bbc logos

these are the logos i remember…

in reference to:

“The first colour pictures in the UK were broadcast by
BBC 2 in 1967
when it covered Wimbledon. Colour broadcasts officially began on BBC 1
and ITV on November 15th, 1969, when they
joined BBC 2 by launching a service in 625-lines on UHF. (Colour was
never available on the old VHF system, which continued running until the
1980s.) To receive colour, once again a new television set was required.
To encourage viewers to get one, TV stations heavily promoted their use
of colour by adding a reference to it on their idents.”
BBC Logo Gallery – 625.uk.com (view on Google Sidewiki)

Possible Credit Dislocation: Be Warned – The Market Ticker

Possible Credit Dislocation: Be Warned – The Market Ticker: “I have reason to suspect that the ‘monetary transmission mechanism’ is full of rocks (again), and we are about to have another instance of what could colloquially be called ‘fun.’ (Yes, that’s sarcasm.)

Here’s what we know and what I can deduce from it:

* JP Morgan’s ‘cash position’ was analyzed by a writer who published on SCRIBD, which showed that actual cash held has deteriorated radically. By more than half in the last year. The deterioration is continuing, not slowing.

* I am hearing repeated anecdotes from multiple areas that foreclosed property held by banks with multiple full-price offers that include a financing requirement are being sold instead to people with actual cash at radical reductions from that price. This implies that these financing contingencies are regarded as not only potentially no good but factually no good, as if the banks know for a fact that the credit pipeline will (not might), within weeks or months (in the time required to close), disappear. There is no other rational explanation for this behavior.

* Citibank’s credit-card terms change implies a willingness to accept and even provoke a complete and intentional destruction of their credit card business as a very high probability outcome, given that nobody in their right mind will accept a 30% interest rate who has an alternative. The obvious implication is that only those who can’t transfer balances out will remain and if your credit is that impaired there’s a good chance you will default – either intentionally or otherwise. This too implies foreknowledge of a near-complete impending freeze in the credit markets.

* The change in terms on credit accounts is NOT confined to Citibank. I have received a fax from a customer of Infibank with substantially identical terms, in which both the standard and penalty rate was adjusted to 29.99%. This strongly implies that whatever Citibank smells the problem is not confined to them.

* Both of these credit card ‘adjustment’ letters are of course marginal rate changes. That is, they are both based off the PRIME rate. The importance of that is missed by many. Don’t be one of them (more on that below.)

* I recently received a back channel communication indicating that The Fed is aware that this has been and still is a solvency problem and has so briefed certain members of Congress. This from a source believed reliable, but which cannot be independently confirmed.”

Diving Through A Microbial Landscape in Lake Untersee, Antarctica | SpaceRef – Space News as it Happens

Diving Through A Microbial Landscape in Lake Untersee, Antarctica | SpaceRef – Space News as it Happens: “There’s not much in the ice-covered lakes in the McMurdo Dry Valleys to interest anglers looking to land the big one. But for scientists who want to know more about some of Earth’s earliest organisms — and, by extension, to recognize what life may look like on other planets — those unique ecosystems represent a useful portal to the past.”

Rogue satellites to be cleared from Earth’s orbit by German robots | Science | The Observer

Rogue satellites to be cleared from Earth’s orbit by German robots | Science | The Observer: “Robots that rescue failing satellites and push ‘dead’ ones into outer space should be ready in four years, it has emerged. Experts described the development by German scientists as a crucial step in preventing a disaster in the Earth’s crowded orbit.

Last year it was reported that critical levels of debris circling the Earth were threatening astronauts’ lives and the future of the multibillion-pound satellite communications industry. But senior figures at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) told the Observer they have been given the go-ahead to tackle a crisis that will come to a head in the next five to 10 years as more orbiting objects run out of fuel.”

The pedagogy of the privileged

Economist.com:

Business schools have done too little to reform themselves in the light of the credit crunch

“THIS has been a year of sackcloth and ashes for the world’s business schools. Critics have accused them of churning out jargon-spewing economic vandals. Many professors have accepted at least some of the blame for the global catastrophe. Deans have drawn up blueprints for reform.

The result? Precious little. Business schools have introduced a few new courses. Students at Harvard Business School (HBS) have introduced a voluntary pledge “to serve the greater good” among other worthy goals, which about half of this year’s graduates embraced. But for the most part it is business schooling as usual. The giants of management education have laboured mightily to bring forth a molehill.

That is too bad. You do not have to accept the idea that the business schools were “agents of the apocalypse” to believe that they need to change their ways, at least a little, in the light of recent events. Most of the people at the heart of the crisis—from Dick Fuld at Lehman Brothers to John Thain at Merrill Lynch to Andy Hornby at HBOS—had MBAs after their name (Mr Hornby graduated top of his class at HBS). In recent years about 40% of the graduates of America’s best business schools ended up on Wall Street, where they assiduously applied the techniques that they had spent a small fortune learning. You cannot both claim that your mission is “to educate leaders who make a difference in the world”, as HBS does, and then wash your hands of your alumni when the difference they make is malign.

The real question is not whether business schools need to change, but how. One of the most common stances—often heard outside and sometimes within the schools themselves—is that management education needs to start again from scratch. On this view, these institutions are little more than con-tricks at the moment, built on the illusion that you can turn management into a science and dedicated to the unedifying goal of teaching greedy people how to satisfy their appetites.

That is not true. A study by two economists, Nick Bloom of Stanford and John Van Reenen of the London School of Economics, concluded that companies that use the most widely accepted management techniques, of the sort that are taught in business schools, outperform their peers in all the measures that matter, such as productivity, sales growth and return on capital. Many companies in the developing world, not least China, are desperate to hire more MBAs in order to improve their traditionally slapdash approach to management.

A second popular argument is that business schools need to put more emphasis on business ethics and corporate social responsibility (CSR). There is a great deal of talk about embracing “principles of responsible management”, such as “sustainability” and “inclusiveness”.

This makes some sense. A 2006 study of cheating among graduate students found that 56% of business students had cheated, compared with 47% in other disciplines. The authors attributed this to “perceived peer behaviour”. Presumably more talk of ethics might change those perceptions. But it would be a mistake to expect too much from CSR. Both business schools and businesses have been talking about it for years without turning business people into angels (one of the loudest advocates was Ken Lay, the chairman of Enron). Moreover, many admirers of CSR confuse the sort of creative destruction that makes us all richer, in the long run, with corporate skulduggery.

So what should business schools do to improve their performance? More history classes would help. Would-be business titans need to learn that economic history is punctuated with crises and disasters, that booms inevitably give way to busts, and that the business cycle, having survived many predictions of extinction, continues to prey on the modern economy. The 2008 debacle might have come as less of a surprise if all those MBAs had been taught that there have been at least 124 bank-centred crises around the world since 1970, most of which were preceded by booms in house prices and stockmarkets, large capital inflows and rising public debt.

History courses aside, business schools need to change their tone more than their syllabuses. In particular, they should foster the twin virtues of scepticism and cynicism. Graduates in recent years, for example, seem to have accepted far too readily the notion that clever financial engineering could somehow abolish risk and uncertainty, when it probably made things worse. It is worth noting that such scepticism is second nature to the giants of financial economics, as opposed to the more junior propellerheads. Andrew Lo, of MIT’s Sloan School of Management, was fond of pointing out that in the physical sciences three laws can explain 99% of behaviour, whereas in finance 99 laws can explain at best 3% of behaviour.

Boosters beware

The original sin of business schools is boosterism. Professors are always inclined to puff the businesses that provide them, at the very least, with their raw materials and, if they are lucky, with lucrative consultancy work. HBS has produced fawning studies of almost every recent corporate villain from Enron (which was stuffed full of HBS alumni) to the Royal Bank of Scotland. A taste for cheerleading has been reinforced by the rise of a multi-million-dollar management-theory industry. Professors with dollar signs in their eyes are always announcing the birth of the latest revolutionary management technique or the discovery of the hottest new “supercorp”.

Business schools need to make more room for people who are willing to bite the hands that feed them: to prick business bubbles, expose management fads and generally rough up the most feted managers. Kings once employed jesters to bring them down to earth. It’s time for business schools to do likewise.”

Back to madness as spreads return to pre-crunch levels – Telegraph

Back to madness as spreads return to pre-crunch levels – Telegraph: “Search for yield is back, and this time it may be really serious. I’m not talking only of the bounce in equity prices, which may or may not be justified by prospects for economic recovery, but of a less visible search for yield which is lowering the price of risk across a whole range of asset classes, from high-yield emerging market and corporate debt to property and even the much-derided ‘toxic’ detritus of the credit crunch, asset-backed securities.”

Time-travelling Higgs sabotages the LHC. No, really – Short Sharp Science – New Scientist

Time-travelling Higgs sabotages the LHC. No, really – Short Sharp Science – New Scientist: “Could the Large Hadron Collider be sabotaging itself from the future? That’s the suggestion of a couple of reasonably distinguished theoretical physicists, which has received a fresh airing in the New York Times today.

Actually, it’s the Higgs boson that is doing the sabotage. Apparently, among the many singular properties of the Higgs that the LHC is meant to discover could be the ability to turn back time to stop its cover being blown.”

FT.com | Economists’ Forum | A second Great Depression is still possible

FT.com | Economists’ Forum | A second Great Depression is still possible: “Deleveraging can be understood through a metaphor in which a car symbolises the economy. Borrowing is like stepping on the gas and accelerates economic activity. When borrowing stops, the foot comes off the pedal and the car slows down. However, the car’s trunk is now weighed down by accumulated debt so economic activity slows below its initial level.”

Watch, The Next Stage Of Deleveraging Means The Second Great Depression Is Still Possible

Watch, The Next Stage Of Deleveraging Means The Second Great Depression Is Still Possible: “Deleveraging can be understood through a metaphor in which a car symbolises the economy. Borrowing is like stepping on the gas and accelerates economic activity. When borrowing stops, the foot comes off the pedal and the car slows down. However, the car’s trunk is now weighed down by accumulated debt so economic activity slows below its initial level.”

Dollar loses reserve status to yen & euro

Dollar loses reserve status to yen & euro: “Ben Bernanke’s dollar crisis went into a wider mode yesterday as the greenback was shockingly upstaged by the euro and yen, both of which can lay claim to the world title as the currency favored by central banks as their reserve currency.

Over the last three months, banks put 63 percent of their new cash into euros and yen — not the greenbacks — a nearly complete reversal of the dollar’s onetime dominance for reserves, according to Barclays Capital. The dollar’s share of new cash in the central banks was down to 37 percent — compared with two-thirds a decade ago.”

NASA puzzles over ‘invisible’ moon impact – space – 09 October 2009 – New Scientist

NASA puzzles over ‘invisible’ moon impact – space – 09 October 2009 – New Scientist: “In the final minutes of its plunge toward the moon, NASA’s LCROSS spacecraft spotted the brief infrared flash of a rocket booster hitting the lunar surface just ahead of it – and it even saw heat from the crater formed by the impact. But scientists remain puzzled about why the event did not seem to generate a visible plume of debris as expected.”