How A Former VC Wants To Disrupt American Education

Ted Dintersmith

Ted Dintersmith was a successful venture capitalist at Charles River Ventures who turned his energies to K-12 and higher education. He claims that education in the U.S. has fallen badly behind, stuck in a 125-year-old framework that no longer meets the needs of students or employers.

“If I were a Xerox, I’d set up a Xerox Academy. And I’d go get the absolute best, the really talented and motivated kids out of high school, particularly from blue-collar communities, kids who are going to be struggling to make their way forward. I’d make the school selective and say, “You are now a Xerox scholar.” I’d make it a four-year residential program, with lots of intensive internships at Xerox, as well as such supplemental things as sports. I’d structure it like ROTC: “If you do this for four years, you’ll get your Xerox degree. But you need to stay with Xerox for a similar number of years or reimburse the company for the cost of your education.” Read the entire interview at Forbes.


Student quits college to help dying friend

Best friends give food to homeless

The Washington Post printed an article about two best friends trying to complete a bucket list before one of them dies from cancer. Heartbreaking, right? But there’s more to the story … and be sure to check out their website that shares their journey at

“Betancourt and Dillon Hill, 19, have been friends since the fourth grade, when they met in elementary school in Carmichael, Calif. The two immediately bonded over video games. So when Betancourt was diagnosed with Stage 4 chronic myeloid leukemia in May 2009, Hill visited him every day, and played video games to lift his spirits.

Chronic leukemias are very difficult to cure but generally progress slowly and can be treated. After chemotherapy treatment and a hospital stay in 2009, Betancourt recovered and remained virtually cancer-free throughout most of his teenage years. Inspired by their time playing video games in the hospital, the friends started Gamers Gift, a nonprofit that brings virtual-reality equipment to assisted living facilities and hospitals to help residents and patients escape their current realities.” Read more at The Washington Post.

Archivist Writes Code to Find Serial-Killers

computer with blood dripping down it

There’s a great article in The New Yorker about a former journalist who uses an algorithm and the largest collection of murder records in the country to finds patterns in crime.

“Thomas Hargrove is a homicide archivist. For the past seven years, he has been collecting municipal records of murders, and he now has the largest catalogue of killings in the country—751,785 murders carried out since 1976, which is roughly twenty-seven thousand more than appear in F.B.I. files. States are supposed to report murders to the Department of Justice, but some report inaccurately, or fail to report altogether, and Hargrove has sued some of these states to obtain their records. Using computer code he wrote, he searches his archive for statistical anomalies among the more ordinary murders resulting from lovers’ triangles, gang fights, robberies, or brawls. Each year, about five thousand people kill someone and don’t get caught, and a percentage of these men and women have undoubtedly killed more than once. Hargrove intends to find them with his code, which he sometimes calls a serial-killer detector.”

Read the entire article at The New Yorker.

Grinch Bots drive up the online prices of popular toys

The Grinch and his dog

NPR reports that online scammers are buying up the popular toys, marking them up, and reselling them on Amazon and eBay.

While the demand for the hottest toys is particularly high this time of year, shoppers are competing against a growing army of bots. For years, scalpers have taken advantage of software robots to scoop up event tickets, but now scammers are employing the same tactics to cheat Christmas shoppers, says MSNBC anchor and economics correspondent Ali Velshi.

“Regular people could never buy them at face value,” he tells Here & Now’s Robin Young. “The idea that it was bots — scalpers using algorithms — to buy up all the tickets in the first place, and then sell them either via a third-party vendor or independently to people, and this has now moved its way into the hot holiday toy sales industry.”

Simple security system runs on solar

Ring Security Solar Spotlight

The Ring Spotlight Solar HD camera with two-way talk looks pretty cool. We haven’t used the product but it looks like a simple, affordable security system at $229.

You only need a few hours of sunlight everyday to keep your camera charged around the clock. And it also comes with a rechargeable battery pack, so you’ll always have backup power just in case.

  • Live View on-demand video and audio
  • Installs in minutes with a complimentary toolkit
  • iOS, Android, Mac and Windows 10 compatible

Give someone a literary adventure

Owl Crate book gift

If you think your kids need a break from tech, consider getting them a monthly subscription to Owl Crate.

Each Owl Crate box contains one brand new hardcover Young Adult or Junior novel, as well as 3-5 other bookish keepsakes to help set the mood for a literary adventure. Every box is built with a fun and creative theme in mind, and also includes special goodies right from the author!