Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are courses offered for free via the Internet, and provide education and training to large numbers of people separated by vast distances and economic circumstances. MOOCs differ from usual online college courses, which are generally limited to pre-qualified students who pay tuition fees. Despite the mixed results of educational innovations before their introduction, advocates hope that MOOCs will finally meet the goal of every public educational system: The transmission of information and concepts effectively and efficiently, with high retention at the lowest possible cost.
In the days before personal computers, instantaneous communications, and sophisticated software, many Wall Street brokerage firms employed veteran traders to sit and interpret the paper tapes of stock transactions that spewed from mechanical tickers across the city. These traders, known as tape readers, would note the price and volume pattern of individual trades in the hopes that they could identify opportunities for quick profits. For example, if the latest trade of a stock differed significantly from previous trades in either price or volume, this might be interpreted as the work of insiders acting before news that could affect the company is announced. The tape readers would then act similarly, hoping their intuition was correct.
According to a 2013 Gallup Poll, more than half of working Americans expect to retire by age 65 or earlier. However, this expectation stands in stark contrast to their practical readiness for retirement.
The 2013 Retirement Confidence Survey, performed by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and Matthew Greenwald & Associates, delivers the following unsettling statistics:
- In 2013, three of four Americans had total savings of less than $25,000, and an astounding 28% had less than $1,000.
- Less than half of Americans have any idea how much money they will need during retirement or how much they have to save in order to reach that amount.
Imagine the opportunity to hear the late mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot, the father of fractal geometry, explain its application in fields ranging from “how galaxies cluster, how wheat prices change over time, or how mammalian brains fold as they grow.” Or MacArthur Fellow and University of Southern California law professor Elyn Saks detail her life dealing with schizophrenia on a daily basis, often imagining that she has killed “hundreds of thousands of people.”
Perhaps you would prefer watching jazz musician Herbie Hancock improvise a new version of “Watermelon Man,” or see 64-year-old long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad explain her successful fifth attempt to swim from Florida to Cuba, 110 miles through shark- and jellyfish-infested water.
December 25th and April 15th are two of the most memorable dates on the American calendar. The first is the culmination of a joyful season of celebration, gift-giving, and general goodwill, and is eagerly anticipated. The second date – the day income tax returns must be filed – is a day of dread, stress, anger, and fear for many people. Preparation for Christmas often begins in early autumn, while many people wait until the last minute to complete and file tax returns.
Despite the fact that three out of every four filers receive a refund, nobody likes income tax time. However, there are ways to make the experience less hectic and easier to endure.
Baby boomers are the first generation of a new retirement era with the burden of saving the bulk of their retirement income and making those savings last 20 to 30 years. This responsibility is due to the decline in company pensions which shifted saving and investment responsibilities to employees, as well as an increase in life expectancy after attaining adulthood (almost 20% since 1950). The challenge of investing has been particularly difficult in the last five years; a study by Thornburg Investment Management calculated the annual “real return” for many classes of investment during the period as being negative.
By Michael Lewis
Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” was published in 1936, and is one of the best-selling self-help books of all time with an estimated 15 million copies sold. Some have called the book the bible for building relationships for its insights into human nature.
The principles espoused by Carnegie continue to be valid almost a century later. Why? Because human nature doesn’t change. Each of us wants to feel important and special, and we are naturally drawn to those who make us feel better about ourselves – they are the kind of people we want to be like and be around.
The purpose of communication is to convey information from one person to another. Through the choice of written and spoken words, ideas, concepts, emotions, thoughts, and opinions are exchanged. Unfortunately, miscommunication is common – the listener or reader fails to understand what is said or written. Dale Carnegie, author of “How to Make Friends and Influence People,” said, “90 percent of all management problems are caused by miscommunication.”
When you consider the tensions between men and women, young and old, friends, and family members, it seems that most people are guilty of poor communication. But it’s possible to develop effective communication skills by learning how to speak and write simply and clearly, using plain language that’s easily understood by most people.
By Michael Lewis
Historically, exchanges of value – barter systems – were done face-to-face so that participants could instantly verify the respective physical properties being exchanged. As purchasers and sellers became geographically distant, agents or trusted third-parties acting on behalf of the participants became necessary to verify the quantity or quality of the property being transferred. For example, credit card issuers are examples of a third-party standing in for a buyer, guaranteeing to the seller that the buyer’s funds are good.
In 1937, Johnson O’Connor, then the director of the Human Engineering Laboratory of the Stevens Institute of Technology, performed a detailed study of vocabulary use and familiarity with research subjects, ranging from high school and grammar school pupils, to professors and businessmen. He determined that the largest vocabularies are possessed by “major executives,” and the size of one’s vocabulary correlates to his salary. Johnson also concluded that a large vocabulary was an “important concomitant of success and financial prosperity.”
Harlen Miller, artist and author of “Slow Down Arthur, Stick to Thirty,” said, “Probably the reason we all go so haywire at Christmas time with the endless unrestrained and often silly buying of gifts is that we don’t quite know how to put our love into words.” The Christmas Season, as well as birthdays and anniversaries, are occasions of great joy, as well as frustration, especially when it comes to selecting gifts for the elderly.
While there is a plethora of gift ideas for young children, what-to-buy for parents is especially difficult for a few reasons.
According to a recent Pew Research report, more than one-half of people aged 30 or older have investments in the stock market and 80% of those making $75,000 per year or more have equity investments. These investments include individual stocks and bonds, as well as mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
While many suffered from the sharp decline in the market in 2008 – it lost 38% of its value – the S&P 500 closed above 1,800 on November 22, 2013, more than doubling its low of 721 on March 11, 2009. As investor confidence returns, many analysts predict that the market is going to continue its bullish behavior well into 2014 and beyond. Whether you select individual stocks or bonds or rely upon an investment manager to do it for you, it is important that you choose an investment approach fitting to your attitudes and goals.
Humanity’s first experience with compounding – the accumulation of vast numbers through the systematic addition of small sums over a period of time – came from nature, not mathematics.
Thousands of years ago in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East, ancient humans abandoned their nomadic ways, formed the world’s first communities, and began to till the ground, raising wheat, barley, and other grains. Growing seasons concluded with reaping and storing grain, which was used during months when agriculture was not possible and other food sources were scarce.
The holiday season is also the biggest shopping season of the year. The time period from Black Friday through December 24th can mean the difference between an annual profit or a loss for some retailers. As a consequence, retailers advertise sales, extend store hours , and open online Internet storefronts to fulfill the demand for Christmas gifts. Almost two-thirds of shoppers will “showroom” their purchases by checking and comparing products online before venturing into a brick-and-mortar store, and according to The Christian Science Monitor, online retailer Amazon has aggressively matched or beat prices of retail giants such as Best Buy and Walmart.
By Michael Lewis
Parents are often conflicted during the holidays when Santa Claus is ever-present in the media and community. Should the belief in an imaginary, mythical figure be encouraged? How will your child feel when he or she discovers the jolly figure in the red suit carrying a big bag of Christmas presents is not real?
While there are no definitive answers, the following information may help you make the right decision for you and your child.
The Development of Imagination
Between the ages of two and three, children begin developing imagination and engage in some form of play-acting or pretend. Most parents have experienced being served an imaginary meal, and few question whether the child actually believes the food is real.