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WikiLeaks: US spied on NATO’s top official

Posted on February 11th, 2011 at 20:55 by Paul Jay in category: News


Leaked U.S. diplomatic cables appear to show that the United States has been snooping on NATO’s top official using secret sources on his own staff.

Confidential cables from the U.S. mission to NATO released Friday by WikiLeaks, the site that has published many secret government memos, said American diplomats received information on the private conversations of Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen from “a member of the NATO international staff.”

Instead of the staffer’s name, the phrase “strictly protect” was inserted in a cable dated Sept. 10, 2009. The cable dealt with Fogh Rasmussen’s proposal to improve ties with Russia by establishing contacts with the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a Russia-dominated security alliance.

The cable was signed off by U.S. ambassador Ivo Daalder.

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Egypt: the wait – The Big Picture

Posted on February 11th, 2011 at 20:12 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture


For 17 days, tens of thousands of anti-government protesters gathered in Tahrir Square calling for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, 30 years in power. They had been acting out of passion for their country and dedication for change. They had protested and waited for a response. The response came in an address from Mubarak to the country and his people. Mubarak would not step down. Then almost miraculously, on the eighteenth day of protests, Vice President Omar Suleiman made a very brief statement on state television. Mubarak had stepped down. The crowds erupted "Egypt is free!" "Egypt is free!" — Paula Nelson (40 photos total)

Opposition protesters celebrate President Hosni Mubarak’s resignation, from their stronghold of Tahrir Square. (Suhaib Salem/Reuters) #

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Nokia’s 15-year tango to avoid Microsoft

Posted on February 11th, 2011 at 20:06 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft


If you want to understand the existentialist despair of many Nokia staff today, then you need to understand how thoroughly its entire business has been about avoiding Microsoft.

This is soaked into its identity, its culture, and its business model: Nokia has defined itself differently. But the economics underpinned everything. Nokia spent tens of billions of Euros over 15 years to avoid becoming a Windows licensee, for one over-riding reason. The reason hasn’t changed.

Windows Mobile licensees scrape by on profit margins of less than 10 per cent, and possibly closer to 5 per cent. Nokia’s own devices command over 30 per cent margin. (Apple’s gross margin for iPhones is estimated to be close to 60 per cent, leaving plenty of room for a managed decline.) And you can’t support an €8bn-a-year R&D habit on 5 per cent margins, unless you sell an awful lot of phones.

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  1. I had Psions II, 3 and 5. I had three Nokia Communicatiors. All my servers and half of my Desktops, Laptops and Netbooks run on Linux. Now, after owning 6 Nokia Phones, when my Nokia 9500 started to die I switched to Android. Do they really think that this move will bring me back? Dont they understand that the fact that they are not from Microsoft is one of the reasons why people buy IPhones?


  2. I’d guess that “not from Microsoft” is virtually never a reason for someone to buy an iPhone.

  3. My guess as well, but it appears that guess is wrong at least one time.

Iceland Shows Ireland Did ‘Wrong Things’ Saving Banks

Posted on February 11th, 2011 at 11:16 by John Sinteur in category: Robber Barons


With the economy projected to grow 3 percent this year, Iceland’s decision to let the banks fail is looking smart — and may prove to be a model for others.

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Darfur Stoves Project

Posted on February 11th, 2011 at 10:44 by John Sinteur in category: News


A $20 stove saves a Darfuri woman more than $300 per year, or $1500 over the stove’s five-year life span. In a place where the average income is less than $5 a day (and most of this comes in the form of international aid), the impact of the stove is striking.

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The 3/2 rule of employee productivity

Posted on February 11th, 2011 at 9:55 by John Sinteur in category: News


The more employees your company has, the less productive each of these employees are

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  1. Now we know: small companies are to blame for unemployment. If the companies were bigger, more people would have jobs to do the same work.

  2. And note that the most “productive” companies was one of those wonderful financial services companies that you love, John.

  3. From the article: “You can re-run the analysis with EBITDA or some other metric and the basic results do not change”.

    In the end it hasn’t the article hasn’t much to do with how to be “most productive”, it’s a simple and predictable result of the law of diminishing returns. Why do you think departments like HR are called “overhead”?

  4. Should we trust an analyst who doesn’t proofread his articles and correct the opening sentence to be grammatically correct?

  5. *cough*:

    Broadly, all graphs are flat, i.e. there is little change in profits/employee with company size.


    In total, there is probably a downward trend with size but with a slope of perhaps -0.1 or thereabouts. That still means that when you add 10% employees you lose 1% productivity per employee, which is clearly problematic. It is a much smaller number than the one we found before, primarily because the previous data set (the S&P 500) is biased against small companies with low revenues per employee.

    Same author, different data set, very different result.

    Apparently HR pretty much pays for itself.


Posted on February 11th, 2011 at 8:43 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon

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Stay Classy, TSA

Posted on February 11th, 2011 at 8:34 by John Sinteur in category: Privacy, Security


The whole thing was over in a matter of minutes and was a completely professional experience.

Or it was, until a male TSA agent walked behind us and hollered: "Hey, I thought she was mine! I was gonna do her!"

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