Archive for March, 2010

businessweek gets its facts wrong

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

business week quotes goldman sachs as saying that the new healthcare law that was passed in the united states will lead to job creation. which from a logical standpoint is wrong.

the u.s. government has just passed a new law that is 2400 pages long requiring business with 50 or more employees to offer their workers health insurance. those with less and who don’t pay any one worker over $50K per year, will be exempt.

well, from a financial perspective, this is all the more reason to layoff a bunch of workers and ask employees to accept a paycut. if you ran a business with 51 or 52 or even 60 employees, what would you do?

yesterday, the l.a. times reported that although many elements in the economy look good in california -retail sales are up, etc., employers are reluctant to expand their payrolls. so unemployment in california is still 12.5%. and considering the u.s. government doesn’t count the unemployed too honestly. this is just the people who are still collecting unemployment insurance and are in the system. it doesn’t include the people whose unemployment insurance has run out or the people who are working part-time (or multiple jobs).

according to the u.s. chamber of commerce, ‘A mandate that employers provide health insurance or pay a fee will devastate many small businesses that operate at a loss or with low profit margins. These businesses will have to lay off workers and lower head counts.Although small businesses have been exempted if they have fewer than 50 employees, this constitutes a disincentive to grow and hire more workers. In addition, the bill unfairly penalizes businesses in the construction industry by lowering the threshold to which the mandate applies.’


who will enforce mandatory health insurance laws in u.s.?

Friday, March 26th, 2010

apparently it will be the tax office. which will cost either 695 dollars or 2.5% of one’s income, whichever is higher.

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female scientists sometimes feel marginalized

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

at meetings, sometimes top female scientists are asked by others to get he tea. more information here.

lebendev acquires the independent

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

alexand lebedev, originally from russia, is acquiring the left-of-center yet right-of-the guardian newspaper, the independent. what this means? who knows. last year he acquired the london based evening standard. details can be found, where else, on the independent’s website.

quote of the day

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

the quote of the day comes via the conservative rag the weekly standard, ‘The Apple tablet is the Barack Obama of technology. It’s whatever you want it to be, until you actually get it.’

u.s. and healthcare

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

while a debate on healthcare and medical insurance makes sense, the reality of what the u.s. government is doing, led exclusively by the democratic party, will have immediate effects on the economy and long-term ramifications, some of which are good, but many of which are quite bad. health related stocks will soar, yes. but unemployment will remain high, if not get higher. and as usual, ultimately, the guy or gal in the middle will be left holding the bill.

now that all companies from those with high skilled workers such as boeing to those with low skilled workers such as mcdonalds will be required to offer health insurance to all their employees, this is how it will play out.

companies like boeing, already did. but it is certain that these companies also hire a lot of freelancers and outsource projects to companies (in the u.s. and outside the u.s.) to save money –so they don’t have to pay huge salaries and make social payments for individual workers. but this is a common practice and nobody questions it. and the new healthcare rules (if they are ushered in) won’t affect these kinda companies.

what you will see is that it will have a greater effect on jobs supplied (or not supplied) to low-skilled workers. places like walmart (the u.s. version of a hypermarkt) will automate and eliminate a lot of their positions. in b-school, this is called business process re-engineering.

supermarkets and department stores could introduce automated check-out. this is offered in some tesco stores in the uk.

imagine a world wher work and work processes are organized around outcomes not tasks. this could not only improve efficency and help a company become more nimble (and flexible), it can also help a company save money. why not just hire a bunch of security guards and install cameras to watch people as they do the whole self-checkout thing at barney’s, bloomingdales, or your local supermarket?

alice in wonderland 85M at u.s. boxoffice

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

alice in wonderland is holding up nicely. clash of the titans, starring dreamboat sam worthington is the next big international 3-d film release. the film comes out in about 2 weeks.

a wrinkle in time finally on its way to the screen

Friday, March 19th, 2010

well hopefully. this beloved science fiction/fantasy children’s book by adeleine l’engel (r.i.p.), about space travel finally has a screenwriter.

did sandra already know?

Friday, March 19th, 2010

hubbie jesse james was not seen on the red carpet with sandra bullock prior to the start of the academy awards. and if you watch and listen closely, you will notice that she did not thank him when she picked up her best actress oscar at the awards show.

have matt damon's politcal views made him the next george clooney at the boxoffice?

Monday, March 15th, 2010

long headline. whew. matt damon famously took a potshot at sarah palin in 2008 when she and john mccain were running for vp and president of the united states against joe biden and damon’s pal barack obama. obama is pals with the oceans team. this has been proved by the number of times brad pitt and george have visited the white house over the past year.

irregardless. damon’s last 3 movies (including the just opened greenzone) have all been huge flops. greenzone’s dismall $14M opener in the united states means it makes anti-war iraq themed movies 0 – 20 (or maybe it’s more like 8). but we will point out that greenzone’s 3 day gross equals the hurt locker’s lifetime gross. damon will most likely find his legs again. he’s a pretty good actor when he wants to be. and people will forget the other stuff, maybe. it could be that invictus didn’t work like gangbusters because americans aren’t interested in rugby. and it could be that greenzone died on the vine because americans (still) don’t want to pay to see something (the iraq war) that they have been watching on television for the past 7 years.

read the comment section under this yahoo article. bear in mind, that after a while, the yahoo links expire. because, well, yahoo kinda sucks sometimes, doesn’t it.