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Innovation diary: MIT professors keep the ideas flowing | Financial Times
John Thornhill

“But it is my duty to make something that solves an important problem,” he says. “It is all about the problem.”

Founded in 1861, MIT is one of the world’s leading research centres, with a reputation for “learning by doing”. It is affiliated with 95 Nobel Prize-winners.

Professor Kripa Varanasi, the co-founder of LiquiGlide, has developed a “solid liquid” that enables every last drop of ketchup to slide smoothly out of the bottle on to your fries........ between 5 % and 25 % of various consumer products are left in the bottle, with lotions being a particularly irritating, and expensive, problem for consumers.......LiquiGlide’s technology can also be usefully applied to all kinds of other surfaces, from paint tins to bread-making machinery to catheters. Intriguingly it can also be “inverted” to counter the hydrophobic surfaces of many plants, increasing the absorption rates of chemicals. “Only 2 per cent of what is sprayed sticks to the plants,”........the newly launched Schwarzman College of Computing, a project with $1.1bn in funding that counts the head of the Blackstone Group among its backers. The college has three main aims: to advance computer research; to infuse knowledge of artificial intelligence across all the university’s schools; and to focus on the social impact and ethical responsibilities of computing.

That seems like an urgent priority as we grapple with the malign effects of algorithmic discrimination and facial recognition technologies. “We have to think about all these ethical issues at the design stage,” ........Winston Churchill asserted that no technical knowledge could outweigh the knowledge of the humanities in which philosophy and history walked hand in hand. “Human beings are not structures that are built or machines that are forged. They are plants that grow and must be tended as such.”
artificial_intelligence  entrepreneur  entrepreneurship  fluidity  human_factor  humanities  ideas  innovation  MIT  patents  PhDs  scholars  start_ups  Winston_Churchill  worthwhile_problems 
15 days ago by jerryking
Colin Palmer, Historian of the African Diaspora, Is Dead at 75 - The New York Times
July 11, 2019 | The New York Times | By Neil Genzlinger.

Colin A. Palmer, a historian who broadened the understanding of the African diaspora, showing that the American slave trade was only one part of a phenomenon that spanned centuries and influenced cultures worldwide, died on June 20 in Kingston, Jamaica. He was 75.....Professor Palmer published his first of many books in 1976.....it was called “Slaves of the White God: Blacks in Mexico, 1570-1650,” chronicling a period when the colonies that would become the United States were still in their formative stages. The book set him on a career-long path.....Palmer definitely brought about a deeper, more nuanced understanding of the African diaspora, one that extended well beyond African-American history or the history of the slave trade,” ....Palmer did more than just show that the African diaspora was not a single event; he examined the various strands of it for differences and similarities.....any examination of diaspora began with a study of Africa itself.....Palmer also wrote well-regarded articles and books on the Caribbean countries, including “Eric Williams and the Making of the Modern Caribbean” (2006), about the historian and politician who led Trinidad and Tobago to independence.....Palmer's research showed that the Spaniards had brought in black slaves to Mexico as early as the 1520s.....Palmer identified five streams of African diaspora, the first being the initial spread of humans from Africa in prehistory....There were two other “premodern” streams, as he called them. One involved the movement of Bantu-speaking peoples out of the areas now known as Nigeria and Cameroon to other parts of Africa and India in about 3000 B.C. The other was related to trading in the fifth century B.C.

The Atlantic slave trade, which he said began in earnest in the 15th century, was the fourth stream; the fifth began after slavery’s demise and continues today.
Africa  Afro-Latinos  Caribbean  Diaspora  historians  history  Mexico  obituaries  PhDs  scholars  slavery  UWI 
july 2019 by jerryking
Martin Kilson, Scholar and Racial Pathbreaker at Harvard, Dies at 88
April 30, 2019 | The New York Times | By Richard Sandomir.

Martin Kilson, a leftist scholar, fierce debater and follower of W. E. B. Du Bois who became the first tenured African-American professor at Harvard, died on April 24 in Lincoln, Mass. He was 88.....Professor Kilson was a prolific writer, an expert on ethnic politics in Africa and the United States, and a mentor to generations of students, among them the writer, teacher and philosopher Cornel West......Professor Kilson, an avowed integrationist, was already teaching courses in African politics in the 1960s when black students were starting to assert themselves on predominantly white campuses like Harvard.......Professor Kilson was a faculty sponsor of the Harvard-Radcliffe Association of African and Afro-American Students. But after the university’s Afro-American studies department was established in 1969, he became disenchanted with its governance, criticizing it as lacking academic rigor and maintaining that it had become an enclave for radical black students.

“Black solidarity forces are distinctly anti-intellectual and anti-achievement in orientation,” he wrote in a provocative essay about Harvard in The New York Times Magazine in 1973. “They indulge in the ‘black magic’ of nationalism, believing that miracles are possible if Negroes display fidelity to black nationalism or separatism and its anti-white attitudes, rituals and symbols.”....Kilson argued that the radical politics of separatists was an academic dead end.....“It took extraordinary courage in 1969 to challenge Black Panther and black power rhetoric,” the Rev. Eugene Rivers III, a former student of Professor Kilson’s, said in a telephone interview. “And he was right.”......Professor Kilson encountered Du Bois, the pioneering urban sociologist who was a founder of the N.A.A.C.P., as a freshman at Lincoln University, a HBCU....Du Bois remained an influence throughout Professor Kilson’s career....Harvard hired him as a lecturer in government in 1962. He was named an assistant professor two years later and granted tenure in 1968.

“He took a lot of pride in that accomplishment,” his daughter Hannah Kilson said in a telephone interview....Kilson used that sharp pen in 2002 when he challenged Randall L. Kennedy, a distinguished African-American professor at Harvard Law School, over the title of Professor Kennedy’s book “Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word.”
academic_rigor  African-Americans  Black_Panthers  black_nationalism  black_power  black_separatism  black_studies  Cornel_West  Eugene_Rivers  Harvard  Henry_Louis_Gates  integration  left-wing  obituaries  PhDs  scholars  trailblazers  W.E.B._Du_Bois  wishful_thinking 
may 2019 by jerryking
Sterling Stuckey, 86, Dies; Charted African Culture in Slavery - The New York Times
By Sam Roberts
Aug. 28, 2018

Sterling Stuckey, an eminent black historian who challenged his white colleagues by documenting how uprooted Africans not only retained their culture while they survived slavery but eventually suffused the rest of American society with their transplanted folkways, died on Aug. 15 in Riverside, Calif. He was 86.....He had recently finished the manuscript of his latest book, “The Chambers of the Soul: Frederick Douglass, Herman Melville and the Blues.”.....Through meticulous research, Professor Stuckey sought to discredit the white academics who had dominated and, in his view, devalued the field of African studies.

Early on he was bitterly critical of “numerous white experts on black Africa,” as he described them, who “have elaborated a fabric of untruths to rationalize continued white control over African studies.”.... his breakthrough essay, “Through the Prism of Folklore: The Black Ethos in Slavery,” published in 1968 by The Massachusetts Review, Professor Stuckey maintained that political and cultural studies of Africa must encompass people in North America and the West Indies.

...Professor Stuckey’s books included “Slave Culture: Nationalist Theory and the Foundations of Black America” (1987) and “Going Through the Storm: The Influence of African American Art in History” (1994).
Africa  African-Americans  black_nationalism  books  Colleges_&_Universities  history  historians  obituaries  PhDs  scholars  slavery 
august 2018 by jerryking
Warren G. Bennis, Scholar on Leadership, Dies at 89 - NYTimes.com
By GLENN RIFKIN
AUGUST 1, 2014

Professor Bennis believed in the adage that great leaders are not born but made, insisting that “the process of becoming a leader is similar, if not identical, to becoming a fully integrated human being,” he said in an interview in 2009. Both, he said, were grounded in self-discovery.

Leadership requires the communication of passion that gives hope and inspiration to other people. Integrity is imperative, and so too, are curiosity and daring.

The experience of his father being summarily fired taught him about the power of organizations and their impact on lives. “That will never happen to me,” he recalled thinking. “I will never lose my power to affect my own life.”...He saw signs that business leaders in the decades to come, inheriting a diverse and complex global environment, would have a better understanding of the territory in which they lead — what he called “contextual intelligence.”
Warren_Bennis  leadership  scholars  gurus  obituaries  WWII  veterans  academia  contextual_intelligence  integrity  curiosity  daring 
august 2014 by jerryking
Historian David Landes’s theories of ‘superior’ cultures are still polarizing
Sep. 11 2013 | - The Globe and Mail | DOUGLAS MARTIN

David Landes, a distinguished Harvard scholar of economic history, saw tidal movements in the rise of seemingly small things. He suggested that the development of eyeglasses made precision tools possible. Maybe, he said, using chopsticks helped Asian workers gain the manual dexterity needed to make microprocessors....In his 482-page Revolution in Time: Clocks and the Making of the Modern World, published in 1983, Prof. Landes examined the growth of the Industrial Age through the history of timepieces, tracing their origin to medieval European monasteries; monks, he wrote, needed something to tell them when to gather for a regular round of group prayer.... His most influential work, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor (1998), answered the question posed in its title (a play on that of Adam Smith’s classic work) by pointing to the importance of the Protestant work ethic and European attitudes toward science and technology....His dissertation became his first book, Bankers and Pashas: International Finance and Economic Imperialism in Egypt....Reviewing his 2006 book, Dynasties: Fortunes and Misfortunes of the World’s Great Family Businesses, for The Times of London, Christopher Silvester described the writing as pithy, thoughtful and sprightly. The book offers 13 sketches of tycoons, including Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller and Armand Peugeot.
books  cultural_values  economic_history  family_business  Harvard  historians  industrial_age  manual_dexterity  medieval  moguls  obituaries  precision  scholars  work_ethic 
september 2013 by jerryking
The Broadwell Recognition | Daniel W. Drezner
indecorous

the David Petraeus/Paula Broadwell story is the ultimate pundit Rorschach Test. Whatever axe one had to grind against the foreign policy community prior to the story breaking, Petraeus and Broadwell merely sharpens it. It’s evidence about the sexism and double-standards at play in Washington! It shows the insularity and kiss-assedness of the foreign policy community!! It shows that COIN doesn’t work, or that Petraeus was a big phony!!

....a lesson that can be drawn from this for those young, impressionistic aspirants to positions of foreign policy influence......do not, under any circumstances, think of a Ph.D. as merely a box to be checked on the way to power and influence in Washington....... Petraeus both benefited from and propagated the desire to develop "officer-intellectuals" within the military........West Point’s social science department, where Petraeus had taught in the mid-1980s. The department, known as “Sosh,” was founded just after World War II by a visionary ex-cadet and Rhodes Scholar named George A. “Abe” Lincoln. Toward the end of the war, as the senior planning aide to Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Marshall, Lincoln realized that the Army needed to breed a new type of officer to help the nation meet its new global responsibilities in the postwar era. This new officer, he wrote to a colleague, should have “at least three heads—one political, one economic, and one military.” He took a demotion, from brigadier general to colonel, so he could return to West Point and create a curriculum “to improve the so-called Army mind” in just this way: a social science department, encouraging critical thinking, even occasionally dissent.

Lincoln also set up a program allowing cadets with high scores in Sosh classes to go study at a civilian graduate school, with West Point paying the tuition. In exchange, the cadets, after earning their doctorates, would come back and teach for at least three years. Once they fulfilled that obligation, Lincoln would use his still-considerable connections in Washington to get them choice assignments in the Pentagon, the State Department, the White House, a foreign embassy, or a prestigious command post......some scholar-officers rate as being among the best that the military has to offer, and offer a necessary bridge between the scholarly and martial worlds. On the other hand, some of them are there precisely because they see the Ph.D. as a ticket to be punched on the way to something greater. And these are the ones who will usually flail about miserably.......Here's the thing about sub-par doctoral students: 95% of them will not earn a Ph.D. — and most of the rest who do get it will only have done so by finding the most pliant dissertation committee alive. Ambition and intelligence can get someone through college and a professional degree. It can even get someone through Ph.D.-level coursework. What it can’t do is produce an above-the-bar dissertation......For people who have succeeded at pretty much everything in life to that point, a Ph.D. seems like just another barrier to transcend. It’s not. Unless you are able to simultaneously love and critically dissect your subject matter, unless you thrive in an environment where people are looking forward to picking apart your most cherished ideas, you won’t finish......As someone who has advised readers on the relative merits of getting a Ph.D., it’s worth pointing out — repeatedly — that getting a Ph.D. is not for everyone. If there isn’t an idea or a question that truly animates you, if you think of a Ph.D. as merely a ticket to be punched, then know the following: you are looking at a half-decade of misery with nothing to show for it in the end except a terminal masters degree.
academia  Colleges_&_Universities  David_Petraeus  fast_track  high-achieving  invitation-only  KSG  leadership  leadership_development  lessons_learned  overambitious  Paula_Broadwell  PhDs  scandals  scholars  scholar-officers  West_Point 
november 2012 by jerryking
Zimbabwe’s first black Rhodes scholar - FT.com
March 23, 2012 7:48 pm
Zimbabwe’s first black Rhodes scholar

By Jonathan Waters
Zimbabwe  obituaries  investment_banking  Rhodes  scholars 
april 2012 by jerryking
Breaking the Silence - New York Times
By HENRY LOUIS GATES JR
Published: August 01, 2004

Scholars such as my Harvard colleague William Julius Wilson say that the causes of black poverty are both structural and behavioral. Think of structural causes as ''the devil made me do it,'' and behavioral causes as ''the devil is in me.'' Structural causes are faceless systemic forces, like the disappearance of jobs. Behavioral causes are self-destructive life choices and personal habits. To break the conspiracy of silence, we have to address both of these factors.
African-Americans  Henry_Louis_Gates  Obama  Bill_Cosby  anti-intellectualism  scholars  silence  self-destructive  William_Julius_Wilson 
november 2011 by jerryking
Western Alumni Gazette - What’s the price of attracting great minds?
Winter 2011
Back Page - The Final Say
RSS
What’s the price of attracting great minds?
by Paul Wells, BA'89

Ontario is in a global battle to attract the best minds. It’s all very sweet of Hudak’s education critic, Jim Wilson, to claim that McGuinty “could find the best and brightest already on our own soil,” but what are the odds? Ontario has one-fifth of one percent of the world’s population. I’m going to bet that most of the best and brightest are somewhere else. Some of them work at the Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy at the U.S. National Academies of Science, which wrote in 2009, “The issue for the United States, as for other nations, is that a knowledge-driven economy is more productive if it has access to the best talent regardless of national origin.” Attracting international students has been a pillar of U.S. economic policy for longer than Jim Wilson has been alive. “Talented international graduate students and postdoctoral scholars are drawn to the United States because of the high quality of our research universities [and] the availability of stipends and research funding,” the committee wrote in the same report.
Paul_Wells  Dalton_McGuinty  Colleges_&_Universities  UWO  Ontario  scholars  students  scholarships  talent  knowledge_economy  foreign_scholarships  brainpower  talent_acquisition  the_best_and_brightest 
october 2011 by jerryking
Derrick Bell Dead at 80: Sad Loss of a Leading Legal Scholar
By: The Root Staff | Posted: October 6, 2011

A Pittsburgh native, Bell distinguished himself early in his law career through his work for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund during the civil rights era. Recruited by Thurgood Marshall, Bell oversaw 300 school-desegregation cases, according to The HistoryMakers. He also served as deputy director of the Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. He was known as a pioneer of the study of "critical race theory," which explores racism in laws and legal institutions.

According to his bio at The HistoryMakers:

In 1971, Bell became the first African American to become a tenured professor at Harvard Law School. There, he established a course in civil rights law and wrote Race, Racism and American Law, which today is a standard textbook in law schools around the country. Leaving Harvard, Bell became the first African American dean of the University of Oregon Law School, and in 1985, he resigned in protest after the university directed him not to hire an Asian American candidate for a faculty position. Returning to Harvard Law School, Bell would again resign in protest in 1992 over the school's failure to hire and offer tenure to minority women.
obituaries  lawyers  law_schools  African-Americans  Thurgood_Marshall  Derrick_Bell  HLS  scholars 
october 2011 by jerryking
Welcome, David Johnston. And thanks, Michaëlle Jean
Oct. 01, 2010 | The Globe and Mail |Jeffrey Simpson .Mr.
Johnston is a scholar, lawyer, athlete and university administrator of
distinction and duration, having been president of both McGill and
Waterloo. He speaks French, knows how to handle public events, has
always demonstrated fair-mindedness, never puts on airs, is inherently
friendly and, should the knowledge be needed in a pinch, studied and
taught constitutional law.
Michaëlle_Jean  David_Johnston  Governor-General  scholars 
october 2010 by jerryking
China debates its brashness
Aug. 19, 2010 | Globe & Mail | Frank Ching. "In another
sign of Chinese assertiveness, Song Xiaojun, a Chinese military
commentator with China Central TV, said Beijing is ready to take over as
the “world’s policeman” if Washington is no longer able to discharge
this role. Despite this outpouring of nationalistic sentiment, there
are moderate voices arguing that China should continue to keep a low
profile and not become arrogant."..."Ye Hailin, a researcher with the
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, warned against arrogance in an
online article in the People’s Daily headlined “Narcissism poisons the
people.” The Chinese, he said, “are no longer modest. They talk about
Seoul and Tokyo with contempt, and even boast Beijing and Shanghai, the
two biggest Chinese cities, could soon match NYC and Paris.” The
problem, as Mr. Ye saw it, was that some Chinese can’t stand criticism.
He and other scholars raise a question: Is the world misunderstanding
China, or is China itself to blame?"
Frank_Chin  China  China_rising  PLA  Beijing  scholars  hubris  narcissism  assertiveness  misunderstandings  readiness 
august 2010 by jerryking
American intellectuals and the ‘fictitious personality' gambit
March 29, 2010 | The Globe and Mail | Neil Reynolds. In
Intellectuals and Society, his 32nd book, published in his 80th year,
this indefatigable scholar skillfully documents the tragic consequences
of intellectual arrogance.
Clarence_Thomas  economists  scholars  Thomas_Sowell 
march 2010 by jerryking
globeandmail.com: Black is not only beautiful, it's brilliant and heroic
February 14, 2009 G&M book review by JOHN HAREWOOD of A
BLACK STUDIES PRIMER
Heroes and Heroines of the African Diaspora By Keith A. P. Sandiford .
Asks the questions, Why is black history necessary? What topics should
be studied? Who will teach?

Summary
An essential text for students and scholars of black history. Features over 1,000 biographies of historical and contemporary black figures that have made a significant contribution to the development of modern civilisation. It is a celebration of the impact made by black people in areas including politics, engineering, agriculture, entertainment, literature, medicine, sport, philosophy and more. This easy reference encyclopedia has been compiled to fill the gaps in black studies in the school curricula, and will inspire students and teachers alike.
African-Americans  slavery  heroes  heroines  book_reviews  books  curriculum  Diaspora  Africa  primers  blackness  black_pride  black_studies  Black_Is_Beautiful  Negritude  self-identification  history  scholars 
february 2009 by jerryking

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