"History is a wonderful thing, if only it was true"

Saturday, March 31, 2007

About that locking gas cap

Remember the 70's gas lines ...
Well, in real terms, prices may be the same, but behavior is different
Drivers Shrug as Gasoline Prices Soar - New York Times

I'd been meaning to look for data to support my thinking, but the article covers it.
Although on an inflation adjusted basis, gas may be nearing the point they were during the crunch of the mid 70's, folks are not changing habits ... much.

My supposition is that fuel costs are a smaller portion of the family budget.

And when was the last time you saw a locking gas cap?

Friday, March 30, 2007

North East Asia "stuff"

Posting some NYTimes pieces before clearing bookmarks

Quickie on history
North Korea - China - Japan - South Korea - Nuclear Disarmament - New York Times:

" History can be omnipresent or repressed in northeast Asia, but nearly everyone agrees it is festering and unresolved. Historic resentments and nationalist anger are volatile and easily inflamed, as evidenced by the outrage that followed recent comments by Japan%u2019s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, about Korean %u201Ccomfort women%u201D in World War II. Yet, most often, that anger is compartmentalized to protect the hum of commerce. China and Japan conduct record bilateral trade even as public attitudes in both countries can range anywhere from mutual distrust to open loathing."

Then we have this
Japan Minister Raps "Blond" Diplomats in Mideast - New York Times
Posted in full :

"TOKYO, March 22 (Reuters) - Blond, blue-eyed Westerners probably can't be as successful at Middle East diplomacy as Japanese with their ``yellow faces,'' Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso was quoted by media as saying on Wednesday.

``Japan is doing what Americans can't do,'' the Nikkei business daily quoted the gaffe-prone Aso as saying in a speech.

``Japanese are trusted. If (you have) blue eyes and blond hair, it's probably no good,'' he said.

``Luckily, we Japanese have yellow faces.''

Foreign Ministry officials were unable to comment on the report, which said Aso elaborated by saying Japan had never exploited the Middle East, started a war there or fired a shot.

Aso, seen in some circles as a contender to succeed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe if the Japanese leader runs into trouble in a July election for parliament's upper house, is known for verbal gaffes.

He offended South Korea with remarks in 2003 that were interpreted in Seoul as trying to justify some of Japan's actions during its 1910-1945 colonization of the Korean peninsula.

He also drew criticism in 2001 when, as economics minister, he said he hoped to make Japan the kind of country where ``rich Jews'' would want to live.

Aso said then he had not intended to be discriminatory.

Japan has long felt it has a special role to play in the Middle East because it lacks much of the political baggage of the United States, allowing for warmer ties with Arab nations.

Last week Tokyo hosted four-way talks aimed at working toward peace in the Middle East, involving Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories as well as Japan.

Abe's government has been battered by a series of problematic remarks by cabinet ministers this year, including the health minister's reference to women as ``birth-giving machines'' and Aso's own description of Washington's occupation strategy in Iraq as ``immature.''

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Long time ago

Friend sent me link to GoogleVideo of "Nelson's 24" from 1983

Seems like just a few years ago (hah) I was involved in Motorcycle racing.
Ended up running a team at Nelson's Ledges for the "24 hour"
The race would start 4PM on Saturday, and simply run till 4PM Sunday.

Manged to win in '77 against the odds, esp. as we were running a Ducati (not known as an Endurance Racer at the time). But it was fast, and (relatively) fuel efficient. We did a rider change stop every hour, but fuel only every other stop. With lap times around 1:30, saving maybe 30 seconds an hour adds up (we were limited to filling through the stock gas cap). Later I developed a system that dumped about a gallon a second through the same 1-1.5inch opening.

We were also limited to all stock parts on the wheels, so came up with a few trick tools for tire changes. Managed about 90seconds. Today, with special parts, it's about 10 second job.

Trick is planning and organization more than absolute speed. This includes riders that are consistent as well as fast, yet don't crash. Crashing really slows down your overall pace.

Anyway there's a video of one of the '83 race here

I was done entering my own team by then ('83) but was helping others with management and planning.

Looking at the video now... wow, the place was a dump, and we were all pretty scruffy, but winning felt pretty good. We went on to win the "National Championship" that year. Tried again in '78 but crashed out.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Contrary to what some have thought, it's not me on
"Dancing with the Stars"
It's John Ratzengerger

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Journalism 101+

Or Journalism unplugged

The Doc Searls Weblog : Saturday, March 24, 2007

Aside, well over a decade ago, in conversation with an old (late) friend in the journalism business I suggested the "end of newspapers" ... well, it's taken a long time, but it's coming fast.

Some may survive, but the old model is broken.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

More on Climate and Cents

Further comments on my reaction to Gore's movie
Looney Dunes: Comprehensive Reply to AIT

As I'd posted before, my reaction to “An Inconvenient Truth” mainly arose from spotting statements or implications that I think are plainly false.

One example : near the end, Al goes into fuel economy standards and draws conclusion(s) that US Automakers are failing because of these standards.
I'm going to paraphrase, not having the exact text.

Gore shows, graphically, what current and future standards are/will be in various countries/markets. EU, Japan, Canada(I believe), China and the US.

Then he either states, or implies, that the lower CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy)American standards means that American Car Companies can't or won't be able to sell into China.

Wrong! - this is Fleet Average, there are cars that get higher than the standard mileage and those that get lower. American Manufactures can and DO sell into the Chinese market.

Furthermore, the North American auto industry is robust, it's the Detroit "Big" Three that are hurting, in large part due to their labor cost structure. This is not a slam on the unions, but the Japanese (and other) manufacturers do NOT have the same legacy costs.
And Toyota is rolling out Big, lower mileage, Trucks.

Another consideration ... gasoline is cheap here, $2.50 Gas is about the same as 65cent gas in 1975.

I don't have hard data, but consumer behavior (buying larger cars/trucks) indicates that their budgets can handle the cost.

Raise prices, behavior will change (after grumbling).

Back to AIT ... it's when I see what I believe to be a wrong statement or implication, I start to question other data.

Enough rant
On to other considerations, cost savings.
Keith and family chose to go to compact fluorescents (CF):
Modeshift � Blog Archive � What Is Al Gore Up To?

Regardless of Climate Change, this is becoming a sensible move.

I've uses CF's for many years, in a mix with incandescent and halogen lighting.
Incandescent mainly as they are dim-able.
Just this year, I learned that there are now dim-able CF's. I'll be looking at cycling these in as the old bulbs burn out.

I'm also looking at LED's. Some stuff here: LED Lighting for even more savings.

Layer on the fact that I took advantage of Carter's tax credits and have used Solar Water heating (pre-heating our well water) for decades, I applaud techniques and technologies to save bucks.

All of this may, or may not, "save the planet" but I know it will save our household budget some bucks.

It just makes "cents"

PS : we gave CF's this last Christmas to most of the families we celebrate with.
(and this was before we saw Gore's movie)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Beach VolleyBall

So your's truly does the set, Doc gets the spike...
The Doc Searls Weblog : Friday, March 23, 2007

Clarification of my "markets as conversations" pondering

And if you know either Doc or me, the Volley Ball image might be a bit weird (ok ok ... good for a snicker)

The Future (?) of Advertising/Marketing

Good quick commentary on "Pay per action"
The Doc Searls Weblog : Wednesday, March 21, 2007

with relevant links.

As for Doc ... Hugh has some comments here:
gapingvoid: "cartoons drawn on the back of business cards": edelman talk

Cluetrain is a "must read" (markets are conversations) but do I REALLY NEED a conversation with the supplier of toilet paper?
Unique products and services, but commodity items?

Still mulling this over, some products and maybe services are "commodity" by nature. Even some media ... I don't have to talk back to NYTimes, just dip into the info-stream over morning coffee.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Why China will hit the wall ... Hard

China is speeding for the demographic wall and there is little it can do about it.

Of all the major nations, China will hit the wall the fastest.
This is the result of the "one child" policy.
China will be old and still relatively poor soon

My opinion : China will not be a strategic threat, it needs it's young men working and creating wealth, not fighting.

"China Scrambles for Stability as Its Workers Age - New York Times
"The proportion of people 60 and older is growing faster in China than in any other major country, with the number of retirees set to double between 2005 and 2015, when it is expected to reach 200 million. By mid- century, according to United Nations projections, roughly 430 million people - about a third of the population- will be retirees."

Other key quotes:

"...the Chinese economy, which has thrived for decades on the cheap labor of hundreds of millions of young, uneducated workers from the countryside. Changes in the country’s population structure are taking place hand in hand with changes in the structure of the Chinese family. China’s one-child policy, which began in 1980, means that, beginning with the current generation of young adults, couples will face the difficult task of caring for four parents through old age.

By the same token, the ratio of workers to retired people will decline from about six to one now to about two to one by 2040."


"The bind that China finds itself in takes form in an often-posed question: Can the country grow rich before it grows old? Increasingly, experts here say the answer, which also has huge implications for the global economy, appears doubtful."

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Lots of references

We live at the 45th parallel (well, close enough, maybe 12miles from exact point) halfway between the equator and north pole

Earth Day, Vernal Equinox (well it was last night)
halfway between Winter and Summer Solstice

My stance on Global Warming:
halfway between the Chicken Littles (and politicians running for office) and the nay-sayers.

I don't by the end of the world Hollywood hype, but don't see any problem with addressing pollution (such as non CO2 output of coal burning, heavy metals, radiation and the like). But see no reason not to go for cost savings on a personal level.

Politics : I'm devout and practicing independent, with no interest in radical left or right. I'm disappointed that we lack a voice for the vast middle of the road.


Monday, March 19, 2007

Comprehensive Reply to AIT

Spent some time yesterday looking for transcript of "An Inconvenient Truth", without success other than a book that apparently matches closely.
This AM a friend alerted me to this : CEI (Competitive Enterprise Institute) critique of Gore's movie.

I'd been bothered by Gore's highly selective use of data and presentation.
Take the following with a grain of salt, same as when viewing AIT.
Judge for ourself about Competitive Enterprise Institute: Advancing Liberty, Public Policy Research, CEI

It's about 150 pages, but does a good job of addressing, what I view as, flaws, extremely selective use of data and misleading images/impressions.

Author Marlo Lewis takes AIT on point by point.

"More people will see the movie, An Inconvenient Truth (AIT), than will read the book. However, the two are so close in verbal content and visual imagery that, if you’ve seen the movie, you’ve practically read the book, and vice versa.

Because it is much easier to reference pages in a book than scenes from a movie,
the Skeptic’s Guide comments on the book version of AIT.

To minimize redundancy, the Skeptic’s Guide skips over introductory material that Vice President Gore develops in greater detail later in AIT. In most cases, passages from AIT are reproduced verbatim. In cases where passages are summarized, this will be clear from the context.

AIT does not have distinct chapters. To help the reader follow the sequence of topics under discussion, I divide the Skeptic’s Guide into several sections. My commentary mostly follows the running order of Gore’s presentation. However, to keep each section of the commentary focused on the same or similar topics, I have—in some instances—grouped together thematically similar but non-consecutive passages
from AIT.

Some readers may wonder why I comment on almost every substantive statement Gore makes rather than just the key points or the dozen or so most egregious distortions. Why cover so many seemingly minor details?

Two considerations impelled me to take a comprehensive approach. First, anything less than a point-by- point examination of AIT is too easy to dismiss as cherry picking. After all, any non-technical treatment of complex scientific and economic issues is bound to be distorting to some degree. Confronted with a list of a dozen errors, or even two dozen, critics could accuse me of quibbling and plausibly claim that Gore’s most important points (whichever ones I did not comment on) were correct.

Second, AIT makes a powerful impression on audiences chiefly by the sheer number of assertions it makes and images it presents. A typical audience reaction is to conclude that if even half of what Gore says is true, then the planet is in serious trouble.

So I decided to take a leaf out of Gore’s playbook. By the sheer number of errors and distortions I have uncovered, I hope to foster a healthy skepticism about global warming alarmism and the energy suppression agenda it allegedly justifies."


Shirley headed out to exercise class, but was back quickly
We'd gotten a late winter snow overnight

OK, check the saw, fire it up and get to work.
About 3omin later, had enough cleared for her to get through
Another 15 or so of cut and toss
Got my cardio in for the day.

Cutting fallen always a bit tricker as there is risk of pinching

Sunday, March 18, 2007

More Nuke Notes

Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace supports Nukes
Greenpeace founder supports nuclear energy - Wikinews

As does James Lovelock
James Lovelock - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

"'I have never regarded nuclear radiation or nuclear power as anything other than a normal and inevitable part of the environment. Our prokaryotic forebears evolved on a planet-sized lump of fallout from a star-sized nuclear explosion, a supernova that synthesised the elements that go to make our planet and ourselves.'"

My opinion is that “old nukes” were managed by “coal plant” style managers, not “nuclear navy” or “Rickenbacker” style managers. In other words sticklers for safety.

How long before Google goes for it's own nukes to power server farms/data centers?

I, Cringely . The Pulpit . When Being a Verb is Not Enough | PBS:

"Google is building a LOT of data centers. The company appears to be as attracted to cheap and reliable electric power as it is to population proximity. In Goose Creek they bought those 520 acres from the local state-owned electric utility, which probably answers the land question posed above. By buying out all the remaining building sites in an industrial park owned by an electric utility, Google guarantees itself a vast and uninterruptible supply of power, much as it has done in Oregon by building a data center next to a hydroelectric dam or back here again in Columbia by building near a nuclear power station."

Bright Idea

Working with Shirley on lighting ideas for her studio.
Timely piece last week in NYTimes:
A U.S. Alliance to Update the Light Bulb

We'll I'd started using compact fluorescents maybe 10 years ago, but have stuck with incandescent bulbs for the most part because of both color and dim-ablity.

Fluorescents are now "dim-able" but I've yet to purchase any, as I have some "inventory" of bulbs.

But I've also been waiting to leap-frog to LED's and started looking.
Among a few sites, found these : LED Light Bulbs

Pricey but that should start to change.
Likely makes sense for commercial use, where you have lights on for a long time, and therefore have shorter payback via energy savings.

Speaking of energy savings, slashed out electric bill downstate by turning off the water heater when I'm gone.

Whether or not C02 and "Global Warming" are a problem, the move to greener products makes sense, just to lower our own costs.

Could be interesting

Haven't dug into this enough yet, but it could be quite interesting.
Unity08: Select & Elect a Unity Ticket in the 2008 Presidential Race |

An attempt to leverage the net for politics, but running to the middle, not the edges.

As a believer in smaller is better when it comes to most government functions, and big skeptic of the power of lobbyists, I will look into this effort.
In general, I dislike national politics, even state level issues as being just a bunch of political BS.

The net may manage to change things, give the public a voice, even a shall we say ... Vote!

And 2008 will be an interesting year.
Democrats may have a hard time coming to a consensus candidate, Barak is too "green" (untested), Hillary a lighting rod and has "Bill Baggage" to contend with.
Al Gore waiting in the wings.

Republicans have no incumbent to run, and I'm not sure if they can come up with a candidate, or if they can hold on to their base in the religous right without driving off moderates.

Maybe "Unitiy '08" can be a home for devote not partisans like me

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Nuclear Power Pondering

Conjunction of materials and reading

Last night, we did the "Friday Night Video Rental", tried "Ice Age / The Meltdown" and the irony was that, flipping through the channels before starting the video, I caught part of Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" (which I've commented before here.).

Sooo - a character in Ice Age is predicting the end of the world, that all the critters would drown. (Where was Al then?)

Anyway, some reads:
Back in '05 Peter Schwartz (Edge: PETER SCHWARTZ):

Wired 13.02: Nuclear Now!

Digging some more, found this presentation and discussion:
Long Now Discuss > View topic - 02006-01-13 > Peter Schwartz and Ralph Cavanagh

Need to do more reading, but the idea that Nuclear Power is an answer to Global Warming is compelling.

Possible top?

A Titan of Private Equity May Go Public - New York Times

When those who have made their bucks turn around and sell to the street ... maybe a sign of a top in the market.

Note that they are not selling the portfolio, but a piece of the management company.

But, with some signs of tightening in the credit markets (Japan's central bank nudging rates up, China bumps rates, and sub-prime mortgage turmoil) it may be a time for caution

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Buckey Fuller said something to the effect that there is no such thing as pollution, only the mis-allocation of resources.

The end of garbage - March 19, 2007: "The end of garbageCan you imagine a world of zero waste? Cities and towns across the world - and a surprising number of companies - have adopted that goal, says Fortune's Marc Gunther
By Marc Gunther, Fortune senior writerMarch 14 2007: 6:21 AM EDT"

Gonzlaes 8 Reno 93

Politics as usual?

Published: March 24, 1993:

"Attorney General Janet Reno today demanded the prompt resignation of all United States Attorneys, leading the Federal prosecutor in the District of Columbia to suggest that the order could be tied to his long-running investigation of Representative Dan Rostenkowski, a crucial ally of President Clinton.

Jay B. Stephens, the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, who is a Bush Administration holdover, said he had advised the Justice Department that he was within 30 days of making a 'critical decision' in the Rostenkowski case when Ms. Reno directed him and other United States Attorneys to submit their resignations, effective in a matter of days.

While prosecutors are routinely replaced after a change in Administration, Ms. Reno's order accelerated what had been expected to be a leisurely changeover. Says He Won't Resist"


"All 93 United States Attorneys knew they would be asked to step down, since all are Republican holdovers, and 16 have resigned so far. But the process generally takes much longer and had usually been carried out without the involvement of the Attorney General."


Some give and take with Keith over gasoline prices and the stock market.

I obviously think that this is a much more complex situation with many other factors affecting the markets.

Modeshift : Blog Archive : Climbing Gas Prices, Slipping Dow: A Connection

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Whoa ... not so fast... cont.

Looney Dunes: Whoa ... not so fast

Yesterday :
From a Rapt Audience, a Call to Cool the Hype - New York Times

Selective quotes, selective because, in my opinion, Mr. Gore's position has been well publicized.

"But part of his scientific audience is uneasy. In talks, articles and blog entries that have appeared since his film and accompanying book came out last year, these scientists argue that some of Mr. Gore’s central points are exaggerated and erroneous. They are alarmed, some say, at what they call his alarmism."

"Although Mr. Gore is not a scientist, he does rely heavily on the authority of science in “An Inconvenient Truth,” which is why scientists are sensitive to its details and claims.

Criticisms of Mr. Gore have come not only from conservative groups and prominent skeptics of catastrophic warming, but also from rank-and-file scientists like Dr. Easterbook, who told his peers that he had no political ax to grind. A few see natural variation as more central to global warming than heat-trapping gases. Many appear to occupy a middle ground in the climate debate, seeing human activity as a serious threat but challenging what they call the extremism of both skeptics and zealots."

"Some of Mr. Gore’s centrist detractors point to a report last month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body that studies global warming. The panel went further than ever before in saying that humans were the main cause of the globe’s warming since 1950, part of Mr. Gore’s message that few scientists dispute. But it also portrayed climate change as a slow-motion process.

It estimated that the world’s seas in this century would rise a maximum of 23 inches — down from earlier estimates. Mr. Gore, citing no particular time frame, envisions rises of up to 20 feet and depicts parts of New York, Florida and other heavily populated areas as sinking beneath the waves, implying, at least visually, that inundation is imminent."

"Geologists have documented age upon age of climate swings, and some charge Mr. Gore with ignoring such rhythms.

“Nowhere does Mr. Gore tell his audience that all of the phenomena that he describes fall within the natural range of environmental change on our planet,” Robert M. Carter, a marine geologist at James Cook University in Australia, said in a September blog. “Nor does he present any evidence that climate during the 20th century departed discernibly from its historical pattern of constant change.”

In October, Dr. Easterbrook made similar points at the geological society meeting in Philadelphia. He hotly disputed Mr. Gore’s claim that “our civilization has never experienced any environmental shift remotely similar to this” threatened change.

Nonsense, Dr. Easterbrook told the crowded session. He flashed a slide that showed temperature trends for the past 15,000 years. It highlighted 10 large swings, including the medieval warm period. These shifts, he said, were up to “20 times greater than the warming in the past century.” "

Finally :

" Biologists, too, have gotten into the act. In January, Paul Reiter, an active skeptic of global warming’s effects and director of the insects and infectious diseases unit of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, faulted Mr. Gore for his portrayal of global warming as spreading malaria.

“For 12 years, my colleagues and I have protested against the unsubstantiated claims,” Dr. Reiter wrote in The International Herald Tribune. “We have done the studies and challenged the alarmists, but they continue to ignore the facts.”"

Monday, March 12, 2007

Local vs Organic

Good piece in Time Magazine.
I rarely read it, but this one caught my eye on the newstand at the grocery (interesting juxtipostion) last week

Cover story:Eating Better Than Organic

Full printout version : Eating Better Than Organic -- Printout -- TIME

Bottom line is that Local may be the "New Organic" - why go organic if you have to ship it 1/2 way around the world, or even cross country.

Ongoing Hybrid bashing ... possible reconsideration

Post from last October (following several prior posts)

Looney Dunes: Ongoing Hybrid bashing

Then, over the weekend, there was this:
A New Battery Takes Off in a Race to Electric Cars - New York Times

A step in the right direction.

1) on all electric :
"To date, all-electric vehicles have failed because their batteries were inadequate. General Motors’ futuristic EV1 car of the late 1990s was doted upon by environmentally conscious drivers who admired its innovative engineering, but because the car used large, primitive nickel metal hydride batteries, its range was limited, its acceleration degraded as the batteries weakened with age, and its two-seat layout was not very comfortable for big, corn-fed North Americans.

“The problem came down to usability,” said Nick Zelenski, G.M.’s chief vehicle engineer. “You had to plan your life around when you were going to charge the EV1.” G.M. built only 1,117 of the experimental cars because it believed that American drivers would not buy such an affront to the national ideal of the open road."

2) current (sorta pun intended) Li-"ion" batteries:
"Rechargeable lithium batteries have been used in laptop computers and mobile phones since the early 1990s. (Their common name, “lithium ion batteries,” is a tautology, since all batteries conduct electric current by allowing the passage of ions between two electrodes.) But despite their lightness, rechargeable lithium batteries — which often use a compound of highly reactive cobalt oxide — have hitherto been thought impractical for transportation because they are insufficiently powerful and might, if pierced, jarred or overheated, explode or burst into flames."

Note in particular the risk parameters of batteries. Fuel burns (cars only explode in Hollywood) releasing the potential energy in a measured manner. Batteries have the potential for rapid release of their potential energy.

3) I will argue that this will reinforce my argument on longevity of hydrocarbon fuels for personal transportation, presented here:
Long Bets [ 257: Hydrocarbon fuels will be the "fuel of choice" for personal transportation for the next 50 years ]

a) greater fuel mileage will extend the resource
b) these vechiles STILL use internal combustion power to suppliment the batteries and therefore I would argue will use hydrocarbon fuels.

When I first proposed the prediction, I was challanged about the issue of hybrids, and my response was and is ... proves my point. More fuel efficent, but still hydrocarbon based fuels.

Review of Chevy "Volt" here:
Power Play - AutoWeek

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Almost 50 again today
Southerly breeze

Good Harbor Bay

More here

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Tech Threads

From David's blog (isen.blog: My opening remarks at F2C: Freedom to Connect) went to Tom Evslin's site (here), interesting piece on Skype - charge telemarketers to talk to me...(here)

Somehow, this reminded me that I hadn't caught up on Cringely who goes into Google's pending takeover of the net.

OK, that reminded me that Google and Apple are getting closer Story Here

"Speaking at a technology conference in San Francisco, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Latest News about Google CEO Eric Schmidt confirmed that his company is collaborating with Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) Latest News about Apple on several more projects.

His comments were in response to a question about rumors that the companies are codeveloping a tablet-style computer, according to MarketWatch.

Schmidt neither confirmed or denied that an Apple/Google tablet computer is in the works.

He did, however, state that the two companies are "doing more and more things together. We have similar goals, similar competitors."

Google's search and map functions will be included in Apple's new iPhone -- a combination iPod and smartphone -- that will be released in June.

Neither company has commented on whether or not those functions will work the same as they do on other smartphones, or if there will be additional or enhanced features."

Back to Google, and really to Yahoo ... WSJournal did a piece that AT&T doesn't need Yahoo anymore

• The Situation: Changing economics could prompt revisions in pact between AT&T and Yahoo.

• What's at Stake: How revenue from Internet subscriptions and ads are shared.

• What's Next: Yahoo may have to sweeten its deal with AT&T, up for renewal in April 2008.

Cringely : "...Google's dominance of search and advertising is so profound that most competitors -- especially Yahoo -- would probably be better off NOT even attempting to compete and simply let Google handle search and advertising while Yahoo provides content."


And here's bit about CEO compensation:

"Terry Semel, the chief executive of Yahoo Inc., got options to purchase $25.7 million of the company's stock in 2006, representing 80% of the maximum he was eligible to receive even as the firm's share price fell by more than a third during the year.

Yahoo struggled in the year as it failed to keep up with rival Google Inc. in the race for advertising dollars and lost its No. 1 ranking as the most popular Internet site to News Corp.'s MySpace. The year culminated in a restructuring that saw the departures of Chief Operating Officer Dan Rosensweig and Lloyd Braun, who headed the media group.

Yahoo's compensation committee awarded Mr. Semel a bonus of 800,000 fully vested options out of a maximum allocation of one million in 2006, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The options had an exercise price of $32.12 a share.

Mr. Semel's basic salary for the year was just $1 under a three-year deal announced in May, mirroring similar executive-pay deals at other technology companies, including Apple Inc. and Google.

The payout, however, was less than half the compensation Mr. Semel received in 2005, when Yahoo shares were trading higher. His 2005 bonus comprised about 1.3 million shares at an exercise price of $40.68, coming to a value of about $52.9 million. That bonus came on top of a basic salary of $600,000."

Friday, March 09, 2007


Enough to want to re-institute the death penality


Good man murdered
Only thing is, suspect killed himself

Bob Busby, good hearted soul who almost single-handly revived an old neighborhood murdered


I knew Bob, but only a bit
That said, he was one of the nicest people I'd ever met


Now THIS could change things


China's finance minister confirmed a government plan to overhaul management of its $1.07 trillion in foreign-exchange reserves, in a sign that the world's largest investor is developing the confidence to take greater risks with its money

Maybe why Paulson was in China?

Put pieces of the puzzle together... as this follows the "managed" break in the Shanghai "stock" market.

Note that the Chiese are good students of markets and management techniques.
They only have a few decades left before hitting the demographic wall and need to get as rich as possible as fast as possible.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Framing the issue

An occasional read, spotted this on Rudi

Problems are challenges to Giuliani and he offered some insight into how he analyzes those challenges today.

“You must govern in America now from a sense of perspective,” Giuliani said. “The president of the United States needs a sense of perspective. The perspective you need is that this is a very very strong country. We’re not in terrible, terrible trouble. Gosh, if we’re in terrible trouble the world is gone."

Goes on about how he can communicate, where George W. falls short.

If Rudi can get past the Religous Right, maybe he has a shot.

Piece goes on about how the media should help frame the issue, freedom vs. medievil misogynists and tyrants.

Colonization of England

Interesting piece on genetics of inhabitants of the British Isles
Seems that most can trace genes to a population that predates the Normans, the Anglo-Saxons, even the Celts.

A United Kingdom? Maybe - New York Times

Nurture vs Nature

Further: it would be interesting to track timing of Celts (brought agriculture?) to the Black Sea Flood of about 7,500 BC

To which we can add comments from

A Life In Books: Harold Bloom: Newsweek Periscope - MSNBC.com


Shakespeare, the complete works. I won't say he "invented" us, because journalists perpetually misunderstand me on that. I'll put it more simply: he contains us. Our ways of thinking and feeling—about ourselves, those we love, those we hate, those we realize are hopelessly "other" to us—are more shaped by Shakespeare than they are by the experience of our own lives.

"The Canterbury Tales" by Geoffrey Chaucer. He gives us human beings in the round; human beings that are more than simply names upon the page. With almost every contemporary novel, the characters are names upon the page.

Monday, March 05, 2007

No Tsunami

Story on Wave Systems

That Ship Will Come in, Right? - New York Times

Made money on this puppy a couple of times.

First time was meeting Sprague Pater (Peter, Steve's Dad) at PCForum, intrigued with the idea and, since the stock was low priced, just backed up the truck and loaded up.

Did not sell at the top, but made enough that a few years later, had dinner with Peter, and introduced him to Shirley as the one that paid for decades of visits to PCForum (VBG).

Later trache was donated to Leelanau Conservancy to trigger major land aqusition deal.

All in all, a couple of nice "rides"

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Ski Break

Couple hours off to get in some X country skiing

Fine except for the arthritis in my foot, every step hurt.
Ah well, nice day, sun and fresh air

More on markets

Forbes thinks Yen Carry will carry on ...

But move week before last likely not the first.

"But despite the sharp movements, analysts said that as long as Japanese rates remain relatively modest, the carry trade is likely to persist for some time, continuing to bolster international stock markets and emerging market currencies as it has over the past few year"


"The Chinese government is concerned that investors are not taking into account the risks of equity investments and wants to cool the market off. In America, rates on $600 billion worth of adjustable-rate mortages are due to rise, raising the risk of defaults and delinquencies. And in Japan, with the fiscal year-end of March 31 approaching, companies with operations overseas are repatriating profits, putting upward pressure on the yen"

Note that rising yen also hurts positions with "carry"

Tres Sec Paulson replys to Hillary

From "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos on ABC

Excerpt on Markets/China

STEPHANOPOULOS: One of the other factors that people have cited, in this market blip on Tuesday — Senator Clinton said it was an alarm bell about the amount of foreign debt held by China and other nations.

How big a concern is that to you?

PAULSON: George, I've spent my time looking at global capital markets. I've spent a lot of time, over my career. I think I know something about global bond markets. I've watched government bond market deliver — develop globally. And as I've worked with issuers, I always tell them it's in their best interest to have as much demand as possible; to have it be global demand, a diversity of demand.

And as I look at the demand for U.S. treasuries, I'm very pleased to see demand from all around the world; from governments, from individuals — I see that as a very positive thing.

Now, when we look at, let's take China or Japan. In China, there's a fair amount of holdings of U.S. treasuries by the government and by other individuals.

But all the Chinese holdings are not greater than the amount of Treasuries that trade in a single day in the U.S. That's how much diversity we have in our holdings.

So, to me, the key thing — it's a positive that foreign investors want to own our treasuries. Interest rates are lower, it's helping our economic growth in this country. The key thing is to keep our economy growing, to have it to continue to be the best economy in the world so foreigners will want to invest here.

And I see that as…

STEPHANOPOULOS: But isn't the flip side, though, that they're holding our economic state in their hands?

PAULSON: Well, I tell you, I don't look at it that way. We're holding our economic fate in our own hands. And if we keep this economy competitive and growing, they're going to invest here.

And let me also tell you there's great diversity. When people talk about foreign holdings, as I said, Japan is the largest holder.

If we look at all of the entities, all of the individuals, the government holdings out of Japan — you know, all of those holdings are a little bit more than the treasuries traded in one day in the U.S. A little bit more than one day.

In China, it's lees than one day. We've got great diversity in the holdings of our treasury securities, and we should be very pleased with that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But doesn't it make it more difficult, because China and Japan together, I think, hold about $1 trillion of our debt. Doesn't it make it more difficult to negotiate with them when they're our banker?

PAULSON: I don't see it that way. The $1 trillion, we trade $500 billion a day in U.S. treasuries. That's two-days' trading in U.S. treasuries. And, and again, that's held by multiple entities in both of those countries. I look at it and say, as long as our economy is growing and we don't have enough savings to support that growth, we can be very pleased that foreign investors want to invest in our economy, have confidence in our economy, and they come to the U.S. to make their investments.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You probably know as much or more about China than any other American. You've been there more than 70 times, you're heading there again this week. How are we supposed to think about China?

Read on here ABC News: Sec. Henry Paulson: The Complete Interview

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Clinton Syndrom

Politics and Markets can be a dangerous mix

Hillary sounds off on markets and China

Clip here:
Clinton sounds the China alarm as ’08 issue - Hillary Clinton News - MSNBC.com

Hints of Capital Controls on Thursday ... may have helped spook the markets.

Back in the fall of 1987, the credit markets were getting nervous over James Baker jawboning the Europeans over currencies.

When asked what would happen in the off chance of a "market meltdown, the "wet behind the ears" head of the SEC, David Ruter, suggested that the markets might have to be shut down temporarily.

Well, the best way to describe this is to imagine that you are in line for movie tickets and they announce that "in case of fire, we'll lock the doors"
Time to go to the bar instead.

Now we have Hilllary, front runner for her party for President, suggesting that she could support Capital Controls.

Foreign capital comes to the US Markets because they are the safest, deepest and most liquid in the world. The American economy is strong and there are places to put your capital to work.

If you are a manager in China, where do you want to put your profits for "safe keeping"? France? Uganda? ... China? Esp. if you know that the Chinese financial system is on shaking grounds.

Today in Investor's Business Daily stock analysis and business news :

"But Clinton remains unrepentant. Faced with what she called "a slow erosion of our own economic sovereignty" from U.S. dependence on foreign debt and trade, she would restrict trade and perhaps limit access to currency for trade and investment.

This is almost unbelievable foolishness. Capital controls have been tried before — most recently in Brazil, Russia, Malaysia, Thailand, Chile and Colombia — and almost invariably with tragic economic results.

Clinton misunderstands that what's at stake here is not "debt" per se; it's foreign investment. As the chart shows, foreign, non-government holdings in our economy have soared from roughly $500 billion in 1982 to nearly $12 trillion today. That surge has created literally millions of jobs and hundreds of billions of dollars in incomes and tax revenues.

Over the same period, U.S. household wealth has exploded from $10.6 trillion to $54.1 trillion, and the economy has tripled to $13.2 trillion. This is a remarkable, unparalleled success story.

But if capital and trade controls are imposed, investors will flee, foreign trade will shrink and jobs will be lost. A study by economist Kristin Forbes of MIT found that U.S. multinational companies cut investments in foreign markets 13% to 16% if they suspect capital controls would be used.

Sadly, Clinton's brainchild seems to be the essence of Democratic policy these days — glib, shallow and showing little grasp of even basic economic principles.

As our friends at NRO Online remind us, some in the party — including Sen. Clinton — hold up Sen. Byron Dorgan's proposal to slap restrictions on the economy whenever the trade deficit exceeds 5% of GDP or foreign ownership of U.S. bonds tops 25%.

This is a recipe for stagnation, not growth. It would weaken the dollar, confuse our trading partners, wreak havoc in our markets and reverse 60 years of postwar prosperity. It deserves to be swatted down at once."

Friday, March 02, 2007

When it rains ... it pours

No blogging for a while, not much else other than repairs and backups

Wed night, laptop got dropped (nudged?) to floor - right on the power adapter fitting.
Thurs was researching repairs, starting on backups, but, if I held my toung just right, the power worked, and we were OK.

Then power goes out - OK, that happens, esp with late winter storm.
Divert to setting up generator, making the house "happy" ... but of course no internet connection.

Later in the evening, we get cable back on, and after that, we're back online.

This AM, no power to the battery, scramble for a couple of hours with backups, arrange for HD to be swapped to firewire case, head to town (will in a few min.)

Hopefully we saved enough (lost some spreadsheets on old desktop which shut off instead of taking orders to fall asleep ... my fault for not saving files)

We'll throw away most of the rest of today, likely will do work-arounds for the next several.

Good thing there are only about 1/2 dozen projects up in the air.
Better thing that I've been storing files online and working on some projects via online tools (stikipad etc)