Financial Freedom – Consulting Advice

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Amid safety worries, Portage schools turn to technology to view eclipse indoors – Chicago Tribune

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Amid safety worries, Portage schools turn to technology to view eclipse indoors – Chicago Tribune

Instead of turning their eyes to the skies, Portage Township School’s 7,800 students will turn to monitors and tablet computers to view Monday’s total solar eclipse, Superintendent Amanda Alaniz said Friday.

A combination of factors, from concerns over the safety and effectiveness of solar glasses to having access to technology that brings the eclipse to students in real time, drove the decision, she said. The district’s 400 teachers also have been building class material and activities around the eclipse.

Where possible, teachers will allow live streaming of NASA TV coverage of the eclipse as well as live stream from two satellites from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA.

“We wanted to ensure we weren’t putting kids potentially in harm’s way, no matter grade level or within a smaller level,” Alaniz said. “I felt it was best to ensure the safety of not getting them out there to do what we’ve been told could result in eye damage.

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At Global Competition, Girls Push Frontiers of Technology – Voice of America

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At Global Competition, Girls Push Frontiers of Technology – Voice of America

A group of Cambodian girls who recently traveled to California to compete in a mobile app competition offered inspiration for other girls worldwide to consider careers in technology.

Their pitch in Silicon Valley wasn’t a bid to be the next billion-dollar company. Instead, they want to help their country with a mobile phone application to address poverty.

“Let’s fight poverty by using our app. Don’t find customers for your product, find products for your customers,” said Lorn Dara Soucheng, 12, who led the team that created the app, Cambodian Identity Product.

“We want to increase employment for Cambodians, so there will be a reduction of Cambodian migrants to work at other countries, reducing poverty through making income and providing charity to local Cambodians,” Chea Sopheata, 11, told the judges at Google’s headquarters. Google was one of the program’s sponsors.

To participate in the Aug. 7-11 Technovation global competition, girls around the world had to build a mobile app — and a business plan — that addressed a U.N. development goal. The Cambodian girls picked poverty.

While globalization has boosted Cambodia’s economic growth, especially its tourism industry, it has also created greater economic inequality and competition. The girls think their app can help.

“We want to promote our culture to people from all over the world,” said Lorn Dara Soucheng.

At their young age, no one expects these girls to be able to solve their country’s most pressing issues quite yet. But their presence here highlighted another issue: girls in tech fields.

In the U.S. and worldwide, the number of women in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) remains low or even has dropped.

In Cambodia, just 14 percent of students in information technology were women as of 2010. It’s a situation some attribute to a lack of equal access to education and a lack of female role models.

It’s hoped that programs like Technovation can reverse that trend.

“For the first time in history, technology can really help girls have a strong voice and help us have a society that has equality,” said Tara Chklovski, founder and CEO of Iridescent, the nonprofit organization behind Technovation.

These young Cambodian girls have proved how far they can go with technology. Most come from underprivileged backgrounds but had support from teachers, mentors and family.

Cambodian American Pauline Seng, a program manager at Google, said the young coders have become role models for many other Cambodians, including herself. She didn’t get into technology until she was 23.

“There’s going to be so many people who aspire to reach this stage and also inspire other people to get involved in technology,” she said.

Although the Cambodian girls did not win the grand prize, which went to a team from Hong Kong, they were proud to have made it to Google and Silicon Valley.

After watching the male CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai, speak at the closing ceremony, the girls said they believed the tech giant would one day have a female leader.

“Yes!” they said, in unison.

Whether that will come true or not, they have themselves already become the youngest role models to inspire others, one girl at a time.

Deana Mitchell contributed to this report, which originated on VOA Khmer.

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Sell Weak Stock To Raise Cash – Cramer's Mad Money (8/17/17)

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Sell Weak Stock To Raise Cash – Cramer's Mad Money (8/17/17)

Stocks discussed on the in-depth session of Jim Cramer’s Mad Money TV Program, Thursday, August 17.

Investors need to be prepared for the selloffs like the one that happened on Thursday. Historically, August is a month of selloffs. “For as long as I’ve been in this business, August has been a month where we have unexplained or inexplicable, sudden sell-offs, including nasty ones like today,” said Cramer. There were many reasons for the selloff and Cramer gave his take on them:

  1. Trump’s CEO council dissolved – This was the most obvious reason for the selloff. “If you’re selling stocks because so many CEOs are getting off the Trump train, I’ve got a news flash for you: you need a better reason,” said Cramer.
  2. Gary Cohn stepping down rumor – There were rumors of Trump’s top advisor Gary Cohn stepping down. “I certainly can see that Cohn’s important enough to Trump’s economic agenda that his leaving would really hurt the stock market. But then again, the White House issued a statement saying he’s not going anywhere, so it’s not a particularly cogent reason to sell,” said Cramer.
  3. Earnings – The market did not like earnings from Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) and Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT). Cramer feels that the expectations for Wal-Mart were already high.
  4. Spain terror attack – The market goes down on every terror attack.

Bottom line is, “It’s August. It’s slow. It’s thin. It’s time for vacation. Stocks have had a big move. Why not sell some? I bet this sell-off isn’t done. It could get uglier. We’re due. I also believe we’ll get a bunch of sell-offs like this one over the next six weeks because that’s what happens every year at this time. I’ve been telling you this. So, if you haven’t done so already, please sell your least favorite stocks tomorrow to raise some cash so that you’ll be ready to pick up your most favorites as they come down and become bargains,” concluded Cramer.

CEO interview – Box (NYSE:BOX)

The stock of cloud computing provider Box is up 35% YTD. Cramer interviewed co-founder, Chairman and CEO Aaron Levie to know what lies ahead for the company.

Box partnered with Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Cloud Vision to use machine learning to analyze images. Many businesses have a lot of image data that are classified manually. Box helps them do it automatically and makes it searchable as well. The workflows can be built on image content by companies. The machine learning can be applied to all the unstructured data.

This could later be applied to videos and audio files to unlock more value. The same technology is applied for documents as of now which makes them searchable. They store over 30B files for their customers. AI is helping streamline business processes.

They are focused on enterprise so far and have no interest in personal space. Their aim is to help companies provide more value around data and save them money along with speeding up their process.

Box works with the federal government and yet CEO Levie could not keep mum about the Charlottesville violence. “In this case, I think the principles override that. We really need to ensure that our country can be much more unified, that we actually collectively appreciate our culture of diversity, and we need a president that can stand up for that and stand up for what’s right. So in this case, I think that you’ve seen that from other CEOs in the country and CEOs of companies much larger than Box,” he said.

“I think that the business community has reacted in concert with that and recognized that it was a complete travesty of what happened this weekend, and the kind of tone and the rhetoric that’s coming out of the administration is quite horrible to see. I think we really, really need some strong answers and some new responses from this administration if this current administration is going to work out,” he added.

Retail

Cramer said there are two kinds of retailers. Those that are being crushed by Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and those that are beating it.

L Brands (NYSE:LB) went down after slashing guidance and joins the likes of Dick’s Sporting Goods (NYSE:DKS), Macy’s (NYSE:M) and Coach (NYSE:COH) that are closing stores due to competition from Amazon. The mall is dying slowly for retail and there are 1,100 Victoria’s Secret stores in malls across the country and another 1,600 Bath & Body Works.

On the other side of this are Target (NYSE:TGT) and Wal-Mart (WMT). Both are giving tough competition to Amazon. The investments made by Target are paying off and the earnings from Wal-Mart shows that it is a two horse race. Their jet.com acquisition has been integrated completely into the Wal-Mart family.

While Amazon is turning to capital market for raising money it needs in place of profits, Wal-Mart has the cushion from its owners. “And there too lies the real Achilles’ Heel of Amazon: the clout Wal-Mart still has over its suppliers,” said Cramer.

Most consumer products companies’ websites are hosted by Amazon Web Services. These companies risk losing business from Wal-Mart by partnering with Amazon for the cloud. “If I’m the chief technology officer of any supplier, I’m going to green-light shifting away from Amazon Web Services to the ultra-competitive Microsoft Azure or Google Web Services,” said Cramer.

Wal-Mart has a bigger physical footprint that works in its favor.

Cramer’s homework

Cramer did his homework on stocks he could not opine earlier.

Insys Therapeutics (NASDAQ:INSY): It’s a speculative small-cap drug delivery play. It just has two products in the market. They have two more compounds in Phase 3 trial. There are negative news on the stock and there are investigations going on. There are too many issues in the company for Cramer to recommend a buy.

2U (NASDAQ:TWOU): It provides cloud-based software-as-a-service solutions for nonprofit colleges and universities to deliver education to qualified students. It’s a one-stop shop for digitizing education. Cramer calls it a good growth story but the stock has run up. It needs to cool off before investors would want to buy.

Pattern Energy (NASDAQ:PEGI): It operates as an independent power company, which focuses on the constructing, owning and operating energy projects with long-term energy sales contracts. It’s a green energy provider which yields 6.9%. Cramer thinks it’s a good stock.

Viewer calls taken by Cramer

Peabody Energy (NYSE:BTU): It’s a good opportunity to sell.

Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.B): Wait till it comes down before buying.

Alibaba (NYSE:BABA): It’s still cheap after this quarter.

Wix.com (NASDAQ:WIX): Their quarter was disappointing. It can rally back but there are concerns from Cramer.

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Buy Novartis Under $80 – Cramer's Lightning Round (8/17/17)

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Buy Novartis Under $80 – Cramer's Lightning Round (8/17/17)

Stocks discussed on the Lightning Round segment of Jim Cramer’s Mad Money Program, Thursday, August 17.

Bullish Calls

Juno Therapeutics (NASDAQ:JUNO): This is a high-risk, high-reward stock.

Merit Medical Systems (NASDAQ:MMSI): “This is a medical device company that I like. You know I like that group. I do think we should be a little more conservative. There’s some more traditional ones like a Medtronic (NYSE:MDT), but that’s okay. I like Mazor Robotics (NASDAQ:MZOR), and I also like Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG).”

Bemis (NYSE:BMS): It’s a great long-term company.

Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS): It is doing well. Buy this one below $80.

Prudential Financial (NYSE:PRU): It’s a solid stock. Cramer likes Chubb Ltd. (NYSE:CB), The Travelers Companies (NYSE:TRV) and Hartford Financial Services (NYSE:HIG) too.

Coupa Software (NASDAQ:COUP): Cramer is a fan of this one.

Sirius (NASDAQ:SIRI): Buy half now and half under $5.

Bearish Calls

Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL): Cramer is not recommending oil stocks, as they will be cheaper when oil hits $42.

Landstar System (NASDAQ:LSTR): Cramer prefers XPO Logistics (NYSEMKT:XPO).

Chicago Bridge & Iron (NYSE:CBI): There is no catalyst for this stock to go up.

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EBR superintendent Drake on technology use in classroom: 'We need to catch up' – The Advocate

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EBR superintendent Drake on technology use in classroom: 'We need to catch up' – The Advocate

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After buying and placing more than 20,000 new laptop computers in the hands of students in the past year, the East Baton Rouge Parish school system is adding new people to help train teachers in using them.

On Thursday, the School Board approved a new job, director of technology integration, to do just that. The system plans to start advertising immediately to fill the position. Once hired, that person will answer to Sharmayne Rutledge, an executive director for school leadership who is working on technology integration full time this year after handling it part-time last year.

Superintendent Warren Drake said he’s made technology integration one of his key focus areas this year, and this new position is crucial to that effort.

“We are behind right now in East Baton Rouge Parish, and we need to catch up,” he said.

The new laptops, all Google Chromebooks, are part of an effort to help get students ready for standardized testing. Students in grades five through eight are now required for the first time to complete tests online. The shift to online testing has spurred purchases of computers and other technology at public schools across the state.

East Baton Rouge Parish scores on LEAP tests, particularly in middle school grades, slipped some this year at most levels, leading to speculation about whether the online testing played a part.

The new job description for director of technology integration requires someone with a master’s degree in education or associated field, five years classroom teaching experience, as well as five years in an instructional leadership or supervisory role. Salary starts at $68,800 a year and goes up with more years of experience.

Drake said he also hopes to redirect people in other jobs to help with technology integration.

“We will look internal first for those people,” he said.

Drake said he wants teachers routinely using Chromebooks in the classroom.

“We have to make sure that these are not just something we stop and use, but something we use on a daily basis,” he said.

The school system is still rolling out the last batch of 6,500 laptops, which are mostly going into the hands of ninth-graders. Last year, they went to fifth- through eighth-graders.

Drake estimated that at least two-thirds have already been processed and put into the classroom, and the superintendent said the goal is to have them all in use by the end of August.

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US stock market indexes sink as technology companies fall – Chicago Tribune

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US stock market indexes sink as technology companies fall – Chicago Tribune

U.S. stocks are taking broad losses Thursday, led by declines in technology companies. Cisco Systems dropped after issuing a disappointing sales forecast, and retailers were also weak as Wal-Mart slumped. Bond prices continued to climb, sending yields lower, a trend that began a day ago after the Federal Reserve released minutes from its latest meeting.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 30 points, or 1.2 percent, to 2,437 as of 3:15 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average declined 206 points, or 0.9 percent, to 21,818. The Nasdaq composite lost 104 points, or 1.6 percent, to 6,240. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 17 points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,366.

WAL-MART HITS A WALL: Wal-Mart Stores did better than analysts expected in the second quarter as shoppers spent more money on its website and more people came to its stores. Wal-Mart stock has rallied over the last month, but Thursday’s results weren’t enough to keep that going. The stock lost $1.46, or 1.8 percent, to $79.52.

L Brands, the parent of Victoria’s Secret, tumbled after it cut its annual profit forecast because of weakening sales. The stock retreated $1.93, or 4.9 percent, to $37.03, and it’s down 44 percent this year as retailers slump overall and the company struggles after it decided to stop selling swimwear.

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The Market Is Much More Than Just Washington – Cramer's Mad Money (8/16/17)

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The Market Is Much More Than Just Washington – Cramer's Mad Money (8/16/17)

Stocks discussed on the in-depth session of Jim Cramer’s Mad Money TV Program, Wednesday, August 16.

After Charlottesville, the business council was dissolved, and yet, the market did not fall. “What matters is that sales and profits have been excellent this year, particularly for everything but select retailers and the oil and gas industry. On top of that, low interest rates and slow inflation have combined to make those sales and profits worth more than most investors expected,” said Cramer.

He added that the new administration’s inaction has allowed businesses to make money. “The business world is made up of cycles. There are all sorts of cycles. There’s the housing cycle, the consumer spend cycle, the auto cycle, the tech spend cycle, the non-residential construction cycle, the truck build cycle, the oil and gas cycle, the mineral cycle, the aircraft cycle,” the Mad Money host noted.

In the housing sector, there’s more demand for housing. “Think of everything that goes into your house. Housing is 10% part of the economy, but because of all of the accoutrements both outside and inside, plus all of the financial and legal ramifications of buying a home, it punches way above its weight,” Cramer said. The demand in aerospace and tech is also rising.

“Remember, if something’s a cycle, that means it booms and busts. If it’s secular, that means a sustained boom.” The growth trends in cell phones, the internet of things and artificial intelligence are real. Hence, the dissolution of Trump’s manufacturing council doesn’t mean much for these trends. The weak US dollar also helps companies doing business internationally.

Cramer concluded by saying that the market is much more than just Washington.

CEO interview – Valeant Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:VRX)

The stock of Valeant Pharmaceuticals has fallen to $9 and found a bottom, and it is trading around $14 currently. Cramer interviewed CEO Joe Papa to know what lies ahead for the troubled drugmaker.

“I will say, first and foremost, it’s been a challenging 15 months, to be clear. But we’ve made great progress as a team,” said Papa. The company has sold lot of non-core assets and changed its focus towards R&D and reducing debt. “In the time period since the first quarter of 2016 to now, we paid back $500M more toward $4.8B of debt reduction in less than a year or so ahead of what we said,” the CEO added.

Valeant will be making more divestitures to fix its balance sheet. “I believe the new products we have are going to generate the returns for our shareholders that we need to generate. We feel really good about what we’re doing. We have zero debt maturities between now and 2020, so that gives you a real chance to invest in the business,” Papa said.

The company’s focus is to provide quality healthcare for patients all over the world.

Retail

The retail environment is under pressure, with Dick’s Sporting Goods (NYSE:DKS) falling after earnings and Home Depot (NYSE:HD) stock not rising despite good earnings. The fall in the group is due to Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). Cramer has no issues recommending Amazon, but there are two other stocks worth looking at in the retail group – Etsy (NASDAQ:ETSY) and Shopify (NYSE:SHOP).

Etsy has not done much since its IPO, but bounced 32% in 2017. Shopify, on the other hand, has grown 120% since the IPO. Both these companies are different, but Etsy is the cheaper one while Shopify has better growth prospects. Etsy’s revenue growth was 19%, compared to Shopify’s 75%, but the former is profitable. Based on sales, Etsy just trades at 3.6 times, compared to 10.6 for Shopify. Etsy has a better risk-reward.

Apart from this, the retailers that can beat Amazon are TJX Companies (NYSE:TJX), Target (NYSE:TGT) and Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ:URBN). TJX delivered positive same-store sales growth and is opening new stores at a time not conducive for retail. Urban Outfitters has good profit growth and the right fashion trends, while Target is returning to growth and offers a 4.4% dividend at the same time.

CEO interview – Kirkland Lake Gold (NYSE:KL)

The stock of Kirkland Lake Gold started trading on NYSE on Wednesday. Cramer interviewed CEO Tony Makuch to find out what lies ahead for the Canada-based gold miner.

Kirkland has two operating mines – Canada and Australia – with proven reserves of 2M and 1M ounces, respectively. Its cost of production is as low as $250 per oz, which gives the company a significant edge over others. Both Canada and Australia are good places to mine geopolitically as well.

With rising global tensions, Makuch believes gold prices will rise, and hence the company is investing more money in its mines.

Viewer calls taken by Cramer

Magellan Midstream Partners (NYSE:MMP): The entire group is under pressure.

Take-Two Interactive Software (NASDAQ:TTWO): Cramer is a fan. There is no reason not to buy the stock.

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions (NASDAQ:KTOS): It’s a good defense stock that will go higher.

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PayPal Is A Buy At $60 – Cramer's Lightning Round (8/16/17)

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PayPal Is A Buy At $60 – Cramer's Lightning Round (8/16/17)

Stocks discussed on the Lightning Round segment of Jim Cramer’s Mad Money Program, Wednesday, August 16.

Bullish Calls

Impinj (NASDAQ:PI): It’s an interesting stock but the market is crowded, so one should be careful.

PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL): CEO Dan Schulman has made the company into a powerhouse. The stock is a buy at $60.

Marriott International (NYSE:MAR): The stock going down is a buying opportunity.

Bearish Calls

Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG): “You know, I had said 18 months after an incident, that thing would come back, but then we had another incident and had to reset the clock, so it’s not on my to-do list right now.”

Seabridge Gold (NYSEMKT:SA): It’s a development-stage gold company. Cramer prefers Randgold (NASDAQ:GOLD) or Kirkland Lake Gold (NYSE:KL) instead.

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Deliveroo launches new technology to make takeaways arrive faster – The Independent

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Deliveroo launches new technology to make takeaways arrive faster – The Independent

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The Independent
Deliveroo launches new technology to make takeaways arrive faster
The Independent
Deliveroo is launching new technology that it says will help bring takeaways to customers' doors even more quickly and double the number of meals restaurants are able to produce. The new platform, developed by Manhattan-based food company Maple, …

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How Materials Science Will Determine the Future of Human Civilization – MIT Technology Review

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How Materials Science Will Determine the Future of Human Civilization – MIT Technology Review

One of the extraordinary features of the microelectronics revolution is its ability to scale, a featured captured by Moore’s Law. That has led to a rapid and massive increase in computing capacity—today’s top-of-the-range smartphones have the computing power equivalent to the world’s most powerful supercomputers from the early 1990s. Tomorrow’s smartphones will be even more powerful.

But there is a problem in the offing. As powerful computers become more widespread, the amount of power they consume will increase. If Moore’s exponential law continues, electronic devices will consume more than half the planet’s energy budget within a couple of decades.

That’s clearly unsustainable. So what to do?


The ferroelectric domain structure of erbium manganate.

Today we get an answer of sorts from Nicola Spaldin, a materials scientist at ETH Zurich, in Switzerland. Spaldin argues that materials scientists can save the planet, and their solution will be in the form of a fundamental breakthrough that changes the way we think about information technology and the way we use it. She makes the argument—and points to one or two potential avenues for this breakthrough—in a highly entertaining paper.

Spaldin begins by showing how the human civilization has been shaped by breakthroughs in materials science. The discovery of composite materials such as fiber and resin allowed humans to attach blades to sticks to create knives and axes.

The remarkable discovery of smelting techniques, probably in stone age pottery kilns, led to the bronze and iron ages. That caused radical changes in agriculture and led to the establishment of cities and even countries. Metal technology also led to Important changes in weapons technology and ultimately, around 4,000 years later, to the industrial revolution.

Later, the discovery of the electron led to the development of the vacuum tube, the solid state transistor, and to microelectronics in general. The ultra-pure silicon required for modern electronics was initially developed for high-frequency radar receivers in the Second World War.

Each of these breakthroughs in materials science changed the world and the way we interact with it. But none of them were planned and much about the way of life that preceded them was lost when these changes occurred.

Spaldin argues that something similar will be required to overcome the silicon energy crunch. We cannot continue with silicon, so what will replace it?

One possibility may come from Spaldin’s own research on multiferroics—materials that have both ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. Usually, the only way to change a material’s magnetic properties is with a magnetic field. But Spaldin and others have shown how to change the magnetic properties of multiferroics with electric fields.

That has significant implications. A great deal of silicon-based information processing and storage relies on magnetic properties that must be manipulated with magnetic fields. The ability to do that more efficiently with electric fields is potentially transformative. “Replacing the magnetic fields in our existing magnetism-based technologies with electric fields offers tremendous opportunity for energy savings, miniaturization, and efficiency,” she says.

Multiferroics have other useful properties. Inside these materials, ferroelectric dipoles can line up with different orientations. Dipoles that are aligned form regions called domains and the borders between these domains turn out to be interesting.

Spaldin says these borders form conducting channels  than can be moved and rearranged using electric fields. “This has potential application in novel memory or information processing architectures,” she says.

The surface of these multiferroic materials also have curious electronic properties that can be manipulated to catalyze reactions such as water splitting.

“Our new multiferroic materials are poised to enable new device paradigms, and in turn entirely new ways of designing technologies,” she says. “Perhaps we are about to enter a new Multiferroics Age?”

Gone would be our reliance on silicon and instead we will be dependent on an industry producing erbium manganate or yttrium manganate or bismuth ferrite and a new generation of highly energy efficient information-processing devices.

Spaldin is not holding her breath. There are many factors that determine the future of technology and no way of predicting how they will pan out. Multiferroics is one possibility but there are surely many others.

And this is her main point. That history clearly shows that the long-term future is never a straightforward extrapolation of today. Instead, disruptive ideas change the world.  And the key is to create an environment in which this disruption can happen.

The idea that materials scientists will create this revolution is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, however. It will, of course, be physicists who do the important work (cough).

She ends her argument with a passionate plea to governments, funding agencies and university administrators.

“The true breakthroughs that will change the course of history will not come from initiatives to improve existing materials or devices, or to advance technologies that have already been identified,” she says. “Instead, they will come from off-beat individuals or small teams of fundamental researchers pushing the boundaries of knowledge in directions for which there is not yet an application.”

In other words, fundamental research will pay off in silver dollars—if it is carefully nurtured.

Ref: arxiv.org/abs/1708.01325: Fundamental Materials Research and the Course of Human Civilization

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