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ZOMG! How can you not be on Facebook? is the approximate tone of this New York Times article about people who refuse to use Facebook.
My biggest problem with Facebook is that the user is not the customer; the user is the product and advertisers are the customers:
Facebook executives say they don’t expect everyone in the country to sign up. Instead they are working on ways to keep current users on the site longer, which gives the company more chances to show them ads.Emphasis added. Facebook makes its money by selling ad space, and the more ads its users see the more money it makes.
Fine for them--but I'm not interested.
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The most expensive "cost plus" program in history is full of FAIL. I don't think I need to amplify that; besides, it's a topic I've tackled before.
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This Arse Technica article is talking about something that happened about 50,000 years ago, yet nowhere in the article does it actually say that. The galactic core is roughly 50,000 light-years away, so talking about all of this as if it were happening now is disingenuous, particularly coming from a site that is supposed to be all about science and technology (which insists that "global warming" is science and that "deniers" are "ignoring science").
We will see the effects of these ancient events in the next couple of years, yes. But for a site which purports to be all about science, there sure as hell isn't much in that post.
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Recovering the earliest audio recordings. Playing them back mechanically would damage or destroy them, but we can take pictures and process them with a computer. Damn technology is cool.
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Dead Man Dance has an interesting image: a temple entrance in Nagasaki which survived an atom bomb and a tsunami. It must be made of unobtanium.
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Prefacing the usual DOOM! post is this DPUD post: "Has China Crashed?" China's debt bubble appears to be popping, which is a not-good thing for all of us.
Wait, there is no DOOM! Everything is fine!
Wait, there is DOOM! after all! We're all screwed!
...the former link says that the US economy grew 17.1% annualized (ie "multiplied by 12") in October. The economy grew 1.425 in October, so if you annualize that ("multiply that by 12") you get 17.1. The economy is fixed! Re-elect Obama!
The latter link explains that we are currently experiencing conditions much like those in Europe in 1873, which was a "great crash" that made 1929 look like a birthday party. The current conditions also echo the big crash of the early 1930s.
Study your history, folks, lest you repeat it.
Big surprise: Realtors made housing markets look better than they are by "overcounting" sales. Look: if you're in the business of selling a fixed commodity--that is, a commodity whose supply cannot be easily increased--naturally you want demand to be high, as that pushes the cost curve upward. More dollars chasing fixed supply means higher prices; and when you work on commission, you want the prices to be as high as possible in order to maximize your paycheck.
So: realtors have been (to put it charitably) "overestimating" home sales for the past five years. Which means that when we see the corrected numbers, it's going to make a bad situation worse.
Yeah, China's credit bubble has apparently popped. It almost sounds as if the Chinese economy is about to begin coughing up blood. How can that be? We were told that China would own the planet next decade!
Asian manufacturing is tanking which is also not a good thing. As the previous link attests it means that there will be a lot of cheap goods flooding the market.
Next year ought to be "interesting". In the vein of the old Chinese curse. How ironic.
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Meanwhile, Karl Denninger continues to see "margin squeeze" in prices. That's when the cost of raw materials goes up and the price of finished goods goes up less, or not at all. Manufacturers have to make a profit somehow, and they end up making less of one even after all their cost-saving measures go into effect.
Low profits is bad news. See: you buy stock in a corporation, generally, in order to receive dividends. You own a chunk of the corporation, and you're therefore entitled to a cut of the profits depending on how much stock you own. So generally you get a couple quarters or a few bucks per share, depending on a variety of factors, and this is usually why a person owns stock.
A stock's value is based on how much money you get per share. A share of Jimbob Corp which pays perhaps $0.50 per year might be worth $1 on the market, while a share of Billjoe Inc that pays $1 per share per year might be worth $2 on the market. If Billjoe has a bad year and only pays $0.25 per share that year, its stock price might drop.
You see, if you buy stock and hold onto it, the price of the stock will usually go up as the corporation grows in size and produces bigger dividends. But you buy the stock for the dividends it earns, not because of its intrinsic value; the stock is an asset as long as it's got a positive real value but the dividends are income that the investment earns. The market price of a stock is only important as an indicator of how well the corporation performs (ie produces dividends); otherwise the changes in its price are only useful to day traders.
The market has become a place where people can make money buying low and selling high (or, counterintuitively, by placing a bet that a stock will drop, which is called "selling short"). But that's not the original and main reason for owning stock in a corporation; dividends are the important part.
...and if corporate profits drop, dividends drop (or go away entirely) and the stock becomes worth less (or worthless) and you've got a market crash on your hands.
This is the problem: prices must rise. Raw materials are rising, labor costs have been pared to the bone already, and profits must be made else the whole thing comes tumbling down. We will, therefore, either see some significant price increases over the next year, or else the market crash will happen first. Either way, it's going to suck most egregiously.
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The price of gold, as denominated in dollars, is falling. Also not-good, also counterintuitively. It's usually good when it takes fewer dollars to buy a unit of gold.
...but the dollar is strengthening because people are fleeing the euro, because the euro is in bad, bad shape...and there is going to be some kind of severe correction coming out of the European mess, sooner or later. And when there is a correction, it will hurt us the same way it'll hurt the Europeans. The global economy is too interconnected for it to be otherwise.
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Bleah, this is too depressing.
...I'm trying to remember if I went anywhere yesterday, and I don't think I did. I spent my day "in" and liked it.
Dinner last night was chicken and au gratin potatos. I tried making it "lemon-pepper" chicken but didn't marinate it, so it ended up being "mildly flavored" chicken instead. It tasted good, even so. I had the leftovers for breakfast.
Emerald hit 20th last night before I went to bed. When I logged on she was within 10% of 15th level, and when I logged out after 1:30 AM she had just hit 20th. I've been averaging about half an hour per level with that character, but I think that rapid progression will taper off now.
The computer is still godawful loud, even under the desk. I'm starting to think about a different fan/heat sink solution. Let the rear fan pull cool air through the case and use a dedicated CPU fan and heat sink. That would move the fan off the front of the case, which would make it quieter.
Half the noise a fan makes--more--comes from the interaction of the air streams around the blades with the stationary grilles in front and behind those blades. Like a helicopter: the signature "whop whop whop" of a helicopter comes from the interaction of air currents around the main rotor and the tailrotor.
This fan is mounted right to the case, and there's a significant grille in front of it. Move it to the CPU and it won't matter as much.
I have no idea why the fan needs to run constantly, anyway. According to everything I can find the thing should normally run quieter than this. I know it's plugged in right and I've set the BIOS to minimize fan noise, yet it's like this. *sigh*
At least the thing hasn't shut itself down due to overheating. I've got that going for me.