Nine More Years…

If 8 years was long time, 9 is even longer!

The study of economics is a funny thing, yet one which tops it is sociology as in fact what most people miss is that (our) sociological models make up our economy.  As without people wanting to “trade” there is really no point to have an economy is there?  So it’s with this in mind, I find amazement that so many folks still see these as two separate things, and that “economics” is in a fact a standalone construct which can operate on its own as if it was some form of automiton if you will and people simply form the economic input as if it were an IDef-0 model.

Yet what has me rambling about this today is the idea of nine more years, yet you are most likely asking nine more years of what?  Well it’s work, and yes it’s for us (baby) boomers as it appears we aren’t just working a few more years then our parents.  We, are in fact working almost a decade more than them.

While they say keeping busy is a good thing, there is (as with everything) a cause an effect relationship which this brings.  As personally, I’m bringing up the tail end of the booming generation as there is only about 2 to 3 years and could of been a Gen-Xer as my sister.  However, it’s not my personal plight of being in a gray area, it’s in fact that sociologically we are stealing from Peter to pay Paul if you will.  As for every extra year a boomer works, it’s another year of stolen opportunity from a Gen-Xer.

Well if this wasn’t enough on its own, the second shoe here is the fact that there are so many more boomers then Xers to start with.  So in short the “Boomers” are sucking up all the economic air from the room if you will.  In addition as with all things plumbing related, the effects roll down hill and if the Xers are being starved for employment, what about the Y’s?  You know all this Occupy Something nonsense going on now because the Yers are saying there are no jobs?

Well they are right as their parents and grandparents are still holding on to them and the (economic) plumbing is now backing up.  As for me the government says I have another 17 working years under my belt which is interesting in that this year will be the 32ned year which I’ve paid into social security as an adult (about 35 in total).  So this will mean I will (and others like me) spend 49 (or more) years in the workforce!

In fact because of the volume of boomers, not only will both the Xers and Y’s be impacted, however the upcoming millennial’s will be too as they attempt to enter the workforce.  So when there are comments about the economic life the boomers children have not being what their fathers were, that is because their father still has it…

Nine More Years…

If 8 years was long time, 9 is even longer!

The study of economics is a funny thing, yet one which tops it is sociology as in fact what most people miss is that (our) sociological models make up our economy.  As without people wanting to “trade” there is really no point to have an economy is there?  So it’s with this in mind, I find amazement that so many folks still see these as two separate things, and that “economics” is in a fact a standalone construct which can operate on its own as if it was some form of automiton if you will and people simply form the economic input as if it were an IDef-0 model.

Yet what has me rambling about this today is the idea of nine more years, yet you are most likely asking nine more years of what?  Well it’s work, and yes it’s for us (baby) boomers as it appears we aren’t just working a few more years then our parents.  We, are in fact working almost a decade more than them.

While they say keeping busy is a good thing, there is (as with everything) a cause an effect relationship which this brings.  As personally, I’m bringing up the tail end of the booming generation as there is only about 2 to 3 years and could of been a Gen-Xer as my sister.  However, it’s not my personal plight of being in a gray area, it’s in fact that sociologically we are stealing from Peter to pay Paul if you will.  As for every extra year a boomer works, it’s another year of stolen opportunity from a Gen-Xer.

Well if this wasn’t enough on its own, the second shoe here is the fact that there are so many more boomers then Xers to start with.  So in short the “Boomers” are sucking up all the economic air from the room if you will.  In addition as with all things plumbing related, the effects roll down hill and if the Xers are being starved for employment, what about the Y’s?  You know all this Occupy Something nonsense going on now because the Yers are saying there are no jobs?

Well they are right as their parents and grandparents are still holding on to them and the (economic) plumbing is now backing up.  As for me the government says I have another 17 working years under my belt which is interesting in that this year will be the 32ned year which I’ve paid into social security as an adult (about 35 in total).  So this will mean I will (and others like me) spend 49 (or more) years in the workforce!

In fact because of the volume of boomers, not only will both the Xers and Y’s be impacted, however the upcoming millennial’s will be too as they attempt to enter the workforce.  So when there are comments about the economic life the boomers children have not being what their fathers were, that is because their father still has it…

Unconventional Economic Measures…

industrialism runs on transistors...

Sometimes there are things which seem to have no connections, however when you start to peel the onion back you find there is far more correlation there than meets the eye.  One of these is the Top 500 Super computer list, and while my main stream employment happens to be in the technology field it would make some sense to take a peek at this list.  Second, HPC (High Performance Computing) has always been a passion of mine so this was a double down to at least passively watch the players come and go from the list.  For those normal folk with only a little “geek-dom” this is a roster of the top 500 most powerful computer installations in the world which is managed by University of Tennessee professor Jack Dongarra who has the task to oversee the list.

So outside of general bragging rights what makes this list so important you might be asking.  Well the first thing is HPC installations have only one purpose and that is to solve very complex problems, as these are not the systems your bank would use to keep track of your checking account nor host your favorite streaming web site.  These systems have the sole purpose to understand the “complex” as in model global weather patterns, find oil in petabytes of seismic data, unravel the human genome and so on.  These are the modern day industrial engines of nations allowing us to understand and achieve things simply not possible or practical in the physical world.

With this said, its then important to see which countries are on the Top 10 list and as of June 2011 the United States holds the most spots with 5, followed in a tie between Japan and China and bringing up the rear is France.  So while this bodes well for the US thought complex, the other piece is the coveted top spot which is currently held by Japan and it looks like they will hold this position for a year which is far longer than most even if measured in dog years when we speak of computers.

However it’s not so much the fact that Japan has held this position for so long (as rumor has it IBM and Cray are building 20 petaflop machines for the Department of Energy, and these should go live next year).   It that we appear to be hitting a sigmoidal curve in the growth of computing on dual fronts, as the first is power.  As the Japan behemoth consumed 9.89 megawatts when it reached a peak of 8.162 petaflop!  Ok, this is enough electricity to power up almost 10,000 US homes with an electric bill of nearly 10 million dollars.  As you can see, this is one of the main reasons the constructions of these beasts are so closely linked to nations as even large corporations lack the checkbook to feed these monsters  on a steady bases.

As while we have the technology to go higher (computation wise) meaning we can solve more and greater problems  in complexity, power is now a limiting factor.  Second in this mix is “software” as where the body has the might, the brain lacks the fight as we humans can’t seem to keep up with adapting software to the challenges as you can have all the transistors in the world, yet if you lack the ability to tie it all together for a value added outcome, its pretty much for nothing.

In summary the 1900’s marked an era where industrialism was governed by the locomotive’s ability to move raw materials, to production facilities.  Whereas today, it’s the ability of the transistor to solve complex problems, and anything which impedes that also impedes  industrialism…

Unconventional Economic Measures…

industrialism runs on transistors...

Sometimes there are things which seem to have no connections, however when you start to peel the onion back you find there is far more correlation there than meets the eye.  One of these is the Top 500 Super computer list, and while my main stream employment happens to be in the technology field it would make some sense to take a peek at this list.  Second, HPC (High Performance Computing) has always been a passion of mine so this was a double down to at least passively watch the players come and go from the list.  For those normal folk with only a little “geek-dom” this is a roster of the top 500 most powerful computer installations in the world which is managed by University of Tennessee professor Jack Dongarra who has the task to oversee the list.

So outside of general bragging rights what makes this list so important you might be asking.  Well the first thing is HPC installations have only one purpose and that is to solve very complex problems, as these are not the systems your bank would use to keep track of your checking account nor host your favorite streaming web site.  These systems have the sole purpose to understand the “complex” as in model global weather patterns, find oil in petabytes of seismic data, unravel the human genome and so on.  These are the modern day industrial engines of nations allowing us to understand and achieve things simply not possible or practical in the physical world.

With this said, its then important to see which countries are on the Top 10 list and as of June 2011 the United States holds the most spots with 5, followed in a tie between Japan and China and bringing up the rear is France.  So while this bodes well for the US thought complex, the other piece is the coveted top spot which is currently held by Japan and it looks like they will hold this position for a year which is far longer than most even if measured in dog years when we speak of computers.

However it’s not so much the fact that Japan has held this position for so long (as rumor has it IBM and Cray are building 20 petaflop machines for the Department of Energy, and these should go live next year).   It that we appear to be hitting a sigmoidal curve in the growth of computing on dual fronts, as the first is power.  As the Japan behemoth consumed 9.89 megawatts when it reached a peak of 8.162 petaflop!  Ok, this is enough electricity to power up almost 10,000 US homes with an electric bill of nearly 10 million dollars.  As you can see, this is one of the main reasons the constructions of these beasts are so closely linked to nations as even large corporations lack the checkbook to feed these monsters  on a steady bases.

As while we have the technology to go higher (computation wise) meaning we can solve more and greater problems  in complexity, power is now a limiting factor.  Second in this mix is “software” as where the body has the might, the brain lacks the fight as we humans can’t seem to keep up with adapting software to the challenges as you can have all the transistors in the world, yet if you lack the ability to tie it all together for a value added outcome, its pretty much for nothing.

In summary the 1900’s marked an era where industrialism was governed by the locomotive’s ability to move raw materials, to production facilities.  Whereas today, it’s the ability of the transistor to solve complex problems, and anything which impedes that also impedes  industrialism…

The Future Is Learning…

Please teach me?

Well of course it is, as life is all about “learning” so what is special about this statement and what makes it worth your time to read, other than you might learn something?  Well that in fact is the point, yet it is not so much about what you will learn, it is more about what you can teach and how you can do it.  Again, as kids we learned (note the tense is intentional), and “most” of us as adults keep learning all be it maybe at a different pace, however the paradigm shift which faces us is one of teaching.

As what will we be teaching should be the question as it won’t be so much our carbon based young-ings, instead we will be tutoring element 14 centered beings as in yes silicon based systems or just plain ole computers.  While this may sound like a sci-fi movie where some guy in his birthday suit who just so happens to look like a former Californian Governor who has an illegitimate child with the help you would be wrong.

What we are talking about is the rise of “Watson” type devices, you know the IBM computer that won on “What is Jeopardy” as what made it smart wasn’t rote algorithms as in the past.  Instead it was its ability to learn, and play that learning forward in a massive parallel way (like a human does).  Where in the days of old, Artificial Intelligence systems where based on “hard rules” which were fixed, meaning you needed to have rules for rules, and then more rules.  Here you see quickly this doesn’t scale and that becomes a problem as you are dealing with finite probabilities, bound by infinite possibilities.

Yet it’s here where the key break through is, as instead of rules you allow the systems to collect data about the “probabilities” and forget the possibilities [remember you as a human don’t enumerate all possibilities to get a glass of water] and bingo, “synaptic” action at its best.  Also least you think this is only a game show marketing novelty, it isn’t.  As you can have your very own Watson junior to hold in your hand with a simple visit to the Apple store.

As yes Siri is Watson Jr, posed to become Super Watson as everything you ask of it is sent back to a central store where it becomes a building block for the next thing.  Therefore Siri is growing smarter every day as you might even say more aware if you it’s users and therefore the world around it.  While only the tip of the iceberg, there will be more and more of these systems in the consumers hands, which means your productivity will be linked to your ability to teach.  In turn making this [the ability to teach] a critical skill as it may even become more valued then the ability to do…

Check This Out…

Have no clue who these guys are, however like their message!

It appears the Obama administration has kicked off an official petition website titled  “We the People,”  (strange name) where average Americans can propose and vote on “petitions” for consideration by yes none other than  the White House.  Here is a petition cross a given popularity threshold say  5,000 signatures within 30 days, will get an official response from the White House.

Well surprising enough  the first petitions focused on software patents, and asked President Obama to “direct the patent office to cease issuing software patents and to void all previously issued software patents.”  Well what did the White House have to say to this request?  Well in an issued statement its  response was touting the recently passed America Invents Act, and Obama technology advisor Quentin Palfrey says the executive branch’s hands are guess what?  Well if you guessed “tied”, you would be a winner! As  I quote:

There’s a lot we can do through the new law to improve patent quality and to ensure that only true inventions are given patent protection. But it’s important to note that the executive branch doesn’t set the boundaries of what is patentable all by itself. Congress has set forth broad categories of inventions that are eligible for patent protection. The courts, including the US Supreme Court, have interpreted the statute to include some software-related inventions. Even before the legislation passed, the Administration took other important steps to ensure that only high-quality patents are issued, and that we curb or invalidate overly-broad software patents. For example, the USPTO recently issued guidance to its examiners that tighten up the requirements that inventors fully describe, specify, and distinctly claim their inventions so that vague patents are not issued. We’ve also issued new guidance to examiners to help ensure that patents cover only “new” and “non-obvious” inventions.

While there is of course truth to this as the rules Congress established for patent eligibility tend to be extremely broad.  This means decisions about what can be patented and particularly, if it even includes software are pretty much made by the courts. So the courts have been  confused on the subject, as the Supreme Court has traditionally been skeptical of software patents.   yet it hasn’t ruled on the subject since 1981 meaning the laws in general  have been shaped by the software-patent-friendly lower courts such as the United States Court of Appeal in the  Federal Circuit.

Yet again as the Patent Office still has a lot of influence as it takes the decisions of the court and translates them into specific guidelines for examiners to follow.  Meaning when the Federal Circuit is little vague if you will, the USPTO can (and should)  err on the side of rejecting software patents.  The hope would be to move things to a less software-patent-friendly direction.

However what isn’t pointed out in the Obama response is they can also influence the law in another ways. For example when the Supreme Court considers a patent case, it invites the administration to submit a brief.  Here it will also give the solicitor general the opportunity to participate in oral arguments and should the White House become convinced that the idea of software patents were detrimental to the American economy.  Well it could than file briefs encouraging the Supreme Court to reinstate its original ban on software patents. So while the Supreme Court isn’t required to accept the White House’s advice, it sure would carry a significant amount of weight in the process.  Wouldn’t it…

Going Greek…

Life, Liberty and a Free Ride? Is this what the world is coming to?

So the Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has the Euro Union offered bailout package up for public referendum he has.  Oh does this conjure up visions of Marie-Antoinette the Queen consort of Louis XVI when she was told that the French populace had no bread to eat?  As “let them eat cake” then rang throughout the land as her words echoed in time.

As is this what George is doing now?  Well just think of it this way, you have a populace who have become accustom to suckling from the “social tit” and stubbornly refuse to be weaned off in leu of the alternative.  Yes, Greece is a fascinating micro economic drama for the rest of the world to watch has its coming your way next (most likely).

As just pick up an Economist Magazine and flip to the back and look at the Current Account data, as Greece is sitting at a -30 billion.  Then look straight to the top and what do you see?  Yes it’s the United States of America “The” Super Power and what’s the number?  Ok, go ahead read it aloud for everyone to hear, what is it again?  Yes your right -469 billion, whoa is that a big number or what?

What, I can just hear those “social tit” sucklers out there saying, “hey wait a minute, the ole US of A is SO much bigger then Greece, no fair!”.  Well to that I say, run your finger over the page to the part where it says Budget Balance of GDP and you will see its -9.1%.  Now, run your finger down to Greece and what do you see?  Yes, that’s right, -9.1%, so their “budget” which got them to where there at today is the same ratio as the US of A.

Question, does anyone see that as a problem?  Then look at some of the major Asian economies, or oil producing countries and what do you see?  Yes, those are big numbers and it means we (the US as well as most western countries) are becoming [hard] cash poor.  In cash “poor” I mean out of cash, as in the days of old say the 60s we were pretty much a closed economy where a dollar spent in the US stayed in the US.  Yea there was Japan, however they were small fry and they bought their resources from the west so most of the money came back anyway.

Then the 70s came with it the growth in foreign oil which was a one way trip for the dollar as unlike the Japanese example there was no reason for this money to come back.  Save for maybe the occasional tank or fighter jet for the kicks of the local government.  Now we’ve moved past oil to daily goods from China and again unlike the Japanese example, China isn’t buying the natural resources from us.  Instead they are coming from Africa and South America, so again the money in this open loop system is not coming back to the western countries.

Is this a problem you bet especially as consumption’s aren’t tailing off to match this reduced volume of cash.  This is why you are seeing growth in social programs which in turn are simply speeding up the enviable…

China’s Greatest Export…

The new promise land...

What does one do with 1.3 billion people when you have that many with not enough resources to go around?  Well this is the position China is finding itself in these days, as their population clearly out numbers their available natural resources for becoming a self supporting country.  As here both its population and resources fail to match its gross domestic product.

So given this, what is the Red Giant to do?  Well it turns out the answer is simple; you make your largest export not consumer electronics, but people.  Thats right, China’s largest export isn’t the stock on the shelves of the Wall-Mart stores, but the potential folks who stock them.  So to deal with this, the Chinese are setting up shop in other parts of the world. The biggest beneficiary of this migration if you will is Africa.  As it’s here on the Dark Continent where China has been rapidly deploying its presence over the last decade, to countries such as Nigeria, Angola, and many more. During this period, more than 750,000 Chinese have relocated to Africa and at this pace. Some contend this number could easily increase to the hundreds of millions, which would go a long way to hammer a dent into China’s natural resource challenges by taking advantage of Africa’s abundant resources.

Here logistic services via both air and sea routes are building between the two nations as massive deals are struck for commodities, trade, labor and not to mention, yes military cooperation. If one looks, they will find Chinese private schools, and cultural centers popping up in what once was considered out of the way places such as Rwanda, and Nairobi.

Africa on the other hand in this barter gets a willing trade partner that brings with it not only social assistance, however weaponry for its military factions. Additionally, Africa also reaps the “supposed” benefit of jobs and infrastructure building to meet the needs of their new visitors.  Yet is Africa really just getting the short end of the stick, as what is the true value of importing cheap Chinese toys and goods, while they export away their valuable commodities like oil and timber?

As many estimate that upwards of 70 percent of all African timber ends up in Chinese ports, which one can easily see as being part of a massive deforestation process taking place.  Even worse is there are assertions that Chinese mining operations in Africa are staffing their workforces with African laborers who earn less than one Yuan per day, which converts to about 14 cents.  Then there are the weapons which are sent many times as payment to Africa which do no more than simply help fuel the continents many civil wars. As hey if they are spending their time fighting each other, no one is watching what’s leaving the ports are they.

Least one thinks this exodus is limited only to Africa, China has also been reaching out to south of the boarder in Latin America as well.  As they have now bypassed the United States as Brazil’s No. 1 trading partner, and now in second place to the United States in Argentina, Costa Rica, Chile, Peru and Venezuela.

As With a building reach, and a young population ringing the bell at well over a billion people, it’s clear the global financial focus will be on China as its poised to become a true economic superpower…

Time to Cut the Cord, Maybe…

To cut or not to cut isn't the question, as its where will all the extra bandwidth come from when we do and who will pay for it?

While it may sound as such, we aren’t speaking of the miracle of childbirth here however something almost as good.  Yes dumping the bill for Cable TV!  Ah the freedom of being liberated from that nasty monthly friend is a kin to when we cut the cord on the phone company and plunged feet first into the world of VoIP and near free phone calls so why not TV too?  Well in fact many people are going this route and saying enough is enough of the crazy high monopolistic prices brought to us via that nasty black cable which protrudes from our walls snaking around as an ivy to connect our TV’s to the world of Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune.

This is all about to change, however there might be a fly in ointment  as a Sandvine report published five months ago called Netflix who also happens to be the leading reason for cord cutting the “king” of North American fixed download Internet data.  Their survey estimated the online video company drove 29.7 percent of all peak download time, which was a 44 percent boost in their share of the pipe since 2010.

However Sandvine has now come back and said, oops Netflix now accounts for 32.7 percent of all North American peak fixed access downstream content. This now places the venerable Netflix way beyond the other three top Internet protocols or services by daily volume—approaching double HTTP (17.48 percent), just shy of three times YouTube (11.32), and nearly four times BitTorrent. What Netflix is out doing even the pirates?  What’s this world coming to when a legitimate business beats the crooks?  No its not another  remake of a Starsky and Hutch flick, however proof that people are willing to pay a “reasonable” price for media and the DVD barons of the past where taking us over a barrel and not even kissing us first.

Yet there is a dark side with a question to be answered: How much of North America’s fixed peak download share can Netflix claim before the cable companies take them over a barrel?  As here the cable companies sit losing on both sides of the coin as they are losing the cord cutting consumers from their core business.  Then if that wasn’t bad enough, the likes of Netflix is sucking the daylight out of their bandwidth leading to high investments to provide more bandwidth and user dissatisfaction when it isn’t there fast enough.

However this also brings up a point I’ve been harping on for some time now as we in the United States simply don’t invest enough on infrastructure be it the aged power grid or now the Internet.  As it just isn’t sexy, yet we just expect it to be there when we need it and it should also growth to meet our needs too, right?  Well it doesn’t appear to be shaping up this way, in and in fact Netflix may have more in common than just their bright red color with “red” algae blooms as their $7.99 streaming deal could choke off real business meaning real economic harm especially as the nation moves to a work from home model and depends on that wire for then just soap operas and Dr. Phil.

Either way it’s clear there is going to be choppy waves ahead, so take your seat and buckle up tight as this ride is far from over…

Game Changer, or 1990’s TV Show Remix…

Much like schrodinger's cat, you don't know whats in the box until you open it...

Here we are speaking of the holy grail of computing and we aren’t talking a new Apple Air or Xbox 360, as this is Quantum computing my friends.  However for some reason it  has turned out to be a more of challenge then even the likes of Gordon Moore could have guessed as just so happens to rely on encoding information in quantum bits (qubits) that have two fundamental properties about them. The first is that of coherence , which enable  qubit states to naturally change in a syncronized manner. Where the second is even more out there being that of quantum entanglement whose role in the  mix is to correlate the states of different qubits with one another.

The idea is when an operation is performed and measurements on a qubit taken that it is entangled with another qubit, allowing us to automatically learn about as well as modify the state of its partner. This creates a state of quasi-parallelism which allows a quantum based system to perform some calculations much faster than a clunky old classical computer.   Yea you know the ones which use to use silicon, chew up a lot of power and have those crude spinning disk drives.

Yet we all know that a computer is more than its bits as you also need a “register” to hold your qubits along with performing operations on them. Thinking about it, we also will need some memory too, so that you can store our  qubits between operations.  Then my favorite as we will need to be able to initialize then provide a readout  of qubits so that we can start and end our calculations. However this is where we hit a bit of a problem and things work better on paper then on the desk top as there are groups of researchers who have done all of these separately, not together.

The issue is our friends the Qubits don’t have a long life in the solid state as entanglement lasts a few hundred nanoseconds and coherence decays away faster than a fruit fly.  Yet where there is a will there always seems to be a way, and  despite these challenges, a group of researchers seem to have managed to make themselves an entire quantum microprocessor out of superconducting qubits.

While rather basic, the computer is comprised of a two-qubit register made from SQUIDs (superconducting quantum interference devices), two additional SQUIDs that can be used to zero the register acting as a readout with microwave resonator striplines, which act as memory. Yet  the most interesting  part  is a bus that couples the two register qubits together.  Via this bus, it enables the researchers to program the register to perform various logical operations which makes it something we could call a microprocessor.

Yet while all still on a laboratory bench, it does provide significant promise on delivering the holy grail of supercomputing which we desperately need to keep the likes of Moore’s Law cruising down the information super highway in style…

Those Who Don’t Work Attend School…

Why so much???

Here more U.S. students are enrolled than ever before, yet the value of a college education is under attack. As  the perfect storm seems to be forming on the horizon, as soaring costs of education is driving student debt to record levels much as rising warm air feeds a tornado.   Where in the past, this “investment” typically paid off with what was seen as a “good” paying job allowing for repayment and betterment in life generally.  However with shrinking job prospects, economic sluggishness and global currency crises are leading many  critics to increasingly challenge whether college remains a worthwhile investment.

One of these people voicing their concern publicly is is PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who proposes that higher education is becoming a “dangerous bubble”. As Thiel, who interestingly enough sports educational credentials which include a bachelor’s and law degrees from  the prestigious Stanford University, is putting some money where his mouth is by ponying up $100,000 in a two-year fellowships for 20 promising teenage entrepreneurs to develop their business ideas instead of attending college. As with any bubbles, college is “characterized by runaway costs where people are paying more and more for something whose quality hasn’t gone up,” Thiel challenged during an October 12 debate in Chicago sponsored by the website Intelligence Squared U.S.

Does Thiel have a point in what he is saying is the big question as look at what a college provides today to the cost verses the past and is there a return of investment? Its here that college advocates attempt to counter with the argument that higher education has never been more vital “as employers demand the advanced schooling and training that are required of workers in a global, technologically oriented economy”.  Here folks such as Vivek Wadhwa who holds research positions at Duke University, Harvard Law School and the University of California at Berkeley say “China and India are educating,”  and “If we’re going to dumb down America at the same time the world is getting smarter, we’ll become a Third World country,” notes Wadhwa.

While the point is valid and few people (other then Thiel) will dispute the economic value of at least some post-high school education, however what is being questioned is who is best served by a four-year college experience along with what are viable alternatives?  As for any system to be efficient it should provide a broad set of opportunities. Here the educational system is no different as what we are faced with is a rapidly changing workplace which are faced with changes driven from ceaseless automation coupled with the exportation of jobs off-shore make for challenges not seen before.  In short the times have changed, yet the old school (pardon the pun) have not changed.

As the price of education has without question been climbing at a breakneck pace as the tuition and fees at U.S. colleges and universities skyrocket some 439% in current figures (unadjusted for inflation) dollars from 1982 to 2007.  For comparison, if we look at another popular topic namely healthcare, we would see it rise 251% over the same period of time.  So instead of occupying Wall Street, why aren’t these folks conducting an old fashion college sit in…

America Falls Behind Even More…

Success is driven by being faster and cheaper...

As in the distant third spot of the mobile world, Sprint has now announced that none of its customers with let’s see, tablets, USB connection cards, or mobile hotspots will have unlimited 4G access anymore! What they plan to do instead with their 3G and 4G data use is to combine and cap, with get this extra charges for overages!  The only area where this restriction does not extend to is mobile phones that are not used for tethering which I ask really how much data can you use just on your hand set.  Additionally all this new joy takes effect next month.

While Sprint in the past has been beating its chest in various ads about its offer of “unlimited” data services, yet their loud mouth bragging is quickly turning into nothing more than hot air. It also appears that a leaked document stated the company would start limiting data via mobile phone hotspots to only 5GB per month, with overage charges for both new and current customers.

With this cap now official both new and old customers will be having their plans capped and for  every additional megabyte customers use above that, they will be soaked for 5¢. While I guess so much for information wanting to be free and all the hype.

So why am I picking on Sprint, well in fact what I am picking on is the fact that America is falling behind the world in the area of mobility as we need to be moving toward bigger pipes which allow us to do more things as this the only “equalizer” which we have to hang our hat on.  As the key to American success has always been the famous one, two punch of faster, and cheaper and to do this we need to be mobile and connected.  So back pedaling such as this means we just took a step backwards as Moore’s Law makes no provision for this.

On top of it the AT&T and T-Mobile merger is stilling being bashed for old school reasons like Bob’s (voice) bill might go up, and like who talks on the phone anymore?  In fact AT&T needs the spectrum for data as they are out of it so it’s not about customers, it’s about data and the need of air waves to move it.

As today’s world is about moving data about cheaply and efficiently and to do this we need cheap pipes even more then we need cheap carbohydrate packed foods.  So I say again, Mr. Obama, if you do one thing right, please make sure it’s more affordable bandwidth as cloud computing doesn’t work if you can’t connect to it…