Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Names Matter

Note: When published [bracketed material] was deleted for space reasons from the column as submitted.

Newspapers and Libraries Outgrow Names
Nicholas Johnson
The Gazette, March 21, 2023, p. A5
A rose with onion for its name
Might never, never smell the same --
And canny is the nose that knows
An onion that is called a rose

[Photo credit: Wikimedia commons. Sniff the photo of this onion. See. It doesn't smell like a rose now, does it?]

Names matter. Especially for new things, skills, or institutions that tend to be labeled by what’s gone before.

When people and plows were moved by horses, what were the first locomotive and automobile called? The “iron horse” and “horseless carriage.” And how do we still measure cars’ get up and go? In “horsepower.”

The same fate fell upon “libraries” and “newspapers.”

The word “library” came from the Latin “liber,” for “book,” and could refer to either the collection or its physical location. Today a walk through the essential community centers we call the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City public libraries reveals how many of the services they provide don’t involve “books.” They offer equipment loans, meeting rooms, events, voting, assistance with tax returns and local services, a cup of coffee and so much more.

But no community institution is more essential than what we persist in calling “newspapers.”

“Communication” is a central requirement for any successful organization, whether a corporation, family, or urban community. A multibillion-dollar portion of the military budget goes to C3 -- “Command, Control, and Communications.”

Having gone from drums, smoke signals and couriers, then conversations on the commons and broadsides on the walls, it was a short hop during the 1600s to create multiple copies of “news” on “paper.”

Newspapers, like libraries, have outgrown their 400-years-old moniker. [They are no more limited to “news” on “paper” than libraries are limited to “books.”]

Consider The Gazette. There have been changes over 140 years in its range of content; technology of reporting, printing, and delivery; and ever increasing societal contributions.

Content. International, national, state and regional news now supplement the local. There’s a “Kids Gazette,” comics, TV schedule, and puzzles. Sections for sports and business, plus [157] magazines or special sections like “Healthy You” and “Her.”

Technology. From a hand-fed press to a 386-ton full color printing press. Early ownership of radio and television stations and a telephone news service. Today’s Web site, Green Gazette, and 18 single-focus emailed newsletters like "On Iowa Politics" and "Today’s Business News."

Community contributions. The Gazette, like most newspapers, provides a range of coverage needed by many community segments of its diverse readership – voters, parents and teachers, shoppers, public officials, business owners, taxpayers.

And consider the expanding range of community benefits that don’t involve paper. The Insight page, annual and multiple week-long Iowa Ideas, are like a think tank, or university program. Its newspaper archives and Time Machine supplement the Iowa Historical Library. Pints & Politics is its version of Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update -- with facts. [The Business Breakfasts. The Her Events.] The Gazette Gives Back -- $500 thousand worth of advertising for non-profits.

Once literally library and newspaper, they are now two essential institutions that require our support – and more descriptive names.

Nicholas Johnson is the author of What Do You Mean and How Do You Know? mailbox@nicholasjohnson.org

Note: Today (May 21) is "World Poetry Day," https://www.unesco.org/en/world-poetry-day.

An Onion that’s Been Called a Rose. Author not identified; quoted in Wendell Johnson, Your Most Enchanted Listener, 1956, p. 5 (“A rose with onion for its name Might never, never smell the same -- And canny is the nose that knows An onion that is called a rose”)

Iron Horse, Horseless Carriage, Horsepower. “Travelling by Stagecoach,” Discovering Historic Milestones, Iowa Department of Transportation, https://iowadot.gov/histbook.pdf (“Despite its popularity, many problems plagued travel by stage. Mud and plank roads, winter blizzards, prairie fires and robberies added up to discomfort and long delays. Stages gave way to the railroad or the “Iron Horse” when smaller communities received rail connections. The last coach of the Western Stage Company left Des Moines on July 1, 1870. p. 5. . . . The first automobiles displayed in Iowa were shown at a fair in Linn County in 1899. In 1905 there were 799 horseless carriages or motor cars in Iowa. At first they were merely regarded as a curiosity, and few people saw the practical application of such contraptions. However, by 1915 Iowa ranked first in the nation in the number of automobiles per capita (147,078 registered vehicles). By 1927 there was one motor vehicle for every 3.31 persons, and automobiles were responsible for 85 percent of total highway traffic in the state. p. 12) . . . Miller House Museum . . . 1857 home of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Miller, interprets Victorian lifestyle and economic development of Iowa’s Half Breed Tract from horsepower to aviation, especially hydroelectric power. Special exhibits include the building of the dam and powerhouse.”

Origin of “library.” “Library.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/library (“1a: a place in which literary, musical, artistic, or reference materials (such as books, manuscripts, recordings, or films) are kept for use but not for sale 1b: a collection of such materials Etymology Middle English, from Anglo-French librarie, Medieval Latin librarium, from Latin, neuter of librarius of books, from libr-, liber inner bark, rind, book First Known Use 14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a”) [Note “libr-, liber … book] Google translate from English “book” to Latin “liber”]

“Definition of a Library: General Definition,” American Library Association, https://libguides.ala.org/library-definition (“In The Librarian’s Book of Lists (Chicago: ALA, 2010), George Eberhart offers this definition: "A library is a collection of resources in a variety of formats that is (1) organized by information professionals or other experts who (2) provide convenient physical, digital, bibliographic, or intellectual access and (3) offer targeted services and programs (4) with the mission of educating, informing, or entertaining a variety of audiences (5) and the goal of stimulating individual learning and advancing society as a whole." (p.1) This definition is in turn compiled from: (1) Heartsill Young, ed., The ALA Glossary of Library and Information Science (ALA, 1983) (2) Robert S. Martin, "Libraries and Learners in the Twenty-First Century," Cora Paul Bomar Lecture, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, April 5, 2003. (3) Deanna B. Marcum, "Research Questions for the Digital Era Library," Library Trends 51 (Spring 2003): 636-651.”)

Vicky Chilton, “A Brief History of Libraries,” Oxford Open Learning, Jan. 18, 2022, https://www.ool.co.uk/blog/a-brief-history-of-libraries/ (“The First Libraries It is believed that the first libraries appeared five thousand years ago in Southwest Asia’s Fertile Crescent, an area that ran from Mesopotamia to the Nile. The world’s oldest known library is believed to be The Library of Ashurbanipal. which was founded sometime in the 7th century B.C. for the “royal contemplation” of the Assyrian ruler Ashurbanipal. Located in Nineveh in modern day Iraq, the site included a trove of some 30,000 cuneiform tablets organized according to subject matter. The library, named after Ashurbanipal, in fact the last great king of the Assyrian Empire, is a collection of more than 30,000 clay tablets and fragments containing contemporary texts of all kinds, including a number in various languages.”)

Cedar Rapids Public Library, crlibrary.org The top six categories on its website reveal the range of resources and services: Calendar of Events, Digital Resources, Ebooks & Streaming, FAQ, Reserve a Room, Support the Library

“More to Borrow,” Iowa City Public Library, icpl.org (Adventure Pass, Art to Go, Equipment (e.g., laptop, DVD and CD players), Games, Toys, Kits (Discovery, Book Club, Read With Me); “Community Resources,” Meeting Rooms, Local Assistance Resources [12])

“Iowa City Public Library,” City of Iowa City, https://www.icgov.org/city-government/departments-and-divisions/iowa-city-public-library (“The Iowa City Public Library is a center of community life that connects people of all ages with information, engages them with the world of ideas and with each other, and enriches the community by supporting learning, promoting literacy, and encouraging creativity.”)

“The Iowa City Public Library – Celebrating 125 Years,” [1896-2021] Our Iowa Heritage, https://ouriowaheritage.com/iclibrary-125/ (history of public library in Iowa City with pictures; emphasis limited to books)

Population in Cities. “68% of the world population projected to live in urban areas by 2050, says UN,” Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations, May 16, 2018, https://www.un.org/development/desa/en/news/population/2018-revision-of-world-urbanization-prospects.html (“Today, 55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 68% by 2050. . . . The urban population of the world has grown rapidly from 751 million in 1950 to 4.2 billion in 2018.”)

C3. “Command, Control, and Communications,” https://comptroller.defense.gov/Portals/45/Documents/defbudget/fy2003/budget_justification/pdfs/01_Operation_and_Maintenance/overview/23_C3.pdf (“Command, control, and communications (C3) resources provide seamless base level and worldwide communication networks for voice, data, and imagery traffic of sufficient quality, reliability, and flexibility to ensure responsive support to U.S. forces. This information infrastructure contains communications networks, computers, software, databases, applications, data, security services, and other capabilities that meet the information processing and transport needs of DoD users. . . . The FY 2003 budget request of $4,246.5 million includes price increases of $70.1 million and a net program increase of $246.0 million (6.1 percent) above the FY 2002 funding level.”)

Early communications. “History of Telecommunication,” Mitel, https://www.mitel.com/articles/history-telecommunication (“From prehistoric man with their signal fires to the smartphone-wielding high-powered executives of today, communication still remains a key for survival and success. . . . Prehistoric Era: Fires, beacons, smoke signals, communication drums, horns: Man's first attempts at distance communication were extremely limited. Prehistoric man relied on fire and smoke signals as well as drum messages . . . History of Communication 6th century BCE: Mail: Cyrus the Great was a Persian emperor . . . credited as having established the first postal system in the history of the world. on. Cyrus the Great 5th century BCE: Pigeon post: Persia and Syria are credited with establishing the first pigeon messaging system around the 5th century BCE . . . . The Pigeon Post 4th century BCE: Hydraulic semaphore: In the 4th century BCE, the hydraulic semaphore was designed in ancient Greece as a method of communication . . .. Hydraulic Semaphore Circa 490 BCE: Heliographs (shield signals): The heliograph or shield signal . . . involves the shining of the sun on a polished object like a shield or mirror. . . . 15th century CE: Maritime flag semaphore: The ability to communicate between ships was very difficult before the 15th century. At that time, flag semaphore, a special code involving the positions of two hand-held flags, was introduced. . . .”)

Broadsides. Broadside (printing), Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broadside_(printing) (“A broadside is a large sheet of paper printed on one side only.[1] Historically in Europe, broadsides were used as posters, announcing events or proclamations, giving political views, commentary in the form of ballads, or simply advertisements.”)

Origin of “newspaper.” David Mikkelson, “Etymology of ‘News,’” Snopes, April 26, 2001, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/news-etymology/ False: “The word news is an acronym formed from the words north, east, west, and south.” “news . . . is the plural of the word ‘new.’” "Notable Events, Weather, and Sports" “North, East, West, South, Past and Present Event Report." True: “A newspaper is so named because it is literally paper on which has been printed information about recent events (i.e., 'news').”

“newspaper,” Merriam-Webster Dictionary, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/newspaper (“a paper that is printed and distributed usually daily or weekly and that contains news, articles of opinion, features, and advertising”)

Amy Tikkanen, “newspaper,” Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/topic/newspaper (“Forerunners of the modern newspaper include the Acta diurna (“daily acts”) of ancient Rome—posted announcements of political and social events . . ..Rudimentary newspapers appeared in many European countries in the 17th century, and broadsheets with social news were published in Japan in the Tokugawa period (1603–1867). The first English corantos appeared in London in 1621. By the 1640s the news book had taken the form of a newspaper—the title page being dropped. . . . The first newspaper in the United States, Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick (Boston, September 1690), was suppressed by the colonial governor after one issue. . . . Freedom of the press was advanced in a landmark case in 1735 when John Peter Zenger, a New York City newspaper publisher, was acquitted of libel on the defense that his political criticism was based on fact. Press freedom in the United States was further secured by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (1791). . . . By the mid-19th century, there were 400 dailies and 3,000 weekly papers in the United States. . . . Early in the 20th century, the number of American papers reached a peak (more than 2,000 dailies and 14,000 weeklies).

The Gazette’s Content, Technology and Community Contributions. Numerous sources; among them the following. The wide and lengthy variety of the content at the Gazette’s website, https://www.thegazette.com/

“Celebrating 140 Years of the Gazette,” Jan. 10, 2023, https://www.thegazette.com/special-sections/celebrating-140-years-of-the-gazette/ (full digital edition)

“Highlights of The Gazette’s 140 years; First edition published Jan. 10, 1883,” The Gazette, Jan. 10, 2023, https://www.thegazette.com/news/highlights-of-the-gazettes-140-years/

Zack Kucharski, “A past to remember, a future to report; Gazette’s 140th anniversary prompts reflection of how local news operations benefit communities,” Jan. 9, 2023, https://www.thegazette.com/news/a-past-to-remember-a-future-to-report/

Zack Kucharski, “Strengthening Connections to the Community,” The Gazette, June 28, 2015, https://www.thegazette.com/guest-columnists/strengthening-connections-to-the-community/

Special sections, https://www.thegazette.com/special-sections (13 pages of 12 each = 157; 2017-2023 = “6 years”)

The Gazette offers a variety of daily and monthly newsletters covering a variety of topics. https://rewards.thegazette.com/newsletters/8K8oN6B3QaM6CYNNg4iEB8ga (18 newsletters)

Podcasts, https://www.thegazette.com/gazette-news-podcast/

Historical Museum. “The State Historical Museum of Iowa,” State Historical Society of Iowa, Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, https://iowaculture.gov/history/museum (“The State Historical Museum of Iowa is in the State Historical Building of Iowa, just west of the State Capitol in Des Moines. The building also houses one of two State Historical Society of Iowa Research Centers, including the State Historical Library and Archives.”)

Saturday Night Live. “Saturday Night Live,” https://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live

Weekend Update, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weekend_Update (“Weekend Update is a Saturday Night Live sketch and satirical news program that comments on and parodies current events. It is the show's longest-running recurring sketch, having been on since the show's first broadcast . . ..”)

The Gazette Give Back Non-Profits. https://rewards.thegazette.com/nonprofits

Give Back FAQs, https://rewards.thegazette.com/nonprofits/faq

The Gazette Gives Back, https://rewards.thegazette.com/givesback (“In 2023, The Gazette Gives Back and program sponsor Collins Community Credit Union will provide area nonprofits with $525,000 in free advertising credit.”)

# # #

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Bill Lear and the Car Radio

Note: "History of the Car Radio" was sent to me by Sherman Johnson. It was one of those things that sometimes show up on Facebook or in circulating emails without any reference to source or authorship. I am reproducing it here for two reasons.

(1) In my most recent column, posted in the blog as "I'd Give Anything" [in The Gazette as, "Your Choices Make a Difference," The Gazette, March 8, 2023, p. A6, https://fromdc2iowa.blogspot.com/2023/03/id-give-anything.html] I comment that those with little academic curiosity, who want a college diploma primarily because they've heard it will provide more income than a high school diploma, might want to consider the trades (by implication, perhaps community college training). The rather remarkable life of Bill Lear (yes, also the Lear Jet Lear), at the center of the "History of the Car Radio," is that of someone whose "diploma" was for an eighth grade education -- thus providing some support for my assertion in the "I'd Give Anything" piece that "Most of what students gain from their education is the result of their own curiosity, dedication, and effort."

(2) As a former FCC commissioner and radio amateur I continue to write about radio from time to time and am interested in its history. See, e.g., the recent, "What Happened to Radio [in The Gazette as, "Right-Wing Takeover of Radio," The Gazette, February 8, 2023, p. A6, https://fromdc2iowa.blogspot.com/2023/02/what-happened-to-radio.html]

Happily, a quick check with Wikipedia provided source material for at least some of the assertions in "History of Car Radio." "Bill Lear," Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Lear, e.g. "After discharge, and with a young family, "he decided to complete his high school education. Starting a radio repair shop in his home, which he could tend nights, Lear enrolled at Tulsa Central High School, taking eight solids, heavy on the math. He was at the point of wrapping up the entire four-year curriculum in one, when he was again dismissed for showing up teachers."[3]: 12–18." I assume any scholars seeking more confirmation about the life of Bill Lear will be able to find it. [Photo credit: Wikipedia.]

-- Nicholas Johnson, March 11, 2023


Seems like cars have always had radios, but they didn't.

Here's the story:

One evening, in 1929, two young men named William Lear and Elmer Wavering drove their girlfriends to a lookout point high above the Mississippi River town of Quincy, Illinois, to watch the sunset.

It was a romantic night to be sure, but one of the women observed that it would be even nicer if they could listen to music in the car.

Lear and Wavering liked the idea. Both men had tinkered with radios (Lear served as a radio operator in the U.S. Navy during World War I) and it wasn't long before they were taking apart a home radio and trying to get it to work in a car.

But it wasn't easy: automobiles have ignition switches, generators, spark plugs, and other electrical equipment that generate noisy static interference, making it nearly impossible to listen to the radio when the engine was running.

One by one, Lear and Wavering identified and eliminated each source of electrical interference. When they finally got their radio to work, they took it to a radio convention in Chicago.

There they met Paul Galvin, owner of Galvin Manufacturing Corporation. He made a product called a "battery eliminator", a device that allowed battery-powered radios to run on household AC current.

But as more homes were wired for electricity, more radio manufacturers made AC-powered radios.

Galvin needed a new product to manufacture. When he met Lear and Wavering at the radio convention, he found it. He believed that mass-produced, affordable car radios had the potential to become a huge business.

Lear and Wavering set up shop in Galvin's factory, and when they perfected their first radio, they installed it in his Studebaker.

Then Galvin went to a local banker to apply for a loan. Thinking it might sweeten the deal, he had his men install a radio in the banker's Packard.

Good idea, but it didn't work. Half an hour after the installation, the banker's Packard caught on fire. (They didn't get the loan.)

Galvin didn't give up. He drove his Studebaker nearly 800 miles to Atlantic City to show off the radio at the 1930 Radio Manufacturers Association convention.

Too broke to afford a booth, he parked the car outside the convention hall and cranked up the radio so that passing conventioneers could hear it. That idea worked -- He got enough orders to put the radio into production. WHAT'S IN A NAME

That first production model was called the 5T71.

Galvin decided he needed to come up with something a little catchier. In those days many companies in the phonograph and radio businesses used the suffix "ola" for their names - Radiola, Columbiola, and Victrola were three of the biggest.

Galvin decided to do the same thing, and since his radio was intended for use in a motor vehicle, he decided to call it the Motorola.

But even with the name change, the radio still had problems: When Motorola went on sale in 1930, it cost about $110 uninstalled, at a time when you could buy a brand-new car for $650, and the country was sliding into the Great Depression. (By that measure, a radio for a new car would cost about $3,000 today.)

In 1930, it took two men several days to put in a car radio -- The dashboard had to be taken apart so that the receiver and a single speaker could be installed, and the ceiling had to be cut open to install the antenna.

These early radios ran on their own batteries, not on the car battery, so holes had to be cut into the floorboard to accommodate them.

The installation manual had eight complete diagrams and 28 pages of instructions. Selling complicated car radios that cost 20 percent of the price of a brand-new car wouldn't have been easy in the best of times, let alone during the Great Depression.

Galvin lost money in 1930 and struggled for a couple of years after that. But things picked up in 1933 when Ford began offering Motorola's pre-installed at the factory.

In 1934 they got another boost when Galvin struck a deal with B.F. Goodrich tire company to sell and install them in its chain of tire stores.

By then the price of the radio, with installation included, had dropped to $55. The Motorola car radio was off and running. (The name of the company would be officially changed from Galvin Manufacturing to "Motorola" in 1947.)

In the meantime, Galvin continued to develop new uses for car radios. In 1936, the same year that it introduced push-button tuning, it also introduced the Motorola Police Cruiser, a standard car radio that was factory preset to a single frequency to pick up police broadcasts.

In 1940 he developed the first handheld two-way radio -- The Handy-Talkie for the U. S. Army.

A lot of the communications technologies that we take for granted today were born in Motorola labs in the years that followed World War II.

In 1947 they came out with the first television for under $200.

In 1956 the company introduced the world's first pager; in 1969 came the radio and television equipment that was used to televise Neil Armstrong's first steps on the Moon.

In 1973 it invented the world's first handheld cellular phone.

Today Motorola is one of the largest cell phone manufacturers in the world.

And it all started with the car radio.

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO the two men who installed the first radio in Paul Galvin's car? Elmer Wavering and William Lear, ended up taking very different paths in life.

Wavering stayed with Motorola. In the 1950's he helped change the automobile experience again when he developed the first automotive alternator, replacing inefficient and unreliable generators. The invention led to such luxuries as power windows, power seats, and, eventually, air-conditioning.

Lear also continued inventing. He holds more than 150 patents. Remember eight-track tape players? Lear invented that.

But what he's really famous for are his contributions to the field of aviation. He invented radio direction finders for planes, aided in the invention of the autopilot, designed the first fully automatic aircraft landing system, and in 1963 introduced his most famous invention of all, the Lear Jet, the world's first mass-produced, affordable business jet. (Not bad for a guy who dropped out of school after the eighth grade.)

Sometimes it is fun to find out how some of the many things that we take for granted actually came into being!

AND It all started with a woman's suggestion!!

# # #

Wednesday, March 08, 2023

I'd Give Anything

Your Choices Make a Difference
Nicholas Johnson
The Gazette, March 8, 2023, p. A6

Following a concert, a member of the audience approached the pianist, gushing “I’d give anything to play like that.” To which the pianist replied, “No, you probably wouldn’t.”

Taken aback, the audience member asked, “Why do you say that?” The response? “Because you wouldn’t be willing to put in the necessary years of daily practice.”

Kind of like the lost tourist in Manhattan who asked a stranger, “How can I get to Carnegie Hall?” and was told, “Practice, practice, practice.”

I was reminded of these stories when reading Jeff Linder’s Gazette report of the amazing Caitlin Clark’s three-point, last second miracle to beat Indiana. What caught my eye was Clark’s comment: “I’ve shot a lot of those, whether it was with my two brothers in the driveway, a lot by myself.”

Many household names today began early (Tiger Woods at age three). Thousands of practice hours followed, whether from love of the game or adult pressure.

Most of us want to have fun with activities beyond work, not become GOAT (greatest of all time).

A similar fork in the road affects our education.

Richard Nixon’s Duke law school classmates nicknamed him “Iron Butt,” because he studied longer hours than anyone else. That’s worth sharing with today’s college undergraduates.

[Photo credit: wikimedia, commons. This is not Richard Nixon at Duke. It is "Jardin du Musee Rodin Paris Le Penseur" ("The Thinker"). The Thinker is trying to remember what was the first thing he was going to do this morning. (It was to put on his clothes before he went outside to sit on the rock.)]

Most of what students gain from their education is the result of their own curiosity, dedication, and effort. Not choosing easy courses to increase their grade point average, but courses to expand their knowledge and skills.

Sadly, some schools, students and parents cheat themselves and deprecate these motives by focusing on the economics of education in a capitalist society (“Iowa’s universities contribute $15 billion to Iowa’s economy;” “a college degree will add $1 million to your lifetime income”). Their goal is the diploma and job.

Even if one’s goal is increased income, the additional $1 million lifetime income claim is qualified with dozens of variables. As some Facebook users characterize their relationship, “it’s complicated.”

And reflect on Inc. magazine’s report that over a third of Fortune 500 CEOs are bringing the range of knowledge and skills of a liberal arts education to solving today’s unanticipated challenges.

Today’s cost of a diploma (tuition, associated costs, four years’ lost wages) can easily run over $100 or $200 thousand. If a student lacks interest in academic study, and the goal is future income, the trades may provide more satisfaction and pay than a diploma.

An auto mechanic -- honest, friendly, and highly skilled – who doesn’t charge for minor repairs, and gives customers alternatives to $2000 solutions, ultimately will do very well financially compared to the college graduate who’s now asking customers, “Do you want fries with that?”

Becoming one of the world’s best at what you do has satisfactions.

But getting there is iffy, even with thousands of practice hours. The goal of being good (not greatest) at a variety of life experiences has different benefits.

Fork in the road? Your choices make a difference.

Nicholas Johnson never aspired to becoming GOAT at anything. mailbox@nicholasjohnson.org

I’d give anything. Sorry, but I can neither find with a Google search nor recall when I first heard this story and therefore can’t guarantee whether it is a true tale or just a story. Ditto for “How can I get to Carnegie Hall?”

Caitlin Clark. Jeff Linder, “This one lives up to the hype, and then some: Iowa 86, Indiana 85; Caitlin Clark nails a 3-pointer at the buzzer to edge the No. 2 Hoosiers,” The Gazette, Feb. 26, 2023, https://www.thegazette.com/iowa-basketball/this-one-lives-up-to-the-hype-and-then-some-iowa-86-indiana-85/ (“'I’ve shot a lot of those, whether it was with my two brothers in the driveway, a lot by myself,’ Clark said.”)

Tiger Woods. Devika, “Throwback Article Reveals How Tiger Woods Used to Dominate Golf as a 3-Year-Old,” Essentially Sports, Sept 19, 2021, https://www.essentiallysports.com/pga-tour-golf-news-throwback-article-reveals-how-tiger-woods-used-to-dominate-golf-as-a-3-year-old/ (“Before he was five, Eldrick ‘Tiger’ Woods was proving that he might be on his way to becoming a golf legend. In a 1981 Golf Digest article speaking of a five-year-old Woods, a stat about his golf skills when he was three steals the show. According to Golf Digest, a three-year-old Woods ‘recorded a 48 for nine holes’ at the regulation course Navy Golf, Costa Mesa, and Los Alamitos. The course measured 6750 yards. ‘The kid’s not exceptional,’ said golf professional Rudy Duran. ‘He’s way beyond that.’”)

Richard Nixon. Dwight Garner, “A Memoir That Might Inspire You to Break a Sweat,” New York Times, Dec. 10, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/10/books/review-incomplete-book-running-peter-sagal.html (“In “Nixon Agonistes” (1970), his matchless book of reportage and analysis, Garry Wills explored why Richard Nixon succeeded while smarter and more charismatic politicians did not. Among Wills’s conclusions: Nixon had what peers called an “iron butt,” a willingness to sit and study harder than everyone else.”)

John Krull, “The lonely wars of Richard Nixon,” [Terre Haute, IN] ribune-Star, March 30, 2018, https://www.tribstar.com/opinion/columns/john-krull-the-lonely-wars-of-richard-nixon/article_dc675e6a-3448-11e8-9231-1b1fc1bc6e9a.html (“He [Nixon] was studious, a man who climbed so high because he worked harder than anyone around him. In law school at Duke University, his classmates nicknamed him “Iron Butt,” because he could labor over the books longer than anyone else.”)

10,000 hour rule. Nathan Colin Wong, “The 10,000-Hour Rule,” Can Urol Assoc J. 2015 Sep-Oct; 9(9-10): 299, National Library of Medicine, Sep-Oct 2015, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4662388/ (“The book “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell . . . explores factors that contributed to the high levels of success of some individuals. . . . In the second chapter, Gladwell introduces the concept of the “10 000-Hour Rule” and how it helped the Beatles become world famous musicians . . .. Throughout his book, Gladwell repeatedly refers to the “10 000-hour rule,” asserting that the key to achieving true expertise in any skill is simply a matter of practicing, albeit in the correct way, for at least 10 000 hours. . . . This, however, is an oversimplification. Gladwell later describes how family, culture and friendship are all critical in any individual’s success.”)

Ben Carter, “Can 10,000 hours of practice make you an expert?” BBC News, March 1, 2014, https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26384712 (“The 10,000-hours concept can be traced back to a 1993 paper written by Anders Ericsson, a Professor at the University of Colorado, called The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance.

It highlighted the work of a group of psychologists in Berlin, who had studied the practice habits of violin students in childhood, adolescence and adulthood.

All had begun playing at roughly five years of age with similar practice times. However, at age eight, practice times began to diverge. By age 20, the elite performers had averaged more than 10,000 hours of practice each, while the less able performers had only done 4,000 hours of practice.

The psychologists didn't see any naturally gifted performers emerge and this surprised them. If natural talent had played a role it wouldn't have been unreasonable to expect gifted performers to emerge after, say, 5,000 hours.

Anders Ericsson concluded that "many characteristics once believed to reflect innate talent are actually the result of intense practice extended for a minimum of 10 years".

It is Malcolm Gladwell's hugely popular book, Outliers, that is largely responsible for introducing "the 10,000-hour rule" to a mass audience - it's the name of one of the chapters. . . .

But is there a simpler way to think about all this? Maybe talented people just practice more and try harder at the thing they're already good at - because they enjoy it?”)

Iowa’s Universities. Vanessa Miller, “Regent Report Finds Universities Have $15B Impact in Iowa; ‘One out of every 10 jobs in Iowa is supported’ by regents’ campuses,” The Gazette, Feb. 23, 2023, https://www.thegazette.com/higher-education/regent-report-finds-universities-have-15b-impact-in-iowa/ (“A new study shows that the benefits of a bachelor’s degree from Iowa’s public universities will amount to $1 million in higher earnings than from a high school diploma or equivalent. . . . With lawmakers in the throes of deciding how much money to appropriate Iowa’s public universities for the upcoming budget year, the Board of Regents this week released a new “economic impact report” showing its campuses collectively added $14.9 billion to the state’s economy in the 2022 budget year. . . . Put another way, over a working lifetime, benefits of a bachelor’s degree will amount to $1 million in higher earnings than a high school diploma or equivalent.”)

Million-dollar diploma. Anthony P. Carnevale, Stephen J. Rose and Ban Cheah, “The College Payoff; Education, Occupations, Lifetime Earnings,” The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, https://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/reg/hearulemaking/2011/collegepayoff.pdf (“In fact, 14 percent of people with a high school diploma make at least as much as the median earnings of those with a Bachelor’s degree, and 17 percent of people with a Bachelor’s degree make more than the median earnings of those with a Professional degree. A lot of this overlap can be explained by the occupations in which individuals are found. . . . 28 percent of workers with Associate’s degrees earn more than the median earnings of workers with Bachelor’s degrees. . . . 7 percent of people with less than a high school diploma earn more than the typical worker with a Bachelor’s degree. At the extreme, the most successful 1 percent of less than high school workers has at least the median lifetime earnings of those with a Professional degree.”)

Hunter Rawlings, “Stop Treating College Like a Commodity,” Des Moines Register, June 13, 2015, https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/2015/06/14/stop-treating-college-like-commodity/71200486/ (“How much more does the “average” college grad earn over a lifetime than someone with only a high school degree? (The current number appears to be about $1 million.) . . . The value of a degree depends more on the student’s input than on the college’s curriculum. I know this because I have seen excellent students get great educations at average colleges, and unmotivated students get poor educations at excellent colleges. . . . A college education, then, if it is a commodity, is no car. The courses the student decides to take (and not take), the amount of work the student does, the intellectual curiosity the student exhibits, her participation in class, his focus and determination — all contribute far more to her educational “outcome” than the college’s overall curriculum, much less its amenities and social life. . . . Genuine education is not a commodity, it is the awakening of a human being.”)

CEOs with liberal arts degrees. Tim Askew, “Why The Liberal Arts are Necessary for Long-Term Success; The Short-Sightedness of STEM,” Inc., March 14, 2018, https://www.inc.com/tim-askew/why-liberal-arts-are-necessary-for-long-term-success.html (“In fact, over a third of Fortune 500 CEOs have liberal arts degrees. . . . It is hard for expense weary parents to see the long-term advantages of broad and deep training in how to think, in how to objectively see and analyze the rapidly changing world as it actually is. But leaders trained in the liberal arts have intellectual flexibility and the ability to think creatively. . . . The liberal arts offer a path for dealing with chaos and complexity. Graduating students need to think not only about their immediate prospects . . . but also about what will nurture long-term leadership skills for larger success and business usefulness.”)

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