True entrepreneurs find worth in the worthless and possibility in the impossible

True entrepreneurs find worth in the worthless and possibility in the impossible

Jul 20th 2013 |From the print edition


ENTREPRENEURSHIP is the modern-day philosopher’s stone: a mysterious something that supposedly holds the secret to boosting growth and creating jobs. The G20 countries hold an annual youth-entrepreneurship summit. More than 130 countries celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week. Business schools offer hugely popular courses on how to become an entrepreneur. Business gurus produce (often contradictory) guides to entrepreneurship: David Gumpert wrote both “How to Really Create a Successful Business Plan” and “Burn Your Business Plan!”.

But what exactly is entrepreneurship (apart from a longer way of saying “enterprise”)? And how should governments encourage it? The policymakers are as confused as the gurus. They assume that it must mean new technology; so they try to create new Silicon Valleys. Or that it is about small businesses; so they focus on fostering start-ups. Both assumptions are misleading. Read more of this post

Fast Time and the Aging Mind; Is it possible that learning new things might slow our internal sense of time?

July 20, 2013

Fast Time and the Aging Mind


AH, the languorous days of endless summer! Who among us doesn’t remember those days and wonder wistfully where they’ve gone? Why does time seem to speed up as we age? Even the summer solstice — the longest, sunniest day of the year — seems to have passed in a flash. No less than the great William James opined on the matter, thinking that the apparent speed of time’s passage was a result of adults’ experiencing fewer memorable events: “Each passing year converts some of this experience into automatic routine which we hardly note at all, the days and the weeks smooth themselves out in recollection to contentless units, and the years grow hollow and collapse.”

Don’t despair. I am happy to tell you that the apparent velocity of time is a big fat cognitive illusion and happy to say there may be a way to slow the velocity of our later lives. Read more of this post

Let’s Shake Up the Social Sciences: It is time to create new social science departments that reflect the breadth and complexity of the problems we face as well as the novelty of 21st-century science

July 19, 2013

Let’s Shake Up the Social Sciences


TWENTY-FIVE years ago, when I was a graduate student, there were departments of natural science that no longer exist today. Departments of anatomy, histology, biochemistry and physiology have disappeared, replaced by innovative departments of stem-cell biology, systems biology, neurobiology and molecular biophysics. Taking a page from Darwin, the natural sciences are evolving with the times. The perfection of cloning techniques gave rise to stem-cell biology; advances in computer science contributed to systems biology. Whole new fields of inquiry, as well as university departments and majors, owe their existence to fresh discoveries and novel tools.

In contrast, the social sciences have stagnated. They offer essentially the same set of academic departments and disciplines that they have for nearly 100 years: sociology, economics, anthropology, psychology and political science. This is not only boring but also counterproductive, constraining engagement with the scientific cutting edge and stifling the creation of new and useful knowledge. Such inertia reflects an unnecessary insecurity and conservatism, and helps explain why the social sciences don’t enjoy the same prestige as the natural sciences. Read more of this post

Glorious Misadventures: Nikolai Rezanov and the Dream of a Russian Americ

Russia’s American empire: When the tsarist empire reached California

Jul 20th 2013 |From the print edition


Glorious Misadventures: Nikolai Rezanov and the Dream of a Russian America. By Owen Matthews. Bloomsbury; 320 pages; £20. To be published in America in November by Bloomsbury; $28. Buy from

HIS breath stinking from scurvy, his hair crawling with lice, and starving in his fine clothes, Nikolai Rezanov was as unlikely a suitor as he was an ambassador. His most urgent mission, when he arrived in 1806 at the tiny Spanish fort of San Francisco, was trade: tools and weapons in exchange for grain, for the hungry garrison he had left behind in Russian Alaska. Spain forbade such trade, but Rezanov (pictured here as the Japanese saw him) was not cowed by rules. Once clean and fed, he was an exotic, cosmopolitan presence in the tiny settlement. His wooing (passionate but pragmatic) of Conchita, the 15-year-old daughter of the fort’s commander, brought both a deal and a betrothal. His ship groaning with cargo, he left, promising to return and bring his bride back to the delights of St Petersburg. Read more of this post

If You’re a Bond Investor, Beware of the Seesaw; SEC has a basic reminder for investors enticed by rising interest rates on bonds: When rates climb, prices fall.

July 20, 2013

If You’re a Bond Investor, Beware of the Seesaw



THE Securities and Exchange Commission issues frequent bulletins about what it calls “investment frauds and scams” — a frightening taxonomy of plots and stratagems aimed at separating investors from their money. The agency’s alerts range from warnings of Madoff-style Ponzi schemes to “pump and dump” operations intended to temporarily inflate a stock price. They also include cautionary notes about polite offers of assistance from predators posing as government regulators. Lately, though, the S.E.C. has been giving a warning of a different sort. Bearing the general title “Interest Rate Risk,” this latest bulletin is a cry for understanding. It’s about bonds, and for most people, the subject is confounding. Read more of this post

Shoppers Drug Mart’s pharmacist associate model a hidden jewel for Loblaw

Shoppers Drug Mart’s pharmacist associate model a hidden jewel for Loblaw

Armina Ligaya | 13/07/20 | Last Updated: 13/07/19 4:46 PM ET
If Loblaw Companies Ltd. successfully buys Shoppers Drug Mart, it will not only inherit the pharmacy retailer’s vast network of stores — particularly key locations in the hearts of Canada’s urban centres — it will also benefit from the advantages afforded by the owner-operators of those stores: pharmacists.

While pure-play food and drug retailers such as Metro and Rexall appear to have the most to lose in the impending nupitals of Loblaw and Shoppers Drug Mart, Monday’s $12.4-billion deal stands to challenge a far broader swath of retail companies — from Old Navy to Sears to Sephora — as the two Canadian retail giants begin stocking their strongest brands and categories in each other’s stores. Read more of this post

After Waze, What Else Can Mobile Crowdsourcing Do?

After Waze, What Else Can Mobile Crowdsourcing Do?

Published on July 19, 2013
by Liz Gannes


In the absence of good sensor data from phones, Weathermob asks users to post location-tagged weather status updates.

Google spent $1.1 billion to buy the mapping startup Waze last month, a deal that the Federal Trade Commission is still investigating. And while Google won’t be swapping out its flagship Google Maps in favor of its sassy new step-sibling Waze anytime soon, one thing is certain: The jumbo acquisition is a clear validation of mobile crowdsourcing. That’s because Waze’s mapping and traffic information are built off the contributions of 70,000 volunteer map editors and some 15 million active users, who contribute their live driving data by default, so others can benefit by seeing how fast they are going. Given the increasing number of people who carry smartphones in their pocket, it seems likely other services could be built on the back of willing users who contribute a little bit of data from wherever they are so it can be mapped and analyzed for the common good. Read more of this post

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