Technology Revised

5) Technology – New techniques, processes, products, inventions, or innovations that increase the efficiency (with respect to economics) in some area of business, society, or government that have not become widespread or a “norm” within said business, society, or government.

Words should serve a purpose.  Currently the definition of technology is something along the lines of “everything”.  People could argue that everything we use today is some form of technology, from the chairs we sit on to the cars we drive and even to the fire we use for heat.  But how does this definition of technology provide us with anything useful we can use when analyzing the world around us.  We don’t need another word for “everything”.  My definition is much more specific, useable, and relevant.

I chose not to use this concept in my responses to the other two questions because even though it would be easy to work it in, I felt that with its current definition, it does not add anything useful or offer any new or unique insight.  The word simply refers to too great a spectrum of ideas, processes, and innovations.  Would it make sense to talk about fire as a source of heat and cell phones in the same sentence?

Words should facilitate learning, understanding, and the conveyance of information.  There is a reason using a word like “stuff” is not the best way to express ideas.  For example, a research paper titles “The Study of Stuff” does not really help the reader understand what the author is talking about.  If the definition of technology is so broad, then we might as well replace the word with “stuff”.

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Throwing in the Towel…

The United States ranks #1 in charitable giving in the world, both in terms of dollars and percentage of GDP.  In 2008, Americans gave over $300 billion, much of which went to other countries.  Most recent in our minds are the relief efforts for the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, and Hurricane Katrina.  We have donated billions to help these countries rebuild and recover from these disasters.  I, and I would assume most people, find these events tragic.  However, I don’t believe that our country, or Americans, or anyone should be donating billions of dollars to help these people.

There simply isn’t enough money available to truly help these people.  Even our hundreds of billions of dollars every year is but a drop in the bucket, a band aid on a bullet wound.  We must allocate our finite resources where they will make the biggest difference, even if it means that today we must make a difficult sacrifice.  Many undeveloped countries are nothing more than collections of famine, disease, and poverty.  And have roots that go deeper than money.

If we can shed this dead weight weighing us all down, holding us all back, we would be free, free to solve tomorrow’s problems rather than yesterday’s.  I think we are at a fork in the road, so to speak.  We must decide if we are going to forfeit tomorrow to drag the rest of the world along, or, instead, take our first steps forward as a new people, with the memories of the old in our minds and their sacrifice in our hearts.

Heroes at Enron

I will be writing a paper arguing why the guys at Enron were smarter than everyone else, how they did things that no one had even though of, how they were visionaries, and how America failed to learn an important lesson.  I want to focus on a different side of Enron and how they, through their legal, but shady business dealings, exploited the system and made a fortune.  I will focus mainly on their energy deals in California and the resulting outcry from the American public in general.  Power will be the topic of my paper and how the internal power structure of Enron allowed people, more specifically the traders, to exploit the weaknesses they found without punishment. I will also investigate the power structure of our government and how it resembles that of Enron’s. Continue reading

What can the world learn from China?

In a short 15 years, China has become an economic force with a year to year GDP growth of almost 10%.  In 2008, the People’s Republic of China had the 3rd highest GDP of $4.33 trillion, trailing Japan and the United States at $4.91 trillion and $14.2 trillion, respectively. (datafinder.worldbank.org) After looking at various GDP projections, it seems that all predict China to surpass the United States in real GDP sometime between 2040 and 2050.  (www.photius.com)  And this has been accomplished under a communist government.  China has proved that a communist government can work, but they still must pass the test of time.  In the past other socialist and communist governments have tried and failed, but I think China has more than a good chance to last.  Fist of all, China has all past communist failures to learn from.  They also exist in a world that will keep their government in check.  With the UN and NATO looking over their shoulders, a sort of “checks and balance” system is in place to prevent China from doing anything too radical.  Even if China eventually falls apart, I think every democratic nation can learn something vitally important. Continue reading

Games of Empire: Global Capitalism and Video Games

I consider myself an avid gamer, and, as you can imagine, once I picked up this book I didn’t really want to put it down.  I took some time to read the lengthly introduction and got a pretty good idea about what the book was going to cover.  First of all, for everyone that doesn’t know, the video game industry is almost a $19 billion one, almost sneaking past Hollywood.  Also, your average video gamer isn’t a 16 year old boy anymore.  Today the average age of a video gamer is around 30 and almost half male half female (60-40).  Another shocking statistic: 40% of people that play Second Life make over $90,000.  There is even an exchange rate for the Linden Dollar (Second Life’s currency) and the US Dollar. (Games of Empire) Continue reading

“Gendered peer effects”

I read an interesting article this week, “Gendered Peer Effects”.  Though this article is about schools and student performance, I feel the points mentioned can be directly related to all organizations and what they need to do to make sure they reach their goals.  The main topic of the article is how the “bad peers” in a group, in this case a classroom of students, has the largest effect on the performance of that group.  “We show that a large fraction of “bad” peers at a school – as identified by students in the bottom 5% of the ability distribution – negatively and significantly affects the cognitive performance of other schoolmates.” This should present an important new goal for management: how do they deal with the bottom 5%? Continue reading

As School Exit Tests Prove Tough, States Ease Standards

I chose this article mostly because I am from California, a state whose public school are at the bottom of the barrel.  Obviously, something has to be done to get students more interested in learning.  It seems that the general policy (and this isn’t really based of of anything specific) is to dumb everything down so everyone can do it.  In California, a handful of my friends attended public school and this is the consensus that they’ve all come to.   It is undeniable that this is a problem, but how can it be fixed.  My article talks about one way our government is trying to fix the public school systems. Continue reading