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Archived Posts for October 2011

Please note: The posts on this page are at least 3 years old. Links may be broken, information may be out of date, and the views expressed in the posts may no longer be held.
31
Oct 11
Mon

  stuloh Now realizing too late that I could've just rocked up in a suit today for the company's halloween dress theme. Maybe with a "1%" nametag.

  2:18pm  •  Tweet  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
30
Oct 11
Sun

  stuloh Surviving White-Collar Prison (BusinessWeek) http://t.co/8zn2jy4k

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Margin Call

Margin Call is actually a really good movie – one of the best I’ve seen this year, actually. It’s a tough ask to make an entertaining movie about something as removed as a bank’s risk management department without deviating off into motorcycle chases or fist-fights, but this movie has done that. Filled with several Oscar winners and other A-list actors (Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Stanley Tucci, Demi Moore, Zachary Quinto and more), Margin Call is carried mostly by the engaging dialog and the way its actors pull it off. It details less than 48 hours in an investment bank which has figured out that its exposure to securities it holds on its book are about to put it out of business – unless it can dump all of them off onto unsuspecting buyers. From what I can tell, it presents a realistic, believable view of things, and I found it tough to sympathize with the executives who got the axe when they appear devastated and still walk off with enormous severance packages that would tide most middle-class families over for years. Unfortunately, Margin Call only seems to be playing on limited screens – I saw it at the Aquarius in Palo Alto, but it wasn’t at the big chains.

  2:33pm  •  Movies  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
28
Oct 11
Fri

  stuloh Why Is This Cargo Container Emitting So Much Radiation? (Wired) http://t.co/CRboBdEp

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  stuloh Gold medals in wealth for toil http://t.co/bcDTZdMY (this article should be entitled "Australia is Awesome")

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27
Oct 11
Thu

Richard Stallman’s info packet

I saw this on Kottke.  It’s Richard Stallman’s information packet – the one that he sends out to people who want to invite him to give a talk.  It’s long.

Back when I was in law school (2004, actually), I was involved in organizing a talk by Stallman. He sent us a similar information packet.   I just pulled it out of my email archives. It was long back then, but, I shit you not, the length has almost, literally doubled from about 5,400 words to 9,100 words in the intervening 7 years. As for the talk – I don’t remember much about the organizing process except for it being very… fiddly – but his anti-software patent message definitely stuck with me.

  1:05am  •  Law  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

Patent Trolls: How Bad Is the Problem?

It’s bad. Popular Mechanics writes about the scourge of “non-practicing entities”, otherwise known less euphemistically as patent trolls:

Vague wording and flaws in the U.S. patent licensing rules helped to give rise to this breed of aggressively litigious patent-holding firms, according to James Bessen, a Boston University School of Law lecturer. These organizations have pressed hundreds of lawsuits against thousands of defendants over the past 20 years, and business is booming now more than ever. Bessen wanted to know just how big the problem was, and according to a recent study he co-authored, fighting these firms cost companies an estimated $500 billion from 1990 to 2010. How did things get this way? [emphasis added]

  12:42am  •  Law  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

Deep Intellect: Inside the mind of the octopus

An interesting article in Orion Magazine about octopus intelligence:

Occasionally an octopus takes a dislike to someone. One of Athena’s predecessors at the aquarium, Truman, felt this way about a female volunteer. Using his funnel, the siphon near the side of the head used to jet through the sea, Truman would shoot a soaking stream of salt water at this young woman whenever he got a chance. Later, she quit her volunteer position for college. But when she returned to visit several months later, Truman, who hadn’t squirted anyone in the meanwhile, took one look at her and instantly soaked her again.

  12:37am  •  Science & Technology  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
21
Oct 11
Fri

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s obituary

From The Telegraph’s obituary for the whacky Gaddafi:

Gaddafi would arrive at summits of Arab leaders in a white limousine surrounded by a bodyguard of nubile Kalashnikov-toting brunettes. At one non-aligned summit in Belgrade, he turned up with two horses and six camels; the Yugoslavs allowed him to graze the camels in front of his hotel – where he pitched his tent and drank fresh camel milk – but refused to allow him to arrive at the conference on one of his white chargers. Several of the camels ended up in Belgrade zoo.

At an African Union summit in Durban in 2002, his entourage consisted of a personal jet, two Antonov transport aircraft, a container ship loaded with buses, goat carcases and prayer mats, a mobile hospital, jamming equipment that disrupted local networks, $6 million in petty cash, and 400 security guards with associated rocket launchers, armoured cars and other hardware, who nearly provoked a shoot-out with South Africa’s security forces.

On his return motorcade through Swaziland, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi, Gaddafi tossed fistfuls of dollars from his car to appreciative crowds, remarking that this way he could be sure they went to the poor.

  11:00pm  •  Current Affairs  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

  stuloh MT @SurveyMonkey: Honored to be named "In the Pipeline" in Forbes magazine w @Spotify @Dropbox @SecondMarket & @twilio http://t.co/rjjXNusP

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20
Oct 11
Thu

  stuloh After blissfully missing a bunch of them over the last few years, I finally felt my first earthquake (but this evening's 3.9 one was tiny)

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19
Oct 11
Wed

The lucky country

Associated Press is reporting that median net worth in Australia is the highest in the world. Looks like Australia is currently in a really good spot:

The report showed that the median value of wealth – total assets minus debts – in Australia was $US221,704 per adult, while the average for all adults was $US396,745, 79 per cent more than the median.

By comparison, the median value for wealth in the US was $52,752, and the average was $US248,395, almost five times the median.

Australia’s proportionately bigger median compared with the average shows a more even spread of wealth than the US.


The report showed Australia’s median net worth of $US221,704 was the highest in the world.

Moreover, the report found the proportion of Australians with net worth above $US100,000 was, at 70.5 per cent, the highest of any country and about eight times the world average.

  9:27pm  •  Business & Finance  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
17
Oct 11
Mon

How they prepare for mealtime in airplanes

Interesting look at how flight attendants get meals ready (for business class and the pilots):

It’s actually pretty fascinating. Everything is oven-cooked or warmed in a couple of small ovens.

  9:03pm  •  Travel  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
14
Oct 11
Fri

  stuloh My dad got the iPhone 4S before I did! I'm slipping.

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13
Oct 11
Thu

  stuloh iCloud's syncing mechanism with Outlook calendars is an absolute disaster

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12
Oct 11
Wed

  stuloh According to Conde Nast Traveler, the world's 20 best cities are... http://t.co/EZt6SUri

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Margin Call

Margin Call is a movie about the a day in the life of a bank which resembles Lehman Bros. It looks subdued, but interesting… and it has a surprisingly large A-list cast:

Here’s the NY Times review of it.

  8:56pm  •  Movies  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
11
Oct 11
Tue

Enhance!

Now when they say “Enhance!” in movies to get a computer to clear up a blurred image, we can no longer snicker. This is amazing:

  10:31pm  •  Computing  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
10
Oct 11
Mon
5
Oct 11
Wed

Why are lawyers so expensive?

Above the Law takes a look at some answers left on Quora. It’s a good post, and I think this passage rings true:

Honestly, how many people even want to be a big time, senior rainmaking partner at a large law firm? From a certain point of view, it’s a terrible job! You work insane hours (and you have worked insane hours for most of your adult life). Even if you are intellectually stimulated by the work, it’s not “fun.” It’s not playing centerfield for the Yankees or directing pornography. It’s not a barrel of laughs. And despite the fact that you are relatively rich and probably at or near the very top of your field, you have to spend all day talking to clients who disrespect you, make more money than you, and act like you’re the a$$hole in the room who is stealing their money.

Who the hell wants to do that all of their life? Well, you have to pay people a LOT of money to make them want to do that.

Why are lawyers so expensive? Because it’s a crappy job that most people don’t want to do! Sanitation workers get paid more than teachers because most people would rather deal with trashy children than old trash. …

And that’s the final answer: lawyers are so expensive because clients are really that stupid. If clients could overcome their fear, if they could learn the difference between important work and mundane paper-pushing, then they could make intelligent decisions about when to pay the high fees, and when to find a cheaper lawyer.

  9:05pm  •  Law  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

  stuloh Steve Jobs has died: http://t.co/DDhNzIRk

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4
Oct 11
Tue

  stuloh iOS5 - out October 12

  10:49am  •  Tweet  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
3
Oct 11
Mon

  stuloh 0.95! AUD/USD continues to plummet... I like it. (Was that unpatriotic?)

  4:27pm  •  Tweet  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

  stuloh It’s Good to Be Michael Lewis (NY Mag) http://t.co/eX8NuFcb (and now, a long-form article about the man himself)

  1:30pm  •  Tweet  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 


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