Monday, October 31, 2011

What is a Bully?

n. pl. bul·lies
1. A person who is habitually cruel or overbearing, especially to smaller or weaker people.
2. A hired ruffian; a thug.
3. A pimp.

v. bul·lied, bul·ly·ing, bul·lies
1. To treat in an overbearing or intimidating manner.
2. To make (one's way) aggressively.

1. To behave like a bully.
2. To force one's way aggressively or by intimidation: "They bully into line at the gas pump" (Martin Gottfried).

"Bully Before" by Norman Rockwell (1921)

Source: The Free Dictionary

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Well Said...

"Failure is nothing more than a few errors in judgment repeated every day."

~ Jim Rohn

E James Rohn (1930-2009)

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Wall Street Occupation Demands

Watch below Prof William K Black's views regarding specific demands that the Occupy Wall Street movement should place upon the Federal Reserve:

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

History of Calculating Machines (1642-1942)

An illustrated history of calculating machines spanning three centuries between 1642 and 1942 (in French).

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The Origins of Value

An intriguing look at the financial innovations that created modern capital markets.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Well Said...

"We have a natural right to make use of our pens as of our tongue, at our peril, risk and hazard."

~ Voltaire

François-Marie Arouet "Voltaire" (1694-1778)

Voltaire's admonishment is a lesson I've had to relearn throughout my life...

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Friday, October 21, 2011

The Good Life Comes in Moments...

Mount Nittany as viewed from my home in State College, PA [click to enlarge]

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Why High Heels?

A number of years back, I read the following excerpt written by Sandra Bernhard and Annie Leibovitz in The New Yorker, and understood, once and for all, what feminism was all about.
"Why do you insist on wearing those outrageous high heels?" the woman asks. I cross my legs and admire the bulge of my calf exaggerated by the arch of my shoe, and stare down at her conservative little boat-shaped slip-on that gives her foot the illusion of floating away down a shallow creek like a withered fall leaf. I sip on a sweaty Scotch and reply warmly, "When I walk out the door in a good pair of heels, and I'm not referring to some kitschy crap that you can buy on a trip to Frederick's of Hollywood but a really solid set of heels from Manolo or Prada Chanel Clergerie, I never feel vulnerable, there's no time for any weakness, I feel focused strong secure, my stride is potent and no one hassles me when I'm standing on the corner hailing a cab, you'd better believe I'm the first fare he'll throw on his brakes for, you put the two of us just a few yards away, he'll pass you right by. Why? Because I demand respect and my heels back me up -- so don't go worrying about me, I've never been better, care for a cigar?"
Afterwards, I ripped the page out of the magazine and kept it for posterity's sake. Ladies, I get it...

Source: Bernhard S & Leibovitz, A (1996, February 26), Why High Heals? The New Yorker.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What is Scorn?

a. Contempt or disdain felt toward a person or object considered despicable or unworthy.
b. The expression of such an attitude in behavior or speech; derision.
2. One spoken of or treated with contempt.
v. scorned, scorn·ing, scorns
1. To consider or treat as contemptible or unworthy.
2. To reject or refuse with derision.
To express contempt; scoff.

Dick Cheney was the master of scorn. However, the projection of scorn by politicians and other leaders is increasingly counterproductive...

Source: The Free Dictionary

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Scorn in the USA

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Well Said...

"Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference."

~ Mark Twain

Samuel Langhorne Clemens "Mark Twain" (1835-1910)

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Americans Favor Legalizing Marijuana

According to Gallup (2011, October 17), a record 50% of Americans now support legalizing marijuana, while a minority 46% say marijuana should remain illegal.

The legalization of marijuana is only a matter of time...

Source: Newport, F (2011, October 17), Record-High 50% of Americans Favor Legalizing Marijuana Use, Gallup.

Well Said...

"If history and science have taught us anything, it is that passion and desire are not the same as truth."

~ Prof E O Wilson

Prof Edward Osborne Wilson (1929- )

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Well Said...

"The most beautiful people we have ever known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have pulled themselves out of the depths. These people have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen."

~ Dr Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Dr Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (1926-2004)

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Vault

I recently had the privilege of attending a luncheon in The Vault at the Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) Engineers' Building. The building was designed by the renowned turn of the 20th century architect, Daniel H Burnham, and its original vault now serves as an initimate dining room. The building also houses a spacious formal dining room, three meeting rooms, administrative offices, and leased office space. Follow the link below to learn more:

Pittsburgh Engineers' Building

The Vault in the Pittsburgh Engineers' Building [click image to enlarge]

The luncheon was sponsored by the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the Institute of Management Consultants (IMC-USA). To learn more about IMC-USA, follow the link below.


I hope our next meeeting will be in the same place -- the food and venue were exceptional -- regards to my colleagues!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Congratulations to Dr Darrin Todd

Congratulations to Dr Darrin L Todd, who recently earned his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree from the School of Business and Technology Management at Northcentral University in Prescott Valley, Arizona -- well done, Dr Todd...

Dr Darrin L Todd

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Well Said...

"The year 2000 was essentially the point at which it became cheaper to collect information than to understand it."

~ Freeman Dyson

Prof Freeman John Dyson (1923- )

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Monday, October 10, 2011

What is a Bargain?

Something offered or acquired at a price advantageous to the buyer.

In today's economy, I see equity bargains everywhere. Finding the cash to make the bargains happen is another matter...

Source: Free Dictionary

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Saturday, October 08, 2011

Data-Driven Documents

Introducing D3.js, a free JavaScript library created by Michael Bostock for manipulating documents based upon data:
D3 allows you to bind arbitrary data to a Document Object Model (DOM), and then apply data-driven transformations to the document. As a trivial example, you can use D3 to generate a basic HTML table from an array of numbers. Or, use the same data to create an interactive SVG bar chart with smooth transitions and interaction.... D3 is not a traditional visualization framework. Rather than provide a monolithic system with all the features anyone may ever need, D3 solves only the crux of the problem: efficient manipulation of documents based on data. This gives D3 extraordinary flexibility, exposing the full capabilities of underlying technologies such as CSS3, HTML5 and SVG. It avoids learning a new intermediate proprietary representation. With minimal overhead, D3 is extremely fast, supporting large datasets and dynamic behaviors for interaction and animation. And, for those common needs, D3’s functional style allows code reuse through a diverse collection of optional modules.
Follow the link below to see examples and download a copy of the software, as well as to learn more about Michael Bostock's other projects.

Learn More

Force-Directed Graph (created with J3.js)

Source: D3.js

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Ten Years in Afghanistan is Enough

Friday, October 07, 2011

US Employment to Population Ratio Continues Drag

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the US employment to population ratio* for September 2011 stood at 58.5%, which is unchanged from 58.5% for August 2011, but down slightly from 58.6% a year ago. The US employment to population ratio has been trending downwards since 2000.

[click to enlarge]

Many economists believe that reporting the number employed as a percentage of the civilian population provides a more accurate description of the current state of employment than conjecturing the number of "unemployed" in a population. The US employment to population ratio reached an historical peak of 64.4% on an annual basis in 2000.

*The BLS defines employment and population (civilian noninstitutional) as follows:
Employment consists of all persons who, during the reference week (the calendar week including the twelfth day of the month), (a) did any work at all (at least 1 hour) as paid employees, worked in their own business or profession or on their own farm, or worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers in an enterprise operated by a member of the family, or (b) were not working but had jobs or businesses from which they were temporarily absent because of vacation, illness, bad weather, childcare problems, maternity or paternity leave, labor-management dispute, job training, or other family or personal reasons, whether or not they were paid for the time off or were seeking other jobs.... The civilian noninstitutional population consists of persons 16 years of age and older residing in the 50 States and the District of Columbia who are not inmates of institutions (for example, penal and mental facilities and homes for the aged) and who are not on active duty in the Armed Forces.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Thursday, October 06, 2011

Mortgage Rates Hit Record Lows

Freddie Mac is reporting that mortgage interest rates are at an all-time low with 30-year fixed-rate mortgages available at 3.94% and 15-year fix-rate mortgages at 3.26%. The cost of a mortgage has never been lower during my lifetime (since 1955). Real estate prices are also at record lows.

Now is a great time to refinance or purchase a home.

Source: Freddie Mac

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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Steven Paul Jobs (1955-2011)

Steven Jobs, a man of my own generation, passed away earlier today at the age of 56. The world is somehow a smaller place without him.

Motivated or Engaged?

Motivation speaker and writer Jeffrey Tobin contrasts the terms motivated and engaged as follows:

Motivated --> What’s in it for me.
Engaged --> What’s in it for us.

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Jeffrey Tobin

Well said, and imminently useful...

Source: Tobin, J (2011, October 5), Motivated or Engaged?

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Top Ten Creative Class Nations

Meet the top ten creative class nations of the world listed below, together with the percentage of their workforces that belong to the "creative class" of global society:
  1. Singapore - 47.3%
  2. Netherlands - 46.5%
  3. Switzerland - 44.8%
  4. Australia - 44.5%
  5. Sweden - 43.5%
  6. Belgium - 43.8%
  7. Denmark - 43.7%
  8. Finland - 43.4%
  9. Norway - 42.1%
  10. Germany - 41.7%
For the record, the US ranked 27th on the list behind Slovakia.

Source: Florida, R (2011, October 4), The World's Leading Creative Class Countries, Atlantic.

For Local Small Businesses, A Lost Four Years

Owning a small business has never been easy. But local restaurateurs and and shop owners said they've seen little growth in business since 2007, and have given up predicting when things will turn around.

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Source: Lemke, T (2011, September 23), For Local Small Businesses, A Lost Four Years, OdentonPatch.

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Monday, October 03, 2011

Austria and France Restricting Gold and Silver Sales

According to Mac Slavo of
A couple of weeks ago our report that some Austrian banks had begun restricting the sale of gold and silver to 15,000 Euro (~$20,000 USD) reportedly because of money laundering issues was met with disbelief by many readers of financial news and information web sites. As we mentioned in that commentary, it is our view that governments, namely in Western nations, are making it more difficult for individuals to make gold purchases, as well as to do so anonymously.

It looks like this trend of restricting the peoples’ ability to acquire assets of real monetary value is expanding. If a recent report from France is accurate, and based on the French governments official web site it looks like it is, then as of September 1, 2011, anyone attempting to sell or purchase ferrous or non-ferrous metals, which includes gold and silver, will be required to pay for their purchase via a credit card or bank wire transfer if it exceeds 450€ (~ $600 USD).
Assuming these reports are accurate, one has to wonder what is motivating a restriction on gold and silver sales in Europe...

Source: Slavo, M (2011, September 23), Tightening the Noose: France Bans Cash Sales of Gold/Silver over $600,

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Saturday, October 01, 2011

Decoding Chatter

Follow the link below to learn more about the Truthy Project at Indiana University.

Truthy Project

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