February, 2004

Sunday, February 29, 2004

The Economist Survey on "the real time enterprise": "Cisco, for its part, got hit a year ago by a classic `bullwhip effect' and had to write off $2.5 billion in stock. Its order books did not reflect the real demand. Because of long lead times, customers ordered more than they needed to, as a sort of insurance policy. When the economy slowed down abruptly, these orders evaporated, and Cisco got stuck with components already ordered from suppliers. Cisco's mishap shows that even the best technology offers no protection against bad management decisions. Yet the firm's rivals, such as Lucent Technologies and Nortel, are in much worse shape." - a little out of date, very long, and worth at least skimming

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General Electric: "A working paper* by Mr Skinner and Linda Myers, which looked at 399 firms with unusually smooth and consistent earnings growth, found several interesting things. One was that these companies tend to enjoy high market valuations. Another was that there was evidence that they were smoothing bumpy earnings. A third was that the run of good luck had a tendency to end in an earnings shock."

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Hoochie Pants as barometer of marriage market: "Statistics don't show, for instance, how many of those 32 million never-married men actually dream of their wedding days -- or account for what Barber, in his paper, 'Women's dress fashions as a function of reproductive strategy, ' describes as 'the alternative reproductive strategies model according to which women vary the relative importance of careers and marriages depending on the importance of each as an economic strategy for supporting themselves and their children.'"

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Keep Your CEO Out Of Grad School: "Formal education does count for something. M.B.A.s turn up as chief executives more often than people with no advanced degree at all, and 50% more often than executives with law degrees, master's degrees and doctorates combined. Harvard M.B.A.s have a particular knack for becoming chief executives: 38 of them are CEOs of some of America's biggest companies. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to help their shareholders much."

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Prime Palaver #6: "Today, more than a year later, the paperback edition of 1632 has a net sales of about 34,000 copies and has a sell-through of 88%. If being available for free in the Library has hurt me any, with that book, I'd be puzzled to see how." - I really want a non-static analysis on this, and to see the impact of having a lot of authors doing this rather than a few (which is to say - right now it's a rare marketing gimic. what happens when it isn't?).

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Saturday, February 28, 2004

The Creatures From the Sandwich Shop - Behind the singing rodents in the Quiznos ad.: "You're either gonna give this one an A or an F"

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Friday, February 27, 2004

Superflu is being brewed in the lab: "And there is an even more fundamental objection to such experiments: the processes used to create the viruses may be too artificial."

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Monday, February 23, 2004

Leaked Pentagon report warns climate change may bring famine, war: report: "We don't know exactly where we are in the process. It could start tomorrow and we would not know for another five years"

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Friday, February 20, 2004

Experimental Vaccine May Stop Lung Cancer: "Unlike traditional vaccines, which generally aim to prevent disease, some experimental cancer vaccines are designed to treat or cure existing disease."

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Thursday, February 19, 2004

Report Links Breast Cancer to Antibiotic Use

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Money poll says consumer confidence plunges: "a single-week fall that's been matched just twice before, in January 2001 and February 1990"

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Sunday, February 15, 2004

People lie more on the phone than by email: "He found that lies made up 14 per cent of emails, 21 per cent of instant messages, 27 per cent of face-to-face interactions and a whopping 37 per cent of phone calls."

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Thursday, February 12, 2004

Moore: Galactica Takes Off: "I'm going to sit down and watch all 22 of them again, kind of go through it. But the first thing that springs to mind is that the old show did a lot of planet-of-the-week type episodes, and we're specifically not doing that on this."

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Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Pundit O'Reilly Now Skeptical About Bush: "I was wrong."

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Andrew Sullivan (!): Attention Deficit: "So, in one response, we have a one-word answer that means the opposite of what it should; we have an irrelevance; and we have a pipe dream. And the president expects the people to trust him with their money? If your financial adviser came up with such an answer, after a huge drop in your personal savings and massive loans coming due in a few years, you'd fire him." ... "OK, let me put this gently here. Is he out of his mind?"

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Monday, February 09, 2004

The Pornography Industry vs. Digital Pirates: "When people in the industry talk of copyright, there is none of the grand speechifying about revering artists and rewarding creativity, and the near-tearful paeans to the yeoman key grips and stunt men, as is favored by movie and record executives. Instead, there is just this: We spent a lot of money to get this stuff out to the market. Somebody else is making money off of it. We want the money."

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Friday, February 06, 2004

'Mindsight' could explain sixth sense: "There is no reason the effect shouldn't operate with other senses too, he says. Knowing someone is behind you may be the auditory equivalent."

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Thursday, February 05, 2004

The Debt No One Wants to Talk About: "A key lesson from Enron, Worldcom and other business failures is that our free-market system depends on public confidence in the accuracy of corporate financial information. Recent G.A.O. reports have highlighted the increasing frequency of corporate earnings restatements. Who would knowingly buy stock in, lend to, or do business with a company that conceals its true financial condition?"

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Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Injustice by Default: "most noncustodial parents appear to be served by "substitute" service, rather than personal service, which suggests that noncustodial parents may not know that they have been served"

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Tuesday, February 03, 2004

"Dominate. Intimidate. Control.": The sorry record of the Transportation Security Administration : "The air marshal who brandished his weapon had twice applied to be a cop in Philadelphia but failed the police department's psychological tests. He had also been rejected in an attempt to become a prison guard. When he threatened scores of coach passengers, he had received only two weeks of training. What escalates this episode beyond a mere bizarre anecdote is the fact that the TSA hailed these marshals as models. Several days after the incident, Thomas Quinn, the national director of the air marshal program, asserted, 'The federal air marshals did a very good job. They did exactly as they're trained to do.'"

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After a brief hiatus I have resurrected the OSXHack Mailing List.

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Monday, February 02, 2004

Deficit Is $521 Billion In Bush Budget: "That block of money funds health research, education, housing, law enforcement, the State Department, environmental restoration and veterans programs, to name a few entities. If all such domestic programs were eliminated, the government would still have a significant budget deficit, Kahn noted."

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Big and Bad: "In other words, during the nineteen-nineties hundreds of thousands of people were killed on the roads because they drove too fast or ran red lights or drank too much. And, of those, a fair proportion involved people in S.U.V.s who were lulled by their four-wheel drive into driving recklessly on slick roads, who drove aggressively because they felt invulnerable, who disproportionately killed those they hit because they chose to drive trucks with inflexible steel-frame architecture, and who crashed because they couldn't bring their five-thousand-pound vehicles to a halt in time. Yet, out of all those fatalities, regulators, the legal profession, Congress, and the media chose to highlight the .0005 per cent that could be linked to an alleged defect in the vehicle."

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New Economy: Technology and Worker Efficiency: "Mr. Brynjolfsson estimates that in a $20 million enterprise resource planning project, the new computer hardware required costs $1 million and the software $3 million. The remaining $16 million is in organization capital - redesigning work practices, retraining workers and other such investments."

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Sunday, February 01, 2004

Slouching toward Big Brother: "Since the events of Sept. 11 Americans have squandered an enormous amount of liberty, and we didn't even get any temporary safety in return."

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