December 13, 2005

Top 10 “Moments” in Internet History

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy — Tom @ 4:38 pm

It’s actually a mix of moments, events, and companies, according to Spark, which is apparently a CNN high-tech TV program (it’s a bad sign when you don’t know; you can vote for your pick of the 10 listed at the link):

Spark’s top 10 Web moments
10. WiFi hotspots — wireless Internet connectivity appears in airports, hotels and even McDonald’s.
9. Webcams and photo sharing — communication becomes visual, and inboxes fill with baby photos.
8. Skype — telephony turns upside down with free long-distance calls, Ebay snaps it up in September 2005 for $2.6 billion.
7. Live 8 on AOL — five million people watch poverty awareness concerts online in July 2005, setting a new Net record.
6. Napster goes offline — Regulators close the pioneering music swap site in July 2001 and file-sharing goes offshore.
5. Lewinsky scandal — Matt Drudge breaks the Clinton/Lewinsky sex scandal in 1998. The blog is born.
4. Tsunami and 9/11 — two tragic events set the Web alight with opinion and amateur video.
3. Boom and bust — trillions of dollars were made and lost as the dotcom bubble ballooned and burst between 1995 and 2001.
2. Hotmail — went from having zero users in 1995 to 30 million subscribers 30 months later. It now has 215 million users.
1. Google — redefined search. Invented a new advertising model and commands a vast business empire.

I’d throw out numbers 2 and 7 (they’re neat, but not groundbreaking events or moments), and replace them with:
2 – Evolution and availability of Broadband makes music, video, photo, and other bandwidth-intensive applications possible.
7 – Ebay itself revolutionizes how people get rid of their “stuff.”

I would also add this to number 6 – iTunes and the iPod bring digital music (and now video) into the mainstream and bring about the first viable alternative to piracy.

A debate about the order of the above could go on forever, but it still seems like there’s still a couple of more important biggies missing. Any ideas on additions would be welcome: e-mail me here or comment below.
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Dec. 13: Outside the Beltway Jammer.

Positivity Bonus: Long-Term Trend for US Workplace Fatalities is Downward

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 3:10 pm

From a 48-page PDF available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

BLSfatals

Positivity posts are comment-free.

Porkopolis: “The second wave of Katrina’s disaster–Waste, Fraud and Corruption”

Filed under: Consumer Outrage,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:55 pm

S.O.B. Alliance Member Porkopolis has been monitoring Katrina’s sad fiscal saga since the hurricane hit. His latest post chronicles the waste, fraud, and corruption elements of the unfolding taxpayer disaster. Among the tart tidbits: There are 1,000 fraud cases now under active investigation, representing the largest number of such probes stemming from a natural disaster in U.S. history.

Porkopolis has also done a service by findng the The Project on Government Oversight, which has dedicated a portion of its web site to monitoring the post-Katrina mess. Bookmark it; it will unfortunately be worth periodic visits.

It’s also sad, but typical, that only The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) appears to be monitoring this ongoing story so far.
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Prior BizzyBlog posts:

What About This News Resembles a Bubble Bursting?

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 11:19 am

Answer: Not a thing. It’s really a return to normal (link requires free registration; bolds are mine):

Home-sales pullback seen in 2006
Realtors say market moving to ‘more normal’ times

BOSTON (MarketWatch) — The National Association of Realtors predicted Monday the U.S. housing market will fall off a bit in 2006, but that sales activity is still expected to post the second-best year in history.

“The slowdown amounts to a tapping of the brakes on a hot market,” said NAR Chief Economist David Lereah, who added home sales will plateau at a level higher than previous peaks in the housing cycle.

“This transition to a more normal and balanced market is a good thing,” Lereah said in a statement.

The Realtors group said it expects existing-home sales to rise 4.7% to 7.1 million in 2005, but fall 3.7% next year. Meanwhile, new-home sales are seen rising 7% this year to 1.29 million units, and dropping 4.8% in 2006.

Total housing starts are predicted to increase 5.8% in 2005 to their highest levels since 1972, then fall 4.8% in 2006, according to the NAR.

However, the association thinks home prices will continue to rise next year.

The median selling price for previously-owned homes is estimated to rise 12.7% in 2005, and jump a further 6.1% next year. New-home prices should grow 5.5% this year, and 7.3% in 2006 “as higher construction costs impact the market,” the NAR said.

Bubbles aren’t bursting if prices are still expected to rise (and by a percentage greater than expected inflation to boot).

Well, Imagine That (Racial Makeup of Katrina Deaths)

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:25 am

Dec. 14: Aha–Drudge links to a CNS story on this topic. Just don’t hold your breath on the NY Times, WaPo, or AP reporting this anytime soon.
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From the incomparable Willisms, based on data in news released by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals:

KatrinaRaceDeaths

Surprised? Will, of course, has much more at his post on the topic, including an age breakdown, plus scathing (and accurate) thoughts. Consider voting for him in the 2005 Weblog Award (501-1000 ecosystem category) here.

Michelle Malkin has more.

Bizzy’s AM- Coffee Biz-Econ Links (121305): Michigan’s Economy Makes Ohio’s Look Good

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:02 am

Michigan’s economy is in bad shape, and the state’s government isn’t helping:

The current U.S. expansion has lifted the fortunes of nearly every state in the country, with the notable exception of Michigan, which is busy reclaiming its 1970s’s title as home of the rust belt. Sad to say, politicians in both parties are only making things worse.

Amid the decline of the Big Three auto companies, Michigan ranked last in income growth last year and was the only state not hit by a hurricane to have lost jobs. United Van Lines reports that more people moved out of Michigan last year than in any year since 1982, when the state jobless rate hit 14%. Today it is 6.1%, well above the national rate of 5%.

Political disarray in Lansing has only compounded the trouble. The year started with some promise, as the Republican-controlled legislature debated broad-based tax cuts to help spur a recovery and aid such struggling manufacturers as Delphi Corp., the auto parts maker. But if you think the Republicans in Washington have bumbled things, take a look at the muddle in Michigan.

On November 30, GOP leaders sent a compromise economic development bill to Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm. Republicans would get a few business tax cuts — temporary and targeted — in exchange for a $400 million corporate welfare fund that Ms. Granholm could parcel out to her political allies, right on the eve of the 2006 election. The cuts amounted to a 1/750th reduction in the tax burden.

….. How many more Michigan companies have to file for Chapter 11 or flee the state before the politicians in Lansing get serious about a growth agenda? Step one should be to speed up the elimination of the state’s single business tax, which is scheduled to expire in 2009. Michigan has the fifth highest business tax burden in the country, and it is the only state to levy a tax on business production. Delaying tax cuts is like a store announcing a future sale: It provides an incentive to postpone purchases and investment. A cap on the growth of annual spending would also help constrain the political class.

Adding insult to injury, Gov. Granholm’s apparent challenger, current GOP frontrunner Dick Devos, has potential problems that could negatively affect voter perceptions of him and make him unelectable, regardless of whether the issue involved is valid or not.

Positivity: CatholicMusicNetwork.com Launches Digital Music Service

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:07 am

Although the article doesn’t discuss it, I believe this may be the first religious-based digital music download service:

(more…)

Global Whining: The Real Results of Montreal

Filed under: Economy,Environment,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:01 am

There’s a difference of opinion concerning what came out of Montreal’s conference on climate change.

Some environmental groups are claiming that something significant was salvaged at the end. Here’s one example:

(from Friends of the Earth)

Negotiators worked through Friday night to reach a progressive agreement under the Kyoto Protocol, which will lead to deeper emissions cuts in the next commitment period, which starts in 2013. This Kyoto deal initiates crucial negotiations on legally binding targets for industrialised countries and also sets in motion a wider review of the entire regime involving all countries, due to be discussed at talks next year.

Agreement was also reached under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) despite the reluctance of the United States administration, which put forward new text to weaken the deal.

Friends of the Earth International Vice Chair Tony Juniper said: “Despite Russia’s attempt to wreck the deal, this meeting has made a historic agreement which will strengthen global resolve with legally-binding targets to take action to tackle climate change under the Kyoto Protocol. It has sent a clear signal that the future lies in cleaner and more sustainable technologies and is good news for people everywhere.

Legally binding? Doubtful, according to Sci-TechToday.com:

More than 150 nations, including nearly every industrialized country except the United States, agreed Saturday to negotiate a second phase of mandatory cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Those include carbon dioxide, methane and other gases accumulating in the atmosphere from fossil-fuel burning. A 1997 treaty negotiated in Kyoto, Japan, covers the first phase through 2012, but the United States, whose tailpipes and smokestacks are responsible for one-quarter of the world’s greenhouse gases, won’t participate.

Claussen said: “If you really want results, you have to do something that’s mandatory. It’s not going to happen with voluntary approaches.”

….. Only in the final hours of the Montreal talks did the U.S. delegation, led by State Department and White House officials, accept a weaker agreement to join a preliminary discussion on future steps to slow global warming, and then only on condition that it ruled out “negotiations leading to new commitment” to reduce greenhouse gases.

The Bush administration committed itself to slowing down the growth rate of those gases, not reversing the trend. But the United States was included in the talks because it is among 189 nations that signed onto a 1992 agreement, negotiated under the first President Bush, that set voluntary goals for cutting greenhouse emissions. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol grew out of the 1992 agreement.

Very clever writing, by the way. It’s all Bush 41′s fault because he signed onto something voluntary, not Bill Clinton’s fault because he tried to sign on to something mandatory (the Senate had other ideas, to the tune of a 95-0 resolution [2nd paragraph] rejecting Kyoto). So Bush 43 is going against what Bush 41 would have wanted. Nice try, no sale, guys.

Back to the main point.–I think what we’re looking at is a lot of wishful thinking on the enviro side.

Confirmation? The New York Times has gone into near-cardiac arrest:

America’s Shame in Montreal

….. The Europeans are finding solace in the fact that the Americans – after much kicking and screaming, and after public rebukes by Canada’s prime minister and a surprise visitor named Bill Clinton – finally agreed to join informal “nonbinding” discussions that will try to entice developing countries like China and India into the process.

….. But talk is cheap, and nonbinding talk is even cheaper. And talk alone will not get the developing world into the game. Why should India and China make major sacrifices while the United States, in effect, gets a free ride? The battle against global warming will never be won unless America joins it, urgently and enthusiastically. Our grandchildren will look back with anger and astonishment if we fail to do so.

That settles it. The Bushies did fine in Montreal up to a point, but I fear that they’ve left it to a future Democrat administration to pretend, as Clinton-Gore did even after the Senate resolution on Kyoto, that what was done in Montreal has legal force.
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UPDATE: EU Rota has choice words for The Times.

UPDATE 2: Amy Ridenour posts Peyton Knight’s thoughts on the Montreal conference. The conclusions: “The conference had two major objectives. Both were left unrealized. One: Conference delegates were supposed to create an enforcement mechanism to hold nations bound by the Kyoto Treaty accountable to the Kyoto emissions reductions targets they had pledged to reach. This was not accomplished. Instead, a compliance committee was elected and it will be tasked with creating an enforcement mechanism. Two: Conference delegates were supposed to devise a plan for future, more stringent emissions reductions after 2012, when the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol expires. This was not accomplished. Instead, they simply agreed to meet again on the topic.” I’ll take it. I’d like the sovreignty-breaking “enforcement mechanism” concept ditched entirely, but since we never ratified Kyoto, it would be meaningless anyway. I suppose this is a way to humor the enviros.
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Previous related posts:
- Dec. 12 — Passage of the Day: WSJ on Environmental Sanity
- Dec. 7 — Passage of the Day: Mark Steyn Identifies the Real Environmentalists
- Dec. 3 — Margaret Beckett of Great Britain Deserves a Major Promotion
- Nov. 29 — Canadian Crocodile Tears for the Never-in-Effect Kyoto Treaty
- Nov. 22 — The Kyoto Treaty Is Dead–I Knew That
- Sept. 21 — The Enviro “Coalition of the Seething” Won’t Be Pleased
- Sept. 17 — Kyoto Treaty, RIP: Blair Delivers the Blow