Archive for September, 2006

Global Economic Serpent Eats Its Tail

Cheap nokia cell‘Cell Phone Makers Fight Resales’ is an interesting example of the global economy “run amok.” Of course the quotes here suggest that I don’t really believe this is anything like a Malaysian muderous rage, in fact it is incredibly fitting. At the same time that huge companies are leveraging global economic differences to bring dirt cheap cell phones to us via dirt cheap labor overseas, our local entrepeneurs have dicovered that they can walk to their local Walmart and buy up these dirt cheap cell phones in huge quanties and resell them for a profit overseas. How is this possible? Part of it is that the phones are subsidized (sold below cost) to coerce people to buy prepaid cell minutes. Other parts of it don’t make much sense to me, but the important thing is that people are making good money mining $20 cell phones from the strip malls of our nation. That’s the American spirit in action!

The cell companies aren’t too happy about this situation. Yet you couldn’t squeeze a drop of sympathy out of me. The freedoms of a free market aren’t just there to convenience the big and mighty. Plus, as inevitably happens when anyone is doing anything that someone else doesn’t like in this day and age, someone has been brought up on terrorism chages. Consider for a momenet: do you look a little dark skinned and shifty, do you own a cell phone? Well, a cell phone could be used to trigger a bomb, so you surely are a terrorist! Someone call the DA. That, sadly, is also the current American spirit in action.

(BTW, did you know amok comes from Malay and refers to a particularly Malasian form of a murderous frenzy? You do now.)


Trolli Sour Cherry Bombers

Trolli Sour Cherry BombersTrolli makes some good stuff, and the new sour Cherry Bombers are certainly among that stuff. But, please, I beg you, don’t buy a bag and eat the whole thing in a few minutes. Why would you even do that? I know, they are cherry flavored; and of all the artificial flavors cherry is probably the best. And, yes, I know that they are sour, or more accurately the liquid center that oozes out moments after you roll one around in your mouth is sour. But, you just had lunch! There’s no call for that.

Now you’re going to have to live with that sugar shocked stomach while you try to do something productive like teach a next leading order Monte Carlo generator to sing and dance. How’s that working out for you? Not well, I’d say, not well.


Activist Judges

This is one of the many reasons why you should pretty much trust nothing a politician tells you: Activism Is in the Eye of the Ideologist [NYT]. It seems the liberal “activist” judges that conservatives like to deride so thoroughly don’t cut it when head-to-head against conservative judges (at least in the domain of current study: recent Supreme Court judges). In this case an activist action is defined as “voted to overturn a federal or state law, or one of the court’s own precedents,” which sounds quite reasonable to me.  Not surprisingly there was some state vs. federal biases indicated, but overall conservatives are the “activistist”.


The Sweetest of Switches

Switch with red safety coverI’m here to tell you that there really is progress in the world: if Radio Shack had had this “switch with safety cover” when I was a kid my little head would have exploded with joy. Now they do, and we can all feel a little better for it. Thank you Radio Shack, for being just around the corner you’re really not that bad.


Mevin Schwartz

Melvin Schwartz next to a spark chamberBNL and The N. Y. Times report that Melvin Schwartz has died at the age of 73. I was reading about his work on a poster at BNL just last week (he is one of quite a few nobel laureates who have worked at BNL). Schwartz is the co-discoverer of the muon neutrino, a particle discribed as “wispy” by the N. Y. Times. More recently he had a managment role at BNL during the construction of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), which is the large collider dominating the campus of BNL now.