30 September 2011

Men, Women & Sex - Republicans and Their Candidates

Studies suggest the biggest difference between men and women when it comes to sex lies in what it takes to trigger desire. A man can be triggered by a single thing - amazing eyes, pert breasts, shapely legs, a great laugh. A woman, by contrast, needs multiple triggers. These triggers aren't always the same but they would include looks, personality, social status, physical fitness, and a sense of humor. One of the things that makes it harder to predict who a woman will be attracted to is that it is not just one thing, but it could be different things. A rich guy who is also kind might attract her in spite of being physically unattractive or a good looking guy without a sense of humor but who is kind to children might attract her. Women's calculations are more complex.

The Republicans have seemingly wearied of Rick Perry already and are now making noises about how much they like Chris Christie. They are now flirting with a new candidate. Now it could be that the Republican Party is the maneater of politics, chewing up and spitting out candidates as a way to break up their boredom. Or it could be that the attraction of a candidate and a president are as different as the attraction of a man and a woman.

A candidate needs to have only one really remarkable or interesting feature. Like men attracted to a woman, at the early stage of "would you consider this candidate" part of politics, a candidate has to have only one feature that folks like. Ron Paul's desire to eliminate any part of government not listed in the constitution is enough to attract Republicans, for instance. But when it comes time to actually making someone president, those same voters become women. They note that the package of pluses and minuses suddenly doesn't work. They don't like the idea of legalizing drugs, or eliminating social security and medicare. They don't get their multiple triggers, don't reach a threshold of net gains sufficient to say yes to the candidate.

Women are choosier when it comes to mates because they have the raise children and would like the sperm donor to also be a good father. Voters are choosier when it comes to actually picking a president because governing is more complex than just debating some exciting or controversial ideas. Before he strips down to just his boxers, Christie might want to make sure that it's the woman in the voter who is beckoning him and not just the man.

Practical Karma

There are lots of reasons to make positive karma deposits. I wonder if one of them isn't simply the practical benefit of what it does for your imagination.

To make an emotional deposit for someone suggests that you know what would be a positive for them and you can take that (sometimes) vague notion and turn it into a concrete deed or gift. The simple, practical benefit of that? It exercises your mind to think of others. If you live in a market economy, that means you're staying fit in the domain of creating value; whether you're an employee or entrepreneur, that sort of fitness makes you more valuable.

But you didn't really need that practical inducement, did you?

29 September 2011

Blue Tire Technology

I think it would be interesting to have a technology that lets cars communicate to each other, a variant on blue tooth technology that lets gadgets communicate.

If we could do this, we could synchronize car speeds, letting cars move like flocks of birds. This could save money by letting cars move into each other's slip stream and by letting cars move in unison and in coordination with traffic lights.

As it becomes more advanced, it would allow collision avoidance and perhaps even auto-pilot (or auto-driver) capability.

Blue tire technology. I think I'm going to go file the patent now. I'll figure out the technology later.

Financial Market Explanations as Personality Test

After the financial meltdown, people have pointed fingers. Who they blame seems to say more about their ideology than the reality of financial markets.

The Black Plague that began about 1350 killed about 30% of Europeans. When it hit a village, though, most people assumed that it was the result of sin. The question wasn't about disease transmission but instead about behavior and attitudes.

In today's world, we seem to understand systems dynamics about as well as medieval Europeans understood disease. That is, the gyrations of financial markets are a mystery to us. And how do we explain big falls? As a function of behavior and attitudes. We blame policy makers who made the wrong kinds of loans to the wrong kinds of people or greedy bankers.

If you hear someone blame government regulators who blame government policy makers for making loans to poor people who couldn't afford their loans, you're talking to a conservative.

If you hear someone blame greedy bankers who recklessly endangered the whole system, you are talking to a liberal.

That is, the popular opinions you'll hear tell you lots about who you are listening to and almost nothing about what actually happened.

Maybe it is time to take system dynamics as seriously as we take disease - and stop seeing financial catastrophes as punishment for past sin.

26 September 2011

Defending Solyndra - or why DC isn't ready for the new economy

Solyndra is a Bay Area solar company that sucked down about $500 million in private sector funding and then got another $500 million in government money before filing for bankruptcy. As further proof that national politicians and media aren't ready for the new economy, everyone is talking about what a terrible investment this was. I disagree.

The old school finance is all about minimizing risk. Making a loan at, say, 10%, the old school banker tries to minimize losses.

Venture capital is different. It is about maximizing returns. Taking a stake in a company, a venture capital firm can get a return of 100% or 10,000%. So venture capitalists (VCs) are not as worried about losing money. They take risks because they know that startups are uncertain and because they'll get back lots on the few that win, hoping to make enough to offset the ones that disappear.

The success or failure of a single company is no proof that a VC is good or bad. You have to judge a portfolio of companies before you can know.

Think about the investment in Solyndra, a solar energy company. Even if it didn't work, more jobs would be created for a time. More would be learned about what did and didn't work in an industry that promises to be huge within a generation. The community had more to gain than just its return on capital. And of course, had it worked, the benefits would have been huge. There is no equivalent to Google or Gentech in the solar energy space. Not yet.

The US economy did not really take off after the Great Depression until massive sums were spent for World War 2. Once the war ended, the economy did not falter. So many of the technologies that came out of aggressive government spending during the war - beneficiaries of money spent to solve problems in fields as varied as aviation, computing, diagnostic equipment, and medicine. Companies like TWA and IBM were able to turn these technologies into business opportunities. Lots of money was "wasted" pursuing bad ideas during the war, but those didn't matter; what mattered was that the failures occurred in a sea of activity that included great breakthroughs and seemingly mundane - but important - problem solving that made these industries possible.

We have a glut of unemployed people and a lack of practical ways to make solar power competitive and widespread. It seems to me that it would have been a waste not to spend money to use the glut to fill in the lack. VCs invest in dozens or hundreds of companies that you never hear about for every one that becomes a household name. The fact that the government could not avoid a bad bet investment in such a space is not proof that such investments are bad. With unemployment so high, it seems like the government has even more to gain from such investments. The Solyndra investment should not be criticized - it should be learned from.

21 September 2011

Entrepreneurship - Not That Important .... Yet

Google offers this cool way to track the frequency of words or phrases in books in their books Ngram Viewer.

First, we can see from this graph that entrepreneurship has become more frequently written about in the last half century, in keeping with my premise that entrepreneurship is becoming more important.

Meanwhile, we can see that capital and labor have battled for mention in books, labor actually surpassing capital twice - once during the roaring twenties and again right after World War II - before falling back down in apparent importance.

But a particular kind of labor - knowledge workers dependent on information and information technology - has risen to prominence. Using a proxy for this (an admittedly overly-inclusive proxy) we can see that information HAS surpassed capital. 

But to give you some idea of how relatively unimportant entrepreneurship is still considered, look at this comparison between entrepreneurship and capital. 

You can barely make out entrepreneurship along the bottom of this graph. 

Capital - trillions of dollars worth slosh about the globe in search of higher returns - still dominates the literature. It seems as though we have quite a lot of work to do to change that. 

19 September 2011

A Cheap Way to Create Jobs - Subsidizing Sarbanes - Oxley for IPOs

In 1999, there were 486 Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) in the US and unemployment was 4.2 percent, the lowest it had been in 30 years.

In 2009, there were only 63 IPOs and unemployment had jumped to 10.1 by October of that year.

The drive to efficiency means that companies will always be shedding jobs and to counterbalance that, we need an equal number of new jobs created by expansion and start ups. We need IPOs.

One of the differences between 1999 and 2009 is the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which added millions to the cost of an IPO.

I like the idea of regulations to make sure that investors have good information about companies, but it seems like we'd want to do all we could to encourage IPOs. Maybe the cost of Sarbanes-Oxley could be covered by the government for IPOs? For all the money we spend on supposed jobs creation plans, it is hard to think of one that would more directly fund job creation than making it cheaper for new companies to go public.

17 September 2011

What About Venture Capital for the Public Sector?

Scott Lewis hosted an Idea Tournament today.

It was, at the risk of sounding recursive, a pretty cool idea.

Quite simply, about 23 folks had 90 seconds each to present ideas as varied as closing streets once per quarter to create temporary parks or play areas, levying a congestion tax for cars as a means to simultaneously raise revenues for public transportation and lessen congestion, and allowing popular incumbents to be exempted from term limits. The winner proposed UCBC - The University of California Baja California - a university that would literally straddle the border between the US and Mexico. (How Scott Lewis is going to get the money for this proposal is still unclear. Especially to Scott.)

As interesting as this concept of an Idea Tournament is, it suggested to me something even more promising. I can see this evolving over the next 5 to 10 years into a forum for introducing something sadly lacking in government: the public sector equivalent of venture capital.

Venture capital finances ideas, stimulating innovation that traditional banks might never finance. The results of venture capital in the private sector are amazing, giving us an incredible array of technologies and companies, from computers to genetic engineering.

 If an entrepreneur has an idea for creating value in the private sector, no matter how disruptive it is, she has the potential to find funding from angel investors, venture capitalists and then, finally, the stock market. The invention of venture capital has helped to trigger countless technological inventions and new companies.

So what about the public sector? How are community needs addressed there? If an entrepreneur has an idea that won't create any profit but will create value - ideas that reduce homelessness, create safer parks, stimulate learning, reduce congestion, make areas more beautiful, or politicians more effective .... well, there simply isn't any financing for such a thing. There are foundations to fund the occasional proposal. The occasional visionary community might pass a bond. Even - an increasingly rare event in a time of austerity - state or local governments might fund some promising project. But for the most part, we simply have no equivalent to venture capital for the public sector.

All that to say that I could see Scott's Idea Tournament evolving into venture capital for the public sector within ten years. Imagine governments setting aside a portion of their budget to fund such ventures, social experiments and promising projects alike. Imagine innovation in government that could do as much to improve quality of life in communities as innovation in the private sector has done for quality of life in the home.

It's an idea worth considering.

15 September 2011

A Little Tea Party With My Invisible Friend Bernard

It had been a long time since I'd had lunch with my octogenarian buddy Bernard. He looked well, full of life. I soon learned that the color in his cheeks was less a sign of health than anger.

"Are you following the Republican race," he queried me before I was even fully slid into the booth. "They've all been dunked into that teacup party, like stale cookies you're trying to hide the taste of."

"You don't like the tea party?"

"Ha!" He refused to answer while he -curiously enough - poured sugar into his tea.

"This Perry character. Oh my." Bernard just shook his head.

"What? You're against alliteration? Don't like the sound of President Perry?"

Bernard just stared at me. "Moron," he said. "If he gets in, we'll have to deal with another four to eight years of some guy proving his manhood as compensation for earlier life choices that might be construed as effeminate."

"What?" This time I was genuinely puzzled about what he was saying.

"Like Bush, he was a cheerleader in college. His  base are not the kind of folks who would instinctively approve of such a thing. In fact, many of them would take that as proof that the man was a little limp-wristed. The result?" He raised his eyebrows. I shrugged. "The result is that Perry has to do things like execute more criminals than anyone else. And when he's president, like Bush he'll have to invade countries that are marginally related to any real threats to this country. The problem is, he has to prove himself. At our expense. Of course, he's still not the one pulling the switch on the accused. Or storming the walls of the enemy's castle. He's still just the cheerleader, up there making noises and rallying the crowd behind the attack. All his attempts to prove that he's more than a cheerleader are further proof that he's just a cheerleader."

"That actually makes sense. Kind of."

"Of course it makes sense. Everyone in my generation minored in psychology," Bernard said. "We had to understand the subconscious to hold our own in civilized society the same way that your generation has to understand computers."

"Well can you explain why those Tea Party people get so excited about the chance to kill a condemned man or even a poor kid who failed to pay his insurance premiums or even a 13 year old girl who engages in premarital sex but get so riled up about abortion?"

"They don't want heaven to be crowded."


"They know that if we all live long enough, most of us will fail to qualify for their heaven. We'll do or believe the wrong thing - something irresponsible like murder or failure to budget correctly or question their authority - and then be imperfect - be disqualified to live in their heaven. By contrast, they know that a fetus is innocent. Too many of those and heaven will be crowded with more than just their friends and family. Too crowded. Worse, many of them won't even be the right color or ethnic group."

"You are an idiot," I told him with some blend of accusation and affection.

"It helps to be a little idiotic if you want to make sense of things."

And then I decided to join Bernard and ordered a tea.

13 September 2011

The Tea Party - Conservatives with Compassion Fatigue

So I've been trying to understand what distinguishes the Tea Party from ordinary Republicans.

Last week, Rick Perry got huge applause for being the man who has governed over more executions than any other governor in the US. Last night, Ron Paul got huge applause for stating that a young man in a coma who had previously failed to buy medical insurance should be left to die.

Whereas ordinary Republicans might be akin to football players or even ultimate fighting athletes, perfectly comfortable with violence, the Tea Party enthusiasts are more like gladiators, perfectly comfortable with death and ready to levy a death penalty even for infractions as seemingly innocuous as failure to pay premiums for medical insurance.

We've come a long way from compassionate conservatives.

07 September 2011

Perry's Ponzi Scheme

Tonight, one of Perry's supporters clarified that while Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, his candidate is not advocating that it be changed for the current retired generation  - only people still working.

So, the question is this. If Perry will pay current retirees while getting those currently working to start "investing" in something akin to 401(k) plans, how is he going to pay for this?

Social Security for current retirees depends on payments from current working folks. That's one "tax" for retirement on the working folks.

A plan that funds someone's retirement for their old age depends on investment from current working folks. That's another "tax" for retirement on working folks.

So, Perry's plan is to simultaneously fund the old plan and the new one by taxing working folks twice? I'm sure that will work.

05 September 2011

Excerpts from GOP Operatives Account of Why He Left the Party That's Become an Apocalyptic Cult

Mike Lofgren left the GOP after years of working on the Hill for Republicans. Here, he writes about why he left the party. Click through to read the entire piece, but here are some excerpts. 

The debt ceiling extension is not the only example of this sort of political terrorism. Republicans were willing to lay off 4,000 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employees, 70,000 private construction workers and let FAA safety inspectors work without pay, in fact, forcing them to pay for their own work-related travel - how prudent is that? - in order to strong arm some union-busting provisions into the FAA reauthorization.


Everyone knows that in a hostage situation, the reckless and amoral actor has the negotiating upper hand over the cautious and responsible actor because the latter is actually concerned about the life of the hostage, while the former does not care. This fact, which ought to be obvious, has nevertheless caused confusion among the professional pundit class, which is mostly still stuck in the Bob Dole era in terms of its orientation. 


It should have been evident to clear-eyed observers that the Republican Party is becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe.

A couple of years ago, a Republican committee staff director told me candidly (and proudly) what the method was to all this obstruction and disruption. Should Republicans succeed in obstructing the Senate from doing its job, it would further lower Congress's generic favorability rating among the American people. By sabotaging the reputation of an institution of government, the party that is programmatically against government would come out the relative winner.

This constant drizzle of "there the two parties go again!" stories out of the news bureaus, combined with the hazy confusion of low-information voters, means that the long-term Republican strategy of undermining confidence in our democratic institutions has reaped electoral dividends. The United States has nearly the lowest voter participation among Western democracies; this, again, is a consequence of the decline of trust in government institutions - if government is a racket and both parties are the same, why vote? And if the uninvolved middle declines to vote, it increases the electoral clout of a minority that is constantly being whipped into a lather by three hours daily of Rush Limbaugh or Fox News. There were only 44 million Republican voters in the 2010 mid-term elections, but they effectively canceled the political results of the election of President Obama by 69 million voters.

Republicans are among the most shrill in self-righteously lecturing other countries about the wonders of democracy; exporting democracy (albeit at the barrel of a gun) to the Middle East was a signature policy of the Bush administration. But domestically, they don't want those people voting.
You can probably guess who those people are. Above all, anyone not likely to vote Republican. As Sarah Palin would imply, the people who are not Real Americans. Racial minorities. Immigrants. Muslims. Gays. Intellectuals. Basically, anyone who doesn't look, think, or talk like the GOP base. This must account, at least to some degree, for their extraordinarily vitriolic hatred of President Obama. I have joked in the past that the main administration policy that Republicans object to is Obama's policy of being black.

if the American people poll more like Iranians or Nigerians than Europeans or Canadians on questions of evolution versus creationism, scriptural inerrancy, the existence of angels and demons, and so forth, that result is due to the rise of the religious right, its insertion into the public sphere by the Republican Party and the consequent normalizing of formerly reactionary or quaint beliefs. Also around us is a prevailing anti-intellectualism and hostility to science; it is this group that defines "low-information voter" - or, perhaps, "misinformation voter."

02 September 2011

The Simple, but Sweeping, Answer to the Question of How to Create More Jobs

The question, How do we create more jobs has a perhaps too obvious an answer. We need to become  more entrepreneurial.

The question, How do we become more entrepreneurial, is harder to answer. Still, that question is the one we should be asking. The answers to that question will do as much to transform and improve our economy as the question of how to make more capital and make it more productive was to the West from about 1700 to 1900. Or the question of how to make more knowledge workers and make them more productive was to the West from about 1900 to 2000.

The good and the bad news is that we’re living through a great economic shift. The bad news is that this means the old strategies are no longer enough. Strategies like focusing more on education, or subsidizing the growth of government, corporations, and debt just won’t work like they did in the last century. The good news is that if we adapt to this shift, we’ll come into a period of prosperity the likes of which have never been seen.

Since medieval times, the West has played host to three distinct market economies: agricultural, industrial, and information economies. The emergence of each has been wrenching, disruptive and created prosperity and opportunity never experienced by any previous generations. Now, a fourth economy is emerging. And to succeed in this new economy we’ll have to shift from focusing on creating more knowledge workers to creating more entrepreneurs.

When a new economy emerges, the shifts occur at about every level. I’ll use the story of Henry Crowell to give you an example of a shift from one economy to the next.

Henry might have been the first to use continuous production methods in a factory. Simply put, rather than have various stages of production in different places and worked by different people, Henry put all the production steps under one roof – creating continuous production. He did this for oats but within a half century the process would become the norm even for products as complicated as cars.

Henry’s great enterprise showed genius but it could have bankrupted him. His factory made twice as much oatmeal as Americans ate. Simply dumping that much product on the market could have driven down prices enough to ruin him.

So Crowell shifted his attention from the problem of how to make more to the problem of how to sell more. The task of making more was a problem of overcoming the limits of capital, of manipulating things and machines to stimulate more production. The task of selling more was a problem of knowledge work, of manipulating symbols to stimulate more consumption and open up new markets.

Crowell may have been the first to use scientific endorsements about the health benefits of his product; he advertised on the side of trains. He was probably the first to send samples to households, sending packages of oatmeal to homes throughout Portland, Oregon, turning his excess productive capacity into a marketing advantage. Furthermore, he created an image that “branded” his product into the American consciousness: the symbol on the side of his Quaker Oats products became synonymous with oats.

Soon, Crowell had stimulated demand enough to meet the incredible capacity of his factory. As he pioneered the process of managing demand, he created breakfast cereal.[1] Eventually, Kellogg, Post, and others were to duplicate—and even surpass—his enormous success.

As an affable-looking Quaker led America into mass consumption, the problem of increased production began to take second place to the problem of increasing sales through advertising, distribution, brand management, and consumer credit.  These new problems created a demand for communication and information technologies, and knowledge workers capable of understanding and using them. The limit to progress was shifting from capital to knowledge workers, from the ability to manipulate things to the ability to manipulate symbols of things. It was this shift that fueled the demand for office equipment and computers that would eventually make companies like IBM and Microsoft household names.

Crowell was one of the early pioneers of the information economy.

The shift required more than free samples and advertising. Making knowledge workers and making them more productive drove – and was driven by – lots of changes. Things previously reserved for the elites – things like access to credit and investment markets and advanced education – became common to the middle class. And big bureaucracies sprung up everywhere as companies and government grew to unprecedented sizes, giving these knowledge workers as specialists a place to work. (It’s worth remembering that in 1800, no employee in the US worked for an organization with 500 or more employees.)
But these kinds of strategies are becoming less effective.

More information, for example, is as likely to make knowledge workers less productive by distracting them as it is to make them more productive by informing them. As governments and corporations become larger, they are less likely to respond to customers and voters than dictate, and rather than provide a place for the knowledge worker specialist to be productive, they are likely to frustrate his efforts. Everyone seems to agree that more education would help but think about this: if we increased the level of education as much in this century as we did in the last, people would be graduating at 50. Last century’s productivity rose greatly in no small part because in 1900 only a fraction of 13 to 17 year olds were in formal education whereas by 2000, only a fraction were not; we’re unlikely to ever again see such a dramatic rise. Finally, since 1945 consumer debt has grown about 6 to 7 times faster than GDP; again, not a trend likely to continue.

What if the information economy is over and we now face a shift in the limit to progress – a shift like the one that faced Henry Crowell?

It might be time for us to take overcoming the limit of entrepreneurship as seriously as previous generations took the limits of capital or knowledge work. Among other things, this will mean that corporations will have to become serious about making all employees more entrepreneurial and making some employees actual entrepreneurs

The US – indeed all of the West and even the world – has enough creative and bright minds to find thousands of answers to the question of how to become more entrepreneurial. That is not the problem. The problem is that we aren’t systemically asking that question and – even more importantly – aren’t institutionalizing that question in our schools, our governments agencies and corporations.

In the last century, communities began to realize that they couldn’t just wait for people to come up with new technological inventions. R&D was institutionalized and now we regularly expect new product releases, the next generation of car or smart phone. We’ve institutionalized technological invention.

In this century, we will need to do the same thing with social invention, or entrepreneurship. Rather than just wait for individuals separate from any institution to create new businesses or schools, we need to encourage and support this. This will be one of the most important ways that we’ll see a growth in demand for jobs that matches – or even exceeds – the growth in the labor market.

There is more – much more – to the emergence of a new economy. Even casual students of history know that the emergence of the industrial economy disrupted and reinvented society at about every level. This new, entrepreneurial economy will do the same. But for now it is enough to take comfort in the fact that the stagnation of the West is not a sign of failure but success. Now that we’re on shore, it’s time to stop rowing.

Optimism has seemingly become taboo, proof that a person simply isn’t particularly aware. And yet no generation has had more cause for optimism than ours. We’ve repeatedly shown that we can solve problems. Now we just have to start solving the right problems.

Ron Davison is a business consultant and author of The Fourth Economy: Inventing Western Civilization, now available in paperback, for kindle, and nook

[1] Beniger, The Control Revolution, 265–66. 

01 September 2011

Tweets from August '11

The Fourth Economy: Inventing Western Civilization is now available in paperback at http://bit.ly/pC9E8q.

Apparently I'm getting too much teeth whitening agent. It's starting to affect my hair.

Systems Thinking in Kuala Lumpur in mid-September.http://bit.ly/nvl098 See you there.

Must be weird to be a politician. You have simultaneously proclaim that this is the best country ever and that we're all doomed.

Like white men dancing, House Republicans voted for huge deficits during expansion now voting for balanced budget during recession. Timing?

Seems like there's an overlooked market for 3-D tattoos

There is, she said, far too much emphasis on the ability to make love and not nearly enough on the ability to repair it.

Traditional newspaper subscriber is worth $1,000 / yr. Online subscriber is worth only $3. Any wonder newspapers are hurting?

Idea for revenue enhancement for online news: bad news free, good news costs extra. (Pay more for news but less for meds.)

It had been a great deal, sure. But still he should have known better than to buy a game console with a misery stick.

Your credit rating's bad. Collateral?" "Hmm." Searches pockets. Pulls out a fistful of odd objects. "Yellowstone Park, aircraft carrier..."

RT Bill Gross: By the end of 1993, there were 623 websites: http://j.mp/rlv2Zn Isn't that an amazing fact! Fill in the blank. What did we do without?

Economist: will credit downgrade force Congress to admit idiocy of brinkmanship rather than compromise? http://econ.st/oj4ghL

Chula Vista has voted for well dressed illiterates rather than well read nudists. Borders book store has become TJ Maxx clothing store.

Tea-Brained: someone not only lacking judgment about economics but the judgment to realize this should preclude them from influence over it.

S&P downgrades government bonds, triggering a massive sell off of stocks and flight into .... government bonds. @im_allen_warren

Gay activists want Bert & Ernie to marry. How could anyone manipulate puppets like that?

Now that they've fixed the economy, tea party members have a new demand: they would like - even once - to be invited to an actual tea party.

His religion was fortune cookiarian. He religiously ate Chinese food and used the fortune cookie message for that week's inspiration.

Building on the popularity of fantasy football, I'm thinking about starting a daydreaming league.

What if Bachmann's campaign was launched by activists just trying to make Palin look credible and even they never assumed she might win?

Panic! Panic! Things are bad and getting worse! (Just wanted to make the point that a tweet can do everything a 24/7 news source can.)

Here in Vancouver, BC the housing market is a bit different than California's. House recently sold for $355k MORE than original asking price.

Turns out that Shakespeare was not even written by Shakespeare but by another man with the same name.

Wonder if I'm the only one who has ever searched for Yelp's potluck section.

Bachmann promises gas under $2. Given last dip below $2 was due to collapse in economy, economist thinks she can:http://econ.st/n4nZuj

Must be in Canada ... I could have sworn I was just greeted with a "Ron jour."

Business idea: the booty free disco. Could be a chain of them at every border crossing.

AOL is worth ~$1B. Google is worth ~$160B. AOL costs $9/mo. Gmail free. Free is worth more? No wonder they call them socialist networks.

Steve's retirement puts a new slant on the question, "how do we create more Jobs?"

Now we learn if Jobs was just one of the most extraordinary business leaders of all time or whether he was also good at company design

"The next hot cuisine? Really? Well how do you make Chinese comfort food?" "Just melt cheese on everything." "Oh."

In '86, Steve Jobs bought Pixar from Lucas for $10M. In 2006, he sold it to Disney for $7.4B, becoming Disney's largest shareholder.

People thought it was cute that she'd learned to say "bye-bye" so young, not realizing she was actually asking to shop.

The magic app for students: the upgrade your grade app.

Idea for t-shirt that comes with free redneck: ONE WORLD. So really, there just isn't enough room for you and your kind here.

Subway here in San Diego still not operational.

You could tell the car had been made in Detroit because the blinker had a distinctly Motown rhythm to it.

The kind of girls who had given names to their fat cells

Ta da!! The Fourth Economy http://amzn.to/o6dKRU should show up as available in print edition any day now!

Csikszentmihalyi’s Evolving Self - most overlooked of #BestBooks

Just a coincidence that typical "reign" of alpha chimp (4-6 yrs) is same as most presidential / PM terms?

It seems terribly generous of the book industry to categorize a four year old's account of his trip to heaven and back as nonfiction.

Well that's one way to quiet all the politicians: make them wait until the opposing party says they can talk. http://bbc.in/pqSuey Baffling.

He was still hurt by her seemingly premature attempt to put him in a rest home after he'd twisted his ankle in his early forties.