Monday, March 27, 2006
Friday, March 03, 2006
--- Carl Woese, A new biology for a new century (Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews, vol 68, p 173), quoted by Freeman Dyson in Make me a hipporoo, new Scientist, 11 February 2006
Thursday, March 02, 2006
--- Winslow T. Wheeler of the Center for Defense Information, quoted in The Pentagon's Broken Book-keeping, Defense Industry Daily, 28 Feb 2006.
From the DID piece:
For instance, the DoD has about 5.2 million inventory items, compared with 11,000 at Wal-Mart or 50,000 at Home Depot stores. Now multiply that by the fact that the same item may have several different order codes in different DoD departments, which do not use the same format. The DoD also has $1.3 trillion in assets (Wal-Mart: $120 billion) and $1.9 trillion in liabilities (Wal-Mart: $20 billion).
Which means their problems may continue for some time. To add to the difficulties involved, the Pentagon only began putting income statements together in the 1990s; before that, it had never needed to put a value on anything. Some believe that overhang will cripple any "clean audit efforts," which stood at 16% of assets and 49% of its liabilities as of June 2005.
... The Raleigh-Durham News & Observer reports that the US Defense Department now hopes to settle the balance sheet on 47% of assets and 49% of liabilities by 2007.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
--- Lee Gomes, Our Columnist Creates Web 'Original Content' But Is in for a Surprise, Wall Street Journal, 1 Mar 2006
Quote in context:
My beef, actually, is with the search engines and the economics of the modern Web. Google, for example, says its mission is 'to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.' The way that's written, one thinks perhaps of a satellite orbiting high above the earth, capturing all its information but interfering with nothing. In fact, search engines are more like a TV camera crew let loose in the middle of a crowd of rowdy fans after a game. Seeing the camera, everyone acts boorishly and jostles to get in front. The act of observing something changes it. Which is what search engines are causing to happen to much of the world's 'information.' Legitimate information ... risks being crowded out by junky, spammy imitations. Nothing very useful about that.