otmar's blog

Textbooks on the iPad

(reposted from my blog)

Apple announced last week that it wants to change the way textbooks work for US schools: Instead of schools buying books that are given to a succession of pupils, each kid should receive its own copy of the textbook as an ebook on his iPad.

So far, so interesting. I have two observations on this:

18 suicides per day?


While reading an article by Joseph Stiglitz, I noticed the following factoid about the Iraq+Afpac wars:

But the social costs, reflected in veteran suicides (which have topped 18 per day in recent years) and family breakups, are incalculable.

This sounds incredibly high.

So: what is the consensus (ha!) of this esteemed community? Is this even remotely plausible?

Random Thought for the Day

While reading http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/02/opinion/02wed1.html

After Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, Israel — with Egypt’s help — imposed a blockade on many goods and most people going into and out of the territory. The goal was to quickly turn residents against their new government. Three years later, Hamas is still in charge — and the blockade has become an excuse for any and all of the government’s failures.

I had to think of Cuba and the US embargo.


As the local resident Austrian I have to comment.

First of all, the name is stupid.

If you can keep it up for another 45 mins...

then the second big upset in a week will net the US soccer team the confed-cup trophy.

Oh, the symmetry

Over the last years, we heard a steady stream of Republican accusations that the Dem were rooting for failure in Iraq. "They're backstabbing the troops", "The want Bush to fail, and don't care if we all lose the war." and so forth.

Now the tide has turned: The Republicans are wary of the big project the current, democratic, President is proposing. Instead of pouring billions into a (potentially doomed) project in Iraq, now there is a proposal to pour billions into a (potentially wasteful and unnecessary) economic stimulus in order to protect America from the next big threat.

Ding, Dong, the witch is dead

Given all the troubles in the financial sector where credit getting hard to get by, who expected that people running a constant deficit on their karma account also got in trouble?

Something completely different: Taiwan and the ITU

I just got an interesting email: RIPE NCC got an ENUM delegation request for Taiwan which contained the following info:

In the newer List of ITU-T Recommendation E.164 assigned country codes,
'Reserved' of number 886 has beeen replaced by 'Taiwan,China'.

Now this is interesting. The ITU is based on consensus. For decades, Taiwan used +886 without official sanction from the ITU. It seems like now China has agreed to the 'Taiwan,China' designation for Taiwan.


Statistics and Wall Street

I stumbled on an article about Nassim Taleb's book "The Black Swan" recently. Quick summary: It's very easy to make mistakes when applying the mathematical theory of statistics to the real world. Not everything in the world can be described as independent random variables with clearly defined properties.

So whenever you put real money behind your statistical reasoning, you better be really sure that your calculations are correct and that all the preconditions regarding applicability of the theory are met.

Now I'm tired and off to bed.


#1 is 16 months old. The next year will be "interesting".

Why god seems to be a lefty

It's time for the annual proof that god favors left over right, but this time it's not that easy for him.

The art of (not) turning off the microphones

The Opec gathering is discussing the high oil price and whether it suits them or not. For coverage see NYT or CNN. So far, nothing new.

Today one of the headlines at the Austrian ORF newspage covers the story of a "private" session of the OPEC leaders where the microphones weren't switched off: the conversation was thus transmitted to the press room. The British "Business" writes:

Times change: USD == CAD

I've read an offhand remark somewhere and went out to check it, an lo': The US Dollar and his Canadian cousin have reached parity.

None of the blogs I read has mentioned that. I have to admit that while I do follow the USD/EUR rate, the CAD is off my radar.

I have no wisdoms to dispense here. Hopefully some of the others here have something worthwhile to say about this.

Here we go again ..

Last year was pretty uneventful compared to 2005.

I haven't read any predictions regarding 2007, so I can't offer any clever insights into what might happen this summer. The early season has been quiet, but this seems to be over now.

Rove on the way out

It has finally happened. Karl Rove announced that he will resign this month.

Joshua Bolten seems to have forced his hand as he wants all senior staff to either quit now or stay till the end of this administration.

So, what will happen? I can't see a politics wonk like Karl to just go home and raise chickens in Texas. Will he be hired by one of the (R) contenders for 2008? Or will he join the lecture circuit?

A number of ex-Bush staff have criticized the President after they resigned. Will this apply to Rove as well? What part of Bush's policy was not approved by Rove? E.g. I don't think that Iraq was Rove's idea; that seems to have come from the Cheney wing of the White House. Will Rove find harsh words for that?

Syndicate content