Friday, April 29, 2011

Just another fake Chinese company trading on Nasdaq

I wonder how many more of these fraudulent Chinese companies with nonexistent revenue are floating around out there? They keep popping up. You'd think Nasdaq would have cleaned itself up after the dot.bomb debacle, but they just moved on to different frauds.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

$10,000 college degree

I have been following Rick Perry's proposal for a few months now and the national media is just picking up on it.
At a board meeting of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board on Wednesday, Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes said that $10,000 bachelor's degrees — books included — as proposed by Gov. Rick Perry are "entirely feasible."
I think so, too. There is no reason why a kid should graduate from college at 22 with debt levels equal to a mortgage. But we have been trained to think this is acceptable, and with an endless supply of guaranteed student loan funding college admins have no reason to rein in costs.

$10,000 is indeed entirely feasible for most programs I think. For a bachelor's degree in accounting, or business administration, or English, or IT, or math... there is no reason to have unique, custom-crafted programs to teach this stuff. It's not theoretical and doesn't require expensive lab time. You either learn it or you don't.

Kindle-ize the textbooks, offer the courses online, reduce the fun/blow-off/"culturally-enriching" classes that have nothing to do with the student's chosen career field, and there's no reason a 4-year degree can't be $10k. (My theater class was fun, and it's great that my alma mater has an artificial tubing river, but these things don't matter a hill of beans if you're studying to be an accountant.)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bashar al-Assad

He seems like such a nice man. A family man.
He vaguely resembles Golden Globe Awards®-winner John Turturro. Or maybe a thinner Al Bundy with hair.
A shy, polite opthamologist.
Bashar al-Assad has a good sense of humor.
His self-effacing smile makes women swoon.
I wonder what he'd look like with a rope around his neck.

Monday, April 18, 2011

TSA generalities

A complaint session on Airliners.net about the TSA quickly devolved into a discussion about perceived racism. I don't see racism at all. What I see when I am at the airport going through screening isn't a black woman or a white man, but a seriously overweight person. So many TSA agents are morbidly obese. It is an embarrassment for our country. I am not exaggerating when I say the TSA appears to have a higher percentage of grossly overweight employees than even Walmart.

It's been a few years, but the last time I was in Europe I flew through Frankfurt and Munich. Maybe it's just a German thing, but the security agents there were fit, wore attractive uniforms and were groomed well. It's downright embarrassing what visitors to the US must think of us.

The TSA needs to put some standards into place. If they can't do it for sake of appearance, do it save medical insurance costs. Taxpayers must be paying a fortune with all of the heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tech Marketing Buzzphrases I Hate

I realize that a certain amount of tech industry lingo is required to describe products, but many of today's popular buzz phrases are particularly grating to me. The current ones on my hate list, taken from actual press releases:
  • rich customer experience
  • thriving ecosystem
  • search (as a noun)
  • feature-rich
  • immersive
  • empower
  • burgeoning ecosystem
  • powerful tool
  • best-in-class
  • premium media experience
  • social media
  • thinking about the market holistically
  • creating an ecosystem
  • deeper phone integration
Microsoft writers in particular love to use the word rich. "Rich text," "rich features," "rich ecosystem." Gag.

Looking for a winner, after dumping "rich deep immersive thriving ecosystem" into Google I come up with this page, which has it all.
The company’s Thriving Partner Ecosystem™ provides the ultimate network of best-in-class ecommerce solutions providers to deliver a rich, immersive experience expected by today’s savvy web shoppers.
(I didn't include eyeballs, user-friendly and click-thru because this is 2011, not 1998.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Shut up and eat your 4 pounds of bacon

More doomer pron from Zero Hedge.
This THRIVE 6 Month Food Supply contains 54 #10 (gallon size) cans. See below for specific package contents.

2 cans of Instant White Rice (48 servings per can)
6 cans of Hard White Winter Wheat (44 servings per can)
2 cans of Elbow Macaroni (25 servings per can)
2 cans of 6 Grain Pancake Mix (46 servings per can)
2 cans of Cornmeal (46 servings per can)
4 cans of Freeze Dried Potato Dices (41 servings per can)
2 cans of Freeze Dried Sweet Corn (46 servings per can)
2 cans of Freeze Dried Green Peas (41 servings per can)
2 cans of Freeze Dried Green Beans (50 servings per can)
2 cans of Freeze Dried Broccoli (52 servings per can)
2 cans of Freeze Dried Mushroom Pieces (47 servings per can)
1 can of Freeze Dried Spinach (41 servings per can)
3 cans of Freeze Dried Strawberries (45 servings per can)
1 can of Carrot Dices (49 servings per can)
1 can of Mixed Bell Peppers (42 servings per can)
3 cans of Non-fat Powdered Milk (43 servings per can)
2 cans of Chocolate Drink Mix (48 servings per can)
2 cans of Bacon TVP (47 servings per can)
2 cans of Beef TVP (44 servings per can)
2 cans of Chicken TVP (45 servings per can)
2 cans of Taco TVP (42 servings per can)
1 can of Pinto Beans (49 servings per can)
1 can of Lentils (51 servings per can)
1 can of Black Beans (49 servings per can)
1 can of Kidney Beans (44 servings per can)
1 can of Lima Beans (49 servings per can)
2 cans of Fudge Brownies (75 servings per can)
This stuff is supposed to last one person 6 months. They talk about variety and taste. Just one slight problem: If the SHTF and we are all off the grid living in Mad Max Land, there's no refrigeration. Once you've opened a #10 can you have to eat the contents within a day or so. For example,
2 cans of Bacon TVP (47 servings per can)
If you're hiding in your bunker and you've opened the can of bacon you gotta chow down before it's inedible due to bacteria and a maggot or two. (The maggot could be a garnish at this point.) You will have to gag down all 47 servings of bacon before it spoils, then no more bacon until you open your last remaining can. Doesn't seem like an effective method to provide variety... one day you eat 47 servings of bacon, next day 49 servings of carrot dices, next day 75 servings of fudge brownies... Then in 54 days all of your cans are gone, unless you can find a way to preserve the food in those opened cans. Doesn't seem very likely when you are in your bunker buried three feet under your back yard and a biker dude wearing football pads with razor-sharp spikey things on his shoulders is trying to dig you out of your hidey hole.

Seems to me the better survivalist strategy to follow is small individually-sealed portions, rather than big cafeteria-sized cans. Small cans of tuna, ramen noodles, Dinty Moore beef stew, 12 oz cans of fruits and veggies, stuff like that. Bonus: they're a lot easier hide in your caches and you can more easily trade for gold and bullets. I bet it's cheaper, too!

Barack Obama to families of the Columbia and Challenger astronauts: Drop dead.

NASA is handing over the retiring Shuttle fleet to Kennedy Space Center (cool), the Smithsonian (cool), an installation in LA and the Intrepid Museum in New York City, where it will rot away on a barge in the Hudson River.

JSC, where the astronauts live and train and where many of the family members of the Columbia and Challenger disasters still live, will not receive a Shuttle.
"We are heartbroken to learn of the decision that the space shuttle will not be allowed to return home to Houston. Home is where the heart is, and Houston has served as the heart of the space shuttle program since its inception nearly four decades ago. All the astronauts lost were Houston residents. We again share a collective loss as a result of the political decision to send the space shuttle elsewhere. We had prayed that the incredible sacrifices this community has endured would have allowed the shuttle's legacy to continue here. Although we disagree with this decision, we will persevere in our support of space exploration, just as we have done in the past."

-- Evelyn Husband Thompson, Jonathan Clark, Sandy Anderson, Lorna Onizuka, Cheryl McNair, family members of the Columbia and Challenger astronauts
There's already a parking spot at Space Center Houston for a retired Shuttle. It's been available for 20 years. It was built just for that purpose, with full climate control and protection from the elements.

There is no rational or logical explanation for this decision except payback. None. The Shuttle in NYC will be weathered away like Concorde, destroying a piece of our history. Congratulations for your petty victory, Barry.

Monday, April 11, 2011

UK to sue Iceland

Yeah, good luck with that.
Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said Britain would pursue Iceland through the European courts in order to recoup the money the Government paid out in compensation to British savers when the Icelandic bank Icesave collapsed in 2008.
The "savers" should never have been speculating in offshore banks to begin with, and European courts have no jurisdiction over Iceland. What are the Brits gonna do... have a lien placed on cod?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

IAH has the nation's highest fares

I thought so and now it is confirmed.
Topping the list is George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, where passengers paid a premium of $85 — about 24 percent — on the average round-trip coach ticket. (Flights to Houston’s older, smaller field, William P. Hobby Airport, were only $8 overpriced).
United/Continental owns IAH so it's no surprise. IAH needs competition badly.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

How I envision the financial bloggers

Calculated Risk:
Michael "Mish" Shedlock:
Zero Hedge:
Housing Bubble Blog:
Ambrose-Evans Pritchard:
Paul Krugman:
Nouriel Roubini: