Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Is this what we want our best and brightest doing?


"What this meant, in its simplest form, is that these traders (or salespeople) could buy bonds at the “market” price from intelligent hedge fund managers in NYC and sell this same crap at much higher levels to unsophisticated (but legally considered “sophisticated”) pension funds and insurance companies in middle America. What I discovered, quite starkly, is that the part of Wall Street that I worked in was simply transferring wealth from the less sophisticated investors, often teachers’ pension funds and factory workers’ retirement accounts, to the more sophisticated investors that call themselves proprietary trading desks and hedge funds."

So is this what a modern, high-tech society wants our of its top echelon economy?  The rich secretly sucking the life out of the middle?

Monday, April 8, 2013

tiny apartments catching on?


"What was once a master suite of an apartment in the Montparnasse neighborhood is now a 130 square foot micro apartment that houses all of the necessities. There’s even an extremely creative way to house the mattress-slash-sofa. The bed doubles as seating space for lounging and entertaining, which rolls away discreetly underneath a set of steps on the floor. The Magis One stools add some much needed contemporary pizazz to the inner environment, while the storage really looks like art and functions just perfectly."

this is even smaller than my place!  I've learned I don't need much space to live in, provided I have some place to store my boxes of books and stuff.

Monday, April 1, 2013

How are libraries evolving?


"Acknowledging that reality, libraries in Tucson, Ariz., have become the first in the nation to provide registered nurses along with their other services. Placing nurses in six branches is a nod to the widely accepted transition of public libraries into de facto community centers."


"Mission creep invites creeps. Library, which traces its etymology to the Latin word for book, has come to mean free DVDs, CDs, video games, and Internet. To the ne’er-do-wells roaming the stacks, library means a place to cop a free feel and grab a free laptop. When librarians go slumming for patrons, the slum’s problems become the library’s.
The bizarre folkways that surround stimulate anthropological interest more than formal complaint. Alas, unpleasant company is always the price of free."

Two different ways to view a library.  It's a place to learn AND a place to get help, or it's a place where learning is difficult because the homeless have taken over. I hope for the former.

Corporations have no soul, but that could be fixed


"But the ruling’s effect will be felt well beyond the limited number of patients in India who need Gleevec, because it will help maintain India’s role as the world’s most important provider of inexpensive medicines, which is critical in the global fight against HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Gleevec can cost as much as $70,000 per year, while Indian generic versions cost about $2,500 year.
'The judgment in the Novartis case is a victory for patients both in India and around the world,' Dr. Yusuf K. Hamied, chairman of Cipla, an Indian generic drug giant, wrote in an e-mail. “India, being the pharmacy capital of the world, can continue to produce affordable, high-quality medicines without the threat of patents for minor modifications of known medicines.”
In a televised interview, Ranjit Shahani, vice chairman of Novartis’s Indian subsidiary, said that India would suffer as a result of the ruling because companies like Novartis would invest less money in research there. 'We will continue with our investments in India, even though cautiously,' he said. 'We hope that the ecosystem for intellectual property in the country improves.'"

Corporations by the rules that set them up care only for profit.  If their decisions kill many people, it is no concern to the corporation. But corporations are simply constructs created by laws.  These can be changed.  Rules can be added to say that human welfare must account for some part of corporate decision making, over profit.  It can be done.