Saturday, September 13
From a Washington Post article called "Wolfowitz
Shifts Rationales on Iraq War."
"[Wolfowitz said] there were three arguments for invading Iraq: halting the development of weapons of mass destruction [still
can't find 'em], liberating the country from 'a terrible tyranny,' [how many countries need liberating from a terrible tyrant?]
and creating a democratic model that would serve as an inspiration for the rest of the Middle East [noble yes, but so utterly
absurd that you don't know whether to laugh or cry]."
We had a nice dinner this evening with one of my victims, er, one of my students. Caroline is an engineering student from France who
told us about an interesting project she did recently. The plan involved attaching a GPS thingie (thingie is a very technical term)
to a city bus, which was in turn connected to the scrolling ads on the inside and outside of the bus.
The advertising on the bus scrolled on the basis of the bus's position on the street, so that
ads for nearby businesses were shown as the bus approached and passed those places. The businesses pay for the advertising not on
the basis of time scrolled, but on the basis of how many meters they wanted to buy on the approach to and departure from their stores.
Targeted advertising, pretty slick!
Now some guys would be thrilled to have dinner with a pretty young French girl who says cute things like "the stop of the bus,"
but I only got interested in the conversation when she started talking about GPS and advertising rates.
One more quick story, a cautionary tale. Yesterday night when I stopped into a shop to get a snack I had a short chat with
an Indian guy. We talked about fast-food franchises since he told me he used to own several places in London. I said 'used to?' And he
said 'yes, I shorted S&P Index futures [sold naked calls] and lost everything.' So I asked 'why did you get short?' and he said 'oh, the market
was much too high.' And then I asked 'when was this?' and he said '1995.'
Futures prices for Live Cattle continue to climb. The cows have jumped quite a bit since the last time I mentioned them. Makes
me damn glad I don't eat beef.
Vanguard recently posted
a nice little primer called "The role of the Federal Reserve." Good stuff for those who don't know the basics
about what the Fed is and does.
- Setting the nation's monetary policy by influencing the money and credit conditions in the economy. Its goal: full employment and stable prices.
- Supervising banking institutions to ensure the soundness of the nation's financial system and to protect the credit rights of consumers.
- Providing a variety of banking services to the federal government and other financial institutions.
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