To MAGAs, The Constitution Isn’t The Point

1.     January 6 was a shocking aberration. ...

Resilience: Debunking The Debunker

Sarah Green Carmichael, in a Bloomberg News item titled “You don’t need more resilience, you...

There’s DEI, And Then There’s DEI

A job interview, some years back, at No Name University (NNU). I was the candidate. The diversity...

The Economics You Were Taught? Dead.

This is a companion piece to “Enough: Toward A Sustainable Economics” https://www.science20...

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Fred PhillipsRSS Feed of this column.

After a dozen years as a market research executive, Fred Phillips was professor, dean, and vice provost at a variety of universities in the US, Europe, and South America. He is now Visiting Professor... Read More »


I started a new job this spring. After a long search in a tough market, I landed my dream job as a senior professor and administrator at a top research university – a university that did not retain a headhunter for its search.

Talks at other schools had progressed to first or second interviews before fizzling, and they fizzled due to the ineptitude of the universities’ search firms. The headhunters deserve a whipping, and this column administers ten lashes.
I make the case for replacing business executives with robots.*† This is no smart-ass slur on the intellects of executives. A transformation of business soon will be upon us. In the transformed enterprises, robots will take on more and more business decisions. Humans will retain a smaller but still crucially important role.

The argument involves ‘real options’ and ‘agency theory.’ Explaining them is simple, though lengthy. So let’s get started, using an illustrative example:
An opportunity requires Rineu Corporation to invest $10,000 now, with an assured first-year cash flow of $6,000. The second-year cash flow is uncertain with a 50-50 chance of either a $15,000 gain or a $5,000 loss.

For innovative and high-tech startups that need financing, a worldwide drought is in the offing.

Coming shortage of equity investment

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor reports a surge in early-stage entrepreneurial activity worldwide in 2011. Over 12 percent of US adults started a business in that year, compared to less than 8 percent in 2010. Entrepreneurship increased in three fourths of the developed countries GEM studied. Even in China and other countries where entrepreneurship was already high, entrepreneurial participation jumped 25% in 2011 [Klein].

Some reports show US venture capital funding 22 percent above 2010 levels [Bigelow]. Other news stories paint the Austin VC market as hot. And yet...
Part I listed often-overlooked things that when taken along make your trip comfortable, safe, and productive. Part II looks at tasks you’ll find helpful to do before leaving for the airport. As before, I do not get kickbacks from any products mentioned.

Twelve to 24 hours before departing for places exotic:

Courses, speeches, and client meetings take me to faraway places, sometimes on short notice. Here are some hard-won tips about this kind of traveling.

Google "packing lists" to find advice on how to fill your suitcase. I won't go there. Instead, this entry, Part I, lists only essential items you might not think of. Part II will focus on trip prep – tasks to do before leaving home.

Preliminary note #1: Sometimes the destinations are places with high crime and/or extreme climate.

Preliminary note #2: This list is just from the goodness of my heart (!). I don't know whether the vendors have affiliate programs, and I won't make money if you click through from this blog.

Clothes and shoes

“Malicious,” “diatribe,” and “preposterous” are words recently thrown at me. (How remarkable that I lived nearly 60 years before drawing this kind of vitriol. Maybe I haven’t been assertive enough!) When a scientific question has political implications, people have trouble separating the science from the politics. Anyway, it started like this…

Daniel Sarewitz of Arizona State University wrote an astonishingly obtuse article in Slate (December, 2010) titled “Most scientists in this country are Democrats. That's a problem.” Sarewitz cited a 2009 Pew Research Center finding that 6 percent of U.S. scientists are Republicans and 55 percent are Democrats. He took off from there.