Archive for February 8th, 2009

Youtube and copyright

| February 8, 2009 | 4 Replies
Youtube and copyright

Word is getting around the Internet that Youtube is no longer the wild west. Youtube is pulling down numerous video due to copyright violations. What is a copyright violation? Youtube has published this succinct set of guidelines, including various links for further understanding. It’s a good starting place for anyone tempted to make use of the creative works of others without their explicit permission.

Here’s a hint: “Fair use” doesn’t mean that you can do whatever you want.

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The real problem with the economy

| February 8, 2009 | 1 Reply
The real problem with the economy

I’m not an economist, yet I know that the most vocal economists these days are not shooting straight with us. You can see it in their faces and you can hear it in their voices.

Niall Ferguson is a professor of history and a professor at the business school at Harvard. His analysis of our economic problems rings true to me. He starts with the premise that we are in hock up to our eyeballs and we are in massive denial that this is the real problem:

The harsh reality that is being repressed is this: the Western world is suffering a crisis of excessive indebtedness. Many governments are too highly leveraged, as are many corporations. More importantly, households are groaning under unprecedented debt burdens. Average household sector debt has reached 141 per cent of disposable income in the United States and 177 per cent in the United Kingdom. Worst of all are the banks. Some of the best-known names in American and European finance have balance sheets forty, sixty or even a hundred times the size of their capital. Average U.S. investment bank leverage was above 25 to 1 at the end of 2008. Eurozone bank leverage was more than 30 to 1. British bank balance sheets are equal to a staggering 440 per cent of gross domestic product

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Control Your Controllables

| February 8, 2009 | Reply
Control Your Controllables

One of my favorite economist reads, Paul Kedrosky, directed me to this image, which is from another excellent financial analysis blog done by Susan Woodward and Robert Hall. This is a comparison of labor numbers from now and 1981 rescaled to the size of today’s labor force. Stunning.

For those of you who, like me, were still in high school in 1981 – it was the biggest recession we have had in the US since the Great Depression. Not pretty. The graph shows us a partial image of how painful events are right now. Many people have lost homes, many are without work, and I have a feeling it is going to get worse before it gets better. There is a lot of suffering out there. I get a lot of calls from desperate people who are trying to put on a brave face. Sometimes I feel like I am barely hanging on to my life raft and folks are pulling on my legs to clamber on.

In the midst of all this turmoil, with so much personal pain around me, how do I keep steady?

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