Sentences to Ponder

1. Will official online degrees be game changing?

“The standard diploma has roughly the same amount of information that prisoners of war are required to divulge under the Geneva Conventions. College transcripts are a nightmare of departmental abbreviations, course numbers of indeterminate meaning, and grades whose value has been steadily eroded by their inflation.”

2. Invest in gathering better evidence for education

“For the largest pharmaceutical companies, more than 80 percent of Phase II clinical trials failed between 2008 and 2010. Do we have any reason to believe that educational interventions will have a higher success rate?”

3. Open English borders

“Because of the unique relationship and socio-economic bonds that the U.K, Canada, Australia and New Zealand share … we propose that the governments of the aforementioned countries finalise agreements (and inevitably, legislation) which make it possible for citizens to move freely with no restrictions regarding work permits or visa controls.”

4. Growth could slow

“Human history has seen accelerating growth, via a sequence of faster growth modes. First humans grew faster than other primates, then farmers grew faster than foragers, and recently industry has grown faster than farming. Most likely, another even faster growth mode lies ahead. But it is worth remembering that this need not happen. For a very concrete historical analogue, the Cambrian Explosion of multi-cellular life seems to have resulted from an accelerating series of key transitions. But then around 520 million years ago, after life had explored most multi-cellular variations, change slowed way down.”

5. A brief history of pivots 

Spinning a company’s team, funding and other resources into another idea has become something of an art among technology startups. Successful examples include Twitter, which pivoted from podcasting directory service Odeo; Instagram, which pivoted from microblogging platform Burbn; and Groupon Inc., which got its start as a group fundraising site called The Point before morphing into a daily-deals company.

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