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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?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.
Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Economics
Journal of Economic Psychology
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.
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.
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.
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.
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....
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.
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:
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:
The 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.
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...
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."[More]
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 ...
We just hit another milestone. The market has now fallen farther faster than it did during the Great Crash of 1929-1932.
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.
Here's a letter that I sent last week to the New York Times:
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]
Real-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."