lord love a duck
Op-Ed Columnist: No Vote for Al Qaeda
: "'The Spanish Civil War tested only weapons,' said the Israeli political theorist Yaron Ezrahi. 'The terrorism we have seen in Israel, and may soon see more of in Europe, is testing the fabric of democratic societies. What is being tested in Spain is this question: Does it pay for terrorists to try to hijack democratic elections? We have a clear-cut challenge here, and it must be met with an equally clear-cut response. Are leaders of Western nations going to reward the terrorists in their attempt to hijack democratic elections in a major European state or make them fail?'
If the European Union was thinking long-term, it would hold an emergency meeting and announce that each E.U. country would be sending 100 men to stand alongside the 1,300 Spanish soldiers in Iraq to help protect the Iraqi people as they try to organize their first democratic election � free of intimidation by terrorists."
Economist.com | ENERGY
: "Electricity, almost uniquely among commodities, cannot be stored efficiently (except as water in hydro-electric dams)."
Wow, I never thought of that (storing energy in dams).
Coke Was It - Not anymore. By Daniel�Gross
: "moneybox Daily commentary about business and finance.
Coca-Cola is perhaps the most successful American brand ever. Each day, about 1.2 billion servings of Coca-Cola products are consumed around the globe. Coca-Cola is remarkably well-established in the world's wealthiest consumer market. The company's 2002 annual report noted that the average consumer in North America 'enjoys at least one servin"
The Accidental Addict - Clearing away the myths surrounding the OxyContin "epidemic." By Maia�Szalavitz
: "While nearly half of U.S. soldiers in Vietnam tried heroin while abroad, only 20 percent of users became addicts. And only 12 percent remained junkies�even though 60 percent of those addicted while in Vietnam tried heroin at least one more time back home. Research by the National Institute on Drug Abuse finds that most people simply don't enjoy the opiate 'high,' let alone want it daily."
OpinionJournal - Featured Article
: "In addition to raising immigration quotas, President Bush wants to normalize the status of millions of hardworking illegals already here and making a contribution. The law-and-order tub-thumpers on the right denounce any such talk as amounting to an 'amnesty' that ultimately rewards lawbreakers. That's a fair point, and their only legitimate one, but it doesn't suffice as an argument that advances the debate.
Our current illegal immigration problems result from a policy at war with the law of supply and demand, a war that pro-growth conservatives understand is as unwise as it is unnecessary. Short of mass alien deportations at gunpoint, which would damage the economy and aren't likely to fly well with the public, any transition to a more sensible system will involve some sort of decriminalization."
Honestly, it's a pretty hard hearted person who considers illegal immigrants immoral lawbreakers. Yeah, immigration laws on the book should be enforced. But I'm more likely to admire someone who took a chance to break them and look for opportunity in this country. It's not really a criminal mentality, in that it's ultimatly productive, rather than destructive, behavior.
How the Little Green Men Met Their Makers
: "At least one species of earthly bacteria, Bacillus subtilis, is capable of surviving the rigors of space travel. In one experiment, 10 percent of this species sent into orbit on a satellite survived six years in the vacuum of space. Other experiments show that Bacillus subtilis, as well as another common bacterium, Deinococcus radiodurans, can also survive the tremendous jolt of being blasted into space by a meteor - up to 100,000 times the normal pull of gravity on Earth - as well as the bombardment of cosmic radiation during the trip."
"Fortunatly, success has not spoiled me."
"Have you had any success?"
New Studies Question Value of Opening Arteries
: "But, researchers say, most heart attacks do not occur because an artery is narrowed by plaque. Instead, they say, heart attacks occur when an area of plaque bursts, a clot forms over the area and blood flow is abruptly blocked. In 75 to 80 percent of cases, the plaque that erupts was not obstructing an artery and would not be stented or bypassed. The dangerous plaque is soft and fragile, produces no symptoms and would not be seen as an obstruction to blood flow.
That is why, heart experts say, so many heart attacks are unexpected � a person will be out jogging one day, feeling fine, and struck with a heart attack the next. If a narrowed artery were the culprit, exercise would have caused severe chest pain."
: "Demographically, socially, and culturally, the reconquista (re-conquest) of the Southwest United States by Mexican immigrants is well underway. A meaningful move to reunite these territories with Mexico seems unlikely, but Prof. Charles Truxillo of the University of New Mexico predicts that by 2080 the southwestern states of the United States and the northern states of Mexico will form La Rep�blica del Norte (The Republic of the North). Various writers have referred to the southwestern United States plus northern Mexico as �MexAmerica� or �Amexica� or �Mexifornia.� �We are all Mexicans in this valley,� a former county commissioner of El Paso, Texas, declared in 2001. "
From: The Predator's Ball
"Explaining their allure, Milken said, "The opportunity to be true to yourself in high-yield bonds is great. It is not like buying a stock. With a stock, its value is generally dependent upon investors' collective perceptions of teh future. No matter how much research you have done regarding a particular stock, you don't have a contract as to what the future price will be. But with a high-yield bond, there is a date certain in the future when it matures, and if you hold it to maturity and your analysis is correct, you will be correct in your calculation of your yield -- and you do have a contract as to future price. One is certain if you're right. The other is not."
We locked you up in jail for 25 years and you were innocent all along? That�ll be �80,000 please - [Sunday Herald]
: "On Tuesday, Blunkett will fight in the Royal Courts of Justice in London for the right to charge victims of miscarriages of justice more than �3000 for every year they spent in jail while wrongly convicted. The logic is that the innocent man shouldn�t have been in prison eating free porridge and sleeping for nothing under regulation grey blankets."
ABCNEWS.com : Poll: Iraqis Report Better Postwar Life
: "March 15� A year after the bombs began to fall, Iraqis express ambivalence about the U.S.-led invasion of their country, but not about its effect: Most say their lives are going well and have improved since before the war, and expectations for the future are very high."
Brick and Glass in New York Apartment Buildings - The history of some changing uses of traditional materials. By Alex�Marshall
: "describes how in 1870, 90 percent of upper-class New Yorkers lived in townhouses and other styles of single-family homes. By 1930, 90 percent lived in apartments. To lure potential tenants, developers borrowed the word 'apartment' from the French to make the new buildings sound more fashionable.
Cricket: It's Wicket Awesome By Robert Lane Greene
: "Like baseball, cricket is a sport of timing and of fractions of an inch. It requires more hand-eye coordination than strength or speed. Normal-looking humans, not 7-foot freaks or 300-pound ogres, can be its legends."
You're probably wondering about the sudden interest in cricket. It was teatured in a book
I read this morning.
My boss, an australian, would sometimes give an urgent "watch!" to the trading floor, and point to the tv. Everybody, thinking there was some act of terrorism or something that would affect the markets would direct all their attention to the tv. Which would be giving the scores of the latest test matches (he got a good laugh). Sheesh.
Op-Ed Columnist: An Insult to Our Soldiers
: "Davis, a Virginia Republican, is chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform. He tells a story about Sgt. Daniel Romero of the Colorado Army National Guard, who was sent to fight in Afghanistan.
In a letter dated March 23, 2002, Sergeant Romero asked a fellow sergeant: 'Are they really fixing pay issues [or] are they putting them off until we return? If they are waiting, then what happens to those who (God forbid) don't make it back?'
As Mr. Davis said at a hearing this past January, 'Sergeant Romero was killed in action in Afghanistan in April 2002.' The congressman added, 'I would really like to hear today that his family isn't wasting their time and energy fixing errors in his pay.'"
Gay marriage debate includes questions of religious liberty | csmonitor.com
When I read this headline, my first thought was "brilliant!" this is why I love the christian science monitor. Why haven't I been reading it recently?
My interpretation of the headline was..
a. marraige is a sacrament (or the non catholic equivalent).
b. the constitution promises freedom of religion
c. therefore the interpretation of what constitutes marraige is for the churches to decide, and since the churches can have different standards from each other..
Hey, it goes right to the heart of the issue. A lot of the opposition from the right is, ultimately, based on religion whether it is admitted or not. But they *should* be saying, government can't tell us what to believe or to worship. If we want to say marraige is between a man and a woman, no one can stop us, and no piece of paper can make it otherwise, any more an Indiana law can change the value of pi
Unfortunately, my faith in the monitor was misplaced:
"The scholars' key concern: introducing 'civil unions' into the constitutional lexicon. 'It gives wide-ranging license to judges to enforce a new social norm on organizations touched by the law,' they said. 'Precedent from our own history and that of other nations suggests that religious institutions could even be at risk of losing tax-exempt status, academic accreditation, and media licenses, and could face charges of violating human rights codes or hate speech laws.'"
BW Online | September 30, 2003 | The Street's Slickest Number-Crunchers
: "Only a few years ago, using a computer program to pick stocks was the ultimate in investing sophistication. Any portfolio manager who used a stock screen to, say, identify large-cap companies with low price-earnings ratios could justifiably claim to be a 'quant' -- shorthand for investors who use quantitative research and trading strategies. "
THE MERCEDES MENACE
: "But once we concede that people do care about status, it necessarily follows that the status competition that makes people buy expensive consumer goods in order to impress other people constitutes a failure of the market economy - a failure as real as traffic congestion, or pollution, or any other activity in which the individual pursuit of self-interest leads to a collectively bad outcome. Suppose that we could somehow agree to stop competing over who has the fanciest car; everyone could then work a bit less, spend more time with their families, and raise the sum total of human happiness. Or to put it a bit differently, Americans (or at least the top few percent of the income distribution) have gotten into a sort of arms race of conspicuous consumption that, like most arms races, consumes huge quantities of resources yet in the end changes little. "
Taste Whisky With Slate - And discover the wonders of peat. By David�Edelstein
: "I don't mean to suggest that island whiskies taste like rotted fish. It's just that the ones that I'm swilling these days owe much of their flavor to decay. To wit, they are permeated by peat, which someone in my favorite New York whisky bar�d.b.a. at 41 1st Avenue in Manhattan's East Village�once explained to me is 'the halfway point between dung and coal.' (The attribution for that line is strangely indecipherable in my notebook�one of those nights.) "
Though remember.. peggy made my enemies list not necessarily (or entirely) for her partisanship, but for her manipulativeness, and her talent at it (which is why ann coulter, for example, would not qualify).
lying in ponds: Normalized Combined Partisanship Index
I was surprised that peggy noonan was so low.. 21.. perhaps she has mellowed out since clinton/gore are gone. Interesting to see what happens during the election.
Economist.com | Face value
: "The one-handed economist"
on krugman. Great title, wouldn't you say?
An excellent article by krugman in his usefull days. Of special interest to currency option traders :).
BW Online | March 22, 2004 | Where Are The Jobs?
: "The real culprit in this jobless recovery is productivity, not offshoring. Unlike most previous business cycles, productivity has continued to grow at a fast pace right through the downturn and into recovery. One percentage point of productivity growth can eliminate up to 1.3 million jobs a year. "
It's interesting. In witte's macroeconomics course, we had to read Paul Krugman's book, The Age of Diminished Expectations. From what I remember, he touted productivity as the A number one most important component of a healthy economy (or, at least, a future healthy economy). We don't seem to be hearing much about that from him anymore, do we? (for those not in the know: Paul is a very sucessfull economist who became a nyt columnist. Some non partisan group rated his column second most partisan in the country, behind, I think, ann coulter. Or was it in front? I can't remember. )
Welcome to CellPhoneSolutions.com
Looking for an external antenna for my cell phone, I found this gem:
"This new antenna is up to 100% Radiation Free! "
www.AndrewSullivan.com - Daily Dish
: "DAN GETS MARRIED: To a lesbian co-worker! Now this is an interesting idea for civil disobedience. Leave it to my friend Dan Savage to figure it out:
Amy Jenniges lives with her girlfriend, Sonia, and I live with my boyfriend, Terry. Last Friday I accompanied Amy and Sonia to room 403, the licensing division, at the King County Administration Building. When Amy and Sonia asked the clerk for a marriage license, the clerk turned white. You could see, 'Oh my God, the gay activists are here!' running through her head. County clerks in the marriage license office had been warned to expect gay couples sooner or later, but I guess this particular clerk didn't expect us to show up five minutes before closing on Friday.
The clerk called over her manager, a nice older white man, who explained that Amy and Sonia couldn't have a marriage license. So I asked if Amy and I could have one--even though I'm gay and live with my boyfriend, and Amy's a lesbian and lives with her girlfriend. We emphasized to the clerk and her manager that Amy and I don't live together, we don't love each other, we don't plan to have kids together, and we're going to go on living and sleeping with our same-sex partners after we get married. So could we still get a marriage license?
'Sure,' the license-department manager said, 'If you've got $54, you can have a marriage license.' ... It's not the marriage license I'd like to have, of course. But, still, let me count my blessings: I have a 10-year relationship (but not the marriage license), a house (but not the marriage license), a kid (but not the marriage license), and my boyfriend's credit-card bills (but not the marriage license). I don't know what a guy has to do aroun"
Britney Spears spelling correction
: "The data below shows some of the misspellings detected by our spelling correction system for the query [ britney spears ], and the count of how many different users spelled her name that way. "
The New Republic Online: Campaign Journal
: "A reader suggests a nickname for the new Bush spot: the Muhammad Horton ad"
Tomorrow's Soldier Today - Robot soldiers! Bird-sized airplanes! The Phraselator! At DARPATech, the military shows off its coolest gadgets. By Phillip�Carter
: "One example is the Phraselator, a brick-sized one-way translation device designed for use by U.S. soldiers in countries where they don't know the language and don't have time to learn it. Each hand-held unit uses an SD card�the same one used by many digital cameras�that store up to 30,000 common phrases useful for law enforcement, first aid, or war-fighting. To make the device work, a soldier simply says a phrase (such as 'Stop at this checkpoint') into the device, and a few seconds later, the Phraselator repeats it in the chosen language�Urdu, Arabic, Pashto, and Korean are available, to name a few. So far, more than 600 of these devices have been shipped to American units in the field�including 15 programmed with Haitian dialects dispatched with U.S. troops to Haiti.
CNN.com - Gibson could make $200 mil off 'Passion' - Mar 11, 2004
: "Now it's quite another ballgame. With an upside as mouthwatering as the one Gibson's enjoying from 'Passion,' Hollywood isn't likely to stay on the sidelines for long. As literary material goes, the Bible is attractive to Hollywood because not only does it feature well developed storylines and colorful characters, but it's a brand name book that's in the public domain. Studios looking to develop franchises could undoubtedly get a few good ones going here. "
That sounds good now, but do Christians really want to concede creative control of the bible to hollywood and the market? And how long before the novelty wears off? Sometimes it seems like Christians are willing to give a free pass on quality (see The Omega Code
) for their slice of the mainstream, but a Christian branded movie can be a bad movie, or have a wishy washy moral message as easily as any other movie. Are the writers and producers going to give us the film equivalent of the chronicles of narnia? I doubt it. They're going to go for the quick buck, and get it, probably, too.
: "> Kerry could pick Larry Bird for VP and he still wouldn't win Indiana.
Heh... He could, however, pick Peyton Manning and win both Indiana and Tennessee. :-) "
Yahoo! News - Sen. McCain Open to Being Kerry's VP
: "'John Kerry (news - web sites) is a close friend of mine. We have been friends for years,' McCain said Wednesday when pressed to squelch speculation about a Kerry-McCain ticket. 'Obviously I would entertain it.'
But McCain emphasized how unlikely the whole idea was.
'It's impossible to imagine the Democratic Party seeking a pro-life, free-trading, non-protectionist, deficit hawk,'. Sounds good to me.
OpinionJournal - Peggy Noonan
: "With tens of thousands of relatives of 9/11 victims, there have to be some who are Democrats or dislike Bush. "
Yeah, Peggy. They really had to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find people who dislike Bush.
: "The World Bank estimates that trade barriers in developed economies cost poor nations more than $100 billion per year, roughly twice what rich countries give in aid."
On election year economy manipulation.
"Occasionally, politicians resist temptation. In 1979, U.S. President Jimmy Carter replaced his spectacularly ineffectual Fed Chairman William Miller with the tough-minded Paul Volcker, who over the next five years reversed the inflation damage Burns and Nixon had wrought. In appointing Volcker, Carter did his nation a great service, yet probably sealed his fate as a one-term chief executive. "
Ah, Carter. What a great man.
Op-Ed Columnist: Whence the Wince?
: "I tracked down Senator Kerry on Tuesday in Evanston, Ill. My plan was to start by needling him into a frown. (Dermatological entrapment.)"
John Kerry AND Maureen Dowd were in evanston and I missed it?
OpinionJournal - John Fund on the Trail
: "If Kerry wants to make things interesting, he'll consider Tom Brokaw for veep. "
Op-Ed Columnist: Hooked on Heaven Lite
: "I worry about Albom more, because while religious dogmatism is always a danger, it is less of a problem for us today than the soft-core spirituality that is its opposite. As any tour around the TV dial will make abundantly clear, we do not live in Mel Gibson's fire-and-brimstone universe. Instead, we live in a psychobabble nation. We've got more to fear from the easygoing narcissism that is so much part of the atmosphere nobody even thinks to protest or get angry about it."
FT.com / Business / US
Investors beware. It's not a good time to be in the market.
Op-Ed Columnist: Small and Smaller
: "'We have tied up with several small and medium-size C.P.A. firms in America,' explained Mr. Rao, whose company, MphasiS, has a team of Indian accountants able to do outsourced accounting work from across the U.S. All the necessary tax data is scanned by U.S. firms into a database that can be viewed from India. Then an Indian accountant, trained in U.S. tax practices, fills in all the basics.
'This is happening as we speak � we are doing several thousand returns,' said Mr. Rao. "
Salon.com News | Bracing for the backlash
I don't blame Kerry for flip flopping on gay marraige; I blame the people that couldn't deal with his honest position. Hey, let's ask Bush what he thinks about evolution and see *him* give a straight answer, huh?
Salon.com Sex | England swings
: "Cherisse Davidson, the spokeswoman for Slightest Touch, a device that uses TENS technology to send signals of a 'very specific frequency' to a woman's 'pelvic region,' sounded very American, compared to Semler and Gold, as she earnestly expressed a desire to 'help couples' and described Slightest Touch as 'so important for women.' God forbid she should say it just feels good. (Davidson, bravely based in Dallas, also mentioned the religious right as an impediment to sales there -- S.T. has sold only about 20 units in Texas to 'friends' while it has already sold hundreds overseas -- but quickly called back, nervously clarifying that her company had 'no problem' with the religious right and in fact 'looks forward to working with them.' I wish her luck.) "
Op-Ed Contributor: The Next Best Thing to Being President
: "For Senator Kerry, the question may well come down to whether adding Mr. Clinton to the ticket would appreciably increase his chances of victory. A couple of polls should give him the answer fast enough. If the results are good, the course is clear: bring him on."
Surely this guy can't be serious. Comments anyone?
Toss Out the Toss-Up: Bias in heads-or-tails: Science News Online, Feb. 28, 2004
: "Their preliminary data suggest that a coin will land the same way it started about 51 percent of the time. It would take about 10,000 tosses before a casual observer would become aware of such a small bias, Diaconis says. 'Maybe that's why society hasn't noticed this before,' he says.
This slight bias pales when compared with that of spinning a coin on its edge. A spinning penny will land as tails about
80 percent of the time, Diaconis says, because the extra material on the head side shifts the center of mass slightly. "
gladwell dot com / The Science of the Sleeper
: " Between 1986 and 1996, the share of book sales represented by the thirty top-selling hardcover books in America nearly doubled."
gladwell dot com / blowing up
: "There was just one problem, however, and it is the key to understanding the strange path that Nassim Taleb has chosen, and the position he now holds as Wall Street's principal dissident. Despite his envy and admiration, he did not want to be Victor Niederhoffer -- not then, not now, and not even for a moment in between. For when he looked around him, at the books and the tennis court and the folk art on the walls -- when he contemplated the countless millions that Niederhoffer had made over the years -- he could not escape the thought that it might all have been the result of sheer, dumb luck."
An article about my favorite trader.
Debate Raises Doubts For Kerry-Edwards Run (washingtonpost.com)
It's interesting how coherent the buzz is. These articles about Kerry and Edwards not meshing well seem to be popping up everywhere at the same time.
Like Japan in the 1980�s, China Poses Big Economic Challenge
: "China has 10 times the population of Japan, with more unemployed adults in rural areas than the entire American work force."
I wonder if it would be possible to invest in the undervalued yuan. Sort of a reverse attack on a currency. Maybe not a bad bet, but not a surefire thing, since China could always meet the imbalance by inflating its currency.
gladwell dot com / The Sports Taboo
: Suggests that African superiority in sports is because of wider genetic variability. (analogy.. that boys are not not on average better than girls at math.. but are more likely to be found on the extremes.)
" 'I would say, without a doubt, that in almost any single African population-a tribe or however you want to define it-there is more genetic variation than in all the rest of the world put together,' Kidd told me."
Deaths Go Unexamined and the Living Pay the Price
: "Autopsies were once routine, performed in more than half of hospital deaths and, in some parts of the country, in a majority of deaths that occurred elsewhere. But over the last few decades, the number of such procedures in the United States and several other countries has sharply dropped.
Hospitals, afraid of being sued over mistaken diagnoses, increasingly forgo autopsies, experts say. The advent of sophisticated imaging techniques like C.T. scans and M.R.I.'s have created an illusion among doctors that the procedure is unnecessary. Grieving relatives, too, are often unwilling to shoulder the cost or wait for autopsies to be completed.
The decline, researchers say, may be gradually eroding the quality of care. A growing number of missed or mistaken diagnoses are going unchecked, depriving doctors of a learning tool. And studies, including one published last week, find that autopsies uncover missed or incorrect diagnoses in up to 25 percent of hospital deaths. "
In Alaska, Getting There Is Half the Fun
: "Everything in these small towns and villages is familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. Bethel, for example, has a Subway sandwich shop. The cars parked outside, while empty, usually have their engines running so the car remains warm, even after a 30-minute stop inside. It is not as if someone is going to steal a car; where would they go? There are no roads out of Bethel."