Archive for category News

Dow 15,000

I never would have imagined this kind of run-up in the stock market. By the end of 2008 I expected it might take ten years for the market to recover and for us to recoup our losses. I like this chart from the Wall Street Journal that chronicles the DJIA march from 8000 to 15000:



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The Passing of “Caballo Blanco”

El Caballo Blanco

I might not even have noticed today’s news about the death of Micah True, the legendary ultra marathoner known as “Caballo Blanco, had I not just a couple of months ago listened to the book “Born to Run.”  Caballo was clearly a one-of-a-kind character and somewhat of a godfather to the ultra running community.  In what little I’ve read about him he seems like a soul that found his way early on in the simple act of running. I can totally understand it.

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Ugly Front Page

Yikes! Today’s advertisement-laden Seattle Times weighed something like five pounds.  A real monstrosity.  Even worse though, is the home page of the Times online edition.  Is this one of the ugliest things you’ve ever seen?

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Saber-Toothed…. Squirrel

Illustration: Jorge Gonzalez/Guillermo Rougier

What a concept.  I look at the little guy munching on peanuts all day in our back yard and it’s hard to imagine him with big fangs sticking out of his little muzzle.  But his ancestors apparently had a more ferocious look.  Scientists describe Cronopio dentiacutus as a mouse-sized critter with a long snout, large eyes and super long canine fangs.


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Local Library Named “Library of the Year”

The King County Library System has been named the “Library of the Year 2011.”  We don’t use the Library often but I’m always impressed when we do.  The facilities, even the little local buildings like those here in North Bend and Snoqualmie Ridge, are just excellent.  And with an easy to get library card, you get access to all kinds of online reference services.

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Hey, Gov. Palin

How’s that “Drill, Baby, Drill” thingy workin‘ out for ya?

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DJIA at 11,005.96

Who woulda thunk it? The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 11,005 today, up 4,458 points from the close of business on March 9, 2009. I remember thinking around that time that it would be five years at least until we saw DJIA at 10,000 let alone over 11K. This all reminds me of the 1987 crash when the market dropped 500 points to close at 1,738. I was attending a trade show that day at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim and figured my tiny little savings and incipient 401k account would never amount to much. But here I am just a little over twenty years later planning on living on those savings.

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Happy Birthday Internet!

Forty years ago today UCLA engineer Charley Kline sent a two character message to colleague Bill Duvall at Stanford, an event regarded as the first Internet transmission. There’s a superb book recounting the efforts of now famous individuals to link multiple computers at various research facilities: Where Wizards Stay Up Late. What’s really fascinating are the numerous problems that had to be solved: after all, everything was being done for the first time.

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Lunar Memories

I clearly remember July 20, 1969, the date of the first lunar landing. It was a Sunday and I spent most of the day making tossed salads and shrimp cocktails at Dolly & Joe’s Restaurant lamenting that I was going to miss the live TV transmission of man’s first step onto the moon while I chopped lettuce and sliced carrots. I did have a small transistor radio on the shelf above me so I could listen to events early that afternoon. I was thrilled when I realized that the astronauts had several hours of preparation after touchdown before they would step out onto to the lunar surface. So I was home and in front of the TV well before Neil Armstrong stepped into the lunar dust at 10:39 pm. I’ll never forget that grainy, black and white image–it’s still a thrilling memory forty years later.

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Health Care

We’re doomed! I just read Atul Gawande’s June 1 New Yorker article (“The Cost Conundrum“) on the huge regional variances in U.S. health care costs. Just as in the banking calamity the problem has its roots in simple greed. Doctors and hospitals make more money in a system that allows them to see selected patients on a piece-work basis, order multiple tests, prescribe numerous drugs and operate on as many of them as possible. The profit is in quantity not in quality of care; and certainly not in preventative medicine. Thus were a nation stuck with mediocre health care at the highest per capita cost in the world. I can’t imagine the lobbyists in DC will permit any real changes in this cash cow.