,hl=en,siteUrl='http://0ldfox.blogspot.com/',authuser=0,security_token="v_SeT2Tv8vVdKRCcG9CCW-ZdIfQ:1429878696275"/> Old Fox KM Journal : 2008

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Fair Use or Unfair Use?

UPDATE: Google, Book Publishers Reach Settlement

By David B. Wilkerson

CHICAGO (Dow Jones) -- Google Inc. and five major book publishers have reached an agreement that will allow the search-engine titan to make millions of in- copyright books and other written materials available online.

The publishers -- Simon & Schuster (CBS), McGraw-Hill Cos. (MHP), Pearson Education Inc. and Penguin Group (PSO) and John Wiley & Sons Inc. (JWA)(JWB) -- had sued Google in 2005 to stop the company from scanning millions of library books. They contended that Google (GOOG) was violating copyright law.

Under the settlement, Google will make payments totaling $125 million. The money will be used to resolve existing claims by authors and publishers and to cover legal fees.

The funds will also go toward the establishment of an independent, not-for- profit entity called the Book Rights Registry, which will locate rights-holders, collect and maintain accurate information about them, and allow them to participate or opt out of Google's scanning project.

The settlement, which is subject to approval by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, will allow U.S. readers to search through millions of written works and preview them online.

It will also greatly expand the electronic market for copyrighted books and provide greater library access to the entire texts of books that had not been previously available online.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires
Copyright (c) 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Message on Short Sales

The SEC using its powers under 12(k)(2) of the Exchange Act has prohibited any person from effecting any short sale, as defined by Rule 200 of Regulation SHO, in the publicly traded securities of the financial institutions specified in the Order ("Included Financial Firm"). The Included Financial Firms are a significantly larger group than those included in the initial July 15, 2008 Emergency Order found at Exchange Act Release 58166 and subsequently amended and extended by subsequent Orders. (See Exchange Act Releases 58190 and 58572).

There are limited exceptions from the prohibition provided for bona fide market makers and block positioners in the securities as well as short sales that occur as a result of automatic exercise or assignment of an equity option held prior to the effectiveness of the Order due to expiration of the option. Option Market Makers are exempted from the prohibition completely until 11:59 PM September 19, 2008 in order to accommodate the expirations of options on September 20, 2008.

The Order is effective as of 12:01 EDT September 19, 2008 and extends to October 2, 2008 unless extended by the Commission. A copy of the Order with the list of Included Financial Firms is attached.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Don’t Buy That Textbook, Download It Free

September 15, 2008
SQUINT hard, and textbook publishers can look a lot like drug makers. They both make money from doing obvious good — healing, educating — and they both have customers who may be willing to sacrifice their last pennies to buy what these companies are selling.

It is that fact that can suddenly turn the good guys into bad guys, especially when the prices they charge are compared with generic drugs or ordinary books. A final similarity, in the words of R. Preston McAfee, an economics professor at Cal Tech, is that both textbook publishers and drug makers benefit from the problem of “moral hazards” — that is, the doctor who prescribes medication and the professor who requires a textbook don’t have to bear the cost and thus usually don’t think twice about it.

“The person who pays for the book, the parent or the student, doesn’t choose it,” he said. “There is this sort of creep. It’s always O.K. to add $5.”

In protest of what he says are textbooks’ intolerably high prices — and the dumbing down of their content to appeal to the widest possible market — Professor McAfee has put his introductory economics textbook online free. He says he most likely could have earned a $100,000 advance on the book had he gone the traditional publishing route, and it would have had a list price approaching $200.

“This market is not working very well — except for the shareholders in the textbook publishers,” he said. “We have lots of knowledge, but we are not getting it out.”

While still on the periphery of the academic world, his volume, “Introduction to Economic Analysis,” is being used at some colleges, including Harvard and Claremont-McKenna, a private liberal arts college in Claremont, Calif..

And that, in a nutshell, is a big difference between textbook publishers and the drug makers. Sure, there have been scientists with Professor McAfee’s attitude — Jonas Salk was asked who owned the patent to the polio vaccine and scoffed: “Could you patent the sun?”

For the textbook makers, however, it is a different story. Professor McAfee allows anyone to download a Word file or PDF of his book, while also taking advantage of the growing marketplace for print on demand.

In true economist fashion, he has allowed two companies, Lulu and Flat World Knowledge, to sell print versions of his textbook, with Lulu charging $11 and Flat World anywhere from $19.95 to $59.95. As he said on his Web site, he is keeping the multiple options to “further constrain their ability to engage in monopoly pricing.”

A broader effort to publish free textbooks is called Connexions, which was the brainchild of Richard G. Baraniuk, an engineering professor at Rice University, which has received $6 million from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. In addition to being a repository for textbooks covering a wide range of subjects and educational levels, its ethic is taken from the digital music world, he said — rip, burn and mash.

Unlike other projects that share course materials, notably OpenCourseWare at M.I.T., Connexions uses broader Creative Commons license allowing students and teachers to rewrite and edit material as long as the originator is credited. Teachers put up material, called “modules,” and then mix and match their work with others’ to create a collection of material for students. “We are changing textbook publishing from a pipeline to an ecosystem,” he said.

Like Professor McAfee, Professor Baraniuk says he decided to share his material while writing a textbook.

“If I had finished my own book, I would have finished a couple years ago,” he said. “It would have taken five years. It would have spent five years in print and sold 2,000 copies.” Instead, he said, he posted it on the Web site and there have been 2.8 million page views of his textbook, “Signals and Systems,” including a translation into Spanish.

Connexions is strongest in statistics and electrical engineering — areas with technologically advanced students and a greater need to update material than, say, works on medieval history. He said there were 850,000 unique users a month, with more than 50 percent of the traffic originating from outside the United States.

“It’s anyone’s guess as to when we will break through,” he said.

One of the most popular Connexions contributors is Sunil Kumar Singh, a production engineer from New Delhi who works for the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation of India. He explains physics for precollege students, using the feedback from readers who e-mail from all over the world.

“It is a two-way process,” he wrote in an e-mail message. “I, for one, have experienced difficulty during my formal study years with the best of textbooks around.” He said the new system “gives me opportunity to respond to the editing needs all the time.”

While these open-source projects slowly grow, the textbook publishers have entered the online publishing field with CourseSmart, a service owned by five publishers. In service for only a year, CourseSmart allows students to subscribe to a textbook and read it online, with the option of highlighting and printing out portions of it at a time.

The price is generally half of what a print book costs, a sum that can still appear staggering — an introductory economics textbook costs around $90 online. (This semester, a student has the option of downloading a book as well — but it is an either-or choice: read online or download to a computer.)

Frank Lyman, executive vice president at CourseSmart, said that the company was created in response to changing times. “There wasn’t a lot of content and it was in a bunch of formats,” he said of past efforts by publishers. “There never was any momentum.”

There are 4,000 textbooks currently available — about a third of the market — but the goal is to cover “50 percent of the backpack.” Without being specific, he said that tens of thousands of textbooks have been read online and that 1,240 separate institutions have a student who has made at least one e-textbook purchase.

While conceding that open-source textbooks would take hold in a few subject areas, Mr. Lyman stressed that the current system would still prevail and that collaborative works online would have a hard time winning an audience.

“Of all the things that are changing, one thing is consistent — the authorship model,” he said.

“What doesn’t worry me is that leading experts will say I will write my own damn book and people will read it.”

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Infallible News Media

Google News Alert for: kylie minogue
Kylie Minogue’s 1m show
NZ City - New Zealand
‘2 Hearts’ singer Kylie Minogue is to be paid £1 million for a private performance at a hotel launch in Dubai. Kylie Minogue is to be paid £1 million for a ...

The Wiggles and Kylie Minogue Top Aussie Rich List
Undercover Music News - Australia
Kylie Minogue added another $40 million to her vast fortune. BRW has announced the top 10 rich list for Australian entertainers and there were a few ...

Contactmusic.com - Ilkley,England,UK
Pop star KYLIE MINOGUE will reportedly pick up $1 million (GBP540,540) to play a one-off concert in Dubai. The Australian singer is set to be the star ...

Kylie Minogue To Earn £2 Million By Performing At A Private Party
AngryApe - Manchester,UK
Kylie Minogue is to be paid a whopping £2 million for just one concert at a private party, say new reports. The Aussie star will scoop the huge wage if she ...

Kylie Minogue paid $4.4 milion to sing at Dubai hotel's opening
NEWS.com.au - Australia
KYLIE Minogue, who is estimated to have earned $40 million in the past year, will be paid a staggering $73000 a minute to perform at a private party in the ...

Kylie Minogue Set For $1 Million Dubai Gig
Post Chronicle - USA
by Staff Pop star Kylie Minogue will reportedly pick up $1 million (£540540) to play a one-off concert in Dubai. The Australian singer is set to be the ...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Worth Considering

From the Pocket MBA at PLI

Term of the Week: Option ARM

Mortgage that permits the borrower to choose from among several types of repayment arrangements.
Read More

Option ARM In The Real World:

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water. That was the tagline from advertisements for the sequel to the movie Jaws in the way-back time. But it could just as easily apply to the current credit/mortgage situation/crisis. Every time someone gets on television to say that the housing market has bottomed, the eerie Jaws theme music seems to start playing in Pocket MBA's ear. Da Dum...Da Dum...Dum-Dum, Dum-Dum, Dum-Dum...Aaaaarghhhhhhhh, my arm! And the shark bites again. The newsletter has previously covered subprime mortgages (Jaws) and Alt-A (Jaws 2); we seem to have weathered the threat of the first, and the second may not be as bad as originally thought, although who knows? And now comes Jaws 3-D, the ticking bomb that some say is represented by the resets in option ARM rates scheduled for next spring. Some finance people believe that to the extent the economy has avoided full-on recession this year, the option ARM problem could sink it next. That's because option ARMs represent a larger percentage of mortgages than subprime and Alt-A, and the homebuyers that took out option ARMs tended to be solid denizens of the middle class, including people who refinanced out of standard 30-year fixed mortgages. If they start to go bust, well you do the math. Da Dum...

So what is an option ARM, and how can it be the straw that breaks the camel's back, or the dangling leg (arm?) that tempts the Great White? You can Google the subject and get in-depth explanations with calculations and all that, but, simply put, an option ARM is an adjustable rate mortgage that gives the borrower up to four choices as to how much he will pay each month--that is, it gives payment options. Each of those options impacts the amount which the borrower will repay every month.

The most straightforward options are that a borrower can choose to pay the mortgage as if it were a standard 15- or 30-year mortgage. Pocket MBA imagines those who have chosen either of these two routes are probably doing just fine. After all, those are the options standard borrowers decide between when taking out a mortgage. It's the remaining two options that are problematic, although they didn't start out that way. So first, a little history.

Options ARMS are a creature of the 1980s, and as implied above, they were originally marketed to relatively high-end borrowers, many of whom had incomes that were stacked toward the end of the year, either via bonuses or self-employment arrangements. The options that attracted these borrowers were the ability to pay less than a standard fixed mortgage in certain months of the year, and then at the end of the year, when the borrowers had more income, they would make, in essence, a balloon payment to make up the difference and get back on the track they would be on with a standard mortgage. As option ARMs began being offered to those with less income, or standard earners (15th and 30th of the month, etc.), the option part of the payback started to become problematic. Dum-Dum.

The first of the non-standard options in an option ARM is to pay the mortgage as if it were an interest-only loan. Thus the borrower pays only the monthly interest on the loan (which can be fixed, but is often adjustable on a monthly basis), and the principal on the loan remains steady for whatever term the interest-only part of the loan occupies. At the end of that period, the borrower has to play catch-up. Again, this can work for a higher-end borrower who can invest the amount saved on the monthly payments and make up more than what he would have paid on the mortgage. Of course, if your investments don't work out, you're left holding the bag of a mortgage that must be paid off by the end of the mortgage term, and now you have interest and principal to pay in that amount of time. Da-Dum. Dum-Dum, Dum-Dum, Dum-Dum, Dum-Dum...

The second of the non-standard options for option ARM borrowers is the "minimum payment" or negative amortization option. This is the real killer, and again, it made sense for borrowers who had a certain threshold financial wherewithal. Under this option, the borrower pays an amount "X," that is predetermined and is less than even the accruing interest. An amount equal to the difference between X and the monthly interest owed on the loan gets tacked on to the principal balance. Thus, with the minimum payment option, the borrower owes more every month, and owns nothing, that is, his equity doesn't grow. This goes on for a year, at which point the interest rate is usually readjusted upward, but usually the monthly minimum is still relatively low. But, after a certain number of years (five or ten) or when the balance grows to a certain percentage above the original balance (say 115% or 120%), the loan gets "recast," so that it is fully amortizing. Then, no matter how much a person owes on a monthly basis to make up the negative amortization during the remainder of the loan term, that amount becomes the monthly payment, and the sky is the limit. For a slew of option ARMS on which borrowers have been paying the minimum option (and there are reports that the number of these is as high as 80% of all option ARMs), that date of reckoning is sometime next year. Dum-Dum, Dum-Dum, Dum-Dum, Dum-Dum...

So how did a loan that was meant for relatively well-off earners end up being marketed to everyday borrowers? Of course, it's the story of the credit/mortgage crisis writ large: falling interest rates create housing boom; more and more people enter the market; housing prices soar, thereby excluding the same people from the market unless banks come up with creative ways to enable affordability. Bing bang boom, you end up with a mismatch between lending product and borrower, and a potential foreclosure problem.

The funny thing is these minimum payment arrangements haven't hurt the lenders, at least until now. First, under GAAP, the banks are allowed to record as revenue the amount that would have been paid had the borrower chosen to pay at the fully amortized 30-year option. Thus the banks' bottom line looks great...at least until the borrower defaults. Then all those revenues have to be discounted. Also, as with subprime, many of these loans have been sold to investors via the securitizations that were the subject of this newsletter earlier in the year. The question is whether that will start a new round of financial institution stress. Tune in next spring to find out. Until then, it's definitely not safe to go back into the water.

Watch out below!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Famous Last Words

"The judge can drop dead in his black robes," Quill shouted just before he was taken away. "We will not call off the strike. We'll defy the injunction and go to jail. I don't care if I rot in jail."

Two hours after his arrest, Quill collapsed in prison and was taken to Bellvue Hospital.

"Michael Quill, Transit Union Chief, Is Dead." St. Petersburg Times, v. 82, n. 189, January 29, 1966. 1-2.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Five Years, 30,000 Lawsuits, and Counting


A moment of MP3 silence, please, as we observe the fifth anniversary of the Recording Industry Association of America's massive litigation campaign against peer-to-peer sharing of copyrighted songs. It was five years ago today that the RIAA filed its first round of lawsuits against 261 defendants, observes David Kravets of Wired's Threat Level blog. Today, the number of lawsuits has soared to 30,000 and shows no sign of abating. "We're just barely scratching the surface of the legal issues," Ray Beckerman, the New York lawyer who defends -- and blogs about -- RIAA cases, tells Kravets. "They're extorting people -- and for what purpose?"

Because many of the people the RIAA sues cannot afford to hire a lawyer and defend themselves, many of the cases settle for a few thousand dollars. So common are these settlements that the RIAA has set up a Web site to accept and process settlement payments, much in the same way one would pay a phone or credit card bill. But Kravets' post raises the question of whether the RIAA's campaign has accomplished anything or "shaped up as an utter failure." The RIAA's only jury-trial win, the case against Minnesota mother Jammie Thomas, is expected to be declared a mistrial any day now due to the judge's second thoughts on whether copyright law requires proof of an actual transfer of files, as opposed to simply making them available. In two other cases, the RIAA has lost on the "making available" issue, although it won damages in one of those cases due to the defendant's tampering with his hard drive.

Litigation outcomes aside, the RIAA says the campaign has been successful as a public relations effort, having spawned a "general sense of awareness" that file sharing of copyright music is illegal. But critics condemn the RIAA for both the way it litigates these cases and the way it investigates them. Washington state lawyer Lory Lybeck is leading a prospective class action against RIAA over its "sham" litigation tactics. She tells Kravets that RIAA is setting the price of settlement at a point where defendants can't afford to fight. And Electronic Frontier Foundation staff attorney Fred von Lohmann questions whether the campaign has led to any reduction in file sharing. "If the goal is to reduce file sharing," he said, "it's a failure." Failure or not, the RIAA litigation has yet to download its swan song.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


See if this link works for JAMA video

With so many people living longer these days, it is estimated that the number of older adults living with Alzheimer’s disease worldwide will increase from about twenty-six million today to about one hundred and six million by the year 2050. Researchers are looking for ways to help delay the onset of dementia. A new study finds increasing physical activity may make a difference. Jennifer Mitchell explains in this week's JAMA Report.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Ms Dewey is Pretty Cool


Fewer or Less

Tesco to ditch 'ten items or less' sign after good grammar campaign
By Tom Peterkin
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 01/09/2008

From now on, signs in new stores are to say "up to 10 items" after a long running argument with those who have objected to the use of the word "less" in that context.

Many have argued that the signs ought to read "ten items or fewer" instead of "ten items or less".

Their argument is that the word 'fewer' should be used when it refers to quantities that can be counted.

'Less', they say, should refer to quantities that cannot be counted. The new form of words comes from a suggestion by the Plain English Campaign.

"There is a debate about whether the word should be 'less' or 'fewer'," a campaign spokesman said.

"Saying 'up to ten items' is easy to understand and avoids any debate."

Guidance from Oxford University Press says: "Less means 'not as much'. Fewer means 'not as many'. This can be tricky when referring to quantities. For example, we say less than six weeks, not fewer than six weeks, because we are not referring to six individual weeks, but to a single period of time lasting six weeks."

Hopes that changing the wording would provide a satisfactory solution to the knotty problem appear premature with some critics claiming that the new signs are themselves ambiguous.

Some would argue that "up to ten items" could mean "ten items and no more" or "nine items or fewer".

A Tesco spokesman said: "The debate about what is right has been going on for years now, and I still don't think we know if 'less' or 'fewer' is correct.

"The new signs will be in the rolling out of new stores. We are not going to see any new ones in existing shops so shoppers in those will not see the change."

West Headnote of the Day

110k406(6) k. Admissions as to Commission of or Participation in Commission of Crime.

Defendant's statement to codefendant that "this was stupidest robbery they'd ever done" was admissible in robbery prosecution as admission of guilt.
People v. Oquendo, 232 A.D.2d 881 (1996)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Subjects or Citizens

Householders face £70 fines for putting wrong waste in green bins

By Tom Peterkin
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 29/08/2008

The fines, which are more severe than those imposed on many shoplifters, drug users and dangerous drivers, were criticised by campaigners who said they would criminalise ordinary people and be used as an excuse to raise more money from families on the bread line.

Exeter City Council has become the first local authority to start fining, but others are expected to follow suit.

Anyone putting inappropriate waste into a green bin will be sent a fixed-penalty notice to compensate the council for cleaning it.

Those who refuse to pay will be taken to court and prosecuted for non-payment. . . .

West Headnote of the Day

237 Libel and Slander
237I Words and Acts Actionable, and Liability Therefor
237k9 Words Tending to Injure in Profession or Business
237k9(3) k. Attorneys at Law

It is slanderous per se to call a lawyer a knave.
McMillan v. Birch, 1806 WL 1003 (1806)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Can you Make this stuff up?

Should Law Students Pay Law Firms for Training?

"If associates get all the benefits of training at my law firm in the first three years, and can't really add much value anyway, why don't they pay us?"

That's the question that Dan Hull asks in this provocative post at What About Clients?.

So, here's the strategy that Hull envisions. Rather than pay new hires those stratospheric salaries that have given law firms buyer's remorse, Hull suggests that associates work for minimal salaries in exchange for the benefit of receiving valuable legal training:

A "trainee": (1) would be paid either very minimal or at most starting paralegal-level salaries--don't laugh, paralegals are often remarkably more valuable and cost-efficient than first-year associates--and perhaps some other benefits; or (2) actually pay the law firm a nominal stipend--a "tuition", in effect--in a flexible apprenticeship arrangement which could be revisited eventually. At a minimum, making the associate bear the risk of the investment . . .

Friday, August 22, 2008

fleecing 'soft' Britain

Polish immigrants' guide to fleecing 'soft' Britain
By Richard Edwards, Crime Correspondent
Last Updated: 9:45am BST 21/08/2008

It shows how to avoid electricity bills and tax, rent flats for free and con insurance companies.

The scams, published in Polish magazine Przeglad, are revealed by Polish workers already living in Britain.

One man, quoted as a Polish criminal expert, said that cheating the system had became a way of life under decades of Communist rule.

"Once you've cheated the Communist government and the Iron Curtain and the Soviet states, running rings around British Gas is child's play," he explained.

A worker called Tomek suggested opening electricity and gas accounts with bogus personal details.

He said: "How can I pay bills that aren't addressed to me? The accounting system in England is based on trust, that's why you can phone and give them data plucked out of thin air."

Another man recommends renting a house in a made-up name, then immediately stopping rent payments because tenancy laws mean it will be months before they are evicted.

In the meantime the property is sublet to dozens of others.

Expensive mobile phones are insured and then reported "stolen".

Once the insurers pay out, the cheats pocket the cash and sell the "stolen" phone back home in Poland for a £100 profit.

Another man tells how he never pays for a television licence, electricity or gas bills - but boasts that he has never been cut off.

"In Poland it would be unheard of - they would have cut everything off long ago," he said. "And you'd have to be an idiot to register the TV."

Information appearing on telegraph.co.uk is the copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited and must not be reproduced in any medium without licence. For the full copyright statement see Copyright

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Liars are exposed by blinking


By Lucy Cockcroft
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 20/08/2008

The best way to spot a liar is to look them in the eyes, according to scientists who say the number of times a person blinks will show if they are speaking the truth.

Liars blink less frequently than normal during the lie, and then speed up to around eight times faster than usual afterwards.

The findings, reported in the Journal of Non-verbal Behaviour, means that blink rates could soon be used by professionals, such as the police and security forces, to tell when someone is being duplicitous.

Dr Sharon Leal, co-author of the study at Portsmouth University, said: "It is striking what different patterns in eye blinks emerged for liars and truth tellers.

"Such striking differences in behaviour between liars and truth tellers are rarely seen in deception research."

Researchers studied a group of volunteers as they went about their normal business for ten minutes. A second group were asked to steal an exam paper from an office, then to deny having taken it.

The groups were then asked each to recall exactly what they had been doing.

During the interview their blink rates, which had all been the same at the start, were monitored with electrodes placed above and below and at the sides of the eyes to monitor all movements.

Results show that when the questions were being asked and the answers given, the blink rate in the liars went down. In contrast the truthful group's rate went up, though this could have been down to test anxiety.

Afterwards, the blink rate of the liars increased rapidly, while that of the truth tellers remained the same.

Researchers believe the increased effort involved in telling fibs could be the reason why liars do not blink during the act of lying.

Dr Leal said: "Liars must need to make up their stories and must monitor their fabrication so that they are plausible and adhere to everything the observer knows or might find out.

"In addition, liars must remember their earlier statements, so that they appear consistent when re-telling their story, and know what they told to whom. Liars will be more inclined than truth tellers to monitor and control their demeanour so they will appear honest.

"The reasons why there is a flurry of blinks after the lie is not really clear. It may be that this flurry is a kind of safety valve, like a release of energy after the tension of lying."

Information appearing on telegraph.co.uk is the copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited and must not be reproduced in any medium without licence. For the full copyright statement see Copyright

Well this study was done among "normal" students. I doubt if the results could be so clear with "professional" members of the criminal class, lawyers, and sociopaths. --Ed

Should You Invest in the Long Tail?


Anita Elberse.
Anita Elberse (aelberse@hbs.edu) is an associate professor of business administration in the marketing unit at Harvard Business School. Her article "How Markets Help Marketers" appeared in the September 2005 issue of HBR.

-- HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW , July 2008 - August 2008

In a typical year, Grand Central Publishing (formerly Warner Books) goes to market with 275 to 300 book titles spread across two catalogs, its fall and winter lists. For each list the company identifies the handful of books it believes have the greatest sales potential and gives them the full benefit of its marketing capabilities. Of those, it spotlights just two "make" books, one fiction and one nonfiction, for which the company's publisher is willing, in her words, to "pull out all the stops." In the fall of 2007 those books were David Baldacci's Stone Cold and Stephen Colbert's I Am America (and So Can You!). The effects of this strategy show up in sales figures and profits. Whereas the 61 hardcover titles Grand Central put on its 2006 front list, on average, incurred costs of $650,000 and earned gross profits of just under $100,000, a wide range of numbers contributed to those averages. Grand Central's most heavily marketed title incurred costs of $7 million and achieved net sales of just under $12 million, for a gross profit of nearly $5 million, 50 times the average.

Grand Central is pursuing what is known as a blockbuster strategy, a time-honored approach, particularly in the media and entertainment sector. With limited space on store shelves and in traditional distribution channels, and with retailers and distributors seeking to maximize their returns, producers have tended to focus their marketing resources on a small number of likely best sellers. Although such an approach involves substantial risk, they expect that the occasional hit's huge pay-off will cover the losses of many misses, and that a few big sellers will bring in the lion's share of revenues and profits. In 2006 just 20% of Grand Central's titles accounted for roughly 80% of its sales and an even larger share of its profits.

Much has changed in commerce, however, in the decades since the blockbuster strategy first took hold. Today we live in a world of ubiquitous information and communication technology, where retailers have virtually infinite shelf space and consumers can search through innumerable options. When books, movies, and music are digitized and therefore cheap to replicate, the question arises: Is a blockbuster strategy still effective?

One school of thought says yes. Well represented by the economists Robert Frank and Philip Cook, in their 1995 book The Winner-Take-All Society, that school argues that broad, fast communication and easy replication create dynamics whereby popular products become disproportionately profitable for suppliers, and customers become even likelier to converge in their tastes and buying habits. The . . .

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lasting Impressions


Once upon a time, a nasty tabloid story or unflattering newspaper profile would fade into practical obscurity. But today, the concept of "practical obscurity" has been rendered practically obsolete by tools like Google and the Wayback Machine, which forever memorialize our past deeds in the Internet's easily accessible and often unforgiving cache.

Seattle lawyer Shakespear Feyissa is the latest, but by no means last, casualty of this development. As reported by the Seattle Times, Feyissa wants a decade-old article that discusses his never-prosecuted arrest for attempted sexual assault and ensuing suspension removed from his college newspaper's online archives. The college newspaper editors refused, claiming that compulsory removal was tantamount to censorship.

Today, bloggers have been weighing in on this story, which after all, has implications for law bloggers as well. At Above the Law, Kashmir Hill empathizes with Feyissa's plight, but questions whether going after his alma mater was the best approach -- or merely resulted in elevating Feyissa's past to the top of the search engine rankings. Ultimately, Hill sides with the newspaper, writing that:

'the online availability of archived articles can be unfortunate for some people, but it is perhaps an unavoidable consequence of living in the information age. It would not be feasible (or consistent with free speech values) to give people the right to force newspapers -- or, say, gossip blogs -- to erase non-defamatory content about themselves, simply because it paints them in a less-than-positive light..'

For Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice the First Amendment "journalistic principles" aren't as clear-cut, particularly where a guy's reputation is ruined and the newspaper itself presented only part of the story by failing to note that all charges against Feyissa were dismissed. Greenfield concludes that:

'The public is not served by perpetuating undeserved harm. Figure out a way that Feyissa won't have to suffer the taint of student ethical bravado for the rest of his life.'

At the Industry Standard, Cyndy Aleo-Carreira notes that journalists are in fact reconsidering whether editors should pull online content, especially when a situation has changed or charges have been dropped. She also notes that in Japan, for example, crime-related stories are removed within a year of publication.

Feyissa's situation is somewhat unique -- it involves a decade-old story that would have faded into obscurity but for the Internet. The college paper gains nothing from keeping a stale story online, and indeed, loses some credibility by insisting on doing so without at least offering an update. But at the same time, I can understand Hill's point -- that making an allowance for Feyissa could potentially make it easier for the next person (say a faculty member) to demand immediate removal of an unflattering story in the student paper.

Ultimately, we're dealing with a huge a gray area when it comes to online archives. There aren't any simple solutions as far as I can tell. All we can do is to proceed case by case until we develop some lasting rules about the best way to deal with these kinds of lasting impressions.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on August 18, 2008 at 01:54 PM |

Censorship, revisionist history, is out of the question nevertheless some provision for Correction, Retraction, and Rebuttal ought to be made available, especially since electronic technology makes it so possible.

The Credit Unions must by law offer a consumer the right to include a "short statement" rebutting, clarifying or correcting an entry in the consumer's credit report. Unfortunately, unfairly, and probably illegally they refuse to show a URL in that short statement. Thus the consumer can only place a few choice words in the statement and is not able to point to a more complete presentation including copies of correspondence and documents. It is like giving the prosecutor unlimited space and time but the defense is restricted to 20 words or less. Hardly equitable.

Online pubs ought to offer (voluntarily I would prefer) the opportunity to rebut by hyperlink. We have Comments, but the subject of an item ought to have a more elevated or featured spot.

Posted by: oldfox | August 19, 2008 at 09:27 AM

Monday, August 18, 2008

Westlaw Edge

Unclaimed property: Now it won't go unnoticed

Unclaimed property (unpaid wages, dividends, refunds, or other personal property considered lost or abandoned after a specific period of time) can affect many areas of the law, including probate, tax, bankruptcy, and corporate acquisitions. Unclaimed property records can also reveal connections between specific companies and individuals.

Unclaimed property records are now available on Westlaw from the following states: Alaska, California, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. To search unclaimed property records in all available states, access the Unclaimed Property Combined database (UNCLAIMED-ALL). You can also search unclaimed property records from an individual state using the database identifier UNCLAIMED-XX, where XX is the state's two-letter postal abbreviation. The user-friendly search template allows you to search by owner name (e.g., john smith; you don't need to use connectors), street address, asset holder, asset type, and other criteria.

A record typically includes the name and known address of the property owner, a description and value of the property, and the name of the entity holding the property. (Caveat: Some property may be unclaimed because the address on file is incorrect.)

Class warfare is just not classy


By Jenny McCartney
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 17/08/2008

Although it is still August, there has been a distinctly chilly feeling in the air, particularly when the Bank of England Governor, Mervyn King, warned last week of an economic period of "painful adjustment".

Mr King explained that the adjustment would involve an unpleasant stretch of stagnating incomes, falling house prices and rising unemployment.

The "rising unemployment" bit caught my eye. For more than a decade, we became used to the notion that jobs were generally available to anyone who wanted one. Now, the possibility of involuntary unemployment is everywhere, stalking shopkeepers and City workers alike.

advertisementBut something fundamental happened to our thinking during the boom years: because work was plentiful, it became respectable to sneer at those who didn't work.

The absence of regular, paid work in a citizen's life was linked to a host of other problems, from alcoholism and drug addiction to a state-dependent mindset and a lack of educational achievement in their children.

To some extent, of course, this was true. And because the term "working class" couldn't be applied to a group whose defining trait was that they didn't work, the term "underclass" became popular. It became accepted wisdom that Britain had an "underclass" which was the feral, unpredictable source of all our ills.

We all know what we mean by "underclass", but the trouble is we all mean slightly different things.

When I say "underclass", I suppose I mean those who have become dangerously disconnected from the foundation stones of work and social co-operation upon which the working-class communities traditionally thrived.

The defining characteristic of its members would be a notable lack of any educational or other aspiration, coupled with defensive aggression. It's the bloke who threatens to punch you for asking him to take his feet off the train seat, and the teenage girl who brags about her sexual exploits in a mobile phone conversation that the whole bus can hear.

It's been a useful shorthand, I suppose, but now I'm thinking of ditching the word entirely.

One reason is that the notion appears to have been co-opted, with increasing vitriol, by commentators who are simply incensed by anyone who doesn't share their aesthetic values.

Jeremy Clarkson, the presenter of Top Gear, wrote last week of his experiences driving the new Rolls-Royce coupé around town: "It's been a genuinely alarming insight into the bitterness of Britain's obese and stupid underclass."

When he drove past a bus queue, he said, he realised that "hate is something you can touch and see and smell."

The "obese and stupid" people at the bus stop hadn't done anything specific, it seemed: presumably they had simply failed to light up with sufficient admiration as Clarkson coasted by in his swanky car.

Still, you don't have to be Karl Marx to reflect that if you were waiting for a bus while fretting about the rising cost of heating the family home, the sudden appearance of Clarkson in a £296,500 vehicle might not fill the heart with unalloyed joy.

In July, the Sunday Times and Spectator columnist Rod Liddle saw a fat woman and her plump children in a supermarket.

She didn't say or do anything discourteous, it appeared, nor did the children, but the mere glimpse of "this hag", her "vile lardy brood" and the contents of her shopping trolley prompted the writer to a bizarre rant which culminated in the fantasy that "I set the fat mother on fire with my Zippo lighter, and on the way out I kicked the smallest fat child hard in the gut."

It is worth pointing out that while both Clarkson and Liddle are normal-looking men, neither would exactly be in line to win the Weight Watchers Slimmer of the Year Award. But then middle-class fat is, for them, texturally different from underclass fat. Good things have poured into middle-class fat, you see: steak, Roquefort, red wine and a heartily robust enjoyment of life. Underclass fat, however, being composed entirely of chicken nuggets, chips and wilful idleness, is a mark of moral degeneracy.

The people who are quickest to sneer at "chavs" and the perceived physical shortcomings of the "underclass" often seem to be those most obsessed with flaunting their own "bling" and extending their unprovoked rudeness to those with far less social and financial clout. Odd, that. It does sometimes leave you wondering, though, just what the term "to behave with class" really means.

Hooray for the people's prince

The heavy ire of the supporters of genetically modified crops descended on Prince Charles last week, following his interview with The Daily Telegraph in which he lambasted GM technology and a vision of a global farming economy controlled by "gigantic corporations".

Johnjoe McFadden, the professor of molecular genetics at the University of Surrey, rather confusedly accused the prince of "telling the poor to eat organic cake while he pours wine into the fuel tank of his sports car", while MPs accused him of being a Luddite who would condemn millions to starvation.

The general idea was to lampoon Charles as some silly old posh buffer, who secretly yearned for the days when forelock-tugging peasants hand-tilled the land.

This characterisation is grossly unfair. Despite the somewhat rarified nature of Charles's life, his organic farming and food businesses do a roaring trade, and he often appears more in touch than his critics with the concerns of ordinary people.

His previous foray into public policy was on architecture. He was pilloried for outspoken criticism of the "carbuncles" created by modern architects. Yet there is little doubt that many more people would like to live on the prince's model Poundbury estate in Dorset - which mixes private and public housing and is built in keeping with the traditional architecture - than the high-rise tower blocks of the 1960s and 1970s or the Barratt homes of the 1980s.

Rather like architecture, science is an area with the power fundamentally to affect the lives of innumerable people, over which the vast majority of us have almost no control.

When the British public has been asked for its view on GM crops, it has repeatedly rejected them. Now there are signs that our Government is softening towards GM crops as a perceived solution to the global food crisis.

But often things that are perceived as handy short-term fixes - such as corn-based biofuels - create huge long-term problems. Science has given mankind many boons, but its assurances are far from infallible: it also gave us thalidomide, BSE and Agent Orange.

If Prince Charles has focused public attention on the real arguments around GM crops, he has done us all a service.

Peaches plays for high stakes in Vegas

The whirlwind wedding of Peaches Geldof, aged 19, to an American musician in a Las Vegas chapel last week was a reminder of the specialised circumstances in which flippancy can operate successfully.

When her parents, Bob Geldof and Paula Yates, got married in a Las Vegas wedding chapel in 1986, they had already been together for 10 years and had a baby.

There was little doubt that they were a committed couple, which was why the style of wedding, with Yates clad in scarlet, seemed fresh and witty and chic.

One can only get away with treating a wedding lightly, however, if the relationship beneath it is intensely serious. The alternative - an instant marriage to a near-stranger in a city famous for gambling - feels obscurely depressing.

Celebrity sightings: Photos and paparazzi snaps
It can't be very easy being Peaches Geldof, a clever girl who has been acting a bit silly in her pursuit of high drama. Yet for many people of my generation, her parents were a source of fascination as much for the apparent stability of their life together as their rebelliousness.

They offered an unusual model of a relationship that seemed to be fun as well as enduring: that is partly why so many people who never knew them felt genuinely sorry when it ended.

For teenagers, impermanence has its own glamour, although it might be wiser not to mix it up with Las Vegas chapels. It is only when you get older that you realise that impermanence is so tragically easy to achieve.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Modern City, Modern Concert

Aug 8, 2008 8:42 PM, By Steven Battaglia
Part 1

Last month I spent a week in Manchester—England’s second city. A Mancunian friend of mine describes the city as one that “embraces modernism but still clings to its industrial heritage.” A fitting description for a city full of juxtaposition. Newly constructed glass and steel buildings sit next to classic Victorian architecture and former cotton mills. The beautiful, blossoming, bustling city was my home for a week, and it was also the home of Kylie Minogue’s KYLIEX2008 tour during a six-night residency at the Manchester Evening News Arena. With the Australian singer’s last three tours and now, including KYLIEX2008, Kylie has performed 23 dates at the Manchester Arena. The show, which supports her 10th studio album X, sold out the arena all six nights, had the crowds cheering from the rafters, and left fans screaming for more.

I was fortunate enough to see four of the six concerts in Manchester and I had the pleasure to meet with Nick Whitehouse, the show’s LD, and tour backstage. The concept for the show’s design, a giant “light box”, came from Kylie’s creative director, William Baker. The set comprises a rectangular, raked main stage and two band risers stage left and stage right of this. The main stage has three independently controlled lifts, lined up in a row stage left to right. Essentially, the stage is an enormous video screen, or, more precisely, lots of different video elements put together.

The deck for all three platforms is made up of thousands of Barco’s MiStrip modules and the stage is flanked upstage by layers of video curtains that are cleverly used as reveals and entrances throughout the show. Whitehouse’s lighting rig (including some X-shaped truss supporting the tour’s X manifesto) compliments the video-heavy show and his rig consists mostly of Vari-Lite VL3000 and VL3500 Spots, VL3500 Washes, and VL500 Washes. The rig is rounded out with equipment from SGM, Martin Atomic strobes, Lycian truss-mounted spots, Color Blasts, Showtech Sunstrips, Molefays, and other units. Touring with the show, Whitehouse acts as board operator, controlling his extensive rig with an Avolites Diamond 4 Vision console.

Standing onstage while the crew performed their video checks was a fantastic, yet, dizzying experience. During the song “Wow” the video floor flashes fervently in fluorescent blues, pinks, and neon greens. I chuckled to myself and wondered, “How do they perform complicated choreography on this raked TV screen that’s constantly pulsing under their feet?” I don’t know how they do it, but, even in heels, Kylie and the dancers perform without falter and shine throughout the 29-song set list.

Part 2 will appear online next week.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Is Your Food Safe?

See the CRS report to Congress.

Hotel owner prosecuted for smoking on her own premises


Hotel owner prosecuted for smoking on her own premises
By Chris Irvine
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 08/08/2008

Patricia Coupeland was given a 12 month conditional discharge by Blackpool magistrates after she admitted smoking on a smoke-free premises.

Ms Coupeland, 50, of the Cheers Hotel in Blackpool, told a court the hotel was closed at the time and not taking in guests.

She said: "I was in the dining room doing my paperwork and having a cigarette. It was closed as a hotel at the time and was therefore my private home. There were no guests. I only had a friend stay. The health officer came across as vicious and a person with attitude."

advertisementVictoria Cartmell, prosecuting for Blackpool Council, told the court that on February 1 environmental health officer Alan Taylor arrived at the hotel to carry out a hygiene inspection.

She said: "The defendant returned from the kitchen with a cigarette which she continued to smoke in the bar area.

"The defendant confirmed it was a smoke-free hotel, but said it was her own home and she was free to smoke in her own home.

"The officer said smoking in her private quarters was okay, but not in the bar."

Ms Coupeland was issued a £50 on the spot fine, which would have been reduced to £30 had it been paid in 15 days, although the penalty was not paid.

Last month, a painter and decorator was left "dumbfounded" after receiving a £30 fine for smoking a cigarette in his own van.

Gordon Williams, 58, of Llanafan, Aberystwyth, says he had popped to the shops when he was pulled over by Ceredigion council officials.

He said: "I am dumbfounded - the van is only insured for private use and to get me to and from work.

"It's not my place of work - I decorate houses not vans."

Rules defining when a vehicle can be treated as a place of work are complex.

While company cars in which passengers are carried are classed as one, there is confusion over private vehicles depending on whether thay are mainly used for work.

Last year, the Rolling Stones were not prosecuted despite repeatedly flouting the smoking ban when performing at the O2 Arena in London - Greenwich borough council said nothing could be done because fans at the venue had not objected.

Information appearing on telegraph.co.uk is the copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited and must not be reproduced in any medium without licence. For the full copyright statement see Copyright

Monday, July 28, 2008

Doctor! My eyes!

When a panel of doctors was asked to vote on adding a new wing to their hospital, the Allergists voted to scratch it and the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves.

The Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but the Neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve, and the Obstetricians felt they were all laboring under a misconception.

The Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted; the Pathologists yelled, 'Over my dead body, while the Pediatricians said, 'Oh, Grow up!'

The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, the Radiologists could see right through it, and the Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing.

The Internists thought it was a bitter pill to swallow, and the Plastic Surgeons said, 'This puts a whole new face on the matter.'

The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the Urologists felt the scheme wouldn't hold water.

The Anesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas and the Cardiologists didn't have the heart to say no.

In the end, the Proctologists left the decision up to some asshole in administration.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Buy google


Google Inc. NASDAQ-GS
Back to Headlines | Previous Story | Print Version
Dow Jones

Soleil Analyst Sees Buy Opportunity With Google

By John Letzing

A Wall Street analyst covering Google Inc. (GOOG) has pointed to a dip in the Internet giant's stock price as an opportunity to pick up shares on the cheap.

Soleil Securities Group analyst Laura Martin wrote in a note to clients Friday that while the Nasdaq Composite Index has fallen roughly 12% since the beginning of the year, shares of Google have slipped roughly 30%.

The online search giant posted generally disappointing second-quarter results last week, citing recent weakness in the U.S. economy.

Martin calculated that due to Google's "strategic market position" and other factors including a strong culture of innovation that should help it develop additional, valuable products, its stock contains a "growth option value" of $ 105 a share.

Combined with a valuation based solely on Google's existing businesses, Martin calculated that Google shares are actually worth $580 and raised her rating on the shares to buy.

Google shares rose more than 3.5% recently to $492.13.

Martin noted that it took rival Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) 31 years to reach net revenue of $48 billion, while Google, if it maintains its margins and other metrics, is on track to achieve the same feat after 21 years of existence.

Google is now roughly 10 years old.

-John Letzing; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com

Click here to go to Dow Jones NewsPlus, a web front page of today's most important business and market news, analysis and commentary: http:// www.djnewsplus.com/al?rnd=momliFUbkLkO9OuIQJjF%2Bw%3D%3D. You can use this link on the day this article is published and the following day.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires
Copyright (c) 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tiny Fairy

A married couple in their early 60s was celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary in a quiet, romantic little restaurant.

Suddenly, a tiny yet beautiful fairy appeared on their table saying, 'For being such an exemplary married couple and for being loving to each other for all this time, I will grant you each a wish.'

'Oh, I want to travel around the world with my darling husband,' said the wife.

The fairy waved her magic wand and -- poof! Two tickets for the Queen Mary II appeared in her hands.

The husband thought for a moment, and then said, 'Well, this is all very romantic, but an opportunity like this will never come again.

I'm sorry my love, but my wish is to have a wife 30 years younger than me. The wife, and the fairy, were deeply disappointed, but a wish is a wish.

So the fairy waved her magic wand and -- poof!
The husband became 92 years old.

The moral of this story:
Men who are ungrateful bastards should remember fairies are female.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


DSLNet Australia SpeedTest

Your current bandwidth reading is:


which means you can download at 41.5 KB/sec. from our servers.

28.8 kbps dial-up
33.6 kbps dial-up
53.3 kbps dial-up
56 kbps ISDN
128 kbps ISDN
332 kbps YOU
384 kbps DSL
768 kbps DSL
1000 kbps DSL
1500 kbps DSL/T1/Cable Modem

[`[*Test Results from Oz Broadband Speed Test*]`]
Test run on [*11/05/2008*] @ [*12:34 PM*]

Mirror: [*Lizzy Internet*]
Data: [*600 KB*]
Test Time: [*9.2 secs*]

Your line speed is [*531 kbps*] (0.53 Mbps).
Your download speed is [*66 KB/s*] (0.06 MB/s). )]


here is a dsl speedtest


Warning: You connection shows signs of ISP upload compression.

Warning: ISP upload compression was detected. Your upload speeds may be inaccurate.

qwest connect silver connection speeds up to 1.5 mbps
qwest connect platinum connection speeds up to 7mbps


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Depression Among Lawyers: Chicken or Egg?


Lawyer depression is one of those topics that seems to reappear on a regular basis here at Legal Blog Watch, and the latest sighting comes by way of an article this month in the California Bar Journal, "Depression Takes a Heavy Toll on Lawyers." Consider this excerpt:

According to a Johns Hopkins University study, lawyers suffer the highest rate of depression among workers in 104 occupations. A University of Washington study found that 19 percent of lawyers suffered depression compared to 3 percent to 9 percent in the general population. And a University of Arizona study of law students found that they suffer eight to 15 times the anxiety, hostility and depression of the general population.

Richard Carlton, deputy director of the State Bar of California's Lawyer Assistance Program, sees those numbers and says, "There's something about the practice of law that attracts a certain personality that is prone to experiencing these problems." But is it the chicken or the egg? Is it that law attracts people who are prone to depression or that those who choose law find themselves depressed by their work? As the California LAP's director, Janis Thibault, puts it, "I've never seen such a lonely profession -- the inability to connect with other people at a deep level because there's so much of an adversarial relationship." . . .

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Intelligence risk

How to Guard Your Laptop From a Suspicionless Search

Now that the Ninth Circuit has given border patrol agents the go-ahead to conduct suspicionless searches of travelers' laptops or other digital devices when they enter the country, lawyers need to figure out ways to safeguard confidential and privileged information from an agent's scrutiny. Jennifer Granick of the Electronic Freedom Foundation offers these tips to protect yourself (and your clients' data) from suspicionless searches while traveling.

First, Granick suggests that you encrypt your hard drive, which at the very least will make it "prohibitively expensive to access confidential information." But Granick adds that encryption is an imperfect solution, because border patrol agents may attempt to force travelers to enter their passwords so they can continue their search. And while Granick argues that agents cannot force you to decrypt your data or turn over a password, that won't stop them from detaining you or even preventing you from entering the country.

A second option that many law firms and corporations now implement is providing employees with a forensically clean laptop loaded only with the data necessary for a particular trip. However, this approach does not work where trade secrets or client information are the reason for the trip. Alternatively, lawyers can bring a clean laptop and access the information they need over the Internet once they've arrived at their destination. Of course, here, the Foreign Intelligence . . .

Monday, April 28, 2008

E-Commerce Report

April 28, 2008

Users Demand Expertise at How-To Web Sites

IF the Internet can make anyone a star, can it turn Barnes & Noble into one, too?

The bookseller has taken another step beyond its traditional business into the online publishing world, recently introducing Quamut.com, a site that teaches Web users things as diverse as the basics of football and how to build a Web site.

“Building a how-to Web site” is not on the list, but judging from the number of such sites in existence, it may be easier to do than follow a football game.

Quamut is the latest brand to capitalize on what company executives said is a growing disinclination among Web users for amateur how-to advice. Whether that distaste can support a departure from Barnes & Noble’s core business is a question investors will be considering.

“I think it’s an interesting experiment,” said Sameet Sinha, an Internet analyst with the JMP Group, an investment firm. “But Quamut will have to show up very well in searches, and doing that will not be easy.”

Quamut differentiates itself from the long list of how-to sites like eHow, HowStuffWorks.com and, to a lesser degree, About.com (which is owned by The New York Times Company), with a somewhat novel twist: selling downloadable documents of its otherwise free content.

For instance, users who want to know how to make sushi can browse through 15 pages of information, like “how to make sushi rice,” or can copy and print the information themselves. But Quamut sells a more polished version in a six-page color document for about $3. The document, in PDF, is without ads “and all the junk on the sides,” said Daniel Weiss, Quamut’s publisher and managing director.

“We think these will be a very big hit,” Mr. Weiss added. “We’ve seen some evidence of that already. People often need that physical reference.”

This is far from the first online publishing initiative for Barnes & Noble, Mr. Weiss said. Among other efforts, the company in 2001 bought SparkNotes, an online study guide series, and helped oversee the expansion . . .


Sunday, April 20, 2008


Kylie bombs in the US

SMH Australia: April 11, 2008

Kylie Minogue has bombed in the US. The Australian pop princess hoped to score big on the American music charts with the release of her latest album X last week, but when the numbers were released today she only managed to sell a paltry 5500 copies.

The poor sales meant X debuted on America’s Billboard charts at a lowly 139.

The US market, unlike Australia, Europe and Asia where she has dominated, has again proved elusive.

Minogue, 39, appeared to do everything right to promote the album.

She performed two songs in front of almost 30 million US TV viewers on America’s Dancing with the Stars and in an interview on Ellen DeGeneres’ talkshow she dropped a bombshell when she revealed for the first time a doctor had initially misdiagnosed her breast cancer.

There were also appearances on NBC’s top-rating US morning TV news-entertainment program, Today, and a late night spot on the CBS talkshow hosted by comedian Craig Ferguson.

Some critics say Minogue and her handlers picked the wrong single to perform on the talkshows, the slower tempo All I See.

Minogue was well aware of how hard the US market was to crack with her style of pop music.

“It’s a notoriously difficult market,” Minogue said in her interview on Today.

“You have so many denominations with radio.

“To know where I fit within that market is sometimes difficult.”


Thursday, April 17, 2008


Review of Therapeutic Equivalence
Generic Bupropion XL 300 mg and Wellbutrin XL 300 mg

Between January 1 and June 30, 2007, FDA received 85 post-marketing reports in which patients who switched from Wellbutrin XL 300 mg to Teva’s bupropion formulation (Budeprion XL 300 mg) experienced an undesirable effect. Specifically, in 78 of these cases, there was a reported loss of antidepressant effect following a switch from the branded to generic product. In addition to the loss of effect, a number of cases also reported the new onset or worsening of side effects. The reported side effects were consistent with the adverse effects in labeling for bupropion products. More than half of the patients who switched back to Wellbutrin XL 300 mg reported improvement of depression and/or abatement of side effects.

Given the temporal relationship between the switch to the generic product and the recurrence of depression and/or onset of side effects, these patients and physicians attributed these effects to poor performance of the generic product. These reported cases occurred at a time when sales data suggest that hundreds of thousands of patients using Wellbutrin XL were switched to the newly available Teva bupropion XL. The question is whether the reported lack of efficacy and/or new onset side effects in these patients who switched suggest a problem with the generic product, i.e., lack of bioequivalence to the branded product, or have some other explanation.

In order to evaluate this series of post-marketing reports, we have re-examined both the data on the bioequivalence of the two products (Wellbutrin XL and Teva's bupropion XL) and what is known about the natural history of treated depression.
What is the regulatory history of Wellbutrin and generic buproprion?

Bupropion hydrochloride is a drug used to treat Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). For many years bupropion was available only under the brand name Wellbutrin. It was first approved in 1985 as an immediate release (IR) tablet (Wellbutrin-IR) taken three times a day. In 1996, FDA approved a sustained-release tablet of bupropion (Wellbutrin SR), allowing twice a day dosing. In 2003, FDA approved an extended-release tablet of bupropion (Wellbutrin XL), allowing once a day dosing. Wellbutrin SR and Wellbutrin XL were approved based on the similarity of plasma levels of bupropion produced by these longer-acting products taken once or twice a day to the immediate-release product taken three times a day. The antidepressant effect of this drug does not appear for several weeks after initiation of treatment, and the effect is, in large part, related to long-acting metabolites. Therefore, no clinical effectiveness studies were considered necessary or required for the approval of Wellbutrin SR or Wellbutrin XL. Wellbutrin is owned by Smith Kline Beecham, a division of GlaxoSmithKline, and is manufactured by Biovail.

The law requires that generic drugs approved by FDA have the same active ingredient, dosage form, route of administration, and labeling as the branded product, and that the generic and branded drug be bioequivalent. The law also requires that generic drug applicants ensure the identity, quality, strength, and purity of their drug products. Bioequivalence means the generic drug's rate and extent of absorption do not show a significant difference from the branded drug's rate and extent of absorption. Statistics are used to analyze whether differences are considered significant. Generic drug products approved by FDA are therapeutically equivalent to the branded product. Therapeutically equivalent drugs generally may be substituted for each other with the expectation that the substituted product will produce the same clinical effect and safety profile when used according to the labeling.

In 2006, a generic XL version of bupropion, marketed as Budeprion XL, was approved by FDA. This generic formulation is manufactured by Impax Laboratories and distributed by Teva Pharmaceuticals. FDA approved this generic . . .

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

[D]evolution of library and information services

Managing the evolution of library and information services

Pre-order your copy today and save $200...

Library and information services have gone through a rapid period of transformation. Technology advances have radically altered both people’s understanding of what constitutes information as well as how it is accessed and used. This has created a gulf between the old library set-up and practices, and how end users now expect to interact with the information available to them.

Not only do librarians and information professionals need to rapidly revise their roles in this new technologically-enabled landscape, but they also need to collaborate with other business support functions like never before. This will enable them to deliver not only the value expected of them on an internal level, but also to the business’s external clients.

Against this more challenging background, however, library and information services are also faced the increasing prospect of budgetary and staff cuts. Never before has the role of the librarian been so questioned or undervalued. However, it is perhaps today – through the innovative and collaborative use of technology, as well as a more strategic business outlook – that library and information services can really make a crucial difference to how businesses operate.

In this new Ark Group report, Managing the evolution of library and information services, will explore this changing landscape and what it means for library and information service professionals. This report will cover topics including:

- How is information defined in the modern business age?
- How has technology impacted the way people interact with and use information?
- What impact has this had on the traditional idea of library and information services?
- How successfully have libraries so far evolved to meet the new expectations of information end users?
- What is the changing role of the librarian today?
- How can librarians become more efficient and valued despite budgetary cuts?
- Collaboration: the way forward for library and information services?
- Where next for library and information services?

Managing the evolution of library and information services includes expert contributions from a wide variety of businesses and professionals operating in this field, including:

- Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
- Dechert LLP
- BP America
- Dickstein Shapiro LLP
- Adobe Systems
- Proskauer Rose LLP
- McDonalds
- Duane Morris LLP
- Dorsey & Whitney LLP
- Xerox
- Weaton Franciscan Healthcare

For librarians and information professionals that are ahead of their game, the new landscape offers a wealth of opportunities for development and success. This in-depth report will provide not only the insights necessary to evolve in changing times, but will also allow you to learn from your peers who are tackling and overcoming the same challenges you face on a day-to-day level.

Managing the evolution of library and information services will be available at the end April; however you can preorder your copy today.

To take advantage of an exclusive $200 pre-publication discount, making your copy only $345 – simply place your order before April 15th.

To order your copy/copies, simply contact Michelle Elam at melam@ark-group.com or +1 309 681 0960 with your details and place your order quoting the code MP-LIB1

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Institutional holdings

MFFAIS - Mutual Fund Facts About Individual Stocks

It started with simple curiosity ... Are top mutual funds taking similar positions on a specific stock?
Why can't we find more then the top 10 holders?
What is the current value of a mutual funds reported holdings?
Which mutual funds has the best Performance base on reported holdings?
What is the most dumped stock by mutual funds?
What is the most added stock by mutual funds?
How can we compare mutual fund holdings, seeing overlaps and direction?

We've discovered ... We can determine exactly Who bought or sold What
We can compare to previous filings, to see activity type, amount and results.
All the "major" financial web portals obtain their limited information from the same source.
Everyone lists the top 10 stock holders, because they public companies are required to.
With only 2 exceptions, no one even tries to list beyond the top 10 and "total cash" inflows/outflow
All other "counts" are 13F's - which is limited to large orginizations/institutions with investment discretion over 100 million or more 13F securites.
There is a "list of 13F securities" - which all have CUSIPs (U.S. listed and doesn't include all public companies).
The 13F forms are easily computer processed with the ability to match exactly which stock is being referenced thanks to CUSIPs.
Did we mentioned it is only 13F securities by large institutions and "totaled". It does not break down to individual funds, or even "smaller" funds.
Mutual Funds who reported their holdings in quarterly and semi-annual basis don't use CUSIPs, the use whatever name and format they want - making it alot of work to process the holdings!
Mutual Funds merge,close and change names very often!
By correlating this information, we can try to determine similar actions or patterns.

Which funds are buying/selling/holding similar stocks?
We answer that question!

We invite you to join us ... Although the information is not in "real time", it is"objective".
What is meant by "objective"? Simply, no opinions, just the facts.
Money talks, by seeing where fund managers are putting their money (or taking money away) gives individual investors another unique prospective.
Unlike analysts, market gurus, friends, etc.. Fund managers results are verifiable and obtainable.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Fair Use Project

Go to story to follow good embedded links.

Harry Potter Opens Today!

No, it's not another Harry Potter movie that opens today. Rather, it's the first day of trial in a copryight infringement suit brought by "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling and her publisher, Warner Bros. against RDR Books, publisher of Steve Vander Ark's 400 page reference book, the Harry Potter Lexicon, based on the online version. Rowling and Warner claim that the Lexicon is a derivative work that infringes Rowling's copyright and interferes with Rowling's plans to write her own Harry Potter encyclopedia.

Stanford Law School's Fair Use Project is defending RDR books, along with outside counsel, New York attorney, David Hammer. In a press release issued on the lawsuit, Anthony Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project (and also counsel in the case) stated:

The right to create literary reference guides like the Lexicon has remained nearly unquestioned for hundreds of years. The Lexicon is a valuable resource that helps people better understand and enjoy the Harry Potter books. It's exactly what copyright law should encourage, not suppress.

Dan Slater at WSJ Law Blog is observing the trial; his dispatch from this morning's trial proceedings is posted at the WSJ Law Blog. According to Slater, Dale Cendali, who represents Rowling and Warner, emphasized during her opening that the Lexicon "takes too much and does too little." Cendali's point is that the Lexicon merely copies Rowling's work without any original, value-added content that might qualify as new art. In response, Anthony Falzone asserted in his opening statement that the "the public will lose out if publication of the Lexicon is enjoined."

If you're interested in further analysis of some of the issues in the case, check out this lengthy post by copyright guru William Patry and this post by Mike Madison of Madisonian.net.

Sphere: Related Content
Posted by Carolyn Elefant on April 14, 2008 at 01:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Schaeffer's Daily Market Blog


Friday, April 11, 2008
TiVo (TIVO) Rallies on Federal Appeals Decision
4/11/2008 3:15 PM
Keywords: TIVO

Shares of TV time-shifting guru TiVo (TIVO: sentiment, chart, options) are up more than 1.5% in late trading after the company said that a recent federal appeal against Echostar Holding (DISH) reaffirms the strength of the company's "Time Warp" patent. The ruling denied Echostar's appeal of a lower court's judgment of about $74 million in damages awarded to Tivo.

Technically, the shares are up more than 5% on a year-to-date basis, largely due to the court ruling. However, TIVO hasn't managed to parlay this recent strength into a convincing move above long-term resistance at the 9 level. In fact, the equity has not closed a week above this region since April 2004.

On the sentiment front, investors are trying to call a top to the stock's run higher. TIVO's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.48 ranks above 82% of all those taken during the past year, while more than 20% of its float is sold short. Meanwhile, Zacks.com reports that 7 of the 13 analysts following TIVO rate the shares a "hold" or worse. If the equity can break out above resistance at the 9 level, it could prompt a sharp unwinding of this heavy-handed bearish sentiment, thus sending the stock sharply higher.

-Posted by Joseph Hargett (jhargett@sir-inc.com)

20 minutes a day to Nirvanic health


Br J Sports Med. Published Online First: 10 April 2008. doi:10.1136/bjsm.2008.046243
Copyright © 2008 BMJ Publishing Group Ltd & British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine


Dose response relationship between physical activity and mental health: The Scottish Health Survey
Mark Hamer 1*, Emmanual Stamatakis 1 and Andrew Steptoe 1

1 University College London, United Kingdom

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: m.hamer@ucl.ac.uk.

Accepted 15 February 2008


Objectives: Regular physical activity is thought to be associated with better mental health, although there is lack of consensus regarding the optimal amount and type of activity to achieve these benefits. We examined the association between mental health and physical activity behaviours among a representative sample of men and women from the Scottish Health Surveys. Methods: Self reported physical activity was measured and the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) was administered in order to obtain information on current mental health. Participants were 19 842 men and women. We calculated risk estimates per category of physical activity sessions per week using logistic regression models. Results: Psychological distress (based on a score of 4 or more on the GHQ-12) was evident in 3200 participants. Any form of daily physical activity was associated with a lower risk of psychological distress after adjustment for age, gender, social economic group, marital status, body mass index, long standing illness, smoking, and survey year (OR = 0.59, 95% CI, 0.52-0.66, P < 0.001). A dose-response relationship was apparent, with moderate reductions in psychological distress with less frequent activity (OR = 0.67, 0.61-0.75). Different types of activities including domestic (housework and gardening), walking, and sports were all independently associated with lower odds of psychological distress, although the strongest effects were observed for sports (OR=0.67, 0.54-0.82). Conclusion: Mental health benefits were observed at a minimal level of at least 20 minutes per week of any physical activity, although a dose-response pattern was demonstrated with greater risk reduction for activity at a higher volume and/or intensity.

Suicide and the internet

BMJ 2008;336:800-802 (12 April), doi:10.1136/bmj.39525.442674.AD

Public Health

Lucy Biddle, research fellow1, Jenny Donovan, professor of social medicine1, Keith Hawton, professor of psychiatry2, Navneet Kapur, reader in psychiatry3, David Gunnell, professor of epidemiology1

1 Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 2PR, 2 Centre for Suicide Research, University of Oxford Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, Oxford OX3 7JX, 3 Centre for Suicide Prevention, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL

Correspondence to: D Gunnell d.j.gunnell@bristol.ac.uk

Recent reports of suicide by young people have highlighted the possible influence of internet sites. Lucy Biddle and colleagues investigate what a web search is likely to find

Media reporting of suicide and its fictional portrayal on television are known to influence suicidal behaviour, particularly the choice of method used.1 2 3 Indeed, epidemics of suicides using particular methods have occurred after media portrayal of their use.3 4 5 As some methods of suicide are more likely to cause death than others,6 such influences may affect the outcome of suicide attempts and national suicide rates.7

The influence of the internet on suicidal behaviour is less well understood, although it is an increasingly popular source of information, especially for people confronting embarrassing issues such as mental illness, and concerns have been raised about the existence of sites that promote suicide.8 9 Some people report being encouraged to use suicide as a problem solving strategy by suicide web forums8 and cases of cybersuicide—attempted or completed suicide influenced by the internet—have been published in the popular and academic press.9 10 11 12 Suicide sites are also claimed to have facilitated suicide pacts among strangers who have met and then planned their suicide through the internet.11

Despite recent controversy, no one knows how easy it is to find sites relating to suicide on the internet and what sort of information they contain. Recent studies of internet search behaviour suggest that most people use search engines, that queries are broad—mostly composed of a few words and rarely including Boolean operators . . .

PDF version

Worth Testing this system

Will advise and post findings

Monday, April 07, 2008

Worth seeing...

The Rolling Stones perform "Jumping Jack Flash" in the Martin Scorsese movie, "Shine A Light" live from the Beacon Theater in New York City in the fall of 2006.

Saw it yesterday at the IMAX theater. Definately the best concert firm ever.

Thank you, Marty

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Kids are Quick

TEACHER: Maria, go to the map and find North America .

MARIA: Here it is.

TEACHER: Correct. Now class, who discovered America ?

CLASS: Maria.


TEACHER: John, why are you doing your math multiplication on the floor?

JOHN: You told me to do it without using tables.


TEACHER: Glenn, how do you spell 'crocodile?'


TEACHER: No, that's wrong

GLENN: Maybe it is wrong, but you asked me how I spell it.


TEACHER: Donald, what is the chemical formula for water?


TEACHER: What are you talking about?

DONALD: Yesterday you said it's H to O.


TEACHER: Winnie, name one important thing we have today that we didn't have ten years ago.



TEACHER: Glen, why do you always get so dirty?

GLEN: Well, I'm a lot closer to the ground than you are.


TEACHER: Millie, give me a sentence starting with 'I.'

MILLIE: I is...

TEACHER: No, Millie..... Always say, 'I am.'

MILLIE: All right... 'I am the ninth letter of the alphabet.'


TEACHER: George Washington not only chopped down his father's cherry tree, but also admitted it. Now, Louie, do you know why his father didn't punish him?

LOUIS: Because George still had the ax in his hand.


TEACHER: Now, Simon, tell me frankly, do you say prayers before eating?

SIMON: No sir, I don't have to, my Mom is a good cook.


TEACHER: Clyde , your composition on 'My Dog' is exactly the same as your brother's. Did you copy his?

CLYDE : No, it's the same dog.


TEACHER: Harold, what do you call a person who keeps on talking when people are no longer interested?

HAROLD: A teacher