Ten Laws of the Modern World

Source: Ten Laws of the Modern World – Forbes.com

• Moore’s Law. In 1965 Moore (he cofounded Intel three years later) noted that components on silicon chips were doubling every year. In 1975 he amended that to every two years. Today Moore’s Law has transcended silicon chips. It has become a way of saying that all digital stuff, from PCs to cell phones to music players, get twice as good every 18 to 24 months–at the same price point.

• The Back Side of Moore’s Law. This one says that digital stuff gets 30% to 40% cheaper every year–at the same performance point.

• Andy and Bill’s Law. Moore’s Law constantly enables new software. Often the new software is just an incremental improvement. But every few years the world gets a wild breakthrough–graphic computing in the 1980s, Web browsers in the 1990s, fast search engines today. Next? Surely something amazing.

• Metcalfe’s Law. This one’s named after Robert Metcalfe, the inventor of the computer networking protocol Ethernet. Metcalfe said the usefulness of a network improves by the square of the number of nodes on the network. Translation: The Internet, like telephones, grows more valuable as more join in. This is how Ebay grew so profitable so fast.

• Gilder’s Law: Winner’s Waste. The best business models, he said, waste the era’s cheapest resources in order to conserve the era’s most expensive resources.

• Ricardo’s Law. The more transparent an economy becomes, the more David Ricardo’s 19th-century law of comparative advantage rules the day. Then came the commercial Internet, the greatest window into comparative advantage ever invented. Which means if your firm’s price-value proposition is lousy, too bad. The world knows.

• Wriston’s Law. Wriston predicted the rise of electronic networks and their chief effect. He said capital (meaning both money and ideas) when freed to travel at the speed of light "will go where it is wanted, stay where it is well-treated.…" By applying Wriston’s Law of capital and talent flow, you can predict the fortunes of countries and companies.

• The Laffer Curve. Cut taxes at the margin, on income and capital, and you’ll get more tax revenue, not less. Laffer reasoned that lower taxes would beckon risk capital out of hiding. Businesses and people would become more productive. The pie would grow. Application of the Laffer Curve is why the U.S. boomed in the 1980s and 1990s, why India is rocking now and why eastern Europe will outperform western Europe.

• Drucker’s Law. Odd as it seems, you will achieve the greatest results in business and career if you drop the word "achievement" from your vocabulary. Replace it with "contribution," says the great management guru Peter Drucker. Contribution puts the focus where it should be–on your customers, employees and shareholders.

• Ogilvy’s Law. Ogilvy knew in the 1950s that people make or break businesses. It was true then; it’s truer today.

Greenwash and the Top Greenwashers

Greenwash, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is “disinformation disseminated by an organization so as to present an environmentally responsible public image.”

I’m disappointed to see Ford Motor Co at the top of the list. Ford enlisted William McDonough to renovate the Rouge Center manufacturing plant, which could be a break-through example of large-scale cradle-to-cradle design in an industrial setting. I’d like to see Bill Ford get some credit for starting to change Ford into a greener company. Of course, the PR and marketing people at Ford will use the Ford Hybrid SUV and the Rouge Plant to improve Ford’s green image. And Ford, like GM, has a long way to go to catch the market leaders Toyota and Honda.

The Green Life website describing greenwashing and the top 10 practitioners in the US:

Dealing in lies of omission, image ads belong to a business strategy known as greenwash.

In addition to image ads, greenwash encompasses misleading product labels such as “all natural,” “biodegradable” and other vague descriptions used entirely at the discretion of the manufacturer, as well as improper applications of terms, for example, “organic” and “free range,” which are meaningful regarding certain products but unreliable with others.

Greenwash also covers a range of public relations tactics: front groups feigning public support for hidden anti-environmental agendas; scientists-for-hire who vouch for industry-funded research; sustainability reports offering partial disclosure and spotty transparency; hollow mission statements and codes of conduct; contributions to innocuous nonprofits; community advisory panels that have access without influence; and sponsorship of Earth Day events, where local industry plays host to the peoplr it poisons.

Greenwash fools progressive consumers into supporting the economy’s unsustainable status quo; lures investors who link positive environmental performance with profitable financial performance; and misleads policy makers charged with designing and enforcing environmental regulations.

America’s Ten Worst Greenwashers are:

1. Ford Motor Company
2. BP
3. United States Forest Service
4. ChevronTexaco
5. General Motors
6. Nuclear Energy Institute
7. Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
8. TruGreen ChemLawn
9. Xcel Energy
10. National Ski Areas Association

Source: The Green Life: Publications: Don’t Be Fooled

Howlin’ Wolf Documentary for Blues Lovers

Howlinwolf Last week I recorded The Howlin’ Wolf Story on our DVR from the Encore Drama channel. Scooter and I watched it last night – I highly recommend it to anyone who loves blues music.

Chester Burnett, aka Howlin’ Wolf, was a big man with a kind heart who made the improbable journey from picking cotton on the Delta as a boy to a blues superstar in Chicago acclaimed by the Rolling Stones and Eric Claption. Unlike many of his peers, he was a dedicated family man who managed his earnings well. His fame didn’t inflate his ego – he went back to school in his 50’s to learn to read and write.

Click on this link to hear Smokestack Lightning, one of his biggest hits.

From the web site HowlinWolf.org promoting the DVD from Amazon:

The Howlin’ Wolf Story, an in-depth look at Wolf’s life and music, includes rare film footage and never-before-seen photos of Wolf stalking the stage at the 1964 American Folk Blues Festival, on the TV show "Shindig" in 1965, at the 1966 Newport Folk Festival, and in the Chicago clubs in the ’50s and ’60s. It also includes entertaining and revealing interviews with people who played with and knew Wolf in his heyday. This is the definitive documentary about the Wolf.

Humor can increase hope, research shows

The experience of humor can positively influence a person’s state of hopefulness, says a Texas A&M psychologist.

As part of the study, select participants viewed a 15-minute comedy video. Those that viewed the video had statistically significant increases in their scores for hopefulness after watching it as compared with those that did not view the video.

The finding is important because it underscores how humor can be a legitimate strategy for relieving stress and maintaining a general sense of well-being while increasing a person’s hope. Previous studies have found that as high as 94 percent of people deem lightheartedness as a necessary factor in dealing with difficulties associated with stressful life events.

Source: Humor can increase hope, research shows | Science Blog.

SNIF: Is this an April Fools Joke?

Source: Wired News: Collar Cultivates Canine Cliques.

The Social Networking in Fur, or SNIF, project is a wearable computer system for dogs that allows their owners to monitor the animals’ behavior and capture their social networks.

The technology, designed by a group of researchers at MIT’s Physical Language Workshop, also gives dog owners the chance to "petwork," or network through their pets.

The system consists of a technologically enhanced collar, leash and wall-mounted leash-docking station. In prototype now, the system will be linked to a web-based community containing information about pets in the program and their owners.

The collar and leash have an LED display and a variety of sensors for recording climatic conditions, the pet’s activity levels and the presence of other dogs equipped with SNIF collars.

When out for a walk, the canine’s collar flashes a unique "collar tone" that provides its social network ID to other doggies’ SNIF collars. Then a secure ID transfer takes place.

Owners can record their dog’s reactions to each other by pressing "negative" or "positive" buttons on the leash. When released to play with a group, the dog’s collar records the IDs of pets that it has spent the most time with, along with the corresponding activity level. The collar relays the data to the leash when reattached.

The leash then uploads the information to a SNIF server. On the website, pet owners can learn about their dogs’ new friends through profiles created by their owners.

Scooter the Siamese Cat Is 23 Years Old

Scootbirthday23 On April 10 we celebrated Scooter’s 23rd birthday. He dined on rotisserie chicken and was coddled all day.

At 23 in human years, Scooter is about 115 years old in cat years. His spirit and Siamese voice are still strong, but his body is wearing out. His legs have lost their spring, his balance is shaky, and his hearing and eyesight are fading. His vet says his kidneys are not working very well and he’s lost two pounds (he only weighed seven pounds before he lost the weight!). He’s dropped that Siamese royal attitude – when he doesn’t feel well, he’s cranky, but most of the time he’s very sweet and appreciative of the care he receives.

On this birthday, some vivid memories always come up. I’m thinking about 10 years ago when he used one of his nine lives.

One morning Scooter walked into my office and jumped into my lap, as was his habit (he can’t make that jump now). But something very strange happened: he peed in my lap. I dumped him on the floor and cursed. When Scooter hit the floor, he fell over on his side. I could see that he was breathing very fast. He couldn’t walk. I felt terrible when I realized that he had used all his energy to jump into my lap and he was very ill.

Scooter had received a nasty bite in a cat fight several weeks prior to that day. Scooter defended his territory diligently in those days , which means he fought weekly and was injured regularly. (His territorial boundaries are almost identical to our lot lines.) We hauled Scooter to the emergency vet often to get patched up. I hated going to the emergency vet’s office; waiting for an hour or two in a room with tense, upset people and seeing people bringing their pets in when the pets were often in terrible shape.

What we didn’t know is that Scooter had received a poisonous bite – the biting cat was a carrier of hemobartonella, a type of infectious anemia that prevents the red blood cells from holding oxygen.

We took Scooter to the emergency vet and they said he needed to go into the oxygen cage, which would help him breath. Ann and I went to see him that night and he was barely alive. We could see that the vet assistants didn’t think he would make it through the night. Ann held him and he was breathing very fast, trying to get enough oxygen. We were so sad driving home that we couldn’t talk.

Ann was commuting to mid-town for work at that time, so I went to the emergency vet’s office the next morning, expecting the worst. He was "doing better" after spending all night in the oxygen box, much to everyone’s surprise. I took him to the regular vet’s office where they put an IV port in his leg and kept him on an IV all day. I picked him up that evening and brought him home so he could spend the night with us. In the morning I took him back to the vet’s office. We repeated that routine for two weeks. As Scooter grew stronger, he used all his energy while he was home trying to get that IV port out of his leg.

Within a month, Scooter was back: fighting trespassing tom cats, hunting birds and lizards, and yowling as only a Siamese can.

Five years later Scooter would nearly lose the fight of his life again (link We All Need Nine Lives).