Archive for August 20th, 2013

California, Texas, and New York lead the nation in science and engineering (S&E) employment, according to a new report by the National Science Foundation. The report also identifies regional patterns for S&E employment and pinpoints the top cities where this job market flourishes.
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Silhouette of a hacker isloated on black

While data, particularly financial data, are the most common prey for hackers, there’s a growing concern about a more vulnerable target. Hackers are increasingly taking aim at industrial control systems (ICS), which are technologies and networks used to operate manufacturing, power generation or other machinery — together with the supervisory control and data acquisition systems (SCADA) and networks that oversee ICS. Read more

Credit: Images of Elements

Chinese dominance of the rare earth minerals (REM) market is forcing manufacturers to seek alternatives to the substances. Of particular concern are rare earth magnets, which are used in the manufacture of products ranging from smartphones to electric motors. Read more

Printing 3d

Imagine an economy characterized by people working fewer hours and focusing more on interpersonal connections and personal satisfaction than on the purchase and consumption of goods. Juliet Schor, a sociology professor at Boston College, envisions just such a scenario in her book True Wealth (originally published as Plenitude) and suggests that one element of this “new productivity” will be the widespread adoption of personal manufacturing, using 3D printing.  Read more

Credti: Tim Beach.

Credti: Tim Beach.

Sustainability and defense procurement seem like an unnatural pairing. But a new market report says otherwise. Sustainability management budgets are on the rise and have been for the past several years, the report shows.

In its report, the  Strategic Defence Intelligence (SDI) analyzes what sustainability means to the global defense industry and how it is being implemented. In addition, it offers opinions and strategies of business decision-makers and competitors, and examines actions taken to ensure sustainable procurement practices and marketing green initiatives. Read more


In The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die, renowned historian Niall Ferguson offers a provocative examination of the widespread institutional rot that threatens our collective future.

What causes rich countries to lose their way? Symptoms of decline are all around us today: slowing growth, crushing debts, increasing inequality, aging populations, antisocial behavior. But what exactly has gone wrong? The answer, Niall Ferguson argues in The Great Degeneration, is that our institutions — the intricate frameworks within which a society can flourish or fail—are degenerating.

Representative government, the free market, the rule of law, and civil society — these are the four pillars of West European and North American societies. It was these institutions, rather than any geographical or climatic advantages, that set the West on the path to global dominance beginning around 1500. In our time, however, these institutions have deteriorated in disturbing ways. Our democracies have broken the contract between the generations by heaping IOUs on our children and grandchildren. Our markets are hindered by over-complex regulations that debilitate the political and economic processes they were created to support; the rule of law has become the rule of lawyers. And civil society has degenerated into uncivil society, where we lazily expect all of our problems to be solved by the state.

It is institutional degeneration, in other words, that lies behind economic stagnation and the geopolitical decline that comes with it. With characteristic verve and historical insight, Ferguson analyzes not only the causes of this stagnation but also its profound consequences.

The Great Degeneration is an incisive indictment of an era of negligence and complacency. While the Arab world struggles to adopt democracy and China struggles to move from economic liberalization to the rule of law, our society is squandering the institutional inheritance of centuries. To arrest the breakdown of our civilization, Ferguson warns, will take heroic leadership and radical reform.

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