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Interesting article by Mark Cuban about ‘the cause of bubbles’

Whether you agree or not, it is thoughtful and thought provoking discussion of Bubbles and Financial Engineering (IMO):

"Let me get this straight. In 2008, funds trying to squeeze out another basis point or two thought they were being conservative buying insurance on heavily leveraged portfolios of sub prime loans and other debt. Once those loans started to default, it created a cascading deleveraging event which lead to major financial institutions failing and the “smartest” minds on Wall Street being forced to dump everything to raise cash, which in turn lead to a crisis of confidence and deleveraging that created the worst week in the history of the stock markets. Did I get this right ?" (from Blog Maverick)

Just when I was thinking about stopping my NetFlix subscription

TIVO keeps on getting cooler and cooler:

"Netflix said it will begin testing a service Thursday that lets users with TiVo's latest DVR models access movies and television shows from an online library of 12,000 Netflix titles. The service will be available at no additional charge to subscribers of Netflix's DVD rental service, as long as the Netflix customers are on rental plans that cost at least $8.99 a month." (from WSJ)

Odd, and sad for Netflix that somehow in my mind I am giving psychological credit for this new benefit to Tivo.

Odd also that essentially this says I am willing to spend an EXTRA $9 on my monthly Tivo bill to get at this huge collection of movies. Wait, am I, really???

In Defense of Raising Money: a Manifesto for NonProfit CEOs

Check out this post In Defense of Raising Money: a Manifesto for NonProfit CEOs:

"How about this instead: “You are incredibly good at making money. I’m incredibly good at making change. The change I want to make in the world, unfortunately, does not itself generate much money. But man oh man does it make change. It’s a hugely important change. And what I know about making this change is as good and as important as what you know about making money. So let’s divide and conquer – you keep on making money, I’ll keep on making change. And if you can lend some of your smarts to the change I’m trying to make, well that’s even better. But most of the time, we both keep on doing what we’re best at, and if we keep on working together the world will be a better place." (from: from Seth's Blog)

Very well put. I think this notion applies more broadly than just non-profit CEOs.

I’m a neat person, but, THIS, is ridiculous

Check out this weird new practice called 5S:

"5S is a key concept of the lean manufacturing techniques that have made makers of everything from cars to candy bars more efficient. The S's stand for sort, straighten, shine, standardize and sustain. Lately, 5S has been moving from the plant floor to the cubicle at hundreds of offices around the country, adding desk cleaning to the growing list of demands on employees." from Wall Street Journal

I am so happy that I don't have to work in such an environment!

Evidence of a Global SuperOrganism

Check out this post Evidence of a Global SuperOrganism:

"So far the proposition that a global superorganism is forming along the internet power lines has been treated as a lyrical metaphor at best, and as a mystical illusion at worst. I’ve decided to treat the idea of a global superorganism seriously, and to see if I could muster a falsifiable claim and evidence for its emergence." (from: from The Technium)

Another great essay by Kevin Kelley. He's such a great writer. Here are some other wonderful passages:

"This megasupercomputer is the Cloud of all clouds, the largest possible inclusion of communicating chips. It is a vast machine of extraordinary dimensions. It is comprised of quadrillion chips, and consumes 5% of the planet’s electricity. It is not owned by any one corporation or nation (yet), nor is it really governed by humans at all. Several corporations run the larger sub clouds, and one of them, Google, dominates the user interface to the One Machine at the moment"

… and …

"The span of the Machine is roughly the size of the surface of the earth. Some portion of it floats a few hundred miles above in orbit, but at the scale of the planet, satellites, cell towers and servers farms form the same thin layer. Activity in one part can be sensed across the entire organism; it forms a unified whole."

… and …

"Organisms can be smart without being conscious. A rat is smart, but we presume, without much self-awareness. If the One Machine was as unconsciously smart as a rat, we would expect it to follow the strategies a clever animal would pursue. It would seek sources of energy, it would gather as many other resources it could find, maybe even hoard them. It would look for safe, secure shelter. It would steal anything it needed to grow. It would fend off attempts to kill it. It would resist parasites, but not bother to eliminate them if they caused no mortal harm. It would learn and get smarter over time."

I could go on. It's a great, long, essay. Read it.

Field notes from a Nature Conservancy meeting

Check out this post Field notes from a Nature Conservancy meeting:

"First, the Nature Conservancy has a strongly science-based policy for making land-purchasing decisions. They take into account things like the minimum viable ecosystem size in determining which acquisitions will actually have lasting impact.

Trouble is, for many areas, the conditions those decisions are based on may change.

Areas near sea level are an obvious example. But so are the more than 10,000 acres of native tallgrass prairie that they have protected in Kansas. How much will that ecosystem change with the projected changes in precipitation in this region?Obviously, the Nature Conservancy is taking into account such projections, as best they can. But they have also decided that the risks of climate change to the world's ecosystems are too large to simply adapt to: hence their interest in helping to push governments to enact policies that will help mitigate it." (from: from RealClimate)

The Nature Conservency is a great organization. This article gives a lot of interesting context and background.