I’ve been pondering many things lately but haven’t yet found any answers.
Miscellaneous things I have been pondering:
- What is the ROI on scientific research? I was asked this by an executive director of a foundation we solicited for money a few months ago. I still do not have a great answer. There are generally not short term payoffs on research beyond creating some hope for the future. There are certainly no guarantees.
- Where does scientific research fit in a University that focuses predominantly on Undergraduate education? How do research scientists help to promote and fulfill the mission of the University? (The real question here is how is what I am personally doing helping the University fulfill its goals? What value, outside of grant indirect cost recovery, do I provide?)
- Does wishing make it so? This was the secret of the Universe in Number of the Beast by Robert Heinlein. It makes for great fiction, but we spent a period talking about the power of intention in my Visionary Leadership class. There were some amazing examples of what focused intention could achieve that defied a "logical explanation." This got me thinking about Steve Pavlina’s Million Dollar Experiment. I’m not currently participating, as the logical part of my brain says "no way." And yet, I know the opposite is true. If I believe "I can’t" or "I won’t" then that is most certainly will become true.
- Languages. There is a major demographic shift coming to the USA & I’m pondering what language(s) I should learn. I don’t think that just English will be enough. The 4 years of French and 7 years of Latin I had just don’t have much value. Being in the South West, Spanish seems like a reasonable first choice. However, given that the Japanese and Chinese are buying billions of US dollars each day I’m also pondering one of those as well.