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So I says to Mable, I says...

Slashdot | Shell Ditches Wind, Solar, and Hydro
Topic: Business 1:52 pm EDT, Mar 19, 2009

This is interesting because of motive. People probably don't realize this but Shell and BP are the biggest producers of solar and wind products in the world. With them exiting the market, I bet it's because they can't get the margins that they thought they'd get because of all the newcomers into the market. Biofuels are a smarter investment IMO, but carbon sequestration is a technical hack.

Slashdot | Shell Ditches Wind, Solar, and Hydro

Topic: Miscellaneous 5:22 pm EDT, Mar 16, 2009

Thanks for exploring Moontoast. We appreciate it. Creating a global marketplace of human knowledge is no small thing and we need a little help.


RE: Cancel Cable TV
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:10 pm EDT, Mar 12, 2009

Decius wrote:

There have been a number of articles lately about people cutting costs by cancelling/cutting cable TV service.

This is an interesting discussion.

I think this revelation was "old" when my good friend Luke Kanies uttered out loud to the Tennessee Legislature that all content would be packetized within 5 years. This was in 2002 and he was right. At the time, the MPAA was trying to strong arm legislation so that they could control the pipes in anticipation of this happening. It didn't work and I think you will see a paradigm shift in the next 2 years as people wake up to this reality. With the exception of live sports or other "noteworthy" events (Pres speaking, breaking news, etc), there's very little reason to have cable in its packaged form. You can download almost anything and in a lot of cases, the quality is good. Sometimes better than cable due to poor compression.

But this got me thinking about something else that has been brewing. I've been saying for a few weeks that all of this 'chaos' in the economy is really the result of a transition to an information based economy. All of the disintermediation that we were yapping about in the early-mid 90's when the internet came of age has happened, and now we're seeing the effects. As institutions from the 20th century come crumbling down because they can no longer control the distribution of information.

This has happened in retail, automotive, finance, real estate, the content industries (movies, music, news, etc), and is about to happen in health care and government. This has some MAJOR implications, which we are feeling very much at the moment.

For one, with as interconnected as everything is globally, this type of instability in institutions has massively cascading effect on the world.

The other is that the entire nature of "work" and "career" is also changing. No longer are we safer or even more productive in large organizations. In fact, competition is so fierce and the need for adaptability so great, that large organizations have a hard time even picking priorities, much less executing on them. I think that a new era of small teams or individuals will take over, as the building blocks of commerce.

RE: Cancel Cable TV

Slashdot | Censorship By Glut
Topic: Society 2:21 pm EST, Dec  1, 2008

But I submit there is a solution -- a variant of an argument that I've suggested for stopping cheating on Digg, or building Wikia search into a meritocratic search engine, or helping the best writers rise to the top on Google Knol. The solution is sorting based on ratings from a random sample of users. The remainder of this speculation will be very theoretical, and will at times seem like a Rube-Goldberg approach to what should be a simple problem. But at each juncture, the complications to the algorithm are motivated by an argument that anything simpler would not work. At many points along the way, it will be tempting to throw up one's hands and say, "Why go to all this trouble, the existing system works well enough." But this statement is hard to quantify with any actual evidence -- unless you're just using the circular definition above, that whatever rises to the top is automatically the "best".

Decius, will you please give this guy a swift kick in the ass?

Slashdot | Censorship By Glut

Paulson: Government won't buy troubled bank assets - Yahoo! News
Topic: Business 1:19 pm EST, Nov 12, 2008

The administration decided that using billions of dollars to buy troubled assets of financial institutions at the current time was "not the most effective way" to use the $700 billion bailout package, he said.

The announcement marked a major shift for the administration which had talked only about purchasing troubled assets as it lobbied Congress to pass the massive bailout bill.

Bait n switch?

Paulson: Government won't buy troubled bank assets - Yahoo! News

The Food Issue - An Open Letter to the Next Farmer in Chief - Michael Pollan -
Topic: Health and Wellness 2:52 pm EST, Nov  7, 2008

Our agenda puts the interests of America’s farmers, families and communities ahead of the fast-food industry’s. For that industry and its apologists to imply that it is somehow more “populist” or egalitarian to hand our food dollars to Burger King or General Mills than to support a struggling local farmer is absurd. Yes, sun food costs more, but the reasons why it does only undercut the charge of elitism: cheap food is only cheap because of government handouts and regulatory indulgence (both of which we will end), not to mention the exploitation of workers, animals and the environment on which its putative “economies” depend. Cheap food is food dishonestly priced — it is in fact unconscionably expensive.

This is an amazing article that I highly urge you to read through. There are many facets covered, and it is sweeping in the issues that it raises and guilds, but I can't help but think that food is the absolute most important thing to get "right". It impacts our health, the environment, our culture and society, our security, our economy, and the land that we live on. Lots of things might seem 'closer' at hand to needing to be fixed, but food cuts through them all. Please read.

The Food Issue - An Open Letter to the Next Farmer in Chief - Michael Pollan -

You Wanted Change? It's Time To Help
Topic: Current Events 8:21 pm EST, Nov  6, 2008

I am talking about striving in our own professions and civic lives for what we ask — what we demand and expect — our elected leaders to deliver: more integrity, less phoniness and more consideration of the community.

I'll volunteer my vocation as an example. Perhaps 95 percent of the American public thinks the news media are "part of the problem." The other 5 percent work in news or don't own televisions. Our craft is seen as tabloid, divisive, serially obsessive, gluttonous for the trivial, argumentative, biased in sneaky ways and distorted. And the market seems to be saying to us, "Go away, we won't pay!"

You Wanted Change? It's Time To Help

Why America Needs an Economic Strategy
Topic: Business 3:58 pm EST, Nov  6, 2008

Fifth, the task of forming economic policy and putting it into practice is highly decentralized across states and regions. There really is not a single U.S. economy, but a collection of specialized regional economies—think of the entertainment complex in Hollywood or life sciences in Boston. Each region has its own industry clusters, with specialized skills and assets. Each state and region takes responsibility for competitiveness and addresses its own problems rather than waiting for the central government. This decentralization is arguably America's greatest hidden competitive strength.

Absolutely positively YES. Another great article from one of my heroes, Dr. Michael Porter of HBS.

Why America Needs an Economic Strategy

Obama's Real Opposition
Topic: Current Events 12:45 pm EST, Nov  6, 2008

Bill Clinton also campaigned as a moderate, but in his first two years he was unable to govern as Congress pursued liberal priorities, including a big boost in taxes and spending. Recall Roberta Achtenberg as the scourge of the Boy Scouts and Joycelyn Elders calling for the legalization of drugs? Mr. Clinton chose -- or was forced -- to take up gun control and HillaryCare before welfare reform. Next came Newt Gingrich.

Maybe Mr. Obama has absorbed these lessons, but even if he has he'll have to be tough. The Great Society liberals who dominate Congress are old men in a hurry, and they'll run over the 47-year-old neophyte if he lets them.

I've been saying that a win for Obama didn't mean squat, but I do think that a lot of this will be tempered. There's really big problems that need to be solved immediately, and moderation will be key in getting solutions that work. I think he can make a case for priorities. But I think the likelihood of a massive swing to the left is not impossible or even unprobable and will definitely be unfortunate.

Obama's Real Opposition

Juan Enriquez at Pop!Tech 2008
Topic: Current Events 6:12 am EDT, Oct 29, 2008

At the 2008 Pop!Tech conference, best-selling author and debt crisis expert Juan Enriquez catalyzed a vigorous debate on the impetuses of the current American economic meltdown – and the immediate actions the country and next U.S. President will have to take to address the situation. Combining information and ideas from many sources, Juan enumerated an urgent, non-partisan10 point plan, to be implemented during the next administration’s first 60 days. Enriquez posited that failure to act – or, in his view, further misguided efforts – run the risk of triggering an irreversible economic collapse that could plague the American economy for decades.


Juan Enriquez at Pop!Tech 2008

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