Monthly Archives: February 2005

Harvard Chief Doesn’t Stand Up to His Own Standards

  • NYTimesFuror Lingers as Harvard Chief Gives Details of Talk on Women “Where he seems to be off the mark particularly is in his sweeping claims that women don’t have the ability to do well in high-powered jobs,” said Professor Mendelsohn, part of a faculty group that sharply criticized Dr. Summers’s leadership at a meeting of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences on Tuesday. “There’s an implication that they’ve taken themselves out of that role. But he brings forward no evidence.”

My opinion, of course, is that this guy is totally off base.  The fact that he is the leader of one of the most prestigious Universities in the US makes this all the worse.  Additionally, if you judge him according to the standards of his profession, one of education and research, he should be driven out of practice.  As any researcher or professor knows, you cannot make statements to your peers without providing evidence.  The Harvard Chief stated repeatedly that he might be wrong and that someone should prove him otherwise.  However, that is not the duty of the collective community.  If you are going to make statements, especially ones so controversial, it is up to you to provide evidence to back them up.  This applies to anyone in any industry or organization.  This fault alone is enough to remove him from a leadership role.

Women Flex Their Business Prowess

  • WIRED:  Where Are All the Women?  Companies with the most women in senior management had a 35 percent higher return on equity than those with the fewest, according to a study (.pdf) by Catalyst, a nonprofit group that studies women in business. It also found those companies paid their shareholders 34 percent more than companies with the fewest women in top management.

So take that Lawrence Summers.

Now if the tech companies could just get their heads out of the sand.

News by your Fellow Man

There’s a new kind of news online, and it is created by anyone who has something worthwhile to report.  Wikinews is a collaborative news services, created by the people who brought us the Wikipedia.  Wikinews has had some success with the story of an explosion in Belize.  It will be interesting to see how well it works for the long term.  Something to keep an eye on – and perhaps to contribute to if you have something newsworthy to broadcast.

Tsunami uncovers archaeological remains

  • BoingBoing: Tsunami uncovered ancient artifacts As a result of the December 26 tsunami, archaeologists have discovered stone structures from the 7th century AD off the coast of India’s Tamil Nadu state. For three years, archaeologists have been conducting underwater expeditions to explore the remains of an ancient port city there. The latest finds, including the granite lion seen here, were partially uncovered after the tsunami caused the coastline to recede. The tsunami also desilted a mostly-obscured giant rock relief of an elephant on the nearby Mahabalipuram temple.


This just shows the amazing force the tsunami had to move earth and water which hadn’t been moved for centuries.

Improving Shopping Carts

  • NYTimes:  Simplifying Web Checkouts About half of prospective customers bail out of their purchases sometime after selecting products and before hitting the buy button, according to Forrester Research, a technology consultant. … During the holiday season, both TJMaxx.com and HomeGoods.com tested a new checkout system that lets customers use a single page for all shipping and billing information. Fifty percent more customers completed the one-page checkout process than finished the multipage process.

While it has been known for quite some time that the number of clicks and pages required by the user needs to be limited, it is nice to see it being applied to shopping carts.  It should be interesting to see how well these new technologies integrate into the marketplace with the various browsers not supporting things quite the same.

The Emerging Blogfluence

  • NYTimes: Bloggers as News Media Trophy Hunters With the resignation Friday of a top news executive from CNN, bloggers have laid claim to a prominent media career for the second time in five months.  …  For some bloggers – people who publish the sites known as Web logs – it was a declaration that this was just the beginning. Edward Morrissey, a call center manager who lives near Minneapolis and has written extensively about the Jordan controversy, wrote on his blog, Captain’s Quarters (captainsquartersblog.com): “The moral of the story: the media can’t just cover up the truth and expect to get away with it – and journalists can’t just toss around allegations without substantiation and expect people to believe them anymore.”

I’m not sure trophy hunters is appropriate, but bloggers certainly will expose ‘facts’ they believe are untrue or to spout truths the media is covering up.  I think some bloggers can get carried away with their rants, but taken as a whole, blogs allow the larger community to converse about news items.  And this, I believe, leads to an overall better view of what really happened.

I’m not sure Budget is the correct word…

  • John Kerry: Statement by John Kerry on the President’s Budget There’s nothing fiscally responsible here. It’s textbook Washington bait-and-switch budgeting that puts special interests ahead of families. The administration is sweeping under the carpet the huge costs of some of their most reckless policies, and is doing next to nothing to rein in out-of-control spending in Washington. It will cost $1.6 trillion to make the President’s tax cuts permanent, but there’s not a penny in the budget to pay for them. It will cost $1.9 trillion to privatize Social Security accounts, but there’s not a penny in the budget to pay for that ideological blunder. Americans are spending $5 billion a month in Iraq, but there is not a penny in the budget to fund the war. The numbers simply don’t add up, and the American people deserve better.

That’s about what I thought of the budget.  Also, apparently most presidents prepare a 4-5 year budget while this one has only prepared 1 year.  And he also has not included all the costs as shown in Kerry’s statement above.  We can only hope that Congress makes things slightly better, but don’t hold your breath.