Sunday, May 20, 2012

"60 Minutes" on May 20, 2012: questioning the value of higher education

The first story was by Morley Safer on Peter Thiel who talks about the questionable value of higher education. Each year, Thiel pays 20 students $100,000 to drop out of school.  If you have plans to do something very different, Thiel urged students to think a lot about it.  Thiel described certain college administrators as the subprime lenders of the current educational bubble.  College tuition has quadrupled since 1980.  Thiel says a degree has little more than snob value.  The average plumber makes as much as the average doctor.  One needs to have the right idea at the right time at the right place.  Thiel noted Harvard does a good job of picking winners and should not get credit for the later success of its students.  Safer interviewed a professor (Vivek Wadhwa?) with appointments at Duke and Stanford.  He said ideas are a dime a dozen and you need an education to learn how to make an idea into an invention.  IPBiz notes one could ask the Wright Brothers about that! Of Thiel fellows, Jim Danielson electrified a junk yard Porsche with an electric motor.  Another winner [Sujay Tyle of Harvard]  was into biofuels [specifically from cellulose]; another [Eden Full of Princeton; IPBiz could not find published US patent applications for Full or to Roseicollis Technologies] into solar panels. [for a list of fellows, see INAUGURAL CLASS OF 20 UNDER 20 THIEL FELLOWS ] Thiel noted many fellows have started businesses.  Thiel himself has undergrad and law degrees from Stanford.  Thiel noted if he went to Harvard, he would have been on a track to be an investment banker.  Methusalah Foundation.  Airylabs is struggling.  When you try to do something new, likely you will fail.  Thiel:  I don't enjoy being contrarian.  It's more important to be right than contrarian.   Utopian off-shore nation states.  [Of Eden Full, see also and separately note from Full:  That’s why I’m going to take two years off from Princeton to figure out how I want to do this. I do have every intention of returning to Princeton.   from ]

Second, was "Hard Cases" by Lara Logan on work by Dr. William Gahl at the NIH's Undiagnosed Disease Program, who studies the hardest of the undiagnosed diseases.  A rare disease impacts fewer than 200,000 people  Dr. Gaul created the program 4 years ago.  Dr. Gahl has a budget of 3.5 million.  Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP).  The program can only take 150 - 170 cases per year.  There is a triage process.  40% of the accepted cases are children.

Steve Kroft on Roger Waters, a creator behind Pink Floyd.  The Wall originally composed in 1979.  The walls that exist between human beings.  Waters:  the work is the reward.  Waters:  there was a reason  left Pink Floyd in 1985.   The Dark Side of the Moon.  July 21, 1990 in Berlin.  Waters took The Wall on tour in 2010.  Waters noted that compared to looking after a two year old child, doing a rock & roll tour is an absolute dawdle.

Anderson Cooper on "Final Resting Place."  A lot of funeral homes are owned by big businesses.  There are more than 40,000 active cemeteries in the US.  Burr Oak Cemetery in the Chicago area.  A father died in 1978.  In 2009, Cook County officials found that head stones and remains were being removed, and plots re-sold.  Josh Slocum looks into issues.  Since 1984, Funeral Homes have been regulated by the FTC.  These rules do NOT apply to cemeteries.  Mount Olive Cemetery was discussed.   Since 2006, Mount Olive owned by Service Corporation International [SCI].  Double sold plot.  Dignity Memorial/Eden Memorial Park.  One plot may cost $25,000.  Michale Abenotti, lawyer.  Menorah Garden Cemeteries in Florida.  Star of David Cemetery in Ft. Lauderdale.  Paul Elvig, spokesman for the industry.   6,500 burials per day.  Bobby Rush HR 900.

Bob Simon on Tel Aviv.  How not to worry about tomorrow.  Tel Aviv as an island of sanity.  Simon on NY analogy:  you know New Jersey does not have missiles pointed at you.  Last days of Pompeii?
More bars than synagogues in Tel Aviv.  Vivien Levy is a columnist for a newspaper.  Bad taste to bring up politics at a party.  Joke:  a starving artist does not have a plaee to starve.  Instant messaging.  Freescale semiconductor.  Floyd's Blog.  Jewish mother as origin of innovation?  Lonely Planet:  Tel Aviv third hottest city in the world.  Tel Aviv as a bubble, living only for the present.


Post a Comment

<< Home