March, 2004

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Why Not Every Job Translates Overseas: "The successful formula that emerged was to assign the India team bigger projects, rather than tasks requiring continual interaction with U.S. counterparts."

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The Effect of File Sharing on Record Sales An Empirical Analysis (PDF): "To establish causality, downloads are instrumented using technical features related to file sharing, such as network congestion or song length, as well as international school holidays."

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Monday, March 29, 2004

Global housing market 'teetering near collapse': "'The US has very little fiscal or monetary ammunition left to support its economy if house prices collapse,' said Woodall. 'If the US falls it would be the first global property bust in history.' "

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Buckyballs cause brain damage in fish

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Looking Offshore / Outsourced UCSF notes highlight privacy risk / How one offshore worker sent tremor through medical system: "Is Tom Spires a relative? 'If he is, what of it?' Does Spires even exist? 'I'm not going to answer that.' Did Newburn invent Spires to protect herself from charges that she was violating contracts by sending work abroad? 'I need to get an attorney,' she said, and hung up the phone."

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Sunday, March 28, 2004

Against Depression, a Sugar Pill Is Hard to Beat: "greater percentages of people tended to get better on placebos during trials of antidepressants in 2000 than in 1981"

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Terrorists Don't Need States: "States have been getting out of the terror business since the late 1980s. We have kept many governments on the list of state sponsors for political reasons."

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Friday, March 26, 2004

Michael McDonough's Top Ten Things They Never Taught Me in Design School: "So, good deeds and brilliant ideas go against the grain of the social contract almost by definition. They will be challenged and will require enormous effort to succeed. Most fail. Expect to work hard, expect to fail a few times, and expect to be rejected."

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Beef firm faces perplexing resistance to mad cow tests: "The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) currently does not allow such private testing for mad cow disease. And it claims that a new government testing system it approved this month is perfectly adequate. More than 10 times the number of cattle will be tested for mad cow under the new system, but the government still will be testing less than 1% of the 37 million cattle slaughtered in the U.S. each year. That falls far short of the 100% testing Creekstone Farms is proposing and Japan provides."

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Wednesday, March 24, 2004

The Old Bloody Shirt: "In my mind's eye I have this image of some GOP flack in the year 2032, talking to some smart-ass reporter from the Washington Post, and bashing his guy's opponent for running on his Iraq war resume: 'His whole campaign is: I went to Iraq, yadda, yadda, yadda. I want to be president.'"

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Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Times Regained: "In New York, we suffer from a Tragedy of the Uncommons: weird things make the city worth living in, but though each individual wants them, no one individual wants to pay to keep them going."

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Monday, March 22, 2004

Bush's Gay Marriage Ban: I'd Leave the Country, but My Wife Won't Let Me: "Four years ago this fall, we stood before an Episcopal priest and were pronounced married for life, for better, for worse. 'Those whom God has joined together,' the priest warned, 'let no one put asunder.'"

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Generation Debt: The New Economics of Being Young: The Ambition Tax: "Afew years pass, a significant other comes along, and the Kid's elders start badgering him about growing up, getting with the American dream, and purchasing a home. Up to this point, the Kid has been renting in a metro area. It's a drag throwing away that money each month, but at least he's not living in his parents' attic. (According to the 2000 census, 14 percent of 24- to 34-year-olds live at home, a 50 percent increase since 1970.) Adding yet another fixed cost to his debt load might seem like an unwise choice, especially since the Kid doesn't have much in the bank for a down payment."

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Friday, March 19, 2004

No Moon, no life on Earth, suggests theory: "A billion years later when life is thought to have arisen, the Moon was still much closer to us than it is now. That, plus the Earth's much more rapid rotation, led to tidal cycles every two to six hours, with tides extending several hundred kilometres inland, says Lathe. Coastal areas therefore saw dramatic cyclical changes in salinity, and Lathe believes this led to repeated association and dissociation of double-stranded molecules similar to DNA."

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Thursday, March 18, 2004

Killing Iraq With Kindness: "The real question for the Western universalists, then, is whether the cause of moderate Muslims is helped by the revolutionary war that has been set off by the American and British armies. For that is what the war in Iraq is: not a clash of civilizations, but a revolution unleashed through outside force."

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Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Brzezinski: New American Strategies for Security and Peace: "We should be aware of that. If we are going to pursue a bipartisan policy let's be willing also to accept some shortcomings on our part. But if Russia is to be part of this larger zone of peace it cannot bring into it its imperial baggage."

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Bill would let Congress reverse high court: "Lewis' idea is not entirely new."

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Monday, March 15, 2004

Select All: "Gilbert and Wilson note that there is one exception to the rule that hungry people overbuy and sated people underbuy at supermarkets: it?s people who bring a grocery list, which the two psychologists call ?a copy of A Theory About What I Will Want in the Future.? Strategies like this can be carried out at the level of society, by rules or social sanction, and surely help to explain Americans? extraordinary flight from addictive behavior in recent years?so sudden that it resembles a concert-hall panic."

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Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Army to Gates: Halt the free software: "'These items have been determined to be gifts from a prohibited source, and may not be accepted by (Defense Department) employees,' the agency said in its advisory. 'If received, the items should be returned to Microsoft.'"

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New Hubble Images Show Deepest View of Universe: "We might have seen the end of the beginning"

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Herb lore from the Sage of Omaha: "In January and February, 45% and 47% respectively of new junk issues carried a rating of B- or lower. Last year as a whole, the figure was 31%. 'When the share of lower-grade issuance (particularly at the B- level or lower) exceeds 30% for a sustained period of time,' says S&P, 'it generally serves as a reliable indicator of imminent default pressure two or three years ahead.'"

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Science closes in on perfect lens: "'The march of magnetism towards the visible will enhance our power to control and use electromagnetic radiation in these frequency ranges,' Professor Pendry explained. But scientists concede that pushing these new metamaterials into these frequency ranges is still some way off, if it is in fact achievable. Some experts in the field seriously question whether it is possible to develop materials capable of perfect lensing at optical frequencies."

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Saturday, March 06, 2004

Feds: email subpoena ruling hurts law enforcement: "That means civil attorneys issuing overbroad subpoenas - not an uncommon event - now risk lawsuits, and even potential criminal prosecution as computer intruders, under the decision."

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No Libertarians in the Seventeenth-Century Highlands: "'In its total estrangement from our political and social life today, its wilfull disregard of all known facts about human nature, it resembles nothing so much as a debate over some fine procedural point of end-stage communism...' ... It is an interesting fact that there are no libertarians--nobody calling for the withering-away of the state--nobody calling for competition between private, profit-making, rights-enforcement organizations until the nineteenth century."

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Sources: PM drops option of moving Gaza settlers to W. Bank: "Also Friday, security sources said that, bowing to White House pressure Israel intends to wait until after the U.S. presidential election in November before uprooting the Jewish settlements in Gaza."

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Venture Capital: Weighing pluses and pitfalls of offshoring: "'They couldn't get the quality,' he said. 'And it was not because they are not well-educated and smart people. It was just too much distance and too many other issues.' Still, it may not be too long before those issues are resolved."

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Wednesday, March 03, 2004

America's Flimsy Fortress: "When an airport screener confiscates a pocketknife from an innocent person, security has failed."

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Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Stem cell center eyed at Harvard: "Harvard has the resources, Harvard has the breadth, and, frankly, Harvard has the responsibility to be taking up the slack that the government is leaving"

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I just received a spam virus "from" Patrick Nielsen Hayden. Or rather, mail addressed to me, from him. No, I don't think he sent it (and not just because I'm pretty sure he uses a Mac, or that the mail was sent from a server in the Netherlands). Yes, I do think that the government needs to legalize knee-capping for spam prevention. That's a joke, although I'm pretty sure you'd have a hard time finding 12 people to convict anyone carrying out such deterrence. More [serious] thoughts on the spam topic when I get time to write it up.

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Monday, March 01, 2004

Data stored in multiplying bacteria: "Deinococcus is adapted to survive in extreme conditions and is consequently very good at repairing any mutations that spontaneously arise in its DNA code. But Huw Williams, a bacteriologist at Imperial College, London, says that the small size of the inserted messages makes it no surprise that they survive 100 generations intact."

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Heading for a fall, by fiat?: "The problem may be that bond investors, far from being far-sighted, are in fact myopic, and are perhaps being fooled by the temporary disinflationary effects of excess capacity and debts built up over the bubble years in both Japan and America. Perhaps, too, investors have been lulled into a false sense of security by the performance of central banks in recent years, and the independence that has been granted to many of them by governments. But this very aura of inviolability may be storing up problems, since it means that governments can borrow still more at cheap rates."

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The case for gay marriage: "Gays want to marry precisely because they see marriage as important: they want the symbolism that marriage brings, the extra sense of obligation and commitment, as well as the social recognition. Allowing gays to marry would, if anything, add to social stability, for it would increase the number of couples that take on real, rather than simply passing, commitments."

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