…In an era of crony capitalism and government bailouts, [Steve] Jobs deserves credit for doing things his own way and never asking the government to help him or to hobble competitors. While most of his rivals set up huge lobbying shops in Washington and looked to use politics to their advantage, Jobs stayed home and focused on serving consumers, not bureaucrats. Sadly, Apple’s lack of engagement with Washington has been greeted with a combination of puzzlement and ridicule by everyone inside the Beltway.
All these critics—rival companies, government officials and academics—should recall Steve Jobs’ motto and apply it to their own lives and organizations: Think different. The world is a better place because he did.
Adam Thierer … more @Forbes.com
When Ethiopian American Physicist Solomon Bililign was a young teacher imprisoned in Ethiopia during the “Red Terror” era, he never imagined that he would one day receive a Presidential Award in the United States.Now a professor at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, Dr. Bililign is one of nine individuals whom President Obama this week named recipients of The Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.The award recognizes the role that mentoring plays in the academic and personal development of students studying science and engineering. According to the White House, candidates are nominated by colleagues, administrators, and students at their home institutions.“Through their commitment to education and innovation, these individuals and organizations are playing a crucial role in the development of our 21st century workforce,” President Obama said. “Our nation owes them a debt of gratitude for helping ensure that America remains the global leader in science and engineering for years to come.”“I am humbled by the honor,” Dr. Bililign said in an interview with Tadias Magazine following the announcement. “I am just one of thousands of mentors who happened to be nominated.” He added: I am sure there are a lot more deserving mentors. The recognition would motivate me to do more.”Dr. Bililign said that success in science, engineering or math is not as glamorous as success in performing or sports in the U.S., but the economic competitiveness of the nation, depends on a solid foundation in the sciences. “Young people need to be encouraged, pushed, persuaded to do it,” he said. “Not for the money or fame but for the love of discovery and innovation. I believe every one has a gift, and a mentor’s role is to identify the gift and nurture it.”Dr. Bililign was born in Dessie, Ethiopia. He left the country in 1987 to pursue a PhD in Physics at the University of Iowa. “Both my parents were teachers,” he said. “They are actually the first graduates of the Debre Berhan Teachers Training program then run by the US Point Four program.” He continued: “Their first assignment was in Mekele, Northern Ethiopia where they started school under a tree by collecting shepherds from the field… that modest start grew into a big elementary school where my father served as a Principal for over 10 years and my mother taught home economics, until they transferred to Dessie. I did all my school grades 1 through 11 at Atse Yohannes Elementary and Secondary School.”Dr. Bililign said he followed in his parents footsteps to be trained as a high school teacher and joined the Prince Bede Mariam Laboratory School in grade 11. “ I graduated as a physics teacher from Addis Ababa University (AAU), but ended up as a graduate assistant at AAU and taught there as a lecturer for several years,” he said.But Dr. Bililign’s life-journey has not always been easy. He was imprisoned and tortured during the “Red Terror” era. His father died in a car accident on his way to visit his son in prison.“While no one had to go through [what I went through], I think I have turned that negative and hard experience to my advantage, where I spend most of my time teaching young prisoners during the day and prison guards during the night, trying to give hope in a seemingly hopeless situation, and keeping myself busy and overcoming negative feelings and bitterness,” he said. “The experience also gave me time to reflect on my life and see the bigger picture in life.”And what is his advise to a new generation of aspiring scientists? “For the young people who are intimidated by the hard work needed in science, math and engineering, I say nothing in life is easy, it is all about deciding to do it with passion. Every thing will give up its secrets if you love it enough,” he said. — Tadias
A newfound comet defied long odds on Thursday (Dec. 15), surviving a suicidal dive through the sun’s hellishly hot atmosphere, according to NASA scientists.
Comet Lovejoy plunged through the sun’s corona at about 7 p.m. EST (midnight GMT on Dec. 16), coming within 87,000 miles (140,000 kilometers) of our star’s surface. Temperatures in the corona can reach 2 million degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 million degrees Celsius), so most researchers expected the icy wanderer to be completely destroyed. —more @Space.com
The White House invited some of the smartest kids in the country to come show off their inventions the other day. The White House’s East Room — normally a place for prime time press conferences and State Dinners was transformed into a science fair.
Take Taylor Wilson who says when he was 14 years old, he developed a nuclear fusion reactor. Now only 17 he’s developed a tool that could be a big help for counter-terrorism — detecting Uranium-235, Weapons Grade Plutonium and Highly Enriched Uranium — using a not-so-rare ingredient: water.
Or 14 year old Benjamin Hylak, who designed an interactive robot to allow him to Skype with his grandmother, and also find her pills and pour her a glass of water. Amazing!
And you know the old saying necessity is the mother of invention? Well, 12-year-old Ma’Kese Wesley and 11-year-old Isis Thompson heard about the deadly bacteria outbreaks on cantaloupe melons last year and came up with a high tech lunch box that zaps fruits and vegetables using UV light and makes them safe to eat.
These kids are all pretty incredible. Enough to make a White House reporter feel a little intimidated. — @ABC News
Dr. Mulugeta Bekele, an associate professor of physics at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, has been awarded the 2012 Andrei Sakharov Prize by The American Physical Society (APS). The prize was established to recognize and encourage outstanding leadership and achievements of scientists in upholding human rights.
Professor Mulugeta Bekele completed his undergraduate studies in physics at Addis Ababa University and at Union College, Schenectady, NY, graduating in 1970. He was employed as a graduate assistant during the year 1970/71 at HSIU. He then went to the University of Maryland, College Park, MD for his graduate studies for two years and received his masters degree in 1973. Mulugeta returned to Ethiopia immediately after graduation and became a Lecturer at AAU, then HSIU. After the Ethiopian revolution, which took place in 1974 when the Emperor was removed and a military government came to power, Mulugeta was put in prison by the government for seven years. After prison, he re-joined the physics department at university and continued teaching for six years before going abroad to India to pursue a PhD at Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. Returning to AAU in 1997 Professor Mulugeta has since worked with a research group involved in polymer and biological physics that has been getting support from Swedish International Science Programme. He is a founding member of the Ethiopian Physical Society and currently serving as the society’s President. —@Tadias