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The Best Magazine You’re Not Reading

IEEE Spectrum.

It’s that simple.  Unless you are an electrical engineer, you’ve never heard of it.  And you are missing out.   (I love Wired, of course, but you probably already read that.  If not, one place to start is its two security blogs.)

Celebrating 50, Spectrum reviews some of its historical highlights here, with access to classic articles.  But then look forward – debating wind farms in Mexico, Skype Translator, 3D printing of high-tech contact lenses, and what seem like weekly advances in robotics.

The argot is rarely out of reach of the gen pop.  Instead, you get a peek into what the rest of us will be reading about in biomedicine, software, energy, robots, more – and buying and doing and having done to us – in the future.  But you can read it here first.

Bienvenidos a Cuba

I thought this would be the first thing Obama did in 2009 – and in 2013.  A key question now is whether this is domestic policy (ideological, electoral) or foreign policy (countering a rise in Chinese influence?). Some of the other questions we will see debated endlessly in the near future include:
A Cuban perspective

– what was the role of U.S. gaming industry? agricultural exporters?

– will this advance democracy in Cuba? Is China instructive here?
– will this improve the economy in Cuba?  The obvious answer might be Yes, but look at Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti…. Disney Cruises and Diet Coke don’t make your economy boom.
– will this benefit “ordinary” Cubans? Who will benefit and who will lose – from the rise in tourism jobs but increased prices for everything from food to real estate….
– how will this influence Marco Rubio’s nomination prospects, or Jeb Bush’s?
– in 10 or 30 years, where will this rank in Obama’s foreign policy legacy?
– what is the role of Pope Frances in shaping this or other aspects of U.S. foreign policy?
– when do Spring Break Habana ads start appearing on Instagram?

Plan the work, work the plan.

Plan the work, work the plan.

Paul Clenen Bishop said this over and over, as advice to himself and to others.   Assembling train sets as a kid, as a high school student on a Liberty Ship, for more than 40 years in the United States Navy and as a Navy civilian, and as a small business owner working for the Navy, Paul would plan the work and work the plan.

His work was noticed, whether “inventing the Internet”, or keeping sailors and sea lanes safe, or helping with the Navy’s newest ship, or working with the Panama City Chamber of Commerce, and a wide range of other efforts. The Navy awarded him the Superior Civilian Service Award. He was a Senior Member of IEEE, and founding chair of its Marine Systems Coordinating Committee.

Away from work, though, he would sometimes go without a plan.  One familiar treat was a good meal on the road.  Often he would trust that treat to the waiter or waitress.  And what would you like, sir?  “Please bring me something good.”  Uh…. Can you give me guidance? What do you like? “No, I trust you. Surprise me,” handing back the still-unopened menu. Continue reading “Plan the work, work the plan.”

Forgetting the Presidents?

What Presidents will we forget – or our grandkids never hear of at all?  In AAAS’ Science, Washington University of St. Louis scholars Henry L. Roediger III and K. Andrew DeSoto offer one analysis.  But I’m guessing they’re wrong.

Their idea is based on the idea that people are good at remembering the beginning of lists, and the end, but only remarkable items along the middle of the list.  Using data collected from surveys of undergrads in 1974, 1991, 2009, and an adult survey in 2014, they found that Washington,  Lincoln, and recent presidents are recalled, but those more than a couple of generations past are forgotten.

But there are a number of advantages that recent and all future presidents will have over McKinley and Fillmore:  video, a strong executive branch, and global authority.

Continue reading “Forgetting the Presidents?”