Sunday, August 1, 2010

Linkism

Lula is loading up debt on Petrobas…perhaps this is why he’s so enthusiastic to do offshore drilling?

Still no government in Iraq, with a Shi’ite slate withdrawing from talks with Maliki. Simultaneously, U.S. officials are giving Maliki the Karzai treatment with anonymous quotations like this:
"He can do unexpected things that are not even in his best interest when he's cornered," said an American official who advises the Iraqi government, speaking on the condition of anonymity to be more candid.
The surge worked!

Scary Chinese real estate fact of the day:
The Anhui Salt Industry Corporation is a state-owned company that has 11,000 employees, access to government salt mines and a Communist Party boss…Now it has swaggered into a new line of business: real estate.

The company is developing a complex of luxury high-rises here called Platinum Bay on a parcel it acquired last year by outbidding two other developers to win a local government land auction.
Apparently this is pretty common. When companies with no particular expertise are trying their hand…well, you know you’ve got a bubble.

Why Norwegians sometimes speak with a Brooklyn accent.

On open-source textbooks:
Early this year, Oracle, the database software maker, acquired Sun for $7.4 billion, leaving [CEO] McNealy without a job. He has since decided to aim his energy and some money at Curriki, an online hub for free textbooks and other course material that he spearheaded six years ago.

“We are spending $8 billion to $15 billion per year on textbooks” in the United States, Mr. McNealy says. “It seems to me we could put that all online for free.”
As the man says: “Ten plus 10 has been 20 for a long time.”

Why aren’t Berkeley students protesting B.P.’s shady relationship with their university? (Because their reputation is as overhyped as their football team routinely is?)

Big investors fear deflation. Rarely have people been so ridiculous while being right.

The death of the phone call:
My phone bills are shrinking. Not, unfortunately, in cost. I mean they’re getting shorter. I recently found an old bill from a decade ago; it was fully 15 pages long, because back then I was making a ton of calls—about 20 long-distance ones a day. Today my bills are a meager two or three pages, at most.

Odds are this has happened to you, too. According to Nielsen, the average number of mobile phone calls we make is dropping every year, after hitting a peak in 2007. And our calls are getting shorter: In 2005 they averaged three minutes in length; now they’re almost half that.

Counterintuitive: in California, there is apparently “a zero correlation between immigration and wage and employment outcomes of natives.”

A hell of a story:
T was lucky he heard his cellphone ring over the racket of his construction equipment as he worked outside in the suburbs last September. “We have your father,” said a man in a voice T recalled as eerily calm. “Try to get the money together as soon as you can so that your dad can be freed.”

It was the call T — a naturalized citizen who emigrated here from Mexico 19 years ago — had hoped he would never receive. (His name is being withheld because he fears for his safety.)
With this kicker at the end: “We’ve already paid. It’s someone else’s turn.”

The Googlization of basketball statistics:
If I had a nickel for every time I heard that statistics can't measure heart!

But here's what I think we have to understand: Old statistics screwed those guys. When most people say they hate statistics, they mean they hate old statistics, which had almost no regard at all for things central to basketball like setting killer screens, playing good post defense, scooping up loose balls, closing out shooters, crisp defensive rotations, hitting the open man even if he does not shoot, inspiring teammates or playing through injuries.
Many of the statistics that do measure these things have either not yet been invented or perfected, but the field shows quite a bit of promise. Something to keep in mind if you’re of the anti-statistical persuasion.

Signals from North Korea after its public shaming of its soccer team.

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