Sunday, February 26, 2006

Bromo volcanoes

Bromo volcanoes, originally uploaded by AnhBuffalo.

Mike has some really incredible photos from parts of Asia I'd never even heard of before. Check out his pics and blog.

Despite 6 inches of snow in Hanover, NH, I made it back safely thanks to the Dartmouth Coach. The presentation went really well and I enjoyed the conference, though it was a shame to have to rush back just as the wine was being served.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Acupressure 'good for back pain'

It did appear to work for me . . . though I also got one of those ball chairs and have been doing some serious back and stomach exercises daily along with stretching.

BBC NEWS | Health | Acupressure 'good for back pain': "Acupressure is more effective in reducing lower back pain than standard physical therapies, a study suggests.

Researchers in Taiwan found the effects of the therapy which involves applying pressure on points stimulated by acupuncture lasted for six months."

Monday, February 13, 2006

Institutional Mechanisms for Industry Self-Regulation

I'm presenting a paper that I wrote with Mike Lenox (from Duke) next weekend at a conference at Dartmouth. Our paper falls under the environmental management aspect of the conference and is titled, "Secondary Stakeholder Actions and the Selection of Firm Targets".

Institutional Mechanisms for Industry Self-Regulation: "This conference will convene scholars researching mechanisms for solving common industry problems. Examples include codes of conduct, standards, industry norms, collaborative agreements, information disclosure standards, and ratings organizations. These programs govern a wide array of domains including worker and product safety, technological compatibility, fiduciary responsibility, environmental management, advertising, broadcast media, privacy, and digital rights and other forms of
intellectual property."

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Spring semester is in full swing

Funny things can happen when email programs fill in the rest of a name for you after the first few letters. My advisor was trying to send an email to me and instead of getting Chuck "Eesley" he got the email for Charles M. Vest president of MIT from 1990 until December 2004. He chaired the President's Advisory Committee on the Redesign of the Space Station and has served as a member of the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), the Massachusetts Governor's Council on Economic Growth and Technology, and the National Research Council Board on Engineering Education. He chairs the U.S. Department of Energy Task Force on the Future of Science Programs and is vice chair of the Council on Competitiveness and immediate past chair of the Association of American Universities (AAU). He sits on the board of directors of both IBM and E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co.

Apparently my advisor gave him an update on our research and he's interested in seeing the various papers as
they are ready for circulation and/or comment! I also was surprised to see that Vest was born in Morgantown, W.Va., on Sept. 9, 1941. He earned his B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from West Virginia University in 1963 and both his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Michigan in 1964 and 1967, respectively. Dr. Vest's research interests are in the thermal sciences and the engineering applications of lasers and coherent optics.

Friday turned out to be a good day as I got to meet and chat with Joe Hadzima, the current Chairman of the Board of the MIT Enterprise Forum, which my advisor co-founded. Joe is a really nice guy and there might be some interesting research to be done on what he is doing with the NSF and the Enterprise Forum to attempt to build "entrepreneurial ecosystems".

Sunday, February 5, 2006

APOD: 2006 January 29 - Volcano and Aurora in Iceland

APOD: 2006 January 29 - Volcano and Aurora in Iceland


Quote of the week:

Always bear in mind that your resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.

- Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, February 2, 2006

US Debt

As a relative size comparison note, the Federal Reserve has issued $755B of paper money called Federal Reserve notes. If this currency were backed by gold at 100%, the gold price would be $2,892. From the above we see that the US is in no position to return to a gold standard anytime soon, despite protestations by many of us that we need a more reliable store of value than Fed paper.

We need to understand how this new system has worked so well for the US. The counter parties to our trade deficit have managed the system to allow this extreme condition to continue. At the risk of oversimplification, what they are doing is providing a massive Vendor Finance program for their exports. They literally loan us the money to buy their goods. They have been doing this for decades, but have expanded greatly as we have expanded our high living by purchasing so much with our paper currency.

This is patently “unsustainable” because at some point foreigners may decide they have enough of our dollars, forcing the whole system to fall apart. The dollar would devalue, and then we wouldn’t be able to buy as many things as we want from foreigners, like energy to drive our cars. But this feared calamity has not occurred. The US dollar has dropped some but stabilized, and US interest rates are not soaring. The system may appear stretched, but nothing has broken, so we have been lulled into believing that it may not really be a problem.

I found this article explaining the US debt situation and recent trends tonight when I got curious about how this all works exactly. Interesting article.

Or see here for another.


Oh my god, don't use Travelocity to book reservations, ever!!! I have had THE WORST experience with them. Completely ridiculous.