PBS has standards for “editorial integrity,” and its guidelines state that “member stations are responsible for shielding the creative and editorial processes from political pressure or improper influence from funders or other sources.” But every so often, it becomes known that a news outlet has altered its coverage in order not to offend a sponsor.
Conventional warfare is a relatively recent invention. It was first made possible after 10,000 BC by the development of agricultural societies, which produced enough surplus wealth and population to allow for the creation of specially designed fortifications and weapons (and the professionals to operate them). The first genuine armies — commanded by a strict hierarchy, composed of trained soldiers, disciplined with threats of punishment — arose after 3100 BC in Egypt and Mesopotamia. But the process of state formation and, with it, army formation took considerably longer in most of the world. In some places, states emerged only in the past century, and their ability to carry out such basic functions as maintaining an army remains tenuous at best. Considering how long humans have been roaming the earth, the era of what we now think of as conventional conflict represents the mere blink of an eye.
There are two great centers of unaccountable power in the American political-economic system today – places where decisions that significantly affect large numbers of Americans are made in secret, and are unchecked either by effective democratic oversight or by market competition – the intelligence community, and Wall Street.
People are unlikely to want to take personality tests so that marketing departments can intrude even more on their lives than happens already. But new software may be able to get around that. New software is able to parse someone’s presumptive personality reasonably well from just 50 tweets, and very well indeed from 200.
The revelations that the National Security Agency is perusing millions of U.S. customer phone records at Verizon Communications and snooping on the digital communications stored by nine major Internet services illustrate how aggressively personal data is being collected and analyzed.
Founded on the Oregon coast by a guy named Ted, this small handscreened wallpaper company flourished in the Age of Aquarius. Many years later, some young designers seeking striking wallcoverings discovered Ted’s greatness – just days before the designs and equipment were to be destroyed. Knowing what had to be done, these young designers headed west to save Ted’s legacy. Our Flavor Lab is now located in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn and is home to Flavor Paper’s design and screenprinting operations.
After fighting two wars in nearly 12 years, the United States military is at a turning point. So are the American people. The armed forces must rethink their mission. the greatest challenge to our military is not from a foreign enemy — it’s the widening gap between the American people and their armed forces.
In 2012 the global community witnessed a range of human rights emergencies that forced large numbers of people to seek safety, within states or across borders. Those who live outside their countries, without wealth or status, are the world’s most vulnerable people but are often condemned to desperate lives in the shadows. Human rights protection must be applied to all human beings – wherever they are.
Bill Drayton is a social entrepreneur and currently the Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public. He is also chair of Youth Venture, Community Greens, and Get America Working! After studying at Harvard, Yale, and Oxford, he worked for McKinsey and the EPA, and then founded Ashoka. He has received many awards for his achievements.
Ashoka is the largest network of social entrepreneurs worldwide, with nearly 3,000 Ashoka Fellows in 70 countries putting their system changing ideas into practice on a global scale. Ashoka has provided start-up financing, professional support services, and connections to a global network across the business and social sectors, and a platform for people dedicated to changing the world.
The Project on Internal Displacement monitors displacement problems worldwide, promotes application of the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, works with governments, regional bodies, int’l organizations and civil society to create policies and arrangements for IDPs, convenes int’l seminars on internal displacement, and publishes studies, articles and reports.
A cheeky trio of artists have turned fruit trees into cultural symbols – the group, known as Fallen Fruit, recently planted what is being billed as the state’s first public fruit park. The process of planting and harvesting fruit is a community bonding experience – an act of “social art” in which public space is reimagined.
The Center for Public Integrity uses investigative journalism to reveal abuses of power, corruption and betrayal of trust by powerful public and private institutions. The Center focuses on: money and politics, government waste/fraud/abuse, the environment, healthcare reform, national security and state government transparency.
The NIH Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative is part of a new Presidential focus aimed at revolutionizing our understanding of the human brain. With nearly 100 billion neurons and 100 trillion connections, the human brain remains one of the greatest mysteries in science and one of the greatest challenges in medicine.
In 2011 America spent $2.7 trillion on health, equal to 17.9% of GDP. The government paid for nearly half of this. As public health spending continues to grow, it threatens to widen America’s deficit and eclipse other public programmes, such as infrastructure and education. Nearly every politician, regardless of party, agrees that this is dangerous.
The World Policy Institute, a non-partisan source of informed policy leadership for more than four decades, develops and champions innovative policies that require a progressive and global point of view. WPI’s Fellows Program, and its regular public and private events, collaborative policy development, media activities, and flagship World Policy Journal provide a forum for solution-focused policy analysis and public debate.
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s publishing model provides quality content meeting the highest of academic standards via a medium that is universally accessible. To do so it combines features in a way that distinguishes it from other attempts to build scholarly resources on the web. The SEP’s model may therefore represent a unique digital library concept: a scholarly dynamic reference work.
The Garrison Institute applies the transformative power of contemplation to today’s pressing social and environmental concerns, helping build a more compassionate, resilient future. We envision and work to build a future in which contemplative ideas and methods are increasingly mainstream, and are applied at scale to create the conditions for positive, systemic social and environmental change.
While much of southern Europe has been racked by strikes and protests as its creditors force austerity measures, Denmark still has a coveted AAA bond rating. But Denmark’s long-term outlook is troubling. With little fuss or political protest — or notice abroad — Denmark has been at work overhauling entitlements, trying to prod Danes into working more or longer or both.
Jaron Lanier’s new tech manifesto asks, “Who owns the future?” Mr. Lanier bucks a wave of more conventional diatribes on Big Data to deliver Olympian, contrarian fighting words about the Internet’s exploitative powers. A self-proclaimed “humanist softie,” he is a witheringly caustic critic of big Web entities and their business models.
The same kind of numbers analysis that has reshaped areas like politics and online marketing is increasingly being used by the entertainment industry. For as much as $20,000 per script, Mr. Bruzzese and a team of analysts compare the story structure and genre of a draft script with those of released movies, looking for clues to box-office success.
Cities are shaped by their histories and by accidents of geography and climate but they are also universal, the products of social, economic and physical principles that transcend space and time. “Quantitative urbanism” is an effort to reduce to mathematical formulas the chaotic, exuberant, extravagant nature of one of humanity’s oldest and most important inventions, the city. The birth of this new field can be dated to 2003, when researchers convened a workshop on ways to “model”—in the scientific sense of reducing to equations—aspects of human society. With the technology to know virtually anything that goes on in an urban society, the question becomes how to leverage it to do good, to make the city run better, enhance security and safety and promote the private sector. While urbanization gave the world Athens and Paris, it also gave the chaos of Mumbai and the poverty of Dickens’ London.
New approaches to privacy for online consumers, even if they eventually go into effect, do not address a larger issue: the thousands of details that third-party data gatherers, who typically don’t interact directly with consumers, have already amassed about a majority of adults in the United States.
Pension advances are having devastating financial consequences for a growing number of older Americans, threatening their retirement savings and plunging them further into debt. People with public pensions are being courted particularly aggressively by pension-advance companies.
Something really big happened in the world’s wiring in the last decade, we went from a connected world to a hyperconnected world. Connectivity and creativity has created a global education, commercial, communication and innovation platform on which more people can start stuff, collaborate on stuff, learn stuff, make stuff (and destroy stuff) with more other people than ever before.
PfC’s vision is that all sectors of society understand the urgency of our planet’s most pressing challenges and proactively use their position and skills to act in collaboration towards a more equal, stable, and sustainable future. By bringing together inspiring social innovators we address society’s most pressing issues, highlight their urgency, and inspire action.
Mr Obama’s biggest initiative in education, Race to the Top, awards grants on a competitive basis to states and school districts that present the best plans for such improvements. Nineteen states have now received RTT grants, and all but four have applied for them. The result has been a dramatic acceleration of reforms in America’s public schools, at least on paper.
Nearly a third of Americans say they have abandoned a news source because they thought the quality of its information was declining. Americans who think media firms are putting out fewer original, thoughtful stories are probably right. The bulk of the $37.3 billion spent on digital advertising in 2012 went to five firms: Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft and AOL.
In 2012, a continued erosion of news reporting resources converged with growing opportunities for those in politics, government agencies, companies and others to take their messages directly to the public. Signs of shrinking reporting power are documented in the report.
The purpose of the Early Warning System (EWS) is to alert communities to projects funded by Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) that may affect their rights. Armed with information about the project and the standards that apply to them, communities can demand that the MDB respect their rights.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism is an independent not-for-profit organisation formed and funded on the assumption that investigative journalism is indispensible to democracy. As such the Bureau’s aim is to pursue and encourage journalism in the public interest.
Academic Earth is an organization founded with the goal of giving everyone on earth access to a world-class education. We are building a user-friendly educational ecosystem that will give internet users around the world the ability to learn from full video courses and lectures from the world’s leading scholars.
In 1972, the composer Leonard Bernstein returned to Harvard, his alma mater, to serve as the Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry, with “Poetry” being defined in the broadest sense. Delivered in the fall of 1973 and collectively titled “The Unanswered Question,” Bernstein’s lectures covered a lot of terrain, touching on poetry, linguistics, philosophy and physics. But the focus inevitably comes back to music – to how music works, or to the underlying grammar of music. The lectures run over 11 hours. They’re considered masterpieces, beautiful examples of how to make complicated material accessible.
A plethora of new studies indicates that longevity researchers are pushing the scientific conversation to a new level. Genes alone are unlikely to explain all the secrets of longevity, and experts see a cautionary tale in recent results concerning caloric restriction. In the end, genes probably account for only 25 percent of longevity.
International policymakers must pay serious attention to the reality of species-obliterating risks. The stakes couldn’t be higher, there is a real gap between the speed of technological advance and our understanding of its implications. The significance of existential risk is not, currently, on people’s radars.
The scientific revolution wasn’t an extension in erudition. The glory of modern science is that, while only a very few can understand its particular theories, anyone can understand its peculiar approach – it is simply the perpetual assertion of experience over authority, and of debate over dogma.
The use of cheap, miniature “everyman” drones needs to be banned by international treaties before such devices fall into the hands of private users including terrorists, the head of Google has said. Schmidt set out the trajectory of robotic warfare and considered whether it would be confined solely to national governments.
From Ireland to Cyprus, the whole of Europe seems to be locked in economic and political crisis. But there is a small area of calm at the continent’s core: Switzerland. Switzerland’s secret is that it is part of Europe — and it isn’t. Switzerland’s middle path is likely the reason why the country is doing so well.
College completion rates in the U.S. are stubbornly low despite the large and rising returns to a college degree. Efforts to increase student success in college have largely ignored a potentially key factor: the instruction that students receive in the sequence of courses that add up to a college education.
Urban and regional planners, elected officials, and other decisionmakers are increasingly focused on what makes places livable. Access to the arts inevitably appears high on that list, but knowledge about how culture and the arts can act as a tool of economic development is sadly lacking.
The global development community is teeming with different ideas and interventions to improve the lives of the world’s poorest people. Whether these succeed in having a transformative impact depends not just on their individual brilliance but on whether they can be brought to a scale where they reach millions of poor people.
Manufacturing—or rather advanced manufacturing—is essential to the U.S. economy because it is the main source of innovation and global competitiveness for the United States. Simply put, advanced manufacturing is the U.S. pipeline for new products and productivity-enhancing processes.
For more than a century people have tried to understand how individuals become unified groups. The secrets of the swarm hinted at a whole new way of looking at the world. But those secrets were hidden for decades. When it came to figuring out collectives, nobody had the methods or the math.
“NANNY”, “tyrant”—these were among the charges hurled at Michael Bloomberg, New York’s mayor, when he proposed a ban on big fizzy-drink bottles last May. The billionaire shrugged and pushed forward. The American Beverage Association, which represents Coca-Cola and other soda companies, has sued.
Across the country, education reformers and their allies in both parties have revamped the way teachers are graded. But in Michigan, 98 percent of teachers were rated effective or better. Advocates of education reform concede that such rosy numbers, after all the development and training, are worrisome.
This is the twelfth edition of the Brown Center Report. Part I examines the latest data from state, national, or international assessments. Part II explores the controversial topics of tracking and ability grouping. Part III is on the national push for eighth graders to take algebra and other high school math courses.
Global Witness investigates and campaigns to prevent natural resource related conflict and corruption, and associated environmental and human rights abuses. From undercover investigations, to high level lobby meetings, we aim to engage on every level where we might make a difference and bring about change.
The task of understanding humanity is too important and too daunting to leave to the humanities. Their many branches have not explained why we possess our special nature and not some other out of a vast number of conceivable possibilities. In that sense, the humanities have not accounted for a full understanding of our species’ existence.
Recent political debate in the United States and other advanced capitalist democracies has been dominated by two issues: the rise of economic inequality and the scale of government intervention to address it. Inequality is increasing almost everywhere in the postindustrial capitalist world. The problem is more deeply rooted and intractable than generally recognized.
The One Earth Future (OEF) Foundation is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization founded in 2007. OEF’s vision is a world beyond war, achieved by the development of new and effective systems of cooperation, coordination, and decision making, i.e. “governance”. As an operating foundation, OEF uses a ‘Think and Do Tank’ model.
Whole Planet Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization established by Whole Foods Market that provides grants to microfinance institutions in Latin America, Africa and Asia who in turn develop and offer microenterprise loan programs, training and other financial services to the self-employed poor.
There is growing anxiety in America about higher education. A degree has always been considered the key to a good job. But rising fees and increasing student debt, combined with shrinking financial and educational returns, are undermining at least the perception that university is a good investment.
Social inequality, evolution of technology, dwindling resources, climate change, the collapse of financial institutions. THNK, the Amsterdam School of Creative Leadership, is on a mission to develop the next generation of creative leaders that will have a significant societal impact in our world.
Better vocational education is hardly a cure-all for the global jobs crisis: millions of young people will be condemned to unemployment so long as demand remains slack and growth sluggish. But it can at least help to deal with an absurd mismatch that has saddled the world not just with a shortage of jobs but a shortage of skills as well.
Compared with a hundred years ago, our lives are less tightly bound by social mores and physical constraints. Obstacles are everywhere disappearing. Few of us wish to turn the clock back, but perhaps we need to remind ourselves how useful the right obstacles can be. Sometimes, the best route to fulfilment is the path of more resistance.
Since the dawn of the information age, we’ve bought into the idea that a password, so long as it’s elaborate enough, is an adequate means of protecting all this precious data. But in 2012 that’s a fallacy, a fantasy, an outdated sales pitch. No matter how complex, no matter how unique, your passwords can no longer protect you.
One of the United States’ major successes in the last half century has been its progress toward ensuring that its citizens get roughly the same basic chances in life, regardless of gender or race. Yet this achievement has been double edged. Today, people who were born worse off tend to have fewer opportunities in life.
To get to the stars, we’ll need many new materials and engines but also a few of the old intangibles. In the conversation of certain dreamer-nerds, especially outside NASA, you can now hear echoes of the old aspiration and adventurousness—of the old craziness for space.
We have remained obsessed with filling in the Earth’s maps; reaching its farthest poles, highest peaks, and deepest trenches; sailing to its every corner and then flying off the planet entirely. The United States, along with other countries and several private companies, is preparing to send humans to the red planet as well.
The war on drugs has succeeded only in putting millions of Americans in jail. The U.S. has 760 prisoners per 100,000 citizens. That’s not just many more than in most other developed countries but seven to 10 times as many. In 1980 the U.S.’s prison population was about 150 per 100,000 adults. It has more than quadrupled since then.
Judges and lawmakers across the country are wrangling over whether and when law enforcement authorities can peer into suspects’ cellphones, and the cornucopia of evidence they provide. As technology races ahead of the law, courts and lawmakers are still trying to figure out how to think about the often intimate data that cellphones contain.
In the Great Recession of 2008 to 2009, more than 11% of companies stopped their 401(k) match. Because they are voluntary, most workers do not even have a retirement account plan, which means many middle-class and upper-middle-class workers will only have Social Security to rely on for retirement.
The democratisation of living standards has masked a dramatic concentration of incomes over the past 30 years, on a scale that matches, or even exceeds, the first Gilded Age. Including capital gains, the share of national income going to the richest 1% of Americans has doubled since 1980, from 10% to 20%, roughly where it was a century ago.
BY THE end of the 19th century, the first age of globalisation and a spate of new inventions had transformed the world economy. But the “Gilded Age” was also a famously unequal one, with America’s robber barons and Europe’s “Downton Abbey” classes amassing huge wealth: the concept of “conspicuous consumption” dates back to 1899…
Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty have tracked the incomes of the poor, the middle class and the rich in countries across the world. Their work shows that the top earners in the United States have taken a bigger and bigger share of overall income over the last three decades, with inequality nearly as acute as it was before the Great Depression.
“The [University of Virginia] Board of Visitors is an archaic body, a vestige of [US President Thomas] Jefferson’s original conception of his university as an “academical village,” governing itself without executive authority. It was not until the early 20th century that the university bowed to practicality and hired a president. Though the board’s influence over the school has waned since then, a seat on it remains one of the most prestigious gifts a governor can bestow on a Virginian. Democrats and Republicans alike tend to allot the seats to major campaign contributors. The board that was judging [University President Teresa] Sullivan’s performance included lawyers, developers, a coal-mining executive and a beer distributor, but no voting member had an education background.”
Anthony Kronman is Sterling Professor of Law at Yale Law School. A former Dean of Yale Law School, Professor Kronman teaches in the areas of contracts, bankruptcy, jurisprudence, social theory, and professional responsibility. He is the author of the book, “Education’s End”.
Oxfam International is part of a global movement for change, to build a future free from the injustice of poverty. We work directly with communities and seek to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods, and have a say in decisions that affect them.
The world is changing very rapidly, but it may be that inertia in the education system is appropriate. Suppose the educational system is drastically altered to reflect the structure of society and what we now understand about how people learn. How will what universities teach be different?
The Insurance Information Institute’s mission is to improve public understanding of insurance – what it does and how it works. It is recognized by the media, governments, regulatory organizations, universities and the public as a primary source of information, analysis and referral.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress is the largest representative and continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas. Assessments are conducted in mathematics, reading, science, writing, the arts, civics, economics, geography, and US history.
An expected development in the US economy is a slower rate of labor force growth relative to its average over the past few decades. That slowdown is anticipated because of the retirement of baby boomers and women’s participation in the labor force leveling off after rising for decades.
Social Security is the government’s largest single program and in 2011, about 56 million people will receive benefits, and outlays will total $733 billion, 1/5 of the federal budget. In 2035, outlays are projected to account for a much larger share of GDP than the share in 2010.
The latest report on the nation’s foreign-born population discusses changes in the numbers and countries of origin foreign-born people and their US status, and compares demographic and labor market characteristics of foreign-born and native-born people in the United States.
Professor Tim Jackson argues for slowing down. He describes how our relentless drive for economic growth undermines not only our economic system, through encouraging behavior that gives rise to financial crises, but also our quality of life and the environment we live in.
Barry Schwartz is Dorwin Cartwright Professor of Social Theory and Action at Swarthmore College, and author of the books: The Costs of Living: How Market Freedom Erodes the Best Things in Life; The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less; The Battle for Human Nature: Science, Morality, and Modern Life.
Thomas L. Friedman is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, and author of the books: “That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind In The World It Invented and How We Can Come Back” and “Hot, Flat, and Crowded; Why We Need A Green Revolution – And How It Can Renew America”.
Robert Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, and is the author of thirteen books, including The Work of Nations, Locked in the Cabinet, Supercapitalism, and Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future.
The OECD’s Territorial Development Policy Committee is a unique international forum for policy analysis and exchange of information on regional development, regional competitiveness, urban development, rural development, multi-level governance and regional statistics and indicators.
IAF is devoted to the development of a compelling progressive economic agenda and message — to make clear what progressives stand for, articulate the philosophy and values underlying the policies, and frame them in new ways that will resonate with the majority of average Americans.
The OECD Insurance Committee’s work focuses on priorities including: liberalisation of markets, private pensions, private health insurance, governance, mitigation and compensation of catastrophic and environmental risks, monitoring of re/insurance markets and regulations.
The Institute for Policy Studies Program on Inequality and the Common Good focuses on the dangers that growing inequality pose for U.S. democracy, economic health and civic life. The Program runs a number of projects, and presents research in the form of books and reports.
Reporters Without Borders defends journalists and media assistants imprisoned or persecuted, fights against censorship, gives financial aid each year to 300 or so journalists or media outlets in difficulty, and works to improve the safety of journalists, especially those reporting in war zones.