"Success is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well."
Sergey Brin’s $3.9 million wedding present
Topic: Current Events
8:49 pm EDT, May 22, 2007
Does Google (GOOG) want to be the next Amgen (AMGN)? The Internet search leader disclosed in a regulatory filing Tuesday that it had invested $3.9 million in a new start-up called 23andMe, a firm that the filing describes as “an early stage biotech company focused on helping consumers understand and browse their genome.”
What does browsing the genome have to do with browsing the Web? Not much on the surface. But Google’s investment makes a lot more sense when you keep reading the filing. 23andMe was co-founded by Anne Wojcicki, who is the new wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin (they wed earlier this month). According to the filing, Brin provided $2.6 million in interim debt financing to 23andMe and that was repaid as part of the recent round of financing.
It is Chomsky on current topics, but an interesting read none the less.
Noam Chomsky is a noted linguist, author, and foreign policy expert. On April 26, Michael Shank interviewed him about the conflict between Congress and the U.S. president over Iraq and Syria, the scandal enveloping World Bank head Paul Wolfowitz, and the nature of foreign debt.
Michael Shank: Given that the U.S. Congress is no longer calling for binding timelines for troop withdrawal, how is this indicative of a broader struggle between the executive and legislative branches?
Noam Chomsky: There are a number of issues. One is the unitary executive conception. The Republican Party happens to be right now in the hands of a very extreme fringe. That goes from the legal system and the Federalist Society to the executive and so on. What they basically want, to put it simply, is a kind of an elective dictatorship. The chief executive should have total control over the executive branch. And the executive branch should dominate the other branches. That’s an effective mode of authoritarian control, natural for those whose dislike of democracy goes beyond the norm.
There’s a real fascist streak there, definitely. And Congress, to some extent, is trying to recreate more of a balance between the executive and legislative branch. So that’s part of the struggle. Part of it is just that neither party is willing to face the consequences of a withdrawal from Iraq. It’s not a trivial matter. First of all, there’s almost no public discussion of the issues involved in the war. Why did we invade? Why don’t we want to get out?
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The IBM project I am writing about is called LEAN and the first manifestation of LEAN was this week's 1,300 layoffs at Global Services, which generated almost no press. Thirteen hundred layoffs from a company with more than 350,000 workers is nothing, so the yawning press reaction is not unexpected. But this week's "job action," as they refer to it inside IBM management, was as much as anything a rehearsal for what I understand are another 100,000+ layoffs to follow, each dribbled out until some reporter (that would be me) notices the growing trend, then dumped en masse when the jig is up, but no later than the end of this year. ... All this is supposed to happen by the end of 2007, by the way, at which point IBM will also freeze its U.S. pension plan. ... But in the end they don't care, which shows that only the reaction of Wall Street matters anymore.
ry though you might, Starbucks is making sure that you just can't escape their brand, regardless of where you go. In a joint venture with PepsiCo, Starbucks plans to expand their hot coffee offerings to the world by the use of vending machines. Apparently they will be located in places where full-sized stores just aren't feasible, such as universities and train stations.
Since the company is already selling chilled bottles of their various Starbucks beverages in gas stations, convenience, and grocery stores, the new vending machines will focus on their hot beverage line-up including roasted coffee, various lattes, and hot cocoa. They plan to test the machines this summer, and will reach broad distribution by wintertime.
Cisco Systems announced Thursday that it has appointed Michael K. Powell, former chair of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, to a spot on its board of directors. The appointment was effective immediately. Powell, an alumnus of the College of William and Mary and Georgetown University's law school, was first appointed to the FCC by then-President Bill Clinton in 1997 and promoted to the chairman spot in 2001 by President George W. Bush. He served there until the beginning of Bush's second term in 2005. As chair of the FCC, Powell was known for significant telecommunications deregulation as well as an "indecency" crackdown on explicit material over the airwaves.
MSN Money - Reuters Business News: Greenspan: trouble ahead for hedge funds
Topic: Markets & Investing
10:38 pm EDT, Jun 6, 2005
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan on Monday warned that hedge funds had picked the "low-hanging fruit" of easy profits and may be set for a fall as they assume more risks in a quest for high returns. He said, however, that the financial system should escape widespread damage from hedge fund woes as long as banks lending to them managed risks effectively. "After its recent very rapid advance, the hedge fund industry could temporarily shrink, and many wealthy fund managers and investors could become less wealthy," the influential Fed chief cautioned in remarks prepared for delivery via satellite to a bankers conference in Beijing