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Institutional Resilience

We all know that large organizations are resistant to change, but why? And is that always a bad thing? Most of us probably take for granted that, the larger an organization is–be it a company, a government, or some other group of people working together–the more difficult it is to make sweeping changes to the organization’s functions. This tendency is derisively referred to as “bureaucracy” and “institutional inertia.” But another way to describe it is “resilience.

Practical Graph Theory

Graph theory. Maybe you’ve heard of it before. Or maybe you haven’t. If you already know what it is, you won’t learn anything new here. But if you’re unfamiliar, prepare to be informed! Like many terms used in mathematics and computer science, “graph theory” might sound obtuse and impenetrable. In fact, most of us deal with applications of graph theory on a daily basis. Do you use social media like Twitter or Facebook?

Business Models for Online Content

Do you pay for what you read online? Probably not. But the market is evolving, and we’re in for an interesting future. People have been trying to monetize online content for as long as the Internet has been commercial. In the early years of the World Wide Web (and several years before), Internet service providers offered unique content–news, games, and other information–that couldn’t be found on their competitors’ services. That was how services like Prodigy, America On-Line, and others differentiated themselves.

The Minimum Wage Fight

The fight for a $15 minimum wage in the US seemed to spring up almost out of nowhere. How did this become a hot political issue so suddenly? In fact, efforts to have the minimum wage raised to $15 an hour started back in 2012. It was one of the demands of fast food workers in New York City who were on strike. The striking workers didn’t get what they demanded–at least not at the time–but workers in New York City will have a $15 minimum wage as soon as 2019, thanks to state legislation passed last month.

The Miracle of Air Travel

Airplanes and flying almost never make the news unless there’s a crash. So join me, if you will, on an appreciation tour of the magnificent machine that is the modern air travel system. Growing up with a father and other family members in the Air Force, I’ve been around planes all my life, and I’ve always had a particular fascination with them. I’ve been a faithful devotee of Microsoft’s Flight Simulator series since 4.

Thoughts on Borderline Personality Disorder

This is a topic that, although I have no professional experience or qualifications with, I have quite a bit of personal experience to speak to. I do not have borderline personality disorder (BPD) myself, but I have had many friends and family members with it, and was involved with (and married to) a woman with BPD for many years. I’d been meaning to write something about this for a while. I suppose I didn’t find just the right “spark” until this past weekend, when a friend linked an article on BPDFamily.

Nutrition Science is a Crock

Is sugar bad? Good? Toxic? What about fat? What causes obesity, diabetes, and heart disease? Does the current state of nutrition science give us answers to these questions? The answer is a big fat “nope.” This post has been some time in coming. It is a follow-up, and correction of sorts, to a post I made back in February as part of my series on American health. In the comments section of that post, an enterprising reader noted that most of the available evidence used to set to nutrition guidelines is scientifically unsound.

The Internet: A Culture of Change

It’s time to cap off this week of posts about the Internet, with a broader discussion of the Internet’s capacity for promoting change. Yesterday, I talked about the Internet’s role in American politics, though I didn’t spend much time on how it has affected social change more generally. There are movements happening all around us that are only effective because the Internet is an available tool. The Arab Spring, for instance, unfolded in large part due to online communication and organization.

A More Accessible Internet

Might as well stick with an Internet theme for the week. Today: making the Internet more accessible to people with disabilities. I recently went about searching for housing assistance for a friend. To that end, I went down the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s list of New Jersey housing agencies. First, I was disappointed that one had to check so many websites just to find out if any public or subsidized housing was available in this state.

The Internet is Not Garbage

Time for the other side of the coin. I promise that this isn’t a complete retraction or reconsideration of yesterday’s sentiments. I fully intended to follow up with the opposite view today. Let’s get on with it! As I mentioned, the Internet really has become a central part of most of our lives. In 1996, only 20 million Americans–not even 10%–had Internet access. Today, almost 90% of Americans are online. This kind of rapid progression is downright transformative.