Do Small Businesses Matter in High Tech?
Small businesses are much less important in technology-intensive industries than in the rest of the economy. They account for a slender portion of high tech sales. A recent report by the National Science Foundation (NSF) indicates that, in 2008, businesses with between 5 and 499 employees accounted for 11 percent of sales of companies that conduct research and development (R&D). Even for domestic sales, the contribution of small business isn??t very large. The NSF report found that small companies were responsible for only 14 percent of the U.S. sales of firms that perform R&D. Small business??s share of sales by R&D-performing companies is much lower than its percentage of sales by all businesses. Back in 2002 ?C the last year for which comparable data exist ?C firms with between 5 and 499 employees accounted for 59 percent of revenues of all businesses with five or more employees, but only 20 percent of sales of companies that conducted R&D. Small business also accounts for a smaller portion of technical employment than its share of overall hiring. In 2006, businesses with between 5 and 499 employees were responsible for 48 percent of employment of all firms with more than 4 employees. But in the same year, firms of this size accounted for only 27 percent of employment of scientists and engineers and only 14 percent of domestic employment of these personnel. Large firms account for the lion??s share of R&D expenditures. The NSF report also shows that only 19 percent of R&D expenditures belong to small businesses. (Small companies paid for 22 percent of R&D undertaken in the U.S.) This number is much smaller than the R&D expense accounted for by giant firms. Businesses with more than 25,000 employees paid for 42 percent of R&D. (Giant companies accounted for one third of the R&D conducted in the U.S.) However, small high tech firms focus more on R&D than large high tech companies. Elsewhere I have explained that small R&D performing businesses devote a larger share of their employment and sales to R&D. And the NSF report shows that in 2008, R&D conducting businesses with at least 5 employees spent an average of 3 percent of their sales on R&D. In contrast, R&D performing businesses with between 5 and 499 employees spent 5 percent. Small firms are certainly important to the U.S. economy. Businesses with between 5 and 499 employees account for over 99 percent of all companies with more than 4
employees. They also account for the majority of business revenues and nearly half of private sector employment. But when it comes to the high tech part of our economy, small businesses are less central. Despite
spending a greater share of their sales on research and development, small R&D performing companies only account for a slender portion of high tech company sales and technical employment. This pattern provides a conundrum for policy makers who believe that small business is a central pillar of the American economy and that high tech is the future of the nation. Efforts to promote technoligcal innovation depend disproportionately on large companies. And as high technology becomes a more important part of our economy, the overall contribution of small business to sales and employment will decline.
CPAC Gets Younger, Hipper, More High-Tech
Marco Rubio, Mitt Romney, and Liz (and Dick) Cheney gave big speeches on the opening day of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) -- and Glenn Beck closed it to a rousing ovation, but just as interesting as the speakers on stage was the ages of the people sitting in the seats, congregated around the bars and cafes, and holding court in the lobby of the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. I speak from experience. My first CPAC conference was eleven years ago. Since then, I've attended seven or eight of the annual affairs. The most obvious difference this year is that there are more young people in attendance. CPAC director Lisa De Pasqual told me: "Our pre-registration numbers were 20 percent above last year's. We're expecting over 10,000 attendees and more than half of them are college students. I think it really speaks to the excitement and energy in the conservative movement right now." One seasoned CPAC veteran, who asked not be named, bluntly told me, "I've been coming to these for years. This used to be a convention of blue hairs; now it has youthful energy." If you're a conservative -- as I am -- it was nice to see fresh young
faces, who attend at a greatly reduced price. "Blue dog" Democrats are one thing, blue-haired Republicans are quite another. Liberal blogger Bill Scher, who has gone to previous CPAC's, speculated to me that the increase in young attendees is a result of "the James O'Keefe Effect" -- a reference to someone their own age who made a splash. Scher's theory is that young conservatives now have a contemporary example of a person in their age bracket who made a difference, and got lots of attention in the process. For young conservatives, who exist in a sea of skepticism, if not downright hostility, on the typical college campus, CPAC offers a safe haven where they can network with other like-minded students. A student named Kelly Schumacher, who attends college in Milwaukee, told me, "It's nice to have a conversation with someone who isn't arguing with you." Added Chelsea Lapp, a high school student attending CPAC with 18 of her classmates at Westfield Academy near Buffalo, New York: "Everybody seems pretty pumped up about it." Jason Mattera, a young conservative who works for Young America's Foundation, was so pumped that he gave a rousing, if politically incorrect, speech
at CPAC -- and found himself singled out for criticism in the New York Times for his trouble. That might mortify a typical liberal college student. Here, it's a badge of honor. Conference organizers did more than just offer to reduce the entry fees for students. For the past few years, bloggers had been relegated to the nether reaches of an exhibition hall, requiring them to dash upstairs to wait in line for the keynote speakers, and then scurry back to their warrens to write up something about the speech -- before setting out in search off a stray WiFi connection. This year, as New Media consultant Justin Hart told me, "bloggers have the best seats in the house. WiFi was up . . . and the blogger row table has gone from seating 25 to seating about 100." "Our new set-up for Bloggers Lounge is packed thanks to Erick Erickson and Redstate.com," explained De Pasqual, referring to relatively new stars of the conservative blogosphere. "We've also integrated a lot of panels and speakers who can educate attendees about modern media success stories and how they can apply them to their efforts." Aside from bloggers getting a huge upgrade, and aside from seeing more young people than ever, it was also interesting to note who was not seen. There are always gadflies who show up at these things -- you see them year in and year out -- but this year, they were noticeably in short supply. I had assumed that the Tea Party movement would mean an influx of unkempt grassroots activists at CPAC, but if they were here, they brought their khaki pants with them.
The High-Tech Hospital of the Future
Katherine Thomas doesn't remember much about the 19 days she spent in the intensive care unit at Methodist Hospital in Houston. Recovering from emergency surgery to remove part of her colon, Thomas, 63, drifted in and out of consciousness. But one vision stands out: the 5-foot robot that stopped in for a visit. "I thought it was something from outer space," she recalls. Piloted remotely by her doctor from a command center on another floor, her alien?ªwhich looked like an oversize carpet cleaner with a computer monitor stuck on top?ªallowed her medical team to do their rounds, "seeing" how she was doing and "reading" her vital signs, without unsettling her or the other extremely ill patients in intensive care. Robots that glide through hospital halls may offer the most visually arresting example of the future of patient care. But they're just one of many dramatic advances changing how hospitals function. Radio-frequency ID tags that track every doctor, nurse, and piece of equipment in the hospital in real time, for example, can enable a faster emergency response. "Smart" beds that automatically transmit patients' breathing and heart rates to their charts can alert nurses to developing problems more quickly. One day in the not-too-distant future, any doctor in the country may have access to the complete medical history of an unconscious trauma patient?ªperhaps through an identifier
implanted under the skin. According to industry analyst Datamonitor, spending on telemedicine, which now entails everything from remotely monitoring patients to analyzing medical images from afar and someday could even include long-distance surgery, will reach $2.4 billion this year and nearly triple to $6.1 billion by 2012. The investment hospitals are making in change has basically two goals: to improve clinical care and slash error rates, and to reduce patient stress, encouraging healing. Ironically, one of the most anticipated developments is that technology will allow hospitals to do a better job of keeping people out of them. "By 2015, home will be the hub of care," predicts Naomi Fried, vice president of the innovation and advanced technology group at Kaiser Permanente's Sidney R. Garfield Health Care Innovation Center in San Leandro, Calif. Five years ago, when Kevin Reynolds of Corona, Calif., developed congestive heart failure (the No. 1 reason for
hospitalization and readmission), he at first was in and out of the ER or urgent care center nearly every month, plagued by shortness of breath and dizziness. Now, doctors at Kaiser Permanente Riverside Medical Center can check his vital signs with the aid of a device the size of a clock radio connected to a scale and other monitoring equipment in his home. He weighs himself each morning and checks his heart rate, blood
pressure, and blood oxygen levels; the data are sent in automatically. If Reynolds's weight is up, indicating he's retaining fluids, he'll get a call from a nurse suggesting a diuretic. Once, when his blood pressure dropped too low, the nurse called him to the hospital immediately, but overall, Reynolds's time at the medical center is way down. "It's helped me with discipline and with taking care of myself," he says.
High-Tech Cheating Abounds, and Professors Bear Some Blame
A casual joke on Twitter recently let slip a dirty little secret of large science and engineering courses: Students routinely cheat on their homework, and professors often look the other way. "Grading homework is so fast when they all cheat and use the illegal solutions manual," quipped Douglas Breault Jr., a teaching assistant in mechanical engineering at Tufts University. After all, if every answer is correct, the grader is left with little to do beyond writing an A at the top of the page and circling it. Mr. Breault, a first-year graduate student, ended his tweet by saying, "The profs tell me to ignore it." While most students and professors seem to view cheating on examinations as a serious moral lapse, both groups appear more cavalier about dishonesty on homework. And technology has given students more tools than ever to find answers in unauthorized ways?ªwhether downloading online solution manuals or instant-messaging friends for answers. The latest surveys by the Center for Academic Integrity found that 22 percent
of students say they have cheated on a test or exam, but about twice as many?ª43 percent?ªhave engaged in "unauthorized collaboration" on homework. And cheating on an engineering problem set could be the perfect crime, in that it can be done without leaving a trace. Students in a large lecture course based on a
best-selling textbook can often find the answer online, complete with all the math it took to get there. How can a professor prove that the cheating students didn't work things out on their own? Enter David E. Pritchard, a physics professor who teaches introductory courses at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (when he's not in his laboratory devising new ways to use lasers to reveal the curious behavior of supercooled atoms). Mr. Pritchard did detective work on his students worthy of a CSI episode. Because he uses an online homework system in his courses, he realized he could add a detection system to look for unusual behavior patterns. If a student took less than a minute to answer each of several complex questions and got them all right, for instance, the system flagged that as likely cheating. "Since one minute is insufficient time to read the problem and enter the several answers typically required, we infer that the quick-solver group is copying the answer from somewhere," he wrote in a paper last month in the free online journal Physical Review Special Topics?ªPhysics Education Research. He and his research team found about 50 percent more cheating than students reported in anonymous surveys over a period of four semesters. In the first year he did his hunting, about 11 percent of homework problems appeared to be copied. Mr. Pritchard has no interest in becoming a homework cop. What he really wants to do is understand the minds of the offenders. The issue, he says, is far more nuanced than a story of "Top Students Caught Cheating." He told me that the dishonesty reveals flaws in the very way science is taught, and indicates an unhelpful spirit of "us versus them" between professors and students. He believes that the most important part of learning physics comes by doing, and so students who outsource their homework learn little. His studies of his students prove his point. The cheaters generally perform far worse than other students come test time?ªstudents who frequently copied their homework scored two letter grades lower on comparable material on the exam.
It??s Important to Install A Home Security Camera System
The popularity of the home security camera system has certainly increased considerably and the reason for this is that today everyone is concerned about securing their properties. In fact, there is hardly a better way to protect your home and the people living in your home and in addition the home security camera system can also help secure an office which is another good reason to choose this particular kind of home security solution. A home security camera system can help you
in a number of ways including monitoring the activities of your young children and to also keep tabs on who comes to the front door. This gives you greater peace of mind and you can also multitask while being sure that you can easily get to your children should it become necessary. When it comes to picking the right home security camera system there are numerous options open to you though the most important consideration is that you should pick a solution that gives you value for the money you have spent and which also addresses every possible security need. In order to pick the right home security camera system you need to start off by first assessing your security needs which of course means being sure in your mind about why you need to use a home security camera system in the first place. Once you have a purpose in mind you will then be able to decide on what the most appropriate camera system is. You need to also have answers to questions such as placement of the camera system, whether you want to place the camera indoors or outdoors and you should also have a budget in mind. Next, you need to choose a particular kind of camera which in most cases will be a CCTV camera (Closed Circuit Television) that in turn is available in many different types. You can also pick a home security camera system according to whether it is professional grade or a bullet camera, or a board camera and of course you will also need to decide on whether to use a black and white or color home security camera system. Placement of the camera system is very important and so you must ensure that for a black and white camera security system that there is sufficient amount of light available while for color systems you would be better off installing the system indoors. You will also need to learn about proper screen resolution and also the light levels. A wireless home security alarm system incorporates the latest in current technologies that help to open a whole array of possible solutions that can help to completely protect your property in a most foolproof manner. Such systems are
self-contained and are also very cost effective and certainly worth a second thought, said one of the roofing contractors who was also a plumber.
Understand the Advantages of Installing Home Security Cameras
Numerous things filter across a person??s mind when they think about providing themselves with the best defense. It is really difficult to stay away from danger. It is painful to think that people are sometimes defenseless and too weak to fight back to the criminals. Good if you always have a self defense weapon that you can easily take a grip when somebody attacks you. But what if you do not have one? You are thinking that your life is doomed. At home you can??t always sustain your safety, unless you happen to possess the best self defense equipment in all areas of your home where potential criminals could break in. In most cases, households have already fitted safety devices at home so that
they don??t have to worry and are of course completely safe from harm. Of course one of the ideal security devices typically employed by numerous households is surveillance cameras. With this device you can instantly know whether someone is trying to access your home uninvited. While, it may not scare them away, it will provide you the chance to prepare for any encounter. When you see a criminal on the monitor, you will be able to alert police. Furthermore, you will have plenty of time to grab your air tazer in order to effectively hit your target when they attempt to enter. Some houses keep spy cameras that way they will know the things that are happening around their home even though they are going out for work. It is amazing because they are hidden and concealed in items such as wall clocks, alarm clocks, pen, on objects stuck upon walls or in objects that are placed in inconspicuous areas to provide better surveillance image. It is not only the attackers that can be monitored with the hidden spy camera. You can also utilize it to monitor what the babysitter or nanny is doing when they are caring for your child. This will let you know if they have been maltreating your child or perhaps if they have been inviting visitors while you are away. Every movement is recorded and once they are doing something wrong, they can never escape or even deny because they are caught on tape. Most home surveillance cameras are built with night vision and motion sensors that way they can be very effective when it comes to monitoring things outside the house during night time. These are just a few of the reasons why numerous households are interested in fitting home surveillance cameras. Not only that, but you can sustain your protection if you buy tazer gun as your self defense instantly stun them regardless of the distance involved.
You will have the opportunity to guard your family safe when you install these devices in your home. It is certainly essential to keep your family safe and sound during the night. Apart from that, you can rest assured that your home which is a life investment is guarded and safe at all times.
What Do High Tech and Traditional ESL Teaching Methods Do For Students? Accelerate Their Learning!
The newest is always the best or so many people believe but what if we took the best of the old and combined it with new technology to deliver it? For literally thousands of years there were only a few teaching methodologies for foreign language education. Then with the advent of world war two there was suddenly a need to teach foreign languages to large numbers of people in a very short period of time. They named the new approach the Army Method because it was primarily taught to soldiers. Later, it was renamed the Audio Lingual Method or ALM for short. It is based on using substitution drills where the base structure stayed the same and one part say the subject was changed.
There was a lot of choral response with the instructor asking individuals to respond occasionally to check accuracy. There was some translation involved to get the general meaning of the structure across to the students. The classroom sounded like a jungle of parrots going off all at once. Someone decided it was more efficient to put the students into labs with their own listening station and headset. The student had no control over what happened and there was little feedback. If the student got lost or couldn't understand then they were just sitting there until the "session" ended. Something like the brainwashing programs in George Orwell's 1984. But given what was known about language and the technology available it produced a huge amount of translators for the military in a very short period of time. Then after the war ended more methodologies were created, discovered or even "re-discovered" in some cases and the Audio Lingual Method was pushed aside and largely forgotten. The current method largely adopted for Teaching English as a Second Language is called the Communicative method. It is the polar opposite of ALM with its focus being strictly on communication not structure. The challenge comes in that while the goal of communication is the right thing to aim for by not using some drills or practice the ESL/foreign language student will never be able to reach the higher levels of fluency. Being able to communicate at the lower levels sooner is an advantage of the Communicative Method over all the others but it can leave the student with broken English.
In the end, supplementing the new methodologies e.g. the Communicative Method with the old methods e.g. the Audio Lingual Method may produce the best results in the end for the student. However, even if the teacher wanted to they could not use ALM in today's classroom. If the administration didn't stop it then peer pressure from colleagues would. English as Second Language and other foreign language students as well can find the drills and practice they need to achieve the highest levels of language fluency on the internet. Now students can learn English with free lessons online. Being internet base these lessons also allow the students maximum control over the flow of the materials. Most web based ESL programs' core is ALM, Army Method, due to the nature of computer programs. However, if the student wants to chat in English there are chat rooms and now with AI, Artificial Intelligence, the student can even get some communicative practice in as well. Combining the best of both worlds, traditional methodology with modern technology, will bring the student along the pathway of foreign language learning to fluency.
Getting the Goods on Stranger Danger
A great thing about the Internet is that you can talk to people without being judged by how you look, how you speak, or whether or not you're cool. Unfortunately, though, the same technology that lets you
communicate without being judged by your appearance may also help online predators trick you. Those same chat rooms that attract kids and teens are also going to attract people who want to exploit them, because there's nothing that prevents those people from pretending to be a young person. Many online predators are smart and patient. They take their time getting to know potential targets and will often groom three or four kids at the same time. They earn trust through the use of attention, affection, kindness and even gifts. They are often willing to devote considerable amounts of time, money and energy to this process. They listen to, and empathize with, your problems and will often be aware of your interests, hobbies and taste in music. (In other words, if an online friend seems too good to be true, or an instant soul mate, your antennae should be up!) Some predators try to lower young people's inhibitions by gradually introducing sexual comments into their conversations; others immediately start talking about sex. The trick is in knowing when you can trust someone online. When the Media Awareness Network asked a group of adolescent girls how long it took for them to feel that they could trust an online friend, their answers ranged from "15 minutes" to "two weeks." The reality is that bad things do happen, and what's scarier, is that many young people try to deal with negative experiences like these on their own. Online stalking is more than upsetting - it's illegal for adults to try and lure young people, so you have a right to ask an adult for help if this happens.
Predators know that eventually they're going to have to admit who they are. What they're counting on is that by then, they will have built such a solid relationship with you, that you will "forgive" them. Others will use previous conversations or their knowledge about your family or friends as a way to blackmail you into a real-life meeting. In some cases, online predators are able to fool kids about their identities right up to a real-life meeting - which can easily put you in danger. That's why it pays to take an adult with you when meeting an online friend. If they have nothing to hide, they won't object. A flip-side of this problem is when teens visit online chat rooms looking for sexual discussions (called "cybersex" or "cybering"). Some young people do this because they like to tease people they consider "creeps" or "perverts." Others see sexual chat as a way to experiment sexually from the safety of their own computers. It's true that you can't get pregnant or catch a sexually transmitted disease from online sex, but you can end up being harassed or even blackmailed by the person you are cybering with. Most teens think they can't be traced, but the truth is, if someone really wants to find out who you are online, there are many tricks - and even software - to help them discover your identity
Buying Online Tip #1: Advantages and Disadvantages
Many people don??t realize all the advantages of buying online, but
I assure you that they are huge. I??ve been getting more and more stuff off the internet over the past couple of years, and absolutely love it. It saves me money, and is a lot less stressful than buying in retail stores. Once you start, you??ll never go back. The biggest advantage exists for a simple reason: electronic retailers (E-Tailers) are competing on a much bigger market than your local stores are. You??ve probably noticed that over time, all the smaller computer shops or widget shops have been closing down only to be replaced by larger retailers. This can create economies of scale (basically the advantages of moving larger volumes, thus making things cheaper) but also takes competition out of the picture. It??s definitely a good deal for the big guys, but what about for you? Probably not so great. There are also lots of fears about using the net to get your shopping done, some founded but most not. Alright, check it out. First, online competition is truly fierce because anyone can compete and you??ve got to be the best to sell. This translates into big advantages for the buyers at the expense of seller margins. The advantages are of course that the middle man is cut out. I??ve got a friend who works in a smaller local retail store, and it is pretty common to see markups on things like accessories and cables of 500% or more. That just won??t fly on the internet. The cool thing is that a lot of sellers online for smaller goods and accessories are actually based in Hong Kong, so you actually are getting stuff straight from distributors pretty often. You win again.
There is also often a misconception that when you buy stuff on Ebay or anywhere on the internet, you usually get used stuff. That??s just not true, while you can find used goods online, most are new. It really is as simple as that, just believe it. The next big advantage is that you get significantly more selection on the internet. When you shop on the web, you??ll quickly find that you get to choose from goods from what is basically a massive set of international stores. Think of it as being able to go to a store in Montreal then comparison shopping with another shop in California, and then with yet another in Hong Kong. The internet really can be that powerful and can put the world at your fingertips. There is also the obvious fact that you don??t have to run around to find what you want or listen to big box local stores telling you that they don??t carry something or it is out of stock it needs to be ordered. Shopping online is pretty painless and will get you what you want when you want. Now some fears are of course justified ?C it??s not all fun and games. Shipping items should be your biggest concern when buying from E-Tailers. Shipping costs also have to be factored in and you??ll probably often find that for physically larger items, it??s actually cheaper to buy locally. Duties and taxes can also be a real downer when buying from abroad as can shipping times if you need something yesterday. I guarantee you that getting an item rushed with