“The U.S. Is Like An Old Man”: A Chinese PhD Student Shares Her Thoughts On America–And China

Xi (Cassie) Guo is an international student at the University of Minnesota. In the lab, she studies diseases. Outside of school, she’s made some interesting observations about life in the U.S.–as well as about her home country.  After sharing some of these insights with me, I asked Cassie for an interview. Graciously, she responded to my questions…
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How Government And Corporations Block Growth And Truth In The Twin Cities

The book Why Nations Fail describes the process of how countries either stagnate, devolve, or prosper. The answers, the book claims, lie in a nation’s institutions. Are political institutions going to allow for democracy and political participation? Or are a few at the top going to dictate everything to their advantage? Are economic institutions going to…
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Mail Order Heroin

I once talked to a former drug addict who was a roadie for a rock-n-roll band. He shared about getting cocaine sent to him from his dealer back in LA when the band was on the road. “How do you send cocaine through the mail?” I asked. “Peanut Butter”, he replied. “Peanut butter?” “Yeah, you…
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False Prognostication

I recently read how when the Twitter guys were first starting out many people told them, “That’ll never catch on.” Many people were wrong. When it comes to misreading the future of tech, this piece takes the cake. Written in 1995 for Newsweek, the author made some predictions about how the Internet wouldn’t be all that…
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North Dakota Drones

Because they’ve been the vehicle for a lot of bad news and have become a symbol for government overreach, I’m betting 9/10 people respond unfavorably to the word “drone”. Previously on this blog, I’ve written about ways technology evolves society in a direction which challenges our current social order. But drones present a way where…
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The Internet And The U.S. Government

With every new technology comes the potential for either good or evil. How will the U.S. government’s use of digital technology to spy be judged? Dynamite can clear the way for a new road through a mountain or blow up someone’s home. Splitting the atom lets us warm homes or demolish cities. Online banking gives…
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A Trip To The Mall Of America: Apple Store Vs. Microsoft Store

I took the light rail to the Mall of America on a whim on Sunday where I encountered an interesting sight. Walking along the second floor of the mall past the rotunda where Boy Scouts were racing their Pine Derby cars, I looked down over the rail of the walkway down to the first floor…
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End Of Extinction?

In the future, we might be able to worry about one less thing: extinction. This goes for species whose numbers are currently low, but also for those which no longer walk the earth. Advances made now allow scientists to clone animals without even having an intact cell from that species to work from. I can’t…
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Continual (Solar-Powered) Economic Growth

Last Saturday I attended an event at the University of Minnesota showcasing professors and their research. Each gave a presentation and took questions from the audience. One spoke about depression economics, another about social justice and the environment. And interestingly, both of these distinguished men had very different opinions on a basic issue. The sociologist…
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Out Of This World

Plans to send people to Mars are developing. Last time I shared with you the best views of this planet. But if that wasn’t enough to impress you, than maybe you ought to consider these other horizons: ) Mars One, an organization founded in The Netherlands in 2010, hopes to start a colony on Mars…
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