Old and Young States

Maine is an old state. At 42.7, the median age of Maine’s population is the highest in the U.S. The youngest state is Utah (large families and many children), with a median age of 29.2. Other “young states” include Texas…

Internet Distractions

At work, we “should not be watching that excellent new video of a schnoodle howling along to its own piano playing.” Yes? According to New Yorker journalist James Surowiecki, the answer actually is, “No.” Citing recent academic studies, he says…

More Education Matters

15-year old U.S. students ranked #24 for math in an OECD assessment program (PISA). For reading, they placed #15. In a Teaching Company lecture called “Underperforming Schools” Wake Forest economist Robert Whaples suggests how we might raise our scores. Cost/benefit…

The Right Stuff

Giving a grade of “One Pinocchio,” the Washington Post assessed the accuracy of President Obama’s February 7, 2011 speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Most interesting, though, were the topics on which he focused. Yes, President Obama said the…

When is 60 a Good Grade?

At 60.8 percent, the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) measure of manufacturing activity was way up, far more than anyone expected. Reflecting expansion, any number above 50 is good. So robust a number takes us to a question. If production…

Productivity Matters

Sometimes new technology increases productivity. “Sushi making robots” at Kura, a restaurant chain in Japan, have replaced chefs while conveyer belts take the food to diners. By using less labor and more capital, in a tough economy, the firm is…

Walking Matters

A podcast on cities from WNYC’s Radiolab cited walking speed as a part of a city’s personality. To walk 60 feet, people averaged 10.55 seconds in Singapore,  12.37 seconds in Paris, 21 seconds in Buchanan, Liberia, and 31.60 seconds in…

Aging Trends

Baseball’s MVPs are typically younger than 30 and rarely over 35. Office workers and salespeople tend to be most productive in their early to mid-40s. Most Nobel prize winners in physics and chemistry did their innovative work before they were…

Vacation Daze

In a column about Netflix, author Daniel Pink described their vacation policy for salaried employees. They have none. All who are salaried can take off as many or as few days as they want. Their rationale? Because many people do…