Friday, July 29, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Economics and Politics by Paul Krugman--NYTimes.com: "When I fire up my computer these days, I quickly check out the Italy-Germany 10-year spread. That spread spiked earlier this month, signaling the spread of the crisis beyond the small peripheral economies; at its peak a couple of weeks ago it was 3.32 percent. Then the new rescue plan was announced, and the spread fell to 2.47 — still very bad, but a little less catastrophic. . . as of this morning it’s back up to 3.08. Things are falling apart."
Sunday, July 24, 2011
"We all know that there are these exemplars who can take the toughest students, and they'll teach them two-and-a-half years of math in a single year," he says. "Well, I'm enough of a scientist to want to say, 'What is it about a great teacher? Is it their ability to calm down the classroom or to make the subject interesting? Do they give good problems and understand confusion? Are they good with kids who are behind? Are they good with kids who are ahead?'
"I watched the movies. I saw 'To Sir, With Love,'" he chuckles, recounting the 1967 classic in which Sidney Poitier plays an idealistic teacher who wins over students at a roughhouse London school. "But they didn't really explain what he was doing right. I can't create a personnel system where I say, 'Go watch this movie and be like him.'"
Instead, the Gates Foundation's five-year, $335-million project examines whether aspects of effective teaching—classroom management, clear objectives, diagnosing and correcting common student errors—can be systematically measured. The effort involves collecting and studying videos of more than 13,000 lessons taught by 3,000 elementary school teachers in seven urban school districts.
"We're taking these tapes and we're looking at how quickly a class gets focused on the subject, how engaged the kids are, who's wiggling their feet, who's looking away," says Mr. Gates. The researchers are also asking students what works in the classroom and trying to determine the usefulness of their feedback.
Mr. Gates hopes that the project earns buy-in from teachers, which he describes as key to long-term reform. "Our dream is that in the sample districts, a high percentage of the teachers determine that this made them better at their jobs." He's aware, though, that he'll have a tough sell with teachers unions, which give lip service to more-stringent teacher evaluations but prefer existing pay and promotion schemes based on seniority . . . .
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
'The fact that the cloud is powering this whole new range of innovation at very low cost means that we've seen a wealth of new applications and new ways of doing things coming towards us that didn't even exist five years ago,' he said.
Vogels notes the increasing 'webification' of enterprise applications, and sees a future where even your exercise treadmill has an IP address. 'I've learned that if you think about innovation it's best not to restrain yourself too much,' he said."
Friday, July 15, 2011
At the other end of the scale, a critical mass in southern Europe is losing its ability to live with a currency as hard as the euro. The crisis is fast approaching the point of no return.
. . . .
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Much changed in the ethnic and racial makeup of the city from 2000 to 2010, when the population dropped to just under 2.7 million. A loss of about 200,000 people will shrink the average size of each ward to about 53,900 people.
The biggest decline was among African-Americans, whose numbers dropped by about 182,000 as the city tore down public housing high-rises, the foreclosure crisis left swaths of South Side and West Side communities vacant and blacks moved to the suburbs. The white population also fell, by nearly 53,000.
Meanwhile, the number of Latinos rose by about 25,000. The Asian population grew by more than 20,000.
If the ethnic and racial makeup of the city mirrored its population, the council would have 16 whites, 16 blacks, 15 Latinos and three Asians. But the way wards get carved up — by politicians trying to maintain or grow power while not running afoul of federal and state voting protections for minorities — is far from that simple.
The council now has 22 white members, 19 African-Americans, eight Latinos and one alderman of Indian descent — a combination well out of sync with the makeup of the Chicago following the 2000 census."
If you want to drill down into the data go here: http://media.apps.chicagotribune.com/ward-redistricting/index.html
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
" . . . .few analysts stopped and asked: Why should China, a country credited for having a vibrant middle class, a huge internal market and a rapid pace of wealth-creating urbanization, undertake a stimulus program larger both in relative and absolute terms than the stimulus program in the United States, which was at the epicenter of the financial crisis?
The answer is that China’s middle class is far less vibrant than commonly assumed; its internal market (relative to its G.D.P.) is actually modest, and its urbanization is rapid but not wealth-creating. In the face of a precipitous collapse of the demand for exports, the country resorted to the only thing it knew how to do -- embark on a government-organized, debt-financed investment binge to raise the G.D.P.
One theory is that all of these investments are made to prepare for the coming wave of urbanization. This is a myth. The Chinese cities do not lack buildings, which they have in surplus. The cities lack people. Beijing and Shanghai have some of the lowest population densities among the world’s big metropolises. The current infrastructure is more than adequate to accommodate China’s urbanization.
It is likely that a sizable portion of this investment binge is sheer waste and will surely end up as non-performing loans on the banks’ balance sheets. The Chinese term for crisis comprises of two words: danger and opportunity. The corrupt local officials saw abundant opportunities to amass wealth for themselves, and the central government completely lost sight of the inherent danger. The structural distortions of the Chinese economy grew worse and the government did exactly what it should not have done: It wasted a perfectly good crisis."
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
The killer feature of Google+ is that, unlike Facebook, LinkedIn, or most other social networks, there's no such thing as a friend request. Users can create groups of friends, called Circles in Google+ terminology. These circles can include both other Google+ users and nonusers who receive status updates via e-mail rather than via the site. As a Google+ user, you can share your status updates and favorite links with those in one or more of these easily created circles, or with everyone. And you can see what other users have shared with you, or with everyone, in a Facebook-like feed that runs down the middle of the page.
But you'll never be put in the awkward situation of receiving a friend request from someone you don't really want to be Google+ friends with. Nor will you have to face the awkward decision of whether or not to defriend a former confidant with whom you've fallen out. Just remove them from your circles, which are never revealed to other users. Other than that, Google+ looks and behaves a lot like Facebook."
Friday, July 8, 2011
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Monday, July 4, 2011
The World's Most Reputable Companies - Forbes.com
Google #1; Apple #2; Microsoft #11--wonder where Facebook will place after it goes public?
"Google has the best corporate reputation in the world because it understands the power of the corporate story," says Kasper Ulf Nielsen, Reputation Institute's executive partner. "Google's reputation platform is based on its great workplace environment, its open and transparent way of doing business, and its commitment to playing an active role in improving society."
You can order the study at http://reputationinstitute.com/global-reptrak-pulse
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Friday, July 1, 2011
Google has changed Google Calendar and in the process shown how to introduce change within any community--what, why, and feedback. I know of no other corporation that is this transparent, and certainly no governmental entity. Excerpts from the Google link below:
What's changingRight now, the changes are just cosmetic and have not affected the way Calendar works. You can choose to turn off the new look by clicking the gear icon and choosing Use the classic look (you can turn it back on by going to the gear icon and choosing Try the new look).
A summary of the current changes are: . . . .
Over the course of the summer and fall, we’ll make more changes to the look and functionality of Google Calendar. You’ll see these changes in your account in a variety of products, and we’ll make sure to keep you updated as we introduce these changes.
Why we made these changesThe way people use and experience the web is evolving, and our goal is to give you a more seamless and consistent online experience -- one that works no matter which Google product you’re using or what device you’re using it on. The new Google experience that we’re working toward is founded on three key design principles:
- Focus: With the design changes in the coming weeks and months, we’re bringing forward the stuff that matters to you and getting all the other clutter out of your way.
- Elasticity: The new design will soon allow you to seamlessly transition from your desktop computer to your mobile phone to your tablet, while keeping a consistent visual experience. We aim to bring you this flexibility without sacrificing style or usefulness.
- Effortlessness: Our design philosophy is to combine power with simplicity. We want to keep our look simple and clean. But behind the seemingly simple design, the changes use new technologies to make sure you have all the power of the web behind you.
How you can have a voice in these changesIf you’d like to share your thoughts on the design changes, you can let us know on our feedback form. We’re always looking for new ways to improve your online experience, and your suggestions are really helpful in making all our products better.
The Big Picture
Financial Crisis - The Telegraph
JohnTheCrowd.com | The Sailing Website
Craig Newmark - craigconnects
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