Google is still better than most of Corporate America

Google STILL Rocks

This is one of the reasons that Google is STILL way better than LOADS of other companies.

Google is continuing one of the coolest ideas I have ever heard of!  Last year Google launched:

the first ever global online science competition for 13-18 year old students with the Google Science Fair. Over 10,000 students from 91 countries submitted amazing science experiments. With project topics ranging from “Can I program a robot in English?” to “Can I make a sailboat even faster with a winged keel,” to “How does marinade affect carcinogen levels in grilled chicken?”…

Not only that, they seem to be doing a damn good job of including one the smartest demographics our species has to offer, THE LADIES!

Last year the top three winners by age category were dominated by this awesome group:

  • Lauren Hodge in the 13-14 age group. Lauren studied the effect of different marinades on the level of potentially harmful carcinogens in grilled chicken.
  • Naomi Shah in the 15-16 age group. Naomi endeavored to prove that making changes to indoor environments that improve indoor air quality can reduce people’s reliance on asthma medications.
  • Shree Bose in the 17-18 age group. Shree discovered a way to improve ovarian cancer treatment for patients when they have built up a resistance to certain chemotherapy drugs.
2011's winners

Winners (from left to right): Lauren Hodge, Shree Bose, Naomi Shah. Photo by Andrew Federman. (Credit for image and caption: Google)

Are you freaking kidding me?!  I WISH I was that awesome when I was 21 let alone in highschool!

I wish more companies around the world would participate in programs like this, but ESPECIALLY here in the USA where we bitch and moan about the low percentage of kids with high proficiency in the maths and sciences.

Google: our generation’s Space Race?

Can Google and its partners fill the role that the race to the moon performed for our last great scientific ‘mast years’ of the 60s to 80s?  Lets be sober: probably not.

BUT: this is absolutely the right direction.  Science is, if anything, two things; its really freaking cool, but it is also a LOT of hard work.  The positive effect of giving kids the opportunity to work really hard and then taking the best of the work and holding it up to to freakin WORLD and proclaiming “How flipping cool are these kids?!  Everyone look at what these teenagers came up with!”  can not be understated.  It probably also goes a long way toward nudging society back to a value structure that thought a goofy looking dude with a funny accent and inSANE hair was as cool and worthy of household conversation as Marilyn Monroe.

Einstein Memorial on the grounds of the National Academy of Sciences: *notice the 'polished' nature of his nose!* (img cred: usastudenttravel.com)

Science is one of our country’s last great bastions of meritocracy (NOT mediocrity, mind you) and therefore… well… AMERICAN-NESS.  The idea of a meritocracy (you are rewarded based on the results of your hard work and contributions above all else) is certainly one of the top things that the idea of the USA has to offer the world.  Google IS doing this good work with this awesome global science fair!

Don’t be evil”

Remember that?  Its Google’s unofficial company motto…

There have been many, myself included, that have at one time or another worried that this very important founding edict was being diluted to that of homeopathic scale (i.e worthless beyond measure).  We feared/fear that what made us love THIS multinational corporation (when most other such Goliaths must strain to earn the receipt of our benefit of the doubt) was being ignored.  Is it?  Do some degree, probably.  Yes they have probably exited Kolberg’s 3rd stage of moral development (we should be the good boys/girls that society wants us to be because it is expected of us) and are somewhere between 4 and 6.  So we may see them “breaking some rules” that they seemed to espouse as unbreakable, but stuff like this program gives me hope that they still have our species’s best interests at heart and are still on a positive trajectory.

PARTICIPATE

Those of you that are of age or know people of the correct ages: participate!  Google hosts a whole suite of tools to make your project a success, including an online lab notebook and other resources.  Make this year’s program even bigger than last year’s.  Send the message that this is what we WANT our corporate cultures to value and that we reward those actors that demonstrate such commitment!

Finally: Go Google!

You deserve major props for this program, consider these words my little part.  Thanks.

Gus Dunn

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3 thoughts on “Google is still better than most of Corporate America

  1. Steven Bradley

    Google is CIA run and is actually worse than most of corporate America.

    It’s like saying Apple cares about humanity when the sweatshops that create their products literally have suicide nets surrounding them to prevent people from killing themselves.

    Yeah Google is great, Gimme a break.

    Reply
    1. xguse Post author

      Thanks for coming by Steven! I enjoyed your comment!

      A couple of things:

      In the future and in your interactions with other blogs and with people face-to-face: please dont just drop “Google is run by the CIA”, followed by a non sequitur about Apple as if that is proof of your claims about Google without actually providing support for your assertions. I would love to hear what you have to add about why what I said is not support for adding a tick in the positive column of Google’s reputation.

      Now regarding “Apple’s sweatshops” run by Foxconn and their suicide nets: I would like to address your claims (which are admittedly held by a majority of people) and whether you have actually examined the issues you are justifiably upset about.

      1) the parts to the phone in your pocket; the motherboard in the computer in your bag or on your desk (that you probably used to make your comment with); the microchips in your fridge, car, printer, and probably even your clock were all made in similar if not identical factories using human hands at wages far less than we would hope. But that doesnt mean that every company that participates in this is evil or should be punished. In fact, unfortunately, this is the pattern of development that EVERY SINGLE “developed” nation that exists today took at some point in their past. And, while perhaps a bit counter intuitive to our mindset in our ‘civilized’ nation, companies like Foxconn leave the countries that they ‘exploit’ in a better economic situation and with more upward moving opportunities than existed when they got there originally. Should they be praised for this or rewarded or even suspected of motives not entirely self-serving? No. HELL NO, even. They want money above all else. Period.

      But the undeniable trend in the historical data is that a generation or two from now, FAR more of the descendants of the current workers at Foxconn and others will be doctors, lawyers, engineers, mechanics, will have better living conditions, life expectancies, salaries, health insurance, and quality housing than were it to be that Foxconn had never been running those shops.

      2) The story, or at least the sensationalization of the story, about the suicide nets is at BEST an example of crappy logic and poor reporting; at worse a way for comfy spoiled developed nation corporations to exploit and profit from the torment and desperation of people who had little left to hope for and were trying to provide futures for their children in an albeit misguided but nontheless semi-rational last/best ways they had available at the time. The story originally was something like this “Conditions at Foxconn, makers of apple’s iPhone, are so bad that workers are on a suicide spree.”

      NO ONE, at first anyway, asked:

      what is the national suicide rate of China?

      are we seeing more suicides than would be expected at a company that employs 800,000 people (300,000 at the Shenzhen plant alone)?

      Surely it MUST be or where is the story right?

      No.

      In fact, working at the plant in question actually DRAMATICALLY REDUCES suicide risk compared to China’s national avg.

      In 2010, based on the National rate we should expect about 33 at the Shenzhen plant *alone* (~300,000 workers). There were 18 attempts and 14 successful suicides from all plants combined that year (~800,000 workers total).

      As it ACTUALLY turns out: people who do NOT work at Foxconn in China are ACTUALLY 200% MORE likely to commit suicide than Foxconn workers. Does this negate the tragedies of lives lost or relinquish responsibility from Foxconn to improve worker satisfaction, safety, and pay? NO EFFING WAY. But it does give some perspective. (http://zd.net/wUj2o7)

      The fact that Foxconn put up nets to stop deaths is no more evidence of increased risk of suicide due to working at Foxconn than the fact that the US govt removed Thiomersal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thiomersal) from vaccines is evidence that it actually causes autism — as the anti-vaccine folks claim (against all evidence to the contrary).

      It is simply evidence of the reality that policy must sometimes be written based not on the facts and science and logic and reason, but under unreasonable threats of misinformed mobs with torches and pitch-forks.

      Thanks again! Hope to hear from you on future posts!

      Reply

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