Monday, December 22, 2008

Two economic forces at work

There is now a remarkable push-pull going on with the global economy as we have, of course, now learned that a lot of people were doing nothing of value but receiving huge financial rewards. They were a net negative creating a massive drag on the world economy which was masked through various means.

Now there has been a collapse of the fraud, rampant dissolution, and silly activities meant only to create the illusion of wealth creation which has been labeled the "financial crisis" which has begun the release of the drag against people who are actually generating real value for the world economy, who will be the engines of real growth in the future.

So there are two forces at work: the collapse of the fraud, giving opportunity for the reality of truly valuable work--not the illusion of it--but negatives as the world balances.

It is the balance all good citizens of the world seek, which is what will take some more time to achieve.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Madoff fraud case

Link above goes to: MSNBC

Quote from the source:

Charities count missing millions in Madoff case
Philanthropic groups hit hard by ex-Nasdaq chief's arrest on fraud charges
By Binyamin Appelbaum, David S. Hilzenrath and Amit R. Paley
washingtonpost.com
updated 1:47 a.m. PT, Sat., Dec. 13, 2008


Madoff allegedly ran a Ponzi scheme though he had substantial social standing.

Here is another quote from the page:

It may be the largest fraud in the history of Wall Street, authorities said. Madoff is charged with stealing as much as $50 billion, in part to cover a pattern of massive losses, even as he cultivated a reputation as a financial mastermind and prominent philanthropist.


And one last quote from the page:

Madoff built himself into a brand....He advertised his integrity.

"In an era of faceless organizations owned by other equally faceless organizations, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC harks back to an earlier era in the financial world: The owner's name is on the door," the company's Web site said. "Clients know that Bernard Madoff has a personal interest in maintaining the unblemished record of value, fair-dealing, and high ethical standards that has always been the firm's hallmark."


The credit crisis is being credited with unearthing long-standing frauds and it is suspected more will be revealed with time.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Browse by cellphone

Was bored the other day and decided I'd check out this site with my cellphone, and was happily surprised to see that not only could I cruise through posts, but could click though links back to the source articles, which were formatted for my cellphone.

So those of you with cellphones that can browse the Web can read through postings and articles rather easily. What I noticed that didn't come through were the headlines and videos.

James

Friday, November 28, 2008

An ounce of prevention in finance

Link above goes to: The New York Times

Quote from the source:
Op-Ed Columnist
Lest We Forget
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: November 28, 2008
The story of how we failed to see this coming has a clear policy implication — that financial market reform should be pressed quickly, and that it should not wait until the crisis is resolved.


Yeah, if the best reforms are ever to be done, they have to be done while things are painful, and the realization is clear as a result that they are needed.

Past history guides us to the conclusion that whatever reforms are done now, in time, there will be calls to remove them and de-regulate.

So, if not now for the clearly needed reforms, when?

Giving the remarkable conclusion that as we fix the current financial crisis, we must also work to prevent the next one.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Middle class is a feeling

However anyone else defines it, for me being middle class is a feeling. It is the middle way outside of class though the word "class" is part of the phrase as it is about living without a continual sense of fear, while class is about fear.

Classed societies separate themselves into at least two groups out of fear, and in the past when disease, famine or war could dramatically cut into the size of a population beyond 1/3 those fears were continually reinforced by losses hard to properly imagine today.

But today many people can be more afraid about hurting others than being hurt by them, and more concerned about their hopes and expectations than daily fights for survival--in middle class societies.

Those who pine for class do not understand it.

Possibly they have naive dreams of being royalty where to them that is just about parades and adulation, ordering others around and having plenty.

But class was about deciding who lived and who died, about surviving when so many others died to re-teach, and hold on to culture, as otherwise everything would have to be re-discovered. Starting would be from scratch.

The leaders were servants of the people, burdened with the task of living for the future no matter who else died, told that their duty was to preserve the knowledge, and rebuild after the disasters that always struck, killing vast numbers of their people.

Their lives were about pain and its inevitability.

Simply feeling safe is the most powerful gift of the modern world, and one worth striving to help others achieve.

Feeling safe is possibly the most under appreciated feeling in the world, until you lose that feeling, or live a life, where you never had it.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Slow boot times

Link above goes to: The New York Times

Quote from the source:
Digital Domain
30 Seconds to Boot Up? That’s 29 Too Many
By RANDALL STROSS
Published: November 2, 2008
Unhappiness with boot times is shared by many computer users, as reflected in much online discussion of the issue.


Great article as I'll admit I'm increasingly infuriated by how long my computer takes to boot up, especially when I get to the point when my browser is open and I'm trying to surf the web and the stupid computer is still loading. What is it still loading then?

Clearly I have everything I need as my browser is open and I'm trying to get to sites so what is this other crap I'm paying for with my time that I do not need and do not want?

Maybe someone should get a class action lawsuit together against software companies that do operating systems for wasting our lives and get some monetary compensation for the time we're forced to lose because we have no options with these freaking machines which are increasingly so important.

I want my time back. So I think as a warning to tech companies, speed up these machines before the lawsuits. Please.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Super staph

Link above goes to: MSNBC

Quote from page:
Experts: Staph germs becoming harder to treat
Bacteria acquiring ‘superbug’ powers, causing serious illnesses, doctors say

updated 1:43 p.m. PT, Mon., Oct. 27, 2008

WASHINGTON - Drug-resistant staph bacteria picked up in ordinary community settings are increasingly acquiring “superbug” powers and causing far more serious illnesses than they have in the past, doctors reported Monday....


AP story though that doesn't copy in, and I'm still somewhat hesitant to touch AP stories but this one is extremely important.

It seems past time that the CDC went into overdrive on educating the public.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Smelling mates and the Pill

Link above goes to: MSNBC.com

Quote from the page:

The Pill makes women pick bad mates
Ability to sniff out a compatible partner affected by taking contraceptives
By Jeanna Bryner

updated 10:17 a.m. PT, Wed., Aug. 13, 2008
Birth control pills could screw up a woman's ability to sniff out a compatible mate, a new study finds....


I've read about this issue before in Psychology Today and in that article (sorry no direct reference) it mentioned marriages breaking up when a woman goes off the pill because the couple has decided to have children, and she finds she suddenly cannot stand the smell of her husband.

Kind of makes me wonder how people supposedly fall in love on-line. After all, you really cannot smell anyone through your computer.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

But what if economists just suck?

Source: CNNMoney.com

Economists should listen to consumers
Experts have a half-glass full outlook for the economy while average Americans are far more pessimistic. Here's why the consumer is probably right.

By Chris Isidore, CNNMoney.com senior writer
Last Updated: June 24, 2008: 3:04 PM EDT


It seems remarkable to me that the economists, who I believe are academics so often wrong, just keep getting to be very, very wrong with no consequences as they are one group I'm sure is not the slightest bit concerned about their jobs when I ask, when are they actually right?

It seems to me they only get trends right mostly on upswings when they side with the view that most promotes big business or big investment interests, and rarely if ever seem to be worth much, like early warning, when it comes to the downside when people really need their government to get the best information so that it can help!!!

So these people seem to primarily get things right when it doesn't do anybody any good, and they drag their feet if the news is bad--or, gasp, maybe they don't have a clue?--when they should be warning leaders so that help can arrive so why do we pay them?

What are we paying these economists for, as if they are academics then are they not being paid primarily with our tax dollars?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Arrival of the new ad?

Source: Mashable

YouTube’s “Sell Your Own Ads” Strategy: Desperation or the Future of Advertising?

June 9, 2008 — 08:48 AM PDT — by Adam Ostrow —

Google has added an interesting twist to their monetization strategy for YouTube: allow content producers to sell their own advertising....


Nice to know Google is still working on the problem of making money from YouTube, as I think the issue really has to do with the need for the arrival of choice and I came up with my own suggestion for a new type of ad, back in May.

Thinking more on it as I flesh out the idea it just seems so natural as a way to do advertising with video where you have a tab on the video, say in the upper left corner, like the tab on a browser that says something like "Advertiser supported" and to see the ad, the viewer has to, yup, click on the tab!

So if you don't want to see the ad, you just ignore the tab, watch the video and go on your merry way.

The viewer makes the choice.

Seem dumb?

Well, television advertising models I think still dominate the web where you push things on people which is the way television works as it's so passively experienced. In contrast the web is interactive and choice rules, so pushed ads work to some extent, but to me they're annoying, and I know I can just ignore pushed ads, and still get the content!

In contrast, newspapers traditionally are more like this idea as you get a lot of content until you turn the page and see an ad, or go all the way to the back to get classifieds, because, people have more choice with the paper in their hands.

So I'm not really asking for something completely new, but something closer to the newspaper ad model with a web twist as you can get a full video commercial--which had better be good!!!

Pairing a really good commercial with videos that get downloaded a lot is also just a good idea as that can help it go viral in a way that involves viewer choice.

As my belief is that people do not hate ads: they hate bad ads and ads being pushed on them which is what television and radio do.

So because of television and radio there is this notion that people hate advertising.

But I think they just dislike pushy sales tactics that are traditional in certain media, but unnecessary on the web, where choice rules.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Superbug kills young and healthy

Source: MSNBC, post title is their headline

Superbug kills young and healthy, experts say
Drug-resistant MRSA responsible for 24 deaths during 2006-2007 flu season

...Many of the cases were caused by a drug-resistant form called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA, the team led by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday....

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Healthy foods article

Source: Yahoo Health

8 Ultimate Flat-Belly Summer Foods
By David Zinczenko, with Matt Goulding
Posted Fri, May 23, 2008, 12:11 pm PDT

...To combat the nutritional chaos and the extra poundage that comes with the rising mercury, we’ve chosen the eight best foods to eat every day. Beyond being packed full of disease-fighting, life-extending nutrients, these foods will also help keep your belly full, because they’re loaded with fiber and protein, the sultans of satiety.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Your bacteria and you

Source: NY Times

Science
Bacteria Thrive in Inner Elbow; No Harm Done
By NICHOLAS WADE
Published: May 23, 2008
Even after you have washed the skin clean, there are still one million bacteria in every square centimeter of skin in the crook of your elbow. But they are not bad bacteria.


Awesome article. Who knew? Bacteria tribes in all of us? Our own cells are out-numbered 10 to 1 by friendlies living inside of us and out?

Here's a quote:

...These are not bad bacteria. They are what biologists call commensals, creatures that eat at the same table with people to everyone’s mutual benefit. Though they were not invited to enjoy board and lodging in the skin of your inner elbow, they are giving something of value in return. They are helping to moisturize the skin by processing the raw fats it produces, says Julia A. Segre of the National Human Genome Research Institute....


And one more because I think it's rather important:

...Much the same set of bacteria recolonize the gut after a course of antibiotics, he said, suggesting that the makeup of the colony is important and that the body has ways of reconstituting it as before.


The article says that biologists think we should be best described as "superorganisms" to properly include all the bacteria. So hey, in a way, we're all super beings with bacterial colonies adapting to our lifestyles along with us. Sort of your extra crew, one might say.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What they do, not what they say

Source: NY Times

Editorial
What the F.B.I. Agents Saw
Published: May 22, 2008
In light of a report by the Justice Department, the Democrats in charge of Congress should press for full disclosure of President Bush’s inhuman policy on prisoners.


Republicans touted "rule of law" until they decided that the laws didn't matter, when it suited them.

Here's a quote from the article:

...These were not random acts. It is clear from the inspector general’s report that this was organized behavior by both civilian and military interrogators following the specific orders of top officials. The report shows what happens when an American president, his secretary of defense, his Justice Department and other top officials corrupt American law to rationalize and authorize the abuse, humiliation and torture of prisoners:...


But Democrats haven't managed to enforce this country's laws either, now have they?

The American system is increasingly under trial because our political leaders are humiliating us along with those prisoners, and saying to the world that what we believe is just talk and not substance.

It is as if our political leaders threw out the United States Constitution a long time ago, but just kept saying otherwise.

We have a leadership of liars, who will say they are "conservative" or "liberal" or "democratic" or whatever it takes to maintain power--and then do whatever the hell they want, and this nation be damned.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Repo stories, boats taken back

Source: NY Times

Business
Economic Tide Is Rising for Repo Man
By DAVID STREITFELD
Published: May 20, 2008
The recreational boating industry has faltered amid the housing slump, leading to a boom in repossessions.


Here's a quote from the article:

...Finally he remembered: “I’ve taken this boat before.” Owners of repossessed boats have a few weeks to redeem them, and this fellow had availed himself of the opportunity. Now, a few years later, he was in trouble again. Mr. Henderson shrugged. “I took it before, I’ll take it again. After I take it a few more times, he’ll be eligible for a Christmas card. One guy, I took his boat four times.”


And one more telling quote:

Some people lose their house or their boat to abrupt setbacks: illness, job loss, divorce. Mr. Dahmen, who works as a technology manager for a car manufacturer, belongs to a second, probably larger group: he simply spent beyond his means. He is one of the millions of reasons the consumer-powered American economy did so well for most of this decade, and one of the reasons its prospects look so bleak now.


The article has an almost literary quality. It reads more like a well-told tale than a news article.

Science explaining wisdom?

Source: NY Times

Health / Research
Older Brain Really May Be a Wiser Brain
By SARA REISTAD-LONG
Published: May 20, 2008
New research suggests that memory lapses that occur with age might be a sign of a widening focus of attention.


That blurb doesn't do the article justice as it says so much more to explain how older can mean wiser in that people with more experience are able to notice more of what's actually going on. Here's a quote from the article:

“A broad attention span may enable older adults to ultimately know more about a situation and the indirect message of what’s going on than their younger peers,” Dr. Hasher said. “We believe that this characteristic may play a significant role in why we think of older people as wiser.”


The article mentioned that younger people tend to just speed past oddities, as if they weren't there, while older people, able to process more efficiently, can even pay attention to the things that should not be there, as well what should, and then understand better overall, what is actually going on.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ant army taking out computers in Texas

Source: Computerworld

NASA moves to save computers from swarming ants

Attack of the (computer) killer ants - pests taking out machines along Texas gulf coast
By Sharon Gaudin

May 15, 2008 (Computerworld) A flood of voracious ants is heading straight for Houston, taking out computers, radios and even vehicles in their path.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Learning penalty in nature

Source: NY Times

Science
Lots of Animals Learn, but Smarter Isn’t Better
By CARL ZIMMER
Published: May 6, 2008
New research indicates that growing smarter has dangerous side effects that make its evolution even more puzzling.


Really surprising research to me, though reading the article it makes sense that learning has its costs.

Here's a quote from the article:

Dr. Kawecki and like-minded scientists are trying to figure out why animals learn and why some have evolved to be better at learning than others. One reason for the difference, their research finds, is that being smart can be bad for an animal’s health.


And one more:

Dr. Kawecki says it is worth investigating whether humans also pay hidden costs for extreme learning. “We could speculate that some diseases are a byproduct of intelligence,” he said.


Hmmm...

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Stealthier advertising

I was pondering once again the issue of advertising with YouTube, which is for some reason one of my favorite subjects it seems, when I realized something while looking at a website that had YouTube with AdSense which was that you could see who the advertiser was immediately.

It was right there in the form of this little ad. Plain to see.

But, what if for some ad campaigns--not saying all--advertisers could have a stealthier approach where instead you just saw something that said "Advertiser Supported" where you had to click to see who the advertiser was?

Sound dumb? Well, curiosity is a known thing, you know? And premium, or at least different, content on such pages might draw people to click to see who was advertising which would give them a full video commercial, and links back to the advertiser's sites of interest as they choose to look at it!

Free idea. Maybe I should quit giving away ideas for free, but I have them all the time. What else would I do with them? Sit on them? It's not like anyone's buying my ideas, you know?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Immediate physical effects of alcohol consumption

Source: TheSite.org

What drink does

Why do we dance on tables when drunk, why do we crave chips at 3am and why do we feel so, so awful the next day? Before you shout for your next Tequila let TheSite.org explain.

What makes you feel drunk?

When a person drinks an alcoholic beverage, about 20% of the alcohol is absorbed in the stomach and about 80% is absorbed in the small intestine....

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pig brain mist mystery

Source: MSNBC

More workers sick from pig-brain mist
Patients worked at plant that used compressed air to empty swine skulls

updated 2 hours, 3 minutes ago

MINNEAPOLIS - The number of mysterious neurological illnesses among workers who processed pig brains at pork plants in three states has grown to as many as 24...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Shrinking Youngstown

Source: CNN

The incredible shrinking city
Youngstown, Ohio, has long been on the decline and now is being hit by the foreclosure crisis. Its answer: Razing abandoned buildings and tearing up streets.

By Les Christie, CNNMoney.com staff writer
Last Updated: April 14, 2008: 9:50 AM EDT

...in a radical move, the city - which has suffered since the steel industry left town and jobs dried up - is bulldozing abandoned buildings and tearing up blighted streets, converting entire blocks into open green spaces....

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Berkeley is right

Source: CNN

Showdown looms in 'treasonous' Berkeley

# Story Highlights
# Pro-military groups demand Berkeley take back vote urging Marines to leave
# Military supporter: "Their treasonous action ... is not acceptable,"
# Anti-war groups also gather, stand toe-to-toe against military supporters
# City Council is to meet later Tuesday to discuss its previous vote


Kings and Queens of Britain demanded absolute loyalty. We Americans demand citizenship.

Citizenship is not about blind faith, or standing in line when told.

It's not about asking for permission when freedom is at stake.

It is not about saying yes, sir, or yes madam, when demanded.

Freedom is about courage, and standing for what our national anthem sings.

Freedom is about being brave enough to state your opinion and stand for something.

Our country has faced its greatest challenge, not from the enemy without, but from the enemy within, and in that challenge, there have been the true patriots who have stood for America, for our Constitution, and for what it means to be all fully human--truly trying to be all that you can be.

That some would twist the very foundations of our democracy into something for control and domination is the reality of human life.

There are always those who would hurt through even our most grandest ideals if they can.

But as long as there are free people willing to stand for something, rather than fall for anything, then there is a voice and a cry for freedom and a reason.

We must stand for something greater than ourselves.

And where we find that is part of what it means to be free.

You do not tell me my answer!!!

I must find the truth or forever be a slave if not in body, then in mind.

As when you tell me what I must do, and who I must be then you make yourself my enemy.

And you stand against the Constitution of the United States of America that I have twice sworn to defend.

True patriots know freedoms worth. And they need dominate no one.

As when you stand with me, you understand me. And as we understand each other, we find the reason.

And reason binds us in common duty.

I am an American. And I am truly free.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

When murder is all in the family

Source: CNN

Scout, 15, allegedly killed family without warning

* Story Highlights
* NEW: About 300 teens kill family members each year, experts say
* Families can be affluent, successful and there often is little warning
* Scout, 15, held on $1 million bail in slayings of parents, 2 brothers
* Nicholas Browning had good grades, played golf and lacrosse

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Double Dippers dipping dilemma

Source: MSNBC

Eww! Double dipping just gross, study confirms
‘It’s like kissing everybody at the party,’ researcher says

updated 3:27 p.m. PT, Fri., Feb. 1, 2008

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Keep an eye on the salsa this Super Bowl Sunday: A researcher inspired by a famous “Seinfeld” episode has concluded that double dipping is just plain gross....

...They found that three to six double dips transferred about 10,000 bacteria from an eater’s mouth to the remaining dip sample....


Eww, indeed.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Good cholesterol? Bad? How about neither.

Source: NY Times

Op-Ed Contributor
What’s Cholesterol Got to Do With It?
By GARY TAUBES
Published: January 27, 2008
The truth is, we’ve always had reason to question the idea that cholesterol is an agent of disease.


An important read. Here's a quote from within the article:

...The lipoproteins LDL and HDL became “good cholesterol” and “bad cholesterol,” and the lipoprotein transport vehicle was now conflated with its cholesterol cargo. Lost in translation was the evidence that the causal agent in heart disease might be abnormalities in the lipoproteins themselves....


Wow. That gave me a quick wake-up this morning. Go figure.