Category Archives: Education

Ordinary Americans are powerless, but the US isn’t really an oligarchy


By Matt Phillips – If you were a betting person placing a wager on a political outcome, you’d pretty much always want to bet on the outcome that the affluent are in favor of.

The opinions of the affluent and business groups were a far better predictor of actual policy outcomes than the opinions of Americans with median incomes. more> http://goo.gl/Z4ZoBG

Adopting Best Practices Can Be a Bad Idea


By Jackson Nickerson – Taking a best practice capability from one highly interconnected system and inserting it into another undoubtedly will lower performance, if the combined system works at all. Like Mary Shelly’s famous 1818 novel Frankenstein, combining modules from different systems can lead to a wretched capability.

When, then, does seeking out and copying a best practice capability make sense? more> http://tinyurl.com/n9n7m95

How to Save Ukraine


By Keith Darden – Inattention to Ukraine’s internal demons reflects a dangerous misreading of current events; the struggle between Russia and the West has been a catalyst, but not a cause.

The protagonists in this conflict are subnational regions.

The EU association process, and especially the protests, repression, and revolution that followed, activated very deep and long-standing divisions between them.

Unless Kiev deals with its regions and installs a more legitimate, decentralized government, Ukraine will not be won by the East or the West. It will be torn apart.

Kiev needs to transfer some very substantial powers, including those over education, language, law, and taxation, to the regions. more> http://goo.gl/N0fbWm

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Updates from WordPress


Five Minutes with David Cole
WordPress – As a Happiness Engineer, everything I do revolves around helping others and making WordPress.com a better experience for us all.

Since I joined Automattic almost one year ago, I’ve helped users via our public forums, private support channels, and terms of service queues. I’ve also had the privilege of training staff, beta-testing new features, traveling for work/play with my fantastic co-workers, and much more.

You’ll currently find me answering questions in real-time as part of the Live Chat squad. more> http://tinyurl.com/lpf7jbx

Tiny “step edges” are a big step for surface science


R&D – It can be found in toothpaste, solar cells, and it is useful for chemical catalysts: titanium dioxide (TiO2) is an extremely versatile material. Although it is used for so many different applications, the behaviour of titanium oxide surfaces still surprises.

The surface of titanium oxide is never completely flat. On a microscopic scale, there are tiny steps and edges, many of them with a height of only one atomic layer. At these edges, electrons can localize quite easily.

“We have observed that oxygen molecules can connect to the surface precisely at these locations,” says Ulrike Diebold at the Vienna Univ. of Technology. more> http://goo.gl/PWzvBy