Friday, March 25, 2011

Random Thoughts

* We've covered the story of China's empty cities and malls before but this story from Australia is the best coverage I've seen so far. It's a fairly long video, but it's worth watching.

64,000,000 empty apartments and they just authorized another $200,000,000,000 to build low income housing.

* The best stats I read yesterday came out of an Economist article from two weeks ago re: our disability insurance payouts from Social Security.

- The number of disability claims has spiked 28% since 2007.

- Disability payments totaled $110 billion in 2010 up 420%(!!!) since 1990 as our economy has become even less dependent on physical labor.

- In 2009 mental illness and back pain (too areas that are very subjective in their diagnosis) accounted for 22% and 31% of all disability awards.

While everyone seems to say that Social Security is off limits when it comes to reforms, it seems like this section (which accounts for 18% of disbursements) could be reformed.

* So, everyone in tech land is losing their collective minds over this new website The argument is that it's a social media photo sharing site, blah, blah, blah, but there are already like 5 other sites doing the same thing. I suspect everyone is going cuckoo for cocoa puffs over this site because they received $40 million in funding without having any real users. Most of things you'll read will talk about how this is the next big thing but I'm an old stick in the mud and I think this might mark the top in the social media space. We'll see how it plays out, but this is the best quote on I've seen (and this is DEFENDING how cool it really is):

If you're worried about privacy, you will not be using this product and chances are you're beyond the midway point in life. Young folks do not care about their privacy. They care about getting famous at any cost. What older generations consider extremely private -- young people consider a resume builder. You don't get it, and you won't ever get it. And you'll be dead soon. These voyeuristic animals we're raising will develop a society where anyone can get their 15 minutes of fame -- every day.

To paraphrase someone that read this quote: that summarizes the sad state of America's culture today.

* Thanks to Brian J. for passing along the latest and greatest car gadget for the American consumer. The fry holder.

Tired of swerving into oncoming traffic when you're just trying to get that last fry from the bottom of your drive-thru bag? Fear not, for now we have the fry holder which comes with a convenient dipping attachment for all of your tomato-based accessories.


Oh, and I won't go into all of the details but it's safe to say that Fukushima is still spiralling out of control. I'm stunned that this isn't a larger story, but I guess it's better TV to show cruise missile launches than to watch a Geiger counter.

1 comment:

sharonwue said...

I guess that the lesson here (fry holder) is never say that you have seen it all.
Re: covering the japanese reactors crisis, Rachel Maddow on MSNBC has been covering this in depth on a daily basis. Has had solid credentialed guests, and a no-hype, no-panic approach.