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Posted on November 25th, 2008 at 19:02 by John Sinteur in category: Joke

A guy is standing on the corner of the street smoking one cigarette after another. A lady walking by notices him and says
“Hey, don’t you know that those things can kill you? I mean, didn’t you see the giant warning on the box?!”
“That’s OK” says the guy, puffing casually “I’m a computer programmer”
“So? What’s that got to do with anything?”
“We don’t care about warnings. We only care about errors.”

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  1. They should install a packet filter on that guy.

Schneier on Security: Here Comes Everybody Review

Posted on November 25th, 2008 at 18:56 by John Sinteur in category: News


In 1937, Ronald Coase answered one of the most perplexing questions in economics: if markets are so great, why do organizations exist? Why don’t people just buy and sell their own services in a market instead? Coase, who won the 1991 Nobel Prize in Economics, answered the question by noting a market’s transaction costs: buyers and sellers need to find one another, then reach agreement, and so on. The Coase theorem implies that if these transaction costs are low enough, direct markets of individuals make a whole lot of sense. But if they are too high, it makes more sense to get the job done by an organization that hires people.

Economists have long understood the corollary concept of Coase’s ceiling, a point above which organizations collapse under their own weight — where hiring someone, however competent, means more work for everyone else than the new hire contributes. Software projects often bump their heads against Coase’s ceiling: recall Frederick P. Brooks Jr.’s seminal study, The Mythical Man-Month (Addison-Wesley, 1975), which showed how adding another person onto a project can slow progress and increase errors.

What’s new is something consultant and social technologist Clay Shirky calls “Coase’s Floor,” below which we find projects and activities that aren’t worth their organizational costs — things so esoteric, so frivolous, so nonsensical, or just so thoroughly unimportant that no organization, large or small, would ever bother with them. Things that you shake your head at when you see them and think, “That’s ridiculous.”

Sounds a lot like the Internet, doesn’t it? And that’s precisely Shirky’s point. His new book, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, explores a world where organizational costs are close to zero and where ad hoc, loosely connected groups of unpaid amateurs can create an encyclopedia larger than the Britannica and a computer operating system to challenge Microsoft’s.

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  1. He calls that a book review? The only evaluation he gives is that it’s better for lay people than some other book that’s out.


Posted on November 25th, 2008 at 18:00 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!


The Washington Post’s Mensa Invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are the winners:

1. Intaxication:
Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

2. Reintarnation:
Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

3. Bozone:
The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

4. Foreploy:
Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.


And the pick of the literature:

18. Ignoranus:
A person who’s both stupid and an asshole.


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The 10 Worst Corporations of 2008

Posted on November 25th, 2008 at 17:57 by John Sinteur in category: News


2008 marks the 20th anniversary of Multinational Monitor’s annual list of the 10 Worst Corporations of the year.

In the 20 years that we’ve published our annual list, we’ve covered corporate villains, scoundrels, criminals and miscreants. We’ve reported on some really bad stuff – from Exxon’s Valdez spill to Union Carbide and Dow’s effort to avoid responsibility for the Bhopal disaster; from oil companies coddling dictators (including Chevron and CNPC, both profiled this year) to a bank (Riggs) providing financial services for Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet; from oil and auto companies threatening the future of the planet by blocking efforts to address climate change to duplicitous tobacco companies marketing cigarettes around the world by associating their product with images of freedom, sports, youthful energy and good health.

But we’ve never had a year like 2008.

AIG: Money for Nothing.
Cargill: Food Profiteers.
Chevron: “We can’t let little countries screw around with big companies”.
Constellation Energy: Nuclear Operators.

CNPC: Fueling Violence in Darfur.
Dole: The Sour Taste of Pineapple.
GE: Creative Accounting.
Imperial Sugar: 13 Dead.
Philip Morris International: Unshackled.
Roche: Saving Lives is Not Our Business.

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Posted on November 25th, 2008 at 17:16 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon

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Can nobody make a sandwich like McDonald’s?

Posted on November 25th, 2008 at 10:34 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ, Intellectual Property


It has been the food of monarchs and commoners ever since John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, first pressed some meat between two slices of bread and took a bite. Billions of butties later, the fast-food giant McDonald’s has set its sights on his invention. The company has filed patents in Europe and the US that claim the “method and apparatus for making a sandwich” as its intellectual property.

I still can has cheezburger, rite?

im in ur patent office
approvin teh obveeyus

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  1. The wah wah about this is about as insightful as people complaining that they’ve been taking showers for decades when someone patents a new showerhead.

  2. Of course. But the world needs far more wah wah before the system can be reformed – and it needs reforming.

  3. The article seems to say they want to patent a device, not copyright the word ‘sandwich’.

  4. This may well be a legitimate patent application for a novel clever device. When it is trotted out to argue for patent reform, I might start to wonder if the rest of the arguments for reform are bogus too. I’d recommend discouraging the spurious wah wah and making serious arguments.

  5. fair point. Do you know of any one that is as likely to be interesting to Joe the Plumber as a McD sandwich?

  6. Uhm… maybe if you found an obscure patent that can force the iPod off the market? 🙂 But really, do you think there’s much hope in getting a broad population interested? I think you have to seek it higher up. Convincing many large corporations (Msft?) to push for reform seems more likely to have success–if you can craft a proposal they would back.

  7. It reminds me of when Walmart sued (I think it was K-mart) for using their invention, the “carosel of plastic bags” for putting grocery items in.

  8. Steven: Problem is you see, that similar devices has been used all around the world for decades now. For example in the early nineties at a novel little corner “hamburger place”.
    Probably not made out of the high tech stuff McDonalds makes his, but still.
    The tool is basically a bucket into which you places all the fillings, put a bread on top of the bucket and then turn it over. The method has been used for measuring the amount of garnish for a long long time.

    And the patent is not for the device: The company has filed patents in Europe and the US that claim the “method and apparatus for making a sandwich” as its intellectual property.
    See, the method for making a sandwhich.

    They want to patent the following:

    pre-assembly of sandwich components and simultaneous preparation of different parts of the same sandwich
    simultaneous toasting of a bread component
    heating a “meat and/or cheese filling”
    sandwich assembly tool

    They want to patent the things my mum does in the kitchen to save time. Parallel processing.