Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Illinois bonds headed to junk status?

No signs that Obama's home state will ever reform itself--spiraling down and down--

UPDATE 1-S&P lowers Illinois credit rating to A-minus over pensions | Reuters: ""While it is unusual for a state rating to fall into the BBB category, lack of action on pension reform and upcoming budget challenges could result in further credit deterioration, particularly if it translates into weaker liquidity," S&P said in a report. Illinois joins California in having the lowest rating among states S&P rates, although California's outlook is positive. Illinois' A2 rating with a negative outlook from Moody's Investors Service is already the lowest state rating from that credit agency. Earlier this month, Fitch Ratings put Illinois on a watch list for a potential downgrade of its A rating over the next six months. A drop into the BBB category would keep Illinois just above the BB category, where debt is considered junk."

Monday, January 28, 2013

Degradation of women--in the name of equality?

Ryan Smith: The Reality That Awaits Women in Combat - " . . . Societal norms are a reality, and their maintenance is important to most members of a society. It is humiliating enough to relieve yourself in front of your male comrades; one can only imagine the humiliation of being forced to relieve yourself in front of the opposite sex. Despite the professionalism of Marines, it would be distracting and potentially traumatizing to be forced to be naked in front of the opposite sex, particularly when your body has been ravaged by lack of hygiene. In the reverse, it would be painful to witness a member of the opposite sex in such an uncomfortable and awkward position. Combat effectiveness is based in large part on unit cohesion. The relationships among members of a unit can be irreparably harmed by forcing them to violate societal norms. . . . "

Kind of like a new take on the degradation of women--in the name of equality?

Friday, January 25, 2013

FBI vs ACLU: government surveillance and tracking

FBI to ACLU: Nope, we won’t tell you how, when, or why we track you | Ars Technica: "“The Justice Department’s unfortunate decision leaves Americans with no clear understanding of when we will be subjected to tracking—possibly for months at a time—or whether the government will first get a warrant,” Catherine Crump, an ACLU staff attorney, wrote on Wednesday. “This is yet another example of secret surveillance policies—like the Justice Department’s secret opinions about the Patriot Act’s Section 215—that simply should not exist in a democratic society. Privacy law needs to keep up with technology, but how can that happen if the government won’t even tell us what its policies are?” Needless to say, the ACLU says its fight isn’t over, and will move this further up the legal chain."

Big Brother is here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Lying Prosecutor Carmen Ortiz in Aaron Swartz case

Carmen Ortiz and prosecutorial misconduct--

Prosecutor in Aaron Swartz 'hacking' case comes under fire | Politics and Law - CNET News: "A politically ambitious Justice Department official who oversaw the criminal case against Aaron Swartz has come under fire for alleged prosecutorial abuses that led the 26-year-old online activist to take his own life. Carmen Ortiz, 57, the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts who was selected by President Obama, compared the online activist -- accused of downloading a large number of academic papers -- to a common criminal in a 2011 press release. "Stealing is stealing whether you use a computer command or a crowbar," Ortiz said at the time. Last fall, her office slapped Swartz with 10 additional charges that carried a maximum penalty of 50 years in prison. "He was killed by the government," Swartz's father, Robert, said at his son's funeral in Highland Park, Ill., today, according to a report in the Chicago Sun Times."

Democratic Progress: Linus Torvalds Weighs in on Aaron Swartz and Carmen Ortiz: "I haven't bothered to mention the whole sad Aaron Swartz saga, because it's been covered elsewhere. But having the involved US attorney then basically lie about it all in a very public statement is something that I find particularly offensive. Compare these two statements - one from July 2011, one from yesterday, and tell me Carmen Ortiz isn't lying.. . . ."

and Lying is Lying.

Monday, January 21, 2013

On Savile Row

A great little story--

On Savile Row | A Tale of Two Tailors
"When I was a young man and finally got a teaching job and some money of my own I was determined to have a Savile Row suit. (The Porsche speedster, Purdy shotgun, Renoir etching or a first edition of Pope’s “Homer” were still all beyond my ken.) I had seen all the films of Fred Astaire, Gary Cooper and Cary Grant, and the print media had been enamored by the Duke of Windsor — the most photographed man of his time — and the other elegant habituĂ©s of the Row long enough. So I took a two-week vacation to London, walked the West End and made the rounds of the tailors there, and finally settled on Anderson & Sheppard. After walking back and forth on the pavement for five minutes, I screwed my courage to the sticking point and pushed through the beveled glass doors of No. 30. An elderly gentleman greeted me on the worn Persian carpet. . . . " (continued here)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Killing Pythons Lures Hunters to Florida Everglades

Killing Pythons for Cash Lures Hunters to Florida Everglades - Bloomberg: "The Florida contest is open to anyone who pays a $25 registration fee, signs a waiver of liability and reads a 36- page document that advises hunters to look for snakes basking in the morning sun along canal banks. Hunters can use legal weapons of their choice. The prize money comes from the fees and sponsors. Graham Rogers, 24, who convinced Danker-Feldman to sign-up, said he got some tips from rattlesnake hunters in Kentucky, where he grew up. Rogers, a New York University law school student who last hunted about a decade ago, said he’ll camp in the area when he’s not pursuing snakes. “A python is fairly dangerous,” Rogers said. “There’s definitely a turn-on about hunting something carnivorous that could, in theory, eat you.”"

Hope they are successful.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Larry Page ignored Steve Jobs’s deathbed advice

Larry Page ignored Steve Jobs’s deathbed advice, and Google is doing great - The Next Web: "Shortly after Larry Page re-took the reigns as CEO of Google in April 2011, many looked upon his re-organization of the company and sun-setting of fringe products as proof that he was heeding Steve Job’s death-bed advice to bring more focus to the company. As Page comes closer to his 2nd year at the helm of one of the world’s most innovative companies, it appears that ignoring those exact words may prove to be the key to Google pulling away from Apple in the battle of internet titans."

Steve Jobs wanted Google to NOT pursue mobile phones (android) and just leave the market to Apple.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Law-Firm Partners Face Cuts

Cry Me A River . . .

Law-Firm Partners Face Cuts - ". . . There are a few very major firms that are genuinely and consistently busy," says law-firm consultant Paula Alvary. But many of the country's 200 top-grossing firms have partners who remain comparatively idle, struggling to bill 1,700 hours a year, or even 1,500 hours, Ms. Alvary says. Such excess capacity can be the 900-pound gorilla for law-firm leaders who have to decide what to do about partners whose practices may not rebound. Some have served firms for decades. Others possess substantial expertise that would be hard to replace. "You don't want to tear the fabric of the firm," says Jeff Grossman, national managing director for Wells Fargo's Legal Specialty Group. "But there are only so many hours a law firm is producing, and if you have too many people for the work, those additional individuals are siphoning off profits."For firms with hundreds of lawyers, even a 100-hour or 250-hour drop in the average number of hours billed annually can add up to a substantial hit, says Edward Newberry, managing partner at law firm Patton Boggs LLP. "Rate increases are hard to come by, demand is not increasing," he says. For firms trying to increase profits, "partner productivity is one of the remaining key tools. . . . "

Friday, January 11, 2013

Windows 8 Animated Evaluation

Windows 8: The Animated Evaluation

Are you a desktop or notebook PC user? Watch this before going to Windows 8!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Finite Infinity

Finite or Infinity?--The Life of Pi, and Other Infinities--In the ever-evolving view of scientists, philosophers and other scholars, there really is no single, implacable entity called infinity--

". . . . In the late 19th century, the great German mathematician Georg Cantor took on infinity not as a means to an end, but as a subject worthy of rigorous study in itself. He demonstrated that there are many kinds of infinite sets, and some infinities are bigger than others. Hard as it may be to swallow, the set of all the possible decimal numbers between 1 and 2, being unlistable, turns out to be a bigger infinity than the set of all whole numbers from 1 to forever, which in principle can be listed. In fact, many of Cantor’s contemporaries didn’t swallow, dismissing him as “a scientific charlatan,” “laughable” and “wrong.” Cantor died depressed and impoverished, but today his set theory is a flourishing branch of mathematics relevant to the study of large, chaotic systems like the weather, the economy and human stupidity. With his majestic theory of relativity, Einstein knitted together time and space, quashing old Aristotelian distinctions between actual and potential infinity and ushering in the contemporary era of infinity seeking. Another advance came in the 1980s, when Alan Guth introduced the idea of cosmic inflation, a kind of vacuum energy that vastly expanded the size of the universe soon after its fiery birth. New theories suggest that such inflation may not have been a one-shot event, but rather part of a runaway process called eternal inflation, an infinite ballooning and bubbling outward of this and possibly other universes. Relativity and inflation theory, said Dr. Aguirre, “allow us to conceptualize things that would have seemed impossible before.” Time can be twisted, he said, “so from one point of view the universe is a finite thing that is growing into something infinite if you wait forever, but from another point of view it’s always infinite.”. . . " (source: New York Times)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Keep Your Eye on the Ball

Tip for the New Year--keep your eye on the ball:

Keeping Your Eye on the Ball - ". . . . Of course, merely keeping your eye on the ball won’t induce it to roll or rise to the desired location if you employ miserable technique. No amount of laser-eyed focus will get one of my putts to land. But what is interesting about Quiet Eye-style training, Dr. Wilson says, is that it can allow recreational and novice athletes with rudimentary skills to progress rapidly. Specifically, Dr. Wilson says, after having extensively studied just how the best golfers look, he now teaches novice golfers at his lab to “keep their gaze on the back of the ball, which is the contact point for the putter, for a brief period before starting the putting action” — long enough to, for instance, “say ‘back of the cup’ to themselves,” he says. The golfers are told to hold that position throughout the putting stroke and, he says, “importantly, after contact for a split second. I often ask golfers to rate the quality of their contact on the ball from 1 to 10, before they look up to see where the ball went.” Inexperienced putters who followed these instructions improved much more rapidly, he says, than those who merely practiced putts repeatedly. “It seems so obvious,” Dr. Wilson says. “It is almost too simple. People assume that they are doing all of this already. ‘You mean I should look at the ball?’ Duh!” But, he concludes, “the fact is that many people do not look at the right place at the right time.”. . . "

Friday, January 4, 2013

Unemployment and the Incarceration Rate

Unemployment - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: " . . .  the U.S. unemployment rate would be at least 2% higher if prisoners and jail inmates were counted . . . "

No wonder the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world! It's all about lowering the unemployment rate!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Children - the silent victims of incarceration

 The 'silent victims' of incarceration: Coping with parents in prison - ""I call them the silent victims of incarceration," Content said. "They're not the victim who the crime was committed against, but they are feeling the ramifications of their parents doing time." More than 2.7 million children in America have a parent in prison, according to a 2010 study (PDF) by The Pew Charitable Trusts. For the vast majority, there are few outlets for the kids. Children are left to be reared by grandmothers, aunts, moms -- themselves often already struggling below the poverty line. Sometimes, they fall into the hands of the state. In some countries, children actually grow up behind bars with their parents because no one else can raise them and there isn't a social safety net large enough to take care of them all. Pushpa Basnet, one of this year's top 10 CNN Heroes, runs a home in Nepal where dozens of these children can live a more normal life, even in their parents' absence. . .. ."

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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