Opinion

Why Silicon Valley Shouldn’t Be the Model for Innovation

Not only is Silicon Valley pretty much impossible to recreate as an innovation eco-system, it’s also no longer the only global paradigm for innovation. The world has changed — drastically. But our understanding of how innovation works, and who benefits, has failed to change with it.

A Good STEM Education Depends on the First Two Years of College

For those students who are seriously looking at STEM education, especially with an eye towards medical or dental school or a career in engineering I encourage them to ask about the first two years of the curriculum, as opposed to the last two, where you delve more heavily into the major. Here are some questions to ask:

Regulation will hurt innovation

The Internet is an incredible success in free speech, anti-regulation, entrepreneurship, and innovation — any government interference would limit free speech and stifle innovation.

Graduating more engineers should be a national priority

Engineering is foundational. While the discipline is vast and diverse, it is held together by the unifying concept of effective problem-solving. Engineers learn to examine problems from a variety of vantage points. They are inventive and precise. Imagination and logic work in counterbalance: Engineers understand what is and see what might be.

This Is the Innovation That Gave Birth to the Modern World

Steve Wozniak cofounded Apple in 1976 and designed the Apple I and Apple II computers, ushering in the era of personal computing. In this introduction to Popular Mechanics' new Technology Issue, the Woz explains what a true innovation is, and why the transistor is the great one of all time.

Want Funding? Then Be a National Priority

When determining how to allocate resources to all of the organizations that receive federal funding, one of the key factors that policymakers consider is each organization’s contributions to national priorities. Therefore, it is imperative that scientific and technical communities reliant on federal funding continue to advocate for their members’ activities by highlighting all of the ways they contribute to national priorities.

Sitting Down with Steve Wozniak: Why Education Matters

Wozniak says integrating technology should start well before students hit college. He believes putting tablets and the latest devices in the classroom should be second nature.

Don't discount human spaceflight

With respect to the costs and benefits of humans vs. robots in space, it need not be an either-or question. To explore space, we need both. Human spaceflight is more costly, but its inspirational benefits and productivity are unsurpassed.

Rocket accidents favor unmanned spaceflight

The accidents demonstrate that private rockets, just like government ones, can go awry. They also should prompt skepticism about claims made by many in the private space industry that they can dramatically reduce the costs of accessing space and allow for a much more robust presence.

Five toughest obstacles to innovation

Innovation is one of the more frustrating examples of “easier said than done.” Google “innovation” and you get millions of hits. Obviously, not all of those citations – if even a fraction of them – refer to genuine innovators. There’s just not that much out there or we wouldn’t still be driving fossil fuel-powered cars or changing light bulbs every few months. So what makes innovation as rare as an honest politician?

Memo To The CEO: Why Are We Finding It Hard To Innovate?

We survived the recession, and we now seem to be in better shape than most of our competitors. But you are right to be concerned about our ability to innovate. We need some new directions, and the operating units just don’t seem to be coming up with them.

Commercial space accidents not expected to slow NASA

"I think this is going to raise fears about commercial space flight, but I think they are unjustified," said Howard McCurdy, a professor at American University who specializes in space policy and history. "There's a reason NASA has more than one commercial partner. I think there's a lot of redundancy or slack in the system. It's set up to handle these kinds of issues. You want everything to be perfect but it never is. Since it never is, the goal is to set up a system that can recover. That's what NASA has done."

5 Reasons Technology Should Be Allowed in the Classroom

The use of personal technology devices in the classroom is prevalent at colleges and universities. Rather than embracing this trend, some faculty, departments and even entire institutions have started putting limitations on students’ use of personal technology in class.

U.S. leads in technology innovation; don’t let other countries steal our secrets

As our economy recovers, businesses need to be exceptionally cautious as other countries may face reduced demand for manufacturing upon which they thrived in the past. Importantly, technology transfer from the United States may slow down and these countries have fallen behind in innovation. This creates a perfect storm for them to catch up with the United States by taking the path of least resistance — by stealing our trade secrets.

Not everyone needs to learn to code

Enforcing mandatory coding is a proscriptive approach to the problem of teaching the aforementioned skills, and enforces a single approach to a problem that can be solved through multiple content areas. Furthermore, just as you don't need basic nuclear physics to operate a light switch, or know what to do when the power fails, you shouldn't need a knowledge of computer science to operate and leverage technology.

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