Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 - no reason for optimism

This positive feeling for 2013 may be misplaced - Telegraph: "Contractionary policies across the eurozone make continued recession in the region for at least the next year a virtual certainty. While the periphery struggles under the cosh to make itself more competitive, France seems to have adopted the opposite strategy of making itself less so, incubating an even more calamitous crisis further down the road. So, although the eurozone is once again likely to see out the next year in its present, 17-nation form, it’s unlikely to be a happier experience. Austerity Europe has quite a number of years yet to run. I dwell unduly on the outlook for the eurozone because, regrettably, it is likely to remain the big negative for the UK economy over the coming year."

Hardly a recipe for optimism.

Friday, December 28, 2012

GPS Tracks Secret Nuke Tests

It's all in the "data"--

GPS Tracks Secret Nuke Tests : Discovery News: "Like earthquakes, underground nuclear blasts send pulses of acoustic energy up through the earth that momentarily disturb the ionosphere. Those disturbances propagate outward through the ionosphere like waves from a stone thrown into a pond. As the ionospheric disturbance passes between a GPS satellite and a GPS receiver on the ground, there is a noticeable blip error in the data. Add together lots of other such errors from the same wave passing between multiple receivers and satellites, and you get a lot of very specific data that points back to a the source. “It's very similar to seismological detection of an epicenter (of an earthquake),” explained Jihye Park, a post-doctoral researcher at Ohio State University. In fact the same methods can be used as those employed by seismologists, she said. They applied their technique to archived data and found clear signals of US nuclear tests from the 1990s as well as underground detonations in North Korea."

I'm sure North Korea is not pleased to know there are "no secrets."

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Latest temperature data shows a 16 year stall in global warming

Something odd going on--I observe others' reports, you decide--

Fmr. Thatcher advisor Lord Monckton evicted from UN climate summit after challenging global warming -- 'Escorted from the hall and security officers stripped him of his UN credentials' | Climate Depot: ". . . Monckton quietly slipped into the seat reserved for the delegation of Myanmar and clicked the button to speak. "In the 16 years we have been coming to these conferences, there has been no global warming," Monckton said as confused murmurs filled the hall and then turned into a chorus of boos. The stunt infuriated negotiators and activists here who gather every year to address what they believe is one of the world's top threats, the steady rise of man-made global warming. As Monckton was escorted from the hall and security officers stripped him of his U.N. credentials, several people noted that just a few hours earlier a group of young activists had been thrown out of the convention center and deported. Their crime: unfurling an unauthorized banner calling for the Qatari hosts to lead the negotiations to a strong conclusion. . . . Monckton was referring to the latest temperature data showing a 16 year stall in global warming. . . ."

UK Daily Mail: 'Global warming stopped 16 years ago' according to UK Met Office 'quietly released' report -- 'Pause' in warming lasted about same time as when temps rose, 1980 to 1996' -- 'The new data, compiled from more than 3,000 measuring points on land & sea, was issued quietly on internet, without any media fanfare, & , until today, it has not been reported. This stands in sharp contrast to release of previous figures 6 months ago, which went only to end of 2010 – a very warm year...From beginning of 1997 until August 2012 there was no discernible rise in aggregate global temps.'

UK Daily Mail: 'Claim that there has been any statistically significant warming for past 16 years is therefore unsustainable' -- Reaffirms 'a 16-year 'pause' in rising temps' -- 'Two new separate peer-reviewed studies, published in prestigious academic journals last week [challenged 'Hockey Stick'] -- 'The level of warmth during the peak of the MWP in the second half of the 10th Century, equaled or slightly exceeded the mid-20th Century warming.' There was also a pronounced warming period in Roman times'

Flashback 2011: A PNAS peer-reviewed admission that 'global surface temperatures did not rise between 1998 and 2008'

Prof. Judith Curry on 16 year global temps: ' Nothing in Met Office's statement...effectively refutes [UK Daily Mail] Rose's argument that there has been no increase in global avg. surface temps for past 16 years' -- Curry defends UK Daily Mail article: 'How does this refute Rose's argument? No statistically significant positive trend, and it makes it look like [warmist Skeptical Science] hasn't done their homework with the latest data' . . .

Monday, December 24, 2012

How the government can get your digital data without warrant

No warrant, no problem: How the government can still get your digital data | Ars Technica: "The US government isn’t allowed to wiretap American citizens without a warrant from a judge. But there are plenty of legal ways for law enforcement, from the local sheriff to the FBI, to snoop on the digital trails you create every day. Authorities can often obtain your e-mails and texts by going to Google or AT&T with a simple subpoena. Usually you won’t even be notified. The Senate last week took a step toward updating privacy protection for emails, but it's likely the issue will be kicked to the next Congress. In the meantime, here’s how police can track you without a warrant now: Stuff they can get - Phone records: Who you called, when you called . . . "

Who cares? I'm afraid my "digital data" (like most Americans) would be pretty boring. However, with government's history of incompetent, inept, and unaccountable employees, it won't be long until such information is improperly obtained, handled or disclosed--opening up the specter of untold civil liability suits. I wouldn't be surprised if many law firms are already anticipating this!

Friday, December 21, 2012

The press, Google, its algorithm, their scale

Here's a great quote--illuminating and yet shocking to old media--

The press, Google, its algorithm, their scale | Monday Note: "Legacy media (particularly European media) must deal with a harsh reality: despite their role in promoting and defending democracy, in lifting the veil on things that mean much for society, or in propagating new ideas, when it come to data, news media compete in the junior leagues. And for Google, the most data-driven company in the world, having newspapers articles in its search system is no more than small cool stuff."

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Unemployment facts and resources

Looking ahead to 2013, we have a chronic, long-term unemployment problem in most of the developed world, including Europe and the US--

Unemployment in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Unemployment rate forecasts - The Congressional Budget Office provides an unemployment rate forecast in its long term budget outlook. During August 2012, it projected that the unemployment rate would be 8.8% in 2013 and 8.7% in 2014. CBO projected the rate would then begin falling steadily to 5.5% by 2018 and remain around that level through 2022. This forecast assumes annual real GDP growth will exceed 3% between 2014 and 2018.[77]". . . The U.S. civilian labor force was approximately 155 million people during October 2012.[5] This was the world's third largest, behind China (795.5 million) and India (487.6 million). The entire European Union employed 228.3 million . . . Obtaining data:

The FRED database contains a variety of employment statistics organized as data series. It can be used to generate charts or download historical information. Data series include labor force, employment, unemployment, labor force participation, etc. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also releases employment statistics. Some popular data series include:
FRED - Civilian Labor Force
FRED - Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate CIVPART
FRED - Civilian Unemployment Rate UNRATE
FRED - Civilian Unemployed UNEMPLOY

Job creation in the U.S. is typically measured by changes in the "Total Non-Farm" employees.
FRED - Total Non-Farm Employment

FRED has gathered many of the employment statistics on one page for easy access:
FRED-Unemployment Series"

Monday, December 17, 2012

Unemployment in the US and Free Trade

Unemployment in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Economist Paul Krugman wrote in 2007: "For the world economy as a whole — and especially for poorer nations — growing trade between high-wage and low-wage countries is a very good thing...But for American workers the story is much less positive. In fact, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that growing U.S. trade with third world countries reduces the real wages of many and perhaps most workers in this country...The trouble now is that these effects may no longer be as modest as they were, because imports of manufactured goods from the third world have grown dramatically — from just 2.5 percent of GDP in 1990 to 6 percent in 2006.". . . Bill Gross wrote in September 2011: "Globalization has hollowed developed economy labor markets...Globalization and technological innovation have been extremely negative influences on domestic wages and employment." Economist Joseph Stiglitz said in February 2012: "The economic theory is very clear...What happens when you bring together countries which are very different like the United States and that the wages in the high-wage country get depressed down. This was predictable. Full globalization would in fact mean the wages in the United States would be the same as the wages in China. That's what you mean by a perfect market.". . . Economist Peter Navarro wrote in June 2011: "The American economy has been in trouble for more than a decade, and no amount of right-wing tax cuts or left-wing fiscal stimuli will solve the primary structural problem underpinning our slow growth and high unemployment. That problem is a massive, persistent trade deficit — most of it with China — that cuts the number of jobs created by nearly the number we need to keep America fully employed."[60] Economist Peter Morici wrote in May 2012: "Cutting the trade deficit in half, through domestic energy development and conservation, and offsetting Chinese exchange rate subsidies would increase GDP by about $525 billion a year and create at least 5 million jobs."

Friday, December 14, 2012

John McAfee video - stranger than fiction

Played the "crazy card"--

John McAfee, Back in the U.S., Says He Played the "Crazy Card" in Guatemala | Maximum PC: "This whole time it appeared that John McAfee, founder of McAfee antivirus (now owned by Intel) had lost his marbles, but really he was just playing the "crazy card" in hopes of trumping Belizean officials. Seeing as how the 67-year-old is now back in the United States, his convincing plan appears to have worked. It came at a cost, however, as McAfee says he left his fortune behind. McAfee, who had been on the run for more than a month and was sought for questioning in an overseas murder case involving his neighbor, landed in Miami last night, according to ABC News. . .While in detention, McAfee says he faked a heart attack to avoid being deported to Belize, where he claims the government wants him dead."I have nothing now," McAfee said. "I've got a pair of clothes and shoes, my friend dropped off some cash." McAfee says he left about 15 properties and some $20 million in investments in Belize, along with his 20-year-old and 17-year-old girlfriends, who he is focused on getting back."

Sounds to me like he's still playing the "crazy card."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cruise ship delayed in Buenos Aires

Doesn't Argentina have anything better to do than obsess over the Falklands?

Cruise ship delayed in Buenos Aires; U.K.-Argentine Diplomatic Row Escalates - Seabourn Cruise Line: "A Foreign Commonwealth Office spokesperson told Cruise Critic that the Ambassador was summoned "over the Government of Argentina's failure to respond to several requests for an assurance that British and other shipping would not be disrupted in Argentine ports. "Ships engaged in legitimate commercial business, including tourism, should not be prevented from going about their business," the statement continued. "The Argentine government's increasingly aggressive actions against the people of the Falklands Islands are unacceptable and must stop." The U.K. is expected to file claims against Argentina before the International Maritime Organization, the European Union (and by extension the World Trade Organization). 2012 has seen at least three other ships affected by the diplomatic row. In February, P&O Cruises's Adonia and Princess Cruises' Star Princess were both refused entry to the Argentinian port of Ushuaia, because they had visited the Falklands. Cruise ship stops are estimated to be worth at least £10 million to the island's economy, a sizable revenue stream that, if disrupted, would threaten the Falklands' economy."

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Reasonable Expectation of Privacy

Reasonable Expectation of Privacy | EFF Surveillance Self-Defense Project: "The Fourth Amendment only protects you against searches that violate your reasonable expectation of privacy. A reasonable expectation of privacy exists if 1) you actually expect privacy, and 2) your expectation is one that society as a whole would think is legitimate. This rule comes from a decision by the United States Supreme Court in 1967, Katz v. United States, holding that when a person enters a telephone booth, shuts the door, and makes a call, the government can not record what that person says on the phone without a warrant. Even though the recording device was stuck to the outside of the phone booth glass and did not physically invade Katz’s private space, the Supreme Court decided that when Katz shut the phone booth’s door, he justifiably expected that no one would hear his conversation, and that it was this expectation — rather than the inside of the phone booth itself — that was protected from government intrusion by the Fourth Amendment. This idea is generally phrased as "the Fourth Amendment protects people, not places.""

Furthermore, it is important to note situations in which the Fourth Amendment does not apply--here's one (read the full article at the link above for other situations):

 "Public places. It may sound obvious, but you have little to no privacy when you are in public. When you are in a public place — whether walking down the sidewalk, shopping in a store, sitting in a restaurant or in the park — your actions, movements, and conversations are knowingly exposed to the public. That means the police can follow you around in public and observe your activities, see what you are carrying or to whom you are talking, sit next to you or behind you and listen to your conversations — all without a warrant. You cannot necessarily expect Fourth Amendment protection when you’re in a public place, even if you think you are alone. Fourth Amendment challenges have been unsuccessfully brought against police officers using monitoring beepers to track a suspect’s location in a public place . . . "

Hence, security cameras or webcams in public places which also provide a deterrence to crime.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Taxing need: simpler, fairer, and lower (in most cases)

Google and Amazon refuse to yield in tax row - Telegraph: ". . . .In a report published on Monday, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) accused Amazon, Google and Starbucks of “immorally minimising their tax obligations”. The report also called for the Government to “get a grip on large corporations which generate significant income in the UK but pay little or no tax”. Starbucks announced at the weekend that it had entered into talks with HMRC having “listened to feedback from our customers and employees”. The coffee chain admitted that to “further build public trust, we need to do more”. The company said it would release details of its proposed tax arrangements later this week. On Monday, Margaret Hodge, chairman of the PAC, said that Starbucks’ climb-down was “very promising.” During recent evidence to the PAC, it emerged that over the past three years Amazon’s UK division has paid just £2.3m corporation tax on £7.1bn sales. Google paid £6m corporation tax on £2.5bn of UK revenues in 2011. Google stuck by the comments of it UK boss, Matt Brittin, who said last week that the company “plays by the rules set by politicians”."

Yeah, this is interesting--the multinationals play by the rules made by politicians--then the politicians blame the multinationals for playing by the politicians rules!

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Bad Luck of Winning

Your worst luck may be your "best luck"--

The Bad Luck of Winning - "There is, to take one of the most prominent examples, the story of Jack Whittaker, a West Virginia businessman who won a $315 million Powerball jackpot in 2002. A decade later, his daughter and granddaughter had died of drug overdoses, his wife had divorced him, and he had been sued numerous times. Once, when he was at a strip club, someone drugged his drink and took $545,000 in cash that had been sitting in his car. He later sobbed to reporters, “I wish I’d torn that ticket up.” I read about Whittaker, and a host of other sad stories about lottery winners, in a recent e-book written by Don McNay entitled, “Life Lessons From the Lottery.” McNay is a financial adviser and newspaper columnist, based in Kentucky, whom I’ve gotten to know over the years. He specializes in helping people who have come into sudden money. He is convinced that the vast majority of people who win big-money lotteries, like the recent Powerball prize, wind up broke within five years. “The money just overwhelms them,” he told me the other day. “It just causes them to lose their sense of values.” Every once in a while, a lottery jackpot, like the recent Powerball, becomes so large that it attracts national attention. People who normally understand that lotteries are a sucker’s game, can’t resist buying a ticket or two. It all seems like good fun. It is worth remembering the damage lotteries do — sucking money from the disadvantaged, while burdening the winners with sums they can’t handle — and remembering as well this is the doing not of some nasty corporation but of government. Whatever else lotteries are, they aren’t harmless. It is impossible to know whether the Hills will be able to remain “normal” once they cash their nine-figure check. McNay says that those who do the best are the people who are able to remain anonymous, take the money in annual increments, find a good financial adviser who can insulate them from all the new friends they are going to have, and spend their money with some real purpose in mind."

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

How to Lose Friends and Make Enemies

Give it to the French--they are now re-inventing Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People" to "How to Lose Friends and Make Enemies"--

French bank governor Christian Noyer calls for City of London to be sidelined as Europe's financial hub - Telegraph: "Christian Noyer told the Financial Times that there was "no rationale" for allowing the eurozone's financial centre to be "offshore". "Most of the euro business should be done inside the euro area. It's linked to the capacity of the central bank to provide liquidity and ensure oversight of its own currency," he told the Financial Times in an interview. "We're not against some business being done in London, but the bulk of the business should be under our control. That's the consequence of the choice by the UK to remain outside the euro area." Mr Noyer's broadside is one of several outspoken public attacks that have been launched by French leaders on Britain. . . . "

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Triumph of the City

Recommended: The Triumph of the City
From the 4th annual Boston Book Festival, panelists, including Edward Glaeser, author of The Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier, discuss the city of Boston. Other panelists include Ayanna Pressley, Boston City Councilor, and Barbara Berke, senior policy advisor to Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. The panel was moderated by Bob Oakes, host of WBUR’s Morning Edition.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Growing Censorship by Governments Against the Internet

A chronic problem getting worse--

Google Reports Internet Censorship Government Efforts Surge 70 Percent | Top Secret Writers: "So why is there a growing desire from governments across the world to stifle netizens and remove online content? The incident that immediately springs to mind when exploring this question is the role social media played in the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011. The role that Twitter and Facebook played in the political unrest and protests that occurred early last year were pivotal. In the second edition of the Arab Social Media Report conducted by the Dubai School of Government gave pragmatic weight to the general surmise that: “Facebook and Twitter abetted if not enabled the historic region-wide uprisings of early 2011.”  In organizing and promoting protests via social media networking sites, the Internet ultimately played a vital role in the eventual demise of long-standing and dictatorial governments in Egypt, Syria, Libra and Tunisia. . . . "

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bionic Mannequins Spy on Shoppers, Catch Criminals (video)

Store mannequins are meant to catch your eye. Soon you may catch theirs. Benetton Group SpA is among fashion brands deploying mannequins equipped with technology used to identify criminals at airports to watch over shoppers in their stores.(source:Bloomberg)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Diamonds are not necessarily forever (video)

Diamonds are not necessarily forever (video) - Stephanie Ruhle reports on the fall of diamond prices and increased sales of other gemstones. She speaks on Bloomberg Television's "Market Makers." (Source: Bloomberg)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Defend Internet Freedom - Take Action

The UN is going to try to take control of the internet and destroy internet freedom--go to the link that follows for more information:

Take Action – Google: "The Internet empowers everyone — anyone can speak, create, learn, and share. It is controlled by no one — no single organization, individual, or government. It connects the world. Today, more than two billion people are online — about a third of the planet."

Thursday, November 22, 2012

She got around: Jill Kelley visited the White House three times this year

That woman "got around"--

Jill Kelley visited the White House three times this year | The Daily Caller: "An Obama administration official says a Tampa Bay socialite whose emails triggered the eventual downfall of CIA director David Petraeus visited the White House three times this year with her sister, twice eating in the Executive Mansion mess. The official says that Jill Kelley, who initiated an investigation that ultimately unveiled Petraeus’ extramarital affair, and her sister had two “courtesy” meals at the White House mess as guests of a mid-level White House aide. Kelley and her family also received a White House tour. The visits occurred during the past three months."

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ron Paul farewell speech (video link)


Ron Paul’s farewell speech (video link): "The Texas Congressman — and three-time presidential candidate — said goodbye in farewell remarks on the House floor Wednesday. He spoke for a LONG time — 48 minutes — but those who follow the man they call “Dr. Paul” likely consumed (and re-consumed) every word. Given Paul’s surprising influence on the GOP in recent years — particularly on fiscal matters — and the likelihood that Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (his son) will run for president, it’s worth checking out. (And yes, there are gold standard and raw milk references.)"

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Governments disrupted by the internet

Recommended: Margaret Hodge and Jeff Jarvis debate the rights and wrongs of the revelation that Google, Starbucks and Amazon pay so little tax in the UK:

Should we boycott Google, Starbucks and Amazon? | Comment is free | The Observer: (excerpt) " . . . Jeff Jarvis: Please show me the rule book – ie the law – that defines "fair". For that matter, since you've suggested these companies are immoral, point me to the Bible verse that enumerates moral taxes. You are making an emotional – that is, political and ultimately cynical – appeal without grounding in the reality of business and law. If you want these companies to behave differently, make a law. That's your job. But, of course, if you make that law too demanding, you'll have to worry about driving these firms out of the UK, and with them the 8,500 jobs – and VAT and employment taxes – Starbucks generates in a recession, when jobs are desperately needed, and the 2,000 jobs – and entrepreneurial opportunities – Google brings. Truth is, Google could serve its 90% of the UK search market with nary a presence in the country. Welcome to the networked, global future, in which speech, ideas, collaboration and commerce can no longer be so easily hemmed in by governments. That is what I actually see being played out here. Just as newspapers, including this one, were disrupted by the net, so now are governments."

Monday, November 19, 2012

You can not experiment enough

Ugly Men Don’t Get Clicked On | TechCrunch: "If you treat each action as an experiment, each thought as an experiment, each business idea, each marketing pitch, every emotion, each day and moment as a secret still waiting to be discovered, then you will begin to see all life as a mystery. A treasure waiting to be discovered inside of each moment. How do we unlock those treasures? By experimenting, observing, and then observing who is observing. You can’t experiment enough. Every entrepreneur and every artist experiments. With colors, ideas, styles, business models, everything. Now all life is your canvas. Make it a beautiful work of art."

I like that--you can't experiment enough!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

House Republicans--Copyright Law Destroys Markets


House Republicans: Copyright Law Destroys Markets; It's Time For Real Reform | Techdirt: "Right after the Presidential election last week, Chris Sprigman and Kal Raustiala penned an opinion piece suggesting that one way the Republicans could "reset", and actually attract the youth vote, would be to become the party of copyright reform. We had actually wondered if that was going to happen back during the SOPA fight, when it was the Republicans who bailed on the bill, while most of those who kept supporting it were Democrats. Since then, however, there hadn't been much movement. Until now. Late on Friday, the Republican Study Committee, which is the caucus for the House Republicans, released an amazing document debunking various myths about copyright law and suggesting key reforms."--Update: Wow. It took less than 24 hours for the RSC to fold to Hollywood pressure. They have now retracted the report and attempted to claim that it was not properly vetted."

Oh well, maybe the Republicans will get their act together someday.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Nobody Likes a Sore Loser

You can read the full story at the link below, but it's this kind of thing that tells me that the right guy was elected--

Romney: Obama’s ‘gifts’ to key demographics helped him win: "Mitt Romney, on a call with top donors on Wednesday, referred to some of the policies enacted under the Obama administration as “gifts” that helped him win young, minority and low-income voters."

Always blaming somebody else--how about "Romney, you had an incompetent, inept campaign!" Get over it!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Giffed to omnishambles

Oxford dictionary chooses word of the year — one for U.K., one for U.S. - "Britain’s . . . Word of the Year: “omnishambles.” Oxford University Press on Tuesday crowned the word — defined as “a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations” — its top term of 2012. . . . This year’s American champion is “gif,” short for graphics interchange format, a common format for images on the Internet. . . . Cute kittens, Olympic champions, President Obama — they’ve all been giffed."

OK, we've all been giffed to omnishambles--where's the recovery?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Starbucks, Amazon and Google to face UK lawmakers over tax avoidance

This is going to be interesting--

Starbucks, Amazon and Google to face UK lawmakers over tax | Reuters: "The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which is charged with monitoring government financial affairs, has invited the companies to give evidence amid mounting public and political concern about tax avoidance by big international companies. "It is hard for the ordinary person to believe it's fair," said Margaret Hodge, a member of parliament for the opposition Labour party and chairman of PAC. "It makes people incredibly angry in the current fiscal climate," she added, in reference to the austerity measures which large budget deficits have forced on the UK, and other countries. Britain and Germany last week announced plans to push the Group of 20 economic powers to make multinational companies pay their "fair share" of taxes following reports of large firms exploiting loopholes to avoid taxes. A Reuters report last month showed that Starbucks had paid no corporation, or income, tax in the UK in the past three years."

Monday, November 12, 2012

Had a setback? Be Like Bond--

For anyone and everyone, when you have a setback, get back up--Be Like Bond:

'Skyfall': Six lessons from the James Bond movie's box office - #6--"Rebounds are possible. Movie franchises tend to follow a jump-the-shark model -- namely, once a series loses steam, it's hard to get it back. Fans and critics were cool to 2008's "Quantum of Solace," which told a muddled plot and seemed to set the franchise off course. "We really screwed this up," Wilson said a few weeks ago of his mindset at the time. But what applies to superheroes and romcoms doesn't hold with Bond -- a bad outing can be followed by a spectacular one."

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Megabus - check it out!

Megabus has had smooth sailing in the discount bus business
Tribune-Review " . . . For Megabus, the still-growing discount intercity bus line, however, the ride has been faster and smoother than anyone would have guessed when it made its debut 61⁄2 years ago, linking eight Midwestern cities to a Chicago hub for as little as $1 a ticket. Within two years, Megabus was carrying 2 million passengers annually. That number is approaching 6 million riders in about 100 cities in the United States and Canada, including Pittsburgh. Its North American fleet of 194 double-decker buses last year has grown to 260, and its network of hubs has expanded to eight cities. . . . a new reality from the curbside operators, so named because they spare the expense of maintaining traditional bus stations. There is free onboard Wi-Fi, power outlets and tables on which riders can eat, play or set up a laptop and phone and get to work on, say, a newspaper column. Along the way, the carriers have breathed life into a mode of transportation that was practically in hospice care for close to a half-century. . . . “The bus sector was flat on its back,” Joseph Schwieterman, a DePaul University transportation professor and the director of DePaul’s Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development, said. “Megabus started its Chicago hub in spring of ‘06, and that began the whole curbside boom. It’s spreading across the U.S. really rapidly, so we think this year the curbside bus (service overall) is up in scheduled departures by about 15 percent, and that’s after huge growth the last few years.”. . . A part of Coach USA, which itself is a subsidiary of United Kingdom-based Stagecoach Group PLC, Megabus is racking up about $125 million in revenue and turning an overall profit, according to a spokesman. FirstGroup PLC’s BoltBus, a 2008 venture between Greyhound and Peter Pan Bus Lines, also has said it’s in the black, but it hasn’t broken out figures...."

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Chrome Web Lab

This is cool!-- "See the magic of the web brought to life through 5 Chrome Experiments. Open to the world online. Live from the Science Museum, London."

Friday, November 9, 2012

Be Agile and Willing to Try New Things - a "Now-ist"

Don't let a PLAN doom you to failure.

EmTech: Some Wisdom from Joi Ito on How to Be a "Now-ist" | MIT Technology Review:
. . . because the Internet and computing have made it much easier for small startups to create innovative products and services, the world has gotten more complex. With more innovation happening at “the edges,” out of the control of large institutions, life is less predictable. So the audience member's question gave Ito a chance to explain how this phenomenon affects his worldview. “I’m a now-ist,” he said.” Now-ists “don’t think about trends. We think about being resilient and being prepared for anything.” As an example, he cited last year’s massive earthquake and nuclear disaster in his native Japan, which struck while he was in Cambridge interviewing for the Media Lab job. In the aftermath of the quake, “everyone with a plan failed,” Ito observed. Meanwhile, using Twitter and other online connections, Ito was able to quickly organize a response to the nuclear crisis: a volunteer operation that coordinated Geiger counter readings from volunteers all over Japan. The lesson: be agile and be willing to try new things, even if it means discarding the way things have always been done before."

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Apple - if first you don't succeed, try, try again

Apple told to rewrite 'Samsung did not copy' statement, post it on front page until Dec 14th -- Engadget: "The Guardian reports that the acknowledgement posted by Apple was deemed non-compliant with the court's order. Apple has today been told to correct its statement, and re-post it on the front page of its website, with at least an 11-point font (and not as a hidden footer link) within 48 hours. The Cupertino team rebuffed, claiming that it would take at least two weeks to get a fresh rework together, a statement that reportedly caused disbelief from some court officials. So, the clock is ticking, and somewhere a legal team is no doubt engaging in some serious thinking. The new statement must remain on Apple's site until December 14th, plenty of time to catch the attention of eager Christmas shoppers."

Oh my, until December 14th!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Simple life in Cheung Chau (video)

I've discovered a wonderful source--the online South China Morning Post. Here's an example--

 Videos | South China Morning Post: "Simple life in Cheung Chau -Oct 11, 2012
Many young people from Cheung Chau seek opportunities in the city. But Ching Pui-yiu, 28, decided to stay on the island for a simpler and more authentic life."

Monday, November 5, 2012

Something Obama and most in government don't grasp

Here's something Obama and most in government don't grasp--the reality of the business world--survival is not guaranteed (unless of course you are a crony capitalist):

Sharp warns that it may not survive | Business | ""The fact that Sony managed to maintain profits shows management's strong will and commitment to continue cost cuts even while their product sales remain sluggish," said Takashi Hiroki, chief strategist at Monex Inc. "Compared [with] Panasonic and Sharp … Sony's earnings should get some credit. "But we still don't see what their major earnings driver will be in the future." Sharp said it expected to report a full-year operating loss of 155bn yen (£1.2bn), more than the 100bn yen loss it had earlier predicted. But it forecast a second half operating profit – a target that will allow its banks to justify a $4.6bn bailout of the firm. . . "

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Changing a culture from one of control and process to one of decentralization and trust

Is Army 'Design' methodology over-designed? There are trust issues, too | The Best Defense: " . . . one key critical element that is missing, just as it is missing in the Army Values. That is, trust. Steven Covey in his book Speed of Trust wrote that:
"There is one thing that is common to every individual, relationship, team, family, organization, nation, economy, and civilization throughout the world-one thing which, if removed, will destroy the most powerful government, the most successful business, the most thriving economy, the most influential leadership, the greatest friendship, the strongest character, the deepest love. On the other hand, if developed and leveraged, that one thing has the potential to create unparalleled success and prosperity in every dimension of life. Yet, it is the least understood, most neglected, and most underestimated possibility of our time. That one thing is trust. . . . It under girds and affects the quality of every relationship, every communication, every work project, every business venture, every effort in which we are engaged."

Likewise, Col. Tom Guthrie in his 2012 article said that, "If we intend to truly embrace mission command, then we should do it to the fullest, and that will require commitment to changing a culture from one of control and process to one of decentralization and trust."

Ah yes, that is the issue for all organizations, societies, communities, and nations: changing a culture from one of control and process to one of decentralization and trust.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Apples - "one man's loss is another man's gain"

Climate has taken a real toll on the apple crop in the U.S.--except for Washington State:

Good apple crop expected despite labor shortage
Bellingham Herald
Labor has been one of the challenges Washington apple growers have faced this year as they try to take advantage of the opportunity created by hard-hit apple crops in the Midwest and East Coast....Some orchardists are finishing up, freeing their workers for other growers, Mayer said. Red Delicious, Pink Lady, Braeburn and Fuji apples are being harvested now. Estimates put the amount of fresh apples at about 108.7 million boxes, each weighing about 40 pounds, Mayer said. The actual harvest won't be known until November. This year, Mayer said he expects to see more apples head to the processed market because of lower apple harvests in the rest of the country. . .

Friday, November 2, 2012

What if technology could undermine drug violencel?

Technology cannot cure all ills, but it can do a lot of good--

What if technology could undermine drug violence in Brazil? - "A debate in Rio de Janeiro focuses on how access to information and technology among low-income youth might weaken the drug trade and empower young people in favelas. . . . he explains that today, for the first time ever, many young favela residents have the luxury of dreaming and experimenting, as middle- and upper-class kids do. There are 108,000 Lan houses, or cyber cafés in low-income neighborhoods, in all of Brazil, according to Eliane Costa, until recently responsible for culture grants at the Petrobras state oil giant. By contrast, National Book Foundation statistics for 2007 indicate a total of 5,110 libraries across the country. It’s about the screen, mouse, and keyboard, stupid--Could it be that a growing number of favela youth are doing exactly what a growing number of middle- and upper-class young Brazilians are doing? In Rio, people with experience like that of Ludemir say favela youth are surprisingly tuned in."

Thursday, November 1, 2012

How to Manage Two Personal Brands

How many personal brands do you have?

How to Manage Two Personal Brands | Business 2 Community: "How to Manage Two Personal Brands
Personal branding requires you to craft a professional image by communicating your unique interests, skills, and expertise. Your personal brand should reflect not only your professional interests, but it should also provide specific insight into your industry to show others what you know. But what happens if you need to promote two very different personal brands? . . ."

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Don't let the Goblins get you!!
(graphic source: Google+)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What Skills Do Tech Companies Look for In New Hires?

One paragraph that says it all--and I wonder how many "educators" understand what Google is saying?--

What Skills Do Tech Companies Look for In New Hires?: "Google-- "On the technical side, we look for candidates who are not only excellent at coding, but also good at collaborating, comfortable with ambiguity and passionate about their work.  We are not looking for an isolated skill set, but need people with a variety of strengths and passions. To find these people, we look more closely at how you think than how your transcript reads. We want people who won’t get stuck trying to find the right answer, but instead, will puzzle out multiple possible answers and then synthesize one, elegant solution. "On the non-technical side, we are looking for bright, intelligent people who want to make a difference. We want to see that you've had impact in previous experiences. Whether you built a team at your previous job or started a club at school — we want to know about it. We’re looking for our future leaders and want to see how you’ve mobilized teams, mentored co-workers and taken the lead when needed.""

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Color Purple Private Property?

I think we need to completely re-imagine (and limit) concepts of property--

Kraft’s Cadbury Wins Ruling in Nestle Suit Over Color Purple - Bloomberg: "Today’s decision is a partial victory for Nestle as it “protects our brands by further limiting the range of goods for which Cadbury’s application may be registered,” Nestle spokesman James Maxton said in an e-mailed statement. Judge Birss said the trademark wouldn’t apply to boxes of chocolates, or other products such as white or dark chocolate. “In my judgment it would not be right to say that the color purple is distinctive of chocolate generally.” Cadbury said that the ruling “allows us to register as a trademark and protect our famous color purple across a range of milk chocolate products.” The “color purple has been linked with Cadbury for more than a century and the British public have grown up understanding its link with our chocolate,” the company said in an e-mailed statement."

I thought purple belonged to Yahoo! (LOL)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Myths Of Social Media Branding [Video link]

Social Media? Overhyped or effective branding?

The Challenges Of Social Media Branding [Video]: "Curtis Hougland, CEO of social media marketing firm Attention USA, recently spoke about the myths of social media and how businesses can better utilize it at the 2012 Best of Breed Conference. He also sat down with CRN TV to discuss the positive and negative effects of social media on business marketing and branding." Here's the link:

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sallie Krawcheck Tells Us Where She Thinks Young People Should Work On Wall Street

Sallie Krawcheck's storied Wall Street career includes executive roles at Citigroup and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Her first job, though, was at Salomon Brothers in the late 1980s. Krawcheck tells us about her strange first experience on Wall Street and whether it's worth it for young people go into the industry.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Hague makes case for minimalist EU - Less Government is Better

Here's a novel (and futuristic) idea: minimalist government-- / Political Affairs / Hague makes case for minimalist EU: "BRUSSELS - British foreign minister William Hague on Monday (22 October) made the case for a politically minimalist European Union, saying that to be more effective it needs neither to be more expensive or more centralised. Speaking in Berlin, Hague spelled out that through London's eyes, the EU is primarily good for the single market and for a few foreign policy objectives, such as tackling piracy and "squeezing the Iranian nuclear programme." Further enlargement, particularly to include Turkey, is also to be supported. But notions of speaking with one voice on the global stage or furthering political union remain an anathema to the UK, where, Hague told the audience at the pro-democracy Koerber foundation, "public disillusionment with the EU in Britain is the deepest it has ever been." "People feel that in too many ways the EU is something that is done to them, not something over which they have a say." He said this why the government will over the next two years review "what the EU does and how it affects us."

What a wonderful exercise for any government to do - review what the government does (and should not do) and how it affects us!

For instance, we know from experience that governments (specifically the United Nations) and governmental bodies want to censor and damage the free internet. Often, LESS government is BETTER!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tom Wolfe on his new book, Back to Blood

Tom Wolfe on his new book, Back to Blood - Telegraph:" . . . Pretty soon we’re back in Paris in the 1880s, when the rot set in. An intellectual movement was born that scorned realistic art and literature as plebeian, and championed more difficult and experimental work. Wolfe has been banging on about this since 1970 at least, and he’s still thoroughly energised on the subject. 'Rimbaud and Baudelaire were the darlings of a very intellectual group. It also included a man named Catulle Mendès, who told a newspaper interviewer, “We no longer care about the masses. We write for 'a charming aristocracy’.” That was the phrase: a charming aristocracy of taste. Now Rimbaud and Baudelaire are somewhat understandable, but as time goes on, to show that you’re a member of that charming aristocracy, you have to like things that completely baffle the masses and the middle class. It all started from there – concretism, minimalism, every -ism you can think of, right up to the present day.’Rather than keep coming up with new fads to make the in-crowd feel superior, Wolfe thinks art and literature should broaden their appeal and re-engage the masses. The only way to do this, he has argued for nearly 50 years, is to go back to realism, and portray society as it actually is. His literary heroes are Dickens and Zola – novelists who went out into the world like journalists, wrote for the masses and made their books as real as possible. 'If the novel dies, which it may do in this country, it’s because our novelists aren’t doing this any more.’ To put it another way, almost everyone writing fiction these days is doing it wrong except Tom Wolfe. This, he seems to believe, is why his novels have been so widely read. . . ."

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

An Electrifying Stunt

David Blaine performed a final rehearsal before he plans to subject himself to one million volts of electricity for 72 straight hours.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

UrtheCast - HiDef from ISS

Introduction to UrtheCast - YouTube:
UrtheCast is launching the world's first ever high definition, streaming video platform of planet Earth. The camera will be installed on the outside of the International Space Station through a joint effort with the Russian Space Agency. The camera will provide a 40 km wide, high resolution, color image down to as close as 1.1 metres.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

$50,000 and a coffee shop around the corner

Views under the Palm - $50,000 and a coffee shop around the corner'.: ""The cloud has levelled the playing field for business, says Amazon's chief technology officer Dr Werner Vogels. Ten years ago, a start-up needed $5 million. Now, Vogels says, it's 'just $50,000 and a coffee shop around the corner'."

1 | An Experimental New Starbucks Store: Tiny, Portable, And Hyper Local | Co.Design: business + innovation + design: "It’s hard to remember the Folgers era, before Seattle’s grunge scene and coffee culture invaded the U.S. In retrospect, the shift seems inevitable. Coffee, popularized during the industrial revolution, just got bigger as the Internet revolution began. Today we all know that a laptop is near-useless without an Internet connection and a warm cup of caffeine by its side. Yet Starbucks’s Arthur Rubinfeld, the now president of global development but architect by trade (and Co.Design 50), remembers a different story--one where Starbucks wasn’t a trenta-sized juggernaut, but a longshot beverage company hoping to sell America on frou-frou coffee. “When I joined in ‘92, we were under 100 stores."

Here's to Starbucks and all the other great coffee places that keep internet entrepreneurs fueled and connected.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Few Fortune 500 CEOs on LinkedIn


Few Fortune 500 CEOs on LinkedIn, report says - New York Business Journal: "Just 7 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs in the U.S. have created a LinkedIn profile, according to a study released Tuesday by CTPartners Executive Search Inc."

Social Media has its place but is not really necessary for success--better to stay focused than distracted!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Antidoping Agency Details Doping Case Against Lance Armstrong

How long did he plan to carry on this charade?

Antidoping Agency Details Doping Case Against Lance Armstrong - "A 202-page account of the agency’s case against Armstrong included sworn testimony from 26 people, including nearly a dozen former teammates on Armstrong’s United States Postal Service and Discovery Channel squads who said they saw Armstrong doping to help him win every one of his record seven Tour de France titles."

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Crony Capitalism kills EADS-BAE merger

Government interference kills business opportunity--

EADS, BAE call off world's biggest arms merger | Reuters: "The merger hinged on France and Germany accepting a more limited role in the combined firm than they have wielded in the past at EADS, maker of Airbus aircraft. In the end, it was Berlin, rather than Paris, that proved the problem. "We had clear red lines that we were not willing to go beyond, relative to engagement and involvement of governments," BAE's CEO Ian King said. "If that was going to impinge on our ability to commercially run this new merged organization, and support and develop our existing business, then we wouldn't go to that point, and that is where we are today.""

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

You Were Warned

Gross’s Burning Bond Market Fails to Frighten Investors - Bloomberg: "“The greatest irony here is the perception of safety in a fixed-income security,” said Mitchell Stapley, chief fixed income officer at Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Asset Management. “As the head fixed-income guy here, when I look at bonds today, they scare the hell out of me.”"


Monday, October 15, 2012

Japanese "amping down"

Japanese "amping down" (video) - Extreme Energy Saving In Japan
Japanese families are voluntarily "amping down" their energy consumption by physically capping their circuit-breaker boxes. WSJ's Phred Dvorak visits with two families and finds out what household appliances they're giving up.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Paperboy - Sweaty Agitation in Steamy Florida

In a State of Sweaty Agitation in Steamy Florida » " . . . In the hands of Mr. Daniels — who directed “Precious Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” and“Shadowboxer” — Mr. Dexter’s complex tale pulsates with wayward desire and confused motivation. Not a few of the characters are driven to distraction by the swampy Florida heat and their own lust, and the movie itself seems to share their state of sweaty agitation. It is by turns lurid, humid, florid, languid and stupid, but it is pretty much all id all the time. . . "

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Focus on Content Creators (video)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Ericsson’s Chief on Surviving Disruption (video)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Terrorists Don't Want Justice

They don't want their "day in court"--UK terrorist suspects charged in US - Europe - Al Jazeera English: "Babar Hamad and Syed Talha Ahsan, who were extradited from the UK, have pleaded not guilty to US federal charges of providing suspected terrorist groups in Afghanistan and Chechnya with financial aid, arms and personnel."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Comments, Anger, Rage, and the Internet

Do you read "comments?" Do you write "comments?"

Internet intensifies Jewish squabbles over Israel, identity – CNN Belief Blog - Blogs: "“Comments sections are, of course, the province of those with too much time on their hands, and our culture of Web anonymity invites terrible excesses,” Gordis wrote, adding “Have we learned nothing at all about the dangers of language run amok from the horrors of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination? Are we wholly unchastened by where we’ve been in the past as a people? Do we not believe that there should be limits on what we can and cannot say to one another?” Scientific American recently published an article titled “Why Is Everyone on the Internet So Angry?”  in which Art Markman, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas characterized online comments as "extraordinarily aggressive, without resolving anything.”"

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Do colleagues kill your productivity?

Productivity, interruptions, and distractions--

Do colleagues kill your productivity? - CBS News: ""People are constantly talking to you." Plus, there are tons of other distractions. Other people's phones ring. They holler about lunch plans. You start thinking that "If I could just be at home, I could crank out my work," O'Kelly said. If you'd like to make the case for working at home, these surveys offer an intriguing approach. Try tracking your time for a week or so at the office, noting how many times you are interrupted and how much time you are able to focus on bigger projects that require more thought. If the number of interruptions is unreasonably high, a reasonable boss might agree to let you try telecommuting a few days a week."

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hewlett-Packard Looks for a Turnaround (video)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Google Stands for Free Speech

REUTERS: Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt defends his company's decision to keep an anti-Islam film on its YouTube website despite violent protests all over the Muslim world. Schmidt said in his defense that, "We ultimately believe that the best answer to speech is more speech, not the other way around."

Google deserves the Presidential Medal of Freedom!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Do Tech Entrepreneurs Need to Know How to Code?

A Question Asked All The Time--

Do Tech Entrepreneurs Need to Know How to Code? - Tech Europe - WSJ: "“The two most important skills for any entrepreneur are to prioritize scarce resources of labor and money,” said Katrin Buckenmaier, co-founder and CEO of Moscow’s travel-booking service Travelmenu, “and to build a founding team which has complimentary skills.” Hiring was also singled out by Alexandra Chong, CEO of social network Luluvise. “Entrepreneurs should spend their time on what they’re good at, and hire wisely to fill the gaps. Hiring is the most important thing. It’s a real skill, as much as coding is.”

"So what should entrepreneurs spend their time on? Kadri Ugand, co-founder of Tallinn, Estonia,-based GameFounders, was clear and succinct. “What should they spend their time on? Execution.”"

Friday, October 5, 2012

Marissa Mayer Killed Google-Yahoo Deal

Gotta love that Marissa Mayer--if for no other reason than she will give Yahoo a fighting chance--and the fact that one of the first things she did was "kill" the deal that would have given Yahoo's ad tech business to Google (ouch--that had to hurt in Mountain View)--

Marissa Mayer Only Gave Google 30 Minutes Notice - Business Insider: "Besides the details of her hasty departure, consider Yahoo's new plans for its ad tech business. Earlier this summer, Google was set to buy the whole thing from Yahoo for a few hundred million dollars. Yahoo corporate development executives even pitched the deal to the board. One Yahoo executive told us that Google revenue boss Nikesh Arora made a pitch suggesting that Yahoo would be able to cut 2,000 jobs and grow its EBITDA 50% making the deal. The deal, which would have been a huge win for Google, looked like it was going ot happen. But then the Yahoo board hired Mayer instead of interim CEO Ross Levinsohn. And then, last week, the whole ad tech deal was scotched. Mayer – who has brought Google-y perks to Yahoo like free food and smartphones for all – may be actively trying to make the place she works for more like her old employer, but, it's becoming pretty clear: she no stooge for Google. She's no mole for Larry Page."

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Romney and Those Who Pay No Income Tax

Behind the 'People Who Pay No Income Tax' - "Mother Jones has published a video of Mitt Romney at a private fund-raiser making incendiary remarks about Obama voters – and, well, about half of the electorate."

But wait--those who pay "no income tax"--maybe he is including the corporations that pay no income tax:

30 Major Corporations Paid No Income Taxes In The Last Three Years, While Making $160 Billion | ThinkProgress: "CTJ looked at 280 companies, all of them members of the Fortune 500, and found that “while the federal corporate tax code ostensibly requires big corporations to pay a 35 percent corporate income tax rate, on average, the 280 corporations in our study paid only about half that amount.” And those who paid even half the statutory corporate tax rate paid far more than many of their competitors. In fact, in the last three years, 78 corporations had at least one year where they paid no federal income tax at all, while 30 corporations paid not a dime over the entire three years. Those 30 corporations paid nothing, even though they made $160 billion in profits over that period"

Reuters: World News

Top Stories - Google (UK) News

Reuters: Technology News

The Register articles by Kieren McCarthy

Altucher Confidential

BuzzMachine - Jeff Jarvis


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