July, 2002

Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Microsoft's Out the Window - "if shareowners have been harmed by Microsoft's financial decisions, the vast majority of them have yet to notice"

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Security warning draws DMCA threat - "In a letter sent on Monday, an HP vice president warned SnoSoft, a loosely organized research collective, that its members 'could be fined up to $500,000 and imprisoned for up to five years' for its role in publishing information on a bug"

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America's economy - "The latest figures are, of course, a record of what has already happened to the economy, up to the end of June."

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Promises, Promises - "Companies are, when you think about it, webs of promises: promises between bosses and subordinates, among colleagues, between departments (get raw materials to the plant by 8 o'clock Monday morning; get sales figures to accounting two days after the quarter ends), and between sellers and buyers."

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Is It Time to End the War on Drugs? - "What Amsterdam police did was take the glamour out of drug use, explains Judge Gray. The Dutch minister of health has said, 'We've succeeded in making pot boring.'"

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Tuesday, July 30, 2002

The 150-Second Sell, Take 34 - "When Shyamalan cut the clip of the attic door from the film, it was removed from the trailer, too. Shyamalan's agreement with Disney is unusual."

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George Bush and Iraq - "since a 'phoney war' between America and Iraq is already under way, it is hard to know how much weight to give to what may well be deliberately misleading leaks about the military options"

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Our Banana Republics - "When Tennessee considered a tax increase last year, legislators were intimidated by a riot stirred up by radio talk-show hosts."

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Hedge funds - "In a letter to investors, the firm described today's markets as a toxic mixture of overvaluation, unrealistic expectations and sentiment-driven volatility."

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Out of Control - "Ellison insists that his new, soothing touch will modernize Oracle's sales culture and bring the company greater success than it has ever known."

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Fundamentally unsound - "The point isn't that all these leaders are part of some kind of right-wing Illuminati. It's simply that the seemingly wacky ideology promulgated in the Left Behind books is one that important people in America are quite comfortable with."

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New observations rule out 2019 asteroid impact - "Astronomers cannot rule out a potential future impact, noting that there is still a slight (1-in-350,000) chance of a collision on February 1, 2060."

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Monday, July 29, 2002

Scientists visualize waves in space caused by black-hole mergers - "Even for objects as far apart as the Earth and the Moon though, gravitational waves might alter their separation only by a length a thousand times smaller than an atom."

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Wine drinkers have healthier lifestyles - "Health and lifestyle differences were greatest between participants who preferred wine and those who preferred other alcoholic beverages or were abstainers. Women reported healthier dietary habits than men, regardless of alcoholic beverage choice."

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Stock Market Swings Help Researchers Understand Extreme Events in Solar Wind - It's snowing. Short.

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Friday, July 26, 2002

Where ever I lay my URL - "I just realised that no one - at least no one who pays me a wage - has any real idea where I am."

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Read The F***ing Story, Then RTFM - "They read the documentation and took offense to its tone so they had an argument with the product."

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Raving Lunacy - "My three-year-old nephew is fond of bottled water and glow sticks, and usually needs a 'chill room.' Presumably Biden regards him as a dangerous criminal."

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Thursday, July 25, 2002

Brain Rot - "These two are without a doubt the most damaging attributes of most educational software. It is absolutely tragic that, by rewarding learning with stupid tricks and games, such software devalues the learning itself. Children who would gladly learn for the sake of learning are, quickly and devestatingly, turned into children who demand rewards for learning."

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Internet traffic - "In fact, he was referring to the growth of network capacity, not network traffic. But it was widely assumed that traffic was growing just as fast."

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Wednesday, July 24, 2002

This bear market isn't normal, some experts say - "Dividends could be significant parts of overall returns if stocks don't climb much over the next few years. Many market strategists are telling investors not to expect returns over 5 or 6 percent annually for the rest of the decade, and that return includes dividends."

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Dictionaraoke - "Audio clips from online dictionaries sing the hits of yesterday and today. The fun of karaoke meets the word power of the dictionary." - Britney Spears like you've never heard her before

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Carnival Booth: An Algorithm for Defeating the Computer-Assisted Passenger Screening System - "While El Al does keep a database of individuals' nationalities, genders, criminal records and flight histories, this tracking should not be confused with the a CAPS-like profile. Unlike CAPS, El Al's system only makes a determination of the risk of a passenger after a security agent has questioned him or her. CAPS, on the other hand, is a prior system focused on predicting who will become a terrorist. El Al, through its system of psychological analysis and advanced baggage screening, has found success in determining who is a terrorist."

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Watch the skies for August asteroid - "Asteroid 2002 NY40 presents no danger of hitting Earth on this pass around the sun. However, astronomers have calculated eight close passes on future orbits, one of which in the year 2022 presents an extremely low (but not zero) probability of an impact." - not the same asteroid as the one mentioned below

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A fool's paradise for CEOs - "The big picture is that some individual projects succeed, the occasional company does an effective (that is, productivity-raising) job of implementing such technologies, and some sorts of business activities (purchasing and inventory management, for example) respond well to such 'improvement' -- but that on average, enormous amounts of time, money and corporate temper are wasted on attempts that subvert attention to more important business issues."

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Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Space rock 'on collision course' - "28km a second"

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Monday, July 22, 2002

Abstract: Does caffeine intake protect from Alzheimer's disease? - "caffeine exposure during this period was found to be significantly inversely associated with AD (odds ratio=0.40, 95% confidence interval=0.25-0.67), whereas hypertension, diabetes, stroke, head trauma, smoking habits, alcohol consumption, non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, vitamin E, gastric disorders, heart disease, education and family history of dementia were not statistically significantly associated with AD"

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Office of Homeland Securities - "Those guys were as dirty as the cops Capone bought in Chicago. We just have to arm the right accountants. Up until now, honest accountants, like honest cops, couldn't put the balance right or even so much as speak out for fear of losing their jobs and being blacklisted. But nobody fires a guy with a gun."

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No home for digital pictures? - "The Domesday Project, a multimedia archive of British life in 1986 designed as a digital counterpart to the original Domesday Book compiled by monks in 1086, was stored on laser discs. The equipment needed to view the images on these discs is already very rare, yet the Domesday book, written on paper, is still accessible more than 1,000 years after it was produced. "

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Will Hutton: Bye bye American pie - "The US can and eventually will recover, but only when it comes to terms with the harshest of realities. That it does not possess a uniquely enterprising economic and financial model. That the scandals now hitting the headlines are not a case of one or two bad apples, but reveal systemic weaknesses in its financial system and methods of corporate governance which need root-and- branch reform. That American business ethics are abysmally low and require the toughest of policing."

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Archimedes on Wall Street - "In some cases Long-Term Capital hadn't put up a 1% or 2% margin. It hadn't put up a dime; the brokers and bankers were lending 100% of the value of the collateral."

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Site update: the calendars are gone. The monthly archives are back. The calendar pages are, unfortunately, gone as well, which will break permalinks. On the plus side, I now have a site-wide search.

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Sunday, July 21, 2002

AOL Time Warner - "Even if Mr Pittman was not the man to lead the integration of AOL and Time Warner, it is not clear that Time Warner veterans are the ones to do it either. As Tom Wolzein, a media analyst at Sanford Bernstein, a fund manager, remarked, 'The old days at Time Warner were not the good old days.'"

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Saturday, July 20, 2002

Ashcroft vs. Americans - "If Ashcroft wishes to assess the likely effect of the snooping regime he is about to implement, he could ask postal workers from the old days in Prague to explain what happens to a society's sense of solidarity when everybody on the block assumes that the mailman is telling the secret police that Comrade X has been reading bourgeois books."

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Bracing for the storm - "Viewing the financial disasters as acts of God--it may seem extreme, but it's actually a very appropriate analogy and makes perfect sense to me ... We know that the small providers are in trouble, but how much better off are the Sprints, Qwests and AT&Ts? It's not a matter of switching from one to the other; it's a matter of protecting yourself from everyone. You can't predict anything anymore."

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U.S. Jewish groups trade charges over Nusseibeh case - "The Conference of Presidents is not an entity that issues facts ... It's a policy-making body that gives opinions."

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Ravers Against the Machine - "while there is no constitutional right to smoke crack, there is, in fact, a right to dance"

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Defiant firefighters snub feds - "I can do whatever I have to protect my fire district ... That's what the laws of the state of Arizona say"

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Wednesday, July 17, 2002

What your doctor doesn't know could kill you - "Weed, the creator of Knowledge Couplers, argues that none have truly explored the most basic limitation confronting doctors: They are trying to do something they simply cannot do."

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Saturday, July 13, 2002

Senate OKs Ban on Loans to Executives - "Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) said he will vote for the bill, increasing the pressure on Bush and House Republicans to also support it."

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Sunday, July 07, 2002

Pyramid Scheme Dot Com - How I Realized The Internet Bubble Was A Pyramid Scheme - "Each player was acting in their best interests, and yet somehow a pyramid scheme emerged from all of this. The truth is, this decentralized pyramid scheme was more effective than any centralized pyramid scheme could have possibly been."

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The Dell Curve - "Almost uniquely among high tech firms, Dell forbids internal subsidies. No loss-leaders, no prolonged grace periods, no long bets on trends yet to emerge."

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What Else Is News? - "After the September 11 catastrophe young Sulzberger devoted an entire ad-free section of the paper to the story every day for over three months. What this cost the Times in lost ad revenue is not publicly known. Surely a nice piece of change. That's what real publishers do."

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In Blossoming Scandal, Culprits Are Countless - "And the process is likely to lead to more sweeping reforms than Washington had initially contemplated. According to Richard Sylla, the resident bubbleologist at New York University's Stern School of Business, that's what happened after the boom in the early years of the 20th century, when the Panic of 1907 gave way to Progressive Era reforms, including the creation of the Federal Reserve System. In 1913, a reform-minded accountant named Arthur Andersen started his firm on the promise of offering investors an alternative to the lax accounting standards then prevailing."

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MAY 27, 1999 - "'Watch for any changes in our accounting,' said Gaudette. 'If I need to I can start, depreciating the software and maintain earnings growth for years on flat revenue. Watch for the accounting changes, wait for the next uptick in the stock price, and then sell.'"

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Saturday, July 06, 2002

Fossil discovery upsets theories on human origins

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Some Language Experts Think Humans Spoke First With Gestures - "The French philosopher Abbé Étienne de Condillac, whom Mr. Corballis credits with being the first gestural theorist, took a more strategic tack: when he presented his theory in 1746, he delivered it in the form of a fable so as not to arouse the ire of the Catholic Church."

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Friday, July 05, 2002

RBOCs 'Losing on Long Distance' - "BellSouth is the only one of the regional Bells that has actually seen an increase in its long-distance revenues, and is, according to the Network Conceptions analysts, the only company that has followed through and offered next-generation services on the data side"

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U.S. Set to Resume Its Role in Halting Latin Drug Planes - "The decision to shift the management of the program to the State Department came after the C.I.A. director, George J. Tenet, made it clear that his agency no longer wanted any part of the operation"

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An Arab Call to Action - "For too long, America embraced corrupt and autocratic Arab leaders, asking only that they accommodate Western oil needs and not make excessive trouble for Israel. As a result, too many young Arabs now identify the United States more readily with the repressive dictators it supports in the Middle East than with the tolerant democracy it practices at home."

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Sun farther away but Earth hotter - more complicated than most people think

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How to Disappear - "Boring as it sounds, read the privacy statements that clutter your mailbox around tax time and sever ties with companies that admit, 'Our privacy policy may change over time' - industry lingo for 'We reserve the right to screw you.'"

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Thursday, July 04, 2002

Big noises at odds over the sound of silence - "They say they are claiming copyright on a piece of mine called 'One Minute's Silence' on the Planets' album, which I credit Batt/Cage just for a laugh. But my silence is original silence, not a quotation from his silence."

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