Innovations in 5: A ‘techie superhero’ has his ‘moment;’ a base jump from the face of Everest

May 31, 2013

Here’s what we’re reading/watching today:

Elon Musk is seen here with one of the company's space capsules in 2008.(MARKHAM JOHNSON - VIA BLOOMBERG NEWS)
Elon Musk is seen here with one of the company’s space capsules in 2008.(MARKHAM JOHNSON – VIA BLOOMBERG NEWS)

1) Much is being written about Elon Musk (thanks, in part, to a series of announcements from Tesla). The Tesla CEO and SpaceX founder is being touted as no less than “a techie superhero” whose “moment” is now. He’s launching companies to take on big challenges—zero-emission cars and commercial spaceflight programs able to run alongside, if not ahead of, government space agencies. Writing for Bloomberg Businessweek, Ashlee Vance outlines how Musk is a “cooler” and “more zombie-aware” Lee Iacocca, the former president of Ford Motor Company:

“If there’s a 2013 equivalent of the ubiquitous Iacocca, it has to be Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla MotorsTesla Motors (TSLA). While Musk does not appear on commercials, he’s a force on Twitter, as well as the focus of endless Web stories and television shows.”

Musk also appeared at D11 Wednesday (the last day of the conference was Thursday). Here’s his full interview:

2) Researchers are working on how to determine individuals’ personalities using … tweets. The Economist reports that a group of researchers at IBM are picking up on University of Colorado academic Tal Yarkoni’s work to determine a person’s personality traits by analyzing their blog posts:

“A group of researchers at IBM’s Almaden Research Centre in San Jose, California, have now picked up on Mr Yarkoni’s idea and applied it to Twitter. The team, lead by Eben Haber, hope to discover the ‘deep psychological profiles’ of tweeters. Analysing three months’ worth of data from 90m users (of about 200m worldwide), they argue that so far they have been able to gauge someone’s personality reasonably well from 50 tweets, and even better from 200.”

3) Ethics are not only at the core of innovation, but at the core of just about everything else. And sleep may play a bigger role in ethical behavior than you think. As Christopher Barnes writes for Harvard Business Review:

“Recent research indicates that sleep deprivation drains glucose in the prefrontal cortex. In other words, a lack of sleep robs the fuel for self-control from the region of the brain responsible for self-control, whereas sleep restores it. Building from this research, my colleagues and I investigated the effects of sleep on unethical behavior. Across a set of four studies in both laboratory and field contexts, we found that a lack of sleep led to high levels of unethical behavior. Moreover, we found that this was because a lack of sleep depleted self-control, which in turn led to unethical behavior.”

4) ReadWriteWeb’s Lauren Orsini makes the case for why programming is “the core competency for all kinds of 21st Century workers”:

“The number of coding jobs is only expected to increase over time. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 913,000 computer programmer jobs in 2010. That number is expected to jump 30% from 2010 to 2020. Meanwhile, the average growth of all other U.S. jobs is predicted to be just 14%.”

5) And, if you haven’t seen it yet, here’s video of Russian extreme sports enthusiast Valery Rozov executing what sponsor Red Bull is billing as “the world’s highest base jump” from the north face of Mount Everest. As of Wednesday, Guinness World Records was awaiting evidence that the jump was actually a world-record setter:

“Guinness World Records is currently awaiting evidence of the jump, but if verified it would beat Glenn Singleman’s record-breaking leap of 6,604 m (21,666 ft) from a ledge on Mt Meru, Garwhal Himalaya, India in 2006.”

Have a great weekend!

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