Category Archives: Education

Updates from Chicago Booth

Local communities are driving global politics

By Raghuram G. Rajan – We live in a strange time.

Countries are more prosperous than ever before, new technologies that promise to solve our most intractable problems are on the horizon, and yet there is widespread unhappiness in some of the richest countries in the world. White males of working age in the United States are killing themselves through alcohol, drugs, and suicide at a rate that is as if 10 Vietnam Wars were raging simultaneously.

The immediate reason appears to be economic despair, as moderately educated workers lose jobs because of trade and automation. But workers lose (and gain) jobs regularly.

Why are even well-educated workers, holding decent middle-class jobs, so disheartened now? What should we do?

What we are seeing is a consequence of the information-technology revolution that started in the early 1970s, magnified by trade.

Every past technological revolution has been disruptive, prompted a societal reaction, and eventually resulted in societal change that helped us get the best out of the revolution. We have felt the disruption of the IT revolution, which has sometimes been punctuated by dramatic episodes such as the 2007–10 global financial crisis; we are now seeing the reaction in populist movements of the extreme left and right.

What has not happened yet is the necessary societal change, which is why so many despair of the future.

We are at a critical moment in human history, when wrong choices could derail human economic progress. more> https://goo.gl/aLSuFh

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Updates from GE

The Aviator: How A Young Pilot Became A Top-Flight 3D-Printing Engineer

By Maggie Sieger – At 15, Josh Mook got a job refueling planes and handling bags at a small airport near his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. He’d work eight hours a day after school, then blow his earnings every Saturday taking flying lessons. “I couldn’t even drive myself there,” Mook recalls. “But I was flying solo.”

Mook has been jetting into the unknown ever since. Originally considering a career in industrial design, Mook moved to aerospace engineering because it combined his love of flying with his love of math and science.

After graduating from Purdue University in 2005, he joined GE Aviation as an engineer at the GE unit’s headquarters in Cincinnati. His first big success came when he found a clever way to fix a blade durability problem in a jet engine high-pressure compressor.

Additive manufacturing methods like 3D printing build parts from the ground up, layer by layer, by fusing together metal powder or plastics. The technology is suitable for prototyping and custom production, but GE is also using it to make production parts that would be difficult to manufacture using traditional methods. more> https://goo.gl/psf2a9

How Does Fascism Sneak Into Pop Culture?

BOOK REVIEW

Against the Fascist Creep, Author: Alexander Reid Ross.

By Elizabeth King – Donald Trump’s rise from real-estate businessman and washed-up reality television star to United States president has many people thinking anew about fascism.

The fascist tradition of using the arts as vehicles for expanding the movement is visible in the U.S. today, in some cases in eerily similar ways to the original rise of European fascism in the early 20th century.

In Futurism, we see some early examples of “cultural fascism,” if you will. Filippo Marinetti, founder of the Futurist movement, would be a good place to start. Futurism was founded in Italy in the early 1900s, and was one of the earliest proto-fascist and, in some cases, fascist movements. The idea [of Futurism] was to return to the noble myth [of] the new man who stands for family and tradition, but in a super-powered world of dynamism and adventure.

But if you look at the emergence of fascism and the development of fascism in its original form, one of the interesting things that you see in cultural avenues is that they are often primarily interested in disruption.

And, inevitably, there are liberals in mainstream institutions who accept the expressions of [fascist disruptors] insofar as it is expression, and insofar as it’s good to explore the arts and humanities. So there’s a tendency to accept these movements to some degree, and perhaps even adopt some of their mindsets under this position. This is incredibly dangerous, because fascism is so vitriolic and mercurial that it’s difficult to contain. more> https://goo.gl/gSRBwt

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Updates from GE

New Center Helps Scientists Reprogram The Immune System to Kill Cancer


By Tomas Kellner – Cell therapy is a complex process that involves more than manufacturing a pill. It requires a setup that resembles a biotech factory. “Cell therapy has the potential to cure everything from cancer to diabetes,” says Phil Vanek, general manager for cell therapy growth strategy at GE Healthcare. “But we need to make it affordable and scalable.”

Vanek’s business and others are racing to make that happen and deliver on cell therapy’s promise. He says that says that hundreds of patients have already benefited from CAR-T in clinical trials that have reported 80 percent success rates. Some 300,000 people could be receiving the treatment by 2024. A report by Roots Analysis estimates the T-cell therapy market, which includes CAR-T therapy, could read $30 billion by 2030.

Crucial to that race is a new cell therapy research and process-development facility called the Center for Advanced Therapeutic Cell Technologies (CATCT), which officially opened in Toronto on Thursday. It’s designed to help pharma companies, university researchers and technology companies like GE to scale faster. more> https://goo.gl/CRxNv4

Do We Need to Rethink What College Means?

BOOK REVIEW

Bridging the Gaps. Authors: James Rosenbaum, Caitlin E. Ahearn and Janet E. Rosenbaum.

By Dwyer Gunn – There are two ways to look at America’s college-for-all movement. On the one hand, it represents a rare policy success: Today, 90 percent of high school graduates enroll in college within eight years of graduating from high school, up from 45 percent in 1960.

On the other hand, it serves as a cautionary tale about the unintended consequences of even the best-intentioned policy initiatives.

The book is actually named for them—the three gaps. And the gaps are really quite outrageous. When we interviewed students, the students talked about these three things: taking courses without getting credits, getting credits that didn’t count for credentials, and getting credentials that didn’t have payoffs in the labor market.

We found that such students were making bad choices because they didn’t have good information. And they were losing a lot of time and, ultimately, dropping out with no payoff. more> https://goo.gl/KKfJmS

Updates from Georgia Tech

Driving Cassini: Doctoral Student Controls Spacecraft in Mission’s Final Days

By Jason Maderer – When the Cassini spacecraft plunges into Saturn on September 15 to end a nearly two-decade mission, Georgia Tech student Michael Staab will have a front row seat. It’s almost literally the driver’s seat.

Staab is working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California while pursuing his aerospace engineering doctoral degree in the distance learning program. He’s a Cassini Spacecraft Flight Controller, which means he’s one of only three people authorized to tell the machine what to do and where to go as it orbits Saturn.

The job is almost finished. Just before 8 a.m. (Atlanta time) on Friday, Staab will hear Cassini’s signal for the final time before it dives into the planet’s atmosphere, becoming a part of Saturn.

Prior to attending Georgia Tech, I was a flight test engineering intern at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California and, later, a test requirements and analysis engineer for Boeing in St. Louis. I had a lot of control room and operations experience, which is exactly what JPL was looking for.

The duty of a flight controller at JPL is fairly straight-forward; we possess absolute command and control authority of the spacecraft when tracking it through the Deep-Space Network. more> https://goo.gl/aAU76G

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Five Stages of Economic Grief

BOOK REVIEW

Economyths: 11 Ways That Economics Gets it Wrong, Author: David Orrell.
A Failure of Capitalism: The Crisis of ’08 and the Descent, Author: Richard Posner.
Economics Rules, Author: Dani Rodrik.
The Trouble With Physics, Author: Lee Smolin.

By David Orrell – When Economyths first came out, most economists were in a state of denial – especially those at the top of the profession. Future laureate Tom Sargent said in a 2010 interview “It is just wrong to say that this financial crisis caught modern macroeconomists by surprise.” (No mention of whether the non-modern macroeconomists saw it coming too.)

Laureate Robert Lucas preferred to see the unpredictability as a natural result of future laureate Eugene Fama’s efficient market hypothesis (though as Posner notes, that didn’t stop him from predicting, shortly after Lehman’s collapse, that the crisis would soon go away).Fama agreed that the efficient market hypothesis ‘did quite well in this episode’. The Nobel committee apparently agreed too.

As reality sank in, economists soon began lashing out in anger at anyone who dared criticize their field, including yours truly (I’m going to talk about this because it seems to be quite a general problem). At Canada’s top-ranked economics blog Worthwhile Canadian Initiative, for example, a group of prominent academics, including regular contributors to national publications (Globe and Mail, National Post, Maclean’s, Literary Review of Canada, etc.), shared their professional thoughts about the book online.

Descriptors used included idiotic, ignorant, intellectually lazy, juvenile, random, rubbish, semi-articulated, and ‘sort of like Malcolm Gladwell without the insight’ – ouch. Someone even compared me to a climate change denier (not uncommon, as it turns out). more> https://goo.gl/nAhwBT

Updates from Adobe

Brooke Shaden Connects Through Art

By Alyssa Coppelman – Photographer Brooke Shaden crafts images that are steeped in symbolism. Each image encapsulates a full story, or at least a crucial plot point. It makes sense that she got her start by experimenting with filmmaking—most dubiously when she made her first video at age 13, set to an N’Sync song.

After going to college in order to study filmmaking, Shaden realized she preferred photography, notably because she could work alone and more quickly than when making a film. And while she was able to take elements of her formal filmmaking training and apply them to photography, she is otherwise self-taught.

When searching for ideas to translate into photographs, Shaden loves to explore overarching concepts. “Symbolism and storytelling elements like conflict and characterization are at the core of why I want to create,” she explains. “When I am brainstorming, I often write down keywords—themes, loose ideas—that are occupying my mind in that moment. From there, I write down descriptions of visuals that go with those words in an effort to visually bring about art from the ideas. I focus on location, color, and character, and sometimes props or wardrobe, as well. Once I have the idea, I write down a little paragraph about what the image is, why it is meaningful, and how I plan to technically achieve it.”

Because her planning phase is so thorough, Shaden generally spends only five to fifteen minutes, depending on the image’s complexity, actually shooting. more> https://goo.gl/dXJZsb

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Moving To Blue Ocean Strategy: A Five-Step Process To Make The Shift

BOOK REVIEW

Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant, Authors: W. Chan Kim and Rénee Mauborgne.
Blue Ocean Shift: Beyond Competing – Proven Steps to Inspire Confidence and Seize New Growth, Authors: W. Chan Kim and Rénee Mauborgne.

By Steve Denning – Instead of struggling to survive in the bloody shark-infested “Red Oceans” of vicious competition, why not move to the “Blue Oceans” where there was little or no competition?

What inspired the authors was not “dividing up markets or the globe,” but rather organizations and individuals that created “new frontiers of opportunity, growth, and jobs,” where success was not about fighting for a bigger slice of an existing, often shrinking pie, but about “creating a larger economic pie for all.” The book was a publishing sensation. It sold more than 4 million copies and has been translated into 44 different languages.

Now, 12 years later, the authors offer an exciting new book that synthesizes their experience in assisting with the implementation of Blue Ocean strategy.

In effect, Blue Ocean strategy involves market-creating innovation. It opens up new possibilities that are not available to organizations operating within the existing cost-value structure. It expands the universe as to what is possible, often enabling higher value at lower cost.

Perhaps the most important chapter is Chapter 3, which delineates the Blue Ocean mindset and the distinctive opportunity-based thinking that is at the foundation of Blue Ocean strategy.

It is a perspective that enables strategists “to ask a fundamentally different set of questions,” the answers to which “in turn enable them to perceive and appreciate the fallacies behind long-held assumptions and the artificial boundaries we unknowingly impose on ourselves.” more> https://goo.gl/hNPdDG

Beware The Perils Of Groupthink, Yet Meetings Can Still Be Useful

BOOK REVIEW

Wiser: Getting Beyond Groupthink to Make Groups Smarter, Authors: Reid Hastie and Cass Sunstein.
The Conversation – Traditional groups exacerbate some individual judgment and decision biases. Examples include the planning fallacy, in which people underestimate how much time will be needed to complete a task, and the sunk costs fallacy, irrationally investing more in a project because so much has been put into it already, when it would be better to just let it go.

But groups also cure some individual bad habits. Among these are anchoring (a tendency to rely on the first piece of evidence offered), availability (overestimating unlikely events) and some forms of narrow framing.

This is where the important role of leaders come into play, to prevent groupthink and bring out the best in their employees. more> https://goo.gl/tX215a