April, 2003

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Mobiles hail London cabs - "When a punter calls Zingo from their mobile, location-based technology pinpoints where they are. At the same time, global positioning satellites identify Zingo taxis in the area that are free."

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Jobless and Hopeless, Many Quit the Labor Force - "the surge in people considered to be labor-force dropouts helped decrease the unemployment rate last year even as jobs were disappearing"

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Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. 2002 Annual Report (PDF) - Worth reading for Buffett's extensive opinions on the state of American business.

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Bat Spit May Yield Stroke Treatment - I'd have a pull quote here but I really want to say "I am not making this up".

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Monday, April 28, 2003

Performance-based salaries don't always pay off - "The high-performance teams often refused to admit people whom they thought to be below their level of expertise, leading to disparities among the teams. There was reduced mobility between teams, preventing the transfer of learning across teams."

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Friday, April 25, 2003

Notes on Alan Kay's presentation at ETCon

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Dot-com double take - "Consumer spending may be down 5 percent, but online spending is still such a small percentage of overall consumer spending that growth results from the continued increase in online usage. With IT expenditures already at 50 percent of corporate capital expenditures, the opposite is true for traditional information technology spending."

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You can do anything - but not everything. - "What's really different today is that we live and work in what I call 'weird time.' In weird time, no one gets 2 hours to do anything. Instead, we get 15 minutes -- and sometimes only 5 minutes -- between meetings and phone calls."

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Thursday, April 24, 2003

For $2, a Bottle of Wine and Change - "The Two-Buck Chuck nickname is said to have come from a Trader Joe's employee who, one hopes, was quickly made a marketing director."

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F.B.I. Opens Inquiry Into Seizure of Documents from Associated Press

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Tuesday, April 22, 2003

The Periodic Table of Desert

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Grasping for hope amid VC gloom - "It was the second year in a row of negative declines -- and the first time in history there have been back-to-back declines."

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Record labels accuse VC firm in suit - "Monday's suit seeks to hold Hummer Winblad, which backed Redwood City-based Napster, its one-time chief executive, Barry, and former board member Hummer accountable for what the labels describe as unprecedented global piracy."

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Friday, April 18, 2003

Millions in U.S. are content with life offline - "Although she was a long-time online user, she dropped out for nine months because she was disgusted with e-mail spam."

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Office workers give away passwords for a cheap pen

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FTC files suit against purveyor of porn e-mails - "Spam has grown exponentially in the past 18 months, jumping from roughly 8 percent of all e-mail traffic in late 2001 to about 40 percent today."

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Is handwriting analysis legit science? - "the true positive accuracy rate of laypersons was the same as that of handwriting examiners; both groups were correct 52 percent of the time"

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The Hundred-Year Language - "Somehow the idea of reusability got attached to object-oriented programming in the 1980s, and no amount of evidence to the contrary seems to be able to shake it free. But although some object-oriented software is reusable, what makes it reusable is its bottom-upness, not its object-orientedness. Consider libraries: they're reusable because they're language, whether they're written in an object-oriented style or not."

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Monday, April 14, 2003

Mobile Carrier Launches SARS Location Service

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Sunday, April 13, 2003

Court: Atheist Can Pray at City Meeting - "Among other things, the prayer asked for deliverance 'from the evil of forced religious worship now sought to be imposed upon the people ... by the actions of misguided, weak and stupid politicians, who abuse power in their own self-righteousness.'"

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TIA - the new ESP research? - "In fact, the privacy and liberty folks, by expressing concern in the form of risks to 'privacy' tend to reinforce the belief that there is any real investigatory information that can be extracted by inference from a very noisy and randomly selected pile of information."

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Saturday, April 12, 2003

The News We Kept to Ourselves - "After all, secret police thugs brutalized even senior officials of the Information Ministry, just to keep them in line (one such official has long been missing all his fingernails)."

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Friday, April 11, 2003

Gene Study Finds Cannibal Pattern - "In support of this assumption, none of the patients who have contracted the human version of mad cow disease in Britain carry the protective signature. The researchers then examined DNA from various ethnic"

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Wednesday, April 09, 2003

IMF: Post-Iraq, U.S. economy still at risk - "if U.S. economic conditions were seen in a developing country, it would sound 'warning bells'"

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Monday, April 07, 2003

Porn spam--legal minefield for employers - "Just as an employer has a duty to protect from patrons and other people--like the (delivery) guy who fondles a secretary--there's a good theory saying a company has a duty to filter (offensive e-mail) even if the employees are being harassed entirely from far outside the company walls"

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Sunday, April 06, 2003

IMF-no clear proof globalization helps the poor - Actually what is says is that there's no empirical evidence that financial liberalization helps growth in developing countries. The IMF web site has the paper, "Effects of Financial Globalization on Developing Countries: Some Empirical Evidence".

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Saturday, April 05, 2003

What is the Koran? - "A major theological debate in fact arose within Islam in the late eighth century, pitting those who believed in the Koran as the 'uncreated' and eternal Word of God against those who believed in it as created in time, like anything that isn't God himself. Under the Caliph al-Ma'mun (813-833) this latter view briefly became orthodox doctrine. It was supported by several schools of thought, including an influential one known as Mu'tazilism, that developed a complex theology based partly on a metaphorical rather than simply literal understanding of the Koran. By the end of the tenth century the influence of the Mu'tazili school had waned, for complicated political reasons, and the official doctrine had become that of i'jaz, or the 'inimitability' of the Koran."

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Bruce Sterling: The Secret War Machine - "These legendary innovators created something truly new and brilliant - an offshore, autonomous, self-financing, global, anticommunist venture-capital outfit big enough to fight a private war against a sovereign nation."

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Friday, April 04, 2003

Round Up: The kids of today - "Children are so obsessed that they are unable to communicate verbally uninterrupted, are constantly checking their phones for messages, and become irritable if they have to be away from their phone for any period of time."

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Marines taste defeat on football pitch - "'Beckham is best, Beckham is best!' shouted Mohammad, a 21-year-old spectator."

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"Giant Squid's a little girly squid. It's all about Colossal Squid now." -- Jamie Zawinski

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Giant Squid Party Platform - "GIANT SQUID has two tentacles and eight arms, each representing not only massive grasping death but a plank in the Giant Squid Party platform."

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Thursday, April 03, 2003

Super squid surfaces in Antarctic - "Now we know that it is moving right through the water column, right up to the very surface and it grows to a spectacular size."

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Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Patently problematic - "The most glaring conflict between rich and poor over intellectual property comes from the misappropriation of 'traditional knowledge' -- such as ancient herbal remedies that find their way into high-priced western pharmaceuticals without the consent of, or compensation to, the people who have used them for generations. Often, patent examiners are simply unaware that the plant variety which an enterprising businessman is trying to patent has been used for centuries by a tribal community half a world away."

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Cost 'barrier' to future phones - "Our research suggests that the mobile industry must remember how important cost is to most people who buy and use mobile phones"

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New clothes stab bugs with molecular daggers

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Raid rescues American soldier held by Iraqis - "Current DoD policy keeps women out of only the most direct of combat roles, such as the infantry. But in today's style of warfare, those distinctions are basically meaningless."

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Offense And Defense - "The military is not like a corporation that can be streamlined. It is the most inefficient machine known to man. It's the redundancy that saves lives." - via the web site of John Robb, who has some good commentary

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