Sunday, December 21, 2008

humility towards learning

The typical 'academic' way of saying that one does not have criticisms of a work is by acting pompously: "I have read it but I am not impressed". Many academics hate acknowledging that there is much they have not read or, if they have, that they have nothing to say on that. After all, your 'intelligence' is proved by the fact that you can demolish everything except your own pet theory; so, they say 'I am not impressed'. This remark works when one has a high-standing in the academic world; further, by making such a remark, one also suggests that one is so 'busy' doing 'serious scientific
research' that one cannot be bothered to spend time criticizing third-rate ideas. In none of the domains I work is Steve Farmer (or his work) either known or recognized. He is a non-entity in the domains of sociology, political theory, psychology, philosophy and Ethics, law, history... So, whether or not he is 'impressed' by my writings leaves me and my academic colleagues cold. My peers in the peer-reviewed scientific journals find our writings on secularism worth publishing. If Farmer has anything interesting to say, apart from not being 'impressed', he can do so in the pages of all these journals. So far, he has not; and, I predict, nor will he ever.

Farmer is playing such a game: showing that he is both a 'serious researcher' and a very 'intelligent' man by telling you that he is 'not impressed'. Do not expect academic courtesy in such games: it is played only by those pretentious people who are unable to contribute anything to scientific research but fancy themselves as either 'brilliant intellectuals' or even 'geniuses'.

Many Kannada intellectuals and UR play the indigenous version of the same game. Some are also prejudiced; a few others ignorant. Many would not understand our arguments because they lack the required background knowledge. In short, most Kannada intellectuals (including UR) are at a disadvantage when it comes to discussing with us. They cannot show humility towards learning the way a student can; these people are already 'established' and they make their living on the basis of the 'authority' they have been conferred with. To acknowledge that one is ignorant (of many things) or that one is wrong (about one's beliefs) requires that people who call themselves 'intellectuals' are also truly that: ready to learn at any moment and acknowledge mistakes, when they discover them.

Let me give you an example of one such true intellectual. Gottlob Frege is rightly considered as the father of modern formal logic. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he wrote a book called 'The Foundations of Arithmetic' (in German), which was an attempt to describe arithmetic as formal, logical system. The manuscript version of the book apparently circulated in Europe and just when Frege received the page-proofs of the book, he also received a letter from a young unknown (at that moment) British student. This student showed that there was a fundamental flaw in
Fregean system, which made Frege's two decades work a wasted effort. Frege nevertheless published his book but with a foreword. There he spoke of the above letter, explained the criticism of this student (it is called the 'barber paradox') and openly acknowledged that his work (of the previous two decades) was a waste. He published it nonetheless, more for historical reasons than for its cognitive relevance. That young and unknown student answered to the name of Bertrand Russell who, at a later stage, reacted to an unknown male nurse from Vienna (during the first world war) the way Frege had reacted to him. That nurse was Ludwig Wittegnstein, another great thinker of the twentieth century.

These are the kind of people we should aspire to become if we have to bear the title of an 'intellectual' proudly. 

TheHeathenInHisBlindness : Message: RE: [TheHeathenInHisBlindness] Re: cross posting

Friday, December 19, 2008

Global Imbalance - An imminent Dollar Crisis

From comments:

Venkatesh is definitely impassioned and speaks about interesting subjects, but his interpretations leave much to be desired both in depth of knowledge and analytical rigor. I would call him a demagogue, short on facts, and skewed in conclusions . Some of his predictions have already been proved wrong, eg US currency exchange rates, oil prices; and his analysis/prescriptions reveal a profound lack of insight, eg lack of US family formation as the cause of savings rate declines in the USA. There are indeed many troubling problems in the US, including the real estate bubble, productivity slowdowns due to education and technology problems, consumerism as the driving force for the economy, asset valuation failures in lending, a drain on US wealth to fund the Iraq war etc. Exports to the USA have been the driving force for the world economy for decades. This is the reason all countries work really hard to get “MFN” – most favored nation, so that their exports are allowed in to the usa with fewer restrictions. This creates jobs, wealth and infrastructure (and funds for research and new technology) in the exporting countries. Countries often finance a portion of their exports to create demand for their products, as most countries, (incl india and china) have done to fuel their industrialization. Stop US imports and consumerism, and the world economy will grind down. Consumerism as a economic model is definitely flawed and problematic, and causes downstream problems, see The only significance of the Venkatesh video is that some few people may possibly believe it to be true and accurate, and make decisions that will ultimately prove to be injurious to their economic well-being. Far the greater threat both to US and Indian (and global) well-being, is the base assumption that continued growth in consumption, production, population etc is possible or desirable in a very resource-constrained “closed system” like the planet earth (ie essentially no resources come in from space – except for sunlight/heat, and none go out), a small blue dot of life in a vast and unfriendly universe.

Global Imbalance - An imminent Dollar Crisis

Obama's Chief Speechwriter, 27, Works on Inaugural Address

They stumbled upon it by accident in 2004, when Obama, just elected to the Senate, needed to hire a speechwriter. He brought Favreau, then 23, into the Senate dining room for an interview on his first day in office. They talked for 30 minutes about harmless topics such as family and baseball before Obama turned serious.

They stumbled upon it by accident in 2004, when Obama, just elected to the Senate, needed to hire a speechwriter. He brought Favreau, then 23, into the Senate dining room for an interview on his first day in office. They talked for 30 minutes about harmless topics such as family and baseball before Obama turned serious.

"So," he said. "What's your theory on speechwriting?"

Awkward silence. Favreau, just graduated from Holy Cross, had talked his way onto  Sen. John F. Kerry's presidential campaign in 2003 and had become a press assistant, arriving at the office at 3 a.m. to clip newspapers. The speech he had given as class valedictorian circulated around the staff, and Favreau eventually got a shot at speechwriting. He wrote well and rose to the top of the department, but there was never any time to formulate theories. Now, Favreau looked at Obama and went with his gut.

"A speech can broaden the circle of people who care about this stuff," Favreau said. "How do you say to the average person that's been hurting: 'I hear you. I'm there. Even though you've been so disappointed and cynical about politics in the past, and with good reason, we can move in the right direction. Just give me a chance.' "

"I think this is going to work," Obama said.

Obama's Chief Speechwriter, 27, Works on Inaugural Address While Making His Own Transition -

In the Name of the Father

Gerry Conlon (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his friend Paul Hill (John Lynch), fed up with life in IRA-era Belfast, move to London and join the hippie scene. They hook up with a bunch of spaced-out hippies squatting in a derelict flat. There they meet Carole Richardson and Paddy Armstrong. Hanging out in a London park after a fight with their flatmates, Hill and Conlon meet a homeless man named Charlie Burke in a park, who claims the bench they are sitting on belongs to him. While the two talk to Burke on the park bench, an explosion is heard. Later that night Conlon steals money from the apartment of a prostitute who drops her keys on the sidewalk outside her house. A fellow squatter, jealous of Conlon's advances to a female in the group, drops a hint to the police that Gerry and Paul, being Irish, may be involved in the bombing, and they are arrested.

Britain's newly-passed new anti-terror laws enable the police to hold suspects for 7 days without charge. During this time, Gerry and Paul are subjected to torture until they confess. The four principal defendants (Hill, Conlon, Armstrong and Richardson) are sentenced to 14-30 years in jail. From their prison cell, Gerry and his father Giuseppe (Pete Postlethwaite), who is sentenced along with him as part of the Maguire Seven, try to appeal. Giuseppe's health continues to worsen while in prison. In the meantime, the police arrest IRA member Joe McAndrew (Don Baker) who admits to the Guildford bombing. The police ignore his confession and the Guildford Four remain in prison.

In the Name of the Father (film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wireless Power Consortium Pushes For Standard

Sure. Let's just use this other power adapter from something else. With a little extra force, see, it fits fine. OK, now just to plug it in...


Wife comes running in and sees the disaster and, being a good American, calls a lawyer.

This is why power adapters of different voltages, different capacities and different functionalities are designed with unique connectors. The intent is to keep you from causing problems for the company via lawsuits. Lawsuits caused directly by your ability to connect two mismatched devices together. Unless this risk can be eliminated, you are not going to get rid of every device having a different and unique connector.

Now it might be nice if there was an ISO standard for connectors (like there is for mains power connections) so there would be a few thousand "standard" connectors for every given voltage, regulation mode, current and AC or DC variety. This would solve everyone's problem, wouldn't it? Until you attempt to get everyone behind the idea of the few thousand "standard" connectors. That are all unique and different from today's non-standard connectors.

Wireless Power Consortium Pushes For Standard

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Department of Labor auditing all permanent labor certification applications

The U.S. Department of Labor today announced that it has begun auditing all permanent labor certification applications filed by attorneys at Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy LLP. The department has information indicating that in at least some cases the firm improperly instructed clients who filed permanent labor certification applications to contact their attorney before hiring apparently qualified U.S. workers. The audits will determine which, if any, applications should be denied or placed into department-supervised recruitment because of improper attorney involvement in the consideration of U.S. worker applicants.

ETA News Release: U.S. Department of Labor auditing all permanent labor certification applications filed by major immigration law firm [06/02/2008]

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

working in US

For $48000 pay, $4000/month

  • Employer taxes 12.5% ==> 500

  • Withholdings from your paycheck - Total: $951
  • Federal Withholding - $506.17
  • Social Security - $248.00
  • Medicare - $58.00
  • New Jersey - $106.92
  • SUI/SDI - $37.00

  • Total money stolen by Govt per paycheck = $1441

Official Gmail Blog: New in Labs: Tasks

Take entering a new task: just click in an empty part of your list and start typing. No buttons to click and it's saved automatically. Hit Return and you've got a new task right there.

You can also easily convert emails into tasks: select one or more messages and go to More Actions > Add to Tasks. (Or turn on keyboard shortcuts and use <shift> + t.)

Official Gmail Blog: New in Labs: Tasks

Opportunities for Anticompetitive Behavior in Postal Services

In the United States, the delivery monopoly is over letter mail. The Private Express Statutes prohibit the private carriage of "letters or packets," and the Postal Service defines a letter as "a message directed to a specific person or address and recorded in or on a tangible object." The courts have accepted the Postal Service's broad test for a letter as, "the presence or absence of an address."

The USPS's definition of a letter, adopted by the Postal Service in 1974, differs from earlier definitions and is much more expansive. Indeed, the Post Office and then the Postal Service has consistently expanded the scope of its monopoly over a 200-year period. Such an expansive definition leads naturally to monopolization of materials not intuitively considered letters, such as bills and advertising matter, which constitute a substantial and increasing proportion of the mail stream. According to the Postal Service's definition, an addressed grocery store advertisement is a letter.

A substantial portion of USPS revenue comes from monopolized activities. In 2002, 57 percent of the Postal Service's revenues were from monopolized first-class mail, while almost 25 percent were from partially monopolized Standard Mail A (formerly third-class mail).

The monopoly is well enforced. The USPS can conduct searches and seizures if it suspects citizens of contravening its monopoly. For example, in 1993, armed postal inspectors entered the headquarters of Equifax Inc. in Atlanta. The postal inspectors demanded to know if all the mail sent by Equifax through Federal Express was indeed "extremely urgent," as mandated by the Postal Service's criteria for suspension of the Private Express Statutes. Equifax paid the Postal Service a fine of $30,000. The Postal Service reportedly collected $521,000 for similar fines from twenty-one mailers between 1991 and 1994.

AEI - Short Publications - Opportunities for Anticompetitive Behavior in Postal Services

US officially in recession

"Unfortunately, two-thirds of the American economy is based on the spending of the American consumer," said Mike Stanfield, chief executive of VSR Financial Services. "When the consumer pulls back, it's very hard for the economy to gain much traction."

US officially in recession, Dow falls sharply

Playboy to continue aggressive cost cuts

Playboy Enterprises Inc, publisher of one of the world's best known adult magazines, plans to continue "aggressive cost cutting" across the company in 2009 after cutting 14 percent of its workforce in 2008, according to Chief Financial Officer Linda Havard.

Playboy to continue aggressive cost cuts in 2009 | Entertainment | Industry | Reuters

Recession affects 'vice' too! Or.. is it just poor management?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sungevity Displays Sunshine Online at Web 2.0 Launch Pad

Sungevity is a shining example of a company that tackles a global problem with a Web 2.0 solution. In only 6 months since its launch, Sungevity has sold more than 100 solar installations and is now the fastest growing solar company in California. Already its environmental impact has been impressive -- Sungevity has saved its early customers over $2 million dollars in electricity bills and abated 2,700 tons of CO2 over the next 25 years.

Sungevity Displays Sunshine Online at Web 2.0 Launch Pad - MarketWatch

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Credit-card industry may cut $2 trillion lines

The U.S. credit-card industry may pull back well over $2 trillion of lines over the next 18 months due to risk aversion and regulatory changes, leading to sharp declines in consumer spending, prominent banking analyst Meredith Whitney said.

The credit card is the second key source of consumer liquidity, the first being jobs, the Oppenheimer & Co analyst noted.

"In other words, we expect available consumer liquidity in the form of credit-card lines to decline by 45 percent."

Credit-card industry may cut $2 trillion lines: analyst - Yahoo! News

Monday, December 01, 2008

Saving Detroit

When I was a kid, there were many big name American television brands: Zeinith, Motorola, Magnavox, GE, RCA. Most simply quit making consumer electronics because they could make more money building stuff for the Pentagon. They took a hit when Japanese TVs first came to this country, but instead of buckling down and building better stuff, they simply left the market.

Our auto industry did the same thing. When VW first came over, Detroit got out of the small, cheap car market. When Toyota and Honda came over, they didn't care because they were only making small cars. As Toyota and Honda built bigger cars, Detroit concentrated on making even bigger cars.

Soon, foreign companies built cars from sub-compact to family sedans, and GM and Ford simply ignored those markets. Instead, they concentrated on the truck market and the SUV market.

Tell me one decent car made by the big three that can compete against a Toyota or Honda car? The Chevy Malibu? The Ford Taurus. Heck, does Ford make a Taurus still? I think they just came out with a new one last year after a decade of hiatus.

Look at fit and finish. For the past two decades, maybe longer, GM cars were berated because their dashboards were composed of cheap shiny plastic and had big gaps in them. So, is a Toyota dashboard made from exotic hardwoods, or somehow can Toyota take the same cheap plastic and make it look nicer? It isn't that Detroit can't make decent cars, they simply didn't because they'd rather not compete.

I also don't believe that the consumer truck market simply was a stroke of luck for Detroit. They actively created it. People wouldn't buy trucks if they didn't have 18 speaker Bose speaker stereos, automatic climate control, and leather seats. I use to drive a Ford trunk back in the 1970s, and I would never have bought one unless I really, really needed a pickup truck.

I am convinced that Detroit would have left the automobile industry long ago if they could take the safe haven of building vehicles just for the military -- just like almost all the other American industrial base did.

Maybe that's our problem. Our overly large military industry gave our companies a safe haven away from the tough world of consumer competition. After all, Japan and Germany have no real military to speak of. If you were a German or Japanese company, you had to build what the civilian population wanted to buy and not what your military would buy.

I, Cringely . Pulpit . Saving Detroit . Comments | PBS

Home Prices Snowball

Most amazing and most worrisome to me is the changing balance of equity and debt supporting the U.S. housing market. In 1998 the U.S. residential housing stock totaled $8 trillion supported by $2.5 trillion of debt, in other words, a 31% debt to value load.

Ten years later, our housing stock is $19.7 trillion (October 2008) supported by $10.6 trillion, or a 53% debt load. Debt load, or more like a giant margin call! And a margin call it is. This is what happens when the capital markets meet the real estate markets--it's payback time.

Home Prices Snowball -

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Lesson from Mumbai

1. I think that the attacks in Mumbai were a response to the ratherinept and amateurish bombings that took place earlier this year inmultiple sites in India: Bangalore, Delhi, Surat, Jaipur and Hyderabad. Mumbai is a demonstration lesson for the would-be terrorists in India and abroad: how to make use of the local resources, exploit the local conditions and work with local elements in order to achieve the maximum result. This lesson is being taught to the potential recruits in India and abroad by an influential section of the international terrorists.

2. Why the need for a lesson, and who is doing the teaching? To answer this question, we need to understand how the face of terrorism has changed in the course of the last decades. In the latter part of the twentieth century, terrorism remained both local and provincial.It was local in the sense that some or another cell (or an organization with a pseudo-military structure) undertook (mostly)small scale attacks against locally known figures. It was provincial in the sense that the attacks had very little ripple effects outside the locality (or the nation) where such events took place.

TheHeathenInHisBlindness : Message: Lesson from Mumbai: A Cross-Posting

Monday, November 24, 2008

Linux Accounting

Accounting is one place where Linux has a pretty wide selection of software for businesses sized from kitchen table to multinational enterprise. Porting from Unix to Linux is very easy, so many substantial and well tested packages have made that migration. Unix still dominates accounting in midsize companies and many firms seek to modernize those systems by moving to Linux with its optional GUI interface and wide support.

Linux Accounting

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Flood of Liquidity & the Surge in Inflation

The broad M3 money supply – "which the ECB uses as a gauge of future inflation," as Bloomberg notes – rose 12.3% from Oct. last year, the fastest rate of growth since July 1979. And this monetary inflation will only rise faster when November's numbers come out late in Dec.

The Fed offers money to the big New York banks in exchange for good-quality securities – securities such as, say, US Treasury bonds or government agency debt. And it will lend money for anything between 24 hours and two weeks or more.

The Fed has always been happy to accept mortgage-backed bonds as security for the short-term cash injections it makes. If the New York interbank lending rate needs a little shot in the arm to cool it down, AAA-rated mortgage-backed securities are just fine.

   But as you can see, the big banks stepping up to the Fed's auctions have always been keen to use more mortgage-backed securities (MBS) as collateral than the Fed would accept.

   Indeed, the ratio of MBS submitted to MBS accepted averaged only 0.55 between Nov. 2000 and the end of July '07. More times than not, the Fed said "no" to home-loan backed bonds. It demanded US Treasury notes or agency debt as security for lending hard cash instead.

   But since the credit crunch first bit at the start of August, the New York Fed has relented somewhat. The ratio of MBS submitted to MBS accepted when bidding for the Fed's cash has risen to 0.85.

A Flood of Liquidity & the Surge in Inflation | Gold News

Cloud Computing's Top Three?

We believe cloud computing will massively disrupt the desktop computing industry that came before it -- and we think three stocks, in particular, will profit handsomely from the shift.

Google, Akamai, and VMware: Cloud Computing's Top Three?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Can't you just love me for who I am

One evening last week, my girlfriend and I were getting into bed. Well, the passion starts to heat up, and she eventually says, 'I don't feel like it, I just want you to hold me.'

I said, 'WHAT??!! What was that?!'

So she says the words that every boyfriend on the planet dreads to hear...

'You're just not in touch with my emotional needs as a woman enough for me to satisfy your physical needs as a man.'

She responded to my puzzled look by saying, 'Can't you just love me for who I am and not what I do for you in the bedroom?'

Realizing that nothing was going to happen that night, I went to sleep.

The very next day I opted to take the day off of work to spend time with her. We went out to a nice lunch and then went shopping at a big, big unnamed department store. I walked around with her while she tried on several different very expensive outfits. She couldn't decide which one to take, so I told her we'd just buy them all. She wanted new shoes to compliment her new clothes, so I said, 'Let's get a pair for each outfit.'

We went on to the jewelry department where she picked out a pair of diamond earrings. Let me tell you... she was so excited. She must have thought I was one wave short of a shipwreck. I started to think she was testing me because she asked for a tennis bracelet when she doesn't even know how to play tennis.

I think I threw her for a loop when I said, 'That's fine, honey.' She was almost nearing sexual satisfaction from all of the excitement. Smiling with excited anticipation, she finally said, 'I think this is all dear, let's go to the cashier.'

I could hardly contain myself when I blurted out, 'No honey, I don't feel like it.'

Her face just went completely blank as her jaw dropped with a baffled, 'WHAT?'

I then said, 'Honey! I just want you to HOLD this stuff for a while. You're just not in touch with my financial needs as a man enough for me to satisfy your shopping needs as a woman.'

And just when she had this look like she was going to kill me, I added, 'Why can't you just love me for who I am and not for the things I buy you?'

Apparently I'm not having sex tonight either....but at least that bitch knows I'm smarter than her.

you're equipped to be a

It is a portion of National Public Radio (NPR) interview between a female broadcaster and US Marine Corps General Reinwald who was about to sponsor a Boy Scout Troop visiting his military installation

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: So, General Reinwald, what things are you going to teach these young boys when they visit your base?
GENERAL REINWALD: We're going to teach them climbing, canoeing, archery, and shooting.

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Shooting! That's a bit irresponsible, isn't it?
GENERAL REINWALD: I don't see why, they'll be properly supervised on the rifle range.

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Don't you admit that this is a terribly dangerous activity to be teaching children?
GENERAL REINWALD: I don't see how. We will be teaching them proper rifle discipline before they even touch a firearm.

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: But you're equipping them to become violent killers.
GENERAL REINWALD: Well, Ma'am, you're equipped to be a prostitute, but you're not one, are you?

The radio went silent and the interview ended.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

George Soros

On Black Wednesday (September 16, 1992), Soros became immediately famous when he sold short more than $10 billion worth of pounds, profiting from the Bank of England's reluctance to either raise its interest rates to levels comparable to those of other European Exchange Rate Mechanism countries or to float its currency.

Finally, the Bank of England was forced to withdraw the currency out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism and to devalue the pound sterling, and Soros earned an estimated US$ 1.1 billion in the process. He was dubbed "the man who broke the Bank of England."

Soros' philanthropic funding includes efforts to promote non-violent democratization in the post-Soviet states. These efforts, mostly in Central and Eastern Europe, occur primarily through the Open Society Institute (OSI) and national Soros Foundations, which sometimes go under other names (such as the Stefan Batory Foundation in Poland). As of 2003, PBS estimated that he had given away a total of $4 billion. The OSI says it has spent about $400 million annually in recent years.

Drug liberalization

Soros has funded worldwide efforts to promote Drug liberalization. In 2008, Soros donated $400,000 to help fund a successful ballot measure in the state of Massachusetts known as the Massachusetts Sensible Marijuana Policy Initiative which decriminalized possession of less then 1 oz of marijuana in the state.

George Soros - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Friday, November 14, 2008

Hedge Fund Manager: Goodbye ... And Think Pot

The low hanging fruit, i.e. idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale, and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking. These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government. All of this behavior supporting the Aristocracy, only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other side of my trades. God bless America.

Ah, the female. The evil female plant -- marijuana. It gets you high, it makes you laugh, it does not produce a hangover. Unlike alcohol, it does not result in bar fights or wife beating. So, why is this innocuous plant illegal? Is it a gateway drug? No, that would be alcohol, which is so heavily advertised in this country. My only conclusion as to why it is illegal, is that Corporate America, which owns Congress, would rather sell you Paxil, Zoloft, Xanax and other additive drugs, than allow you to grow a plant in your home without some of the profits going into their coffers.

Hedge Fund Manager: Goodbye ... And Think Pot

The Last Question by Isaac Asimov

Population doubles every ten years. Once this Galaxy is filled, we'll have another filled in ten years. Another ten years and we'll have filled two more. Another decade, four more. In a hundred years, we'll have filled a thousand Galaxies. In a thousand years, a million Galaxies. In ten thousand years, the entire known Universe. Then what?"

VJ-23X said, "As a side issue, there's a problem of transportation. I wonder how many sunpower units it will take to move Galaxies of individuals from one Galaxy to the next."

"A very good point. Already, mankind consumes two sunpower units per year."

"Most of it's wasted. After all, our own Galaxy alone pours out a thousand sunpower units a year and we only use two of those."

"Granted, but even with a hundred per cent efficiency, we can only stave off the end. Our energy requirements are going up in geometric progression even faster than our population. We'll run out of energy even sooner than we run out of Galaxies. A good point. A very good point."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

People are grieving

“People are grieving,” said Ms. Goldsmith, a semiretired psychotherapist who counsels fellow residents of the Gleneagles Country Club, a gated community here. “There was a death. Their money died.

Retirees Cope With Dwindling Portfolios -

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Beating the College Bubble

Far from being the solution, the government is the problem, yet again. While government-guaranteed student loans have expanded college access, any economist worth his salt will tell you that by flooding the college market with loans that anyone can get and that are guaranteed by the government has led to tuition well outpacing inflation. What else could have caused this?

If this sounds really familiar, it should. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had a similar effect on the housing bubble. So you'll have to excuse me if I get frightened when I hear "government to the rescue" for a problem it helped create.

Beating the College Bubble

Patents are genocidal

I think its important to understand that as society enters into the coming replication age, that the phony property right they call "patent" will become genocidal.

As things like nanotech and 3d printing take off, production will shift away from the factory and back into the home. The market will start to center around production and creation services instead of production goods.

The people and industries on the losing side of this model will almost certainly try to turn to a patent royalty model, and will almost certainly use extremely coercive measures to impose their control. Just look at Monsanto and ADM and their heavy handed patent strategies used against farmers. Just look at the RIAA and how they cling to their royalty control model under the guise of "intellectual" property and attacked everyone. Just look at the slave plantations, how the plantation masters envisioned that the future of the industrial revolution was to leverage inventions like the cotton-gin and their "ownership" of slaves to vastly expand the size and production capabilities of their plantations. Just look at how pharmaceutical companies sued African nations in the world court to ban them from buying generic AIDS drugs from India. Just look at how patents in the USA slowed anti-lock brakes and air-bags development by decades as millions died.

Mark my words, if we let them push the lie that patent is a "property" or an "incentive" or "protection", genocidal consequences will not be far away.

Top Microsoft Execs Moonlighting For a Patent Bully

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Stretching Before Exercising Weakens Muscles

That may be adequate for running, but it won't do for regimens with extreme range of motion, such as martial arts. We stretch for half an hour prior to a workout punctuated with short one-minute warm-ups every five minutes or so, and it definitely reduces injuries (which, as the GP has it, is the intent... not for "strength"... in fact, I've never heard — anywhere — that the act of stretching increases strength for the immediately succeeding session of exercise. I've been teaching martial arts for over twenty years.)

I can also tell you that if your body isn't prepared to reach an extended position, and it has to go there, either because you forced it to or someone else did, you had better have stretched first and be warmed up.

As for this line in TFS: "The old presumption that holding a stretch for 20 to 30 seconds -- known as static stretching -- primes muscles for a workout is dead wrong. It actually weakens them", the science of this has been known for many years. What happens is that the working elements of the muscle fibers are laid against each other in pairs with an intervening layer between; the more overlap, the more power can be generated because the overlapping surface area of the layer between is where the work gets done. When fibers are stretched, there is less overlap, hence the muscle can generate less power, but the muscle is longer.

Think of your forearm extended, and look at your bicep... see how it is long? Lots of fiber layers have slid against each other and now have considerably less overlap. Now move your arm to the 90 degree position at the elbow, and look at your bicep; it's bunched up, even if it isn't tense: many fiber layers are now slid to an overlapping position.

The number of fibers involved is the factor that determines the total amount of strength in your motion; high recruitment of fibers results in a strong motion, low recruitment results in a weak motion. We train to develop the ability to generate high recruitment on demand. But no matter the recruitment, if you start from a highly non-overlapped position, eg a stretched one, you'll generate less power with the stretched muscle.

This is the basis for moves like arm locks; if the arm is extended, not only is the leverage at the joint reduced, making it more difficult to close the arm against the lock, but the muscle is extended by the lock so that fiber overlap is minimal, which reduces the amount of force that can be generated by the muscle — it is literally a "double-whammy", and accounts for why a fully executed lock is so hard to exit using direct force (correct exits involve rotation of the arm or the lock itself in order to effect closure of the joint, and a good lock prevents such rotation.)

For any motion, you typically will have two muscle groups involved; the agonist, which is the muscle doing the work, and an antagonist, which is the muscle that would be responsible to reverse the motion. In the case of bending at the elbow, to close the arm, the bicep is the agonist and the triceps is the antagonist. If you are trying to open your arm, that is, extend your forearm, then the roles are reversed: The triceps is the agonist and the bicep is the antagonist. One of the key elements of controlling the force your body can generate is learning to really relax the antagonist, and again, stretching helps by teaching you what a really relaxed and extended muscle feels like; it is difficult to minimize fiber recruitment if you don't know what it feels like and the muscle isn't accustomed to that condition.

Anyway, my recommendation is that athletes ignore this report entirely; stretching significantly increases your range of motion, particularly in your ankles, legs, groin, waist, wrists, fingers, back, neck and shoulders, and to the degree that your sport requires (or risks) large range of motion and easy movement, you should include gentle and comprehensive stretching regularly interspersed by minor warming of the muscles as part of your regimen any time you start cold, or become cold (where "cold" means not warmed up in the muscular sense.) This will help reduce injuries, increase general flexibility, and it helps relax the antagonist muscles to reduce wasted energy. To the extent that it reduces power, the trade off is well worth it, in my estimation. Injuries, in a word, suck.

Stretching Before Exercising Weakens Muscles

BitTorrent - Digital Freedom

What attracted me to BitTorrent in the first place (and what is still inspiring to this day) is its ability to provide people true digital freedom. BitTorrent exemplifies market principles, tends toward decentralization, and operates on principles of meritocracy — all great virtues in my book! There have been few technologies in the history of mankind which have had such a massive impact on so many people, giving them the ability to communicate and benefit from each other. For its direct and indirect benefits, I believe BitTorrent sits among the handful of important technology breakthroughs such as the printing press, broadcasting, and the Internet itself. Why? Today's publishing technology (like blogs, bittorrent, and video sharing sites for example) quite directly forge a level playing field for creativity. And indirectly, these tools force large media companies to realize that there is no longer scarcity or a stranglehold on distribution that locks people out of self-expression. Anyone can speak to the world in any format, without filters. Freedom of Speech has never been so available to the masses.

As an open-source technology protocol, BitTorrent represents about half the world’s Internet traffic.

Hulu - Quills

QUILLS imagines the final days of the Marquis de Sade as a blistering black comedy thriller, a battle between lust and love - and between the brutality of censorship and the consequences of free expression.

Hulu - Quills

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Origins of Voter Fraud

"If the ballots are completely anonymous, and there's no way to tell who actually voted, how will we know if the person elected king really won?"

"The kingdom will tell us. They're running the election, after all."

"So there's nothing stopping the kingdom from simply picking a winner and then making it look like the new king actually won this 'election'?"

"I suppose not."

"Well that's pretty much the system we already had, except now we're wasting time and money to make it look like the people in the kingdom actually support what the rulers wanted to do all along."

"Huh. I never considered that."

"I think I'll stay home on this 'election day'."

"Does that mean you don't want to hear about the kingdom's new 'campaign finance' laws?"

The Origins of Voter Fraud - Mises Economics Blog

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Calcutta Quran Petition

Chandmal Chopra tried to ban the Koran at the Calcutta High Court in a Writ Petition on 29 March 1985. The book claims that Sections 153A and 295A of the Indian Penal Code, and Section 95 of the Criminal Procedure Code were often used by Muslims to ban or proscribe publications critical of Islam, and states that "so far it had been the privilege of the Peoples of the Book to ban and burn the sacred literature of the Pagans." It was under the same sections that Chopra tried to ban the Quran. Chandmal Chopra thought that the Koran "on grounds of religion promotes disharmony, feeling of enmity, hatred and ill-will between different religious communities and incite people to commit violence and disturb public tranquility..."

Chandmal Chopra also included a list of several dozens of Quran verses that "promote disharmony" in his petition. The book claims that these Quran verses embody one of the main themes of the book: "Nor have these passages been culled at random from different chapters of the Quran with a view to making the book sound sinister. On the contrary, they provide an almost exhaustive list of Allah’s sayings on a subject of great significance, namely, what the believers should believe about and do to the unbelievers..."

The Telegraph of May 9, 1985 reported that the Union Government would make itself a party in the case, and the Union law minister Ashoke Sen and the attorney-general of the Government of India were going to take action against the case. Muslim lawyers after a meeting condemned the case. According to The Telegraph of May 10, the Chief Minister of West Bengal called the petition "a despicable act". Other politicians in the Lok Sabha at New Delhi, and the Minister of State for Law condemned the Petition.

Pakistan’s minister of state for religious and minority affairs claimed that the petition was the ‘worst example of religious intolerance.’, and he urged the Indian government to ‘follow the example of Pakistan’ in ensuring freedom of religion.

The petition was however dismissed in May 1985. The text of the judgment is included in the book. The Attorney-General of the Government of India and the Advocate-General of West Bengal appeared in the case and argued against Chopra's petition.

On August 31, 1987 Chandmal Chopra was arrested by the police and kept in police custody until September 8 for publishing with Goel this book on the petition. Sita Ram Goel had to abscond to avoid getting arrested.

The Times of India published three articles which praised the Quran during the Petition controversy. Goel claims that a rebuttal to these articles could not be published in the Times of India. Goel claims that the chief editor, Girilal Jain, regretted his inability to do so for reasons he could not reveal.

Thanks to Vishal!

Fatwa Online !!

Is it permissible to wear a tie? Is it permissible to tuck one's shirt into one's trousers?

(Fatwa: 1282/1096=L/1429)

(1) It is not allowed.

(2) By tucking shirt into trouser, the parts of the body which should not be displayed are more revealed. Therefore it will be makrooh (undesirable). However, pant and shirt is the clothing of those involved in sin and obscenity; therefore Muslims should avoid wearing pant and shirt.

and Allah (Subhana Wa Ta'ala) Knows Best
If the pant's hems are at ankles(below the ankles) can they be folded before performing Namaz?

(Fatwa: 1565/208=B/1429)

It is unlawful (haram) to wear lungi, pyjama, pant etc out of pride below ankles whether you are in or out of salah. Performing salah in this state is makrooh tahrimi (undesirable to an extent of haram). If one wears pants above his ankles but by chance if it comes down below ankles because of some reasons, then it will not be considered haram. If one folds up his pants before salah above ankles the salah will not be makrooh. In the Hadith, it is prohibited to play with clothes in salah i.e. doing so is against the Sunnah as well as khushu (concentration and absorption in salah). However, the salah will be valid with karahah (undesirability). It is not necessary to repeat the salah. This is the right and correct ruling, one should act upon accordingly.

and Allah (Subhana Wa Ta'ala) Knows Best

Darul Ifta, Darul Uloom Deoband

ASSLAAMALAIKUM, I am studying in eng. college in B.Tech course.I have applied for education loan in minority commision.LOAN IS GRANTED BY THE STATE GOVERNMENT @3% interest. is it halal for me as my parents are unable to pay a huge amount of fees.please clear my confusion.

It is unlawful to give and take interest. If you can continue your education through any lawful income source, then you must adopt it, otherwise in case of dire difficulty and compulsion, it is allowable to take education loan and you must continually do repentance and seek forgiveness while deeming it a sin.

Asalamualaikum, My question is that does Islam allow us to use pirated or cracked software? As original software are expensive & found rarely.

It is not right to use it without the permission of its owner.

and Allah (Subhana Wa Ta'ala) Knows Best

Assalamu-alaikum, While sneezing comes, what should we do? Someone says, we should control it at our best, if not possible, then we can use the front side of left hand to cover-up the mouth. Another alim says, rather reverse side of pump of the left hand should be used to cover-up. Which one is correct? Zazakallahu khairan.

One should not withhold the sneezing. The abovementioned matter is of yawning, one can put inner and outer side of his palms upon his mouth while yawning, and both ways are allowed. It is in Shami that if a person is in standing position in salah, he should use his right hand whether outer or inner side, and if he is in other positions of salah he should use the outer side of his left hand. (Shami, 1:477) But this is the ruling of yawning (no sneezing) which is called tathaub in Arabic. The sneezing which is called utaas in Arabic, there is no ruling to control it. The Hadith says: ان الله يحب العطاس ويكره التثاؤب (Allah like sneezing and dislikes yawning) And it is narrated in Bukhari and Muslim:

Is it permissible to use utensils such as forks, knives, spoons etc. to eat?

One can use the things mentioned in the question when needed. But, it is prohibited to use them as fashion and avoid eating with fingers.

and Allah (Subhana Wa Ta'ala) Knows Best

Assalam mu Alaykum, When is sexual intercourse haraam and when is it makrooh. And what is haraam during sexual intercourse and what is makrooh.

(1) No, she can not. Such a woman has been cursed in Hadith.

(2) She should cut her nails fortnightly, if not weekly. If one did not cut the nails for fourteen days then one will be sinful whether a woman or a man.

(3) Every time she will perform Umrah she will have to cut the hair of her head equal to one third of her finger. If the hair reached up to her shoulder then also she has to cut the same.

What type of eveidence should be required to charge an adultery on woman? like whether four men see that particular female having sexual intercourse. or having relations with other men out of Islamic boundries like in a separate or going out alone with other man. If one wife is found guilty of having lewdness relations with other men then is he liable to give dower (Meher) at the time of divorce.

Four witnesses are requited to establish the offence of adultery. These witnesses will have to bear witness in this way: "I have seen so and so man doing intercourse with so and so woman in a way as pin of kohl is inserted in kohl-jar." One can not blame a woman of adultery just by seeing her going out alone with a man:

ویثبت الزنا بشھادۃ أربعۃ رجال فی مجلس واحد بلفظ 'زنا' لا مجرد لفظ الوطئ و الجماع، فیسألھم الامام عنہ ما ھو؟ کیف ھو؟ و أين هو؟ و متی زنی؟ فان بینوہ و قالوا رأیناہ وطئھا فی فرجھا کالمیل فی المکحلۃ و عدلوا سراً و علانیۃً حکم بہ (الدر المختار مع الشامی: 6/8)

(2) Yes, he has to give her mehr (dower) in case of talaq.

Dear Mufti, Asalamualaikum, I want to ask is network marketing is allowed in islam? Is it permisable to take the commission from the pepoles works whos is working below you?

Network marketing is neither based on partnership nor Muzarba (investment by one partner and work by other), rather it consists of many invalid conditions, and it is similar to lottery and gambling. Also, there is so much deception that in the greed of wealth it can trap the entire population in financial crisis. Therefore, it is Islamically unlawful to become its member or to take commission from the work of the persons below you while you do not have a share in their work.

An Afghan Penalty For Soccer Shorts

The religious police of Afghanistan's ruling Taliban movement arrested visiting Pakistani soccer players on Saturday and shaved their heads because they were wearing shorts, Afghan and team officials said today.
An Afghan Penalty For Soccer Shorts - New York Times

Religious police also assaulted men for immodest dress, incorrect beard length, and long hair (see Section 2.c.). In one incident in 2000, a visiting Pakistani soccer team playing in Kandahar had their heads forcibly shaved in the middle of a match by Taliban authorities.


The corporate university

Podolny, still only 43 and credited with helping applications to the school rise by 50 percent in his four-year tenure, is leaving to become the first ever dean of the so-called Apple University.

The computer and tech company has yet to say exactly what Apple University is -- an Apple spokesman called it only an "exciting new project" -- but many people assume it is likely to be an in-house executive education and training facility for employees.

If confirmed, Podolny's move highlights the way in which increasing numbers of corporations set up their own "corporate universities," designed to provide tailor-made training to staff. According to one academic study of the phenomenon, by 2001 there were already around 2,000 corporate universities around the world.

The corporate university -

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Checks: The Most Dangerous Transaction | Perimeter Grid

Second, there’s the difficulty in getting your money back or even stopping the fraud! With a credit card (and to a lesser extent, a debit card), it’s pretty simple — you call the bank, say you did not authorize a charge, and the credit card company removes the charge. It is then up to them to prove you did make the charge, such as by getting a signed receipt from the merchant and matching your signature. So long as you report the fraud within 30 days, you are not liable — the worst the card company can do to you is to cancel your card (but you still don’t have to pay for the charge you didn’t make.) In theory, you’re liable for up to $50, but almost no card issuers really charge this since it’s terrible customer service (”Sorry you were stolen from! Give us $50!”)

With checks, the money is already gone.  If you report a check as fraudulent, there is no federal law saying the bank is liable — it’s up to the bank’s own policies and in some cases a hodgepodge of state laws whether they have to help you at all.  The bank may get back to you in 60 to 90 days (during which you don’t have the money, even if it was the entire contents of your checking account.)  You have to report the fraud on a paper letter, with a notarized signature, usually by certified mail.  What’s more, you have to prove that the checks were not authorized — the burden of proof is on you, not the bank or merchant — and you have to do it to each party from which you’re trying to reclaim money.  If a thief wrote bad checks in 20 different jurisdictions, you may be dealing with this for years.

Worse yet, you can’t stop the fraud from taking place.  The thief can keep writing checks on your account even after you’ve started reporting them as fraud, and even after you’ve closed the account.  Every time the thief writes a bad check on a closed account (the classic practice known as “paperhanging”, a favorite of Frank Abagnale during his criminal youth), your bank will reopen the account and send you an NSF notice.  You have to dispute all of these, too.  And finally, your account (and possibly your name) will go into ChexSystems (the equivalent of the credit bureaus used to check people’s checking account history) as fraudulent, which will make it difficult or impossible to get new checking accounts for many years.  On the bright side, it will make it harder for the thief to open accounts in your name, but that’s little consolation since he can keep using the closed one he already has.

Checks: The Most Dangerous Transaction | Perimeter Grid

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Shirky: Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality

A persistent theme among people writing about the social aspects of weblogging is to note (and usually lament) the rise of an A-list, a small set of webloggers who account for a majority of the traffic in the weblog world. This complaint follows a common pattern we've seen with MUDs, BBSes, and online communities like Echo and the WELL. A new social system starts, and seems delightfully free of the elitism and cliquishness of the existing systems. Then, as the new system grows, problems of scale set in. Not everyone can participate in every conversation. Not everyone gets to be heard. Some core group seems more connected than the rest of us, and so on.

Prior to recent theoretical work on social networks, the usual explanations invoked individual behaviors: some members of the community had sold out, the spirit of the early days was being diluted by the newcomers, et cetera. We now know that these explanations are wrong, or at least beside the point. What matters is this: Diversity plus freedom of choice creates inequality, and the greater the diversity, the more extreme the inequality.

In systems where many people are free to choose between many options, a small subset of the whole will get a disproportionate amount of traffic (or attention, or income), even if no members of the system actively work towards such an outcome. This has nothing to do with moral weakness, selling out, or any other psychological explanation. The very act of choosing, spread widely enough and freely enough, creates a power law distribution.

Shirky: Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Snap Fitness Center Franchise Opportunities

Our first club opened in 2004. Today, with more than 1,500 sold in the United States and Canada, we rank #1 on Franchise Market Magazine's Top 100 New Franchises* and #3 among Entrepreneur Magazine's Top New Franchises**.

A Snap Fitness franchise is easy to afford, easy to manage - 70% of our franchisees are absentee owners - and easy to market.
Snap Fitness Center Franchise Opportunities

Low Cost, High Value Makes My Model Work

Less is more! That's what I concluded after a two-year quest to design the ideal health club for a would-be owner like you.

I managed "big box" clubs for 20 years. Though successful, I questioned the work and capital needed to turn a profit. So, through analysis and trial-and-error, I down-sized, stripping costly amenities and keeping only the bare essentials that fit in low-rent, well-situated malls.

I cut labor by using a high-security, key-card system to let members come and go in a safe environment. And I emphasized good value and a low price.

My first test in rural Minnesota yielded 180 members in 30 days. From my point of view that was good enough financially. Pilots in larger markets got similar results. I realized I had a tiger by the tail - and a business model you can use to pursue your dreams.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Market.. Assets.. and Bankruptcy concept!!!! -

Once there was a little island country. The land of this country was the tiny island itself. The total money in circulation was 2 dollars as there were only two pieces of 1 dollar coins circulating around.

1) There were 3 citizens living on this island country. A owned the land. B and C each owned 1 dollar.

2) B decided to purchase the land from A for 1 dollar. So, now A and C own 1 dollar each while B owned a piece of land that is worth 1 dollar.

* The net asset of the country now = 3 dollars.

3) Now C thought that since there is only one piece of land in the country, and land is non producible asset, its value must definitely go up. So, he
borrowed 1 dollar from A, and together with his own 1 dollar, he bought the land from B for 2 dollars.

*A has a loan to C of 1 dollar, so his net asset is 1 dollar.
* B sold his land and got 2 dollars, so his net asset is 2 dollars.
* C owned the piece of land worth 2 dollars but with his 1 dollar debt to A, his net residual asset is 1 dollar.
* Thus, the net asset of the country = 4 dollars.

4) A saw that the land he once owned has risen in value. He regretted having sold it. Luckily, he has a 1 dollar loan to C. He then borrowed 2 dollars from B and acquired the land back from C for 3 dollars. The payment is by 2 dollars cash (which he borrowed) and cancellation of the 1 dollar loan to C.
As a result, A now owned a piece of land that is worth 3 dollars. But since he owed B 2 dollars, his net asset is 1 dollar.

* B loaned 2 dollars to A. So his net asset is 2 dollars.
* C now has the 2 coins. His net asset is also 2 dollars.
* The net asset of the country = 5 dollars. A bubble is building up.

Market.. Assets.. and Bankruptcy concept!!!! -

Monday, October 20, 2008

MIT Entrepreneurship Development Program

Entrepreneurship drives innovation and economic growth. It enables new ideas, novel approaches, and innovative technologies to reach the marketplace. Entrepreneurship underlies the competitiveness and prosperity that characterize the U.S. economy and the economies of many other democratic societies.

The Entrepreneurship Development Program (EDP) leverages MIT's culture of high-tech entrepreneurship to help entrepreneurs, corporate venturing executives, and others involved in entrepreneurial environments learn what they need to develop ideas into successful businesses, and how to increase entrepreneurial opportunities in their corporations, institutions, and regions. The course introduces participants to MIT's technology transfer system, entrepreneurial educational programs, and entrepreneurial network that have created more than 5,000 firms (so far) with combined annual sales of over $200 billion.

In lectures, visits to high-tech start-ups, and live case studies with successful entrepreneurs, participants learn to identify and evaluate opportunities for new ventures, how the U.S. venture capital investment process works, and how the venture creation process may vary according to country. Understanding how to build new companies from corporate laboratories or university-based science and technologies is critical to this process.

The program covers the entire venture creation process from idea generation to building viable businesses, with special emphasis on the nurturing roles of corporations, universities, governments, and foundations. Using MIT's entrepreneurial culture as a model, participants learn what they need to know to make high-tech startups successful.

Entrepreneurship Development Program

Home Sweet Office: Telecommute Good for Business, Employees, and Planet

That might sound a bit radical to those who swear by the office's supposed benefits, like camaraderie and face-to-face collaboration. But time and again, studies have shown that telecommuters are every bit as engaged as their cubicle-bound brethren — and happier and more productive to boot. Last year, researchers from Penn State analyzed 46 studies of telecommuting conducted over two decades and covering almost 13,000 employees. Their sweeping inquiry concluded that working from home has "favorable effects on perceived autonomy, work-family conflict, job satisfaction, performance, turnover intent, and stress." The only demonstrable drawback is a slight fraying of the relationships between telecommuters and their colleagues back at headquarters — largely because of jealousy on the part of the latter group. That's the first problem you solve when you kill your office.

Home Sweet Office: Telecommute Good for Business, Employees, and Planet
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Father takes son to court for idleness

A father took his 20-year old son to an Islamic court in northern Nigeria for idleness, asking that he be sent to prison for refusing to engage in productive activities, state news agency NAN said Friday.

"He is not listening to words and he is bringing shame to my family. I am tired of his nefarious deeds. Please put this boy in prison so that I can be free," Sama'ila Tahir, a market trader in the northeastern town of Bauchi, was quoted as saying.

Tahir told the court that his son had refused to go to school and accused him of belonging to a criminal gang.

The court sentenced the son to six months in prison and 30 strokes of the cane -- which were immediately administered on the premises -- for being disobedient to his parents, NAN said.

Father takes son to court for idleness | Oddly Enough | Reuters

An Entrepreneur's Early Days

As the venture starts growing, the choices before the entrepreneur start increasing. There are many roads ahead. There is a world full of opportunity. Just like the teenager who feels he can do no wrong, so does the entrepreneur. This is, therefore, also the most dangerous period in the life of the entrepreneur.

As a teenager, one feels one can have it all. No one else knows more. The world is at one's beck and call. These crucial years lay the foundation for how adulthood will be. There is tremendous energy that lies within, waiting for an outlet. So, too for an entrepreneur. One has gone through the early, tough days, and there is a latent volcano waiting to explode on the scene. This is the time when the entrepreneur has to most careful for the choices one makes now will determine the course of the future. In business as in life, there is no Undo or Edit button.

Choices there are many recruiting the second-tier management team, the first markets to tap into, the partners to ally with, the activities to do. This is the time when temptation of doing everything is abundant. This is when judicious decisions need to be made on what not to do. This is the harder choice. Entrepreneurs naturally feel that they are capable of doing everything at the same time.

This is the time when the entrepreneur has to show more maturity that is normal, by deciding on the few things that need paramount attention. There will be multiple competing strands vying for attention. Resources are limited, opportunities do not seem to be. There is a sense that if one does not capitalise on something now, it will be gone forever. It is the world of Now and Must-Have for the entrepreneur. The choice must therefore be on What Not To Do simply because there is no way that everything can be done well at the same time.

E M E R G I C . o r g: TECH TALK: An Entrepreneur's Early Days

What to do now?

Unfortunately, we cant sit back and say, I am not going to do anything this year. We have to do something just to keep abreast with inflation. That means you have to earn 12% on your assets (liquid, fixed) to just stay where you are. (Assuming inflation stays at 12%).

No matter what the conditions are, there is always an opportunity to make some profit. Business is a natural extension to any given situation. Put me back into stone age. I am sure I will find something to make and sell.

Since we are domain agnostic and stick to the simple philosophy of "To Create Surplus", I don't see any problem in finding an opportunity. But the efforts are going to go up and the margins are going to come down. That's for sure. And that's the challenge.

Deevee One: What to do now?

'NO' is the answer

Note to self

Winners don't take 'NO' for an answer. There is one thing that I would like to add to it. Forget about winning, if you want to stop screwing yourself, learn to say 'NO' to people, in the right time, right way.

An adage comes to my mind...

"మొహమాటానికి వెళ్లి ముండ కడుపు తెచ్చుకున్నదని"

Is now the time for a Wall Street sequel? | Film |

I think you've rather misunderstood by the way .... which sadly indicates you've failed to understand the entire message of the movie!!! The point was that some of the companies that GG (in the real world, the Rowlands and Goldsmiths) raided had little wrong with them - crucially they WEREN'T "sick or dying," BUT they were not completely ruthless in maximising profitability (and therefore shareprice) to the very last fraction of a cent. They were companies taking a 'hey, we can all do well' attitude and therefore combined making reasonable (though not maximal) profits with being decent to their workforces, honest with their customers, respectful to the environment, etc.

What the GGs did was come along and buy up shares in the knowledge that by instead sh1tting all over the workforce, customers, environment, by taking a completely greedy, immoral and irresponsible stance they could up profitability and shareprice, thereby being able to sell-on the shares at a large profit.

The important message of the movie being that mature shareholder-owned corporate capitalism is fundamentally evil - that it CAN no longer act in any other way, it cannot be responsible, it cannot be "ethical" because as soon as any corporation attempts so to act, it fails to maximise profitability and therefore shareprice, thus exposing itself to being bought and any such approach expunged to make a profit on the shares. And that is why such opportunities today are, as you say, rare - because no-one would dare to try and run a corporation in anything but a wholly amoral 'shareprice-maximising at any cost whatsoever' way!

Is now the time for a Wall Street sequel? | Film |

Georgia Lottery Corporation

As with all other Georgia Lottery games, proceeds from Mega Millions will benefit education in the state of Georgia. Since its first year, the Georgia Lottery Corporation has returned over $10.1 billion to the state of Georgia for education. All Georgia Lottery profits go to pay for specific educational programs including Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship Program and Georgia’s Pre-K Program. More than 1.1 million students have received HOPE, and more than 940,000 4-year-olds have attended the statewide, voluntary prekindergarten program.

Official Home of Mega Millions

Knight News Challenge

The 2009 Knight News Challenge is year three of a contest awarding as much as $5 million a year for innovative ideas that develop platforms, tools and services to inform and transform community news, conversations, and information distribution and visualization.

Knight Foundation plans to invest at least $25 million over five years in the search for bold community news and social media experiments.

In 2008, 17 winners were awarded over $5 million dollars. Their projects were from around the world and addressed a wide range of issues.

If you want to know more about the Knight News Challenge, we suggest you start at the beginning and read every page on this site.

If you are a reporter writing about the Knight News Challenge, please visit our press room.

The News Challenge is an initiative of John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's Journalism Program.

About Us | Knight News Challenge

The Hungry Scientist Handbook

The Hungry Scientist Handbook brings DIY technology into the kitchen and onto the plate. It compiles the most mouthwatering projects created by mechanical engineer Patrick Buckley and his band of intrepid techie friends, whose collaboration on contraptions started at a memorable 2005 Bay Area dinner party and resulted in the formation of the Hungry Scientist Society—a loose confederation of creative minds dedicated to the pursuit of projects possessing varying degrees of whimsy and utility.

Featuring twenty projects ranging from edible origami to glowing lollipops, cryogenic martinis to Tupperware boom boxes, the book draws from the expertise of programmers, professors, and garden-variety geeks and offers something to delight DIYers of all skill levels. The Hungry Scientist Handbook: Electric Birthday Cakes, Edible Origami, and Other DIY Projects for Techies, Tinkerers, and Foodies: Patrick Buckley, Lily Binns: Books

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

2008 Best of Open Source Software Awards

Best of Open Source Software Awards 2008
InfoWorld's 2008 Bossies recognize the top free and open products for business, IT, and personal productivity

Best of open source for collaboration
The InfoWorld Test Center picks the best for social networking, wiki, blogging, and groupware

Best of open source developer tools
The InfoWorld Test Center picks the top free and open source RIA platform, Ajax framework, business rule management system, version control package, object database, Web service test tool, and HTTP client library

Best of open source enterprise applications
The InfoWorld Test Center picks the best free BPM, CRM, ERP, e-commerce, business intelligence, project management, application management, and portal software

Best of open source in networking
The InfoWorld Test Center chooses its top picks for IP telephony, VoIP monitoring, log analysis, Wi-Fi scanning, server and network monitoring, and routing software

Best of open source platforms and middleware
InfoWorld Test Center picks the top free and open source operating systems, desktop and server virtualization, database, application integration, and data migration software

Best of open source productivity apps
The InfoWorld Test Center's picks for the top free and open source productivity apps include office suite, Web browser, image manipulator, sound editor, 3D modeling tool, and PDF creator

Best of open source in security
The InfoWorld Test Center picks the top free and open source firewall, IPS, network gateway, password cracker, penetration toolkit, application security, and disk encryption software

Best of open source storage software
The InfoWorld Test Center turns up the top free and open source offering for network and online backup, network attached storage, disk monitoring, and storage administration

InfoWorld Special Report 107881 Archives

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Islamic Relief USA - Ramadan - Zakah Calculator

Zakah (required alms giving) is a duty on every mature and sane Muslim once every lunar year. In giving Zakah, a person is purifying their property, as well as their heart from all forms of greed or selfishness.

Zakah is payable at 2.5% of the wealth one possesses above the Nisab. This is the minimum amount of wealth one must have before they are liable to pay Zakah. This is equal to 3 ounces of gold. As of August 29 2008, this is estimated to be $2,494.62.

Zakah is liable on gold, silver, cash, savings, investments, rent income, business merchandise and profits, shares, securities and bonds.

Zakah is not paid on wealth used for debt repayment of living expenses such as clothing, food, housing, transport, education, etc.

Islamic Relief collects and distributes Zakah to those Muslims who are most in need, in accordance with Qur'anic guidelines.

To work out how to calculate your Zakah, fill out the form below. Remember you only pay Zakah if the zakatable total exceeds the Nisab.

Islamic Relief USA | Ramadan - Zakah Calculator

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Massive destruction of money supply

Most major financial institutions are undergoing a major deleveraging process which decreases the overall debt to equity ratio in the economy. This leads to a massive destruction of money supply and a crash in the value of assets in the economy, which we are seeing a start of with continuation of decreased real estate, equity and commodity prices, and unavailability of loans even to the largest and most stable entities in the US. This value destruction definitely exceeds 5,000,000,000,000 dollars over the last 12 months at this point in time.

It is getting to the point where some states are facing bond defaults because they cannot borrow at reasonable terms. Giant corporations like GE are facing a real prospect of bankruptcy because they cannot borrow working capital despite having a 22:1 asset to debt ratio. If the US Government were not trying to counter this by pumping money into the economy we would surely be looking at the stark reality of a depression.

The US dollar is appreciating greatly vs. the Euro, because at least the US realizes the problem and are acting with concerted vigor. The EU's economic policy is total shambles with individual countries acting unilaterally rather than in concert, and the refusal of central banks to lower interest rates. Some analysts think this may get bad enough to destroy the Euro as a currency. At the very least it has put an end to any talk of the dollar losing it's special place as the international reserve currency. Some small countries like Iceland, Ireland and Greece are on the edge right now. Iceland's problems are so bad that they are having difficulty importing food.

There is no practical limit to the ability of the US Treasury to pump money into the economy by loans against hard assets. The question is how much and how fast is needed to accomplish the desired effect, and can it be done without overshooting on the other side.

Enterprise Software Sales Dried Up In September

High Rate of H-1B Visa Fraud

A report released Oct. 8 by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) reveals that 13% of petitions filed for H-1B visas on behalf of employers are fraudulent. Another 8% contain some sort of technical violations.

Fraudulent cases include instances in which the visa worker was not working or had never worked at the specified location on the application. Technical violations involved situations in which the worker was paid at or below the prevailing wage, which companies are required by law to pay.

In other cases, the job duties were significantly different from the position listed on the visa petition. This could involve misrepresenting the skill set required or the location of the job. Accounting, human resources, business analyst, sales, and advertising occupations are more likely than other categories to involve fraud, according to the study. Other areas in which violations were found include computer-related occupations, and art and managerial jobs. "Until we make a conscious effort to close the loopholes, we're going to see continued abuse where people coming to this country on H-1B visas are working at Laundromats," said Grassley in a statement. He was referring to situations in which companies misrepresent what type of work the visa holder will do.

In the study, visa workers with only bachelor's degrees were subject to higher fraud or technical violation rates (31%) than those with graduate degrees (13%). Fraud and violations were more common for companies employing 25 or fewer employees and with annual gross income of less than $10 million.

High Rate of H-1B Visa Fraud - BusinessWeek