Some newly minted college graduates struggle to find work. Others accept jobs for which they feel overqualified. Student debt, meanwhile, has topped $1 trillion.
It’s enough to create a wave of questions about whether a college education is still worth it.
A new set of income statistics answers those questions quite clearly: Yes, college is worth it, and it’s not even close. For all the struggles that many young college graduates face, a four-year degree has probably never been more valuable.
The pay gap between college graduates and everyone else reached a record high last year, according to the new data, which is based on an analysis of Labor Department statistics by the Economic Policy Institute in Washington. Americans with four-year college degrees made 98 percent more an hour on average in 2013 than people without a degree. That’s up from 89 percent five years earlier, 85 percent a decade earlier and 64 percent in the early 1980s.
Photo The singer Jill Scott, who was being given an honorary doctorate, at graduation ceremonies at Temple University in Philadelphia this month. The pay disparity between those with college degrees and those without continues to grow. Credit David Swanson/The Philadelphia Inquirer, via Associated Press Continue reading the main story Rising Value of a College Degree The pay of people with a four-year college degree has risen compared to that of those with a high school degree but no college credit. The relative pay of people who attended college without earning a four-year degree has stayed flat.
Ratio of average hourly pay, compared with pay of people with a high school degree. People with some college Graduates of 4-yr. "Graduates of 4-year college," for instance, excludes people with graduate degrees. There is nothing inevitable about this trend. If there were more college graduates than the economy needed, the pay gap would shrink. The gap’s recent growth is especially notable because it has come after a rise in the number of college graduates, partly because many people went back to school during the Great Recession. That the pay gap has nonetheless continued growing means that we’re still not producing enough of them.
“We have too few college graduates,” says David Autor, an M.I.T. economist, who was not involved in the Economic Policy Institute’s analysis. “We also have too few people who are prepared for college.”
It’s important to emphasize these shortfalls because public discussion today — for which we in the news media deserve some responsibility — often focuses on the undeniable fact that a bachelor’s degree does not guarantee success. But of course it doesn’t. Nothing guarantees success, especially after 15 years of disappointing economic growth and rising inequality.
When experts and journalists spend so much time talking about the limitations of education, they almost certainly are discouraging some teenagers from going to college and some adults from going back to earn degrees. (Those same experts and journalists are sending their own children to college and often obsessing over which one.) The decision not to attend college for fear that it’s a bad deal is among the most economically irrational decisions anybody could make in 2014.
The much-discussed cost of college doesn’t change this fact. According to a paper by Mr. Autor published Thursday in the journal Science, the true cost of a college degree is about negative $500,000. That’s right: Over the long run, college is cheaper than free. Not going to college will cost you about half a million dollars.
Mr. Autor’s paper — building on work by the economists Christopher Avery and Sarah Turner — arrives at that figure first by calculating the very real cost of tuition and fees. This amount is then subtracted from the lifetime gap between the earnings of college graduates and high school graduates. After adjusting for inflation and the time value of money, the net cost of college is negative $500,000, roughly double what it was three decades ago.
This calculation is necessarily imprecise, because it can’t control for any pre-existing differences between college graduates and non-graduates — differences that would exist regardless of schooling. Yet other research, comparing otherwise similar people who did and did not graduate from college, has also found that education brings a huge return.
In a similar vein, the new Economic Policy Institute numbers show that the benefits of college don’t go just to graduates of elite colleges, who typically go on to to earn graduate degrees. The wage gap between people with only a bachelor’s degree and people without such a degree has also kept rising.
Tellingly, though, the wage premium for people who have attended college without earning a bachelor’s degree — a group that includes community-college graduates — has not been rising. The big economic returns go to people with four-year degrees. Those returns underscore the importance of efforts to reduce the college dropout rate, such as those at the University of Texas, which Paul Tough described in a recent Times Magazine article.
This article originally appeared in the NY Times. David Leonhardt is the author.
The fight to save the Internet as we know it hangs on what seems like a technicality: Should Internet service providers (ISPs) be treated more like telephone companies or like email providers? The policy wonk term for this issue is "reclassification."
You might think it doesn't matter, but it actually makes a huge difference. The question of how ISPs should be classified lies at the heart of the current debate over net neutrality, or the idea that all web traffic should be treated equally. If the web were legally regulated as if it were a phone company, it would be easier for the government to enforce net neutrality. Consumer advocates are pushing the Federal Communications Commission in that direction.
At a hearing on Thursday, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler left open the possibility that the Internet could be reclassified as a public utility.
Here's what that means.
Wait, back up. What’s the FCC have to do with this? Doesn't Google run the web at this point?The FCC regulates all U.S. communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. To do so, the FCC must "classify" the types of communication that happen over these media -- noting, for instance, that your email provider (think Gmail or Yahoo) should have to obey a very different set of laws than those that restrict and regulate, say, your mobile provider (think Sprint or T-Mobile) and your landline telephone.
Okay, so how does the FCC “classify” the Internet?Before 2002, the FCC treated all Internet providers as "common carriage services." This meant they had to obey the same basic set of laws as, say, the telephone company -- they had to carry any data, no matter what it was or who put it on the Internet, without discrimination. Many people thought this classification made sense. After all, even in the early days of the Internet, many telephone companies (Verizon, AT&T) were already doubling as Internet providers, and many Internet connections came over phone lines.
In 2002, the FCC decided that broadband Internet wasn't actually a common carriage service. Instead it was an "information service," more akin to your email than your telephone. Notably, the FCC has far less regulatory control over "information services" than it does over "common carriage services." For instance, Gmail could decide tomorrow that it won't send any of your emails, and legally, the FCC could do nothing to stop them. Contrast that to telephones: Unless you stop paying your phone bill, the phone company can't simply stop your calls. If they did, the FCC would punish them.
So what do people want the FCC to change?Many people believe ISPs should be regulated more like phone companies than email providers -- they believe the FCC was wrong to classify broadband as an "information service."
The logic is that Internet providers operate far more like phone companies than like email providers. Like phone companies, you pay a monthly fee for your Internet, and your Internet provider runs a cable to your house. These people want the FCC to "reclassify" broadband as a common carrier service, as it was originally classified, a la telephones.
Others believe that ISPs abuse their power as "information services," safe in the knowledge that as long as they're categorized this way, the FCC can't legally stop them from treating their users poorly.
For instance, broadband companies have long pushed for the right to give companies that can pay them lots of money special Internet "fast lanes" that will make their content load faster -- at the expense of the content of independent creators, which would load slower in an Internet full of "fast lanes." These special access agreements are currently a hot topic, and the FCC is considering implementing new rules that would sanction these fast lanes.
ISPs also have a nasty history of surreptitiously stopping content they dislike from ever even making it on to the Internet. This was most famously seen in 2007, when Comcast was caught secretly sabotaging BitTorrent uploads.
What happens if the FCC doesn’t “reclassify” the Internet? Then net neutrality may die. In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled the FCC couldn't enforce its own "net neutrality" principles because the Internet can't be regulated in that way.
If the FCC doesn't "reclassify" ISPs as common carriers, ISPs will have free rein to create as many "fast lanes" and block as much content as they want: Big Cable's opponents say that could destroy the Internet as we know it.
Hey! There was an FCC hearing on Thursday! Did they talk about this?Thursday's FCC hearing has accelerated the creation of "fast lanes," while making no moves towards reclassification. Anyone who doesn't want this to be the Internet of tomorrow would do well to be worried.
Authored by: Betsy Isaacson
Article orginally appeared in the Huffingting Post
Confession: a couple of years ago, I acquired a pair of Beats cordless Bluetooth headphones. I call that fact a confession because Beats headphones are much derided among the technorati, and certainly among gadget reviewers, as being all flash and no substance. I don't think they sound all that bad, but I also haven't been able to use them for the last month or so, because the 'phones are going through one of their frequent periods of being unable to connect to my phone.
In short, Beats don't beat a whole lot. Koss, Sennheiser and Harman Kardon they ain't.
But if Apple does buy Beats for roughly $3 billion, a deal that is widely reported to be in its closing stages, it won't be because of the headphones. (Though given the fact that Apple sells Beats cans in every Apple store in the world, and has exact sales figures for each model, keeping all that profit to itself would be a nice boost for the bottom line.)
No, this is more about Beats' streaming music service, Apple's tenacious grip on music distribution, and the fact that with a deal like this, Apple could easily become a recording industry giant that cuts out the middleman entirely — a notion that keeps executives at Sony, Universal, EMI and the rest of the major labels up at night.
When Apple CEO Tim Cook had a high-level summit with Beats CEO Jimmy Iovine during a visit to LA in early 2013 — a meeting with much more import than was known at the time — it wasn't to talk about Beats' habit of increasing the bass and vocal ranges in its hardware. It was to discuss the Beats app, then known as "Project Daisy."
The Beats Music app has been out in the wild now since mid-January, and it's garnering respectable reviews. Sure, it's another music streaming service in a world stuffed with Spotify and its ilk, but it has also managed to differentiate itself with some clever tweaks — and an understanding that what most of us want out of music streaming is a service that automagically knows what we want to listen to.
When you sign into the app — a too-lengthy process that could do with a simple Apple ID — you're met with a screen of gently floating bubbles, each containing a musical genre. Tap on three bubbles, and you get another bubble screen with artists. That leads you to lists of albums and playlists you might like to start with. There's a screen of "expert essentials," usually with some newsworthy theme.
And then there's probably the coolest feature to grace streaming music apps in a while: "The Sentence," a kind of mad libs approach to music recommendation. For example:
As weird as that looks, The Sentence does produce some interesting results — and it gets close to the intangible, emotional answer to the perennial question, "what do I want to listen to now?"
The Beats app just got an iPad-friendly upgrade last week, which seems to have solved some of the technical issues iTunes reviewers have complained about. The ones that remain — the downloaded files are too large, the streaming occasionally freezes up — are just the kind of problems that a company of Apple's scale could help solve.
The music rights library Apple has been assiduously building up over the last decade could also widen Beats' selection — because one of the greatest ironies of the app is that you can't listen to more than one album by Dr. Dre, co-founder of Beats. The Chronic is chronically absent.
Tim Cook, music mogul? So as much as audiophiles may groan, Beats headphones may bring a veneer of youth culture and cool to Apple, of a kind not seen since its silhouette-based iPod ads. More importantly, the app would give Apple an instant competitor to Spotify, the way iTunes Radio competes with Pandora. (Beats, four months old, has 200,000 subscribers to Spotify's 10 million, but that imbalance would change rapidly if Apple started pimping the app.)
Most important of all, however, is what Iovine and Dre could do for Apple's already considerable clout in the music industry. If you were trying to build a modern-day music label, to persuade more and more big-name artists to ditch their regular suits and release their latest works exclusively via digital download and streaming service, you could do a lot worse than starting with these guys. Iovine has worked with everyone from Springsteen to Lady Gaga to U2 and, of course, Dre has the hip-hop world covered, from Eminem to 50 Cent.
Meanwhile, the New York Post is reporting that Iovine will join Apple as a "special advisor" as part of the deal.
As anyone who's attended an Apple launch event with a musical guest knows — not to mention the iTunes exclusive concerts and Apple store gigs for local artists — Tim Cook has hardly diminished Steve Jobs' passion for taking Apple deeper and deeper into the music business. The long-running lawsuit with Apple Corps over its logo has been settled. Downloads on iTunes are starting to falter. The company is desperate to get more exclusive album deals, as it did with recent releases from Beyonce and Broken Bells.
The more you dig into the possible synergy of an Apple-Beats deal, the more it seems Tim Cook would be getting the company for a bargain price if he strikes now. Headphones not included.
Article originally appeared on Mashable.com
Authored by: Chris Taylor
Today, headphones are typically used to temporarily shut out your surroundings. In the near future, however, devices such as the Dash smart earphones could be used to enhance the world around you by providing supplemental information about the people you meet and the places you visit — without looking obnoxious.
Bragi, which will make the Dash earbuds, skyrocketed past its Kickstarter goal of $260,000 by raising more than $3 million during its campaign in March.
The $179 smart in-ear headphones are capable of functioning as a fitness tracker, heartrate monitor, Bluetooth headset, music player since it has 4GB of storage space, and a standard headphone for streaming music.
But what's more interesting than the device itself is the potential it opens up for the next generation of wearable gadgets.
One example of a far out idea is that a smart earbud like the Dash could tell you information about a long-lost acquaintance in your ear, which in turn would make it easier for you to strike up conversation with that person, as NPR's Jessica Glazer notes.
Solving wearable tech's big problem
This type of interaction could solve one of the biggest problems wearable devices have faced so far. In addition to technical barriers such as battery life challenges, wearables have yet to go mainstream because they can sometimes be awkward to use. They don't fit seamlessly enough into our everyday lives.
For example, a gadget such as Google Glass can be distracting during conversation.
People may be concerned that you're looking at whatever is on the screen rather than paying attention to what they're saying, as Chris Jones, VP principal analyst with Canalys Insight, pointed out in an interview with Business Insider in March.
"They're still not socially acceptable," Jones said in reference in Glass.
Smartwatches feel more natural since they're more discreet than Glass, but using a smartwatch still involves glancing away from your current conversation or activity to peek at a screen.
Smart earbuds, however, take away that need to look down (or up if you're wearing Glass) at a screen, whether it's on a smartwatch, smartphone or wearable display.
The rise of 'hearables' Smart earbuds aren't very common in today's market, but the Dash isn't the only device of its kind. At this year's CES, Intel showed off a prototype smart earbud designed for fitness tracking that motivates you to work out. Not only does it recite motivational phrases into your ear, but it can also switch songs on your playlist depending on the pace of your workout.
LG also unveiled a new pair of smart earbuds this year that are capable of monitoring your heart rate and cooperating with the company's Lifeband Touch fitness wristband.
"It's discreet in your ear, and it's helping in some way," Piers Fawkes, president of PSFK Labs, said to NPR. "There's an opportunity for it to be a personal adviser...whispering going on, giving you directions, telling you that you're late for a meeting."
There will still be social challenges with smart earbuds, of course. It's awkward talking to someone wearing headphones because you're not sure if they're listening to you or not. But, in places like New York City, a lot of people are walking around with earbuds, so it's getting to be normal to talk to someone with headphones on.
Written by: Lisa Eadicicco
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/dash-smart-earbuds-2014-5#ixzz318ErRJKe
BYOD – Bring Your Own Devices – is quickly becoming the norm as major companies and organizations worldwide strive to keep pace with their young, mobile and connected workers. But for information security chiefs, it’s also a huge—and some security experts say growing—security headache. According to Andrew Deacon, a security specialist at British IT security company Sophos, because of the trend, it’s never been easier, or cheaper to hack into an organization, steal its secrets, or create havoc with its data systems. Deacon says increasing numbers of amateur criminals and hackers without serious technical skills are getting into the act, and here’s five ways they’re doing it:
1. Almost all major coffee shop chains offer free WiFi
2. A relatively easy next move, the cyber security version of the “the man in the middle” scam: create a mock login page for a site that’s likely visited by the hacker’s target–the Facebook login page, for instance. Or, a company’s Intranet login page. Many of these are easily downloadable from IT specialty sites that build them to test their vulnerability. The unsuspecting user logs in as usual, giving away username and password details. Since many people use the same details across platforms and sites, it’s often easy pickings for hackers from there. There’s password cracking software as well. Most passwords don’t take more than a few minutes to crack, Deacon says.
3. Stop using the same password across all your accounts.
4. What would you do if you received this email: “Hi, it’s Sam from IT. We’ve got a security update we need you to run, can you run it for me please? Just double click the attachment. Thanks.” According to Sophos’ Deacon, many employees do as they’re told when they see an email which looks like it came from their company’s IT department. What’s been unleashed? One threat is a Trojan Horse malware program. It sits unseen on a company’s server and can be used to pilfer data like passwords and internal communications.
5. There’s another new trend that’s also worrying IT security experts: the move toward cloud storage. The free cloud storage and file sharing market is a potential goldmine for hackers. Employees tend to upload confidential business data into their personal accounts with weak or no security controls. In a report this week, cloud provider Intralinks found that people were uploading and sharing live links to personal photos, tax returns, bank records, mortgage applications, blueprints and business plans. Intralinks was able to download several of these documents without needing to insert a password.
Originally published on www.wjd.com/tech, written by Amir MizrochAmir