2009年10月22日

Good news! Due to strong customer demand for our newest Kindle with U.S. and international wireless, we are consolidating our family of 6" Kindles. As part of this consolidation, we are lowering the price of the Kindle you just purchased from $279 down to $259. You don't need to do anything to get the lower price--we are automatically issuing you a $20 refund.

2009年10月10日

Any Data You Give Google Can And Will Be Used Against You (http://ping.fm/336Uo)

2009年10月9日

Eric Hoffer's The True Believer echoings in my mind...
Talking about the means to promote liberalism in authoritarian socieites. Internet and globalization are keys.
Wow: I am now followed by "MoralityMeter". Am I going to be measured?
EFNAsia: Someone said the Gold Standard was in place when there was South Sea Bubbles. Not true. South Sea Bubble, circa 1720, was right after the establishment of the Bank of England...
EFNAsia: What is going on? Defending the Fed you get burnt really bad. But those who keep blaming the marketing get away from the debate.
EFNAsia: Seems like everyone on our side likes to use Soccer referrees as analogy for explaining the Rule of Law.
EFNAsia: What is law? Law is not crap written by politicians. Law is order discovered.
Cambodians speak with a very soft accent.
永利IPO竟然Okay,真係人都癲。
EFNAsia: Another ex-bureaucrat asks for discretion so they can handle crisis. The assumption is they know how to handle it. Do they?
Mike Walker is talking about CRA. Last year, same event, Lehman failed. Dejavu.
Listening to the most contradictory speech I'd in recent years. I am sure more contradiction to come when Ernest Leung speaks.

2009年10月7日

2009年10月6日

2009年10月4日

Fly kite at Sai Kung.
Facebook Plans for the End of Its Salad Days (http://ping.fm/futOX)
IBM Fighting Google on Business Email (http://ping.fm/sZzMg)
Ig Nobel Public Health Prize Goes to Bra That Converts Into Gas Mask (http://ping.fm/pTaZe)

2009年4月28日

不該說出的話

就算忙得天昏地暗,也得寫劉迺強這不該的人說的不該話。

今天在辦工室偷閒的時候,翻閱《信報》,見到劉迺強一篇題為《死的尊嚴換來生的精采》的文章。

本來以為這篇文章是討論病人選擇安樂死的討論,怎料卻見到這不該的法西斯屁精在發牙瘟。

法西斯屁精說︰
「過去被人責罵的馬爾薩斯,最近已被平反【註一】。「承載極限」這新興名詞,徹頭徹尾就是一個馬爾薩斯主義理念,我們的地球已經超越了其承載極限。這是一個零和遊戲,每個人頭上那一份只會愈來愈少,加上世界的財富和資源分配不均,貧窮的人多了,他們還可稍忍耐,飢渴的人多了,就只可能世界大亂。

我們的環保運動,就是不願意面對最根本的問題:人口太多。我們過去不肯承認,因為人類對此無法可施。今天我們不肯直面,因為人類不願意面對生命科學的進展和它的後果【註二】……」
法西斯屁精的意思清楚不過,人口太多,有些人「不值得」再留在世上,才以送他們歸西最環保。那可不是我斷章取義,劉迺強自己在文章中這樣說︰
「……當前全球只有兩個選擇:一是設法讓人口逐步下降,要不然的話,就準備接受各種可怕的後果……」
法西斯屁精很不該。一向以舐中共屁股夾縫中的汾泌物和殘餘物維生,少不免要以口水滋潤中共的作孽。
「……過去出生的人口,已經累積起來,成為今天和明天的包袱。即使機警如我國,於三十年前開始強逼性計劃生育,我們的人口也要到二○二五年之後才穩定和可能下降,而到時人口已經超過十五億……」
不過,最令我火光,不是法西斯屁精的覓食方式,而是他對常識的侮辱!
「……無論生與死,已經不再是完全由自然擺布,或者神聖不可侵犯,愈來愈是個人的選擇空間,以及公共利益的一個部分……

……在西方社會,生命是絕對神聖的。因此,幫助病人安樂死在西方社會中是刑事罪行。中國人比較實際,各種原因對病人停止治療,讓其死亡十分常見。於面對人類愈來愈難自然死去這一個新形勢,死亡很明顯將趨向是一個選擇……

……讓每一個人自願選擇死亡與否,當然是最理想的事情,但卻十分困難。但是當面對人口太多,再難負擔的時候,個人的生死,便已經成了社會問題……

……作為第一步,我們需要改變對自殺的態度。我們都反對自殺,但我們都沒有辦法防止自殺。於是,自殺只能懷罪惡感的心情,偷偷地進行。結果是自殺者身心傷苦,死得很難看、很沒有尊嚴……

……我國文化傳統,因為輪迴之說深入人間,一向對於生死都抱較坦然開放的態度。「犧牲小我,成全大我」,老弱病殘,自動退出歷史舞台,人口得以下降和優化,騰出更多人均資源,讓下一代有可能活得更好,更是值得表揚鼓勵的事……

……我國因為人口、資源、環境壓力較大,形勢較為迫切,同時各方面又較具條件,應該再次敢為先下先,逐步起動選擇死亡的機制。如果政府能提供政策,讓自願騰出生存空間的人有某種榮譽獎勵,其後人獲得某些優惠的話,到某一階段,選擇死亡,甚至會慢慢成為未來人類的一種基本權利。」
先撇中共開計生帶來的嚴重社會扭曲和種種惡果,這法西斯屁精的邏輯真的是下九流。

由於法西斯屁精的文章無謂的修辭和對中共的歌頌太多,影響了大家的閱讀,我姑且將此他的發音重點羅列︰

1. 生死已經不是自然的事
2. 生死可以選擇、生死是個人問題也是公共問題
3. 中國人實際地對待這公共題目,相反西方人不實際地講「尊重生命」
4. 鼓勵自殺是第一步
5. 之後,就是像容許墮胎一樣,容許劉迺強理解中的安樂死
6. 最後,歌頌自行了決的「廢人」

大家可以看得出法西斯屁精的發音跟事實有多大距離嗎?

1. 「生死已經不是自然的事」︰法西斯屁精所指應是人類在生命科技上的種種突破。不過,在過去百多年來,生命科技的目的只有一個,就是要人生活得更好,更安穩。人的壽命長了,根生科技進步互為因果,人命長了,智慧、知識和技能的積累也豐富了,對資源使用也更有效,這才是連串發展的次序。馬爾薩斯的錯,在於沒有考慮到人可以讓資源更有效發揮。延伸閱讀 Julian Simon @ http://www.juliansimon.com/

2. 「生死可以選擇、生死是個人問題也是公共問題」︰引申法西斯屁精的思維,人的存在既然是大眾,甚至宇宙的負擔,那任何事情都可以是公共問題。不過,每個人都為自己的存在而付出,而不是像法西斯屁精幻想般,人人都要寄生在一個無所不能的極權之下,每個人都可以是貢獻者,而不是法西斯屁精般的寄生蟲。

3. 「中國人實際地對待這公共題目,相反西方人不實際地講『尊重生命』」︰。這樣說實在不該!真正有安樂死法例的正是西方國家,法西斯屁精是指鹿為馬。更最要一點,人家的安樂死是從個人結束痛苦出發,而不是甚麼一死以謝天下的狗屁封建思維。

4. 「鼓勵自殺是第一步」︰閱。膠都費事畀。以法西斯屁精的推論,改一個字,加一個字︰「我們都反對殺,但我們都沒有辦法防止殺。於是,只能懷罪惡感的心情,偷偷地進行。結果是被他殺者身心傷苦,死得很難看、很沒有尊嚴。」

5. 「之後,就是像容許墮胎一樣,容許劉迺強理解中的安樂死」︰同上。

6. 「最後,歌頌自行了決的『廢人』」︰法西斯屁精眼中,在廢人是甚麼呢?這裡存在無限想像空間。八十歲的李嘉誠是嗎?那麼十八歲的天水圍邊青呢?法西斯屁精一天年華老去,他會自裁救天下嗎?就算他會,李嘉誠也不會,那麼他會在十八層地獄咀咒生活的好好的人嗎?

人,每個人,生存和繁衍,都是個人的決定,也是神聖的過程。法西斯的新宗教,就是要否定人,要強迫人去承認他們扭曲的心靈,臣服於他們崇拜的魔鬼︰極權政治。

讓我念一遍天主經︰「我們的天父,願你的名受顯揚,願你的國來臨,願你的旨意奉行在人間,如同在天上。求你今天賞給我們日用的食糧,求你寬恕我們的罪過,如同我們寬恕別人一樣。不要讓我們陷於誘惑,但救我們免於凶惡。亞孟!」

2009年4月22日

Team Hoyt

同事傳來一條片,還有一段沒頭沒尾的文字。

有一天,兒子問爸爸:「爸爸你和我ㄧ起去跑馬拉松,好嗎?」

爸爸說好。

第二次,兒子又問爸爸:「爸爸你和我ㄧ起去跑馬拉松,好嗎?」

爸爸又說好。

有一天,兒子問爸爸:「爸爸和我ㄧ起去參加鐵人競賽,好嗎?」...

2009年4月16日

What is going on at Bangkok?

Below is an article by a friend of mine living in Bangkok on the situation in Thailand.

His conclusion: "It is actually another military coup."

The Democrat government came into power in December 2008 by rigging Parliament. About two week earlier, the People's Power Party (PPP) was disbanded by the Constitutional Court on the charge of election rigging, resulting in PM Somchai being disqualified and his cabinet dissolved. This happened amidst the seizure of the Government House and the two international airports by PAD. And even before that, in September 2008, PM Samak of the PPP was disqualified by this same Constitutional Court for a wrongdoing (i.e., making a cooking TV show!!!). The logic is clear: You win the election, but I use the judiciary power to destroy you and negate the will of the majority of the people!

Just days after the dissolution of the Somchai government and two days before the King's birthday, PAD abandoned the Government House and the airports.

The former PPP members tried to regroup and set up a new party, namely Peur Thai (For Thai) Party (PTP). But the military intervened and forced a large shunk of former PPP members to split and gave support to the Democrat Party Chief, Abhisit. So he became PM. And the PTP became the opposition. This was a 'silent' coup d'etat. The Abhisit government is a mere puppet, backed up the military under the skin of parliamentary democracy.

The Abhisit government is actually the PAD government. They gave support to PAD in taking over the Government House and the international airports. The Democrat Party members were part of PAD. One of PAD leaders is a Democrat member of parliament (MP). Three of PAD leaders got high-positioned jobs in the Abhisit government, one of them being Foreign Affairs Minister! The Democrats provided finance, personnel and mobilizing networks for PAD throughout, whereas both PAD and the Democrats, like the military and the judiciary, are just the arms of autocracy! You will NEVER see the prosecution of PAD leaders for all their crimes.

The red-shirts' originial intention of going to Pattaya on Friday 10 April was to present a message to ASEAN leaders that the Abhisit government was illegitimate. But, on the way back downhill from the hotel, the red-shirts were ambushed by a blue-shirt gang organized by government politicians and the Democrats in Chon Buri. Several red-shirts were hurt from beating and slingshots, two of them seriously injured by a pingpong bomb. The news reached the red-shirts in Bangkok. Everyone was angry. So more red-shirts were mobilized from Bangkok to arrive in Pattaya in the early morning of Saturday 11 April. They went back to the hotel and demanded that the government took responsibility for the attack. But there was no answer. The red-shirts became even more angry. They stormed the hotel and broke up the ASEAN summit. The red-shirts in Pattaya were unarmed. Of course, they picked up some sticks and stone when they encountered a blue-shirt gang again on the way back from the hotel that same afternoon.

The Abhisit government, losing face and credibility, decided to use force to suppress the red-shirt protest in Bangkok. So Abhisit declared the state of emergency in the area of Bangkok and five surrounding provinces on Sunday 12 April. The violent crash at the Ministry of Interior on that day happened AFTER the declaration of the state of emergency. The red-shirts went to Ministry of Interior because they knew that Abhisit was there. After shouting, pushing and shoving by the red-shirts, the black car (NOT Abhisit's), trying to move away, accidentaly hit one red-shirt. The red-shirts were angry and began to attack the car. Then, a security guard open fires and at least two red-shirts were severely injured. More crashes in Ministry's compound followed.

The troop started to move in from the North of Bangkok in the early morning of Monday 13 April. At around 4:30 am, the soldiers open fires at a small group of red-shirt guards at Din Daeng. Several people were killed instantly and several dozen were injured. Then the troop drove the red-shirts towards the Victory Monument and beyond. Several crashes followed. The soldiers kept shooting at those red-shirts. Many more were killed and injured. Red-shirts gradually retreated and finally regrouped at the main protest venue in front of the Government House. The armed gangs organized by government politicians roamed the streets and beat up any red-shirts they met and several were beaten to death.

The troop surrounded the red-shirt protesters in front of the Government House from all sides. Behind them were armed blue-shirt and plaincloth gangs organized by government politicians. TVs and the media showed hate messages and negative reports against the red-shirts throughout 13-14 April. They planned a remaking of the 6 October 1976 Student Massacre in the afternoon of Tuesday 14 April. At the last minute, there were around 8,000-10,000 red-shirts in front of the Government House. But, at 11:30 am of 14 April, the red-shirt leaders announced to "suspend" the protest and negotiated with the police to allow red-shirt people to go home unharmed. Five leaders were arrested immediately and are now jailed in military compounds around Bangkok. Around 20-25 arrest warrants have been issued to wipe out the whole lot of red-shirt leaders in one go. They are now seeking the charge of "high treason" (punishable by death) against the whole group. They expect the red-shirts, without leaders, will not be able to launch a new movement in the future. Then provincial red-shirts will be dissolved by the security network later on.

One point must be emphasized. The press and the media, particularly TVs, have been strictly censored and controlled by the government as a result of the state of emergency. So all reports are one-sided and are mostly propaganda. The government's insistence that there were no serious casualties is a lie. Soldiers are still stationed in the streets. The situation now is like a rule by a military government with the face of Abhisit on it. It is actually another military coup.

2009年4月8日

Exam cheaters jailed on state secret charges

BEIJING (Reuters) - Eight Chinese who used high-tech communications equipment, including mobile phones and wireless earpieces, to help their children cheat at university entrance exams have been jailed on state secret charges, local media said.

The eight, from the wealthy eastern province of Zhejiang, got together in 2007 to plot how to help their children as "they knew their achievements were not ideal," the official Legal Daily said.

One of the parents hired university students to provide answers which were sent to the children via wireless earphones while they were in the exam room, the report said.

But their ruse was discovered after police detected "abnormal radio signals" near the school, the newspaper said.

The parents were given jail terms ranging from six months to three years after being found guilty of illegally obtaining state secrets, it added, without saying what happened to their children.

China's college entrance exams, or "gaokao," are fiercely competitive tests.

Stories of cheating surface every year, despite stiff penalties. Students reportedly pay for leaked exam papers, smuggle in mobile phones and electronic dictionaries, or pay others to take the exam for them.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Sugita Katyal)

消委會:學校選擇新高中課本應考慮家長負擔

較肉局會話燒毀會越權嗎?

家長都無自由揀學校,講乜野消費者權益?

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消委會:學校選擇新高中課本應考慮家長負擔

教育局公布新高中學制下的教科書價格。

消委會總幹事劉燕卿建議學校,選擇課本時多考慮書價,減輕家長負擔,一些無提供價格的書本,可以不作考慮。部份書本付有的光碟等教材,老師可以考慮學生能否充份利用,才加入書單內。

至於參考書或地圖等,學校可以在書單上註明是否必要,由家長自行決定購買。另外,一些故事書可以由學校統籌,給學生輪流使用。


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Did a Seismologist Accurately Forecast the L'Aquila Earthquake--Or Was It a Lucky Guess?

Really?

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Did a Seismologist Accurately Forecast the L'Aquila Earthquake--Or Was It a Lucky Guess?

Yesterday, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck L'Aquila, Italy, killing more than 150 people, injuring some 1,000, and leaving thousands of people homeless. Soon after the deadly temblor hit, news outlets including Time magazine, Reuters, and The New York Times reported Italian authorities had previously removed from the Internet a warning that a big quake was imminent. The prediction had been posted weeks earlier by a seismologist at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Abruzzi, Italy. [More]



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2009年4月1日

The Works of Leonard E. Read

You must be good to be copied, especially when free content is everywhere and plentiful. 

FEE is good.  No doubt about it.  

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The Works of Leonard E. Read


[An MP3 audio version of this essay, read by Floy Lilley, is available as a free download.]



Leonard E. Read
Leonard E. Read


The works of Leonard E. Read, who founded the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) in 1946, are now online at the Mises Institute. It is probably not the complete collected works, but it is all that he collected in book form. These are books that shaped several generations of activists, donors, writers, and intellectuals. They are the books that kick-started the libertarian movement after World War II. The sons of FEE went on to do great good for the world, and FEE is often called the father of all libertarian think tanks — institutions that work outside official academia to advance radical ideas.


Read did more than merely sponsor lectures and publish. As a matter of fact, others were doing the same. So far as I know, no one has yet noticed that he used a secret weapon in his struggle, something that made him truly different and unusually effective. He eschewed the use of exclusive copyright. That is to say, he encouraged the widest possible distribution of his work and did not forbid others from copying his infinitely reproducible ideas.


Pick up any book or publication from FEE before the 1990s. You will see a remarkable and visionary sentence on the copyright page:




Permission to reprint granted without special request.




This one sentence is what made it happen. Any newspaper could print a column. Any publisher could include an essay. Indeed, he invited any publisher to take any FEE book and publish it and sell it, owing no royalties and asking no permissions.


"He was an evangelist spreading the news. He wanted to be pirated so that he could see that he was making a difference."

The publisher was not even asked to acknowledge its source! So, in this sense, he was even more radical than the Creative Commons attribution license. A FEE book was copyrighted solely so that someone else couldn't copyright it, and then maximum permissions were granted. In effect, Read was putting all of the scholarship of FEE in the public domain as soon as it was published.


This saved on the grueling bureaucratic struggle involved in granting permissions and keeping up with the permissions granted. Asking no fees or royalties meant saving on accounting bureaucracy as well.


Read was no anarchist. He was a believer in "limited government," but regardless, this much is true: he hated the state beyond its most limited form. He saw it as the great e...



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Open Letter from One Non-Economist to Another

Nice one.

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Open Letter from One Non-Economist to Another


[An MP3 audio version of this article, read by Floy Lilley, is available as a free download.]






Dear Dr. Drew Westen,


I read your commentary this morning, as many have undoubtedly done. The economy is a very interesting and pressing current affair. I realize you may receive volumes of email regarding what you have written, so I hope you will consider taking time to read what I have to share.


Although I take issue with virtually all of what you have written in your commentary, please allow me to address a specific portion of your article:




The president needs to tell the American people the story, over and over, of how we got in this mess, who put us in it and what will and won't get us out of it. Franklin Roosevelt had no trouble pinning the nation's economic difficulties on the Republicans who had fiddled with free-market extremism as the nation's economy burned, and it took 40 years and the charisma of Ronald Reagan for anyone to put voice to that ideology again.




I interpret this as your granting license to use propaganda to convince the people that free-market capitalism is to blame for the current situation, and that divisive politics should be used to make the case against the market. Is that your intention? If so, I would like to share a few pieces of information with you.


There is ample contrary historical evidence that shows that Hoover and the Republicans were actually quite a bit more involved in the affairs of the economy than supporters of the New Deal realize. Some of the best evidence I've come across is America's Great Depression by Murray N. Rothbard. If you have not had a chance to read it, I highly recommend it as a fascinating and insightful book. In this work, Rothbard shows that FDR simply extended policies put in place by Hoover — after running on a platform for decreased spending and less government interference. Can you imagine that? The Democratic candidate ran on a platform of lower taxes and smaller government in order to contrast himself to his predecessor who raised taxes and spent on many programs that were extended into what is today known as the "Roosevelt" New Deal. Rothbard systematically shows how, contrary to popular historic interpretation, artificially low interest rates and loose monetary policy of the Federal Reserve System fostered the boom of the roaring '20s. He then shows how government interference, combined with an increased burden to the taxpayers, prolonged the Depression duri...



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2009年3月31日

華懋基金籌得7000萬打官司

籌資打官司同宣傳易肥天使有乜分別?

包攬官司,請一兩個平律師就違法;只要請十幾個德高望重既律師團隊,就唔算犯規?

法律界偽善莫過於此。

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華懋基金籌得7000萬打官司

(星島日報報道)已故華懋主席龔如心的千億遺產案開審在即,華懋慈善基金據悉已籌得足夠款項,與陳振聰打一場千億世紀官司。消息透露,慈善基金估計這場官司的律師費高達七千萬至八千萬元,並已組成一個接近十人的律


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2009年3月26日

黃碧兒:確保禁毒人士具公信力

IQ Challenge: who would you nominate if you were in charge of this campaign?

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黃碧兒:確保禁毒人士具公信力

禁毒專員黃碧兒今天(3月26日)表示,將致力確保宣傳禁毒信息的人士品格良好、形象健康及具公信力;並呼籲知名人士建立健康的生活模式,為青少年作好榜樣。


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Hutchison Whampoa profit falls 42%

Mr Li always know when the best timing is. Nice one on Essar. Vodafone is getting burnt there. Not because of business but ever changing regime. 

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Hutchison Whampoa profit falls 42%

Hutchison Whampoa says its net profit in 2008 fell 42 percent, after one-off disposal gains strongly boosted its earnings the previous year. The figure of HK$17.66- billion was down from HK$30.6 billion in 2007. Total revenue rose 13 percent to HK$348.3 billion. The company's 2007 profit was boosted by a net gain of HK$35.8 billion from the sale of its 67 percent stake in Indian phone network Hutchison Essar to Britain's Vodafone.


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(BN) M.B.A. Schools Have Nothing to Offer in New World: Matthew Lynn

It is a pity that an MBA is too costly.   

Bloomberg News, sent from my iPhone.

M.B.A. Schools Have Nothing to Offer in New World: Matthew Lynn

March 25 (Bloomberg) -- When King Henry VIII broke with the Church in Rome, he shut England's monasteries. When Fidel Castro took power in Cuba, he did the same with Havana's casinos.

So let's close down business schools to get into the spirit of the new financial order.

In the past 20 years, the Master of Business Administration factories have created the conditions that helped land the global economy in the current mess. They legitimized a pseudo- scientific approach to finance that turned out to be bogus; they promoted a management style that was too mechanistic; and they formed a managerial elite more interested in rewards than producing lasting wealth for the economies they operate in.

There is little mistaking the growth of business schools, especially as the economy contracts and jobless bankers seek to boost their qualifications. Applications to M.B.A. programs in 2008 rose at the fastest pace on record, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council in McLean, Virginia.

The trouble is, the last batch of M.B.A. graduates who rose to the top made such a hash of things it is hard to believe the next will do much better.

The people who steered the global economy onto the rocks in the past year all benefited from the finest management education that money can buy.

Famous Alumni

Richard Fuld, chief executive officer of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. when it collapsed, has an M.B.A. from New York University. John Thain, the former CEO of Merrill Lynch & Co., is a graduate of Harvard Business School. Christopher Cox, the former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, has an M.B.A. from Harvard University. And so does former U.S. President George W. Bush.

The record isn't much better in Europe.

Andy Hornby, the CEO of British bank HBOS Plc is another Harvard Business School alumnus. HBOS had to be bailed out in a merger with Lloyds Banking Group Plc and then both had to be rescued by the U.K. government.

Peter Wuffli, who as CEO presided over the huge losses that took Zurich-based UBS AG to the brink of disaster, studied management at Switzerland's University of St. Gallen.

Of course, it is unfair to assign all blame to business schools. Over the last three decades, taking an M.B.A. has become just another qualification, a hoop to be jumped through on your way to getting a good job on Wall Street, or in London or Zurich's financial centers. If we studied the records, we would probably find that most of the CEOs who led us into the crisis also did finger painting at kindergarten -- and it would be wrong to pin the credit crunch on that.

Clueless Leaders

Still, it raises the issue of what business schools are teaching, and how they managed to create leaders who were so unable to spot the flaws in the companies they were running. If a flight-training school produced this number of crashes, we would be asking some questions. There is no reason that business studies should be exempt from the same kind of scrutiny.

The schools should be called to account for several things.

First, they encouraged a quasi-scientific approach to business, sermonizing that everything could be nailed down in a textbook. By preaching a set series of formulas they encouraged students to believe that running a company could be mastered by anyone. The entire private-equity industry is founded on that principle. So are mergers and acquisitions.

Acquired Skill

In reality, management is a skill that is acquired through experience, judgment and flair. Billions are about to be wasted relearning a simple fact that should never have been forgotten.

Second, the intellectual tools that led us into the financial meltdown were largely invented within academia. Complex models for pricing risk created the market for the options and derivatives contracts that have caused so much trouble in the past year.

The business schools took something that was mysterious and unknowable -- risk -- and tried to make it as easy to count as peas in a pod. By doing so, they encouraged a whole generation of young men and women to go into investment banking armed with the belief that they had mastered risk, that it had been tamed and brought under control.

The truth, of course, turned out to be different. Bankers can no more tame risk than sailors can tame the oceans. All they can hope to do is steer a safe course through it.

Third, the schools created a managerial elite that acted like a caste apart. One reason the bonus culture ran out of control was that many of the people involved were trapped in a bubble. They thought "guaranteed" bonuses, private jets and multimillion-dollar payoffs were normal. That process started in business schools.

No doubt, we will hear a lot in the next year about how the schools are reorganizing themselves. We will see lots of papers and proposals, and probably a few equations, explaining how to stop the credit crunch from happening again.

But as Henry VIII and Castro both concluded, for different reasons, sometimes an institution is beyond redemption. It can't be fixed, simply because it is the problem.

Just shut them down.

(Matthew Lynn is a Bloomberg News columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.)

To contact the writer of this column: Matthew Lynn in London at matthewlynn@bloomberg.net .

Find out more about Bloomberg for iPhone: http://bbiphone.bloomberg.com/iphone


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2009年3月25日

The Case for Single-Sex Trading Floors

Note: it is from FTC.

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The Case for Single-Sex Trading Floors

Maybe the reason why we had fewer financial crises in past is that we didn't have co-ed trading floors. Okay, it's a theory.

Are people more risk-taking in the presence of the opposite sex?
Patrick McAlvanah
Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Economics
Journal of Economic Psychology

This paper investigates whether exposure to the opposite sex induces greater risk-taking in both males and females. Experimental subjects evaluated a series of hypothetical monetary gambles before and after viewing pictures of opposite sex faces; control subjects viewed pictures of cars. Both males and females viewing opposite sex photos displayed a significant increase in risk tolerance, whereas the control subjects exhibited no significant change. Surprisingly, the attractiveness of the photo had no effect; subjects viewing photographs of attractive opposite sex persons displayed similar results as those viewing photographs of unattractive people.





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The Two Faces of Big Labor

I am not surprised. Marxists believe in totalitarianism, not democracy. 

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The Two Faces of Big Labor


Washington,
D.C., March 24, 2009—A new study
by the Competitive Enterprise Institute reveals the enthusiasm with which labor
unions have supported secret ballot elections in the past, while campaigning to
do away with them in union organizing today. 



"Card
Check Double Standard: Unions' Hypocrisy on the Secret Ballot
," by F. Vincent Vernuccio, evaluates the
provisions of the misnamed Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), particularly the proposal
to do away with secret ballots when it comes to organizing at a non-union
workplace. As past complaints have demonstrated, depriving employees of the
right to vote in private during a union organizing drive leaves them open to
intimidation and harassment by union officials. 



Ironically, however, many of the nation's top unions have
secret ballot provisions in their constitutions and bylaws governing internal
elections, and have insisted on secret ballot elections when their own employees
have tried to organize. 



"EFCA sponsor Rep. George Miller (D-CA) and other supporters
of the bill in Congress have even urged foreign government officials to use the
secret ballot in union certification elections," writes Vernuccio. "Secretary
of Labor Hilda Solis fought for the use of the secret ballot in the
Congressional Hispanic Caucus, as well as sponsoring legislation in California protecting
the secret ballot for workers voting on their employers' overtime policies." 




For a comprehensive overview of
the Employee Free Choice Act and its potential impact on American workers, see
the new study by Russ
Brown
of the Labor Relations Institute and Competitive Enterprise Institute
Editorial Director Ivan Osorio,
"The
Employee Free Choice Act Is Anything But: A Comparison of Labor Organizing
Today vs. under EFCA
." 




CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan
public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited
government.  For more information about
CEI, please visit our website at www.cei.org.



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2009年3月16日

Bernanke predicts end of US recession

I wish he is right.  Let's hope he will not be 美版傻強.

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Bernanke predicts end of US recession

The chairman of the United States Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, has said he expects the recession in his country to end this year. Mr Bernanke said the danger of another Great Depression, such as in the 1930s, had been averted. He said he expected recovery to begin next year. He said the world had come very close to financial meltdown last September before governments stepped in. He warned that the biggest risk to recovery would be a lack of political will to solve the problems besetting the economy.


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點解要同班圍村佬讓步?

Tell me it is not Hong Kong.

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點解要同班圍村佬讓步?


三貨櫃車堵塞錦綉大道


錦綉花園管理處禁止貨櫃車使用錦綉大道,今早有三輛貨櫃車駛入錦綉大道後不肯離去,與聲援的居民對峙。


今早有貨櫃車司機因不滿錦綉花園管理公司設閘桿禁止貨櫃車駛入錦綉大道,將拖頭停在錦綉大道外,阻塞屋苑交通。


近百民錦綉花園的居民到場聲援,又報警救助。警方到場調解。中港貨運聯會主席蔣志偉亦在場斡旋,事件暫時未解決。(即時新聞)」


呢件膠事大家都知道係大生圍呢班友做,上次成棚貨櫃佬阻塞中環,警察就打爛車窗開走架車,點解今次警方唔咁做?警方次次拉長毛班友就咁爽,依家呢班人野蠻兼擾亂社會治安,點解警方又唔強硬行動?原來劉皇發入咗行政會議後,新界圍村佬係惡啲,明晒。


我真係想知,如果有人包圍大生圍,搞到啲貨車出唔到,呢班友會有乜反應。




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港男港女之港媽篇

好文,推。

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港男港女之港媽篇

港女與港男已經成為了熱門話題,連 TVB 的星期日檔案都忍不住拿來作題材,誠然引起廣泛討論與收視,但到喉唔到肺,只能探討表面問題,卻令人失望而回。

最典型的例子,莫過於中國人那種差不多先生的態度--男女的問題,又豈是甚麼溝通的問題?網上討論了幾年,有甚麼不能溝,又有甚麼不能通呢?如果說一對情侶之間出現了問題,「溝通」還勉強解得通,一眾毒男與毒女出現「結構性」問題,又豈是「媾媾」與「通通」可以解決得了?談了半天,只是「搜集」騎呢奇怪例子,被人感到以偏蓋全,這一點是非常失敗的。

當然,明白到製作此節目的最大困難,在於搵人上鏡--肯上鏡的,又未必適合;談港女的一輯,還有點意義,但去到談港男的一輯,就找不到問題的重點了,例如說港男愛漫畫是毒,那麼師奶愛看 TVB 是甚麼?難怪 TVB 的節目注定失敗,因為討論這點,就必定政治不正確也。

港女與港男,根本兩者都有問題;就和世界各地不同地方有不同問題一樣,就是本地社會、文化、教育、家庭引伸以來的問題,當然香港的社會病態比較嚴重,因此男女問題也比較嚴重而已,抽離了大環境,只試圖以個別例子去說明,就必定失真與以偏蓋全;作為時事節目,而非一般軟性節目,星期日檔案棄大環境以不討論,淪為討論區式「一般性討論」,當然甚麼有深度的結論都達不到,這是製作人員視野界限的問題。

港女成長的大環境
就由大環境的討論開始,「港女」之所以成為港女,就是因為香港的文化病了;早幾十年以來,香港一直被批評為「拜金主義」的社會,這也和女性本身追求社會安全感有密切的關係,但問題在回歸後經濟一沉不起,青少年世代沒有晉升的階梯,結婚生子處處用到都是錢,但又有幾多人供得起一層樓?就算供得起,想追求其他社會--即使如台灣、南韓、新加坡的居住質素,對大多數人來說,都有如癡人說夢;香港人表面風光,人工高過很多地區,但人工高卻不及物價高,再多的錢,都換不到人家的生活質素,別說要和歐洲國家比,就算連其他三小龍都比不過;由家長到下一代,人人的價值觀都被嚴重扭曲--但求生活好,嫁個二世祖!不是說那些姓李的下一代敗家,而是只要有一個五星級的爸,有錢的確係大哂,這就是我們的社會價值觀--試試陳冠希住公屋,你又信唔信有咁多女星投懷送抱呢?

港媽故事
每一個港女背後,都有一個港媽;問題港媽係 TVB 的米飯班主,因此節目又點會討論到港媽的責任?身邊聽過無數個「港媽」的故事--廿一世紀嫁女,忽然又由男女平等,變成要禮金;為甚麼冇錢都要擺酒呢?為甚麼漢人要著旗袍呢?原因就係只有搞呢 d 所謂的傳統,有得收利是,有得收禮金,試試如果係印度式的傳統--倒轉係嫁女要送嫁妝,你估港女同港媽會唔會大義凜義咁做傳統的維護者?
 
連一些「並非港女」的女性到要談婚論嫁,才發現原來自己阿媽,就係一個這樣的港媽--嫁女似賣女,要收到足夠的禮金、要買樓、要有層樓才准許個女出嫁,否則就大責「不孝」;「好一點」的,即使唔著重錢,卻強迫新婚夫婦無論咩環境,無論樓價抵唔抵買,都要迫後生仔女供樓!今日係廿一世紀,而唔係九十年代的樓價暴升期,早幾年樓市有少少好轉,身邊朋友的港媽老母,就勒令必須買樓才准結婚,為甚麼結婚就一定要買樓?香港冇美國的次按問題,就簡直係奇蹟中的奇蹟--因為唔論你供唔供得起,唔論你咩環境,要組織家庭,這些中國老母就要用傳統家長的特權,去迫下一代買樓--結果買完就大跌市,變哂做負資產,盲目程度仲嚴重過迷信匯豐,供樓呀老母!供廿年係一世人最重要的決定,咁都要控制?

有這樣的老母,於是教出這樣的女兒--男人的錢、資產、統統都要綁死;識窮的男朋友?勉強可以;結婚?就一定要「有前途、有穩定(供得起樓、女性可以做全職指揮賓妹的主婦)之工作」,你話呢個時勢,又有幾多人做得到?

外傭世代
講起全職指揮賓妹,就不要忘記今日的港女正正係外傭養大的下一代;煮飯與家務對她們來說,都是賓妹的工作,當年港媽要出外打工,因此把下一代交由外傭照顧,不知怎的,當港媽唔使再做之後,連港女都長大了,可是卻少不了外傭;中餐既難學難精,比起外國超市乜都有方便的東西,香港就百無;例如外國連剥左皮的蝦都隨便有得賣,香港卻仍然是乜都講求細功夫與勞力的年代,咁高要求,港女又有幾多人做得到?外國的西餐煮食節目,最著重就係方便,我地的煮食節目,最著重的係新奇與好味,一句講哂,香港,勝在有賓妹。

就是價值觀出了問題--當港媽眼中,「有前途」就代表「有錢途」的時候,你期待佢地教出來的女兒,有幾多個會有理想有抱負?男仔生性反叛,港媽管唔到亦冇符,和阿媽關係密切的女兒,潛移默化的結果就係製造了大量橫行的港女;為甚麼由十歲到七十歲都係買同一款手袋?原因就係港媽的教育好成功囉!與港媽一齊晚晚睇 TVB 追劇集,與港媽一齊行街買衫 shopping 買 LV,所以說,沒有港媽,哪有港女?中國膠的傳統智慧--又有邊樣係為理想?除了權力、金錢與欲望,你幾時聽過港媽追求「真善美」,教育女兒要追求「人生的意義」?有,當然有,一百個有冇一個?果一個,就係已經結左婚,或者被人一早追求左,打算結婚果個囉!呢點港男亦都相同,一百個阿爸,又有幾多個唔係用金錢、社會地位去衡量自己兒子的成就?當阿爸阿媽講到尾,都係想仔女好--就代表要努力讀書搵多些錢,努力工作搵多些錢,努力投資搵多些錢,努力呼吸都要搵多些錢的時候,咁除左錢,港女與港男,又剩下了甚麼?

對好多家長來說,孝順,就係畀錢畀家長洗;女婿孝順,就係畀錢畀外母外父洗,當然,佢地當年都畀左好多畀上一代的家長,但問題係佢地成長於香港經濟的飛躍期,冇讀書都隨時搵幾萬蚊一個月,一層樓只需要幾十萬,經濟日日成長,傳統智慧教你買樓買匯豐,一買就升,一買就發,卻冇諗過今日係咩年代,自己的仔女活在一個怎樣的社會?個個都期望自己仔女係專業人士,收入穩定,搵份所謂的「正職」--其實唔係三師,都唔算係「正」,除左做公務員,今日的香港又有邊份工作係肯定「穩定」呢?港女與港男最被忽視的一章,就係回...


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2009年3月15日

British PM promises tougher regulation

But it wasn't the hedge funds that brought down the system, it was the most regulated parts, ie banks, that collasped. 

Scapegoats are always easy to find. 

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British PM promises tougher regulation

The British prime minister, Gordon Brown, has promised to introduce tougher financial regulation and better monitoring of the markets. Mr Brown said the government would give Britain's main financial watchdog, the FSA, more power and resources. He said hedge funds and investment funds, which had enjoyed poor controls and little transparency, must be brought under the FSA's supervision.


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Do Newspapers Have a Future?

The short answer: yes. 

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Do Newspapers Have a Future?

Newspapers

I spent 15 years working for newspapers so it's not surprising that despite being a digital creature, I still love reading newspapers - the ones made with paper that leave ink stains on your fingers.


Even though I'm no longer a journalist, it's troubling to see how newspapers are crumbling before our eyes - victims of a business model that doesn't work anymore, high debt loads brought on by strategic dreams about convergence, and a struggling economy.


The Rocky Mountain News closes, the Miami Herald sheds 200 jobs, the Globe & Mail offers severance packages, the Washington Post downsizes its business section, and on it goes.


There are many questions about what's happening and who to blame but perhaps the biggest question is whether the struggles of newspapers really matter. Is the world going to be a worst place if newspapers (products made from dead trees) continue to disappear?


As much as I love newspapers, I don't think it will matter if they go the way of the dinosaur. To me, newspapers are a "platform" that is being antiquated as new technology becomes a more efficient, faster and less expensive distribution vehicle. Newspapers are expensive to produce and distribute. But the economic model that lets newspapers thrive (e.g. classified advertising) no longer works so newspapers no longer make sense economically.


So, if the current newspaper business model doesn't work, what replaces it? For all the buzz about citizen journalism, it's a different kind of journalism that involves "raw footage" as opposed to the research and perspective the journalists/reporters churn out - and that bloggers love to chew on.


If newspapers are going to survive and thrive, their operating models must radically change. This includes;


- Reporters need to be multi-functional. They need to write for the newspaper and the Web, they need to podcast, shoot video, blog, Twitter and use other social media tools. It will be an intense and challenging profession - a far cry from the days when journalists had the luxury of writing one or two stories a day.


- Journalism will no longer be a middle-class profession. In the new economic climate, it doesn't work if you've got a newsroom with reporters making $75,000 to $125,000/year....



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2009年3月13日

《新保護主義》:貿易新壁壘

RTHK has been so sympathetic to the new left and their unholy allies. I wonder how they are going to position this issue. 

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《新保護主義》:貿易新壁壘

金融海嘯沖擊環球經濟,各國政府與央行齊心救市之餘。有分析指,沉寂多時的保護主義正慢慢抬頭,其中貿易環節最先體會有關轉變。

財經組一連兩集推出《新保護主義》系列,分別在貿易及金融併購方面探討有關趨勢。


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Intel Baby Nobels Finalist: Chelsea Jurman

I like this one the most. 

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Intel Baby Nobels Finalist: Chelsea Jurman

If you drank as a teenager, do not tell your kids about it. That s the lesson from Chelsea Lynn Jurman s study of teen drinking behavior


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東仔亞妹現身花卉展

The mascots for EA Games are hideous and naming of the mascots is tasteless. 

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東仔亞妹現身花卉展

2009年香港花卉展覽「2009年香港花卉展覽」明天(3月13日)起至3月22日在維多利亞公園舉行,以花卉植物嵌砌而成的東亞運動會吉祥物「東仔」及「亞妹」,在糖街入口處迎接入場的市民。


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發展機遇辦事處冀年中運作

What do they do?

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發展機遇辦事處冀年中運作

發展局局長林鄭月娥發展局局長林鄭月娥表示,本月底向立法會發展事務委員會交代「發展機遇辦事處」的事宜,以便辦事處在年中投入運作。


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Apple to Preview iPhone 3.0 Next Week

Oh yes! iPhone 3.0.  

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Apple to Preview iPhone 3.0 Next Week

Apple will offer a sneak peek into a new software developers kit for the iPhone and an updated version of the iPhone operating system, OS 3.0, during a media event next week.



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2009年3月12日

iPura: The World's First Food Safety Brand

Will it work?

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iPura: The World's First Food Safety Brand



It's getting pretty hard to ignore the numerous recalls that plagued the food industry recently--peanut butter, alfalfa sprouts, pancake mix, and even elk tenderloin. So it's no surprise that the world's first food safety company has emerged. iPura won't save you from diseased elk tenderloin--it only deals with seafood products at the moment--but it will make sure that your salmon dinner doesn't make you puke.



Much of our food comes from foreign suppliers that don't use the safety procedures necessary to ensure disease-free products. Combined with the growing trend of organic foods that can hasten the development of resistant bacterial strains, we have a problem.



And that's where iPura comes in: suppliers that want the iPura seal of approval on their fish can elect to have the company perform on-site inspections with the help of a safety team that includes operators, technicians, microbiologists and sanitation workers. That's enough to make even the most paranoid fish-lover feel safe. 



The first products to receive the iPura seal will include tilapia, salmon, and catfish. Soon after, iPura will begin inspecting poultry, meat, and produce. Keep your eyes peeled for iPura products later this month after the company debuts at the Boston Seafood Show.



[Via PRWeb]






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中大蘇偉文: 港交所政策朝令夕改 日後推新政策遇阻力

How did he get his doctoral? Or on what?

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中大蘇偉文: 港交所政策朝令夕改 日後推新政策遇阻力

港交所連番政策在一個月內,因為市場反對聲音而更改或者取消,當中包括縮短延長上市公司董事股份買賣期、及取消收市競價交易時段機制,中大工商管理學院副院長蘇偉文擔心,港交所日後推行新政策會遇阻力,影響本港國際金融中心地位。


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收市競價交易時段取消

算做成功爭取啦!

之不過,仍然要搞落去,直至一市獨大被打破!

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收市競價交易時段取消

香港交易及結算所今天(3月12日)宣布,3月23日起中止收市競價交易時段,正等待證券及期貨事務監察委員會批准。


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Childish Laws

Aha! Some lawmakers really did it! Nuts they are! 

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Childish Laws

Have Internet access? Well, if you live in Iowa, a proposed law could allow you to be found guilty of child abuse and placed on a state register if your child sneaks a peak at online porn. The law bars parents and guardians from allowing children direct or indirect access to obscene material. Supporters say it will only be used in the worst of cases.



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2009年3月11日

DAB Rap BAD Rap

Everyone at the Lion Rock should learn this ART!

Battle is better than debate!

Rap Ma Ma

It is so cool!

陳健波倡政府資助40歲以上市民驗身

Creative! Is it how he wants to lower the information cost for insurance company?

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陳健波倡政府資助40歲以上市民驗身

立法會正辯論推動全民驗身動議。

提出動議的保險界代表陳健波,建議政府資助40歲以上市民免費驗身,向他們派發驗身券,到私家醫療機構驗身,本港有350萬名40歲以上市民 ,扣除當中100萬名長期病患者,合資格對象約250萬人,以每人驗身開支250元計,涉及總開支6億元,如分3年推行,每年花費2億元。


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林瑞麟推薦跟隨其多年之司機署任貴賓司機職位

What is the qualification? Interested to know. 

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林瑞麟推薦跟隨其多年之司機署任貴賓司機職位

財經事務及庫務局局長陳家強,以書面答覆議員時稱,政制及內地事務局局長林瑞麟早前容許一名跟隨他多年的司機,繼續服務,是由於該司機工作表現良好,熟悉運作,所以林瑞麟曾書面推薦他署任貴賓車司機職位。

政府物流服務署考慮到貴賓車司機職系的人手情況、部門運作及局方的推薦,同意有關署任安排。

何俊仁說,該名司機過去多年來,不符合資格駕駛局長座駕,但連續7年署任高一級的貴賓車司機職位,每月領取1000多元的署任津貼。


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藝人謝天華醉駕判囚6星期 緩刑12個月罰款9500元

I have nothing against this artiste. But what is the sentensing guideline?

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藝人謝天華醉駕判囚6星期 緩刑12個月罰款9500元

藝人謝天華早前在東區裁判法院,承認醉駕及不小心駕駛,被判監禁6星期,緩刑12個月,停牌18個月,兩項控罪合共罰款9500元。

裁判官指出,被告有悔意,又說被告自93年考獲車牌後,96年曾魯莽駕駛,2000年後幾乎每年都干犯涉及交通的罪行,認為今次事件沒有人受傷,是幸運,又指被告是公眾人物,但法律面前人人平等,判刑時不會作特別考慮。

謝天華散庭後表示,多謝家人及朋友支持,相信事件告一段落。

案情透露,謝天華於去年12月6日,清晨時份駕車,在西隧與另一部車相撞,其後證實酒精超標兩倍。


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衞生署:視乎藥物風險水平才向外公布消息

Let me translate: Disclosure of such incidences is not including the DOH standard operating procedure manual. Therefore DOH doesn't know how to handle it. DOH will call a committee to devise a plan to deal with it in near future and it shall require addition legislations and empowerment of the government bureaucracies.  

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衞生署:視乎藥物風險水平才向外公布消息

衞生署總藥劑師陳永健表示,萬輝藥業主動回收藥物當日,已通知署方,被問到署方為何不收到通知後,立即向公眾公布,陳永健回應,署方要完成調查才會公布。

至於應否在收到通知後立即公布,他表示,要視乎有關的藥物風險水平,如果涉及藥力強,或是醫治高危疾病的藥物,署方會第一時間公布。

至於今次涉及的216款藥物,都屬於低風險,署方認為可以等待有調查結果後,才向市民公布。


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立法會通過動議促政府推動全民驗身

I don't know who proposed this. Obviously the idea that everyone has the rights to decline service and everyone has the responsibility to his own health is long forgotten. 

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立法會通過動議促政府推動全民驗身

立法會通過動議,促請政府以體檢券或其他經濟誘因,推動全民驗身。

不過食物及衞生局局長周一嶽表示,醫學界並不認同無區別的定期體檢,因測試可能會出現假陽性,浪費資源兼產生不必要憂慮,亦可能出現假陰性,令病人未能及早求醫。

周一嶽指出,不同組群人士有不同健康風險,市民應向家庭醫生查詢,經醫生考慮家族病歷後,推薦進行何種檢驗。

他呼籲市民保持健康生活習慣,政府會繼續促進基層醫療服務,加大力度進行預防性護理。


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東亞高層人事變動

What Pakman told my uncle was so true. 

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東亞高層人事變動

東亞銀行公布,執行董事兼副行政總裁彭玉榮將於下月16日舉行的股東周年常會後榮休並辭任董事。


李民橋、李民斌、唐漢城及李繼昌已獲擢升為副行政總裁,由年4月1日起生效。


集團財務總監、總經理兼策劃及調控處主管尹焰強已請辭,於本月15日離職。
鄭則民已獲擢升為集團財務總監、總經理兼策劃及調控處主管,由本月16日起生效。


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奧巴馬提出全面教育改革計劃

Education reform starts with tbailing out common sense deficiency.  

Can anyone logically why the same teacher getting better paid will be translated into better teaching outcomes?

I can imagine Obama come out and say:

Teachers, will be paid better. 
Our students, will read and count. 
America, will be a better country. 
Yes, we can.   

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奧巴馬提出全面教育改革計劃

美國總統奧巴馬提出全面教育改革計劃,包括提高教師待遇和教育標準,協助美國學生提高國際競爭力。

奧巴馬在全國拉美裔商會演說時表示,他提出的教育改革計劃將確保所有美國人接受全面教育,在變化莫測的全球經濟形勢中佔一席位。

根據計劃,美國政府在2010財政年度,將用於教育的預算增加近兩倍,其中教育部預算是1278億美元。此外,在國會通過的7870億美元刺激經濟方案中,也有50億美元用於教育投資。


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The Green Bubble Will Not Be Like Past Bubbles

Bubble? 

Suddenly I miss this word.

But, yes, Green is not going to be a bubble. It will and always is a scam.   

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The Green Bubble Will Not Be Like Past Bubbles

Last week we argued that a green bubble will not take shape. We were talking from an investment perspective. If we were talking about a marketing/hype perspective we'd say we're in the middle of a gigantic green bubble. That hype, though, might get one to thinking that investment will follow and a bubble will be inflated.


The reason we don't think there will be a great green bubble: There is not enough capital to inflate it. To belabor our point, we pulled these charts from the National Venture Capital Association's website to compare clean tech investment with the Internet's bubble in the late nineties. We also include a housing prices chart. As is clearly demonstrated, investors are not anywhere near as excited about green as they were about the web or homes. And with the world's financial system grinding to a halt we see no reason for this to change. There is less money to dump into expensive and risky green ventures that take time to develop.


Investment in clean tech is trending upward, but it's not yet statospheric. Once it gets into the upper reaches, we'll see a bubble. Till then, it's proceeding in a rather orderly manner.








And let's throw in this chart of housing prices to remind ourselves what a monstrous bubble really looks like:


shillerhousepricechart.jpg


And if those charts weren't enough to sate your chart-fetish, here's two more. Look at the monster jump in IPOs from the Internet and compare it to clean tech. It's possible we could see jump in IPOs like this with clean tech, but highly unlikely. Banks don't have money to take companies public now.




Raw Data for these charts:


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Future of Cloud Computing: A Long-Term Forecast

I can understand why in-house IT hate the cloud because these guys are hopeless. 

Like here at the Next Media, our in-house email sucks but they refuse to switch to Google App citing security issues.

Security? Our in-house IT think they are better than Google. They must also think they live miserably for no one discover their talent and competency.  

Seriously, clouds will make more sense when the collasping bandwidth cost collasp further.  

It is the economies of scale on steroid, stupid. 

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Future of Cloud Computing: A Long-Term Forecast

Cloud computing is at an awkward stage: Is it the next big thing or a fundamentally flawed idea?



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iPhone App Store Nanny State, Twitter Edition

眼不見為乾淨?

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iPhone App Store Nanny State, Twitter Edition

DunceCap.jpgThe Apple (AAPL) iPhone App approval mouse has fallen off its treadmill again.


Apple has rejected an update to Tweetie, an iPhone Twitter app, because "there's an offensive word in the TRENDS" section of Twitter's search engine, developer Loren Brichter said on Twitter. In other words, Apple blocked the new Tweetie because people on the Internet were using bad language when Apple was reviewing the app.


For the umpteenth time, yes, this is Apple's app platform, and it can do whatever it wants. So it's fine if Apple wants to protect the public from "unpleasant" drawings of naked cavemen or e-books with f-words in them.


But this is ridiculous! Twitter app developers can control Twitter's content as little as Apple's developers can control what people do with Safari, its Web browser -- or its email and SMS apps.


Yes, the App Store has a huge success, and every service has its kinks. But sometimes it seems like Apple isn't putting as much thought into the App Store as its developers are.

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2009年3月10日

回帶︰2009-02-12

The food was fine, not the drug. 袁國勇 was too arrogant. The arrogance delayed the investigation. Health bureaucrats always try to make themselves free from technical wrongs.

But is it just?

張偉麟, the guy who got the most salary hike, was in-charge of cutting cost on drug. To those who don't know, drug used to be approximately 10% of Hospital Authority's cost, and now 6%.

The Hospital Authority is sick. It is really sick.

蘋果︰院內7-11兩預製食品含菌

【本報訊】瑪麗醫院爆發毛霉菌個案後,隨即抽查廚房及該院7-11便利店出售逾100種食物,結果發現兩個預製食品樣本含毛霉菌,但不能確定為致病的根霉菌。據悉,有關樣本為三文治及旺旺仙貝,昨日便利店仍然有售。香港大學微生物學系系主任袁國勇懷疑病人進食了非院方供應的包裝食品感染。

袁國勇表示,兩名病人透露病發前曾進食7-11便利店售賣的預先包裝食品,「係佢哋自己去7-11買嘅,瑪麗提供嘅食物係高溫消毒,冇問題。」微生物學系遂化驗逾100個食物樣本,發現兩個樣本含毛霉菌,但不確定屬根霉菌,已交由食物安全中心跟進。

毛霉菌包括四種霉菌,今次導致病人染病的根霉菌是其中一種,此菌存在於環境之中,包括食物、預製包裝食品、木製材料及健康食品等,在攝氏50度環境可以生存,但只要在80度高溫煮一分鐘,即可殺掉此菌的孢子。

免疫力低者染病高危

袁國勇呼籲市民毋須過份恐慌,健康人士進食含此菌的食物不會危害健康,「預先包裝食物製造過程唔需要絕對消毒,有真菌係expected(意料之內)。」但他提醒免疫力低的病人應進食煮熟食物,「如果本身係高危人士,只應該食一啲煲熟咗嘅食物,唔應該食其他預先包裝嘅食物」。至於一般市民進食發霉年糕或發霉麪包後會否染上惡菌,港大微生物學系助理教授黃世賢解釋,雖然進食發霉食品未必會致命,但食物內的霉菌有很多種,部份含有毒素,進食後會染病,「尤其係有免疫毛病、化療緊嘅病人、器官移植病人同接受緊高劑量類固醇啲病人,一定唔可以食發咗霉嘅食物。」

失業回流市民請願 不滿被拒申請綜援

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失業回流市民請願 不滿被拒申請綜援

因離港工作超過一年,而被拒絕申請綜援的一批市民,到法律援助處請願,認為政府要求港人在申領綜援前,一年內不能離港超過56日的規定不合理,並對規定申請司法覆核。

協助他們的社區組織協會幹事吳衞東表示,現時約有3萬名因為失業而回流的港人,若他們不能領取綜援,生活會面臨很大的困難,民間團體的幫助始終有限。

他又認為,此項規定對因失業而回流的人並不公平,因為他們也是本港的永久性居民,享有領取綜援的權利。


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2009年3月9日

HSBC - Drop $10.5 and close at $33

Sister Ching, be strong!



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwFr_Dnkvcc

2009年3月6日

Watching Watchmen

Anticipating to watch this movie. 

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Watching Watchmen

The Watchmen are technically superheroes, but they are not clearly heroes. In their tragic, multigenerational tale, originally published as a serial graphic novel in 1986 and 1987, masks hide more than just the usual secret identities. They hide histories of sexual abuse, political duplicity, and certifiable insanity.

The Watchmen movie, set for release this weekend, is one of the most-anticipated films in recent memory. Zack Snyder is the director who gave us larger-than-life Spartans and demonic ancient Persians in another comic-book adaptation, 300. In doing so, he turned a complex historical struggle into a clear-cut cartoon of visceral good-vs.-evil. Now he brings that same visual flair to bear in depicting layers of moral complexity and neurosis in figures who look as if they should be icons of justice: the Batman-like Nite Owl, the atomic-powered Dr. Manhattan, the stealthy vigilante Rorschach, and others.

Synder convincingly mixes their story with visual elements from the tragic 20th century spanned by their often-sordid crimefighting careers. With a mixture of action-movie delight and news-footage repulsion, we see these ostensibly superheroic characters linked to some of the worst government-related horrors of recent decades: war, assassination, political repression, propaganda.  Fans—including some new to costumed do-gooders—will likely applaud Snyder thunderously for it. 

The Watchmen movie is a perfect adaptation of the original comic book written by Alan Moore and drawn by Dave Gibbons, but it's difficult to watch a movie so full of potent political themes, nerd-pleasing homages, and historical references and feel like your brain is in a single place on a single day, taking it all in.

If you're in one of the intersecting subsets of the population who care about comics or politics or genre films, watching Watchmen feels a bit more like your mind has become unmoored in time—like the character Dr. Manhattan from the film, experiencing all things simultaneously and attempting to process it by zigzagging back and forth across history, alighting on meaningful moments, like a sort of quantum Proust:

• It's July 1985, and I'm reading the DC Comics miniseries Crisis on Infinite Earths—a series that will incorporate into the DC Universe several characters DC purchased from defunct company Charlton Comics, characters who will in turn become the basis of the darker, grittier, more modern characters known as the Watchmen. One Charlton character, the moralistic hero known as the Question, was created by the Objectivist artist Steve Ditko (earlier a co-creator of Spider-Man) and will be the model for the embittered, right-anarchist vigilante...



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Why study pig odor?

There is no reason why. I'd blame the pork for being too creative. 

If you go through the list on RGC, I am sure you will find something even more absurd. 

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Why study pig odor?

Sen. John McCain (R–Ariz.) is back at it, taking swipes at federally funded animal research projects. First he took on the grizzlies--lambasting studies to gauge whether the mighty creatures were in danger of becoming extinct-- and now he's peeved about pigs--or pig odor, to be precise. The former presidential candidate last week mocked a federal set-aside for pig odor research, listing it on his Twitter feed as one of the "Top 10 Porkiest Projects" allocated funding in the latest federal spending bill being debated in Congress. Sen. Tom Coburn (R–Okla.) chimed in on his own Web site that "This earmark is $1.7 million to take the stink out of manure," and pretty soon the blogosphere was snorting about liberal (and pig) waste.

Amid threats to strip the $410-billion bill of its earmarks, Democratic Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin took the floor to passionately defend his state's swine scientists. "People constantly complain, with good reason, about big farms, factory farms and their environmental impacts," he said, "so it makes good sense to fund research that addresses how people can live in our small towns and communities, and livestock producers can do the same, and coexist."

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"Sexting": Why Worry?

Edison was only being trendy. 

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"Sexting": Why Worry?

Reports of "sexting"--or teens sending each other homemade pornographic images using their phones--have exploded in recent weeks. Schools and parents are outraged and terrified, and lawyers are confused, because most child pornography statutes don't account for the kids themselves being the pornographers. What should they do?



This week alone, sexting cases have made front-page news out of Ohio, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Texas. The United Way announced a public service campaign this week that aims to discourage the practice after a sexting scandal in Wisconsin. A week ago in Tennessee, a 37-year-old male teacher admitted to sexting two of his female high school students. The practice, it seems, has become viral.



The news coverage has quoted some scary studies. For instance, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy reports that on average, 20% of teenagers admit to having transmitted nude pictures over their cellphones. (The percentages double when the survey includes young people up to their mid-twenties). "What we're setting out to do here is to educate parents and kids about the very real and far-reaching consequences of this sort of behavior," said a district attorney pursuing the Massachusetts case mentioned above.



Whether or not we should worry about sexting comes down to one question: Is sexting a social trend or a technological one?
Social trends are persistent, while technological trends turn over quickly. Based on its close parallel to the amateur porn phenomenon, I'd argue that sexting is more technological than social. This isn't to say that we shouldn't worry about teens sexting, but it is to say that the phenomenon, thankfully, won't be durable.



I'm not arguing this distinction clarifies how authorities should proceed when they catch students in the act; if a 15-year-old gets caught sexting in Massachusetts, for example, she might paradoxically end up having to register as a sex offender. That is a complex, worrisome issue, to be sure. But let's decouple the legal worries from the moral. For worried parents and school administrators, there is hope in obsolescence. Here's why.



New technologies, be they VHS, DVD or Web, frequently gain ubiquity via unseemly uses; in the 1990s, Internet was used largely for pornography. But these days, smut sites are being supplanted in the rankings by search sites and social networks, according to research published in The Economist in 2007. Reuters reported a replica study in 2008, that found that Internet porn queries had halved between 1998 and 2008. In fact, this year only four porn sites crack the top 50 most visited websites list, according to Alexa. And that decline has happened in spite of a boom in amateur, homemade pornography--the kind exemplified by sexting. (It bears mentioning that teens make up a big swath of Internet porn viewership, with some ...



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Crash Of 2008 Now Worse Than Crash Of 1929

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Crash Of 2008 Now Worse Than Crash Of 1929

We just hit another milestone.  The market has now fallen farther faster than it did during the Great Crash of 1929-1932.


Floyd Norris, NYT:


It has been 513 calendar days since the stock market peaked on Oct. 9, 2007. Since then, the S.&P. 500 is down 56 percent and the Dow is off 53 percent.


On Jan. 29, 1931 — the identical number of days after the 1929 market peak — the S.&P. 500 was down 49 percent and the Dow was down 56 percent. The 1929 crash got off to a much faster start, but we have now more or less caught up.


And here's a chart by Doug Short at dshort.com that illustrates the point.  In case you're obsessed, Doug updates the chart every day:


fourbearmarkets.jpg


 

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Competition Would Be the Best Regulator (by Don Boudreaux)

Dan is good!

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Competition Would Be the Best Regulator (by Don Boudreaux)

Here's a letter that I sent last week to the New York Times:

28 February 2009

Editor, The New York Times
229 West 43rd St.
New York, NY 10036

To the Editor:

Theresa
Tedesco argues that the U.S. banking system is infected by a risky lack
of regulation ("The Great Solvent North," Feb. 27).  She's correct. 
But she overlooks what is by far the most dangerous failure to
constrain decision-makers' ability to wreak havoc.

That failure
is the Federal Reserve's monopoly power to determine the supply of
dollars.  Facing no competition in supplying dollars, the Fed is free
to err or to behave irresponsibly without being disciplined by
competitive-market feedback, and without being guided by the knowledge
that would be discovered and revealed by competition.

Free of
these vital restraints, the Federal Reserve, between 2001 and 2006,
pumped far too many new dollars into the economy - new dollars that
inflated the now-burst housing bubble
.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux




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2009年3月4日

Asus Dual-Screen Laptop is Half iPhone, Half Modded Mac From Yesteryear

When I read this, I have NDS in my mind. 

I am sure it will be a big hit given other features implemented properly. 

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Asus Dual-Screen Laptop is Half iPhone, Half Modded Mac From Yesteryear


Asus has just shown off a concept PC that's an inevitable development of multi-touch touchscreen technology: A dual-screen clamshell netbook machine. It's glossy, it's smart, and it makes some sort of sense. But the truth is, it's been done before.






Asus's machine is part of the "Community Designed PC" project the company runs with Microsoft, so it's a conceptual work-in-progress machine rather than a "soon to be on the market" product. It's a symmetrically-screened device, that can be used in a multitude of ways that current PC design just doesn't enable. As Asus points out, you can control it with either hand gestures or proper multi-touch, and there's also handwriting recognition. When it's flipped to "notebook" position you can type on the bottom touchscreen, with a flexibility that surpasses even the amazing Art Lebedev Optimus keyboard. Whereas in "book" position it's more like an e-reader device. Fabulous thinking--and its touchscreen and sleek styling with silver details fits nicely into the "post iPhone" era. But curiously it almost belongs in the pre-MacBook era.






Over at MacRumors they've been looking at the history of Apple's multi-touch tech. Back in 2002 a company called FingerWorks made some pretty neat touch-sensitive hardware that included gesture-based inputs and touch-pad keyboards. It even manufactured a hack-in mod for the PowerBook called MacNTouch that included a full touch keyboard with multi-touch gesture recognition and all the associated Apple drivers. It's no surprise that the team became part of Apple through a 2005 acquisition.



While the MacNTouch modded machines only had one display, they bear more than a passing resemblance to the Asus concept (and I'm sure there's something similar in that Microsoft vision for 2019 video.) We also know that Apple is at work researching this technology. It begs the question, which company would you rather see bring a machine with dual screens and multiple-personalities to life: Apple, or Asus?



[via Dvice, MacRumors] 





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Google CEO: Twitter A 'Poor Man's Email System'

I am not goinging to twit this. 

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Google CEO: Twitter A 'Poor Man's Email System'





fail-whale-tbi.jpgReal-time microblogging and messaging services like Twitter could potentially become a threat to Google -- whose search index doesn't keep up with conversations as quickly as Twitter's. So what does Google (GOOG) CEO Eric Schmidt think about Twitter?


"Speaking as a computer scientist, I view all of these as sort of poor man's email systems," he said this afternoon at Morgan Stanley's technology conference. (Live notes here.) What's he talking about?


"In other words, they have aspects of an email system, but they don't have a full offering. To me, the question about companies like Twitter is: Do they fundamentally evolve as sort of a note phenomenon, or do they fundamentally evolve to have storage, revocation, identity, and all the other aspects that traditional email systems have? Or do email systems themselves broaden what they do to take on some of that characteristic?


I think the innovation is great. In Google's case, we have a very successful instant messaging product, and that's what most people end up using.


Twitter's success is wonderful, and I think it shows you that there are many, many new ways to reach and communicate, especially if you are willing to do so publicly."


Schmidt also plugged Google's new Twitter account. But he flubbed Twitter's famous 140 characters-per-message limit in the process, describing @google as a place to "go ahead and listen to our ruminations as to where we are and what we're doing in 160 characters or less."

See Also:



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2009年3月1日

都是沒有直選的錯

贊成!

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都是沒有直選的錯

政府將所有有爭議的政策延後迴避爭議,競爭法、政改都不改做,看來還陸續有來,藍天蔚認為,最低工資和醫療融資,也可能步後塵:並非每個局長都是傻強,大家都不想做出頭鳥。本來,有政改做掩護,競爭法、醫療融資、最低工資都不是問題,但林瑞麟縮沙,負責競爭法的蘇錦樑在政府裡待了差不多一年,也會珍惜羽毛,想辦法拖下去,不要將自己放在政治上最危險的位置,反正競爭法又不是自己提出,並非自己的pet project,蘇錦樑自己是否支持競爭法也很有疑問,所以他縮沙也是人之常情。如果曾俊華可以的話,說不定他連預算案都不想公佈!

於是一層一層推下去,局長們個個不想做傻強,那麼政府就不再運作,如果要學成語的話,政府現在的行為,明顯叫做「斬腳趾避沙蟲」。可是,駝鳥政策之所以被耻笑,因為駝鳥政策是行不通的。當社民連可以表演的機會就越來越少,他們的行為也越激,他們便唯有專選曾蔭權和曾俊華這些級數的官員在立法會時才表演了。

說起社民連,藍天蔚越來越覺得,社民連有點像邪教:正統教會如民主黨和公民黨開始批評社民連在立法的行動,但他們則自比耶穌,看起來真的有點令人打冷震。

曾蔭權走不出董建華的影子,因為政治制度一樣。曾俊華、曾蔭權,甚至傻強都不會是智商低的人,但為何只做傻事?因為制度使然。在中國這種要忖摸上意的政治制度中,一項政策是否最有利社會發展並不重要,最重要的是不會引起社會爭議,不會引起亞爺注意。而由於政權來自「上面」,特首沒有得到所謂「人民授權」,他們的政策,也沒有經過市民辯論,市民又如何會支持?於是,只要有一小撮人反對,已經嚇得政府官員們渾身不安。這個政治制度,莫說曾蔭權做不到什麼,即使找克林頓和奧巴馬來,一樣什麼也做不到。

直選是否浪費時間浪費資源?是。不過,沒有直選更是浪費時間浪費資源。有直選,便不會出現社民連這樣的東西,更不會有一個如同露宿者的人可以選到做議員,這些事情只有在亂世中才會出現。有直選,民主黨和公民黨,必定變得更右,他們也不是傻人,一旦有一天執政,他們要實現政綱,實現不到便下台,他們便不會將政綱寫成了如同共產主義世界烏托邦的模樣。有直選,要選的人,會將他們在每一個範疇的看法寫出來。當然,他們不會寫得很清楚,但選舉辯論迫得候選人說清楚。去年立法會選舉,便迫得民建聯要贊成在立法會成立獨立調查委員會了。

沒有直選,我們不會有好日子過。


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2009年2月28日

New at Reason: Cathy Young on the Future of Newspapers

Respect?

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New at Reason: Cathy Young on the Future of Newspapers

As media giants totter, battered by the Internet and the economic crisis, saving the newspapers has become a hot topic. But as Contributing Editor Cathy Young writes, newspapers will only survive if they work harder to earn and maintain respect.

Read all about it here.




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胡紅玉掌積金局

Finally, they fit a Feminist-marxist there. 

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胡紅玉掌積金局

財政司司長曾俊華今天(2月27日)宣布,前平等機會委員會主席胡紅玉獲委任為為強制性公積金計劃管理局主席,任期兩年,3月17日起生效。


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Facebook: Stop Acting Like a Nation-State

On the contrary, it can be applied to understand politics in real life.  

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Facebook: Stop Acting Like a Nation-State


The executives at Facebook may be under a grand delusion: they seem to think that Facebook is a nation. And they're attempting to build it a government.



This is, of course, a tremendously stupid idea.



Sure, Facebook has had PR trainwrecks before, and all were exercises in hubris; first there was the Beacon debacle, then its parochial ban on breastfeeding photos, and most recently, the new terms of service that tried to claim ownership over users' data. 



That last catastrophe generated more antipathy from users than perhaps any one before it. But Facebook's high-minded reaction will surely dwarf any of its past gaffes--and unlike those earlier ones, this one has the potential to truly damage usership. Facebook calls it "a new approach to site governance" that gives users "an unprecedented role in determining the future policies." What it really is: a deeply flawed 21st century political experiment. Prepare to sit back and watch it burn.



Here's the milieu: Facebook announced this week that it would craft Principles of Service and a Statement of Rights and Responsibilities meant to protect its users from abuse of their data. The social network also went one step further: It announced that it will hold "virtual Town Hall meetings" where users will get to comment on the Principles and the Statement of Rights. After the comments are digested by Facebook policymakers, they'll take the finalized documents and put them to a public vote. All users (as of 2/25/09) are eligible to vote, and quorum will be set at 30% of users.



Here's where things get weird. Facebook has stipulated that this voting process will become a matter of course any time Facebook wants to change its service terms. "[A]ll future policy changes would be eligible for a vote by users, provided the level of intensity of user interest would justify it," the company's press release says.



Weirder still: Facebook wants to establish a provisional government. Check out this paragraph tucked into the end of that same press release:



Facebook also announced its intention to establish a user council to participate more closely in the development and discussion of policies and practices. As a start, the company indicated that it would invite the authors of the most insightful and constructive comments on the draft documents to serve as founding members of the group. [Emphasis mine.]



Not coincidentally, all of these initiatives are couched in the language of colonial nation-building. In a blog post on February 17, CEO Mark Zuckerberg observed, "More than 175 million people use Facebook. If it were a country, it
would be the sixth most populated country in the world." He went on to call Facebook's new terms a "governing
document" for how the service is used, and in a press conference, made reference to "openness and tran...



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2009年2月27日

周一嶽:政府不排除考慮全面禁煙 

Is he serious about it?

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周一嶽:政府不排除考慮全面禁煙 

食物及衞生局局長周一嶽表示,政府曾經考慮全面禁煙。

周一嶽在本台節目中表示,香港並非以煙草作為主要經濟收入的地方,所以有條件執行,但他表示,香港崇尚自由,過去數年都以教育等措施希望減少市民吸煙情況,但政府不排除將來考慮香港全面禁煙。

周一嶽又說,雖然香港煙民數字有減少,但吸煙青少年由05年的每日9支增至11支,10歲以下兒童吸煙人數達10300人,較以往多兩成。他表示,經濟誘因是青少年戒煙的方法。期望加煙稅能減少青少年的煙民數字。


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Obama's Straw Men

It isn't news, is it?

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Obama's Straw Men

Why does he routinely ascribe to opponents views they don't espouse?





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