Shareholder Value Myth [Book Review]

Cornell University law professor Lynn Stout’s new book, The Shareholder Value Myth, examines how the maniacal quest to raise share prices is bad for everyone. Even Jank Welch, who was a proponent has called it “the dumbest idea in the world“. A HBR review of the book here & if  you can read a few chapters for free here

I will always be there with you [Letters of note]

On May 1st of 2003, just weeks after being deployed to Iraq, Army Pfc. Jesse A. Givens, of Springfield, Missouri was killed when his tank fell into the Euphrates river. He was 34-years-old. Shortly after his death, this letter was delivered to his bereaved wife, Melissa, and his 6-year-old stepson, Dakota (“Toad”). Melissa and Jesse’s unborn child, Carson (“Bean”), entered the world on the 29th of May, a few weeks after his father’s death.

Cameron & India’s Nero [Article]

The Guardian examines Why David Cameron is doing business with India’s ‘modern-day Nero’.  This link provides some context to what happened during the Godhra riots in Gujarat in 2002. Warning: The image of the man begging for his life to be spared may disturb you deeply, as it did to me when it was published on the front page of every major newspaper in India the day after the riots erupted.

The Online Education Revolution [Essays]

MOOCs are big current news. But what do teachers think of it? This conversation began with teacher Alex Tabarrok concluding that online education works, expressing delight at the way it was able to leverage his 15 minute talk on TED, which was watched 700,000 times, which he works out to be equivalent to 175,000 student-hours of teaching offline. Kevin Carey (The Radical Implications of Online Education), Siva Vaidyanathan (The New Era of Unfounded Hyperbole) & Alan Ryan (Some skepticism about online education) weighed in with their views. Ends with Alex’s response to the participants. A quiet revolution is on-going in education, so this is a very pertinent read. 

Moral code [Article]

Nicholas Carr wonders how long it will be before machines need to have ethical systems built in. Imagine, he says, that you’re happily tweeting away as your Google self-driving car crosses a bridge, its speed precisely synced to the 50 m.p.h. limit. A group of frisky schoolchildren is also heading across the bridge, on the pedestrian walkway. Suddenly, there’s a tussle, and three of the kids are pushed into the road, right in your vehicle’s path. Your self-driving car has a fraction of a second to make a choice: Either it swerves off the bridge, possibly killing you, or it runs over the children. What does the Google algorithm tell it to do?”

Skeuomorphism [Link]

Fairly often, we (I) come across words in the news that make me do a double take. The latest one, Skeuomorphism, has shown up several times in the last few weeks, in the context of some major staff movements at the Apple headquarters. If you don’t care to click that link, skeuomorphism simply refers to the imitation of a comfortable, well known design aspect of an old product in a new product. For example, for example when fabric upholstery is replaced with vinyl and includes simulated cloth stitching.