Benchmark Blog

Here at The Center for Growth and Opportunity, we have a unique way of confronting challenges. Relentless optimism. Bold commitment. Fearless innovation. We want to leave the world a better place than when we got here. Whether it’s our award-winning students, or our world-class researchers, we look to work together to find creative solutions to today’s most pressing issues. We’re committed to turning ideas into action.

The Space Launch System is an irredeemable mistake

How pork-barrel politics and exploding development costs created a rocket that only a military contractor could love The moon, I think, misses us. Of the twelve human beings who have ever walked on its surface, eight have now passed away. Not a soul has been there since 1972. Since the end of the Apollo program, no astronaut […]

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Is 2020 the year of micromobility?

Trial and error in American cities Last week the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) announced the extension of its electric moped pilot program in Washington DC. This extension will allow electric mopeds to remain in the city’s dockless vehicle program. The program is part of the city’s efforts to foster shared mobility transportation and reduce single-occupancy vehicles. The pilot program […]

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Bringing home the virtual bacon

Virtual reality and the future of work Employees of one startup now teleport to work. High Fidelity, a project started by Philip Rosedale, develops virtual office experiences for companies with remote workforces. Building a digital analogue to the analog world is a labor of love for Philip Rosendale. In 2003, he created Second Life, the online virtual […]

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The Benchmark: Bringing Home The Virtual Bacon

This article was originally posted on the Medium publication The Benchmark Employees of one startup now teleport to work. High Fidelity, a project started by Philip Rosedale, develops virtual office experiences for companies with remote workforces. Building a digital

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Lessons from the ashes

Why Australia is a stark reminder that wildfires remain a major risk to our forests and communities Chances are, at some point in the past few weeks, you have read or listened to news about the wildfires currently burning across Australia. Much like 2018 here in the United States, this fire season is setting records […]

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The Benchmark: Lessons from the ashes

This article was originally posted on the Medium publication The Benchmark Chances are, at some point in the past few weeks, you have read or listened to news about the wildfires currently burning across Australia. Much like 2018 here in the United States, this fire

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Sanctuary for immigrants?

Crime, trust, and community in America Across the country, hundreds of cities, states, and counties are having the same conversation about sanctuary policies for immigrants. In December of 2019, Madison, Wisconsin, became a microcosm of that discussion. The conclusions that each jurisdiction across the U.S. reaches may have dramatic effects on US immigration policy. The conversation […]

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The Benchmark: Sanctuary for immigrants?

This article was originally posted on the Medium publication The Benchmark Across the country, hundreds of cities, states, and counties are having the same conversation about sanctuary policies for immigrants. In December of 2019, Madison, Wisconsin, became a

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All I want for Christmas is a shorter commute

Making transportation work for workers Discussions about the future of work often focus on the relationship between worker satisfaction and productivity. While we know that happy and fulfilled workers are more productive, an often-overlooked factor in workplace satisfaction is how we get to work in the first place. The great American commute continues to get […]

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The end of shopping as we know it?

How AI and data analytics are transforming retail Numbers are in, and 2019 was another record-breaking year for Black Friday Weekend. Yet once again, the lines and fights that have come to characterize Black Friday were conspicuously missing. Why? It’s simple: online shopping is fundamentally changing the way we buy. More than half of all Thanksgiving weekend sales […]

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The End of Shopping As We Know It?

This article was originally posted on the Medium publication The Benchmark Numbers are in, and 2019 was another record-breaking year for Black Friday Weekend. Yet once again, the lines and fights that have come to characterize Black Friday were conspicuously

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Was your Thanksgiving dinner radioactive?

Probably, but don’t call your doctor just yet Last month, I wrote a post about how misperceptions and misinformation surrounding nuclear energy has proven to be more dangerous than the technology itself. And, as luck would have it, just a week later, I got to witness an incident involving potentially radioactive material, public exposure, and misinformation […]

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The Benchmark: Was your Thanksgiving dinner radioactive?

This article was originally posted on the Medium publication The Benchmark Last month, I wrote a post about how misperceptions and misinformation surrounding nuclear energy has proven to be more dangerous than the technology itself. And, as luck would have it, just

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The Benchmark: Let’s tear down the invisible wall

This article was originally posted on the Medium publication The Benchmark Extensive attention is given to proposals to build a wall along the United States’ southern border. By the end of 2020, for example, at least 450 miles of wall is expected to be built. In

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Let’s tear down the invisible wall

It’s time to fix our immigration system Extensive attention is given to proposals to build a wall along the United States’ southern border. By the end of 2020, for example, at least 450 miles of wall is expected to be built. In a way, a physical barrier would add a second wall around the US. Immigration scholars call the […]

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The future of education may not be what you think

College still matters, but it’s not the only option Ongoing discussions about the future of work continue to center around how to prepare people better to step into the rapidly growing tech field. In a recent survey, 80 percent of companies said they will need more employees with tech skills soon. Thanks to continued growth in tech-focused […]

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The opportunity cost of public transit

Why shiny new projects don’t produce results On November 5th, voters from 19 states passed 89 percent of the transportation measures on their election ballots. One of the most interesting votes occurred in Houston, where voters approved a bond of $35 billion to improve the city’s public transportation system. The bond is earmarked to fund 75 miles of Bus Rapid Transit […]

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With Nuclear Power, the Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear Itself

Misconceptions about nuclear energy have proven to be far more deadly than atomic meltdowns Ask most people what they think about nuclear power these days, and the odds are that the conversation will involve some discussion of dangerous radioactive waste and nuclear meltdowns. For over half a century, nuclear energy has played a significant role […]

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Would deportations even work?

And what does work mean? Between 2000 and 2017, the United States government removed 5,562,827 people from the country. A removal is exactly what you think: a person is forced to leave the U.S. because they are here without legal documentation. Source: Department of Homeland Security. Note: The data is for fiscal years starting October 1 […]

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The Benchmark: Would Deportations Even Work?

This article was originally posted on the Medium publication The Benchmark Between 2000 and 2017, the United States government removed 5,562,827 people from the country. A removal is exactly what you think: a person is forced to leave the U.S. because they are here

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Finding Meaning in a Future of Less Work

A key topic of debate in last week’s Democratic presidential debate was the perennial question of how technological progress is impacting workers and what should be done to protect them. Candidates argued about whether international trade or automation was to blame for

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Finding Meaning in a Future of Less Work

Akey topic of debate in last week’s Democratic presidential debate was the perennial question of how technological progress is impacting workers and what should be done to protect them. Candidates argued about whether international trade or automation was to blame for the loss of manufacturing jobs. Both are important drivers. But concerns about automation, in particular, have […]

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“The great moral renovator of society”

Earlier today, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave a wide-ranging, “unfiltered” speech outlining his views on free expression and the internet (you can read it here and a companion oped here).    It marked a rare and forceful speech from someone who has

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“The great moral renovator of society”

Mark Zuckerberg takes on free speech Earlier today, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave a wide-ranging, “unfiltered” speech outlining his views on free expression and the internet (you can read it here and a companion oped here). It marked a rare and forceful speech from someone who has become a bit of a boogeyman among policymakers on both the left and right. It also […]

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Want to See Green Tech Thrive?

This article was originally posted on the Medium publication The Benchmark In an interview with Bloomberg last month, Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates said it’s time to re-examine our current approach at subsidizing green energy. Speaking of wind and solar, Gates

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Want to See Green Tech Thrive?

Rethink how we fund it Inan interview with Bloomberg last month, Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates said it’s time to re-examine our current approach at subsidizing green energy. Speaking of wind and solar, Gates said, “The tax benefits there should be shifted into things that are more limiting, like energy storage, offshore wind — which still has […]

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Immigrants, Robots, and the American Farmer

This article was originally posted on the Medium publication The Benchmark Every fall, crops are harvested, and the seasonal workers return home. For many agricultural workers, that means returning to Mexico, Central America, and South America. Farmers throughout

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