Friday, May 15, 2009

Seen around and about...

"The butterfly flaps its wings..." And sometimes the chicken does too. How the "chicken export trade war" of the 1960s helped doom the US auto industry in the 21st Century, as told by Dani Rodrik.

The Mob ain't what it used to be. Victoria Gotti, daughter of the late Gambino family crime boss John Gotti, and her kids are about to be kicked out of their home as the bank forecloses on her for not making a payment in two years on her $650,000 mortgage. "A four-judge panel of the Brooklyn Appellate Division has granted the lender's motion for summary judgment", reports the NY Daily News -- and not one of those judges is wearing cement galoshes (or whatever) yet! "The mansion ... was prominently featured in the A&E reality TV series 'Growing Up Gotti.'" Oh, gawd, what would Meyer Lansky think?

Yahoo! closes Geocities. In 1999 the bright minds at Yahoo! keenly foresaw the coming popularity of personal web pages. So they bought the start-up Geocities, which facilitated creating them, for $4.7 billion. Alas, they didn't foresee the "blog". Another reminder that when it comes to predicting the future, nobody knows nuthin', it's all guesswork. Let's see, $4.7 billion to zero in 10 years is a loss of $470 million a year. Wait a minute, I want to make sure .... yup, it's gone. PC World offers a eulogy.

John Edwards' presidential campaign staff was prepared for doomsday. They reportedly had a "doomsday strategy" ready in case it began to look like their man was going to lose to win. [ABC] "Does Hillary appreciate that still?", Kaus wonders. (It reminds one of a political campaign version of The Producers. The campaign staff can win as long as their candidate is losing, but if he actually starts to win they have to blow him up.)

Zimbabwe misses out on the hyper-inflation record. It's inflation rate reached 489 billion percent in September 2008. Sounds impressive, but it wasn't even close to the record...
... between October 1993 and January 1995, Yugoslavia, which then consisted of Serbia and Montenegro, suffered through a hyperinflation of five quadrillion percent. (Thatís 5 followed by 15 zeroes.) Hungaryís inflation in 1945 and 1946 may have hit four quintillion percent ... [WSJ]
... and now the Zimbabwe dollar has vanished from circulation, replaced by the US dollar. Mugabe put his people through that hell and they won't even have the solace of a mention in the record book.