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July 16, 2005

Redesigning the American High School

C-SPAN is running a live show hosted by National Governors Association. It's about fixing the education system world over and specifically US.

Dilip Thakore just finished his mildly suck-up speech. No new data points but lot of passionate pleas.  He made it a point to convey his painful 2-ocean crossing journey to make it to this esteemed conference (which was supposed to by and for the likes of Arnold-The-Kalifornian).

No Child Left Behind is a new tool and new reason for schmooz-fest. I dont see any new experiments or real concrete findings but the rehash of same old concern. No conference on No Child Left Behind without The Flatman !

Tune in now , as the Flatman Begins !

July 16, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 15, 2005

What happened ?

Paul Krugman lamenting over  state of the nation and specifically  Rove -

it's about what has happened to America. How did our political system get to this point?

Make sure you check the wikipeadia article on Karl Rove.   

July 15, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 14, 2005

Primary education - fix this first !

Rajesh points to the education system crisis as it exists in the primary sector in India. Though much is written about the vast pool of engineering graduates but  picture at the primary level is embarassing and shameful !

According to Rajesh :

375 million. That is the number of Indians in the 6-19 age group. As they grow up and enter the workforce, they are bound together by one need - education. And by all accounts, they aren't getting enough of it. In an article, Business Week (Jan 31, 2005) called India "a nation of dropouts." The facts bear out the stark reality. "While 96% of India's children enroll in primary school, by the age of 10 about 40% have dropped out, says the education department. Just over a third of high school students graduate."

Educating India's young is a problem that needs immediate attention. Every year, we are closing the window to a better life for tens of millions of Indians. At the same time, it is not an easy problem to solve. India has a million schools. Most of them are in rural areas and government-run. Teachers and teaching leave much to be desired across most of them. Unless we come up with innovative, radical solutions quickly, we will be squandering India's greatest asset.

On a related note I asked Atanu on  how to make people attend to a crisis  by constantly 
emphasizing that problem as a crisis.  His suggestion :

Awareness of important issues requires two things: one, information, and two, the capacity to internalize the information and become aware of the issue, which could then lead to some sort of action related to the issue

Can this capacity be increased by some intervention ?

In a deterministic society its very hard to attend to one problem at the expense of others but I think in some social contexts attending to one problem by treating as a calamity will result in  better results overall  versus giving a piecemeal solution to many problems.

Primary education is a disaster in India and I don't see any sign of that improving dramatically.  Country is enjoying some attention at the top level but the basic seeds which make any society strong and responsible are not getting proper education.

I believe corporate sector should step in here and have a ownership model where certain tax exemptions will be tied to their contributions at the primary education level and not just at the vocational course level.  Some form of social rebate model can be introduced which companies can avail by owning the resource welfare of  primary schools.

It's no brainer to extend the theory this  segment once educated will have better sensibilities towards future global issues such environment and energy !

July 14, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 13, 2005

Ruby Vs J2EE

Aaron Rustad wrote a pretty good white paper comparing Ruby on Rails with J2EE framework. Those who care to follow programmer productivity metrics and enterprise frameworks will do themselves a favor by reading this.

Ruby's claim of being 10 times more productive than other framework may be better left for performance  debates but there is no doubt about it's capability to provide  faster development cycle and simplicity. Some popular apps written with Rails include Basecamp, 43Things,  and I am sure there are many more in the works right now.

July 13, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 10, 2005

Real estate job growth

NYT has interesting data points on jobs related to the real estate  sector. 

Encompassing everything from land surveyors to general contractors to loan officers, the sprawling sector has added 700,000 jobs to the nation's payrolls over the last four years..

Combined, the rest of the economy has lost nearly 400,000 jobs over the same span, which stretches back to the start of the most recent recession, in 2001.

Residential housing now makes up 16 percent, or $1.9 trillion, of the gross domestic product and is the economy's largest single sector, slightly bigger than the industries and services that supply health care, according to Economy.com

This shows how much more this real estate market can grow in India where its at around 7% of the GDP ! As Indian society moves towards ownership culture there will be significant ecosystem build-up around real estate.

Whereas here in the local market, don't expect any help for the first time buyer either as the lobby has it's reach all the way to the top:

The economic growth of the real estate industrial complex has only added to its longstanding political clout. The housing and construction industries gave $167 million to campaigns during the 2004 election cycle, more than the agribusiness, defense, energy and computer industries put together, according to the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington

July 10, 2005 in Silicon Valley | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 08, 2005

Who is going to make money ?

Rebecca Henderson answers this question in this MIT video clip :

If you are in the business of making "boxes" -- say, to play downloaded music, or to compute data-you are facing a dilemma Customers are no longer seeking the best designed product, but "a total system experience." Whether the business involves bicycles or cell phones, medical or financial services, the future in an interconnected world is about selling parts of interconnected systems. So firms must "think about controlling architecture or influencing the architecture of the system and building the best products within it."

The challenge will be to seize on the right strategy for competing in a world where a common telecommunications backbone connects devices and people everywhere. If your systems don't dovetail with the architecture of this telecom backbone, you might face "sudden death" when the market for your product tips toward a different standard. Henderson suggests that organizations are more likely to survive if they embrace public open standards such as Linux, and abandon proprietary software. She advocates "soft standards," where companies design systems compatible with current and future public standards but at the same time offer customers performance and functionality tailored to their needs

Many people claim that they know how to make money in this web2.0 world but it's hard to say at this point.  It's in a very early phase right now,  it will be a different picture once the standards dust settles.

July 8, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 06, 2005

Follow the MacHeads

Looks like Mac users are really driving the RSS adoption, as per Brian Livingstone's research:

  • Bloglines* -- 19.49%;
  • NetNewsWire -- 10.07%;
  • iTunes -- 9.53%;
  • Firefox Live Bookmarks -- 7.25%;
  • iPodder -- 7.17%;
  • Also brief mention that overall blog count has reached a 10million mark !

    July 6, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    July 01, 2005

    Language and careers

    Found this on the Indian job mailing list for sales executives:

    Ability to communicate in one or more Asian languages (e.g. Mandarin,
    Hindi, Japanese, Korean or Bahasa Malay, etc) as well as previous
    international work experience is an asset.

    Knowing more language is definitely an edge. Interestingly advantage of knowing regional Indian language is diminishing by the day.  Flat World will be tough on the regional cultures.

    July 1, 2005 in Social angle | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack