selection mechanism (implicit or explicit) in operation that causes shows likely to draw smaller audiences to select (or be selected by -- I'm not sure how that works) smaller venues?
Possible downsides to innovation: * creating solutions in search of problems; * fixing what ain't broke. It seems to me that "innovations" in the finance industry had something to do with the 2008 meltdown.
Toggle Commented May 26, 2015 on Innovation at MIT at Engineered
Very interesting! A few random thoughts (from a safe distance, i.e., retirement): 1. I just recently had a stimulating conversation with one of our admins about the teaching v. research issue. I won't recap it here, but I'm left with one unanswered question: given that I've never heard of a "university" that ran exclusively on research funding (and I'm skeptical that any run even primarily on research funding, meaning not tuition, not state support and not alumni donations), how can universities claim to be primarily research institutions? 2. Some schools are adopting a "residential college" model that may increase student face time with at least a portion of the faculty (typically those in their majors?). 3. Regarding some faculty resisting doctoral students heading to industry (a route I originally planned to take), I think part of the resistance lies in the fact that some faculty view their "academic genealogy" (tree of faculty at other schools who wrote under them) as a significant source of bragging rights, and some assume that faculty placements will continue to work with them (or at least list them as coauthors) on pubs. So the investment in time on a doctoral student who heads to industry is not repaid in either of those currencies. (I'm not saying I sympathize with that attitude, mind you.)
The hyper-compact car sounds like a solution in search of a problem. If you need to haul anything bulky, you likely need a trunk or at least a back seat. If not, in the sort of urban area where parking is that tight, mass transit is usually convenient (and parking tends to be expensive).
Is the issue with Google Maps loss of functionality or loss of convenience? You can still get to street view by passing through the information "card" for some identified location close enough to use as the starting point for your exploration. Post of the motivation for the change might have been compatibility with the card interface in Google Now. It also may be that users more frequently want to search around a business or landmark (as I do when looking for parking lots) than around arbitrary map points (middle off Elm St.), in which case anchoring on a known landmark makes sense.
Fireflies glow specific colors in order to attract mates. Perhaps the winning team should have pitched their shoes as a tool for dating. Color could signal sexual orientation, availability, or whatever else might be deemed a useful signal.
Toggle Commented Oct 29, 2014 on Design vs innovation at Engineered
Great idea, and a really useful post. Here's one more: your company just folded/was acquired/hit a rough patch, you've been riffed, and you didn't make much effort to acquire and maintain close contacts in the industry. Now you're back in the market competing with new grads, with no one to turn to.
Toggle Commented Apr 19, 2014 on In praise of the career premortem at Engineered
Some publishers will do "custom" textbooks and will let you mix and match selected chapters from multiple sources, or just cherry-pick chapters from a single source. In some cases the sources must be books they publish, but in other cases I think they can acquire material from other publishers (presumably for royalty payments). So the custom book already exists in the print world, and I used a custom book once that was free to the students of red chapter by chapter from the publisher's web site, as well as being available for purchase soft-bound.
I think Amazon is focusing its rapid delivery efforts on dense urban areas to start. If I lived in the boondocks and commuted to city, and if I worked near locker, faster or cheaper delivery to the locker would appeal to me. As to likely locations for lockers, Amazon needs to weigh the competition factor against the synergy factor. A host that benefits from increased foot traffic (such as a supermarket) might be more amenable (and charge Amazon less) than a non-retail host would.
Toggle Commented Jan 12, 2014 on Amazon Locker at Engineered
For something truly ground-breaking (the next David Hilbert), I'd say new course. For something more typical and incremental (the next me), I'd say existing course (provided a course exists in which it would reasonably fit). I wonder what the half-life of all those new courses is?
Whoever authored the quote in your second bullet is all wet and looking for a butt-kicking. ;-)
Toggle Commented Sep 18, 2012 on Pricing at the Olympic Games at Engineered
Part of reducing resistance to analytics may be presenting it as a way to find and evaluate options, rather than something that will prescribe an answer (and take the decision out of the hands of the decision maker).
Toggle Commented May 7, 2012 on Analytics and Linchpins at Engineered
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