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August 3, 2010 - 9:00pm
In William Rosen's masterful new book, The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention, the most powerful idea is not the invention of the steam engine. Rather, the title refers to the development of the concept that ideas can be property, and that through the availability of patent law and capital, individuals tinkerers can become industrial scale innovators.
August 3, 2010 - 9:00pm
When tragedy hits a close-knit community like Alma, Michigan, we all feel it. Two weeks ago, it hit hard. I was in a meeting at city hall when the call came in. A plane flying out of our local airport had gone down over Lake Michigan.In the hours that followed, the news trickled in: a mercy flight for our school superintendent who has been battling cancer departed Alma en route to the Mayo Clinic. A Chicago boater in the area pulled one man out alive. Two more were said to be in the water, with eight-foot swells. Two were unaccounted for.
August 3, 2010 - 4:01pm
There is something about the air in America that seduces the senses. To those who have never been to the land of milk and honey, the scent one encounters in opening the ubiquitous balikbayan box (Filipino care package) is a close proxy. It is intoxicating, tempting and proven to induce reckless behavior among even the well-intentioned foreigner, even serious academics.
August 3, 2010 - 4:15am
Five years ago, I was speaking with a technology provider about the accessibility of their service. A lot of their functionality was delivered via a Flash-based interface. Knowing that content in a Flash file could not be read by screenreaders, I inquired about the accessibility of the soon-to-be purchased technology solution. The response was lackluster. Section 508 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) were not mentioned.
August 2, 2010 - 9:15pm
Late last week, hearings were held in Congress on whether federal agencies that pour billions of tax dollars into research should follow the National Institutes of Health's example and require that researchers provide a copy of the published research findings to the agencies within twelve months so it can be made publicly accessible.
August 2, 2010 - 9:15pm
The NYTimes may not be convinced that our academic leaders should serve on multiple corporate boards, but I'm a big believer in participating in the academic-industrial complex.
August 2, 2010 - 9:04pm
The vacation was a much-needed blessing. We were lucky in many ways: the weather cooperated, the kids were on their very best behavior, traffic wasn’t awful, the car behaved, and I was able to shed most of my workweek crankiness by midweek. Scenes from the middle of nowhere:- Kids plus large rocks equals climbing. This is true regardless of the depth of the prospective fall, the depth and temperature of the water below, and the relative agility of the kid. This is how parents age.
August 2, 2010 - 8:04pm
During my last trip to US last week I had very “impressionist” experience. It was partly due to the a chance to visit National Gallery in Washington where a beautiful collection of impressionism masterpieces is now on display but mainly because our group had very short but fruitful visits to several universities in Washington, DC., Baltimore, New York and Boston.The main purpose of our visit was to study experiences of various universities in creating, implementing and maintaining university-wide learning management systems.
August 2, 2010 - 4:30pm
Whilst traveling through a housing market well-removed from Backboro, I was struck by the prices developers were getting for moderately sized semi-detached (read: half a duplex) houses on tiny lots. Mrs. R. even commented that they better need little or no maintenance, as there wasn't enough space between two adjacent (as opposed to adjoining) units to raise a decent ladder.
August 1, 2010 - 9:41pm
My psychic powers tell me that in the next few weeks, as the back-to-school rush hits, we’ll be inundated with complaints about textbook costs. This is about as risky a prediction as guessing that the sun will rise in the East.

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