James Fischer

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Sunset in the Alps

Sunrise in the snowy woods

Doing Less, Leading More

Our first accomplishments as professionals are usually rooted in our skill as individual contributors. In most fields we add value in the early stages of our careers by getting things done. We’re fast, we’re efficient, and we do high-quality work. In a word, we’re <i>doers.</i> But when we carry this …

Should You Eat While You Negotiate?

Across cultures, dining together is a common part of the process of reaching negotiated agreements. In Russia and Japan, important business dealings are conducted almost exclusively while dining and drinking and in the U.S., many negotiations begin with “Let’s do lunch.” But are business deals …

The Art of Asking Questions

How well do you ask questions? From my experience, most managers don’t think about this issue. After all, you don’t usually find “the ability to ask questions” on any list of managerial competencies; nor is it an explicit part of the curriculum of business schools or executive education programs. …

The Fine Art of Tough Love

What does it take to achieve excellence? I’ve spent much of my career chronicling top executives as a business journalist. But I’ve spent much of the last year on a very different pursuit, coauthoring a book about education, focusing on a tough but ultimately revered public-school music teacher.<p>And …

When You Criticize Someone, You Make It Harder for that Person to Change

“If everything worked out perfectly in your life, what would you be doing in ten years?”<p>Such a question opens us up to fresh possibilities, to reflect on what matters most to us, and even what deep values might guide us through life. This approach gives managers a tool for coaching their teams to …

What will it take to set up colonies in space?

An ambitious idea for creating giant orbiting homes in space is being resurrected by a think tank. If you think this sounds absurd, it’s worth noting this group predicted travelling to Moon 30 years before it happened.<p>Imagine a pristine landscape of fertile fields and forests nudging up against the …

Habitats

Japan Wants To Ring The Moon With Solar Panels To Power The Earth

After the Fukushima boondoggle back in 2011, Japan has wholeheartedly embraced solar power as its alternative energy of choice. So much so, that one …

Liquid Solar Cells Could One Day be as Cheap as Paint

Researchers at SUNY Buffalo are working on a new generation of liquid solar cells that may one day be as cheap as paint. Although they would be …

Could we harness power from black holes?

It might seem like an absurd idea, but physicists have long pondered whether black holes could one day be tapped for energy, says Phil Ball. But how possible is it?<p>Imagine the scene: highly advanced civilisations get enormous amounts of energy from black holes, be it extracting it from collapsed …

Black Holes

Why computers of the next digital age will be invisible

Computers are hi-tech, right? Our children may not see it that way. The next generation of digital devices will be hidden, says Tom Chatfield, bringing both benefits and dangers.<p>The author Douglas Adams once made a witty point about technology: the inventions we label “technologies” are simply …

Google Glass

Super-sized vehicles: Ten giants of the transport world

In transport design, big often means better. From trucks to helicopters, submarines to rockets, building the largest of all is one of the greatest accolades.<p>In 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first powered flight in a plane which measured some 21ft (6m). Little more than 80 years later and …

Military

Israel to Build the 5th Largest Solar Power Station on the Planet

Israel plans to start construction next year on what will become the fifth largest solar power station in the world, part of a plan to build three …

World's Largest Solar Plant Slated for Western India

India will soon be home to the largest solar plant in the world! Developed in partnership between government and state-owned companies, the new plant …

California may reject Palen plan

Switching the project to PV or the more common parabolic-trough CSP technology would be an “environmentally superior” choice, the regulator …

Ice, Snow, Severe Storms Expected to Derail Christmas Travel

Travelers heading home for the holidays may expect longer delays than usual as a clash of severe weather spans from Texas to New England, producing …