Of Pitchforks, Revolutions, Capitalism and our Better Angels…

July 20th, 2014

Its a rare thing when within one week I run across two articles written by two very different members of the  financial elite (the  0.1-0.015%) ringing alarm bells about  the rising tide of income inequality. But it happened this week.  Both addressed their fellow plutocrats directly and had the audacity to speak out strongly against the rising tide income inequality.

Nick Hanauer and the Tedtalk that wasn’t…

NIck Hanauer, a very successful entrepreneur, CEO and philanthropist is decidedly a part of the  exclusive financial elite. He is also no stranger to controversy.  In 2012 Mr Hanauer gave a TEDtalk that TED declined to post.   Why?  Well as it turns out that instead of invoking his own personal success story, Mr. Hanauer had the chutzpah to focus his talk on the emerging oligarchy , income inequality and its impact on business, society and the economy. OOPSIE!   TEDtalks are all about rugged individualism and empowerment – that’s a no-no!

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Lessons From Game of Thrones: Invention & Innovation Requires Public Commitment

July 16th, 2014

In the very first episode of a Game of Thrones,  10-year-old  Branden Stark had an unfortunate “accident”. He was pushed from a high window and nearly died. Although he survived, he was paralyzed from the waist down.  A few episodes later,  the decidedly book-smart and wealthy  Lord Tyrion Lannister offered Bran a gift.  He designed  a special saddle so Bran could ride horseback once again.

Invention often happens that way.  Someone with the technological know-how and the money, sees a need and acts to fill that need.  This is but one of the more minor routes to discovery and invention.  It is simple, direct, but far from the most likely.  For the most part, big gains and earth changing discoveries are generally not sprints; they are marathons.

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Lessons From Game of Thrones – Players – Pawns & Market Chaos…

June 22nd, 2014

This is part 2 of 2 parts

In my previous post on “players vs. pawns”  I brought up a disturbing trend that I saw on a  YouTube comment thread.  The video was about the famous Little Finger monologue from season 3 of the series.  A disturbing number of people found this monologue “inspiring” and a metaphor for the acquisition of security and success in the United States today.  To say that this is deeply disturbing indicator of the state of our union is an understatement:   Once again – here is the monologue…

Chaos is a ladder.  Many who try to climb it fail, never get to try again.  The fall breaks them.  And some, given a chance to climb, they refuse.  They cling to the realm, or the Gods, or love.  Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.  - Littlefinger GOT – Season 3.

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Lessons From Game of Thrones – Players & Pawns – which are you?

June 14th, 2014

This is part 1 of 2 parts…

I was going to move off my Game of Thrones metaphor for a couple of posts, but my last blog on “Players, Pawns and Little Finger” brought something interesting to my attention.  I have to admit that it was something I found deeply disturbing…In that post I embedded a YouTube clip on Little Finger’s monologue “The Climb”.  In the monologue he describes chaos as a ladder that he intends to climb in order to achieve ultimate power.

Apparently, many people have found this monologue “inspiring”.  A few indicated that they listen to it every day as it gets them going in the morning, implying that it helps them realize that they are in charge of their own destiny. 

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Lessons from Game of Thrones – Players, Pawns & Littlefinger…

June 9th, 2014

There was a time in America when the political powers that be actually feared the wrath of the people. Our elected officials were regarded as public servants and woe be to them if they did not enact policies that served the interests of their constituents.

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Lessons From Game Of Thrones – Melisandre and extremism as an antidote to reason…

June 6th, 2014

The human race has always lived in the shadow of dogma.  It has perverted our history in many a violent way and has sowed the seeds of self-destruction for more than one society.

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Lessons from Game Of Thrones -The Sansa Stark Syndrome…

May 23rd, 2014

OK, I confess, I’m a big fan of GOT. GRR Martin’s cast of characters presents us with many life lessons  and analogies that can be applied to this world as well as the fantasy world of Westeros.

Is Sansa Stark passive and shallow? 

While watching some clips on YouTube I found myself glancing at the comment thread and noted that people tended to be particularly annoyed by the Sansa Stark character.  Apparently she is too “passive” and was being unfavorably compared to her badass sister Arya.

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STEM career viability in a winner-take-all society…

March 29th, 2014

Working World Bell JarIn a previous post regarding STEM career viability I promised more installments on my own personal journey as a biomedical scientist.   But we are going to take a brief detour from academic biomedical research and biotech and make a brief stop in Silicon Valley.  The reason for this is to highlight some basic meat and potatoes compensation issues that are trending through many, if not most STEM career tracks.

Yves Smith of Naked Captialism just posted a blog on the justice department response to a massive wage suppression (price-fixing)  conspiracy that has ensnared the likes of Apple, Google, Dell, Dreamworks, Comcast – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

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STEM Career Viability – Where’s the Beef?

March 22nd, 2014

STEM education programs are hot…

OK, so we’ve woken up to the fact that we are falling behind in science and technology.  Almost everyone is making a massive fuss over STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.  In higher education circles, it seems like everyone is climbing onto the STEM bandwagon.  It seems like almost everyday I hear about a new STEM program.  Some campuses are even building  STEM centers.

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Hiring collusions impacting engineers salaries? NO! Really???

March 3rd, 2014

Its all over the media.  There is a huge “skills-mismatch” in the US.  In spite of high unemployment, millions of jobs in the so-called “STEM”  (science, technology, engineering and math)  fields are going begging because employers can not get enough “qualified” Americans to fill those positions.

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