Assorted Links 11/29/09


The World – Dubai
We interrupt your regularly scheduled Thanksgiving – “Dubai World won’t repay its debt on time and the government of Dubai won’t pick up the bag, raising doubts about its credibility. Who would bail out Dubai itself?”


SNL Parody of Obama & Jintao Press Conference in Beijing
“You are not allowed to pay us back in clunkers.”


Charlie Brown Was A Blockhead

  • A Defense of the Lecture – “A lively discussion of a book by a small, engaged group is an ideal to be aspired to. At the same time, it seems to me that such discussions are pretty rare, even among professional academics (note how often people will express surprise that a conference session had good discussion). Such skills need to be cultivated, and of course you can only learn by doing. Yet there are some base-level confidence issues that need to be addressed as well, and unless we want to cultivate students who believe that their every utterance is intrinsically worthwhile due to their precious snowflake-hood, it would probably be good to get them to a point where their confidence is earned, where it’s based in actual knowledge.”
  • Shocked, Shocked to Find That Fraud is Going on in Here – “Shock and surprise at the conduct of particular individuals within the CRU seem the order of the day. I’m not quite sure why. If, indeed, the disclosures are genuine (and it certainly appears on first blush that they are) how is it news that ‘scientists’ embroiled in what long ago ceased to be scientific research and now amounts to a political campaign would cut corners, sabotage critics, conceal or even destroy data and analysis, massage results and graphics and otherwise act exactly like politicians, particularly where their careers, the body of their life’s work and their continuing income stream were at risk?

    It isn’t of course. They are politicians.”

  • Cree: Shining on the LED Lighting Market – “The lighting market that is expected to be completely transformed years from now is currently worth $119 billion. There are many players in this industry who are fully aware that the penetration rate of a potential full scale LED lighting transformation is only 1%. Leading the way is Cree Inc. (CREE) and below is an excerpt of my interview with them.”
  • I Challenge Any of These Guys to Open A Business In Ventura County – “It has been fascinating to watch George McGovern change his tune about much of the regulatory state over the last 10 years as he has actually tried to run a business.”
  • Yikes! Already-tedious gatecrashers met POTUS at state dinner – “Ugh. There is so much wrong with this story.

    First, these grasping, ridiculous, wanna-be reality TV stars breached security at the White House to crash the state dinner. They embarrassed the Secret Service, who are some of the hardest-working individuals in Washington — and now it turns out that yeah, they got close enough to President Obama to cause some trouble if they wanted to. They met him in the receiving line!
    . . .
    But doing it all for the cameras as part of an audition for a Bravo reality series? Tacky, vulgar, really offensive. Honest people are probably going to lose their jobs over this. And why? So that polo-playing socialites can expose themselves on cable?”

  • Justice Served – “A realtor had listed this house in June, noting that it was a short-sale flip in progress. They had arranged (conspired) with the seller to submit to the existing lender a short sale package at a lower price, and then listed it on the MLS for $598,321 before the short sale was approved — intending to pocket the difference. Instead, the bank foreclosed on them” (video)
  • Video Professor Tries To Bully Washington Post, Fails – “Video Professor was a side note in our original Scamville post, just one of a bunch of scams that were making their way into social games on Facebook and MySpace. But now we’re focused on them like a laser.

    Video Professor is unlike mobile scams which look to get a relatively small $10 – $20/month subscription on your mobile bill and hope you never notice. They go for the big kill: $190 – $290 charged to your credit card on time.
    . . .
    What you see when you first hit the site depends on how you got there – directly or via an advertising partner. The least scammy version is what you see if you go to videoprofessor.com directly. On the home page in very small font is a statement that you are going to be charged $290 if you engage in a transaction with them. But that’s the only on-screen disclosure you’ll see. Click on a product and go to the next page and you are told you get lots of stuff for free, all you have to do is pay up to a $10 shipping charge. You choose your product and you’re on to the checkout page. Nothing is stated about the $290 charge. After that you are on the final checkout page, showing a total price of $4.56. There’s no fine print, just two links on the page to pages with hugely long agreements with text hidden in the middle of it all that you are actually being sent tons of products and you’ll be charged $290 for them all if you don’t cancel in ten days.

    Needless to say, people who get this stuff either don’t read fine print and are charged, or try to return it. There are hundreds of user complaints about refunds not being paid. 271 complaints to be exact, on RipoffReport alone.”

  • Webloyalty Scam – “WLIReservations”
  • Free Legal Research by Google & What It Means – “In short, I’ve been around the block long enough to put Google’s new tool in perspective — a welcome step worth celebrating, but far from the game changer that many are predicting. At least yet. Here are my quick thoughts:”


A Very Special Thanksgiving Message–Why we’re so much more happy this year than last!

  • Drobo S: Simply Overpriced? – “Do you think that the new Drobo S is overpriced? So do I.”
  • Helpful advice from your friends at KPC – “(2) Ladies, when your husband leaves your kid stashed in his truck while he hits the strip club and then calls you in the middle of the night to come get them at the police station, it is A-OK to only pick up the kid and leave the husband in the hoosegow!”
  • My Early Black Friday Deal Arrived — Panasonic HDC-SD10 – “So is this the best handheld camcorder out there? Of course not, but at this price, I simply couldn’t pass it up. As you can see by the photo gallery, the HDC-SD10 has roughly the same footprint as my iPhone 3GS, so it’s pretty small. And it doesn’t weigh all that much either — the body only weighs 85 grams more than my iPhone and the battery doesn’t add much more heft. I can easily see myself throwing this in a gear bag”
  • 8 Ways to Keep in Shape After You Get Married – “If you think that just because you’re married now you no longer have to care about your weight, think again! Remaining slim and trim is more than just a question of being attractive to a potential partner, it’s also a question of remaining healthy for the rest of your life.”
  • The Paleo approach to meal frequency – “In other words, the notion of ‘grazing,’ or eating small meals or snacks throughout the day, is an unnatural situation. It is directly contrary to the evolutionarily more appropriate large meal followed by periods of no eating or small occasional meals.”
  • Dear Hampton Inns: No Wi-Fi? No Excuse – “Dear Hampton Inns management: As you well know, a reliable Internet connection is crucial to many guests, especially your business-traveler clientele. As I well know, it is a brand standard for Hampton, which both my wife and I regard generally as the best mid-priced hotel brand in the country.

    Having to spend an hour and a quarter to get online because a hotel owner hasn’t put out the money to ensure that the Wi-Fi works throughout the building is not acceptable.

    So Hampton Inns, please note. If you cannot guarantee me a reliable, easily accessible Wi-Fi connection, everywhere in your system, please tell your franchisee to advise me before check-in, and I will go somewhere else”

  • Product Review: Monroe Shock Absorbers (Sensa-Trac and Max-Air) – “Bottom line: If you’re not a Bilstein-level load hauler or a Koni-loving corner-carver, and you own a fairly conventional ride that serves as basic, daily transportation (but you like it and don’t plan on trading), you would be hard-pressed to find a product more capable of providing such immediately-tangible ride and handling improvements while simultaneously doing the right thing for your vehicle’s suspension.”


Neti Pot

  • Steve Jobs Tells Startup Startup To Change Names, Saying ‘It’s No Big Deal’ – “Of course, at this point it seems worth pointing out that years long battle Jobs fought with the Beatles’ Apple Corp. over the “Apple” name. Would Jobs have been okay if John, Paul, Ringo and George had simply told him “Change your company name. Not that big of a deal”? Now, yes, it is true that a company needs to enforce its trademark, lest it become generic, but in this case it certainly seems like the name was descriptive in a way that certainly didn’t imply endorsement from Apple. But, of course, when you’ve got lawyers who can bully on your behalf, the details apparently aren’t that important.”
  • Evernote – “Evernote is a like great digital filing cabinet or scrapbook–and it’s easy to use, cheap and powerful. It acts like a good archive should, too: It organizes the information, preserves sources and presents it well.

    Fabulously, Evernote reaches off the computer and into the paper world. If you upload a picture or scan a piece of paper, Evernote will process the file to extract the text and make whatever text it finds readable.”

  • Top 100 Tools for Learning 2009 – “Here is a presentation of the Top 100 Tools. Below you can see the full list with links to pages with more information about each of the tools.”
  • Hemostatic “Shaving Cream” Wins Award – “Remedium Technologies won first prize in the Most Promising Security Idea category of the Global Security Challenge 2009 for their shaving cream-like foam that can stop bleeding.”

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Posted in: Caught Our Eye

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