Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

Book Review: Science Business

Monday, October 17th, 2011

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Pisano, Gary P. Science business : the promise, the reality, and the future of biotech. Harvard Business School Press, 2006.

Editor’s Note: Guest Reviewer Randall Mayes reviews an older book for our blog this week. But as he points out in his review, the issues raised by Pisano regarding the biotech industry boom are especially relevant in light of today’s uncertain economic climate.

In 2006, Harvard Business School professor and business analyst Gary Pisano wrote Science Business as a case study of the biotechnology industry. The significance of the book is more important today than when it was originally written. At the time, the economy was doing well, so who was asking questions?

Biotechnology is defined as new era in drug discovery which began in 1976 with the use of genetic engineering distinguishing it from when researchers used various other techniques. Although as a whole the biotechnology industry has done well revenue wise since its inception, actually only a few companies are profitable. Consequently, Pisano claims the biotech boom should not have occurred. This phenomenon presents a situation now known as the “Pisano Puzzle.”

After analyzing the biotech sector, Pisano has concerns with the biotech sector’s ability to adapt to other successful business models due to several factors. First, you have risk management with known unknowns which science can deal with; however, it is the unknown unknowns that are problematic. (more…)

Book Review: Alone Together

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

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Turkle, Sherry. Alone together : why we expect more from technology and less from each other. Basic Books, 2011.

When Duke’s Bostock Library was dedicated in 2005, the speaker from EDUCOM noted that the current generation of students used technology constantly to communicate. Students with cell phones and email were far more “connected” than students from the past. Yet while walking to the ceremony, I had passed a dozen students talking on their cell phones, and not one made eye contact as they passed by. They were oblivious to everything happening around them, as they gave their attention to someone far away.

Now we are in a world of texting, IMing and Facebook messaging through mobile devices 24/7. In a new book Alone Together, a faculty member at MIT says that young people monitor their smartphones constantly, at home, at school and when out with friends. They live in a world of continual partial attention. Instead of a personal and immediate contact of a telephone call, these young people text, making a connection when and where they want, with total control of their message. Texting allows them to keep in touch and keep at bay at the same time, substituting a quick message for connecting with each other face-to-face or voice-to-voice.


Book Review: Fatal System Error

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

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Menn, Joseph. Fatal system error : the hunt for the new crime lords who are bringing down the Internet. Public Affairs, 2010.

Cybercrime is serious business and the internet is more vulnerable than most people realize. A reporter for the Financial Times illustrates this important topic through a true story that reads like a crime thriller, taking the reader worldwide in this hunt for justice.

The story begins with a 25 year old computer nerd from California who is hired by an internet gambling business run out of Costa Rica. An unidentified hacker is crashing the website, causing millions in lost revenues, until protection money is paid. As the story unfolds, the hackers evolve from small time thieves to an organized gang of Russian extortionists. The gambling business reveals itself as controlled by criminals, including the Mob, who are also involved with identity theft and internet fraud.

As the story moves to Moscow, author Menn introduces his second colorful character, a British high-tech agent, and describes a world where top cyber criminals are protected by the Russian government. Prosecution is impossible because the governments in Russia and China are allies of organized crime for political purposes, such as stealing defense secrets of other governments and monitoring political dissidents.

At the end of the book, Menn calls for readers to be more vigilant about security on their own hardware, by using anti-virus software that updates automatically and to guard personal information on social networks.

© Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.

Book Review: The Shallows

Monday, November 15th, 2010

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Carr, Nicholas G. The shallows : what the Internet is doing to our brains. Norton, 2010.

Technology writer Nicholas Carr’s new work is about the effect of the Internet on our brains. Carr argues that the calm, focused minds of book readers are being replaced by a new mind that takes in information in intense disjointed bursts. This new mind of the internet user is easily distracted, and finds it difficult to pay attention and to engage in learning.

For centuries, printed books have been the foundation of our culture. Soon after Gutenberg’s invention made books inexpensive, reading became the primary means of exchanging knowledge and experience. The act of reading a book required sustained attention to a static object. Engaging deeply with written words was not a natural state for human beings and our brains needed years of training to do it effectively. The practice of reading changed the physical structure of our brains, promoting our ability to think deeply and creatively.

Then came the Internet. Carr argues that reading on the internet is different from the reading of printed books. When people use the internet, they read in rapid bursts, sampling bits of information from many sources. Frequent use changes the brain’s neural pathways, compromising the ability to concentrate and to contemplate. (more…)

Book Reviews: Tech Innovation and Insight in the Triangle

Friday, November 5th, 2010


These two titles prove that technological innovation and insight can be “locally grown” in our market of ideas just down the road from Durham, in Research Triangle Park and Raleigh, NC.

Click the titles below for information on location and availability.

  • Brilliant: Shuji Nakamura and the revolution in lighting technology. by Bob Johnstone. Prometheus Books, 2007..
    Inspirational story of a young researcher from rural Japan, who invented the technology that underlies the solid-state lighting industry, energy-saving LED’s. After an impressive string of achievements in semiconductor research, he left his Japanese company, which then sued him for leaking trade secrets to Cree Research, based in Research Triangle Park, NC.
  • On the grid : a plot of land, an average neighborhood, and the systems that make our world work. by Scott Huler. Rodale / McMillan, 2010.
    Beginning with the systems in his Raleigh, NC home, author Scott Huler investigates the infrastructure and the workers who make his existence livable. He discusses water, electricity, and the internet; sewage removal; street and highway construction, while providing insight into why this complicated structure doesn’t collapse, or why it works as well as it does.

© Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.

Book Review: Can Capitalism Survive?

Monday, October 26th, 2009

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Schumpeter, Joseph A. Can capitalism survive? : creative destruction and the future of the global economy. Harper Perennial, 2009.

A role of economists is to provide economic analysis of recessions such as the current one created by the financial crisis and provide strategies for restoring economic growth and prosperity.

Leading up to the current recession, The Federal Reserve lowered interest rates to make housing more affordable, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac developed a federal program enabling people to qualify for homes that ordinarily would not.

Subsequently, people purchased homes they could not afford and some lost their jobs due to the recession. Wall Street banks invested too heavily in risky loans rather than diversifying, accumulating toxic assets leading to tremendous losses.

Hayek goes as far to say that central banking destabilizes the economy. In the recent recession, government intervention led to inflation, over building, a housing bubble, and then economic indicators became unrealistic.

In addition to the destabilized housing market, the financial crisis had a ripple effect on travel, retail, the automobile and oil industries, and led to significant number of lost jobs.

Can Capitalism Survive? is excerpted from Joseph Schumpeter’s 1942 classic Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy. This is where he proposed business cycles are caused by technological innovation, referred to as creative destruction. In Capitalist economies, markets eliminate obsolete technologies and utilize innovations to create new avenues for economic growth. (more…)

Cell Phone Use in The Library

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

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One of our Library users has shared a concern with the Library Staff over cell phone use in the Library.

Please be considerate of your fellow Library users, and follow the two simple guidelines below regarding cell phone use in the Library.

1. Set your cell phone to vibrate or silent mode.

2. If you get a call while in the Library, please take the call in:


  • one of the copier rooms (located near the circulation desk or at the back of the Library)
  • one of the Library restrooms
  • in the hall outside the Library

Thanks for your consideration and cooperation!

Ford Library Joins Twitter

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

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Ford Library has created a presence on Twitter to give you fast, byte-sized access to important Library news.

Twitter is a web site/service that lets you send and receive up to 140 characters worth of quick info or news about what you happen to be doing at any given moment. You can also receive updates or “tweets” via your favorite IM software or over your cell phone.

You can follow us on the Twitter web site (no account necessary), or sign up to receive our updates via IM or cell phone. We’ve also embedded a Twitter widget on our Library Info page to show you our 3 most recent updates when you visit our site.

Please feel free to send any comments or questions about our new Twitter service to:

Return to the Ford Library Home Page

New Library Catalog Coming Soon!

Monday, July 7th, 2008

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All Duke University Libraries (including Ford Library) will be releasing a new version of our online library catalog on Wednesday, July 9th.

The new online catalog interface will include many new features and functions:

  • improved display of holdings and locations (which library has what book)
  • single click search refinement (show results by library, format, and more)
  • book cover image displays
  • save searches as persistent bookmarks
  • save/view searches as dynamically updated RSS feeds
  • and more …

We encourage you to try out the new catalog interface before Wednesday to get a feel for how to perform all the searches and operations that you’re familiar with in our current catalog interface.

The “Classic” catalog interface will still be accessible (although not indefinitely!) from within the new catalog.

Please feel free to send any comments or questions about the new catalog to:

Return to the Ford Library Home Page

Book Review: 24/7, How Cell Phones and the Internet …

Friday, March 21st, 2008

amazon book cover image imageHanson, Jarice. 24/7: How Cell Phones and the Internet Change the Way We Live, Work, and Play. Praeger, 2007.

Media guru Marshall McLuhan had a famous slogan in the 1960’s, “The medium is message”. He meant that communication media had a meaning separate from the content. At the time, he was talking about television and film. But the slogan still applies. Technology changes the culture and the way people relate to each other. Every generation has a particular communication technology that helps to define their worldview and their way of communicating.

Author Jarice Hanson claims that in their short histories, cell phones and the internet have sparked significant changes to traditional attitudes, values and behaviors. Perceptions of time and space are altering. Public and private activities are blurring.