Daily Archives: November 18, 2011

Galactic Views (13)

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Cygnus X-1: A Stellar Mass Black Hole

NASA – On the left, an optical image from the Digitized Sky Survey shows Cygnus X-1, outlined in a red box. Cygnus X-1 is located near large active regions of star formation in the Milky Way, as seen in this image that spans some 700 light years across. An artist’s illustration on the right depicts what astronomers think is happening within the Cygnus X-1 system. Cygnus X-1 is a so-called stellar-mass black hole, a class of black holes that comes from the collapse of a massive star. The black hole pulls material from a massive, blue companion star toward it. This material forms a disk (shown in red and orange) that rotates around the black hole before falling into it or being redirected away from the black hole in the form of powerful jets.

Using X-ray data from Chandra, the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer, and the Advanced Satellite for Cosmology and Astrophysics, scientists were able to determine the spin of Cygnus X-1 with unprecedented accuracy, showing that the black hole is spinning at very close to its maximum rate. Its event horizon — the point of no return for material falling towards a black hole — is spinning around more than 800 times a second. Credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC; Optical: Digitized Sky Survey more> http://twurl.nl/qnd6pv

Testimony on the Federal Role in Education Research

Education vs ExperienceBy Grover J. “Russ” Whitehurst – The American dream of opportunity and advancement and the educational system of the United State are inextricably connected. This has been true throughout our history. Indeed, well before the country was founded it was typical for colonial villages that had grown to more than a few hundred people to establish and fund a public school, with the first dating to 1639. Since that time, we have continued to value education and invest in it.

But in an age of globalization and the advent of a knowledge based economy, the imperative to educate and educate well is stronger than it has ever been. The evidence that nations with a better educated populace experience higher growth rates is compelling.

The Education Sciences Reform Act is overdue for re-authorization. Let me simply suggest four principles that should underlie the re-authorization:

  • If It Ain’t Broke Don’t Fix It
  • Independence Is Fundamental
  • The Regional Educational Lab Program (the RELs) Is Broken and Should be Fixed
  • You Get What You Pay For

more> http://twurl.nl/e1ebf8

Why Only Germany Can Fix the Euro

By Matthias Matthijs and Mark Blyth – It is more than ironic that those two foundational Western civilizations — the Greeks and the Romans — who were among the very first to experiment with democracy, now have to let unelected Eurocrats run their economic affairs.

Throughout much of the twentieth century, the “German Problem” — the fact that Germany was too strong, too powerful, and too economically dynamic for the rest of Europe — bedeviled European elites. “Keeping Germany down” through NATO and European integration was seen as the solution. The problem today is not German strength but German weakness — a reluctance to take up its hegemonic role. more> http://twurl.nl/jexxp3

Are You Indispensable at Work?

By Robert B. Tucker – Simply working harder will not be enough, and may lead to a burnout. Relying solely on your functional skills and expertise will not be enough to make you difficult to replace. And your years of experience on the job may not have the cachet they once did either.

You need to build and unleash a new set of skills in your work and in your life: Innovation Skills, or I-Skills for short.

Innovation is about more than inventing new products and services. Today, it’s about figuring out how and where to add value where you are and where you work. Innovation is the act of coming up with ideas and successfully bringing them to life to solve problems and create opportunities. more> http://twurl.nl/mkutd2

The Wall Street disconnect

A protester outside AIG's headquarters at the ...

Image @Wikipedia

By Matthew Goldstein and Jennifer Ablan – Captains of finance like to portray themselves as humble entrepreneurs. One owner of a multi-billion-dollar hedge fund grumbled in the midst of the financial crisis that he has to worry not only about making trading decisions but also about “all the hassles that come with running a small business.”

Maybe it is just the ethos of Wall Street, where success is defined solely by who makes the most money, that makes it hard for financiers to feel they’ve wronged anyone. Some of the disconnect is simply a matter of lifestyle and the fact that the super wealthy really do live differently from everyone else.

“Our society was ripe for a convulsion about social justice, and Occupy Wall Street was the catalyst for that,” says former top Pacific Investment Management Co (PIMCO) executive Paul McCulley. more> http://twurl.nl/scop4j


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