The entrepreneur visa

MOST governments say they want to encourage entrepreneurs. Yet when foreigners with ideas come knocking, they slam doors in their faces. America, surprisingly, is one of the worst offenders. It has no specific visa for foreigners who wish to create new companies. It does offer a visa for investors, but the requirements are so stiff—usually an initial investment of $1m, or half that if the firm is in a depressed neighbourhood—that the annual quota of 10,000 visas is seldom filled. Other countries are more open (see table). Singapore offers visas to people who invest $40,000; for some, the government provides additional investment. Britain gives visas to entrepreneurs who meet certain conditions and attract £50,000 ($77,000) of venture funding. New Zealand has no specific capital requirement but offers residency to entrepreneurs whose firms are deemed to benefit the country. Chile is wildly generous: its government gives selected start-ups $40,000 without taking any equity in return.

Read the article: Visas for entrepreneurs: Where creators are welcome

Women are rejecting marriage in Asia. The social implications are serious.

A lot of Asians are not marrying later. They are not marrying at all. Almost a third of Japanese women in their early 30s are unmarried; probably half of those will always be. Over one-fifth of Taiwanese women in their late 30s are single; most will never marry. In some places, rates of non-marriage are especially striking: in Bangkok, 20% of 40-44-year old women are not married; in Tokyo, 21%; among university graduates of that age in Singapore, 27%. So far, the trend has not affected Asia’s two giants, China and India. But it is likely to, as the economic factors that have driven it elsewhere in Asia sweep through those two countries as well; and its consequences will be exacerbated by the sex-selective abortion practised for a generation there. By 2050, there will be 60m more men of marriageable age than women in China and India.

Read the article: The decline of Asian marriage: Asia’s lonely hearts

India’s Singh on the Wrong Side of History

India has an unmatched capacity to look opportunity firmly in the face, turn around, and walk off resolutely in the opposite direction.

The latest manifestation of the national pastime comes in relation to public corruption. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could have appropriated the cause and channelled the people’s movement to enact tough new laws to rid India of corrupt practices and cement its economic future. Instead he has responded with vacillation and, by using the powers of the state to intimidate activists, planted his flag on the wrong side of history.

Read the article: India’s Singh on the Wrong Side of History

Friends Don’t Let Geek Friends Work In Finance

While the practice of poaching engineering talent slowed after the economy tanked in 2008, Wadhwa is dismayed to report that thanks to hundred-billion-dollar taxpayer bailouts, investment banks have recovered and gone back to their old, greedy ways, snagging engineering grads who might otherwise solve the world’s problems, making them financial offers they can’t refuse, and morphing them into quants, investment bankers and management consultants. ‘Not only are the investment banks siphoning off hundreds of billions of dollars from our economy with financial gimmicks like CDOs,’ writes Wadhwa, ‘they are using our best engineering graduates [25% of MIT grads in ’06] to help them do it. This is the talent that our country has invested so much resource in producing.’ He concludes: ‘Let’s save the world by keeping our engineers out of finance. We need them to, instead, develop new types of medical devices, renewable energy sources, and ways for sustaining the environment and purifying water, and to start companies that help America keep its innovative edge.’

Read the article: Friends Don’t Let Friends Get Into Finance

Do Believe the Hype

Having traveled to both China and India in the last few weeks, here’s a
scary thought I have: What if — for all the hype about China, India and
globalization — they’re actually underhyped? What if these sleeping
giants are just finishing a 20-year process of getting the basic
technological and educational infrastructure in place to become
innovation hubs and that we haven’t seen anything yet?

Read the article: Do Believe the Hype

Is the Bloom Box energy nirvana?

A Silicon Valley inventor claims that a new technology called the Bloom Box will revolutionize how households use the electrical grid. The Bloom Box is a fuel cell that converts oxygen and an energy source – natural gas, biofuels, or even solar – into electricity. K.R. Sridhar, former NASA scientist and founder of Bloom Energy, revealed the technology Sunday night on “60 Minutes,” and plans to hold a news conference Wednesday in San Jose. He envisions every house having a Bloom Box power plant installed in the back yard.

Google, eBay, and FedEx are currently testing the Bloom Box. The prototype devices are the size of refrigerators and cost around $700,000. eBay claims the Bloom Box saved the company $100,000 in annual energy costs. Details on operating and maintenance costs, however, are sketchy. Fuel cell technology has been around for a long time. It normally requires precious metals such as platinum, making it too expensive for widespread applications. Bloom Box fuel cells are constructed instead with ceramic wafers coated with a special ink.

If Sridhar has truly discovered a way to make fuel cells affordable, it will transform the electrical grid. If not, the Bloom Box could be a bust.

Read the article: Bloom Box: Segway or savior?

A Deeper Look Into Google’s 800-Pound Panda Problem

Now, to the heart of the issue: China. You can think of China as a foxy young girl who knows she’s smokin’ hot. She’s happy to hang out at the club and lure people over to buy her drinks, and even though she’d chat and humor him a bit just to keep him talking and buying drinks, she’d never dream of putting out. Instead, once her suitor had fulfilled his usefulness or she became bored, she’d feign indignation, throw a fit, and then freeze him out. Yes, in spite of her charm and confidence in her looks, there’s something bothering her on the inside: even though others compliment her beauty and tell her she’s special, she looks over to the VIP table and her gut sinks. Why don’t those other people accept her? That’s all she wants!

Read the article: Censor? I barely know her!

The New Untouchables

In our subprime era, we thought we could have the American dream — a house and yard — with nothing down. This version of the American dream was delivered not by improving education, productivity and savings, but by Wall Street alchemy and borrowed money from Asia. A year ago, it all exploded. Now that we are picking up the pieces, we need to understand that it is not only our financial system that needs a reboot and an upgrade, but also our public school system. Otherwise, the jobless recovery won’t be just a passing phase, but our future.

Read the article: The New Untouchables

India is world diabetes capital

Here’s some news that’s not ‘ sweet’ at all: Every sixth diabetic in the world is an Indian, making the country the world’s diabetes capital. New data released on Tuesday shows India has over 50 million diabetics out of the world’s 285 million. The disease is affecting more people in the working age group and is proving to be an economic burden, according to the figures released by the International Diabetes Federation. With 50.8 million diabetics, India tops the global tally. China with 43.2 million patients comes second, followed by the US where 26.8 million people suffer from the disease. The disease will cost the world economy at least $376 billion (over Rs 17 lakh crore) in 2010.

Read the article: India is world diabetes capital

Skilled Immigrants on Why They’re Leaving the U.S.

A long wait for a green card, coupled with the soft U.S. economy, is prompting an exodus of some of the best and brightest — Lured by the prospect of climbing to the top of his field, New Delhi native Swaroop Ganguly came to the U.S. 10 years ago and earned a PhD in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 2005. He became an expert in an emerging technology called spintronics, used to power semiconductors, and worked at several chip companies, including Freescale Semiconductor. But Ganguly, now 32, is moving back to India this summer. Although he has been doing postdoctoral work at the University of Texas, he figures his prospects for research and professional development are probably better in his home country. “I feel quite excited about going back,” he says.

Read the article: Skilled Immigrants on Why They’re Leaving the U.S. – BusinessWeek