Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Matt Taibbi on naked short selling, or what killed Bear Stearns

Really awesome article on naked shorts. There are only a handful of news organizations who do real journalism these days, and, surprisingly, Rolling Stones seems to be one of these few. I am also very impressed with Bloomberg reporting recently - it looks like after Murdoch bought WSJ the best people went to Bloomberg.


Here's the really scary thing - we've lost the integrity of our financial markets.

The reason US was so successful in attracting capital was the transparency with which financial markets here used to operate, and strong regulations that ensured this transparency - for the most part, the legacy of Great Depression. However, over the last couple of decades these regulations have been weakened, and now we're back to the turn of the century stock swindles and off the books accounting (http://www.creditloan.com/blog/mark-to-market-accounting-changes-favor-banks/).

All this - coupled with the dollar fall - can mean only one thing: US will certainly lose its status as a financial capital of the world within the next decade.

In other news, marijuana legislation has been relaxed (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/AP-Newsbreak-New-medical-apf-4109207182.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=main&asset=&ccode=). So instead of worrying about markets, botched wars, and disappearing industrial base, the population can just get stoned! Finally, a government that knows how to rule...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Government rationing of health care

There were all these inane reports in the press about "Obama's suicide panels" and government rationing the health care - all widely covered.

Let's see what they say about this beauty - an insurance company says that they will only cover a woman if she gets sterilized - because she had a C-section in the past.

Under the hill

Check out where you can deliver a birthday present on 1-800-flowers.com!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Think pay for performance works? Think again...


This TED talk alludes to a number of social experiments where adding monetary incentive has significantly decreased the productivity of creative work.

Extremely enlightening, a must watch for every manager - and yet another proof that the claim that the Wall Streeters need to be paid exorbitant amounts of money to retain "the best and the brightest" is just a crapload of bull.

United States v. 8,800 Pounds, More or Less of Powdered White Egg Product

"United States v. 8,800 Pounds, More or Less of Powdered White Egg Product, et al., No. 07-3671, 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 26098 (8th Cir. Dec. 24, 2008)(defendant’s importation of egg whites from Peru without first obtaining a pasteurization certificate from the Peruvian government and without obtaining authorization from the Food Safety Inspection Service violated the Egg Products Inspection Act, which could result in the condemnation and destruction of the egg whites; trial court’s granting of summary judgment upheld)."

It's hidden somewhere around the middle of the list on this page: http://www.calt.iastate.edu/aglawrl.html

I kid you not!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Big Pharma and research

I love it when they say that the pharmaceuticals are so expensive in the US because the companies need this money to finance research. In reality, if you look at a typical big pharma income statement, you will discover that only ~20% of its expenses are research - the rest is mostly sales and marketing.

But here's another proof beyond any reasonable doubt that what big pharma is all about is sales - its donations to political parties. Researchers giving money to repubs? Basically, the same people who say that Earth is 10,000 years old, and dinosaurs walked the planet alongside people, radiocarbon dating be damned?

This political contributions profile is more in line with what you expect from used car salespeople than the research and development organizations...


By comparison, here's how the software sector looks like:


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bravo, Apple! You have class!

Apple quits the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over its ‘frustrating’ global warming denialism.


Friday, October 2, 2009

TFS 2010 will be much easier to install

I've spent a week trying to get TFS 2008 installed on my home infrastructure. It was the most painful piece of software that I've ever installed. And it looks like I was not the only one who felt that:

"Installing TFS has been a pain point for years. Although it’s gotten better, 2010 represents a quantum leap. The TFS installer now has 3 wizards: Basic, Standard and Advanced. The big innovation is the new “Basic” install wizard. It is a Next, Next, Next install experience that allows you to install and configure TFS in about 20 minutes or less (assuming .NET and SQL Express are already on your computer – a little longer if TFS has to install them for you). Both will already be there if you’ve installed VS 2010. The Basic wizard will install and configure IIS (if it’s not already there), install and configure SQL Express (if it’s not already there), and install and configure TFS. The only thing that really pains me is installing .NET 4.0 requires a reboot :(."