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1 http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate Trials Tempered by Compassion and Humility Steven Goodman Nancy Kass Nancy Kass is a professor of bioethics and public health at Johns Hopkins University. Steven Goodman, an associate dean of clinical research, is the co-director of the MetaResearch Innovation Center at Stanford University, which aims to improve the reproducibility of scientific research. UPDATED DECEMBER 1, 2014, 7:21 PM Designing an ethically acceptable trial to test new Ebola treatments is challenging. It sounds inhumane to give sick and dying people placebos when testing experimental treatments, but it is tragic on a different scale to conduct a study that doesn’t tell us clearly whether, or how well, a new treatment works. When high-dose chemotherapy was developed for advanced breast cancer, desperate patients were diverted from trials by treatment advocates whose hope in a cure overrode the lack of scientific evidence of its efficacy – all in the name of ethics. As a result, thousands of women endured highly toxic, ineffective therapy until controlled trials were conducted. Adaptive approaches allow researchers to modify their study, in almost real time, as they learn more about a drug. Ethics is not just figuring out which side poses better arguments; often it’s best to find a third way. Given the breadth and deadly nature of the current Ebola outbreak, and unknowns about treatments, an "adaptive approach" seems most appropriate. Adaptive approaches allow researchers to plan a sequence of studies, or modify a single study in almost real time, as they learn more about a drug. In West Africa, for example, the first 40 Ebola patients in a trial could all get an experimental treatment, and nobody would take a placebo. If nearly all patients survived, in settings where most others were dying with the same supportive care, then it is possible that placebo testing could be avoided, and subsequent trials could randomize to different doses or treatments. But if the results of the first trial, without placebos, revealed anything less than an almost certain cure, a design with proper controls would have to be initiated, and explained to those participating in the trial. Patients must be told that the drug is not a guaranteed lifesaver, so they can see the point of the control group. (And given the multiple beliefs about Ebola among West Africans, creative approaches to promoting understanding and consent are important as well.) These placebo-controlled trials could themselves be adaptive in 2 http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate design, randomizing more patients to whichever therapy appears most effective, until the verdict is clear. If we are to design trials to minimize suffering and death in a whole population, we must temper our compassion with humility about what we think we know. 3 http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate Science Fiction Reflects Our Anxieties J. P. Telotte J. P. Telotte is a professor of film and media studies at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the author, most recently, of "Science Fiction TV." UPDATED JULY 30, 2014, 12:47 PM The 1930s saw numerous science fiction films centered around apocalyptic, sometimes climatic, destruction: “La Fin du Monde” (France, 1931) predicted a comet’s collision with the Earth; “Deluge” (United States, 1933) was the story of a giant tsunami resulting in a worldwide flood; “Things to Come” (England, 1936) predicted world war and a civilization-destroying plague; “S.O.S. Tidal Wave” (United States, 1939) showed the destruction of America’s East Coast by massive tidal wave. All these films were not as much forward-looking predictions of real apocalypse as they were metaphorical responses to the widespread economic and political crises of the day. Floods and plagues became stand-ins for contemporary upheaval, in this case a way to address the anxieties that attended the Great Depression and post-World War I shock. Science fiction does not detail the realities of specific problems so that we might avoid them, but rather represent our most pressing cultural fears. This is what our genre films tend to do best — not detail the realities of specific problems so that we might avoid them, but rather represent our most pressing cultural anxieties. If a solution is presented by a science fiction film, it is seldom workable, immediately possible, or even logical in real-world application. And as elements of narrative entertainment, that really isn’t their function. While science fiction films and novels often, and quite naturally, raise awareness of — or stimulate discussion about — scientific and technological issues including climate change, they seldom function as primers for the solutions we need for these very knotty problems. More often, they make us feel better about our ability to survive them. As some of the more recent apocalyptic climate films filter into college curriculums — works like “Waterworld” (1995), “The Day After Tomorrow” (2004) or the more recent “Snowpiercer” (2014) — they are not typically included in the conventional study of film or science fiction. 4 http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate More commonly, they are being appropriated by scientists or climatologists as lures — attractive, non-textbook ways of introducing students to issues that can be terribly resistant to narrativization. These professors are prodding students to see the films as more than just exciting stories in order to start hopefully profitable discussions of what sort of responses might or might not be appropriate for addressing global warming. And such an outcome, a start of discussion rather than a solution to the problem, is probably the best we can expect. 5 http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate Use Hollywood Plots and Characters to Teach STEM Mayim Bialik Mayim Bialik is a neuroscientist, Emmy-nominated actress and STEM education brand ambassador for Texas Instruments. DECEMBER 10, 2013 Hollywood and science rarely come together as vividly as they have in my life. I not only have a Ph.D. in neuroscience, but I also play a neurobiologist on the television show “The Big Bang Theory.” Zombies can teach mathematical concepts like exponential growth curves, while studying superheroes can answer physics questions, like what it means to travel faster than the speed of light. It is a wonderful convergence of academic pursuit and artistic creativity. I grew up cursorily interested in science but never thought I would actually pursue an advanced degree, since it didn’t come naturally to me. I was fortunate enough to have a young woman tutor me during middle school who gave me the confidence to realize that a career in science was a worthy and attainable pursuit that would transform my life in unimaginably wonderful ways. We have seen the statistics on how the U.S. is lagging behind much of the world in science, technology, engineering and math. We also know that the world would be a better place if there were more skilled and enthusiastic scientists, mathematicians and engineers. After all, who is going to design the next great social media platform or build the next generation of smartphone? The confines of a classroom, combined with teaching methods that are not engaging or inspiring, will not get today’s students excited enough about STEM to want to make a career in these fields. We need to use content that is relevant to their sensibilities -- stuff that is cool -- and to let them experience what it’s like to be a scientist using technology and tools that real-life scientists use. Programs like STEM Behind Hollywood from Texas Instruments and the National Academy of Sciences’ Science and Entertainment Exchange are already giving educators new, free tools to immerse students in these critical fields using Hollywood as the backdrop. 6 http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate Who doesn’t know something about zombies or superheroes? These cultural archetypes can do more than just entertain. Zombies, it turns out, can teach real science and mathematical concepts like exponential growth curves and the intricacies of human anatomy and anatomical degradation. Superheroes can prompt a variety of questions that draw on physics, such as: How does one actually travel faster than the speed of light? Countless entertainment topics are ripe for scientific inquiry, which STEM Behind Hollywood explores using real-world simulations developed for Texas Instruments graphing calculators, computer software and iPad apps. Movies and television are the foundations of modern storytelling and the vernacular of today’s students, but they can be so much more. Exploring the science behind today’s hot topics in entertainment can ignite our children’s imaginations and their passion. Maybe they will one day even inspire a shy middle school girl to embrace her inner nerd and get a Ph.D. in neuroscience. 7 http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate Countering Security Breaches Is a National Priority and a Business Priority Lauren Gelman Lauren Gelman, the former executive director of the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, is the founder of BlurryEdge Strategies, a legal and strategy firm in San Francisco. She is on Twitter. UPDATED FEBRUARY 21, 2013, 6:36 PM As the public well knows after the headlines of the past few weeks, security breaches are a regular part of American business. Now we must make countering those breaches a national priority, and a priority for American businesses. An important part of that commitment is to require companies to disclose when their security is compromised, so that everyone can learn from the incident. Because attackers sometimes exploit vulnerabilities in widely used software, it’s important for victims to share the details of the intrusion. The public needs to know about network intrusions to judge the right amount of investment in government funded cyber security research and response. Sharing the technical details of breaches helps other companies and organizations learn from the incident, and perhaps even thwart an attack. And because attackers sometimes exploit vulnerabilities in widely used software that’s known only to the hackers, it’s important for victims to share the details of the intrusion. An effective disclosure framework might oblige companies to report the fact of every substantial security breach at their business to a designated federal agency, and upon request to share technical details and forensic data from the breach. That agency would compile information anonymously for the public and other businesses. Regulation is appropriate because security breaches pose a collective action problem. There is no incentive for any individual company to report that they were attacked. Despite the rash of disclosures over the past few weeks, the fact remains that most companies are more concerned about the impact of disclosure on their image and market value than on the benefit such information would provide to the security community as a whole. Like pollution, an insecure infrastructure is bad for everyone. Forcing companies to disclose breaches reintroduces the public’s collective interest -- whether in not having U.S. 8 http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate corporate assets electronically stolen, not being a victim of identity theft or not suffering the externalities of cyber espionage -- as a variable in the equation. Additionally, it is in the companies’ interest to stop fighting mandatory disclosure requirements. As the past weeks have demonstrated, there is comfort in the herd. If the scope of the security problem is as far-reaching as experts believe, individual businesses who think they are alone in facing security problems are likely to find they are just one among their peers facing the same problem. Standardized processes and programs will develop to assist companies who suffer a security breach, similar to those that have developed in the wake of the passage of California’s breach notification law. Smaller companies without large in-house security teams will have more incentives to invest in discovering and disclosing breaches if they are not terrified by the potential downside. Opponents argue that a mandatory disclosure program will give the hackers an advantage by widely disclosing bugs and other vulnerabilities. However right now it seems clear that it is the hackers – sharing, selling and purchasing bugs, techniques and access – who are the ones benefiting from information sharing. Businesses must learn from their example so the public can benefit from the increased awareness and improved security that will follow. 9 http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate Pique My Interest, Don’t Belittle My Intelligence Jazmine Hughes Jazmine Hughes is the contributing editor of The Hairpin. She is on Twitter. UPDATED NOVEMBER 25, 2014, 1:27 PM I wear my Millennial badge proudly: Like many of my peers, I get most of my news from mobile devices, culled from Twitter accounts or RSS feeds, or links swapped from friend to friend. There are a handful of sites that I visit regularly, but even as an avid consumer, I don’t find myself getting my news directly from a homepage too often. There's a lot to wade through. So how am I deciding what's worth a click? I take several factors into account, including the veracity of the source, the breadth of the conversation and the promise of puppy photos. But as those variables can fluctuate, I must rely on the one thing that is certain: the headline. The majority of backlash against click bait headlines is a response to the forced push of emotion that click bait content foists onto a consumer. In an industry riddled with plagiarism, civil insensitivities and “hot takes,” “click bait” is still the worst insult you can hurl at a publication. Minimalistic, pared down headlines — the anti-headline headlines — have become more prevalent in reaction to the vague, bombastic, pandering headlines that the Internet-at-Large has come to despise. But the majority of backlash against click bait headlines is a response to the forced push of emotion that click bait content foists onto a consumer. The promise that "you won't believe what comes next" or "you'll never feel the same" deprives readers of their analytic agency and imposes an uncontextualized reaction on them. It's aggressive, empty and intellectually reductive — or, simply, super annoying. There's nothing wrong with an enticing headline, but pique my interest, don't belittle my intelligence. Publications want readers to trust them, so they should trust their readers back. 10 http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate Student Data Collection Is Out of Control Khaliah Barnes Khaliah Barnes is the director of the student privacy project at the Electronic Privacy Information Center. UPDATED DECEMBER 19, 2014, 12:33 PM The collection of student data is out of control. No longer do schools simply record attendance and grades. Now every test score and every interaction with a digital learning tool is recorded. Data gathering includes health, fitness and sleeping habits, sexual activity, prescription drug use, alcohol use and disciplinary matters. Students’ attitudes, sociability and even "enthusiasm" are quantified, analyzed, recorded and dropped into giant data systems. Rampant data collection is not only destroying student privacy, it also threatens students’ intellectual freedom. Some schools use radio frequency identification tags to track student location throughout the school day. Other schools use “human monitoring services” that read student email and then contact local law enforcement if something is amiss. Students and parents will never see the vast majority of information collected. The push for big data in education has also contributed to data breaches and has made student information susceptible to being sold for purposes unrelated to the collection. My organization sued the Education Department for weakening a forty-year-old student privacy law and allowing private companies increased access to student data. Rampant data collection is not only destroying student privacy, it also threatens students’ intellectual freedom. When schools record and analyze students’ every move and recorded thought, they chill expression and speech, stifling innovation and creativity. Students should have a right to a privacy framework that limits data collection, gives rights to them and their families, and places responsibility on schools and companies that gather data. Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts and others are working to update student privacy protections in Congress. Enacting a Student Privacy Bill of Rights is a top priority. 11 http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate Government Should Invest in Fiber Optics Susan Crawford Susan Crawford, a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, is the author of "Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age." She is on Twitter. UPDATED JULY 14, 2014, 12:19 PM Because we treat high-speed Internet access as a luxury rather than basic infrastructure — akin to electricity and clean water — we're leaving most economically disadvantaged people in New York behind. Although access is "available" to 97 percent of people living in the five boroughs, just 37 percent of people in New York State with annual incomes of $20,000 or less have a high-speed Internet access connection at home, compared with 85 percent of those with incomes over $60,000. Having a wire in your home is too expensive for people of modest means. Programs that have worked in Sweden could work here, installing lines and leasing them to Internet providers. Earlier this year, I met a young man named Daniel who wants to design virtual environments. Daniel knows he'll get a job and he's already midway through his training in virtual reality design. That's because Daniel lives in Stockholm, where 100 percent of people have a wire in their home. Even in a low-income section of Stockholm called Husby – where 86 percent of residents are immigrants, unemployment hovers at about 8 percent and monthly incomes average $2,250 – gigabit fiber access (1,000 Mbps download and upload, 100 times as fast as standard access in America) costs only $28 per month. Stockholm, unlike New York City, decided 20 years ago that it didn't want to be under the thumb of any existing communications company. It also wanted to avoid competing in the private market or regulating the existing players. So the city built neutral fiber lines and leased them out to private operators so they could light the lines with electronic equipment and serve customers. Result: intense competition, low prices and universal coverage. The project paid for itself in short order and now brings millions of dollars of revenue annually into city coffers. A similar program in New York City would require the city to expand the work of an entity called Empire City Subways that maintains and operates the conduits for communications lines in Manhattan and the Bronx. Landlords of apartment buildings and offices would 12 http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate need to install boxes so that neutral fiber would get all the way into the building. Then young residents wouldn't have to hang around the local library after closing time in order to get online. The problem is that entity is now a subsidiary of Verizon. Verizon has enormous power in New York City; it is a very large employer and taxpayer; pays millions in video franchise fees to the city; and runs the national security infrastructure. But unless the city acts to control its destiny, Verizon and Time Warner Cable will always call the shots. Services, like Airbnb, Mean We Need to Adapt to a New Economy Arun Sundararajan Arun Sundararajan is a professor of information, operations and management sciences at the Stern School of Business at New York University. He is on Twitter. MAY 6, 2014 Online services like Airbnb, Lyft, SideCar and Getaround are disrupting old economic systems rooted in firm-to-consumer interactions and individual ownership, and opening new ways to stimulate economic and social activity. This is blurring the boundaries between personal activities and the commercial provision of services. We need to rethink our local governance and regulatory framework to accommodate this new economy while ensuring that a few bad actors don’t bring down the entire system. We need to create a new regulatory framework for online service providers, balancing their lower risks with appropriately designed safeguards. We are free to lend our apartments to acquaintances, pick up relatives from the airport, or loan money to friends starting new businesses. These are considered "personal" undertakings, unlike running a hotel, driving a taxicab, or being a professional investor, and have none of the additional oversight, licensing, screening, taxation or training expected of providers who conduct these activities as a full-time occupation. This balance seemed reasonable when peer-to-peer exchange remained personal, and even when it was commercial but on the fringes, mediated by personal networks and sites like Craigslist. But as new sharing platforms bring these informal exchanges into the mainstream economy, they create service providers who are “in between” personal and 13 http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate professional – like Airbnb hosts who rent out their apartments when they travel, or Lyft drivers who transport people commercially for a few hours a week. We need to create a regulatory framework for these new providers, balancing their lower risks with appropriately designed safeguards. Delegating some of the responsibility to the platforms with suitable government oversight is part of the solution. Since there always will be businesses (like the landlords trying to run illegal hotels via Airbnb) that misuse new platforms to bypass regulations or taxes meant for them, guidelines developed explicitly to formalize the informal providers will ensure that a handful of law-breakers don’t hold back the millions who are creating legitimate new economic value. Laws Can Ensure Privacy in the Internet of Things Aleecia M. McDonald Aleecia M. McDonald is the director of privacy at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. UPDATED SEPTEMBER 8, 2013, 7:01 PM It’s a noisy, nosy world. For example, our cellphones are nonstop tracking devices that occasionally make calls – and yet we would be lost without their maps. Our shoes can tell hundreds of our closest Facebook friends about our latest jog. Tiny RFID tags, embedded in many objects and devices, have unique IDs that they blurt out to any radio signal that asks. New cars not only phone information back to car makers, but also to other cars. Vehicular communication improves safety but adds new risks that a database of everywhere you drive could become available to hackers, police or insurance companies. We are at the cusp of big changes – good and bad. We have learned the hard way that we cannot trust companies or governments to show restraint in collecting our data. The idea of devices chatting away to one another is both radically cool and rightly concerning. Most people want what a data-driven future can provide, but we have learned the hard way that we cannot trust companies or governments to exercise basic decency and restraint in collecting our data. Lack of trust hampers adoption of potentially useful technologies, including California’s decision last week to halt plans for RFID in drivers’ licenses. How can we have smart devices while preserving our core rights to privacy? First, the key is to include privacy and security from the very start while designing products and 14 http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate components. This way we can use technology without technology using us. Second, we already use firewalls and other approaches to limit who can reach our desktop computers. We could engineer similar technical intermediaries for our new devices. Third, privacy tools should be as simple to use as products themselves. Finally, it is rare for technology to entirely solve the challenges technology creates, so we need new privacy laws that are savvy and wise. There is much work to do, but we can build an awesome future without trading away our human need for privacy. Noncompete Agreements Don’t Have to Be All or Nothing Michael D. Weil Michael D. Weil is a partner at the law firm Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe. He blogs at Trade Secrets Watch. UPDATED JUNE 11, 2014, 12:25 PM Employers who overuse or misuse noncompete agreements have given them a bad reputation. American companies are losing billions of dollars to foreign and domestic hackers who steal trade secrets. We should be cautious about further weakening employers’ ability to protect their intellectual property. Noncompetes protect the legitimate business interests of employers — usually in the form of trade secrets, confidential information or client relationships — but their enforcement must be balanced against the rights of former employees and the public. Reasonable enforcement depends entirely on context. For example, it might be reasonable to restrain a well-compensated chief technology officer from immediately taking a similar position with a direct competitor. Likewise, it may be reasonable for a company to want to prevent former sales employees from poaching certain customers, especially in cases where the employees fostered those relationships at the employer’s expense. But it can be unfair when overzealous employers attempt to impose overly broad noncompetes, beyond their legitimate purpose, on employees who pose no actual threat. To prevent these kinds of situations, and to advance employee mobility, a few states like California have taken the extreme approach of enacting laws that ban noncompetes. (The exception is that the buyer of a business may still impose a noncompete on the seller.) 15 http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate California adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, which authorizes courts to keep employees from working with a competitor for a reasonable period of time in response to an actual or threatened misappropriation of protected information. The law, which has been adopted in some form by 48 of the 50 states, also permits monetary recovery. But that only remedies a problem after it has occurred. As a practical matter, these problems are often difficult to detect. California’s laws, for example, do not prevent individuals from accepting employment where, by virtue of their new job duties, they will inevitably disclose trade secrets. At a time when Congress is concerned that American companies are losing billions of dollars in trade secret theft to foreign and domestic hackers, we should be cautious about weakening employers’ ability to protect their intellectual property. The broad solution is not an all-or-nothing approach, but thoughtful legislation that creates appropriate disincentives to employers who might overuse or misuse noncompetes, while allowing for enforcement to protect employers’ legitimate interests. 16 http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate Tips Supplement Paltry Paychecks Ty Batirbek-Wenzel Ty Batirbek-Wenzel, a Web and graphic designer, is the author of “Behind Bars: The Straight-Up Tales of a Big City Bartender” and a new novel, “The Orchid Revolution.” She is on Twitter. UPDATED JUNE 23, 2013, 7:01 PM “Tip or Die.” That was written in black permanent marker on a can that lived next to the cash register at the bar where I mixed drinks for over a decade. The cash I earned tending bar, which involved 10-hour shifts on my feet and drunks vomiting on me, bought groceries, health care and peace of mind. I've had to defend tipping more than a handful of times. I actually had to deal with an antitipping heckler while on book tour for my bartending memoir. I've had born-again Christians leave me pamphlets on finding God -- in lieu of a tip -- after drinking themselves into heaven. Sure, I made decent money from tips; there was rarely a night that I didn't clear two or three hundred dollars. “You're making money hand-over-fist!” some would declare, as if I didn't deserve it. Care to look at my $30 weekly paycheck? Care to subsidize my health insurance? I didn't get any. Care to work over 10 hours a night on your feet and shuffle home at 5 in the morning? McDonald's workers had bigger paychecks, and I doubt they had to deal with people vomiting on them on a fairly regular basis. Getting rid of tipping would be bad business. Prices at restaurants would rise if the burden of paying servers were turned over to the house. And then there is the question of motivation. Think it's hard to find your waitress now? Think your waiter was a little surly? Wait until their income is no longer linked to their performance at your table. Of course, if all restaurants offered a living wage -- say, at least $25 per hour with health care and other benefits -- then this could be a game-changer. Until then, though, those fiveand 10-dollar bills left on tables and bars across the country are paying for rent, doctor visits and child care. Without tipping in this current environment, I fear that we would be just a stone's throw away from inflicting the same kind of poverty on servers that is endured by the employees at Wal-Mart, to give just one example. 17 http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate Tipping counters the actions of powerful restaurant lobbies that spare no expense in driving down wages to near poverty levels. So until salaries are generous, tip or die. 18 http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate Food Industry Deals Hurt Consumers and the Environment Wenonah Hauter Wenonah Hauter is the executive director of Food & Water Watch and the author of "Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America." UPDATED JUNE 3, 2013, 3:23 PM The U.S. government needs to do more to stop consolidation in the food supply, and transnational business deals — like the proposed purchase of Smithfield by China’s largest meat company, Shuanghui International — illustrate why mergers and acquisitions need more regulation and scrutiny, not less. This deal facilitates the export not just of pork but also America’s industrialized factory farming system — a disaster for the environment. This approach is already spreading; Shuanghui International became China’s monolithic meat company by adopting the U.S. factory farm model pioneered by companies like Smithfield. The merger is likely to increase the size, intensity and pollution of hog production in China. Furthermore, Smithfield’s anticipated increased exports to China would effectively convert U.S. factory farms into export platforms; Smithfield would ship out the pork, and we’d keep the hog manure. Deals like this serve no one but the executives and bankers who stand to profit; everyone else is left with the manure. In addition to the environmental consequences of the deal, it’s bad for consumers. Transnational deals in the food industry usually add to American imports, and a rising flood of imported food swamps U.S. import inspectors. In the long term, Shuanghui may offshore hog operations to China, and the U.S. could be importing pork. In 2011, Shuanghui recalled thousands of tons of meat after reports that it was laced with the banned veterinary drug clenbuterol, which is linked to serious human health risks. Despite these risks, the United States is pursuing new trade deals with Europe and Pacific Rim partners, which China has expressed interest in joining. These commercial pacts promote such transnational megamergers as much as they promote exports. And the secret negotiations behind them are used to weaken food safety and environmental standards. Deals like this serve no one but the executives and bankers who stand to profit; everyone else is left with the manure. 19 http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate Workers Know Whether to Telecommute Cali Ressler Jody Thompson Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson are the co-founders of CultureRx and co-authors of a book about management. UPDATED FEBRUARY 28, 2013, 2:30 PM Organizations trying to decide whether and when to allow people to work remotely are stuck in the last century. In the 1950s, requiring employees to work in the same location made a lot of sense. But we’ve evolved, as civilizations tend to. Today we have numerous tools that allow us to work from literally anywhere on the planet. We are moving forward, and society is aligned in favor of a 24/7 economy that rewards personal responsibility and freedom. It’s not about who’s in the office vs. who’s gotten a special pass to work outside the building. Responsibility and freedom. Responsibility for the work, and the freedom to do it in a way that makes common sense. Managers are playing hall monitor instead of getting crystal clear with each employee about delivering measurable results. Managed flexibility is seriously outdated – just paternalistic behavior of granting permission for people to work outside of the 1952 constraints of time and place. Get clear on what needs to get done and how it's being measured, and stop managing how and where people do it. Organizations can trust their employees to own their work and manage their time without vintage H.R. policies about office hours or remote working. Managing someone’s time is a way of saying, “I don’t know how to effectively manage the work, so now I’m going to try to manage you.” Treat people like the adults that they are, and they will act like adults. Treat them like children, and you’ll find yourself with a workplace full of people who are watching the clock tick waiting for the bell so they can make a mass exodus. Our advice: Focus on managing the work, not the people. People can manage themselves. Get clear on what needs to get done and how it's being measured, and stop managing how and where people do it. If they don't deliver, they're out. No results? No job. 20 http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate Obama Should Invite an Obamacare Critic to the State of the Union Grace-Marie Turner Grace-Marie Turner is the president of the Galen Institute, a nonprofit research organization focusing on free-market ideas for health reform. She served on the Medicaid Commission from 2005 to 2006. UPDATED MARCH 5, 2014, 1:20 PM President Obama can be expected to invite Affordable Care Act enthusiasts to sit with the first lady, especially young people who have newly purchased health insurance in the exchanges. But this gesture could backfire with the millions of people whose health insurance has been cancelled because of the law and who cannot afford to replace it with expensive policies that meet its extensive rules and benefit mandates. If I were advising the president, I would recommend he try to calm the growing animosity toward the law by apologizing to those who have lost their coverage and inviting a former critic, especially someone with a chronic medical condition who now is able to get health insurance through the exchange. The disruption the law is creating to our health sector and economy is extensive, but the president could single out a few people representative of those who may even reluctantly have been helped by the law.
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