Tuesday, October 20, 2009

College costs still soaring and the CIA tweeting?

The world of higher education in the US is truly amazing. We're in the midst of the greatest economic turmoil since the Great Depression, demand for college has leveled off, there will be no cost of living adjustments for many over the next year, but college costs keep climbing another 4-7% this year.

The return on investment for US public and private universities has been falling steadily for the past decade. The best and brightest US students may have to consider traveling internationally to get a good return on their education investment by 2020.

In the WSJ "The College Board reported that average tuition at four-year public colleges and universities in the U.S. rose 6.5% in 2009-10, to $7,020 -- even as overall consumer prices fell. Average tuition at private, nonprofit four-year schools rose 4.4% to $26,273 for 2009-10."

Asian Universities are making real inroads in the world of higher education and may represent 30% of the best science and technology schools in another ten years. While the flight home for Thanksgiving would be a pain, the return on a degree from Hong Kong University of Science and Tech might be worth it.

Okay, put on your tinfoil hat for this story....

Visible Technologies, a company that monitors online social activity and packages the findings for clients, has forged a "strategic partnership" with In-Q-Tel, the CIA's not-for-profit investment arm, to give the organization insight into social media.

According to Visible Technologies, In-Q-Tel is also investing in the company through a "technology development agreement." It did not release more details than that.

However, examining Visible Technologies' work may offer insight into what In-Q-Tel has in mind.

In-Q-Tel apparently sees Visible Technologies' offering as ideal for monitoring social media overseas.

The CIA may or may not be interested in what people think about it, per se. However, In-Q-Tel spokesman Donald Tighe told Wired that the organization plans to use Visible Technologies' service for "early-warning detection on how issues are playing internationally." He noted that it has no intentions of monitoring activity in the United States."

Well, when CIAdarkops starts following me on Twitter I'll be a twitter quitter faster than you can say Grindstone.


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