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October 26, 2008

Cool and nerdy: The Right Number is a pretty interesting web based comic book-thing. Ironically, it used to cost $0.25 in micropayments, but is now free, suggesting that $0 is The Right Number.

Perceptive: Faith. Belief. Trust. This economic orthodoxy was built on superstition.

Pretty surprising: Patent Office finds voice, calls for software patent sanity.

Funny: Killjoy Cooking With the Dungeons & Dragons Crowd, Call centre worker caught out by boss after posting 'sickie' plan on Facebook, Open Letter To Jessica Alba's Agent.

October 5, 2008

My research on vacuum tubes (relevant to my beloved MB-1 preamp which contains two tubes) and their expected lifespan led me to read about how this system was kept on 24/7, to avoid the relatively high concentration of failures during the power-on process of a tube: Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE).

At a similar point in US history we were developing the XB-70 Valkyrie which was made obsolete by ICBMs. Subsequently, nuclear bombers have been a hard sell, since an ICBM or cruise missile can do a similar job at a lower cost without risking the lives of pilots, and without needing to return home after a bombing run. But in the cases when we still need bombers to deliver precision strikes, there is the B-2, famous for its high cost per plane. But it's still an amazing machine. B-2 Spirit Operational History: Combat: "The B-2 has seen service in three separate campaigns. Its debut was during the Kosovo War or Operation Allied Force in 1999. It was responsible for destroying 33 percent of all Serbian targets in the first eight weeks, by flying non stop to Kosovo from its home base in Missouri and back."

October 4, 2008

Three from Fareed Zakaria, who is probably my favorite journalist: Palin Is Ready? Please. "Can we now admit the obvious? Sarah Palin is utterly unqualified to be vice president. She is a feisty, charismatic politician who has done some good things in Alaska. But she has never spent a day thinking about any important national or international issue, and this is a hell of a time to start." Also, How Not to Save the World and The World Isn't So Dark are typically brilliant.

The Roots of the Crisis: How did Wall Street get into this mess? The key quote: " market is truly illiquid. It just isn't liquid at the price you want to sell."

How SEC Regulatory Exemptions Helped Lead to Collapse: "The current excess leverage now unwinding was the result of a purposeful SEC exemption given to five firms."

Fury at $2.5bn Lehman bonus: "Staff at Lehman's New York office who helped to cause the world's biggest corporate bankruptcy are to share in a $2.5 billion bonanza."

Interesting: Defaming Milton Friedman: Naomi Klein's disastrous yet popular polemic against the great free market economist. Klein seems not to know the difference between cronyism masquerading as free market economics, and a free market. Hint: when someone points a gun at you, you're not participating in a free market. Corruption is the actual root of the problems she tries to pin on capitalism; countries with decidedly anti-capitalist economies are no stranger to cronyism and the abuse of military power.

Google Launches Mapping Satellite.