The sceptic media
Every day, experts bombard us with their views on topics as varied as Iraqi insurgents, Bolivian coca growers, European central bankers, and North Korea's Politburo. But how much credibility should we attach to the opinions of experts? Skeptics, warn that the mass media dictate the voices we hear and are less interested in reasoned debate than in catering to popular prejudices. As a result, fame could be negatively, not positively, correlated with long-run accuracy. Until recently, no one knew who is right, because no one was keeping score. But the results of a 20-year research project now suggest that the skeptics are closer to the truth. I describe the project in detail in my book Expert Political Judgment: How good is it? How can we know? The basic idea was to solicit thousands of predictions from hundreds of experts about the fates of dozens of countries, and then score the predictions for accuracy. We find that the media not only fail to weed out bad ideas, but that they often favor bad ideas, especially when the truth is too messy to be packaged neatly. The evidence falls into two categories. First, as the skeptics warned, when hordes of pundits are jostling for the limelight, many are tempted to claim that they know more than they do. Boom and doom pundits are the most reliable over-claimers. Between 1985 and 2005, boomsters made 10-year forecasts that exaggerated the chances of big positive changes in both financial markets. They assigned probabilities of 65% to rosy scenarios that materialized only 15% of the time. In the same period, doomsters performed even more poorly, exaggerating the chances of negative changes in all the same places where boomsters accentuated the positive. They assigned probabilities of 70% to bleak scenarios that materialized only 12% of the time. Second, again as the skeptics warned, over-claimers rarely pay penalties for being wrong. Indeed, the media shower lavish attention on over-claimers while neglecting their humbler colleagues. We can see this process in sharp relief when, following the philosopher Sir Isaiah Berlin, we classify experts as "hedgehogs" or "foxes." Hedgehogs are big-idea thinkers in love with grand theories: libertarianism, Marxism, environmentalism, etc. Their self-confidence can be infectious. They know how to stoke momentum in an argument by multiplying reasons why they are right and others are wrong. That wins them media acclaim. But they don't know when to slam the mental brakes by making concessions to other points of view. They take their theories too seriously. The result: hedgehogs make more mistakes, but they pile up more hits on Google. Imagine your job as a media executive depends on expanding your viewing audience. Whom would you pick: an expert who balances conflicting arguments and concludes that the likeliest outcome is more of the same, or an expert who gets viewers on the edge of their seats over radical Islamists seizing control and causing oil prices to soar? At this point, uncharitable skeptics chortle that we get the media we deserve. But that is unfair. No society has yet created a widely trusted method for keeping score on the punditocracy. Even citizens who prize accuracy have little way of knowing that they are sacrificing it when they switch channels from boring foxes to charismatic hedgehogs. Here, then, is a modest proposal that applies to all democracies: the marketplace of ideas works better if it is easier for citizens to see the trade-offs between accuracy and entertainment, or between accuracy and party loyalty. Wouldn't they be more likely to read pundits with better track records?
First day at job
So, it is your first day at your new job and you don't really know what to expect. You have been to the office before but only briefly at the interview and have got a first impression about the company. But, how much do you really know about the office etiquette and how you are expected to behave? Well, there are some simple rules and guidelines to abide by so that you will take to your new workplace like a duck to water. The basic behaviours that will be expected of a new starter are those that the current office will already practise. Adhering to the dress code will be demanded so ensure you know if the company encourages suit-wearing or smart casual as this will make you feel comfortable and prevent an embarrassing first day. It will feel awkward if you arrive for work in a three-piece suit to find your peers and boss in jeans and trainers or vice versa. As a new starter you will be expected to adapt to the office environment that you are joining. Don't think that you can just impose your personality on the workplace as this can appear as arrogance and may alienate you from certain members, if not all, of the office. Take your time when you start to monitor the other workers and get an understanding of how they work, speak and behave. Doing this will enable you to become a part of the office hierarchy as you smoothly integrate into the group. Many of your actions should be based upon those of the existing workforce. However, this doesn't mean that you should act sheepish and introverted and become an office clone. There may be various traditions that are followed so try to make yourself aware of these early on so you don't offend people when you flout these rules. An example of this could be communal tea runs, when the single cup-of-tea maker will be victim to whispers and gossip-mongering. Don't be afraid to be yourself as it will enable your new workmates to get to know you right from the start. Setting the tone and conveying your personality is an important part of making an impression, so do it in the right way and you will be a popular figure in no time at all. Respect is one of the cornerstones of a happy office so treat others with respect or risk becoming an eternal outcast. Talking over people, making personal calls and telling offensive jokes are all ways of making you disliked with little chance of reconciliation. First impressions are so important so be aware that your new office will be scrutinizing everything that you do in order to gauge a quick evaluation of what you're about. Your first day is likely to involve a lot of meeting new people, so ensure you sleep well the night before. Yawning or appearing disinterested and vacant when you are being shown around is not going to set you in good stead for your new career. Listen carefully to any important information and don't be afraid to ask questions when you don't understand. It will let your boss know that you are listening and that you are keen to learn. The key to becoming a fully-integrated member of your new workplace is simply to listen and observe to your new workmates. You will be spending more time with them than you will with your family so take the ime to get to know their quirks and beliefs. You will not want to seem invisible but you will also need to avoid standing out from the crowd for the wrong reasons. It will be hard to convince people that their first impressions were wrong. Starting you new job is an intimidating time for any person, but try not to be too nervous as this may affect your behaviour negatively. Be confident, without appearing arrogant, and get to know your new peers during breaks and conversations as this will further improve your chances of enjoying a happy working life. The new office could be your workplace for a very long time so it makes sense to make the effort to fit in without irritating too many people
The character of drinks
Given overwhelming evidence for the primacy of sociocultural factors in determining both drinking patterns and their consequences, it is clear that ethnographic research findings on the social and cultural roles of alcohol may have important implications for policy-makers - particularly in areas such as Europe where economic and political 'convergence' could have significant impact on drinking-cultures and their associated lifestyles. In this context, it is essential for those concerned with policy and legislation on alcohol to have a clear understanding of the sociocultural functions and meanings of drinking. This passage outlines the principal conclusions that can be drawn from the available cross-cultural material regarding the symbolic uses of alcoholic beverages, the social functions of drinking-places and the roles of alcohol in transitional and celebratory rituals. From the ethnographic material available, it is clear that in all cultures where more than one type of alcoholic beverage is available, drinks are classified in terms of their social meaning, and the classification of drinks is used to define the social world. Few, if any, alcoholic beverages are 'socially neutral': every drink is loaded with symbolic meaning, every drink conveys a message. Alcohol is a symbolic vehicle for identifying, describing, constructing and manipulating cultural systems, values, interpersonal relationships, behavioural norms and expectations. Choice of beverage is rarely a matter of personal taste. At the simplest level, drinks are used to define the nature of the occasion. In many Western cultures, for example, champagne is synonymous with celebration, such that if champagne is ordered or served at an otherwise 'ordinary' occasion, someone will invariably ask "What are we celebrating?" In the Weiner Becken in Austria, sekt is drunk on formal occasions, while schnapps is reserved for more intimate, convivial gatherings - the type of drink served defines both the nature of the event and the social relationship between the drinkers. The choice of drink also dictates behaviour, to the extent that the appearance of a bottle of schnapps can prompt a switch from the 'polite' form of address, sie, to the highly intimate du.
Language in humans
Language in humans has evolved culturally rather than genetically, according to a study by the University College London and US researchers. By modeling the ways in which genes for language might have evolved alongside language itself, the study showed that genetic adaptation to language would be highly unlikely, as cultural conventions change much more rapidly than genes. Thus, the biological machinery upon which human language is built appears to predate the emergence of language. According to a phenomenon known as the Baldwin effect, characteristics that are learned or developed over a lifespan may become gradually encoded in the genome over many generations, because organisms with a stronger predisposition to acquire a trait have a selective advantage. Over generations, the amount of environmental exposure required to develop the trait decreases, and eventually no environmental exposure may be needed - the trait is genetically encoded. An example of the Baldwin effect is the development of calluses on the keels and sterna of ostriches. The calluses may initially have developed in response to abrasion where the keel and sterna touch the ground during sitting. Natural selection then favored individuals that could develop calluses more rapidly, until callus development became triggered within the embryo and could occur without environmental stimulation. The PNAS paper explored circumstances under which a similar evolutionary mechanism could genetically assimilate properties of language - a theory that has been widely favoured by those arguing for the existence of 'language genes'. The study modeled ways in which genes encoding language-specific properties could have coevolved with language itself. The key finding was that genes for language could have coevolved only in a highly stable linguistic environment; a rapidly changing linguistic environment would not provide a stable target for natural selection. Thus, a biological endowment could not coevolve with properties of language that began as learned cultural conventions, because cultural conventions change much more rapidly than genes. The authors conclude that it is unlikely that humans possess a genetic 'language module' which has evolved by natural selection. The genetic basis of human language appears to primarily predate the emergence of language. The conclusion is reinforced by the observation that had such adaptation occurred in the human lineage, these processes would have operated independently on modern human populations as they spread throughout Africa and the rest of the world over the last 100,000 years. If this were so, genetic populations should have coevolved with their own language groups, leading to divergent and mutually incompatible language modules. Linguists have found no evidence of this, however; for example, native Australasian populations have been largely isolated for 50,000 years but learn European languages readily. Professor Nick Chater, UCL Cognitive, Perceptual and Brain Sciences, says: "Language is uniquely human. But does this uniqueness stem from biology or culture? This question is central to our understanding of what it is to be human, and has fundamental implications for the relationship between genes and culture. Our paper uncovers a paradox at the heart of theories about the evolutionary origin and genetic basis of human language - although we appear to have a genetic predisposition towards language, human language has evolved far more quickly than our genes could keep up with, suggesting that language is shaped and driven by culture rather than biology. "The linguistic environment is continually changing; indeed, linguistic change is vastly more rapid than genetic change. For example, the entire Indo-European language group has diverged in less than 10,000 years. Our simulations show the evolutionary impact of such rapid linguistic change: genes cannot evolve fast enough to keep up with this 'moving target'.
The most famous of all notions about man describes him as a social animal. That is to say, it is a part of his nature to form groups and communities wherever he lives, and that man cannot live without society. No one has indeed heard of any place where individuals live on their own. Only Homer in Odyssey presents us with a case where one-eyed giants lived in caves, and even they were said to have a family. Anyone who has observed animal life would know that they too live in groups, communicate with each other, and form herds and other such groupings. This seems like a typical social trait. What makes human groups unique is their advanced and descriptive vocal communication. We tend to form groups and a social life emerges sui generis - a self generating order. This spontaneous nature of social life is well understood by the social sciences. If this is what is meant by describing man as a social animal, then he is indeed so. A contention however may arise when the individual is described solely in social terms. Does this notion of man really describe an 'individual' in his or her totality? Is it a true reflection of his or her real nature? There are times when an individual wishes to interact with others, and there are times when he or she wishes to be left alone. An individual seems to have a 'dual nature' - he/she lives both at a personal as well as social level. Frank H. Knight, an American economist, has written on this issue, and has said that it is not 'as an animal' that man is social. I am trying to add to this. A more adequate description of man is to call him 'a thinking animal'. It is as a thinking animal that he is social. Indeed, our own personal growth in families never gives us an inkling of this issue - we are hardly even aware of it. A Prime Minister is said to have said, or perhaps she approved of the statement, that there is no such thing as society. There are norms however, for one thing. Customs and traditions to contend with. Guides to our life! If you can live without them, good luck. Or else, try and escape if you can!
IIM TRICHY - LIVING AN EXCLUSIVE EXPERIENCE!
Among the complete gamut of new IIMs, baby IIMs and close-to-home older IIMs, I would like to share my opinion as to why IIM Trichy is unique. Situated in the fourth largest city of the formidable South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Indian Institute of Management, Tiruchirappalli is creating waves in the business world and re-defining the way knowledge is imparted and shared. Let me take you through some of the palpable aspects of what gives IIM Trichy the stature of uniqueness. Firstly, this abode of learning that found its roots in 2011 is now touted to be the home of around 400 students who are reaping the benefits of the State-of-the-Art campus. It is a manifestation of the institute’s belief in providing the best in-house facilities to the aspiring managers – both infrastructural as well as academic. To enhance overall development, students have access to the central repository of knowledge, the Learning Resource Centre, well-equipped, comfortable and fully air-conditioned single occupancy rooms and the Sports Complex – where all the calories are burnt and where the spirit of sportsmanship thrives. To top it all, apart from the excellent faculty who are more than supportive at all times, IIM Trichy has partnered with Your Dost, an organization dedicated to help students deal with their stress and anxiety problems, thus endeavoring to ensure that the students here are in good mental health and high spirits. Inside the Academic Block of the beautiful IIM Trichy campus (Photo Credits : Manju Meena) IIM Trichy firmly believes in harnessing the immense potential of the ideas and solutions that the Genext hold. Adequate support and guidance in matters of academics is delivered by the 35 well qualified, full-time faculty who are rich with knowledge from extensive research and hold a minimum of PhD/Fellow qualification from either an IIM or IIT. To keep these young minds invested and engaged in the latest happenings, IIM Trichy conducts Guest Lecture series regularly as part of its academic curriculum. Industry experts with deep domain knowledge and diverse experience deliver these insightful lectures. Some of the big names that feature here are Shri. Shailesh Pathak – CEO, L&T Infrastructure Development Projects Limited; Mr. Ramesh Mangaleswaran, Director, McKinsey & Company and Mr. Milan Kumar, Founder Director, Volkswagen ITS. Another significant initiative that sets apart this institute from the rest of its peers is the Distinguished Speaker Series. This magnificent undertaking has exposed the students of IIM Trichy to the innumerable experiences and the epoch-making strategies and decisions that led our country to stride down the path of development. Eminent personalities who graced this discussion series are Lieutenant General PR Kumar, PVSM, AVSM, VSM; Padma Bhushan Dr. A. Sivathanu Pillai, Founder CEO & MD, BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited and Mr. R.S. Sharma, Chairman, TRAI. Padma Bhushan Dr. A. Sivathanu Pillai delivering his experiences about the BrahMos missile project We walk the talk and rightly so. IIM Trichy is committed to fulfilling its objective of giving back to the society. Hence, the Make A Difference projects feature in the core curriculum of IIM Trichy’s Post Graduate Programme offerings. Students work in groups to identify crises and formulate solutions that will alleviate the problems faced by various segments of the community. To reinforce the value of social responsibility, IIM Trichy is also all set to transform the city and significant attractions into a hub of innovation and medical tourism by drafting the Tiruchirappalli District Development Plan. Multiple-time winner of the CFA research Challenge at National level, Runner up in Purdue University’s Supply Chain Management Global Case Study Competition held at Indianapolis, USA, IIM Trichy has many more accolades to its name to boast of its mettle. Disclaimer - Copyrights to this article are solely reserved with the author, Ms. Himabindu Mudadla. Despite the article being strongly based on facts, the views expressed herein are of the author and neither the institution or any member of the institution has a role in it.
Communication and Journalism
At the outset when the media of mass communications are pervasive and ubiquitous, Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism owes the major responsibility to explore what these developments mean to the audience and the way audience is influencing the media of mass communications. This academic journal would accept manuscripts in various broad and specific areas of research in this field, including the Newspapers, Radio, TV, Community Media, New Media, Mobile and Social Media of communication, on the way they influence various sections of our society. The manuscripts can explore various brad aspects like the history and development, innovations, trends, and the influence of the media on a cross section of population. The journal would appreciate studies from the audience perspective, including gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation and ideological orientation. The journal welcomes theoretical and empirical research studies in the form of Research articles, review articles, commentaries, short communication, case reports, and editorials. Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism is an Open Access journal that provides free access to its well researched articles to its users. The journal thoroughly peer reviews the submitted manuscripts. The Journal is using Editorial Manager System for quality in Peer review process. Editorial Manager is an online manuscript submission, review and tracking systems. Review processing is performed by the editorial board members of the Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism or outside experts; at least two independent reviewer’s approval followed by the editor is required for the acceptance of any citable manuscript. Authors may submit manuscripts and track their progress through the system, hopefully to publication. Reviewers can download manuscripts and submit their opinions to the editor. Editors can manage the whole submission/review/revise/publish process. Advertising Journalism Advertising has become the most effective ways for the companies to transmit the product information’s to the target consumers. The words, graphics and images are used to display the products in such a way with the intention to attract the consumers and make them to think and purchase the product among the other available other companies products. Related Journals of Advertising Journalisam Mass Communication & Journalism, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Communication Research, European Journal of Communication, Journal of Health Communication,Political Communication Social Science & Medicine. Broadcasting Broadcasting is highly appropriate to disseminate safety messages in VANETs, be-cause all nearby vehicles are considered destination nodes, and less time will be spent for medium access process. Related Journals of Broadcasting Global Media Journal, Media Communication Ecquid Novi-african Journalism Studies,International Review for The Sociology of Sport, Communication Education,Asian Journal of Communication Health Education Journal,Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media. Health Communication The health communication and social marketing practices at CDC draw on the work of scholars and practitioners in a wide range of sciences and disciplines. This has been honed into a strategic communication science process that helps us confront imposing public health challenges. Related Journals of Health Communication Mass Communication & Journalism, Telecommunications System & Management,Health,Journalism Studies,Language &Communication,International Review of Education,Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union Information, Communication & Society,Review of General PsychologyAdult Education Quarterly. Internet The Internet is an alternative media that can be used to perform investor relations activities more efficiently. In this case, Internet is linking the quality of information that can be given to investors with a more economical cost in providing such information. Related Journals of Internet The Journal of Internet Banking and Commerce, Education, Critical Sociology,Human Communication Research,International Journal of Press-politics, Communication Quarterly,Journalism, Global Media and Communication, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Journalism of social Journalism is gathering, processing, and dissemination of news and information related to the news to an audience. The word applies to both the method of inquiring for news and the literary style which is used to disseminate it. Related Journals of Journalism social Arts and Social Sciences Journal, Socialomics, Research & Reviews: Journal of Social Sciences, Journal of Black Studies, Journal of Social Issues,Mass Communication and Society,Social Science Computer Review,Sociological Spectrum, Women & Health,Educational Technology Research and Development. Marketing Communication Marketing communications are messages and related media used to communicate with a market. Marketing communications is the "promotion" part of the "marketing mix" or the "four Ps": price, place, promotion, and product. It can also refer to the strategy used by a company or individual to reach their target market through various types of communication. Related Journals of Marketing Communication Mass Communication & Journalism, Mass Communication and Society,Social Science Computer Review,Sociological Spectrum, Women & Health,Educational Technology Research and Development,International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion,International Journal of Environmental Studies,Perspectives on European Politics and Society. Mass Communication Mass communication is the study of how individuals and entities relay information through mass media to large segments of the population at the same time. It is usually understood to relate to newspaper, magazine, and book publishing, as well as radio, television and film, as these mediums are used for disseminating information, news and advertising. Related Journals of Mass Communication Mass Communication & Journalism, Journal of Community Health,Journalism Studies,Language &Communication,International Review of Education,Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union Information, Communication & Society,Review of General PsychologyAdult Education Quarterly. News Media The news media are those elements of the mass media that focus on delivering news to the general public or a target public. These include print media (newspapers, newsmagazines), broadcast news (radio and television), and more recently the Internet (online newspapers, news blogs, etc.) Related Journals of News Media Global Media Journal, European Journal of Cultural Studies,International Sociology,Journal of Modern African Studies, Journal of Black Studies, Journal of Social Issues,Mass Communication and Society. Political Communication Political Sciences & Public Affairs, Modern political campaigns are increasingly sophisticated operations, and little is left to chance. Even minor decisions are made after careful study by experienced campaign professionals. Related Journals of Political Communication Journal of Political Sciences & Public Affairs,International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion,International Journal of Environmental Studies,Perspectives on European Politics andSociety. Social Inequality Typically, adults who face greater financial constraint have more untreated oral disease and more missing teeth compared to more advantaged adults, while evidence for social inequality in adult oral health is established. Related Journals of Social Inequality Research & Reviews: Journal of Social Sciences, Communication Theory,European Journal of Cultural Studies,International Sociology,Journal of Modern African Studies, Journal of Black Studies, Journal of Social Issues,Mass Communication and Society,Social Science Computer Review,Sociological Spectrum, Women & Health,Educational Technology Research and Development. Social Media Communication Social media generally refers to a kind of technology and Web site that provides a platform for accessing information, sharing ideas and promoting communication. Related Journals of Social Media Communication Mass Communication & Journalism,Media Communication Ecquid Novi-african Journalism Studies,International Review for The Sociology of Sport, Communication Education,Asian Journal of Communication Health Education Journal,Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media,BMC Public. Social Networking A social networking service is a platform to build social networks or social relations among people who, for example, share interests, activities, backgrounds or real-life connections. Related Journals of Social Networking Mass Communication & Journalism, journalism journal, mass communication and journalism, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Communication Research, European Journal of Communication, Journal of Health Communication,Political Communication Social Science & Medicine,International Communication Gazette, Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science. Telecommunication Telecommunication Company worldwide suffers from customers who use the provided services without paying. The estimated losses amount to several billions of dollars in uncollectible debt per day. Related Journals of Telecommunication Telecommunications System & Management, Research,International Journal of Press-politics, Communication Quarterly,Journalism, Global Media and Communication, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Communication Theory,European Journal of Cultural Studies,International Sociology,Journal of Modern African Studies. Community Journalism Community journalism encourages journalists and news managers to find ways to capture citizen priorities, concerns and perspectives on different issues of importance to many different communities. Related Journals of Community Journalism Mass Communication & Journalism, Mass Communication and Society,Social Science Computer Review,Sociological Spectrum, Women & Health,Educational Technology Research and Development,International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion,International Journal of Environmental Studies Digital Advertising Digital advertising, also called Internet advertising is when businesses leverage Internet technologies to deliver promotional advertisements to consumers. Digital advertising includes promotional advertisements and messages delivered through email, social media websites, online advertising on search engines, banner ads on mobile or Web sites and affiliates programs. Related Journals of Digital Advertising Mass Communication & Journalism,Communication & Society,Review of General PsychologyAdult Education Quarterly,Health Promotion International,International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Communication Studies,Health Education, Critical Sociology Photo Journalism Photojournalism is a particular form of journalism (the collecting, editing, and presenting of news material for publication or broadcast) that employs images in order to tell a news story. It is now usually understood to refer only to still images, but in some cases the term also refers to video used in broadcast journalism. Related Journals of Photo Journalism Mass Communication & Journalism, Journalism, Newspapers, Media ethics, Community Journalism, mass communication articles, journalism journal, mass communication and journalism, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Communication Research, European Journal of Communication, Journal of Health Communication,Political Communication Social Science & Medicine,International Communication Gazette. Information Information and Communication technology has created inhuman life great Changes. So that all aspects of human life virtually encompass and even employment is not immune to these developments. Related Journals of Information Mass Communication & Journalism, Mass Communication, Journalism, Newspapers, Media ethics, Community Journalism, mass communication articles, journalism journal, mass communication and journalism, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. OMICS International organizes 1000+ conferences every year across USA, Europe & Asia with support from 1000 more scientific societies and publishes 700+ open access journals , 10 million readers which contains over 50000 eminent personalities, reputed scientists as editorial board members.
Mumbai: developing city overshadowing the ecology
Mumbai : Development overshadows Ecology Given the astronomical land prices in many parts of Mumbai, and the extreme scarcity of land, it is no surprise that Mumbai has sacrificed its ecology for development. Real estate projects, industry, and state infrastructure have built over, and choked, the city’s water networks at various strategic points. Every monsoon, the city floods. Local trains considered the lifeline of Mumbai, today moved at the snail's pace due to water-logging of the tracks, resulting in harrowing times for lakhs of office-goers and other commuters. A distance, usually covered in about an hour, took several hours, even up to five hours in some cases, as the rail tracks, as well as roads were submerged. This was the scene of the metropolis as it continued to be lashed by heavy rains for the fourth straight day. Mudflats, mangroves and wooded vegetation once slowed down the flow of stormwater. The mangrove’s complex root systems and the branching architecture of trees acted as a natural barrier to reduce the force of water flow. But now, they are built over. Garbage spread everywhere clogs the waterways. Most channels and waterways that connect water bodies have been built over too, resulting preventing streams from easily reaching the sea, adding to the severe flooding. Today, with nothing but concrete all around, the city’s land surface does not allow water to soak into it. In especially intense periods of rain, the devastation is extreme The story of Mumbai today is a reflection of the ills that plague many Indian cities and those in other parts of the world as well, such as Miami and Houston. In a wetter future, it is clearer than ever that cities need ecology to grow.
Why Old Ideas Are a Secret Weapon
A series of explosions shook the city of St. Louis on March 16, 1972. The first building fell to the ground at 3 p.m. that afternoon. In the months that followed, more than 30 buildings would be turned to rubble. The buildings that were destroyed were part of the now infamous housing project known as Pruitt-Igoe. When the Pruitt-Igoe housing project opened in 1954 it was believed to be a breakthrough in urban architecture. Spanning 57 acres across the north side of St. Louis, Pruitt-Igoe consisted of 33 high-rise buildings and provided nearly 3,000 new apartments to the surrounding population. Pruitt-Igoe was designed with cutting-edge ideas from modern architecture. The designers emphasized green spaces and packed residents into high-rise towers with beautiful views of the surrounding city. The buildings employed skip-stop elevators, which only stopped at the first, fourth, seventh, and tenth floors. (Architects believed that forcing people to use the stairs would lessen the foot traffic and congestion in the building.) The buildings were outfitted with “unbreakable” lights that were covered in metal mesh and intended to reduce vandalism. The floors featured communal garbage chutes and large windows to brighten the corridors with natural light. On paper, Pruitt-Igoe was a testament to modern engineering. In practice, the project was a disaster. The Pruitt-Igoe Failure Once the troublemakers of the neighborhood heard that the light fixtures were supposedly unbreakable, they accepted the challenge and threw water on the lights until they overheated and burnt out. Next, they busted the garbage chutes and shattered the windows. According to one report, the bright new corridors had so many broken windows that “it was possible to see straight through to the other side.” The St. Louis Housing Authority had planned to use rental incomes to pay for the maintenance of the buildings. In the years after the massive project opened, the population of St. Louis began to drop as people moved out of the city. With fewer tenants than expected and increasing rates of vandalism, the buildings were left unfixed. Soon the modern design of Pruitt-Igoe began to accelerate its downfall. Suddenly, the skip-stop elevators became a danger to well-behaved citizens who were forced to walk through additional corridors and risky stairways just to get into and out of their apartments. As criminal activity rose, more things were broken, more people moved away, and less money came in. In 1972, less than 20 years after the project had opened, the St. Louis Housing Authority scheduled a demolition and blew up the entire $36 million complex. Old Ideas Are Undervalued The sprawling 33-building, 57-acre layout of Pruitt-Igoe ignored the traditional knowledge about how cities grow and develop. Nearly every thriving and successful city on our planet was built organically and unpredictably. Buildings popped up as needed. City blocks expanded gradually. There is a reason we tend to undervalue old ideas: At first glance, we just see an idea that has been around for a long time. We incorrectly assume that familiar ideas provide average results. “Everyone does it this way, so it can't be that great … right?” What we fail to understand is that the fundamentals are not merely a collection of good ideas. The fundamentals are a collection of good ideas that outlasted thousands of bad ideas. For example: Fitness. Decades have seen the rise and fall of countless exercise fads. New training styles come into vogue, only to be replaced by another a few years later. In our quest to get fit we chase the latest and greatest offering even though boring fundamentals like lifting weights three times per week or going for a daily walk have outlasted all the previous fads. Entrepreneurship. Simple fundamentals like making more sales calls can be the difference between success and failure as an entrepreneur. As Patrick McKenzie, CEO of Starfighter, says “Our secret weapon is patient execution of what everyone knows they should be doing, because that actually is a competitive barrier.” Reading. Half of this year's best-selling books are filled with ideas that may seem intelligent today, but will be proven wrong in the near future. Only a handful will still be read consistently a decade from now. These books—the ones that stand the test of time—are the ones you want to be reading because they are filled with ideas that last. This is why old books can provide incredible value. The Power of Inherited Knowledge Across the street from Pruitt-Igoe was more traditional housing complex named Carr Square Village. Unlike Pruitt-Igoe, Carr Square Village was a smaller, low-rise complex and featured more traditional designs. It was built 12 years before Pruitt-Igoe, but despite its older age, Carr Square Village outlasted Pruitt-Igoe and boasted lower crime and vacancy rates all while being in the same neighborhood. Is this evidence that we should abandon creative thinking and innovation in the name of sticking to the fundamentals? Of course not. But I do believe the Pruitt-Igoe story is one example of our tendency to undervalue inherited knowledge. Furthermore, I'd like to propose that sometimes the creative thing to do is to actually practice the fundamentals more consistently than everyone else. Most people don’t fully use the knowledge they already have. As I have written previously, “Everybody already knows that” is very different from “Everybody already does that.”