The killing of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African American teenager from Florida—and the jury’s subsequent acquittal of George Zimmerman, the white man who shot him. The fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teenager from Ferguson, Missouri, by white policeman Darren Wilson—and the decision by a grand jury not to indict the officer. The massacre of nine African Americans by a white supremacist at a Charleston church in June 2015. These are just a sampling of violent racially charged incidents that have taken place over past three years.
These episodes have sparked rage, disillusionment, sorrow, resentment, and confusion. According to a New York Times/CBS News pollconducted last month, nearly six in 10 Americans, including majorities of both white and black people, think race relations in the US are generally bad, and nearly four in 10 say the situation is worsening.
Yet in spite of this awareness and introspection, our country is still incapable of a coherent, intelligent national conversation about race. Indeed, the subject of race is so sensitive and so volatile that most people are apt to avoid it altogether. Why is that?
In the fall of 1977, the aspiring Harvard varsity basketball players used to play pickup games every afternoon. All of us were vying for the limited spots on the team. The competition was fierce. I remember one not particularly athletic guy, less of a thoroughbred and more of workhorse, a Clydesdale. I did not see him making the team, but Charlie Baker surprised us. He not only made the team, but turned out to be a terrific teammate.
Governor Baker’s challenges now are much bigger and more significant, but the same attributes he showed back then — a hard worker who knows his limits, a guy who doesn’t take himself too seriously, but is still comfortable being an enforcer when needed — have never left him. Read More »
In the US, a minority of individuals commit the majority of crimes. In fact, about two-thirds of released prisoners are arrested again within three years of getting out of jail.
This begs the question: is there a way to predict which prisoners are more likely to become repeat offenders?
Recidivism prediction is important because it has significant applications in terms of allocating social services, policy-making, sentencing, probation and bail. From judges to social workers, all parties involved need to be able to work together and understand the risk posed by various individuals. Read More »
I found the report quite interesting, both because I’ve been closely involved with innovation activities through a great part of my career, and because since 2005 I’ve been affiliated with MIT. Beyond MIT, the report should be of value to anyone interested in the growing importance of innovation to institutions, economies and societies around the world.
A decade ago I was part of the National Innovation Initiative, a major effort convened by the Council on Competitiveness to develop a U.S. innovation agenda. Its final report Innovate America: Thriving in a World of Challenge and Change, was released in December of 2004. The report did an excellent job in explaining the role innovation plays in U.S. competitiveness. It included more than 60 detailed recommendations in three major areas: talent, investment and infrastructure.