Friday, January 27, 2006

Stock Market Manipulation

Stardate 59012.7
Stock market heads down, and it’s all my fault At least that’s one person at work’s opinion. When the company stock went down by a dollar a share, he asked me if I had sold any stock. I told him I did, and that I had to or I would lose it. If I had known I had that kind of influence over world and national markets, I would have been having a lot of fun. Bin Laden audio tape, Abarmoff scandal, oil going back to $70 a barrel, NSA wiretapping, Google denying a government request, none of those things matter. But I can make it go up or down by buying or selling a few shares. Amusing.

I dropped the car off to have the damage fixed. It’s done now, and it looks much better. I rented a car from Budget. I got on the freeway to work and noticed a wallet on the floor. I went through it at work trying to find a phone number for the owner. Budget called in about another hour, and I gave them my cell number so that the owner could call me. This poor woman has every possible piece of ID in the wallet, military, UT drivers license, social security card, birth certificate, plus some cash and credit cards. I think I would be on the edge of panic to lose all that. The wallet was reclaimed by the owner Monday night. I kind of wondered how I would have had her prove who she was, considering every acceptable ID was in my hands.

I finally caught the RadioWest interview with Senator Chris Buttars done a couple of weeks ago. I am sorry I could not listen to it live. It would have been fun to ask a couple of questions on his positions. He pushed a resolution that requires teachers to state that not all scientists agree on evolution. He wanted that because they don’t know how life started. That’s true, but it’s also true for most areas of science. Scientists carry their morals and biases with them. To my knowledge, nobody understands gravity, so should it be taught as a simple theory, and Newton’s formulas may not work? Einstein’s theories of general and special relativity threw out some common assumptions in Newtonian physics, and to this day there are detractors. Einstein refused to accept quantum theory, famously quoted as saying he could not believe God played dice with the universe. So should we teach that E=MC2 should not be accepted as fact? I don’t understand why evolution is singled out, other than it does not agree with the Biblical accounts of creation. Why not teach that all of science fact is up to interpretation? That could have some interesting long term consequences. How many inventions were done because the inventor was never told something was impossible? Some kid today could wind up creating a real Heisenberg compensator.

Ford announced a restructuring plan this week that involving huge layoffs and idling plants in many places in the US. Ford blames a lack of sales in gas guzzling SUVs and higher fuel prices. It’s a big topic for NPR, and I have been thinking about it and the similar GM announcement last year during my commute. I wonder if they were among the companies lobbying against better gasoline mileage in cars, and a bigger investment in alternate fuels Congress had in a bill last year. According to another NPR report, GM went out of its way to recall and destroy all EV1s. Ford only reluctantly developed a hybrid engine vehicle. Granted, some of the plants Ford has were built post World War II, and are not easy to change for new types of cars. But it does seem like they stayed on a collision course to sell high profit SUV’s until too late. It worries me that American companies give a inordinate emphasis on short term profit and stock price over long term investments and innovations.

On a similar note, UPN and WB will soon be replaced by a single network to be called CW. I laughed at Leslie Moonves assertion the new network would have hit shows every night of the week. He hasn’t done this with UPN, what changes in CW give him this magical ability? I admit to being bitter that he was in charge when Star Trek: Enterprise was cancelled, but the fact remains that the track record does not back up his claim.

I read most of the books in Bernard Cornwell’s Richard Sharpe series a couple of years ago. It’s about a Napoleon era British soldier. Wandering on Amazon, I found out the BBC had made the books into a television series staring Sean Bean. I remembered him as the crazy IRA terrorist in Patriot Games, and he played Boromir in the Lord of the Rings. Last week I found that the series was available for rent from Blockbuster Online. I put the first few episodes in the queue. I am looking forward to seeing it. IMDB indicates there are more Sharpe episodes being made.

End of Entry