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Obama to Let States Restrict Emissions Standards -
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:56 pm EST, Jan 25, 2009

But the centerpiece of Monday’s East Room announcement is Mr. Obama’s directive to the Environmental Protection Agency to immediately begin work on granting the so-called California waiver, which allows the state, a longtime leader in air quality matters, to set its own standards for automobile emissions. The Bush administration denied the waiver in late 2007, saying that allowing California and the 13 other states the right to set their own pollution rules would result in an unenforceable patchwork of environmental law. The automakers had advocated such a position, saying it would require them to produce two sets of vehicles, one to meet the strict California standard and another that could be sold in the remaining states.

Obama to Let States Restrict Emissions Standards -

Identifying the Bird, When Not Much Bird Is Left -
Topic: Miscellaneous 1:24 pm EST, Jan 25, 2009

Turnaround time is usually very short, but sometimes the lab finds a problem. Faridah Dahlan, a geneticist, tested a sample a year ago that indicated it had come from a deer.

Airplanes do sometimes hit deer, but a phone call to the pilot confirmed that this strike was at 1,500 feet, so more investigation was required.

Eventually, the lab used a tiny piece of feather to determine that the bird was a black vulture. The bird apparently had deer flesh in its belly.

Identifying the Bird, When Not Much Bird Is Left -

OpEd: We Aimed for The Stars...Until We Stopped
Topic: Miscellaneous 5:01 pm EST, Jan 24, 2009

So don't tell me this great, rich country of ours can't afford to be in space — I am sick of hearing that refrain.

In fact, the next time someone tries to tell you we can't afford NASA, that we need to spend the money "here" (as if we loft the Benjamins into orbit!), I have some advice for you: If you don't want to mention the cost of the wars, if you would rather not get into Wall Street or Detroit bailouts, or if you don't want to tell them the money we spend on the space program is about the same as our annual expenditure on coffee — why not mention India? Say something like this: "Calcutta can afford it — and Cleveland can't?" Or perhaps more accurately: Calcutta thinks it cannot afford not to be in space — and we can? This would be a good time to remind them that when they need some tech support, they are likely talking to a smart, ambitious, young person in Bangalore — not Baltimore.

OpEd: We Aimed for The Stars...Until We Stopped

Someone Take Away Thomas Friedman's Computer Before He Types Another Sentence | The Smirking Chimp
Topic: Current Events 4:45 pm EST, Jan 24, 2009

First of all, how can any single person be in three holes at once? Secondly, what the fuck is he talking about? If you're supposed to stop digging when you're in one hole, why should you dig more in three? How does that even begin to make sense? It's stuff like this that makes me wonder if the editors over at the New York Times editorial page spend their afternoons dropping acid or drinking rubbing alcohol.

Someone Take Away Thomas Friedman's Computer Before He Types Another Sentence | The Smirking Chimp

Europe to Ask Wealthy Nations to Adopt Carbon Trading System -
Topic: Miscellaneous 4:21 pm EST, Jan 24, 2009

The European Commission was preparing an appeal on Friday to wealthy countries — and to the United States in particular — to adopt carbon trading as one of the main mechanisms for curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
The main alternative to a cap-and-trade system is a tax on emissions. Many analysts say that would be a more straightforward way of limiting planet-warming gases from industry.

Europe to Ask Wealthy Nations to Adopt Carbon Trading System -

Study Pinpoints Main Source of Asia’s Brown Air Pollution Cloud -
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:28 pm EST, Jan 23, 2009

Orjan Gustafsson of Stockholm University in Sweden and colleagues have now removed the cloud of uncertainty hanging over the brown cloud. Burning of biomass, they report in Science, is the greater culprit.

Study Pinpoints Main Source of Asia’s Brown Air Pollution Cloud -

Wikipedia May Restrict Public’s Ability to Change Entries - Bits Blog -
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:27 pm EST, Jan 23, 2009

Stung by criticism after vandals changed Wikipedia entries to erroneously report that Senators Edward Kennedy and Robert Byrd had died, Wikipedia appears ready to introduce a system that prevents new and anonymous users from instantly publishing changes to the online encyclopedia.

Anonymity = spam.

Wikipedia May Restrict Public’s Ability to Change Entries - Bits Blog -

Wall Street’s Sick Psychology of Entitlement
Topic: Miscellaneous 5:25 pm EST, Jan 23, 2009

The news that Merrill Lynch paid out $15 billion in bonuses is sure to ignite new questions about the wisdom of bailing out Wall Street. Merrill Lynch took $10 billion from the TARP, allegedly to fill holes in its balance sheet. But instead of using that to repair its financial health, it simply put the money into the pockets of its employees. There is no way to defend this disgusting payout.

...when you pay yourself a bonus with taxpayer money you are simply taking money from someone who earned it and giving it to someone who didn't. If the government hadn’t supplied the means for redistributing that money, you’d just be a mugger.

More insight in the threads.

I came from the industry... One thing I never came to terms with was how many of my colleagues actually thought they deserved their big paydays. Yes, they put in a lot of hours, but I did the same and often more in the industry I had left. What so many never seemed to understand was that their bonuses were more a factor of being able to dip their hands in the river of money that flowed through the firm, rather than any value creation greater than in other industries. Could any one of them honestly say the value he or she created was more than that of a teacher in a third-grade classroom? Their compensation was a result of a structural imbalance in our economy that rewarded oligopolistic behavior in the name of an illusory market transparency derisorily (un)enforced by the SEC and the self-regulatory organizations.

Oh, how true this is:

When I started in the business in risk management a veteran trader drew me a picture of the money river to tell me how everyone got paid.

He drew the river and then in a prime spot, a dam. That's where management was. Then you had sales and trading rank and file down the river a bit, but on the bank dipping their pans in the river. Middle office was behind the river bank dipping in the occasional spill over.

Then he drew a spot miles away from the river. "I used to be a chemical engineer and this is where I used to be."

And this:

Revolutionize your heart out. We'll still have this country by the balls.

Wall Street’s Sick Psychology of Entitlement

High and Low Finance - Wall Street May Be Looking at Withering Wages -
Topic: Business 5:17 pm EST, Jan 23, 2009

Just how much the demand for financial innovation will fade is unclear, of course. “These things come in waves,” Mr. Philippon said in an interview. “If for the next 10 years, we go back to a ’60s-style economy, where big firms make investments without taking too much risk, finance will shrink.” But, he added, if the green revolution, alternative energy and biotech “turn out to be like electricity, then we will need them.”

Here's the upcoming green bubble again.

High and Low Finance - Wall Street May Be Looking at Withering Wages -

Is Obama's handheld a BlackBerry or something else?
Topic: Miscellaneous 4:52 pm EST, Jan 23, 2009

The device Obama intends to use might not even be a BlackBerry, and it might not be that close in size or weight to the small, sleek device made by Waterloo, Ontario-based Research in Motion Ltd.

Even though Gibbs repeatedly called it a BlackBerry, four security analysts interviewed today said the handheld is probably something else. They based their assessments primarily on the fact that the device Obama pulled from his pocket looked too large to be a BlackBerry. Moreover, its silver skin looked like that of the Sectera Edge, which is already being used by thousands of federal government workers.

Is Obama's handheld a BlackBerry or something else?

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