Friday, February 27, 2004

patrickWeb: "Two Percent And Growing Fast
February 22, 2004
One of those things is purchasing of goods and services. It is getting easier every day but we have a long way to go. For 2003, online retail spending, excluding travel and auctions, grew 22% over 2002 to $52 billion. Including travel, the total was $93 billion, up 27% over 2002. These are impressive numbers and I expect we will continue to see double digit growth for quite some time. However, let's put it in perspective with the 'offline' world. Walmart just announced their sales for the last quarter -- $74.9 billion. That equates to $832.2 million per day or $34.7million per hour. In two days, Walmart (one company) sales exceeded the sales of all companies online for 2003. (read more)"

Patrick's point is generally well-taken but I think his math is a little shakey. He says that there were $52 Billion in sales online in 2003, then suggests that ~$1.6 billion (2 days take for Walmart) is more than that.

The article is still worth reading.

Haiti Descends into Chaos
Chaos increasingly engulfed the capital city. Armed thugs hijacked cars at will. Looters hit the capital's seaport, stealing almost everything thing in sight and setting ablaze a freight terminal. Crowds jammed into the airport, only to find most flights canceled.

Hundreds of people looted Port-au-Prince's seaport, scurrying out with boxes of melting chicken parts and pork loins strapped to their backs. Others streamed out with television sets, table lamps, furniture and other goods.

Smoke wafted from the smoldering ruins of a torched freight terminal. No police were in sight. The body of a dead man lay on the ground amid a layer of papers and other trash; it was unclear how he was killed.

The bodies of two executed men also lay a few blocks from the presidential National Palace.

Shops put up hurricane shutters against looters, and people stayed home behind locked doors, leaving the streets to gangs of pro-Aristide thugs who hijacked cars, robbed people at barricades and roamed the street on foot yelling "Five years, five years." Aristide was elected to a five-year term that ends February 2006.

Brings to mind how insightful the "Lord of the Flies" really is, doesn't it? Sad.


Thursday, February 26, 2004

Bush Attacks Democrats in Visit to Kentucky: "It is a choice between an America that leads the world with strength and confidence or an America that is uncertain in the face of danger.'"

The problem is that if we don't get our intelligence services fixed we're an America who is very certain in the face of no real danger. It's become something of an embarrassment to have to relive Donald Rumsfeld telling the world that we know where Saddam's WMD is and Colin Powell going to the UN with photos of trucks he claimed were moving the WMD...only now to discover that he probably didn't have any WMD. It's Bush's absolute certainty in the face of erroneous information that poses one of the greatest dangers to world peace.

What we need is not an America certain in the face of danger, but an America that is certain that danger actually exists. To do that we're going to have to make some serious, bi-partisan, investments in our intelligence system.

Perhaps the world's greatest tragedy is that ignorance is not impotence.

From the "Don't Do the Crime if you Can't Tell the Time" department...

ESPN.com - BOXING - Brawling Tyson avoids jail with plea bargain: "The 37-year-old Tyson was arrested after an early morning brawl with Samuel Velez and Nestor Alvarez-Ramos, who allegedly threatened him last June while the boxer awaited a ride to the airport.
Velez and Alvarez-Ramos are awaiting trial on charges of menacing Tyson before the fight began."

What kind of an idiot do you have to be to menace Mike Tyson? Tyson beats people professionally and is not known for his kind and gentle disposition either in or out of the ring. If the charges are true then these guys needed a beating; it's Darwinian justice.

"From the Atlanta paper: 'Despite his seemingly large lead, John Zogby ... said Kerry hemorrhaged support over the two days the poll was conducted. Kerry led Edwards 49 percent to 19 percent among 126 voters contacted Monday, then dropped among the 269 voters contacted Tuesday to 35 percent while Edwards rose to 25 percent.'
'Something is definitely happening here,' said Zogby. 'I'm going to suggest that Edwards wins Georgia. He's a late closer.' "

Is something definitely happening there? 49 percent of 126 voters is about 61 people. 35 percent of 269 voters is about 94 people. It's entirely possible, especially with sample sizes that small, that in fact nothing is happening here except that the initial 126 people polled were a little disproportionately skewed to Kerry supporters.

The way the story is reported makes it sound as though people have changed their minds. Maybe they have, but there's no way to know if the 61 people polled Monday who said they were Kerry supporters aren't still Kerry supporters (joined by 33 more) on Tuesday.

If you're going to compare stats like that it's helpful to work from a consistent (or at least larger) sample size.

Congressman John Dingell of Michigan has written a rather amusing letter to President Bush's Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, Dr. Gregory Mankiw. In the letter Congressman Dingell takes issue with an aspect of the "Economic Report of the President" which seems to imply that fast food jobs should be considered "manufacturing".

It's worth a read.

Quote of the Day department

"Too bad all of the people who know how to run the country are driving taxi cabs and cutting hair."
-George Burns-

If at first you don't succeed. Skydiving is not for you.

The SchorrTech blog has a good idea for OneNote users to use the product to do their Know books with. For those of you who prefer typing to writing (and want your Know book to be full-text searchable!) it's worth a try.


Wednesday, February 25, 2004

The ThinkThink Store is now open! If you want some ThinkThink gear (the "If you're going to vote, please think" shirt is VERY popular!) that's the place to get it.

Build a better you dept.

Step 2 towards self-improvement (step 1 was the Know book) is strengthening your math skills. Few of us paid enough attention in math class in school and it's really amazing how much of a difference being good at math can make in your life. It's not too late! Get this and work on it for just 15 minutes a day.

You'll be amazed at the difference it will make in your day.

More on this later...


Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Yahoo! News - Boy Suspended for SI Magazine in School: "BELPRE, Ohio - A sixth-grader started serving a three-day suspension Tuesday because he refused a lesser punishment for bringing the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue to school, the schools superintendent said."

Perhaps children have changed since I was in school, but I have to wonder why a 3-day vacation (err..."suspension") is still considered "punishment" by educators. Unless the parents have some consequnces waiting for the child at home all the 3-day suspension means to the kid is 3 days of PlayStation and sleeping in.

Yeah, that'll teach him.


Monday, February 23, 2004

I'm standing in a starbucks. They tell me that all great blogs have at least one entry that starts that way. This one doesn't because I don't drink coffee - certainly not $4.00 coffee. But my wife does. So I'm standing in a Starbucks at 8AM hoping they aren't sold out of her favorite oatcakes.

The things we do for love.


Sunday, February 22, 2004

Let's give you something to think about...

Think about this for 2-1/2 minutes...how has the explosion of digital cameras (in phones, as well as regular cameras) changed the world we live in.

Here are a few thoughts to get you started:

The digital camera may take over for the cell phone as the most significant new collaboration technology for the masses.


Friday, February 20, 2004

iWon News: "WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court agreed Friday to decide whether the Constitution forbids the Bush administration from holding U.S. citizens indefinitely and without access to lawyers or courts when they are suspected of being 'enemy combatants.'"

I can't even begin to express how important it is that the court find that the government CANNOT imprison American citizens indefinitely without any due process. If they allow this it opens the gates to all kinds of terrifying possibilities. What if the government kicks down your door tomorrow, declares you an "enemy combatant" and locks you in prison.

"But I'm not an enemy combatant" you say? Who would you say it to? You don't get access to an attorney. Where would you say it? You don't get access to a court. You just disappear into a prison and when (or if) you get to home is entirely at the discretion of the government.

This kind of policy has been a hallmark of fascist governments (which I'm not suggesting ours is) for most of the 20th century. It was this kind of policy that caused people to flee the oppression of the Soviet Union.

If we give the government the right to imprison us indefinitely without any due process then we are no longer the home of the free. It's as simple as that.

From the "Points for creativity....I guess." dept.

The Smoking Gun: Archive

Law student Matthew Toll sent this "resume" in the form of a legal filing in his question for a job as a law associate. His quote:

"If my mother's funeral was the day of a key deposition, I would do the eulogy via teleconference after the deposition."

...seems to sum up the unusual document nicely.

From the don't do the crime if you can't tell the time dept...

MSNBC - Man arrested for watching porn while driving: "When police were booking him, Gainey signed a different name to a fingerprint card. That resulted in a felony charge."

I have to wonder how somebody this stupid can afford a Mercedes.


Thursday, February 19, 2004

This may offend some of you but...it's too funny (and ThinkThink provoking) not to post:

"When it comes to bullshit, big-time, major league bullshit, you have to stand in awe of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims, religion. No contest. No contest. Religion. Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told. Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there's an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever 'til the end of time!

But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He's all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can't handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more."

That's George Carlin on religion and can be found (in its entirety) here: http://www.objectivethought.com/atheism/carlin.html


Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Despite the high cost of living, it remains popular.


Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Confucious Say Dept.

Most of the "Confucious Say" quotes you hear are things he never did say. Here's one he actually did say (of course he said it in Chinese and this is just a rough translation):

"A knight of the way who is content to sit quietly at home is not worthy to be called a knight."

What he's saying here is that it's not enough to consider yourself a good person if you spend all your time at home on the couch. You need to get out and help people - volunteer in your community, tutor kids, coach little league, help an elderly neighbor with their groceries...

There are a million opportunities to help. Find one.


Sunday, February 15, 2004

Message to users....

Stop clicking on the damned attachments.

If you haven't tested then you haven't finished.

There are seldom good technological solutions to behavioral problems.

So says Ed.


Are there any gruntled postal workers?


Friday, February 13, 2004

Quote of the Day Department:

Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons for you are crunchy and delicious.

There are two kinds of people on the Internet:

* Those who know their computers have been probed.
* Those who don't know their computers have been probed.

If you don't have a firewall...get one. Now.

From the Bad Ad department...

A sign along the roadside that said "Dirty Carpet" and a phone number.

I already have dirty carpet, why would I want to call this number?

Neil Simon was once asked what play he would most like to be remembered for having written.

"King Lear" was his response.

(If you don't get that flip to the next blank page in your Know Book and write "William Shakespeare.")

Next time you need a gift for somebody think of what interests them and buy them a book on that.

Start now: Amazon

Why do all of the "No dogs allowed" signs say "Except Seeing Eye Dogs?" People with seeing eye dogs can't read the sign anyhow.

Why do drugstores sell cigarettes at the front counter by make sick people walk all the way to the back of the store to pick up their prescriptions?

Maybe they figure the smokers can't walk that far.

I saw a Hummer today with license plates that said "HUMMER."

I guess "UNIMAGINATIVE" wouldn't fit.

When I first saw that there was a blog for Knight-Ridder Election I thought surely nobody could beat that talking car.

(For those of you too young see here: http://members.fortunecity.com/knightriders/ and you thought *I* had too much time on my hands.)

Taco Bell's "Grilled Stuft Burritos" look really good but I can't manage to order one. It's the principle of the thing - there are probably 50 million people in this country who can't spell "stuffed" correctly now.

Call me crazy but the reading scores are low and I just can't bring myself to order misspelled food.

I don't understand the appeal of Rod Stewart. To me he looks like a photonegative of Tina Turner.

I promise I will not type "Paris Hilton" just so I'll get a million hits a day off the search engines.

I used to be a big advocate of this "get everybody out to vote" thing. I used to listen to the voter turnout reports with dismay...sad that so many of my fellow citizens weren't exercising their right, no their DUTY, to vote.

I've done some ThinkThink and changed my mind. I think the fewer people who vote the better. I'd like it if nobody, except me, votes. Then I get to make all the decisions! I get everything I want, except for the right to complain about it later. Don't get me wrong, I think all Americans should have the right to vote. I just don't think most of them are up to the task.

You see, it occurred to me that, as much as I love my fellow Americans, some of them are...well...morons. And I just can't bring myself to encourage morons to set the direction for our nation.

So. Next election day do me, and the rest of the country, a favor. If you look at the ballot and have no idea who the candidates are or what the issues are...go get a cup of coffee and a scone instead. Don't vote. Don't choose the guy because he has the best hair or vote "No" on the school bonds because you don't think British spies should be in the public schools.

Just leave that to the rest of us.

If you ARE going to vote please do the country a favor. Spend a few minutes learning about the issues and the candidates so you can make an informed decision. I don't care if you're a Democrat or a Republican or a Libertarian, a Green or a member of the Peace & Freedom party. (I have it on good authority that both of the Peace & Freedom party members read this blog). If you want to vote for Ross Perot and you have actually done your homework, understand what his stated positions are and honestly think he's the best man for the job. Well...then you're probably a nutcase, but still...go ahead and vote. You've earned it.

If you think that John Edwards, Howard Dean & John Kerry are the six characters from "Friends." Enjoy the scone.

Q: "If you could be any kind of tree, what kind of tree would you be?"

A: "I'd be an Oak. Because Oaks don't answer stupid questions like that."

People who are really afraid of Friday the 13th...frighten me.

Get yourself a "Know Book." Just a folder, binder, or little notepad book full of blank pages. At the top of each page write down a concept, person, event, idea, place, word, group...something that you want to know more about. Something you heard on the radio on the way to work. Something somebody said behind you at a bar. A word you saw on the side of a bus. Anything that catches your attention and you wish you knew more about. Write it on a page of your know book.

You don't have to fill every page right away. Write them as they occur to you. You might encounter one or two a day. Maybe three or four. Maybe you'll have a day FULL of wonder and find a dozen.

Then set aside 15 minutes each day...to work on your know book. Flip to the first page that has a title and no content. "Mark Twain." "The World Health Organization." "The Gulf of Tonkin." "Chimpanzees." Whatever it is. Spend 15 minutes looking it up, reading a bit about it, make notes on that page in your know book. Do that every day. You can do the same page twice if you want to know even more.

After a month you will have spent about 7-1/2 hours learning about things you really want to know more about. At the end of a year you'll be almost 4 full days smarter. In just 15 minutes a day.

Planning to vote this year? Maybe you should make the first two pages "John Kerry" and "George Bush."

I predict that nobody has ever said "It's just a game" while they were winning.

If it doesn't matter whether you win or lose, why do they keep score?

Have you noticed that there are a million "Bride" magazines. And no "Groom" magazines?

Looking at the TV guide I notice that CSPN2 is showing "Who Wants to be a Millionaire."

I didn't realize lobbyists had their own TV show.


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