Worth a Look: A Ring of Fire Eclipse

May 23, 2012

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Plus: Your Passion Vs. Your Bank Account, Advantages of Crowdsourcing, 1,000-Year-Old Farming Secrets, the Fastest-Dying Jobs of This Generation and MORE.

Sometimes the Internet seems like it’s gotten too big. To help navigate this sea of information, IMT’s weekly Wednesday feature spotlights some of the more interesting, informative and amusing resources that might have slipped under your radar — all in bite-sized chunks.

  • What the 20-Year Trajectory of Unions Says about Factories | A new working paper on the rise and fall of labor unions in the United States, by the National Bureau of Economic Research, tracks the fastest-declining and fastest-growing occupations between 1983 and 2002. “If your job hinged on your aptitude with a shoe machine, it was in danger. Likewise if you worked a lathe every day for a living, or had a spot anywhere else on a classic production line, where dozens of hands handled simple, discreet tasks,” The Atlantic online says based on the paper’s data. “These were jobs that, thanks to their heavy levels of unionization, paid a good middle class wage to employees without many skills. And when manufacturing technology improved, they became redundant.”

  • 5 Pre-Planning Innovation Questions | For innovation to work for a business, leaders should consider their innovation structure. To that end, Brands & Co. LLC President Robert Brands highlights five key questions that current and future “innovator-in-chief” leaders can use to map out their innovation efforts. Among these key questions, Brands writes at IndustryWeek.com: Does your innovation satisfy customer needs, and how will you measure success?

  • Pursue Your Passion or a Bigger Bank Account? | To most of us, the idea of “living the dream” involves being paid well for doing what you love. But what if your passion doesn’t pay enough? At Harvard Business Review online, the authors of Just Start: Take Action, Embrace Uncertainty, Create the Future explain why “desire is all-important” to goals. The authors also say their research confirms that even small steps — such as dedicating just 15 minutes to your craft — can lead to a more fulfilling life.

  • All Together Now | There are numerous advantages of crowdsourcing, and a recent feature by The Economist looks at design studio Quirky’s innovative social manufacturing business plan to spotlight the power of tapping into the crowd: Quirky posts consumer product ideas to its website each week, visitors vote on the best one and offer ideas about how to improve it, and then the product goes on sale. Quirky’s most successful product is an adjustable electrical extension that has sold more than 200,000 units.

  • Ancient Farming Secrets Could Save the Amazon Rainforest | For years, slash-and-burn farming has destroyed the Amazon Rainforest while wars and disease have killed off the indigenous population of South America. Science and sci-fi blog io9 highlights how an international team of archaeologists have rediscovered ancient farming techniques that might revitalize the rainforest and provide for more nutrient-rich farmland.

  • A Ring of Fire | A solar eclipse swept across much of the United States on Sunday and parts of Asia. There were two types of eclipses, depending on where you were: an annular eclipse with the so-called “ring of fire,” which means sunlight streams around the disk of the moon; and a partial eclipse for most people watching the sky. In the stunning photo below, from last year’s annual solar eclipse, sun spots are visible as the moon moves into full eclipse position, highlighting the “ring of fire” effect. For photos from this year’s event, check out Discovery News’ slideshow of reader submissions and The Big Picture at Boston.com.

 

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