News Updates for Thursday

Lots of interesting news this morning, so here’s a quick rundown of some stories I’m watching:

  • Of course, Caroline Kennedy has withdrawn her name from appointment to Clinton’s Senate seat. I think this is the right way to go. Here’s to hoping Andrew Cuomo gets the job.
  • Sony has posted it’s first annual loss in 14 years today. The CEO is vowing swift action including executive pay cuts and newer, trendier gadgets in development to deal with the downturn. One wonders how much good snappier products are really going to be. I’m thinking cheaper and more accessible would be a better choice, under the circumstances.
  • Here’s something you don’t see every day: death sentences for milk contamination. China has sentenced three high-ranking executives at a milk company to death. In the many get-rich-quick schemes that predominate Chinese manufacturing, there is an over-abundance of highly-questionable chemical mixes that produce these scandals. Kind of reminds me of early American meat-packing cruft that simply could not be sold abroad for the same reasons. Boom days of young economies are remarkably similar, it seems. China needs to figure out that it must *regulate* these industries, not punish people for its own malfeasance.
  • The bad economy is forcing Google and Microsoft back to their core-competencies and away from some of their more outlandish schemes. Can you imagine that Google wanted to sell print ads? Google, the company most directly responsible for the near death experience of print media, going into the print ad business? WTF?
  • A well-duh announcement from the scientific community: improving air quality substantially improves life expectancy. Sometimes, science needs to provide documentarian proof of shit we already knew. Now the question is, does this move policy on federal, state and local levels?
  • For those of you who can’t get enough, here’s some satellite pictures of the inauguration. It’s worth it just to get a sense of the sprawl of humanity in attendance for this inauguration. And even with all those people, you could barely hear any applause at all for Bush and Cheney when they came out. Hysterical.
  • More on climate change. This time, an interesting discussion of the role NASA can play in leading the fight against global climate change. NASA’s been studying the changes in the Earth’s atmosphere for thirty years, and now with the strangle hold of the Bush Administration gone, they can finally get down to the business of telling us how truly fucked we really are.

DFE News Roundup for Friday, January 16th

It’s another interesting day for news here at DFE, so I thought I’d take a moment to point out some articles to watch for the day:

  • Xerox will be laying off 275 workers here in Rochester, both at the Webster Complex (didn’t that used to be called the Wilson Complex?) and in the downtown offices. Anyone with information on the layoffs can contact me here with details. I’d appreciate it.
  • Citi bank posted a big loss and now plans on splitting the company in two: Citigroup, which will be its traditional banking and Citi Holdings, which will handle it’s “riskier assets.” They’re hoping to minimize losses by dividing their assets up.
  • Intel is reporting big losses in this quarter, a sign of just how hard the recession might hit consumer electronics markets this year.
  • It’s a Microsoft Worm World again!! It’s been a few years since MyDoom and Klez virus hysteria, but the boys are back in town with a virus that attacks low-security networks and USB flash drives. It’s infected 3.5 million computers world wide. People, patch those systems up now!
  • More tech news: “illegal” private downloads from peer to peer systems such as BitComet and others completely swamp the industry approved, industry profit downloads available from iTunes. Not sure how they quantify that, but here’s a question to ask: how many legal copies of albums got sold compared to cassette tape recordings? If cassettes didn’t bring down the music industry, why should we give a shit about downloads?
  • President Elect Obama did a very long and wide-ranging interview with the Washington Post wherein he pledged that entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security would be getting reformed during his term. Not a small order, that. But I’d rather trust him than Republicans. Wonder if they’ll float the investment angle again?