Monthly Archives: March 2014

How one man battled the bureaucrats to save a billion lives

THE 1960s was a decade of explosive change, but the most important revolution wasn’t sexual: it was green. While Western intellectuals looked the other way, lost to well-meaning doom-mongering, one visionary saved a billion lives. Private foundations supported his work; rich governments’ aid programmes often thought it was wrongheaded. But Norman Borlaug (it’s pronounced Bor-log), born 100 years ago this week, triumphed anyway. Continue reading

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Filed under Freedom, History, Innovation

How open innovation will transform the Great British pound

Farewell to the pound coin’s familiar golden nugget design. Here comes the dough-decagon in its stead. The new 12-sided quid, modelled after the old threepenny bit, got plenty of attention this week. But the most interesting part of the design is what was left out. The flipside of the coin will be opened to a public design competition. Continue reading

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Filed under Freedom, Human nature, Innovation

Three killer business tips from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Seventeen years ago this week, a stake-wielding schoolgirl redefined the possibilities of popular entertainment. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a misfire in its earlier, cinematic incarnation, but Joss Whedon’s television version immediately marked itself out as something extraordinary. Continue reading

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Filed under Art, Business, Film, Human nature

The limits of celebrity power and the rise of selfie-nomics in one tweet

It was the tweet heard round the web. The selfie Ellen DeGeneres took during the Oscars became an internet sensation. First, it garnered the most retweets ever: as I write, Twitter reports 3.3m users have recommended it in this way. The previous record holder, President Barack Obama, had managed only 780,000 retweets, for a photograph celebrating his reelection on 7 November 2012. Continue reading

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Filed under Business, Economics, Human nature, Innovation, Technology