David Kirkpatrick

January 31, 2009

Third Iraq Aviation & Defense Summit

Had this release come across the inbox today and thought some readers might find it interesting.

The release:

Brigadier General Shihab Ali, Al-Hurriya Air Force Base
Commander will give a keynote presentation at the 3rd
annual Iraq Aviation & Defense Summit. The 3rd IADS will
take place on April 1-2, 2009 in Washington, DC.

Washington, DC–January 19, 2009–IADS Officials confirmed
today that Al-Hurya AFB Commander Brig. General Shihab Ali
will speak to conference attendees beginning at 11:00 am on
Wednesday, April 1-2, 2009 and will answer their questions
afterward. Brig. General Ali will also be available for
One-on-One meetings throughout the 2-day event.
Other recently added featured speakers include Al-Basrah
Int’l Airport Director Abdulameer Abdullah, Baghdad Int’l
Airport Board Chairman Thair Phatohe.

Brig.General Shihab Ali is serving as the commander of
IqAF’s Al Hurriya Air Base. Al Hurriya AFB is home to the
largest IqAF academy. As a senior IqAF officer, Brig.
General Ali possesses a comprehensive understanding of
the IqAF affairs.  He will share his first-hand knowledge
and understanding of the most pressing issues and
present an overview of the current and future challenges
and threats facing the IqAF.

In addition to featuring speakers from Iraqi Air Force,
Iraqi Army, Iraqi Navy and Security Forces; the 3rd Iraq
Aviation & Defense Summit will also be featuring addresses
from key experts whom have served as advisors in the
Multi-National Security Transition Command (MNSTC-I),
whom were responsible for developing, organizing, training,
equipping, and sustaining the Iraqi Security Ministries
(Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Ministry of Interior (MoI))
and their associated Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) i.e.
the military of Iraq and the Iraqi Police.

The third-annual 2009 IADS will welcome respected experts
covering a wide range of subjects. Agenda topics include
giving first-hand insight on the following important

_ Coalition Military Assistance Training Team (CMATT),
   which organizes, trains, and equips the Iraqi Army;

_ Civilian Police Assistance Training Team (CPATT),
   which organizes, trains, and equips the Iraqi Police;

_Coalition Army Advisory Training Team (CAATT),
  responsible for building the Iraqi Army;

_Coalition Air Force Transition Team (CAFTT),
  responsible for building the Iraqi Air Force;

_Maritime Strategic Transition Team (MaSTT),
  responsible for supporting the Iraqi Navy, Marines
  and Coast Guard;

_Civilian Police Assistance Training Team (CPATT),
  building the various Iraqi police agencies;

_Intelligence Transition Team (ITT),
  responsible for building the military and police
  information organizations;

_Iraqi National Counter-Terrorism Task Force (INCTF),
  assisting  Iraqi special operations;

_Security Assistance Office (SAO),
  assisting the purchase of equipment and overseas training;

_Joint Headquarters Assistance Team (JHQ-AT),
  responsible for advising the Iraqi Joint Headquarters;

_Ministry of Defense Transition Team (MOD-TT),
  responsible for advising the MoD staff;

_Ministry of Interior Transition Team (MOI-TT),
  responsible for advising the MoI staff.

With hundreds of companies expected to attend the
two-day event, the expanded agenda will cover a range
of topics related to the Iraqi aviation, security & defense
challenges. IADS Chair, Samir Farajallah, hopes this will
give greater context to the other parts of the conference
program which will focus on security issues, contracting
and subcontracting opportunities, funding,
project management, international cooperation,
and cultural training.

About IADS
In its third year, IADS, the Iraq Aviation and Defense
Conference & Exposition, is the world’s largest and most
respected event focused on Iraq’s Aviation, Security and
Defense challenges and opportunities. IADS is the only
event where you hear from those who are responsible for
shaping the future of aviation, security and military
requirements in Iraq. For three consecutive years IADS has
featured senior Iraqi Ranking Military Officers,
Policy Makers & Government Decision Makers.

The IADS Exposition
The 3rd Iraq Aviation & Defense Summit and Expo will
provide Exhibitors the opportunity to network and to
have direct access to senior ranking military officers from
Iraq’s Ministry of Defense, Iraqi law enforcement agencies
and governments’ decision makers.

About New-Fields
Founded in 1994, New Fields today is a leading information
provider and conference/trade-shows organizer on defense,
homeland security to governments, defense and law
enforcement agencies, industries and academia
around the world.

Industry Speaking Opportunities, Sponsorship and Exhibition

Bush, a wing and a prayer

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:26 pm

Good luck with this ridiculous attempt to assert executive privilege for eternity. There might not be any “there” there, but boy it doesn’t pass any smell test — it does smack of desperately hoping to cover criminal activity.

I’m guessing as a little more time passes there will be many administration insiders with copies of documents coming forward hoping to get in front of any investigation into crimes committed over the last eight years of White House occupancy.

From the link:

Newsweek‘s Michael Isikoff reports that just a few days before leaving the White House, President George W. Bush sent a very interesting letter to former aide Karl Rove:

On Jan. 16, 2009, then White House Counsel Fred Fielding sent a letter (.pdf) to Rove’s lawyer, Robert Luskin. The message: should his client receive any future subpoenas, Rove “should not appear before Congress” or turn over any documents relating to his time in the White House. The letter told Rove that President Bush was continuing to assert executive privilege over any testimony by Rove—even after he leaves office.

Here’s Yale law professor Jack Balkin’s response:

The fact that Bush sent these letters while he was still president makes no difference. He is no longer president. The claim of absolute immunity he is making (as opposed to executive privilege, which is not absolute) would be controversial even if offered by a sitting president, but it is even more so when offered by a former president.

DuPont goes solar in big way at research center

And uses its own tech in the process.

The release from this evening:

DuPont Installs its Largest Solar Panel Array to Generate Energy Needs at Research Facility

The Company’s Installation Advances Clean Renewable Energy

KAUAI, Hawaii, Jan. 30 /PRNewswire/ — DuPont today announced the installation of its largest photovoltaic solar energy facility at its Pioneer Hi-Bred Waimea Research Center in Kauai, Hawaii.

The Waimea photovoltaic installation is comprised of 1,500 panels – made from several DuPont photovoltaic materials — produced by Evergreen Solar and installed by REC Solar.  The one-acre array is capable of generating about 85 percent of the energy needs of the research facility.  It is expected to generate 706,205 kilowatt hours (kwh) annually, or enough power for 64 average-size homes.  By using renewable energy, the facility will avoid the emissions (equivalent carbon dioxide) from approximately 100 cars annually, saving Pioneer about $200,000 per year in avoided purchased electricity costs. The installation was completed and fully operational in December 2008.

DuPont has already installed photovoltaic solar power systems for its R&D and business facilities in Wilmington, Del., and Taoyuan, Taiwan.

“This installation is a great example of our commitment to be both a key materials and technology supplier to the photovoltaic industry, and also a leader of solar power use,” said Marc Doyle, global business director – DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions.  “Our products can help make clean renewable energy a reality while also powering our facilities as part of DuPont’s sustainability goals.”

REC Solar chief executive officer Angiolo Laviziano commented on the positive business and environmental reasons for companies to embrace solar power to meet their energy needs.  “Companies like DuPont are turning to solar power because it makes good business sense and supports their environmental initiatives,” said Angiolo Laviziano, chief executive officer of REC Solar. “DuPont is an innovative business leader that has chosen the most reliable solar technology available today to maximize the amount of clean, renewable solar power generated at its Kauai facility.”

Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., a DuPont business, uses innovative technology to carry out crop seed research and development. Randal Francisco, President of the Kauai Chamber of Commerce, noted Pioneer recently celebrated their 40th year as part of Kauai’s business and agriculture community.  “The Kauai Chamber of Commerce salutes and congratulates Pioneer Hi-Bred in its investment and commitment to renewable energy thereby reducing its dependence on fossil-fuel and returning energy back to Kauai’s power grid.  It’s also economic sense that Pioneer Hi-Bred joins a growing list of Kauai Chamber of Commerce members such as Costco Wholesale Warehouse and Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa as Kauai companies who in the past year invested significant amounts of time and money to join Kauai’s ever growing list of businesses and residents who believe in the benefits of renewable energy and a sustainable Kauai future.”

Mattie Yoshioka, president and chief executive officer of Kauai Economic Development Board Inc. noted the enthusiasm of participants at its recent Kauai renewable energy conference, complimented Pioneer Hi-Bred International for continuing the momentum generated at the conference.  “Pioneer is a committed member of the science and technology community on Kauai, and they are a demonstrated leader in advancing renewable clean energy here with the establishment of the largest ground solar panel installation on Kauai.  What could be better for our island than a renewable energy project using one of Kauai’s best clean energy resources, sunlight.”

DuPont offers the broadest portfolio in the solar energy market with eight essential products.  DuPont is a leading material and technology supplier to the photovoltaic industry with more than 25 years of experience in photovoltaic materials development.  DuPont technologies enable higher power output with improved productivity and increased solar module lifetime.  The company offers a broad and growing portfolio of materials solutions for both crystalline silicon and thin film cells and modules including:

  —  DuPont(TM) Elvax(R) EVA resins for the encapsulant sheet: cushions
      individual cells from impact and enables the transmission of sunlight
      to the cells;
  —  DuPont PV Encapsulant Sheets: Ranging from soft to structural, clear
      DuPont(TM) PV5200 and PV5300 Series encapsulant sheets offer proven
      safety and laminating performance, and deliver long-term protection
      for the most sensitive portions of photovoltaic modules;
  —  DuPont(TM) Teflon(R) fluoropolymer film for front sheets and flexible
      panels: offers mechanical strength and durability against cracking and
      abrasion, flexibility and nearly 100 percent transparency;
  —  DuPont(TM) Tedlar(R) polyvinyl fluoride films: delivers long-lasting
      UV and weather-resistant back sheets;
  —  DuPont(TM) Solamet(R) thick film metallization pastes: increases the
      efficiency and yield of solar cells;
  —  DuPont(TM) Rynite(R) PET thermoplastic resins:  increases safety,
      eliminates corrosion, and provides long-lasting performance for
      junction boxes and structural supports in harsh environments;
  —  DuPont(TM) Kapton(R) polyimide film for thin film substrates: provides
      excellent electrical and thermal properties to thin film modules;
  —  DuPont Teijin Films (Mylar(R), Melinex(R) and Tetoron(R) polyester
      films) for backsheet interlayers: provides added protection from the
  —  Kalrez(R) perfluoroelastomer parts from DuPont Performance Elastomers:
      provides excellent resistance to aggressive chemicals and high
      temperatures to help reduce the risk of unplanned maintenance.

DuPont – one of the first companies to publicly establish environmental goals 19 years ago – has broadened its sustainability commitments beyond internal footprint reduction to include market-driven targets for both revenue and research and development investment. The goals are tied directly to business growth, specifically to the development of safer and environmentally improved new products for key global markets.

DuPont is a science-based products and services company.  Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere.  Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.

Photo:  http://www2.dupont.com/Media_Center/en_US/assets/images/releases/nr_Solar_Pane l_Solar_Installation_PHB.jpg

Caption:  DuPont has installed a 1,500 panel solar power system at its Pioneer Hi-Bred Waimea Research Center in Kauai, Hawaii.

For photos, graphics and more information on DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions visit:  http://photovoltaics.dupont.com/.

The DuPont Oval Logo, DuPont(TM), The miracles of science(TM), Elvax(R), Teflon(R), Tedlar(R), Solamet(R), Rynite(R), Kapton(R), and Kalrez(R) are registered trademarks or trademarks of DuPont or its affiliates.

Mylar(R), Melinex(R) and Tetoron(R) are registered trademarks of DuPont Teijin Films.

Source: REC Solar
   Web Site:  http://photovoltaics.dupont.com/

January 30, 2009

Stanford researchers write in nanoscale

And reclaim their lost title for writing in the “world’s smallest letters.”

The release:

Stanford writes in world’s smallest letters

Storing information in electron waves

IMAGE: This is an electron wave quantum hologram displaying the initials “SU ” of Stanford University. The yellow area is a copper surface. The holes in the copper are molecules of carbon monoxide….

Click here for more information. 

Stanford researchers have reclaimed bragging rights for creating the world’s smallest writing, a distinction the university first gained in 1985 and lost in 1990.

How small is the writing? The letters in the words are assembled from subatomic sized bits as small as 0.3 nanometers, or roughly one third of a billionth of a meter.

The researchers encoded the letters “S” and “U” (as in Stanford University) within the interference patterns formed by quantum electron waves on the surface of a sliver of copper. The wave patterns even project a tiny hologram of the data, which can be viewed with a powerful microscope.

IMAGE: These are physics grad student Chris Moon (left), Physics Professor Hari Manoharan and physics grad student Laila Mattos worked on the subatomic writing project.

Click here for more information. 

“We miniaturized their size so drastically that we ended up with the smallest writing in history,” said Hari Manoharan, the assistant professor of physics who directed the work of physics graduate student Chris Moon and other researchers.

The quest for small writing has played a role in the development of nanotechnology for 50 years, beginning decades before “nano” became a household word. During a now-legendary talk in 1959, the remarkable physicist Richard Feynman argued that there were no physical barriers preventing machines and circuitry from being shrunk drastically. He called his talk “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom.”

Feynman offered a $1,000 prize for anyone who could find a way to rewrite a page from an ordinary book in text 25,000 times smaller than the usual size (a scale at which the entire contents of the Encyclopedia Britannica would fit on the head of a pin). He held onto his money until 1985, when he mailed a check to Stanford grad student Tom Newman, who, working with electrical engineering Professor Fabian Pease, used electron beam lithography to engrave the opening page of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities in such small print that it could be read only with an electron microscope.

That record held until 1990, when researchers at a certain computer company famously spelled out the letters IBM by arranging 35 individual xenon atoms.

Now, in a paper published online in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, the Stanford researchers describe how they have created letters 40 times smaller than the original prize-winning effort and more than four times smaller than the IBM initials. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3QQJEHuefQ)

Working in a vibration-proof basement lab in the Varian Physics Building, Manoharan and Moon began their writing project with a scanning tunneling microscope, a device that not only sees objects at a very small scale but also can be used to move around individual atoms. The Stanford team used it to drag single carbon monoxide molecules into a desired pattern on a copper chip the size of a fingernail.

On the two-dimensional surface of the copper, electrons zip around, behaving as both particles and waves, bouncing off the carbon monoxide molecules the way ripples in a shallow pond might interact with stones placed in the water.

The ever-moving waves interact with the molecules and with each other to form standing “interference patterns” that vary with the placement of the molecules.

By altering the arrangement of the molecules, the researchers can create different waveforms, effectively encoding information for later retrieval. To encode and read out the data at unprecedented density, the scientists have devised a new technology, Electronic Quantum Holography.

In a traditional hologram, laser light is shined on a two-dimensional image and a ghostly 3-D object appears. In the new holography, the two-dimensional “molecular holograms” are illuminated not by laser light but by the electrons that are already in the copper in great abundance. The resulting “electronic object” can be read with the scanning tunneling microscope.

Several images can be stored in the same hologram, each created at a different electron wavelength. The researchers read them separately, like stacked pages of a book. The experience, Moon said, is roughly analogous to an optical hologram that shows one object when illuminated with red light and a different object in green light.

For Manoharan, the true significance of the work lies in storing more information in less space. “How densely can you encode information on a computer chip? The assumption has been that basically the ultimate limit is when one atom represents one bit, and then there’s no more room—in other words, that it’s impossible to scale down below the level of atoms.

“But in this experiment we’ve stored some 35 bits per electron to encode each letter. And we write the letters so small that the bits that comprise them are subatomic in size. So one bit per atom is no longer the limit for information density. There’s a grand new horizon below that, in the subatomic regime. Indeed, there’s even more room at the bottom than we ever imagined.”

In addition to Moon and Manoharan, authors of the Nature Nanotechnologypaper, “Quantum Holographic Encoding in a Two-Dimensional Electron Gas,” are graduate students Laila Mattos, physics; Brian Foster, electrical engineering; and Gabriel Zeltzer, applied physics.

The research was supported by the Department of Energy through SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Science (SIMES), the Office of Naval Research, the National Science Foundation and the Stanford-IBM Center for Probing the Nanoscale.





Video: The World’s Smallest Writing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3QQJEHuefQ

Stanford News Service story: Reading the fine print takes on a new meaning http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2009/january28/small-012809.html

MANOHARAN LAB http://mota.stanford.edu

RICHARD FEYNMAN’S 1959 NANOTECHNOLOGY TALK http://www.its.caltech.edu/~feynman/plenty.html

NATURENEWS STORY http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090124/full/news.2009.54.html

Culture11 closing shop

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:01 pm

Well, at least in its current form. I’m sad to see it go. The site was providing some very interesting commentary, and needed moderate commentary from the right.

From the link:

Sometimes there are simple stories. Culture11’s is one of them. We raised a certain amount of money last year predicated on the assumption we would raise more money last year. Then the Fall’s fall occurred and we stretched money as long and far as we could without incurring any debts. With no new money in the door the board decided the most prudent thing to do was suspend business operations. That is a way too technical way of saying that there are now 14 people who worked very hard for this company who are looking for new jobs because theirs disappeared. These people do not deserve to be out of jobs and yet they are. The economy racks up more victims.

Michael Steele to head RNC

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:44 pm

This can be seen as a win for the moderates in the GOP. Michael Steele, heavily opposed by the fringe is slated to head the Republican National Committee.

From the link:



Ben Smith at Politico with the report


From The NewMajority Scroll:
John Avlon on “Michael Steele for RNC Chair.
Brad Wine on “Mr. Steele Goes to Washington.

Michael Steele Videos:
Michael Steele at the 2008 Republican National Convention.
Michael Steele outlines conservative ideas in Civitas Institute speech.
Michael Steele speech at Defending the American Dream Summit.

Terrorists are criminals, not soldiers

That very point is one of Bush’s failures in the poorly named “war on terror.” These fools are criminals. Sometimes common, sometimes uncommon, but criminals none the less. They aren’t soldiers. Just barbaric thugs wielding dark ages theology in defense  of cowardly acts.

Bush played perfectly into the hands of these idiots by declaring war on the very concept of terror, labeling them “enemy combatants” and giving them special — if unpleasant — status. Better to have utilized our law enforcement and military to capture and legally try each and every one. Being called a common international law-breaking loser is much less sexy than being martyred as a combatant captured in a global war.

Here’s a great bit from Cato-at-Liberty. It’s part of a much longer post on Ali Saleh Mohamed Kahlah al-Marri that deserves reading, but this perfectly illustrates where the Bush response to terrorism utterly failed.

From the link:

German also points out that terrorists rely on their claim to be something more akin to soldiers than criminals to maintain political legitimacy. IRA terrorists held by British authorities staged a hunger strike to retain treatment as “prisoners of war” rather than “criminals.” Ten of them willingly starved to death rather than be lumped in with murderers and rapists, the goal of the British “criminalization” strategy. As German writes:

The reasons for the hunger strike reveal much about the IRA and about terrorists in general. They didn’t strike over the anti-Catholic discrimination that led to the civil rights movement. They didn’t strike over the RUC’s police abuse or the stationing of British troops in Northern Ireland. They didn’t strike over being arrested without charges, interned, and tortured. They didn’t strike over indefinite detentions or even over Bloody Sunday. They knew all those things helped their cause. They went on hunger strike because the British government was going to make them look like criminals.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, architect of the 9/11 attacks, sees the writing on the wall — the Obama administration intends to close down the Military Commissions and try him and his co-conspirators in a traditional court of law. This is why he tried to plead guiltyand become a martyr for his cause. If we convict al-Marri and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in federal court and not a Military Commission or one of the proposed national security courts, the Al Qaeda boogey-man is revealed as a thug, not a noble Muslim soldier. 

Wall Street ought to burn …

Filed under: Business, Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:01 pm

… for this. Given the circumstances, this level of bonusing is inexcusable and if the bailout, SEC and Fed have any teeth at all, this should be punished. I’m a capitalist, and when my business is on rough waters I simply don’t make as much money. I certainly don’t get “bonuses” for failure.

The Wall Street bailout was one of the final shameless and shameful acts of the Bush 43 administration.

From the link:

By almost any measure, 2008 was a complete disaster for Wall Street — except, that is, when the bonuses arrived.

Despite crippling losses, multibillion-dollar bailouts and the passing of some of the most prominent names in the business, employees at financial companies in New York, the now-diminished world capital of capital, collected an estimated $18.4 billion in bonuses for the year.


That was the sixth-largest haul on record, according to a report released Wednesday by the New York State comptroller.

While the payouts paled next to the riches of recent years, Wall Street workers still took home about as much as they did in 2004, when the Dow Jones industrial average was flying above 10,000, on its way to a record high.

Some bankers took home millions last year even as their employers lost billions.

GDP drops hard

Filed under: Business — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:53 pm

Drops hard as in biggest economic shrinkage in 27 years. This dates back to Reagan’s first term.

From the link:

The Commerce Department on Friday said gross domestic product, which measures total goods and services output within U.S. borders, plummeted at a 3.8 percent annual rate, the lowest pace since the first quarter of 1982, when output contracted 6.4 percent. GDP fell 0.5 percent in the third quarter. These were the first consecutive declines in GDP since the fourth quarter of 1990 and the first three months of 1991.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast GDP contracting 5.4 percent in the fourth quarter. The U.S. economy slipped into recession in December 2007, driven by the collapse of the housing market and resulting global credit crisis.

GOP (finally) finds small government roots?

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:55 am

I’m Cato’s David Boaz here — how convenient House Republicans suddenly realized they are for small government after acting as anything but for Bush 43. 

Hypocrisy doesn’t look all that great, and it probably won’t play all that great. Trust in this gang is very, very low among small government GOPers and libertarians alike.

From the link:

“Small Government Returns as [Republican] Maxim,” headlines the Washington Post.

The unanimous vote by House Republicans against President Obama’s stimulus plan provided an early indication that the GOP hopes to regain power by becoming the champion of small government, a reputation many felt slipped away during the high-spending Bush years.

But small-government voters may not be persuaded that the GOP has returned to its principles on the basis of one vote against a bill proposed by the other party, which happens to be, in the words of Republican whip Eric Cantor, likely “the largest spending bill in history.”

January 29, 2009

If this chart doesn’t wake the GOP up nothing will

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:10 pm

Talk about a marginalized party. Whatever the base really is, it isn’t a wining coalition. This story at the New York Times and research from Gallup ought to be very, very sobering.

From the link:

Yesterday Gallup released a report on its survey of political party affiliation by voters at the state level. The results, depicted in the map above, show that only five states have a statistically significant majority of voters who identify themselves as Republicans. The data come from interviews last year with “more than 350,000 U.S. adults as part of Gallup Poll Daily tracking.”

Here’s the dirty truth from Gallup:



And here’s some analysis from David Frum at NewMajority.com, taken rom the NYT link:

David Frum at the NewMajority.com asks “Base? What base?”:

These are the numbers that make yesterday’s flexing of muscle by Rush Limbaugh over Georgia congressman Phil Gingery not merely ridiculous but actively dangerous. When Republicans line up behind Rush Limbaugh in this way, they are dividing the country 80-20 against themselves. Our supreme priority now has to be to reinvent ourselves as a pragmatic, inclusive, modern party of free enterprise and limited government. We have to relearn how to talk to moderates, independent, younger voters, educated voters, women – it’s a long list.

Instead, our congressmen talk to and about Rush Limbaugh like Old Bolsheviks praising Comrade Stalin at their show trials. Rush is right! We see eye to eye with Rush! There is no truth outside Rush!

Advice for Microsoft …

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:02 pm

… from CIO.com. Here’s a list of five changesthe Redmond behemoth should implement to remain viable in the coming years. I don’t think Microsoft is all that bad off in big scheme, but there’s some sensible advice there for any tech company. And some that just applies to MS.

From the link:

For the past few years, we’ve kept hearing that Microsoft is in financial trouble. But until now, for all the books and articles foretelling Microsoft’s demise at the hands of Google, the numbers really didn’t support that conclusion. Windows and Microsoft Office still sold in the billions; and businesses kept paying ridiculously high rates for collaboration software like SharePoint.

Today’s quarterly earnings call, coupled with the news that Microsoft will lay off 5,000 workers across multiple departments, shows that some of the worries about Microsoft were true after all. The Operating system, and all the software that runs on top of it, is moving to the Web. This isn’t about the recession. It’s about Microsoft’s paralysis.

So, Microsoft, if I’m speaking to you directly, here are steps you can take to build a bigger and brighter future, one where you can avoid the mistakes made by industries that have not adapted well to the Web (newspapers and magazines come to mind).

Interest rate remains a floating point below 0.25%

Filed under: Business, Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:44 pm

I still think this “floating point” business is one of the crazier things to come out of the ongoing financial crisis and the Fed’s shatter-shot approach to fixing things.

From the link:

Despite all of the new programs the Federal Reserve has created in the past 18 months to deal with the financial crisis, there is one thing even Chairman Ben Bernanke was unable to overcome: the number zero.

The Federal Open Market Committee ended its two-day meeting Wednesday deciding to leave the nation’s interest rate unchanged at the range of 0% to 0.25%, saying the economy remains “weakened” and did not expect any economic recovery to occur until later this year.

However, the bank announced in its statement that it would consider purchase more assets or buying longer-dated securities – possibly the 10-year bond – outright if circumstances warranted. 

“Information received since the Committee met in December suggests that the economy has weakened further,” the Federal Reserve said in its statement. “Industrial production, housing starts, and employment have continued to decline steeply, as consumers and businesses have cut back spending. Furthermore, global demand appears to be slowing significantly.”

Stimulus package throws first-time home buyers a bone

Filed under: Business, Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:41 pm

A pretty good bone at that.

From the link:

If you’re thinking of buying a home, there could be a big bonus for you in the economic stimulus bill that’s now before Congress.

Among its many provisions is a $7,500 tax credit for first time home buyers. The House passed the $819 billion stimulus plan, including this tax credit, in a vote late Wednesday. The Senate may vote on its version of the bill some time next week.

Technically, the stimulus bill is actually changing the terms of the $7,500 tax credit that was issued as a part of the Housing Recovery Act, which Congress passed last summer. That legislation required that the tax credit be repaid over 15 years, making it more of a no-interest loan. Not surprisingly, the measure had little impact on the market. The stimulus bill now under consideration would make that tax credit a true credit that doesn’t need to be repaid.

January 28, 2009

US postal service may drop a delivery day

You know things are bad when the Post Office is looking to cut back.

From the link:

Massive deficits could force the post office to cut out one day of mail delivery, the postmaster general told Congress on Wednesday, in asking lawmakers to lift the requirement that the agency deliver mail six days a week.

If the change happens, that doesn’t necessarily mean an end to Saturday mail delivery. Previous post office studies have looked at the possibility of skipping some other day when mail flow is light, such as Tuesday.

Faced with dwindling mail volume and rising costs, the post office was $2.8 billion in the red last year. ”If current trends continue, we could experience a net loss of $6 billion or more this fiscal year,” Potter said in testimony for a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee.

Total mail volume was 202 billion items last year, over 9 billion less than the year before, the largest single volume drop in history.

And, despite annual rate increases, Potter said 2009 could be the first year since 1946 that the actual amount of money collected by the post office declines.

January 27, 2009

Obama, the tech-savvy president

Filed under: Politics, Technology — Tags: , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:49 pm

The Obama adminstration is going to be ground-breaking in many ways, and the use of technology is one. He harnessed tech to an amazing degree while winning the Democratic primary and then the general election.

Look for that trend to continue during his tenure at the White House.

From the second link:

Technology, Innovation and Government Reform Team (TIGR): TIGR is one of the most significant ideas to come out of the new administration. Its mission is to use technology to reduce the cost of government, improve the delivery of government services, and drive transparency. Expect to see online platforms designed to involve the public more fully in their government; increased amounts of government data and information available online; and tools to take that data and mash it up for your own use.

Whether Obama can maintain the excitement among the public that he created during his historic election and transition period remains to be seen. However, by fully embracing the tools and networking possibilities available online he’s headed in the right direction. So as we take this historic step forward, don’t forget to check out PC World’s guide to all the Web-based inauguration activities going on Tuesday.

Thain digs grave a little bit more deep

Filed under: Business — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:58 pm

One, why is he talking to anyone in the press? He has nothing to gain and is now a great case study in bad public relations.

Two, I will never understand why C-level incompetence is almost always rewarded. This ass clown will get another job , probably soon, with the keys to the bus, a foot on the pedal and a big cliff looming after his first twist of the steering wheel.

And our tax dollars will be there to bail him out again.

From the link:

Former Merrill Lynch & Co. Chief Executive John Thain defended the acquisition of the brokerage by Bank of America Corp., saying the bank knew of the company’s losses and bonuses before the purchase closed.

Thain also said he plans to reimburse Bank of America for a $1.2 million renovation of his office a year ago, saying in an interview with CNBC Monday that “it is clear to me in today’s world that it was a mistake.”

“I apologize for spending that money … on those things,” Thain said in the interview.

He made similar comments in a memo to employees released Monday by media outlets.

When asked why he made the renovations in the first place, Thain said during the CNBC interview that former Merrill Lynch CEO Stan O’Neal’s office “was very different than the general decor of Merrill’s offices. It really would have been very difficult for me to use it in the form that it was in … It needed to be renovated no matter what.”

“I should have simply paid for it myself,” Thain added.

Spokespeople at Bank of America and Merrill Lynch declined to comment on the office renovation reimbursement.

Bank bailout heading to trillions

Filed under: Business, Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:00 pm

Hopefully there’s at least some return on this investment.

From the link:

While the Obama administration hasn’t asked Congress for more money yet, some experts warn that government spending on support for struggling financial services companies will ultimately reach into the trillions of dollars.

The first half of the controversial $700 billion program to help banks has already been spent — mostly on buying up preferred shares of troubled banks.

Part of the remaining $350 billion may be used to purchase troubled assets from bank balance sheets and place them in what Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. chief Sheila Bair has dubbed an “aggregator bank.”

And while taxpayers will surely recover some of that sum eventually, more money is likely to be needed in order for the bank rescue to work.

Big layoffs this week

Filed under: Business — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:45 pm

And a stark reminder the economy is not getting better overnight.

From the link:

In a single day, on Jan. 26, at least 50,000 new layoffs were announced at companies as varied as telecom giant Sprint Nextel (S), construction equipment maker Caterpillar (CAT), semiconductor manufacturer Texas Instruments (TXN), and pharmaceutical house Pfizer (PFE).

It was a stark reminder of how rapidly the recession is claiming jobs. Already 170,000 jobs have been lost in January. The U.S. economy lost 2.6 million jobs in 2008

January 26, 2009

US economy had a bad, bad fourth quarter

Filed under: Business — Tags: , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 8:46 pm

Not surprising, but ouch.

From the link:

The U.S. economy contracted violently in the fourth quarter, with gross domestic product falling at its fastest pace in more than 25 years, economists said ahead of what promises to be a grim week of economic news.

“Real economic activity fell off a cliff during the fourth quarter, producing a sharp drop in employment, output and spending,” wrote economists at Wachovia.

And the worst part is that it’s not over. Economists expect another huge decline in the first quarter, with a smaller contraction in the second quarter.

GDP is expected to have fallen at a 5.5% annualized rate in the final three months of last year, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by MarketWatch. That would be the biggest decline since the 6.4% drop in early 1982 and one of the worst quarters in the post-World War II era.

January 24, 2009

Nanny state in legislation — South Carolina

This’ll never go anywhere and is just political posturing, but it’s still sickening to think a public official would even want to make a point by attempting to gut the First Amendment.

From the link:

State Senator Robert Ford is hoping to outlaw lewd language and is pushing for a bill that would prohibit profanity.

Under the pre-filed bill, profanity could land you in jail for up to 5 years and/or cost you up to $5,000 in fines.

Which words are exactly considered profane is still unclear, but the bill does have a list of qualifications for profanity including words or actions that are lewd, vulgar or indecent in nature.

We spoke to Debra Gammons with the Charleston School of Law about freedom of speech.

She reminds that the First Amendment is not absolute. You cannot say whatever you want whenever you want to.

Courts will usually look at where the words were said and who heard them. Children are usually protected.

Er, Debra you might not want to take that argument to the Supreme Court. Fire in a theater, okay that’s a public safety issue. Salty language at the mall? Not so much. No threat to anyone other than the easily offended. Maybe not too couth, but definitely not criminal.

My first NewMajority post

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:40 am

Here’s my first offering at NewMajority. The site is dedicated to bringing the GOP back around. I’m going to provide an independent voice coming from the “little l” libertarian stance, plus I’m a voter who votes for both parties with no compunction. Exactly the sort of voter the GOP needs to court to start winning elections again.

The site broke the story on Palin’s campaign clothes going undonated and sitting in plastic garbage bags at the RNC headquarters, and it’s funny because the comment section is already populated with the 20%-ers who will likely keep the party out of anything other than local office for a long-time coming.

I think the idea of NewMajority is great and I’m very pleased David Frum, the founder and editor, has given me the opportunity to contribute to the conversation. The site launched on Tuesday and it’s already embroiled in a bit of GOP controversy.

Regular readers of this blog wonder why I’d contribute to a blog dedicated to bringing the GOP back to prominence? It’s simple. I want at least two viable choices and no third party could hope to challenge the Democrats for many years. There’s just no coalition, organization or structure for that fight from any political party other than the Republicans. I also fear the GOP might just go the way of the Know-Nothings if the extreme edge isn’t sanded down a bit.

Given the opportunity, I’ll contribute to a left-leaning blog and challenge that group from the right. For NewMajority I’m doing just that, only from the other direction.

From my first NewMajority post:

Is it possible to be less than conservative on social issues and still be a part of the Republican coalition? Of course it is. Many voters, such as myself, vote GOP for the fiscal conservatism the party has traditionally espoused. The last several years has shaken that somewhat, but fiscal conservatives are not going to bail on the party for the sins of one administration.

Culturally, the public’s focus regarding the Republican Party is on the Religious Right and a series of hot-button topics such as abortion, gay marriage and stem cell research. One area that gets very little truck these days is civil liberties – particularly the notion that government ought to stay out of our lives. The notion that the individual knows best in terms of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Civil liberties is one area in which true conservatives and libertarians have been largely in agreement.

January 23, 2009

Nanoscale lasers and whispering galleries

Big breakthrough in tiny lasers — the apps here include lightening quick communications and data handling (photonics) and optical microchips.

The release:

Plasmonic whispering gallery microcavity paves the way to future nanolasers

The principle behind whispering galleries – where words spoken softly beneath a domed ceiling or in a vault can be clearly heard on the opposite side of the chamber – has been used to achieve what could prove to be a significant breakthrough in the miniaturization of lasers. Ultrasmall lasers, i.e., nanoscale, promise a wide variety of intriguing applications, including superfast communications and data handling (photonics), and optical microchips for instant and detailed chemical analyses.


Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the California Institute of Technology have developed a “whispering gallery microcavity” based on plasmons – electromagnetic waves that race across the surfaces of metals. Such a plasmon wave has very small wavelength compared with the light, enabling the scaling down optical devices beyond diffraction limit of the light. Cavities are the confined spaces in lasers where light amplification takes place and this new micro-sized metallic cavity for plasmons improves on the quality of current plasmonic cavities by better than an order of magnitude.

“We have shown for the first time that metallic microcavities based on surface plasmons can have a large quality factor and can thereby enable ultra-small device fabrication and strong enhancement of the light,” said Xiang Zhang, a mechanical engineer who holds a joint appointment with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and the University of California (UC) Berkeley where he directs the NSF Nano-scale Science and Engineering Center.

“Plasmonic microcavities have uniquely different physical properties when compared to dielectric cavities and can extend microcavity research in entirely new ways, particularly at nanoscale dimensions,” said Kerry Vahala, a physics professor at Cal Tech and authority on photonic devices. “Our work shows that the full potential of this new class of device can be realized with careful design and material control.”

Zhang and Vahala led this collaborative research which is reported in the January 22, 2009 edition of the journal Nature. The paper is entitled: “High-Q surface-plasmon-polariton whispering-gallery microcavity.” In addition to Zhang and Vahala, other authors of the paper were Bumki Min, Eric Ostby, Volker Sorger, Erick Ulin-Avila and Lan Yang.


Surface Plasmons and Whispering Galleries

Just as the energy in waves of light is carried through space in discrete or quantized particle-like units called photons, so, too, is the energy in waves of charged gas (plasma) carried in quantized particle-like packets called plasmons, as they travel along metallic surfaces. When photons excite the collective electron oscillations at the interfaces between metal and dielectric (insulator) materials, they can form yet another quasi-particle called a surface plasmon polariton(SPP). Such polaritons play an important role in the optical properties of metals and can be used to manipulate light on a nanoscale.

“Metal-dielectric materials, also known as plasmonics, can be used to confine an optical field to a very small scale, much smaller than conventional insulators,” said Min, lead author on the Nature paper and former postdoctoral researcher in Zhang’s Lab, now an assistant professor at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). “This capability, often termed as breaking the light diffraction, is unobtainable with dielectric materials alone.”

The main obstacle to working with plasmonic materials for creating nanoscale lasers has been a low quality or “Q” factor, which is a measure of power loss in the lasing cavity – a laser cavity with a high-Q factor has a low power loss. Enter the whispering gallery phenomenon, which Cal Tech’s Vahala has used to boost the Q factor of dielectric microcavities. Whispering galleries are found in circular or elliptically shaped buildings, such as St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, where the phenomenon was first made famous, or Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol building.

The prevailing theory behind why whispering galleries work (first proposed in 1871 by British astronomer George Airy to explain St. Paul’s cathedral) is that sound originating at one point along the circumference of an enclosed sphere is reflected to another point along the circumference opposite the source. Vahala and his group applied this idea to dielectric microcavities, and Zhang and Min along with Ostby, Sorger and Ulin-Avila applied the idea to plasmonic microcavities.


“In these sphere-shaped microcavities, optical waves propagate in a similar way that sound waves propagate in a whispering gallery,” said Zhang. “They continue to circle around the edge of the cavity sphere and smoothness of the edge enhances or boosts the cavity’s Q factor.”

In this study, Zhang and his collaborators created a high-Q SPP whispering gallery microcavity by coating the surface of a high-Q silica microcavity with a thin layer of silver.


Explained Zhang, “Whenever light propagates in a metal it experiences some loss of power and this obviously reduces the performance of a device. Silver is the metal with the lowest loss, that is available.”


Whereas previous plasmonic microcavities achieved a best Q factor below 100, the whispering gallery plasmonic microcavity allows Q factors of 1,376 in the near infrared for SPP modes at room temperature.


“This nearly ideal value, which is close to the theoretical metal-loss-limited Q factor, is attributed to the suppression and minimization of radiation and scattering losses that are made possible by the geometrical structure and the fabrication method,” said Min, who believes that there is still room for plasmonic Q-factor improvement by geometrical and material optimizations.

Min said one of the first applications of the whispering gallery plasmonic microcavity is likely to be the development of a plasmonic nanolaser.

“To build a working laser, it is essential to have both the laser cavity (or resonator) and the gain media,” Min said.  “Therefore, we need a good, high-Q plasmonic microcavity to make a plasmonic nanolaser. Our work paves the way to accomplish the demonstration of a real plasmonic nanolaser.  In addition, fundamental research can also be pursued with this plasmonic cavity, such as the interaction of a single light emitter with plasmons.”

This work was supported by the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research MURI program, and by the NSF Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center.


Berkeley Lab is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory located in Berkeley, California. It conducts unclassified scientific research and is managed by the University of California. Visit our website at http://www.lbl.gov.

Palin’s campaign clothes at RNC headquarters

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:41 pm

NewMajority.com (I’m to be a guest blogger at the site, but my first post hasn’t run yet in this wild and woolly first week for the new blog) broke a major story today — the clothes bought for Sarah Palinfor the campaign trail are sitting the Republican National Committee headquarters in garbage bags.

These are the infamous $150K in designer outfits for the vice-presidential nominee to wear while on the stump. They were to be donated to charity after the election. It looks like the Alaskan governor kept her end of the bargain and returned the clothing. The RNC, however, has dropped the ball completely.

From the link:

Despite the Republican National Committee’s promise to donate Sarah Palin’s $180,000 campaign wardrobe to charity, word has it the Alaska governor’s clothes remain stuffed in trash bags at RNC headquarters, NewMajority has learned.

While Palin followed through on her promise to return her controversial wardrobe after the election, it seems the RNC has not followed through on its promise to give most of the clothes away.

During the 2008 campaign, GOP vice presidential candidate Palin was pummeled with accusations that she had overspent on clothes for herself, and even for her family — down to baby Trig. Palin asserted at the time that the clothes belonged to the RNC. They were not her property and would be returned at the end of the campaign. A campaign spokeswoman backed up those claims, saying, “It was always the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign.” It was also understood that those that had not been worn would be returned to the appropriate retailer; those that had been worn would be used for some other purpose, perhaps auctioned off for charity or to retire campaign debt.

NewMajority founder and editor, David Frum, added this on the big scoop for the fledgling website:

This story is not a story about Gov. Palin. In this matter, the former vice-presidential nominee did exactly the right thing. She promised to return the wardrobe at the end of the campaign, and she did return the wardrobe.

The story is about a dysfunctional party apparatus. Because of their own inability to act, the RNC has left Gov. Palin looking like a promise-breaker – and left everyone who donated to the McCain-Palin campaign feeling like a fool.

The rage in the donor community about the wardrobe is real and intense. Our party was gasping for funds in 2008. We could not afford to waste a dime. More to the point: not every Republican donor is rich. Many are people to whom the $200 or $500 or $1000 they give represents a real sacrifice. They need to know that their sacrifice has not been used frivolously. The RNC’s protracted delay in donating the clothes as promised raises a troubling question: Will our party be embarrassed by what those bags contain?

Scam ads that scream stupid

Filed under: Arts, Business, et.al., Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:20 pm

I regularly scour the web for professional blog  job posts (corporate ghost blogging is one of my commercial specialties) and I found this howler.

Clearly English is not the first language here, and on top of that it’s also very clearly a scam — read: ” … will get paid through a prepaid card that I will have you sign-up for!”

But the entire idea is just hilarious. This purported “employer” wants someone to build a highly successful blog with advertising on the page and then just hand over 50% of the profit. Heh.

If you’re a blogger I’m sure you don’t need any help with something like this, but please, please don’t get taken.

On a more serious note, if you’re a freelance writer — or a prospective freelance writer — don’t work for free unless you really need the clips and the outlet is very solid. Not just any website that needs content and offers you exposure. Also don’t work for outrageously low rates such as $0.05 per word (or less in may cases).

And almost never provide a free “sample” of what the job poster is seeking. Send clips, send samples of similar work, but don’t provide work-for-hire at no cost to hopefully get a job. That just won’t happen.

It’s not uncommon for an unscrupulous publisher to advertise for an editor, then make the editorial test an edit of a chapter or section of the work in question. Twenty chapters and twenty (or more) applicants later and the entire work is edited. Albeit poorly and with no coherent voice or style, but it will be edited by well-meaning suckers who each took on a chapter for no pay.

Writing is a profession and a hobby. Don’t confuse the two if you’d like to become a freelance writer.

And now that crazy, crazy ad:

I need a good blogger to write some post for me. There is big business in advertising. Here is how it works:
1.A blogger writes a good blog.
2.That blog has been viewed many times and the counter shows that.
3.The blogger post a spot for advertising.
4.Someone pays the blogger for putting there ad on the blog.
 Now that does not sound very hard, but you have to have advertisers and some way to get your blog noticed.
 The Blogger get paid 50% of whatever profits we make.
 I need a very good writer (blogger) to make some good post so advertisers  will notice the blog and add there ads to it!

 Anyone can be a blogger, no matter of age or gender!
If you take this job will get paid through a prepaid card that I will have you sign-up for!

Bank nationalization backgrounder

Courtesy of the Wall Street Journal. The topic of bank nationalization is going to be all over the place for while. If you’re wondering what it’s all about and how it might affect your day-to-day banking hit the link. Plenty of material there on loans, disadvantages and more.

A sample from the primer:

What does “bank nationalization” mean?

A nationalized bank is owned and run by the government. The shocks of the credit crisis last fall spurred lawmakers to seminationalize the banking sector; nearly 314 institutions have already signed over some of their shares and other securities to the Treasury in return for $350 billion in government TARP funds. The government could now go a step further by taking complete ownership of certain troubled banks.

Why nationalize banks?

It makes sense only if banks are in danger of failing. In Western countries, nationalization is largely used as an emergency method to prop up banks during tough times. It is typically used to lend to small and medium-sized businesses and restructure burdensome loans to consumers.

Goodbye and good riddance Cox

I’m with this story. Couldn’t happen too soon and if nothing else, the SEC will be headed up with a lot more competence. Hopefully a whole lot more.

From the link:

Christopher Cox has packed up as chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, leaving behind a demoralized agency that failed to spot Bernard Madoff’s alleged mega-fraud or forestall the collapses of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers.

His resignation took effect yesterday, a spokesperson said.

During Cox’s 3 1/2 years, the SEC was criticized by lawmakers, investors and its own inspector general as lacking aggressiveness and being deferential to Wall Street banks.

U.S. President Barack Obama picked a fellow Democrat, Mary Schapiro, the head of the U.S. brokerage industry’s self-regulator, to succeed the Bush administration appointee.

“I respect Chris Cox, but there’s no question that the commission has been much too passive in area after area under his leadership,” said law professor Harvey Goldschmid, a former SEC commissioner.

“The morale problems and the lack of public regard for the agency must be immediately addressed by Mary Schapiro.”

LinkedIn goes after “super-connected”

The “super-connected” users and LinkedInhave been in something of a war. The super-connected claim they are providing a service and aren’t simply collectors of connections for bragging rights. LinkedIn says these users are defeating the spirit of the professional networking site.

The reality, as always, probably lies somewhere in between. The super-connected are undercutting some of LinkedIn’s profit channels, and once the connection list becomes too large the super-connected really can’t provide that much service for everyone on the list.

This warmish war just become a little more hot. Looks like LinkedIn has taken additional steps to rein-in the super-connected users.

For the record, I do utilize LinkedIn and have found it a great way to reconnect with previous colleagues (a real boon for a longtime freelancer like myself) and a resource to expand business contacts — I’m on a new freelance writing headhunter’s list because of the site. Just based on my interactions with the site I don’t see the utility of the super-connected, but I also see no reason to crack down on the group.

Of course, at the end of the day LinkedIn will win this head-to-head. It’s their site governed by a user’s agreement.

From the second link:

 LinkedInhas quietly clamped down on a controversial association known as the LinkedIn open networkers (LIONs), a group of LinkedIn members who liberally add contacts — known on LinkedIn as “connections” — even if they don’t know each of the people personally. The group’s strategy runs counter to LinkedIn’s official policy, which states that LinkedIn members should only connect with people they know .

In the recent development, some LIONs have received messages saying that they have exceeded a newly imposed connection limit of 30,000.LION members say they have pending “invitations to connect” that they cannot accept as a result of the restriction. An unofficial site known as the TopLinked.comtracks the connection counts of many LIONs.

The decision to place more restrictions on the LIONs comes several weeks after CIO.com profiled LinkedIn open networks and the group’s history. In the article, LIONs were described, at their best, as helping disparate strangers connect on the service, ideally leading to new jobs or business opportunities. At their worst, they are described by critics as name collectors looking to leverage their connection lists to spam unwitting members.

This takes the cake …

Filed under: et.al., Media — Tags: , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:34 am

… and I’d vote for a some sort of nutcake. A driver rammed another driver for not “driving like a Christian.” Er, um, oh to hell with it, this is just nuts. And more evidence the those who hear “god” might not be totally in their right minds.

From the link:

A driver who rammed another car at high speed outside San Antonio last week told police that Jesus had told him to do so because the other motorist was not “driving like a Christian.”

In my experience, He is usually satisfied if you just give a lousy driver the finger, but in this case I guess that wouldn’t have gotten the message across.

According to a news release from the county sheriff’s office, the driver told first responders that the driver of the other vehicle “was not driving like a Christian and it was Jesus’ will for him to punish the car.”  He similarly told a policeman that “God said she wasn’t driving right, and she needed to be taken off the road.”  The Lord does work in mysterious ways.

(Hat tip: Secular Right)

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