Best Idea Yet to Address Ebola

What should be done to more effectively manage the Ebola outbreak?  Listen to Laurie Garrett, arguably a top expert on infectious diseases and author of Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health:

While a great push is now underway for development of Ebola vaccines and treatments, nothing could immediately be a greater game-changer than a quick, reliable Ebola screening test. Such an assay would help quell the rising panic in the United States, prevent passage of laws that could be viewed as discriminatory against people of color and/or Africans, and provide nearly instantaneous hospital diagnosis. Rather than rattling the nerves of hundreds of Dallas parents afraid to return their children to classrooms visited by Duncan’s youngest contacts, public health officials could simply test the Duncan clan and assure the public that none are carrying Ebola.

via How to Keep Ebola Out of Your Neighborhood.

Selecting Leadership Potential: Weaknesses in the College Application System

Selecting a team of skilled negotiators, researchers, and leaders? We have some good examples of application processes that aim to find leadership potential. Adam Grant helpfully dissects the weaknesses of the current academic world, with an eye toward industry and even espionage as models.

The O.S.S. engaged a team of psychologists to establish an assessment unit. In 1944, the psychologist Donald W. MacKinnon ran Station S, where for 15 months he oversaw the assessment of hundreds of recruits, putting them through exhaustive personality tests and field trials. Over three and a half days, each candidate had to build up and maintain a comprehensive cover story. The candidates falsified their names, ages, professions and residences, and Dr. MacKinnon’s team evaluated their effectiveness, sending the highest-scoring spies on covert missions.
In 1956, the psychologist Douglas W. Bray pioneered the use of the assessment center in a corporate setting. At AT&T, Dr. Bray and several colleagues developed reliable techniques for evaluating new managers on attributes such as leadership skills, motivation and optimism, and succeeded in predicting the managers’ advancement rates and effectiveness.
Today, at a typical center, applicants spend a day completing a series of individual tasks, group activities and interviews. Some assessments are objectively scored for performance; others are observed by multiple trained evaluators looking for key behaviors.

We should learn from the spymasters and assess students in person.

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Understanding Airstrikes Against ISIS: A Few Resources

Take a look at a few resources to better understand the nature of the conflict against ISIS:

Who are the combatants and what is at stake?

Strategies & Tactics

Stay informed:

Miller on the Myths: Why Its Not Obama’s Fault

Aaron David Miller explains five “fictions we have to stop telling ourselves” to keep in mind when we analyze why we are in Syria/Iraq,  how we can be effective, and more importantly, what is really possible.

We’re clearly not yet on the verge of plunging into another pointless Americanasaurus charge much like the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

But last night’s airstrikes in Syria do represent an important escalation and expansion of the war against the Islamic State (IS) and other jihadist forces. And it’s imperative that we bring additional clarity to the problem of coordinating ends and means, and defining what our goals are, to avoid such an eventuality. Mission creep usually results from a certain amount of hysteria, a lack of clarity or confusion in goals, and, most complicating, a miscalculation of the means at our disposal with which to achieve those goals.

via Americanasaurus and the March to War in Syria.

Moyo: China Sets a Bad Example.

Making the case that China’s success isn’t worthy of emulation, economist Damboso Moyo suggests the following:

China’s track record is unquestionably impressive. But the Chinese model isn’t as viable as its admirers in the emerging world often think. First, unlike many emerging markets, China’s growth has been driven largely by exports. Its success has been dependent on the free markets of the West. Most other emerging-market economies are based on agricultural commodities—just the sort of produce that the U.S. and Europe undercut with their own domestic subsidies.


Second, an economic system with the state at its heart is inefficient because it dislocates markets. When the government is the ultimate economic arbiter, assets are inevitably mispriced, which hinders sustained, longer-term growth. It also creates imbalances between supply and demand, which can spark inflation and distort interest rates.


Finally, policies that mimic China may yield a short-term burst in employment, but they also produce serious negative externalities and economic dead weight. China itself is now grappling with massive debt woes in its financial sector, a property bubble that could burst at any time and pollution that slows growth.

via For Poor Countries, China Is No Model – WSJ.

Germany and France Won’t Dance Like Before

Whither France/German relations go, there goes Europe–and it doesn’t look like a helpful trend. In the face of a lingering financial crisis and Russia in Ukraine, the pressure is building.

That rhetorical volley was the latest example of how far the partners have drifted apart. While their formal relationship remains close, the power balance has shifted sharply since Europe’s debt crisis erupted, raising doubts about their ability to continue their traditional role of together leading Europe in new economic and political directions.

The two countries are in such different places — economically, socially and politically — that the vaunted partnership teeters on the verge of a breakdown, analysts warn.

“The problem is that the relationship has become deeply unbalanced,” said Dominique Moïsi, a senior adviser at the French Institute for International Relations. “The French and Germans are not playing in the same league any longer, and the overall equilibrium of Europe was depending on a relatively balanced relationship, which no longer exists.”

via Growing Imbalance Between Germany and France Strains Their Relationship –

Negotiating Over Workflow and Other Adventure in Office Politicx

Negotiation experts often say it’s a shrewd idea to make the first offer, and to be fairly aggressive about it — to “anchor” the negotiation that follows. Here’s what that could mean in this situation:

You get a request to fill out a report — or whatever — “as soon as possible.” You consider how soon you might actually be able to do it, given everything else you’re dealing with. Then you add some extra time.