Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Jamaican drug lord Christopher Coke has been arrested, ending the standoff that cost 78 people their lives.

It’s good to be the last ironing-board manufacturer in America: they benefit from a 150% tariff.

The health care productivity problem. More ammunition for the idea that the latest technological wizardry isn’t all that impressive from a results standpoint.

On cutting defense spending:
Some of the report's big-ticket items for savings over a 10-year period include $113 billion by reducing the U.S. nuclear arsenal; $200 billion by reducing U.S. military presence abroad and total uniformed military personnel; $138 billion by replacing unworkable, costly weapons systems with better alternatives; and $100 billion by cutting unnecessary command, support and infrastructure funding.

The story of “fracking” (that’s natural gas extraction using water which has nasty side effects for the environment.):
…a new preliminary assessment by Cornell ecology and environmental-biology professor Robert Howarth of the emissions generated throughout the fracking process suggests that, when the thousands of truck trips required to frack every single well are counted, natural gas obtained by fracking is actually worse than drilling for oil and possibly even coal mining in terms of greenhouse-gas production. While Howarth explains that his estimates are subject to uncertainty because of the lack of complete, concrete data about fracking, he concludes, “There is an urgent need for a comprehensive assessment of the full range of emission of greenhouse gases from using natural gas obtained by high-volume, slick water hydraulic fracturing.… Society should be wary of claims that natural gas is a desirable fuel in terms of the consequences on global warming.”

Loan modification program is working terribly. Well done folks, champagne all around.

I don't care what you think about how I think about Kobe. The guy shot 6-24 in Game 7 of the Finals, and his team's most important play came off of a terrible three-pointer this chucked in the final minutes, with Pau Gasol grabbing the offensive rebound and hitting a cutting Bryant for some sealing free throws. This guy thinks, in 2010, that shooting his way out of a slump from 20 feet and beyond is still the way toward championship basketball, and for all his knowledge of pro hoops and its history, he's nuts for thinking that.

A visual history of scoreboards in the U.S.

A nice review of the Industrial Revolution.

It’s so hard to be an investment banker in China.

The U.K. budget has come through, and the forecast is pain. The one redeeming aspect of the budget is that banks will be hit with some nice taxes. The U.K.’s economic situation is much worse than America’s: unlike America, the U.K. has been hit by inflation, putting them in the old stagflation bind.

What happens when all we read from the slush pile?

What not to do with aid.

Indian call centers are being outsourced…to rural India. And apparently they’re dens of sin:
In a sexually conservative society where most marriages are still arranged by elders, call centers have earned a reputation as racy places where young men and women cavort late into the night…One of the main characters in the 2007 Indian film "Life in a Metro" is a call-center employee whose colleagues are shown drinking, smoking and having premarital sex…In a case this month, a young man from a Brahmin family reportedly killed his fiancee, whom he'd met at a New Delhi call center, after his parents refused to accept her because of her lower Jaiswal caste.
I can say with the utmost confidence that this never happened at the Stanford Calling Center.

Why we need a beat reporter, concrete examples.

Special accommodations for Ramadan:
For the roughly 45 million Muslims now living in the West, strict religious observance can be a lonely affair. Work does not slow for Ramadan, and those fasting must go through the day with co-workers eating and drinking all around. Online guides have sprung up to offer advice on how to manage the resulting feelings of isolation, and influential clerics have made special allowances for Muslims living outside the Middle East. Rulings dating back to the 1970s, for instance, allow Muslims living above 64 degrees latitude (where the sun never sets in the summer months) to start and end the day's fast when it occurs in Mecca or the next major city to the south with a regular sunrise and sunset.

Things we know we don’t know.

The world agrees: more offshore drilling!

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