Category Archives: Net

The Big Shift

How American Democracy Fails Its Way to Success
By Walter Russell Mead – As Americans struggle to make sense of a series of uncomfortable economic changes and disturbing political developments, a worrying picture emerges: of ineffective politicians, frequent scandals, racial backsliding, polarized and irresponsible news media, populists spouting quack economic remedies, growing suspicion of elites and experts, frightening outbreaks of violence, major job losses, high-profile terrorist attacks, anti-immigrant agitation, declining social mobility, giant corporations dominating the economy, rising inequality, and the appearance of a new class of super-empowered billionaires in finance and technology-heavy industries.

That, of course, is a description of American life in the 35 years after the Civil War.

The United States is passing through something similar today. The information revolution is disrupting the country’s social and economic order as profoundly as the Industrial Revolution did.

The ideologies and policies that fit American society a generation ago are becoming steadily less applicable to the problems it faces today.

It is, in many ways, a stressful and anxious time to be alive.

And that anxiety has prompted a pervasive sense of despair about American democracy—a fear that it has reached a point of dysfunction and decay from which it will never recover. more>

Renewing America’s economic promise through older industrial cities

By Alan Berube and Cecile Murray – Despite a robust national economy, deep regional divides persist with technology hubs in the coastal states pulling away from the nation’s industrial Heartland. This growing regional inequality poses serious economic, social, and political consequences for the nation.

The middling performance of communities with historically strong manufacturing cores is a key feature of America’s uneven economic growth. These so-called older industrial cities, predominantly located in the Midwest and Northeast, have struggled over time to grow jobs in new sectors and to boost employment and income, particularly for their communities of color.

They range from very large cities like Baltimore and Detroit, to smaller communities like Schenectady, New York, and Terre Haute, Indiana.

With increasing interest in local, state, and national policies to revive the fortunes of struggling communities, older industrial cities represent promising regions for strategic investment and critical centers for promoting inclusive economic growth. more>

Trump’s lies corrode democracy

By James Pfiffner – Previous research has demonstrated that most modern presidents have told lies for a variety of reasons, from legitimate lies concerning national security, to trivial misstatements, to shading the truth, to avoiding embarrassment, to serious lies of policy deception. However, when a president continues to insist that his previous false statements are true, the institutions of government become corroded and democracy is undermined.

Of course, many of Trump’s lies are “conventional” lies similar to those that politicians often tell in order to look good or avoid blame. But the number of these types of lies by Trump vastly exceeds the lies of previous presidents. Glen Kessler of the Washington Post compiled a list of more than 2000 misleading or false statements in Trump’s first 355 days in office.

But aside from volume, Trump’s lies differed significantly from those of previous presidents. Some of his most frequent lies are bragging about his achievements in ways that are demonstrably untrue and contrary to well-known and accepted facts.

Trump’s refusal to admit the truth of widely accepted facts corrodes political discourse and is consistent with the practice of many authoritarian leaders. If there are no agreed upon facts, then it becomes impossible for people to make judgments about their government or hold it accountable. more>

The Four Industry 4.0 Tipping Points

By Jonathan Wilkins – At the turn of the 20th century, the third industrial revolution was driven by three major tipping points: improvements in agriculture, greater transport possibilities, and an economic boom.

Now we’re on the fourth industrial revolution—Industry 4.0. Many businesses are welcoming economic globalization as an opportunity to spread their divisions worldwide and generate a virtual global factory.

Among the factors underpinning Industry 4.0’s tipping points are the following: connectivity, the smart factory, data, and the customer.

The term “smart factory” describes the manufacturing sector’s vision for the future. It incorporates exceptional machine intelligence, resulting in the ability to self-optimize and make decisions. Machines will be able to interact and communicate with each other to automate entire manufacturing processes.

In the battle to remain competitive, every manufacturing company is taking steps to bring the smart-factory vision into existence. This is helping to fuel the progress of Industry 4.0. more>

Tech Upheaval Means a ‘Massacre of the Dilberts’

By Fergal O’Brien and Maciej Onoszko – The Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said there are a lot of “routine cognitive jobs,” at risk, in what he termed a “massacre of the Dilberts” — a reference to the satirical American comic strip about office workers.

Technology and the fourth industrial revolution are having untold impact, he said, and it’s going to take huge efforts to make sure workers ultimately benefit. The effect of automation is just one part of the change and examples of the seismic shift can be seen in finance, where many “unglamorous” data entry jobs have already been transformed.

“Get a grip on the scale of the problem. Assess and address,” he said.

Carney added that part of the solution could require major social change, with workers having to extend or return to education in later life to prepare themselves for the new world of labor. He acknowledged that wouldn’t be simple, when many people will have mortgages and other financial responsibilities, and added that up to now not everyone is getting training right. more>

The Labor Market Basis For Populism

By Carl Melin and Ann-Therése Enarsson – All over the world, populist parties and movements are growing ever more strongly, and established parties appear to lack effective strategies to combat this.

Changes in the labor market will not have the same impact on all groups. Routine tasks are more vulnerable to automation and we can see that many low-skilled men, often in jobs that have had a relatively high status and income, are more vulnerable than others. But traditional working-class jobs are not the only ones affected, as digitization and the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) are also affecting many white-collar employees.

The trend of increased populism that we have seen over the last decade mirrors what happened during the Great Depression in the 1930s when such movements seized power in countries such as Germany, Italy and Spain, with the disastrous consequences we all know.

The question is: what can be done to counteract a similar trend.

Even if automation may mean that some people lose out, there is no alternative as the new technology is a precondition for old jobs not simply disappearing, but also being replaced by new ones.

What can be done, however, is to reduce people’s anxieties and the personal cost of these changes. On the-job-training and other forms of education are the most important tools, but security in times of change is also about effective unemployment insurance.

Far too many politicians have chosen to respond to populist parties by adopting their world view. Instead of trying to deal with the concerns that are driving people to these kinds of movements, many politicians have often chosen to confirm and reinforce them. more>

Radio Over Fiber Paves Way for Future 5G Networks

By Nitin Dahad – A manufacturer of III-V photonic devices claims to have proven the feasibility of 60-GHz radio over fiber (ROF) transmission at a 1,270-nm wavelength, paving the way to potential solutions for 5G networks.

CST Global, a Scotland-based subsidiary of Sivers IMA Holdings AB in Kista, Sweden, carried out the feasibility study as part of an EU Horizon 2020 research project. The project, iBROW (innovative ultra-broadband ubiquitous wireless communications through tera-hertz transceivers), was led by the University of Glasgow and managed within CST Global by research engineer Horacio Cantu.

The company says that ROF networks are emerging as a completely new and promising communication paradigm for delivering broadband wireless access services and fronthaul at 60 GHz, relying on the synergy between fixed optical and millimeter-wave technologies. ROF technology enables RF signals to be transported over fiber across kilometers and can be engineered for unity gain RF links. Hence, it is thought that it could do a lot to ease spectrum constraints, and it can replace multiple coax cables with a single fiber-optic cable. Among several benefits, ROF could also enhance cell coverage. more>

This Copyright Dispute Is at the Center of an Education Policy Controversy

By Lindsey Tepe – It’s important to understand how several New York school districts ended up in the center of a copyright infringement lawsuit in the first place. In a way, the conflict between Great Minds and FedEx was set in motion seven years ago, when the state of New York adopted new, more challenging academic standards in English language arts (ELA) and math.

To help educators master the new standards, the state undertook an ambitious new project to build an online library of educational resources aligned with those standards. Using a piece of the state’s $700 million federal Race to the Top grant, state leaders requested proposals from curriculum writers across the country interested in developing these resources for every grade level.

States and school districts are rapidly adopting these curricula because of their quality, but need to more fully understand what they can and can’t do with materials.

As more open curriculum options are published across the country, states, districts, and publishers need to make sure that they fully understand copyright, and the terms of the content licenses. It’s good for students when adults share. That’s beyond question. But it’s bad if the adults can’t agree on, or don’t know, the terms of that sharing. more>

Updates from Ciena

Following the 3-pillar approach to effective security strategy
By Paulina Gomez – In response to the rapidly evolving cybersecurity threat landscape, regulations around the world are upping the pressure on organizations to protect their sensitive customer and operational data. The maximum fine for a data breach in the upcoming European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), for example, could be up to 4% of global revenues; enough to put even large organizations out of business.

How can an organization minimize its security risks?

It’s about more than just encryption and firewalls. A comprehensive, multi-layer security strategy is vital to an effective defense. By following these three key pillars to achieve the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data in your network, you will be protecting your data, your customers, and your business.

The central driving vision for any data security approach is to ensure customer data remains confidential at all times. This requires an end-to-end security solution protecting network traffic from the end point to the data center. more>

Updates from Adobe

WALL TOGETHER NOW
By Jordan Kushins – Las Vegas is known for its garish signage: flashy, flamboyant, all-neon-all-the-time. But now an entirely different kind of marquee has stolen the spotlight. It’s more than 16 feet long, just under ten feet high, and almost five feet deep. It weighs a whopping 770 pounds and is composed of nearly 50 modular MDF forms.

It was meticulously designed in Adobe Illustrator CC, built by hand in England, shipped in pieces across the ocean, then reconstructed in Nevada. And it’s greeting participants at the Adobe Summit.

For the past five years, Adobe has worked with artists on the conference identity, which corresponds to an annual theme. This year’s theme is “experience,” and creative director Angela Fisher was inspired to go beyond 2D constraints to bring the theme to life. “I started thinking, ‘What if the identity was a physical structure?’ A camera panning around, and in and out, could reveal a kind of experience within the branding itself.”

She began making paper models at home on the weekends to explore two facets of the idea. These geometric forms and patterns became building blocks—like DIY Legos—that took on the feel of an abstract cityscape in one, and the shape of an “X” in the other. They were promising, but the concept wasn’t quite there yet. more>

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