Barack accepted the Nobel Peace Prize today, defending– and in fact espousing– American exceptionalism.
This move by Goldman Sachs to award so-called “shares at risk” is cunning: it sounds great (and it is in fact a much more fair/logical/long-sighted way of distributing bonuses) but it also affects a whopping 30 employees. Goldman has 31,700. So this does not affect the attitudes/behaviors/risk tolerance of the thousands of traders who are evaluating their risk based on their annual bonus pay-outs just like before. Nor does it affect the complexity or the masked risked that goes into 99% of bankers’ work as they structure financial instruments. It’s a cunning move because it’s hard to criticize outright, but it also really does not get at any way to solve the problems of the financial services sector. (It’s a mentality thing, not something which changes when you reorganize pay incentives for the top 30 guys in your firm).
Chad Ochocinco is changing his name again. In 2010 he’ll become “Chad Hachi Go,” Japanese this time for 85.
Gawker deconstructs Ms. Palin’s latest appearance in the Washington Post, showing why her lack of knowledge is this time apparent in regards to global climate change.
I don’t see a thesis in this article, but it seems from the title that the author is trying to compare will.i.am to Irving Berlin. I’d comment on how (un)persuasively that argument is made but frankly I don’t see it anywhere in here.
Finally, also in the realm of ridiculous, via Ella Chou, apparently a girl at Columbia Law School has been accepting applications from her classmates (requesting resumes and undergrad transcripts)…so they can join her study group.
Tags: barack obama, china, cloud computing, columbia university, deforestation, exceptionalism, gawker, GE, goldman sachs, Google, irving berlin, law school, nobel prize, oregon, sarah palin, slate, study group, washington post, will.i.am, wind
Today I saw Star Trek for the second time. (I thoroughly enjoyed the film both times).
While it is generally not one of those movies from which one gleans new insights after a second viewing (the plot is pretty straightforward, for example), today I found myself struck by one particular shot: young Jim Kirk, still an Iowa town boy, gazing up at a partially constructed starship as he contemplates joining Starfleet.
While it is a formative moment for Jim’s character, what was most interesting to me was the notion that in the future USA– where we find ourselves leading innovation in spaceships and not, say, automobiles– that we will be doing so in Iowa.
In some ways, it makes total sense to me: rural Midwestern America has been seeing a steady depopulation for a while now. Where else could we find enough (inexpensive) land to build a 1,200-foot space ship? Some states now even offer financial incentive to college graduates who settle back in their home state (rather than accelerate both depopulation and brain drain). Other states are opening up to take former prisoners from Guantanamo.
There is, in short, plenty of space but fewer and fewer people.
When I took Prof. Richard White‘s “History of the North American West” as the last course in my major this spring, he floated the prediction that we’d someday soon see the heartlands of America filled with solar panels. It’s not a crazy idea: already, we see that Iowa passed California as the nation’s second-largest wind power producer (behind Texas). And it would be a smart way for those states to use their best asset– cheap, flat land– to provide a valuable commodity (namely, electricity) to the rest of the country.
And in general, it all fits with the idea that in between the coastal states we have lots of middle-of-nowhere flatness, corn fields in their neat rows extending out for as far as the eye can see.
But that one day may change. It could very easily soon be acres of solar panels or wind turbines covering large swaths of the land…or, if you wait long enough, even a hangar for the next USS Enterprise.
Tags: automobiles, brain drain, california, cars, corn, corn fields, depopulation, fields, guantanamo, iowa, jim kirk, midwest, richard white, rural, solar, solar energy, solar panels, space, star trek, texas, USA, wind, wind turbines