Peter Thiel, Co-Founder of PayPal
"Education is a bubble in a classic sense. To call something a bubble, it must be overpriced and there must be an intense belief in it. Housing was a classic bubble, as were tech stocks in the '90s, because they were both very overvalued, but there was an incredibly widespread belief that almost could not be questioned - you had to own a house in 2005, and you had to be in an equity-market index fund in 1999." ~ Peter Thiel on higher education for NRO.
Peter Thiel is a highly successful entrepreneur, venture capitalist, hedge fund manager, and perhaps most notably co-founder of Internet giant PayPal.
He is also a staunch libertarian, and anything but meek about sharing his philosophic point of view.
When it comes to higher education in America today, Thiel is less than impressed:
"It's basically extremely overpriced. People are not getting their money's worth, objectively, when you do the math. And at the same time it is something that is incredibly intensively believed; there's this sort of psycho-social component to people taking on these enormous debts when they go to college simply because that's what everybody's doing."
Like Thiel, we at Money Morning believe that America has been swallowed by a student loan bubble.
And, like Thiel, we've thought up some reasonable alternatives to the blind pursuit of higher education.
For instance, we suggested starting a business. There is something about real-world experience that can't be replicated in higher education right now.
Just look at the commentary by some of the business elite.
Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Stock Slumps â€“ But Outlook Still Bright
Google Inc. (Nasdaq; GOOG) stock plunged after its earnings report missed estimates.
Thursday after the close, Google's posted Q2 profit of $9.71 billion, or $9.54 a share, up 19% from $8.54 billion, or $8.42 a share, in the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue rose to $11.1 billion from $9.61 billion.
Those numbers came in below the consensus estimates of $10.80 EPS on revenue $14.45 billion. And, the surprising miss spooked investors in Google stock. Shares tumbled 5% in afterhours trading and another 3.38% in early morning trading Friday.
Google still views the explosive shift to smartphones and tablets as a lucrative opportunity for Google stock investors and the company. But, the Internet search giant's second quarter results serve as a stark reminder of just how financially challenging the early stages of that opportunity can be - even with an $11 billion-plus quarter.
In recent days, there was plenty of chatter about Google shares breaking through the $1,000 price barrier, a milestone that now looks a ways off amid the earnings miss.
Can Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) Nexus Dethrone the Apple iPad?
When Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) launched its new line of Nexus tablets a couple weeks ago, it was a shot across the bow of Apple Inc.'s (Nasdaq: AAPL) dominant iPad.
Even though Hurricane Sandy forced Google to cancelan event planned to show off the new gadgets, it went ahead and launched its new products anyway.
The timing was no coincidence.
Google's latest salvo came less than a week after Apple introduced a smaller, less expensive iPad Mini with a 7.9-inch display to compete against the Nexus 7 tablet.
It's no wonder these guys are at war. Tablet sales are expected to hit $29.1 billion this year, according to the Consumer Electronics Association.
That number is $10 billion higher than projected in January, escalating the battle to a whole new level.
Clearly both companies are feeling the heat.
And even though Apple is the clear leader in market share, Google has rolled out cheaper devices that are attracting many users-especially price-conscious ones.
The question is: Do Google's Android-powered devices have enough firepower to crack Apple's grip on the tablet market?
It's still too early to tell, but there's good reason to believe the Internet search giant may just pull it off.
Here's a look at what the new tablets have under the hood.
Google Glasses Prove the Future is Already Here
Getting a truly modern outlook requires a little help.
Fortunately, you may soon be able to buy a unique pair of eyeglasses that do the job for you.
In early April, Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) unveiled a stylish pair of Web-connected spectacles that serve as a computer you wear on your face (or perhaps a smartphone for your eyes).
They are called "Google Glasses" and they are a great twist on the "heads up" displays used by U.S. defense forces.
Most of us have never seen anything quite like this before - except in sci-fi films. But this high-tech, mostly hands-free device could change the way you live your daily life.
Put these eyeglasses on, and you have instant access your email. You can check the weather, get traffic updates, display maps and walking directions on the go, take photos, send texts, schedule meetings, listen to music, and make wireless video calls.
And get this. Google Glasses function by moving your head - nodding, for one - or by clicking a small button.
This is the kind of breakthrough I have in mind when I say we are living in the Era of Radical Change. The next two decades will be like nothing we have seen before.
And it all started right here in the good ol' USA.
Since the transistor was invented at Bell Labs in New Providence, NJ, back in 1947, the U.S. has vaulted ahead of the rest of the world at every major high-tech milestone.
In fact, as I like to remind readers, a simple law explains this steady stream of innovations we have enjoyed for decades. Named for a Silicon Valley genius, Moore's Law states that computing power doubles about every two years.
Look at it this way...
In the 1960s, for the first time people started using basic electronic calculators to perform addition and multiplication functions.
Today - just 50 years later - they can sport Google Glasses that make video phone calls. (Now you'll believe me when I say what's next... I believe that in the very near future we will be able to upgrade our IQs with devices implanted inside our brains.)
Thus, Google Glasses are so much more than just the latest cool gadget. They give us a great insight into what the near future holds.
It's going to be a thrilling ride.
Google Glasses and the Era of Radical ChangeAccording to early reports, Google could hit the market with these glasses by the end of 2012. But let me be blunt about one thing. Cynics have blasted Google over this project. They note that the Web giant has made no promise it will ever release the glasses.
That's true. But it misses the big-picture view.
Even if Google shelves its "Project Glass," I predict that someone else will quickly step in to fill the void. And that option could turn out to be the better bet for investors.
After all, with its $200 billion market cap Google is such a big company that these glasses, as cool as they are, may not move the stock's price all that much.
Either way, however, we win.
If Google Glasses do hit the market in time for the holiday, then we can all go out and grab a pair. If not, then we can look for a small-cap leader that's gearing up to bring them (or something similar) to market and then invest in that company.
In that case, what we hope for as tech investors is a firm like InvenSense Inc. (NYSE: INVN).
This is a small-cap leader that makes motion sensors used in a wide range of electronics, including smartphones equipped with Google's Android operating system.
Even after a huge recent sell off, the stock has returned more than 35% so far this year. Compared with Google's year-to-date loss of about 6%, InvenSense is on fire.
As it turns out, there are two small companies on my radar screen with products in the same space as Google's glasses.
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Tech Stocks: Will Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) Wow Investors Today with Earnings?
Investors have a lot to look for when Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) reports earnings after the bell today (Thursday). The company needs to prove it has plans to stay in the lead among tech companies - and fight off the encroaching threat of social media giant Facebook Inc.
Investors are hoping Google avoids a repeat of last quarter's report.
Mountain View, CA-based Google reported a rare earnings miss in January, sending the stock tumbling some 8%. Google's stock price has rebounded since, recouping nearly all of the loss, and currently sits just 5.5% below its 52-week high.
Analysts expect first quarter sales to rise nearly 25%, and that earnings per share will rise 20% to $9.65, CNN Money reports. For the full year, industry gurus forecast growth of 22% and a pleasing 18% profit increase.
A lot is riding on Google's first-quarter earnings results, not just for the company, but also for the overall market. Gangs of Google fans hope the favored company will follow bellwether Alcoa Inc.'s (NYSE: AA) lead and report better-than-expected numbers.
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Is Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Plotting a Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) Takeover?
Yahoo! Inc.'s (Nasdaq: YHOO) never-ending troubles may renew Google Inc.'s (Nasdaq: GOOG) appetite for the once-mighty Internet giant.
After all, it wouldn't be the first time Google considered the deal.
In October, Google talked to at least two private-equity firms about helping them finance a deal to buy Yahoo Inc.'s core business, a person familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.
But the latest bout of attrition at the senior management level and a flurry of strategic blunders may rekindle Google's desire to acquirethe struggling firm.
Why Buy Yahoo?Even so, many investors are questioning why anyone would want to buy Yahoo.
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Android@Home, Project X, and Other Secrets of Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG)
Lately, Google Inc.'s (Nasdaq: GOOG) Mountain View, CA-based headquarters have looked more like the clandestine lair of a Bond villain than a business center.
The company has poured more than $120 million dollars into construction projects that are fit to house testing labs and top-secret initiatives with names like "Project X."
One theory about what's going on at the Googleplex involves the development of a driverless car.
And that may well be true - but the more immediate and practical use for the renovation would be to expand the base from which the company competes with rival Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL).
Google's war with Apple continues to escalate as the two companies fight for ground in three major consumer markets: mobile devices, Internet search and digital media.
Google fired its first salvo at Apple with the introduction of its Android operating system, which has come to dominate the smartphone market.
Apple recently retaliated by introducing Siri - the voice-activated search engine that has been a major selling point for the latest iPhone.
Still, the biggest clash is set to take place in your living room.
Google and Apple are fighting to be the company that supplies your media at home, stores it for you in a cloud drive, and then distributes it to your wireless devices.
Google has even expressed interest in bringing other appliances into the fold, connecting things like lighting, heating, and air conditioning via the Android operating system - a seamless integration dubbed "Android@Home."
The goal is to let you control every electronic device in your home through a smartphone or tablet.
This is a battle for what futurists call the "digital living room."
And it's just getting started. Here's a sneak peak at what's in store.
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