Upending Conventional Wisdom

Upending Conventional Wisdom

Why you should care

Because some experiments hit it big — while others miss by a mile. 

Marissa Mayer: Hiring a Dream Team in Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley may be booming with startups but the question remains: Can once-fallen Internet giants ever really make a comeback?

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer hasn’t embraced the in-vogue strategy of hiring rock stars. Instead, she’s focused not on the out-and-out obvious winners but the folks who’ve been cut up a bit and are hungry for a big win. Mayer’s hiring strategy is also highly unusual for the number of women she’s brought on board in prominent positions — in a Valley that still lags far behind equal representation when it comes to gender. It’s too early to know if she can pull off a turnaround. But the numbers look promising. The company’s stock price has more than doubled since Mayer took the helm in 2012, it has made a series of high-profile acquisitions (Summly, Tumblr, Vizify) and might reap serious cash from prior investments. Read more here.

Switzerland: Peaceful but … Armed

Switzerland has earned its reputation as a safe, neutral nation. Yet it’s hardly pacifist or gun averse.

In fact, the small and stable country has the highest firearm ownership rate in Europe. Gun culture is deeply rooted in the country, regulations are liberal and sport shooting is extremely popular. So why is gun violence so rare there, especially compared to, say, the gun-fascinated U.S.? One possible explanation: strict gun-control enforcement. Automatic weapons are banned and gun permits refused to a person with a criminal record, addiction or psychiatric problem. Others veer toward the social or cultural, including a lack of serious drug or poverty issues, coupled with the notorious Swiss concern for safety and regard for rules. Read more here.

Four Well-Intentioned International Law Ideas Doomed to Fail

International law enforcement is an enticing idea. But sometimes an international legal solution is worse than no solution. This is true of a number of popular proposals on the table today for supposedly bolstering our international legal order. Karen J. Alter, a professor of political science and law at Northwestern University, and author of The New Terrain of International Law: Courts, Politics, Rights, writes about four things proponents of those ideas get wrong about international law. There’s no clear way to police governments manipulating their currencies or lying about the state of their finances, just to name one. Read more here.

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Square pegs. Round holes.