Thursday, 29 November 2012

‘Job candidates must wear masks’ 60 second idea to change the world

Each week a global thinker from the worlds of philosophy, science, psychology or the arts is given a minute to put forward a radical, inspiring or controversial idea – no matter how improbable – that they believe would change the world.

This week, Maurice Fraser from the London School of Economics says it is time to level the playing field in the jobs market by making every applicant wear a mask for their interview.

“Well my idea for changing the world is quite simple and it can be justified on the grounds of justice and fairness. It is simply that when someone is interviewed for a job, for example, that they should have to conceal their appearance.

They would have to wear a mask, they would not be able to exploit their, let’s say, personal or their social, visual or sexual capital. They would have to be judged according to their merit. It would create a level playing field. It would ensure that the best person was recruited to a company, irrespective of whether that person was good looking or ugly as conventionally determined.

It would serve the interest both of fairness in respect of that person’s rights and it would ensure a level playing field therefore for that reason. But it would also ensure the most meritocratic outcome – the best person would be chosen for the job.”
For source click here.

Does it seem like a good idea to you? Discussion is more than welcome.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Meet the 'tutor kings and queens'

In Hong Kong, good exam results are essential. The pressure for success has created a new generation of tutors with a rock star approach to self-promotion. They strike glamorous poses in posters in shopping malls and on the sides of buses.

But they are not movie stars or supermodels: they are Hong Kong's A-list "tutor kings" and "tutor queens", offering pupils a chance to improve mediocre grades.

In Hong Kong's consumer culture, looks sell. Celebrity tutors in their sophisticated hair-dos and designer trappings are treated like idols by their young fans who flock to their classes.

And they have earnings to match - some have become millionaires and appear regularly on television shows.

Full article here.

From toys to cars - what will you make on a 3D printer?

Will we be allowed to produce what we want and when we want at home? 

Around 200 years ago the industrial revolution changed the way we create things.

Today nearly everything we own is mass produced in factories but that could all be about to change again. Just as consumer tech has helped many of us become photographers, DJs and even journalists - could it be about to remove the barriers to production itself.

Dan Simmons asks whether soon we will be allowed to produce what we want, when we want at home?

Monday, 26 November 2012

Smells like Christmas spirit

WSU researchers tie simple scent to increased retail sales 

PULLMAN, Wash.—Scientists and business people have known for decades that certain scents—pine boughs at Christmas, baked cookies in a house for sale—can get customers in the buying spirit. Eric Spangenberg, a pioneer in the field and dean of the Washington State University College of Business, has been homing in on just what makes the most commercially inspiring odor. 

Spangenberg and colleagues at WSU and in Switzerland recently found that a simple scent works best. 

Writing in the Journal of Retailing, the researchers describe exposing hundreds of Swiss shoppers to simple and complex scents. Cash register receipts and in-store interviews revealed a significant bump in sales when the uncomplicated scent was in the air. 

"What we showed was that the simple scent was more effective," says Spangenberg. 

The researchers say the scent is more easily processed, freeing the customer's mind to focus on shopping. But when that "bandwidth" is unavailable customers don't perform cognitive tasks as effectively, says Spangenberg. 

Working with Andreas Herrmann at Switzerland's University of St. Gallen, Spangenberg, marketing professor David Sprott and marketing doctoral candidate Manja Zidansek developed two scents: a simple orange scent and a more complicated orange-basil blended with green tea. Over 18 weekdays, the researchers watched more than 400 customers in a St. Gallen home decorations store as the air held the simple scent, the complex scent or no particular scent at all. 

The researchers noticed that one group of about 100 people on average spent 20 percent more money, buying more items. They had shopped in the presence of the simple scent. 

In a series of separate experiments, WSU researchers had undergraduate students solve word problems under the different scent conditions. They found participants solved more problems and in less time when the simple scent was in the air than with the complicated one or no scent at all. The simple scent, say the researchers, contributed to "processing fluency," the ease with which one can cognitively process an olfactory cue.

 The research, says Spangenberg, underscores the need to understand how a scent is affecting customers. Just because pine boughs or baked cookies smell good doesn't mean they will lead to sales. 

"Most people are processing it at an unconscious level, but it is impacting them," says Spangenberg. "The important thing from the retailer's perspective and the marketer's perspective is that a pleasant scent isn't necessarily an effective scent." 

For source click here.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

How are you being targeted? The Digital Campaign in USA. Big money 2012.

An exploration of the way the presidential campaigns are using unprecedented amounts of new data, and controversial new tactics, to target their messages and persuade voters.

Watch The Digital Campaign on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

More women needed in technology

Walk into most tech companies and you'll be greeted by the same picture - a room made up entirely of men. You can practically smell the testosterone.

The technology industry is still struggling to shake off the image of the male, pizza-guzzling, antisocial nerd. [...] There is no doubt that tech is overwhelmingly male.

The Harvard Business Review has calculated that marketing to women represents a bigger financial opportunity than India and China combined. We're talking serious money here.

That's why every chief executive should be made aware of the following stat: tech companies with more women on their management teams have a 34% higher return on investment.

Full article here.

Wi-fi, dual-flush loos and eight more Australian inventions

Australians are perhaps more famed for their sporting feats than for their technological innovation - but a new children's book aims to change that. 

Here are 10 eye-catching inventions that come from the land down under, according to Christopher Cheng and Lindsay Knight, authors of Australia's Greatest Inventions and Innovations. In some cases inventors from other countries may also have a legitimate claim, but Cheng and Knight do not want the Australian research to go unnoticed.

Full article here.