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‘General knowledge’ Category
June 23, 2015 by Radha
May 1, 2015 by Radha
March 15, 2015 by Radha
Today’s great paradox is that we feel the impact of technology everywhere – in our cars, our phones, the supermarket, the doctor’s office – but not in our paychecks. We work differently, communicate with each other differently, create differently, and entertain ourselves differently, all thanks to new technology. Yet since the beginning of the personal computer revolution three decades ago, the median wage has remained stagnant.
Over the last two hundred years, technological advancements have been responsible for a ten-fold increase in wages. But some people claim that technology has now turned against us, permanently eliminating middle class jobs and portending a future of widening economic inequality. The remedy, they say, lies in policies to redistribute wealth.
But are we really at an historical turning point? No. In fact, the present is not so different than the past. Throughout history, major new technologies were initially accompanied by stagnant wages and rising inequality, too. This was true during the Industrial Revolution in the early nineteenth century and also during the wave of electrification that began at the end of the nineteenth century. However, after decades these patterns reversed; large numbers of ordinary workers eventually saw robust wage growth thanks to new technology.
Of course, circumstances are different today. Information technology automates the work of white-collar jobs and the pace of change is faster. But the key challenge facing the workforce is the same as in the past. Both then and now, in order to implement major new technologies, large numbers of people had to learn new skills and knowledge. This learning turned out to be surprisingly slow and difficult, yet it was the key to higher wages. Today’s workforce must overcome a similar hurdle before it can benefit from new technology.
Too often, when people think about technology, they only think about the initial invention. In the cartoon version, technology consists of inventions “designed by geniuses to be run by idiots.” Yet most major technologies develop over decades, as large numbers of people learn how to apply, adapt, and improve the initial invention. The initial power loom—one of the transformative technologies of the Industrial Revolution—automated weaving tasks, allowing a weaver to produce twice as much cloth per hour. But over the next century, weavers improved their skills and mechanics and managers made adaptations and improvements, generating a twenty-fold increase in output per hour. Most of the gains from this technology took a long time to realize, and involved the skills and knowledge of many people. Similarly slow progress was seen in steam engines, factory electrification, and petroleum refining. More recently, it took decades for computers to show up in the productivity statistics.
Because skills were so important during the Industrial Revolution, employers sometimes went to great lengths to build an intelligent workforce that could learn on the job. Lowell, Massachusetts, was the Silicon Valley of its day, and the textile mills of Lowell recruited bright young women by offering them something like a college experience: the mill owners funded schools, lecture series, a library, and cultural events. One mill girl, Lucy Larcom, studied German and botany, and published poems in the mill girls’ literary magazine during the 1830s and 1840s; she came to the attention of John Greenleaf Whittier, who became her mentor.
These measures by the mill owners might seem surprising because even today factory workers with little education are often considered “unskilled.” Although the early mill workers had little formal schooling, they learned skills on the job, skills that were critical to keeping the strange, new, expensive machines running efficiently. Their skills were narrow compared to those of traditional craftsmen, but valuable nonetheless. These skills eventually allowed factory weavers to earn far more than earlier artisan weavers; steel workers with narrow skills earned more than craft ironworkers with broad skills; typographers on the new Linotype machines earned more than the hand compositors they replaced. Moreover, employers paid these workers well at a time when unions had little power. Technical skills learned through experience allowed blue-collar workers with little education to enter the middle class.
However, this process took a long time. Many workers could not teach themselves on the job. In the early textile mills, most left after just months on the job, finding the work too hard to learn or too disagreeable. Nor could these skills be learned in school. The technology was too uncertain, changing too rapidly for schools to keep up. The first textile schools were not established until after the Civil War. More important, workers’ incentives to learn the new skills were weak because the labor market was initially quite limited. During the 1830s, the textile mills mainly hired workers who had no prior experience. Experience acquired at one mill was not necessarily valuable at another because mills used different versions of the technology and organized work in different ways. But without a robust labor market, textile workers could not look forward to a long career at different workplaces and so they had little reason to invest in learning. After the Civil War, the market for skilled textile workers became very active. Only then did wages begin to grow vigorously. Weavers’ hourly pay in Lowell changed little between 1830 and 1860, but by 1910 it had tripled. It took decades for the training institutions, business models, and labor markets to emerge that unlocked the benefits of technology for ordinary workers.
Of course, technology and skills were not the only factors that helped boost wages. Growing capital investments made the workers more productive, and growing opportunities for women workers helped increase their pay. Unions also played a role, especially during the 20th century. But consider the magnitude of these changes: studies have shown that unionized workers earn about 15% more than comparable nonunionized workers. That’s a meaningful difference, but it looks small compared to the weavers’ three-fold increase in wages. Ultimately, the biggest factor in that wage growth was technology, the productivity growth it unlocked, and the development of mature labor markets that valued the weavers’ skills.
Thanks to these developments, generations of less educated manufacturing workers have been able to earn good pay. Now, however, automation and offshoring have eliminated many of those jobs for weavers and steelworkers and typographers; many of the old skills are obsolete. Nevertheless, new opportunities are emerging because technology creates jobs that demand new skills. However, the transition to new jobs is slow and difficult.
For example, computer publishing replaced typographers with graphic designers. Yet today’s graphic designers face a challenge acquiring the latest skills, not unlike the challenge faced by antebellum textile workers. Standards, business models, and technology keep changing, requiring continuous learning. First designers had to learn desktop publishing, then web publishing, and now, with the growth of smartphones, mobile design. The most able designers are able to teach themselves, but the average designer cannot. Nor have the schools kept up; many still focusing on print design. The top ten percent of designers have seen their wages grow strongly along with their new skills, but the median designer wage has been stagnant for three decades.
Since the 1980s, a similar gap has widened within many jobs. In occupations where the majority of workers use computers, the wages of the top ten percent have been growing, but median wages have seen little growth. Even among scientific, engineering, and computer occupations, the median wage has grown slowly, but those with specialized technical skills earn a growing bounty from technology. And the difficulty of acquiring the new skills affects employers as well. In survey after survey, over a third of managers report difficulty finding employees who have needed skills; business groups regularly decry the “skills gap.” In short, firms have plenty of demand for workers with critical technical skills, they are willing to pay high wages for workers who have them, but too few workers do.
Thus the problem isn’t that technology has eliminated the need for mid-skill workers overall. New opportunities are there, but grasping them is difficult. Overcoming that obstacle will take time as well as policies that promote technical training, certify skills learned through experience, encourage employee mobility, and foster robust labor markets.
Perhaps in the future, smart machines will drastically eliminate opportunities for mid-skill work, but that is not what is behind today’s stagnant wages. Technology has not turned against us; instead, technology challenges us to develop new capabilities. If we meet that challenge, then large numbers of ordinary people will benefit substantially from new technology, just as they have for the past two hundred years.
By James Bessen
September 15, 2014 by Radha
My words: An awesome article from the Hostgator blog about the programming languages, Python and Java – which one will be easier to learn and how each has its own advantages. Read on to know more:
When it comes to learning an object-oriented programming language, you might consider starting with either Python or Java. While Python can be more user-friendly than Java, as it has a more intuitive coding style, both languages do have their unique advantages for developers and end users. However, if you are just beginning your path towards a programming career, you might want to start by learning Python, as it is less complex. On the other hand, you will be ahead of many of your colleagues if you are able to understand both. With that in mind, here are the main similarities and differences.
Java is unique in its own way and for an advanced programmer, no problem to use. The first Java version 1.0 was released in 1995. By 2004, Java 5.0 was released; this version saw the insertion of generics into the Java language, providing Java with more efficient code and type safety. To date, the latest version of Java is SE 8, and it made its debut in 2014.
Currently, it is widely used as the key programming platform on smartphones and tablets. Additionally, Java programming language forms a large part of the basis for Android’s operating systems. Java syntax is primarily a derivative from C++ and combines universal, organized and object oriented programming that offers automatic memory management. Using Java byte-code is advantageous to porting since it has similarities to machine code. Other benefits to Java include:
•Curly braces used for noting the start and end of functions
•Programs are larger
•Does not compile native bytecode
•Can be run on any operating system that can run the Java Virtual Machine
•Cannot change data types of variables
•Object-oriented programming is mandatory
Python was first released in 1989. As a high-level programming language, it makes a strong case for readable code. In addition to supporting object-oriented programming, it also supports imperative and functional programming. This multi-paradigm language is also structure supportive. It offers ‘meta-programming’ and ‘logic programming,’ as well as ‘magic methods.’ Other features include:
•Duck typing (Strongly typed)
•Uses whitespace to convey the beginning and end of blocks of code.
•Programs are small and therefore run much faster
•You need less code to create a program
•This program is slow in execution
•Compiles native bytecode
•You can assign a string to a variable that once held an integer
•Easier to read and understand relative to Java
•Is not supported across a wide variety of platforms
•Object-oriented programming is optional
Both of these development programs come with their strong suits. While Java allows you to enjoy cross-platform support, you can still execute Python on at least 10 different operating systems. You need to determine what your end goal is before you decide on which program to use. Java, however, is not recommended for beginners as it is a more complex program. Python is more forgiving as you can take shortcuts such as reusing an old variable.
Additionally, many users find Python easier to read and understand than Java. At the same time, Java code can be written once and executed from anywhere. A benefit to the Java platform is that it lets you download questionable code and run it in a secure environment, which cannot affect its host system. Furthermore, Java is network-centric, meaning you can create network-based applications.
Whichever you choose to learn is based upon your preferences, determination, and background. If you already comprehend the basics of Python, you might want to expand upon your knowledge before moving on to Java. However, if you have the time and will, learning Java allows you to program for a wide variety of environments that might make it more fulfilling in the long run.
– Article from the Host Gator Blog
August 31, 2014 by Radha
Mr.Warren Buffett may be most famous for the billions of dollars he has made from investing but he is also well known as a cheerleader for the Unites States.
The Oracle of Omaha routinely exhorts investors to put their money in America, ” the mother load of opportunity”, as he wrote in his annual letter this year. So Mr.Buffett’s participation in the fast food chain, Burger King Worldwide Inc’s purchase of coffee and doughnut chain – Tim Hortons – complete with relocation of Burger King’s domicile to Canada – might at first blush raise questions about his patriotism.
Investors and tax experts say Miami based Burger King’s move to Canada through a so-called tax inversion will help curb its US tax bill. Similar recent moves by other US companies – mainly through the purchase of European companies – have drawn the ire of President Mr.Barack Obama, who suggest they are corporate deserters lacking economic patriotism. But analysts and investors say that the Burger King deal underlines the market savvy that’s helped him build his fortune more than prompting questions about his commitment to the U.S.
“When Warren Buffett advocates investing in America, as I understand it, that’s because that’s where the opportunities largely lie”, said Meyer Shields, managing director at investment bank Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc.
“Investing in America is actually the outcome of his analysis instead of the beginning assumption.” Mr.Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has committed $3 Billion of preferred equity for 3G Capital, which controls Burger King, to buy Tim Hortons in a deal worth almost $12 Billion. That should give him a juicy return and a stake in any increase in value of combined entity.
Berkshire, a sprawling conglomerate with more than 80 companies and a wide ranging stock portfolio, will have no role in operating the new entity. Berkshire Hathaway and Mr.Buffett did not return calls requesting comment.
Mr.Buffett tried to explain the reasons for the move to Canada in comments to the Financial Times. “Tim Hortons earns more money than Burger King does”, he told the paper. “I just don’t know how the Canadians would feel about Tim Hortons moving to Florida. The main thing here is to make Canadians happy”.
– Information from Economic Times
May 20, 2014 by Radha
A group of children asked the Chancellor of the United Kingdom, George Osborne a “times table” question. He refused to answer it. Why is that?, asks Justin Parkinson.
It’s one of those questions politicians dread. Along with knowing the price of a pint of milk or a loaf of bread, they hate being asked how to spell a word or to complete a basic sum, for fear of making an embarrassing mistake.
So Chancellor George Osborne had an instant response when a seven-year-old boy, one of a panel of youngsters interviewing him on Sky News, inquired: “What’s seven times eight?” “I’ve made it a rule in life not to answer,” the man in charge of the UK economy replied.
Osborne, who did A-level maths, was probably aware of the ridicule faced by Labour schools minister Stephen Byers in 1998 when he incorrectly worked out that the same sum – 7 x 8 – came to 54. The correct answer is 56. At the time, Downing Street called the minister’s ordeal “one of those character-forming events”.
But Mike Ellicock, chief executive of the charity National Numeracy, is not happy. “This sort of thing wouldn’t happen in other countries,” he says. “It shows something about our attitude to maths. If you asked the same thing in France, it would be the equivalent to asking if a minister could read.”
Children have learned their “times table” – going from “one times one is one” all the way up to “12 x 12 = 144” – for generations, but certain spot questions cause more problems than others.
Research by the educational technology firm Flurrish suggests the one pupils find most difficult is “six times eight” (answer: 48). Some 62.5% of the children questioned at Caddington Village School in Bedfordshire got it wrong. The sum demanded of Osborne and Byers was deemed the seventh toughest, flummoxing 47%.
“It’s those numbers near the middle that kids find the hardest – the sixes, sevens, eights and nines,” says Flurrish’s director Mike Smith. “It gets even more difficult when they try to multiply them by each other. Dealing in small numbers, as well as fives, tens and elevens, is far easier.”
Education Secretary Michael Gove wants all pupils in England to know all their times tables by the age of nine.
Ellicock agrees that this is important, but as part of a wider effort to teach the techniques and understanding of this and other aspects of maths.
“When you put people on the spot and ask quick questions, it creates a physiological response,” he says. “Pupils dilate and the heart rate rises, as people are waiting for you to get it wrong. We need a different approach. I think George Osborne was probably right not to answer.”
Note: The following story comes from BBC News, but this story may be reworded || Source: BBC News
May 8, 2014 by Radha
Radha, you don’t go to school ??!! No friends?? How do you live without friends and teachers???? OMG!!! You are gonna go through real big challenges for your education! What about your physical exercises then? You’re joking right? You are sooo damn lucky, you can get up at 10 in the morning, chat with your friends, not take shower, such easy studies and simply have fun !
These are the questions I go through everyday !
Holy Cow ! I have to answer them !
BTW, the truth IS that I am studying ( I’m on my study table @ 9 a.m. and finish @ 5 in the evening) , not getting influenced by the bad habits of my friends, getting up @ 6:30 a.m., taking shower in the morning, doing my physical exercises (yoga), I also have teachers, the only difference is I’m not getting my creativity killed.
How do you or how can you expect your teacher to teach 40 students, which are in a class, and to get them understanding everything that he/she is saying ?
And if you don’t understand what the teacher says at once, you can’t ask her ‘n’ number of times. In homeschooling, when you are watching a video, you can repeat the video as many times as you want, and the best part is, he/she won’t even scream at you 😀 !
FYI: Homeschooling isn’t illegal
And the worst part of schools are, SCHOOLS KILL CREATIVITY !
How and why?
First of all I’d like you watch the video of Sir Ken Robinson, Do Schools Kill Creativity? Here’s the link to it:
When I was 8 years old, I came to India and went to school (I won’t mention the name), in front of me a child was scolded very badly for finishing two chapters extra. That was the first day of my school in India, and I was shaken up !
In Brampton (Canada), @ school, my friends used to tell me to eat eggs or meat (I’m a vegan) they used to bring in their lunch boxes. Anyway I never ate it.
Today, in schools, when you ask some question, related to what you are studying that moment, but if it is not IN the chapter, you are told to shut up and the whole class laughs at you. And soon, you never ask some intelligent questions, and probably never ask questions to your teachers !
I don’t deny the fact that schools bring a very good discipline. But they make you machines. Do what you are told to do, don’t ask questions !
Think about it. Am I wrong?
Pass on your comments below
April 8, 2014 by Radha
Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.
March 21, 2014 by Radha
What are your thoughts on this video? Leave a comment below.
February 10, 2014 by RadhaOne of the go-to strategies for securing a computer network when a machine is infected with malware is to remove that machine from the network. This effectively prevents the malware from spreading to other devices.The technique is called “air-gapping” – network admins are building a “roadblock” quite literally made out of air to stop malicious computer code from propagating throughout a network. With no cables connecting the affected machine to the rest of the network, malware has no “road” by which to travel.But air-gap malware has no need for a road. It travels through the air as sound waves to infect machines that it is physically near, no matter what network they may be a part of.What is it and how does it work?Air-gap malware is that which is able to jump the air-gap by “translating” malicious computer code into high-frequency sound, then transmitting that sound to infect nearby computers.Engin Kirda, professor at Northeastern University and a co-founder of Lastline, a company specializing in advanced malware, said, “Recently, researchers have started to show proof-of-concept implementations of how malware could leak data from an air-gapped machine using peripheral devices such as microphones and sound cards.”That’s right: sound as virus. Computer data can’t travel over the air in its raw form, but your computer’s sound card is more than enough to “broadcast” the malware as inaudible sound that interacts with other machines. It doesn’t care what network a computer is on.Kirda said that one can “think of it as a technique that is similar to how modems work and how machines communicate over phone lines.”The diagram below comes from a paper about air-gap malware by Michael Hanspach and Michael Goetz. Even if you remove a computer from a network, air-gap malware plays on the computers’ shared physical environment to spread itself.Where did it come from? There’s not a good answer to this question, but the idea that sound can leak or reveal information from a machine is not a new one. It doesn’t even have to be a modern computer. Research has shown that the sounds of a dot matrix printer can be used to reverse-engineer the content being printed.Teaching computer malware to play on this technique, however, is new.How worried should you be about air-gap malware?For being such an effective method of crippling computers, air-gap malware thankfully doesn’t pose much of a threat to casual computer users. Kirda said: “This is all not trivial…The attacker would probably have to be very sophisticated to be able to pull of something like this.”There’s not really a way to proactively protect yourself from air-gap malware, but that’s okay for now. The techniques that go into employing air-gap malware are complex and can only be orchestrated by a very skilled hacker.Put another way, this isn’t the type of malware you accidentally get from installing bum software. It’s the kind you get when someone is coming for your network specifically.– News From Tech Gig