Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Buffet on economy and poor people

Freakonomics Blog � Warren Buffet Swats the Invisible Hand: "The $31 billion gift will make a lot more noise, and for a lot longer. Surely everyone in the non-profit world is wondering how this will reshape things. Politicians too.

But I was particularly captured by one sentence that Buffett said last night on The Charlie Rose Show. He was explaining why he wanted to give so much money to a foundation that mainly tries to alleviate poverty. “A market system has not worked in terms of poor people,” Buffett said.

Coming from Buffett, this statement isn’t much of a shock. But it certainly is an indictment—of the free-market system that has made so many people like Buffett very, very rich (though not as rich as him), of the system that so many economists and businesspeople and politicians and journalists believe in on so many dimensions, including its ability to help poor people stop being poor. Note that Buffett didn’t say that the government hasn’t worked for poor people (although I am guessing he wouldn’t disagree with that statement either). It was the market system directly, even with Adam Smith’s wonderful invisible hand, which is meant to correct, to police, occasionally to lift someone up."

very simple: no money, no influence.

tags: control distribution buffet economy

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

New Scientist Breaking News - Overconfidence is a disadvantage in war, finds study: "Players who made higher-than-average predictions of their performance – those who had higher confidence - were more likely to carry out unprovoked attacks. These warmongers ranked themselves on average at number 60 out of the 200 players, while those who avoided war averaged out at the 75 position.

A further analysis showed that people with higher self-rankings ended up worse off at the end of the game. “Those who expected to do best tended to do worst,” the researchers say. “This suggests that positive illusions were not only misguided but actually may have been detrimental to performance in this scenario.”

Men tended to be more overconfident than women. But the study found nothing to back up the popular idea that high testosterone causes confidence and aggression. Saliva tests showed that, within each gender group, testosterone level did not correlate with how participants expected to perform in the game."

This is an interesting experimental data that confirms psychological predisposition for loss of "control", i.e. transition between having a control point and haos. It could be related to reduced efficiency of the control (decision making) system that gets accustom to relatively easy solutions, and loses its edge.

tags: control point chaos decision evolution transition

Friday, June 16, 2006

Google to focus on London for next phase of growth - Markets - Times Online

Google to focus on London for next phase of growth - Markets - Times Online: "Google is reorganising the way it presents search results on the internet to conform better with mobiles, according to Deep Nishar, the company’s director of wireless products. It is also testing dozens of new search-related products to be used solely on mobile phones and other pocket-sized wireless devices.

“You only have to look at the global trends for mobile use and PC use to see where our business is going,” said Mr Nishar. “In India, mobile-phone ownership outweighs PC ownership by a ratio of two to one. And there are five million more mobile-phone users coming online every month. By the end of this year there will be more mobile phones in India than in America.”

Mr Nishar added that China also presents a massive untapped market. “In China there are 3.6 million mobile-phone users, but very few homes have a PC.”"

The next step is mobile web with one-click purchase. Google and PayPal would make a great combination, but it looks like Google will have to develop its own transaction system.

tags: evolution scalability efficiency payload

Monday, June 12, 2006

New Scientist Breaking News - Gene tests shed light on what triggers birth

New Scientist Breaking News - Gene tests shed light on what triggers birth: "To identify which genes get switched on during labour, Bukowski’s team compared levels of RNA in tissue samples taken from the cervix, fundus and lower segment of the uterus from women who had gone into labour, and from those undergoing caesareans before the onset of labour. All of the women delivered their babies at full term.

Of 500 genes identified as having big changes in activity, 14 sets of genes were common to the fundus samples and another 14 sets of genes were common to the lower segment of the uterus, including genes associated with muscle contraction.

A further 12 sets were found in cervical samples, including those that modify collagen, a protein that influences tissue elasticity.

These gene sets are likely to represent key gene pathways that allow for birth, says Bukowski, although he stresses that it is unlikely that a successful labour relies on a single gene. “If delivery was dependent on one gene that would be very dangerous,” he says, since a mutation in that gene could spell disaster."

tags: detection control example problem

Are virtual worlds the future of the classroom? | CNET News.com

Are virtual worlds the future of the classroom? | CNET News.com: This summer, as many as a million virtual kids could catch an infectious virus known as Whypox, causing them to break out in red welts and spout 'Achoo' whenever chatting with friends.

In educational circles, Whyville's private universe is known as a multiuser virtual environment, or MUVE, a genre of software games created to inspire children to learn about math and science, among other subjects. Unlike most game software and social networks, which elicit negative associations for some parents and teachers, MUVEs are structured environments with rules for behavior, yet no pat formula for action. Designed to provide problems to solve that don't involve slaying monsters, MUVEs compel kids to figure out the issues to succeed in the environments or have time to socialize.

Learning-based virtual worlds are growing more popular in schools and among children, thanks to ongoing efforts by universities and private companies.

tags: environment synthesis learning

Google's Gbuy nears launch | CNET News.com

Google's Gbuy nears launch | CNET News.com: "Google's payment system, as a result, holds the potential to monitor which paid-search results users click on and of that group, which ones turn into actual sales. With that information, Google may find itself in the enviable position of being able to identify which categories bring in the highest return on investment for advertisers, Rohan stated."

Google gets itself into a position from which it can fine-tune search-to-buy ratio. It also embeds its product into customers' control process, which provides a long-term competitive advantage over other lead generators ( search engines).

tags: control integration strategy performance