Short post today.
Ryan Avent today talks about a topic that I have wondered about for a while. In his piece, he talks about the funding for infrastructure, but it could just as easily be talking about improving our health care system. He rightly points out that the media (both left and right sides) don’t talk about this issue at all. Now, I don’t recommend that we scrap our entire defense network, but it certainly seems like this budgetary area is ripe for the picking.
On the Avent article, one commenter left the following, which made my day:
Maybe if we described that bridge collapsing in Minnesota as our infrastructure “suicide bombing” us, than we’d get that much money
We need to take a break from all that Health Care stuff and I thought some fun links might be “just the ticket” as Jon Lovitz might say.
I can’t believe how Al Franken
created this hand drawn map
Fun: For trivia buffs, here is a tough quiz, using circular logic.
Politics: Another Sanctity of Marriage act for California? Maybe.
Economy: Here is a really neat idea to help small, local, independent businesses. It is one way to Pay It Forward.
Economy: I have written a lot about the employee bonuses at AIG, but a professor at Columbia University looks at the bonus situation as a “missed opportunity“.
Politics: I am sure glad that the US Congress has all of the other problems of the country solved, so that they can devote their time and effort on this one. Especially since they did such a good job on the last sports related one.
Fun: I love to watch MythBusters on the Discovery network. One of the co-hosts, Adam Savage, sat down with Lifehacker to talk about the show.
Technology Paul Heinz wrote a thoughtful essay on Lost Arts. It is a riff on all of those things that we used to be able to do. Now, technology has changed things, mostly for the better, but it is fun to wax nostalgic.
Marketing: Mental Floss has a good article on the marketing of the movie Coraline. Lots of good tidbits here, but what hit me most was the viral marketing campaign around the alphabet cards.
Ethics: Freakonomics looks at the law of unintended consequences in two articles and how it affects the disabled.
Behind the Scenes: On my list of all time favorite movies is Raiders of the Lost Ark. A transcript of the story conference between George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Lawrence Kasdan (the writer) has been posted to the web. Lots of interesting examples on how creative people think and then execute in the film.
Politics: John Bolton, our former UN Ambassador, suggested at a Conservative Political Action Conference that President Obama might need to learn a lesson in foreign relations. Perhaps a nuclear bomb that would be detonated in Chicago. That would show the President. Wow! Those Conservatives sure have a sense of humor. He was greeted with applause and laughter. Are you kidding me? I think our diplomatic corps are better served without Mr. Bolton’s brand of humor.
Entrepreneurship: I highlighted Bruce Schneier‘s article last week about the amount of data that is being accumulated about each of us. Seth Godin tells us why this might be a problem. Remember that you can control what type of information is out there about you to a certain extent. And people are checking…
Business (and Politics): Jeff Leitner has written a great post linking the strategies of politics applied to business. It is the first of a 6 part post. I know that I am looking forward to parts 2 through 6.
Retail: Microsoft has announced plans to open up retail stores and have hired their first VP of Retail. Robert Scoble takes an opportunity to give Microsoft some pointers on what they should do to differentiate themselves from Apple and Best Buy.
Entrepreneurship: I just love it when I can uncover a new blog (to me) that takes a different look at things that I am interested in. So, I found Micah who talks about entrepreneurship. However, he looks at it at a little bit of an angle. For example, here are three of his latest essays, “What is an Entrepreneur?“, “The Economics of Stripping” and “Cauldron of Friction“.
Financial: On Friday, I asked about what the big banks were doing with their taxpayer funds. Apparantly, nothing, according to their testimony on Capitol Hill.
Politics: So, the Democrats handed President Obama the stimulus package that he asked for. How are the Republicans taking this? Frank Rich of the New York Times talks about the win, while Andrew Sullivan of the The Daily Dish castigates the Republicans for getting us into this mess and then whining about fiscal responsibility.
Technology: Ever wonder about how the phone company figures out the charges for text messaging? So, did Senator Kohl from Wisconsin. He couldn’t get much further than you or I.
Fun: For a fortune cookie style blog, Amy Flanagan runs theshortestblogintheworld. Today was a classic Amy: What if Snopes is a hoax?
Strategy: Andy Sernovitz talks about why things are going to be better. And I think I agree with him. (hat tip: JL)
Fun: The first harbinger of spring is about to arrive. Not the robins. Not the daffodils. But the call for “Pitchers and Catchers Report to spring training.” The Cubs are scheduled to start on Friday, February 13 and the White Sox are scheduled to start on Sunday, February 15.
Entrepreneurship: Andrew Anker introduces the term “flashlight” as it relates to corporate leadership. Flashlights are “people who shine brightly in one direction, but don’t let off too much light otherwise“. He manages to compare the New York Yankees and Apple Computer into this discussion.
Politics: One of the things that I actually enjoyed about this past presidential election was the fivethirtyeight.com website that was created by Nate Silver. Nate, who in his day job develops statistical models for Baseball Prospectus, took that same talent and used it to very accurately predict the outcome of the presidential and congressional races. He continues to write about current political issues with a statistician’s flair. Mental Floss took a look at Nate’s work in this article.
Talent: I am currently reading Geoff Colvin‘s latest book, Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else. I also have Malcolm Gladwell‘s book Outliers: The Story of Success on reserve at the library. Each book uses examples of extraordinary achievers to show that there is no such thing as talent. Each author uses the work of Anders Ericsson, professor of psychology at Florida State University, as a basis for debunking the talent myth. The Australian does a nice profile on Ericsson.
Business: Did you ever wonder what happens to all of the sports memorabilia that gets manufactured in advance of a big event with the name and logo of the losing team? Good news, it gets donated.
Energy: I have been interested in the path of energy use in this country, ever since I took a Senior Seminar on Energy in college. At that time, Amory Lovins was a leading voice of the doom and gloom prognosticators. In this easy to read article, he talks about the future of energy distribution. This reminds me of the change from central phone switching systems to cellular towers everywhere.
In other news, Google has started a pilot program that will develop energy solutions, starting with providing energy usage breakdowns for your house. If you knew the cost of using specific items, you would have an idea as to where to start conservation efforts, right?
Business: Jim Jacoby wrote a thoughtful piece comparing the macro economy to the community within a company or project team.
Entrepreneurship: OK folks, those of you with a great idea, step right on up. Mark Cuban is proposing his own stimulus plan called Open Source Funding. He will be reviewing business plans and looking to fund the most impressive. There are some ground rules, though. You must post your business plan for all to review. You will be funded month to month. You need to be cash flow positive in 60 days and profitable in 90 days. No advertising income. Still an interesting idea, if you have the business plan and the moxie to publish it.
Politics: Bob Woodward has some advice for President Barack Obama based on lessons learned during President George W. Bush‘s presidency.
Technology: Have a need to generate an org chart or flowchart but don’t want to shell out the big bucks for Visio? Check out an easy to use, free, web based alternative that is fun to play with called Lovely Charts.
Economy: Today’s “Wow, didn’t see that one coming award”. The CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings, published an open letter to President Obama in the New York Times recently asking that his taxes be raised.
Marketing: I am not a big fan of Hugh Macleod‘s (Updated 2/6/09 since I found this one) cartoons, but he has an interesting post today on futility marketing. The point here is that some of the world’s most interesting successes (not just business) were started as futile projects. Everything from the British defeating the Nazi menace with Spitfires (WWII) to getting people to buy software apart from hardware (Microsoft).
Food: Count me in on those who think that barbeque should be a separate food group. A competitive BBQ team in Kansas City has created an Internet sensation with the Bacon Explosion. Please note that friends who keep kosher or are vegetarians need not flock to this link.
Politics: An angel in Washington?
Video: Stop action videography is not dead. Check out this music video by Oren Lavie for a fantastic journey.
Intelligence: Ever wonder about those IQ tests? Here is a short description of what the IQ Test really tests.
Credit: Did you know that FICO is changing the way they calculate your scores today?
Project Management: Is running a project anything like rowing? My friend, David Kelly, seems to think so.
Marketing: I have been thinking about this one all day. Could you define yourself with 5 brands? Right now, I am leaning towards Blackberry, Famous Dave’s, Lands’ End, Google and Lexus.
Job Search: As the economic conditions worsen, many more of my friends are looking for new places to call work. Here is a consise list of top web based job sites. While this is interesting information, my advice is to not waste too much time on the web, but keep your networks alive via personal contact. A personal reference from someone who knows you well will push your application to the top of the pile, in many cases.