Daily Archives: April 4, 2012

Views from the Solar System (36)



SPACE WATCH

Dubai at Night
NASA – City lights of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, are featured in this image taken by the Expedition 30 crew aboard the International Space Station. The City of Dubai–the largest metropolitan area within the emirate of Dubai–is a favorite subject of astronaut photography largely due to the unique artificial archipelagos situated directly offshore in the Persian Gulf, which were built such that their full design is only visible from the vantage point of an airplane — or an orbiting spacecraft. The city presents an eye-catching appearance at night that vividly displays the urban development pattern. In this detailed image, taken with a long focal length lens and digital camera optimized for fast response and high light sensitivity, several interesting patterns can be observed. The highways and major streets are sharply defined by yellow-orange lighting, while the commercial and residential areas are resolved into a speckle pattern of individual white, blue and yellow-orange lights. Several large and brilliantly lit areas are large hotel and mall complexes, including the Burj Khalifa Tower, the world’s tallest building at 2,717 feet, or 828 meters. The brilliant lighting of the city contrasts sharply with both the dark Persian Gulf to the northwest, and largely undeveloped and unlit areas to the southeast. Likewise, the clusters of lighting in the Palm Jumeira complex at bottom right correspond to the relatively small part of the archipelago that has been developed. Isolated areas of blurred city lights are due to patchy clouds.

Romney seals the deal with GOP base


Mitt Romney in Fresno

Mitt Romney in Fresno
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Christian Heinze – For months, Mitt Romney’s detractors have warned that he’s too moderate to win hardcore conservatives, too rich to connect with downscale voters, too cautious to rally Tea Party supporters, and too Mormon to convert evangelicals. Tuesday’s primaries, however, show these demographic groups suddenly moving into Romney’s camp.

Romney routed Santorum among some of the former Pennsylvania senator’s strongest demographic backers, winning those who “strongly support” the Tea Party by 19 percent, those without a college degree by 21 percent, evangelicals by 6 percent, and even rural voters by 23 percent.

Indeed, if there’s been one group of voters Santorum has been able to rely on, it’s been that band of fervent activists – Tea Party backers, conservatives, evangelicals, and downscale voters – but they all abandoned Santorum for Romney in Maryland. more> http://is.gd/C5M5ea

5 Visions of How to Solve the Euro Crisis



By Landon Thomas Jr. – Simon Wolfson, chief executive of the British retailer Next, has offered to award that sum (£250,000, or about $400,000) to the person that puts forward the most elegant scenario for how a country or countries might leave the euro zone — or how the 17-nation compact might unwind.

In all, 425 entries were received. The winner will be announced July 5.

The five finalist essays, which were announced Tuesday, come from four established analysts and one independent trader. They are more or less free of politics, preferring to underscore instead the daunting task that countries like Greece, Portugal and Spain face in improving competitiveness through spending cuts rather than currency devaluation — an option they can not pursue because of their membership in the euro.

While the essays do not present any ideas that have not already been aired, their deep explorations of the complex legal issues involved. more> http://is.gd/iEjRTy

If The Best Technology Won We Would All Be Using OS/2


T-REX Corporate Center was originally one of I...

T-REX Corporate Center was originally one of IBM's research labs where the IBM PC was created. Applied Card Systems, the in-house collection for Cross Country Bank, is located here among many other businesses.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Alan Shimel – Today (Apr 2, 2012) marks the 25th anniversary of IBM‘s announcement of the OS/2 PC operating system. Harry McCracken over on Time.com has a great piece reflecting back on the success and failure’s of IBM’s ill fated attempt to to rule the desktop and how in some places OS/2 sill lives on.

More than anything to me though OS/2 is the poster child of why very often the best technology doesn’t win. Sometimes it is marketing, politics and other factors that make our technology decisions for us and have us choose inferior technology instead.

In case you are not familiar with the history involved here, let me give you a quick synopsis. When IBM launced the original PC (largely developed here in the Boca Raton area where I live) they choose as the OS a system licensed to them by a small company called Microsoft. Microsoft in turn had licensed this disk operating system (DOS) from a Seattle based company. DOS was 16 bit, clunky, buggy and not real user friendly but as PCs were cloned, Microsoft was making a fortune licensing it to all of the clone makers. more> http://is.gd/MUzfNl

Ben Bernanke’s Paper Dollar Embodies Systemic Risk


Description: Newspaper clipping USA, Woodrow W...

Description: Newspaper clipping USA, Woodrow Wilson signs creation of the Federal Reserve. Source: Date: 24 December 1913 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Charles Kadlec – The paper dollar is now the single most important source of systemic risk to the financial system, the world economy, and the security of the American people.

That is the lesson of the past 100 years that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke did not teach during his four lectures at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Business. Instead, he celebrated the importance of the extraordinary powers he and his fellow governors have to manipulate interest rates and the value of the dollar in the name of economic growth and stability.

In so doing, he ignored completely that the ever growing need for heroic interventions by the Fed is itself being created by the paper dollar system he celebrates. more> http://is.gd/VZkWUy

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