The 101 Dumbest Moments in Business

The new list of 101 Dumbest Moments in Business, 2003 is out! Here's a sample (#40 on the list):

In February, Cornell University sends out an e-mail to incoming freshmen that begins, "Greetings from Cornell, your future alma mater!" The message is sent to all 1,700 students who applied for early decision, including the 550 who've been rejected.

Only read it if you've not got a drink in hand: otherwise, you'll spew on the keyboard!

From Business 2.0.

00:00 /Humor | 0 comments | permanent link

MS drop authentication technique to foil phishing

Rather than simply fixing the display, or, better yet, correctly implementing the protocol, Microsoft chooses the easy way out - non-support. It really makes me wonder about the design of Internet Explorer - something we mere mortals will never see. But I'll bet it ain't very pretty in there...

(link) [The Register]

00:00 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link

Research Around the World Links Religion to Economic Development

Methinks this is another of Mark Twain's "damned lies" - Muslim nations are some of the poorest on earth, and the most economically backward, yet thanks to petrochemicals and relatively small populations, they have some of the highest per capita incomes in the world. And they're deeply, often legally, religious cultures and governments. Suppose this could've skewed the results?

India, on the other hand, is a deeply religious country, and is undergrowing a tremendous economic growth spurt. But the majority religion there, Hinduism, has no real concept of hell, in the Western sense. Their "reward" system involves reincarnation and spiritual, not economic, development. In fact, many schools of Hinduism despise merchants and bankers nearly as much as the Muslim countrymen.

Heathens are very much infected with the work ethic - it's not just a Protestant trait. Yet we have no hell in the Christian sense either, nor do we believe we'll be reincarnated as an ant if we screw things up in the here and now.

There's no doubt that culture does play a major role in economic matters: but there are simply too many variables in culture to ever be able to measure it. These people went fishing, and caught a tire. It's meaningless.

Two Harvard scholars have found that what really stimulates economic growth is whether you believe in an afterlife especially hell.

(link) [New York Times: NYT HomePage]

00:00 /Asatru | 0 comments | permanent link

Tucked Behind the Home Page, a Call to Worship

Sneaky bastards!

But in all seriousness, this is a technique we heathens would be well advised to consider. We have a very mainstream ethic, and would have few of the dilemnas that Christian sites face in relation to popular culture.

An increasingly popular strategy for evangelism on the Internet involves creating sites that attract visitors by avoiding overtly religious imagery or themes.

(link) [New York Times: NYT HomePage]

00:00 /Asatru | 0 comments | permanent link

Needed: An RIAA for Porn

I really do feel sorry for folks, no matter what industry they're in, who get ripped off by copyright pirates. But this guys solution of suing Visa and MasterCard for infringement because they provided payment services to the theives is like the police charging the phone company with bank robbery because the robbers plotted the dirty deed over the phone.

The music business isn't the only industry plagued by Internet piracy: A pornographer sues a number of financial institutions, accusing them of supplying transaction support for other pornographers ripping off his content.

(link) [Wired News]

00:00 /Copywrongs | 0 comments | permanent link

E-Vote Still Flawed, Experts Say

I'm shocked, shocked I say! to discover that Diebold voting systems are insecure.

I'll be even more shocked if they managed to fis it, without moving it off Windows.

Researchers hired to hack Diebold's electronic-voting equipment give the machines a failing grade for security, despite recent fixes. But they say repairs can be put in place before March primaries. By Kim Zetter.

(link) [Wired News]

00:00 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link

FBI Agent Talks Crime, Macs

... many of the computer security folks back at FBI HQ use Macs running OS X, since those machines can do just about anything: run software for Mac, Unix, or Windows, using either a GUI or the command line. And they're secure out of the box. In the field, however, they don't have as much money to spend, so they have to stretch their dollars by buying WinTel-based hardware. Are you listening, Apple? The FBI wants to buy your stuff. Talk to them!

(link) [Slashdot]

00:00 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link

Microsoft Advises to Type in URLs Rather than Click

As the Slashdot poster points out, you could reduce this entire 5 page knowledge base article from Microsoft to a single sentence: Don't use Internet Explorer!

Steps that you can take to help identify and to help protect yourself from deceptive (spoofed) Web sites and malicious hyperlinks.

(link) [Slashdot]

00:00 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link

BumperSticker Stupidity

This post over at Queen of Cups got a guffaw out of me. Here's the gist:

"Follow me to Jesus" is what it [his bumpersticker] says. What? Does he mean right this minute? Because I have things to do. I'm thinking maybe he was on some kind of commission. Or maybe it was like direct marketing. You can get into Heaven, but you need to bring three other souls with you. Either way, I'm not interested. How about if I just meet you there when I'm good and ready, okay? Thanks.
from TV is my Drug of Choice)
I just wonder what folks thought about the bumper sticker I drove around with on my Pinto years ago, Guaranteed to offend nearly everyone:

Nuke the Gay Unborn Whales!

Good thing we didn't have bloggers back then or I'd have been infamous (or dead)!

00:00 /Humor | 2 comments | permanent link

Spot the hypocrite!

Maybe I need to refresh my memory here, but wasn't Brazil one of the "poor" nations demanding (at the recent WTO Cancun summit) that we reduce farm subsidies (which effectively make American agricultural products cheaper on world markets)? Didn't they accuse us of hypocrisy over these subsidies?

And yet it was apparently only last March when Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva announced measures to end slave labour in Brazil.

Three officials have been shot dead while investigating allegations of slavery, Brazil's Labour Ministry says.

(link) [BBC News | World | UK Edition]

00:00 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

Stores Nix Disposable Flicks

And much to the delight of those of us who don't care to buy controlled, poisoned products. I guess there was no market for this "Mission Impossible" product. Imagine that!

A Texas grocery chain agrees to stop selling DVDs that 'self-destruct,' much to the delight of environmentalists. By Katie Dean.

(link) [Wired News]

00:00 /Copywrongs | 1 comment | permanent link

The Pentagon's Weather Nightmare

I placed this in my Agriculture section, even though it could go anywhere - maybe it really belongs in Politics. No matter: it's an important article, on a topic with a lot of current buzz but often little substance.

I'm still not convinced that global warming is our "fault", or indeed that it's even really happening. But this Pentagon commissioned study puts forth the most plausible bit of thinking on the subject that I've read for a long time. It shows a respect for history, and an understanding of cause and effect that is really rare in either scientific or political thought these days. Read it and consider the possibilities ...

The climate could change radically, and fast. That would be the mother of all national security issues.

(link) [Fortune]

00:00 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

Virus Alert Program Debuts

If I were a spammer or a virus author, I couldn't wait for the first one of these to be issued. Address spoofing is pretty easy ...

Hoping to stem the tide of virus and worm attacks on the Internet, the U.S. government announces a new security alert program that allows computer users to receive e-mail information about cyberattacks. By Kim Zetter.

(link) [Wired News]

00:00 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link

A Drug Used for Cattle Is Said to Be Killing Vultures

More unintended consequences of our meddling in the enviroment. Some of this kind of thing is really not preventable - there are simply too many variables to test in an ecosystem. But this should serve as a big red flag to those who want to take this kind of experiment to the next, genetic, level.

A plunge in numbers of vultures in South Asia is probably a result of inadvertent poisoning by a drug used in livestock.

(link) [New York Times: NYT HomePage]

00:00 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

Another Serious MSIE Hole

Funny this should come out now, eh? I'm busy moving any client that still uses IE (or Outlook) to Mozilla 1.6.

The really scary thing about this one is that it looks like a pretty deep design flaw - nobody's sure that Microsoft can fix it, short of a complete redesign.

... another new security hole that allows links to executable files to appear to be any other type of file, such as text or pdf.

(link) [Slashdot]

00:00 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link