Saturday, July 31, 2010

Rent a Leaf: Enterprise Buys Nissan Leafs

Enterprise, the car rental company is purchasing 500 of the Nissan Leafs. The leafs are a purely electric car, which might make sense for some, it doesn't to me for a rental company...I can hear the customer support call right now.

Enterprise: Hello, welcome to enterprise, how may I direct your call?
Person in car: Um, yea, Uh, I am renting one of the leafs and it seems to have leafed me.
E: Ah, very interesting. Could you explain? I don't understand what you mean by leafed.
P: Well, is the same situation as when your parking meter is blinking "expired"
E: Parking meters? We don't take responsibility for parking charges.
P: I know that, its just the car has leafed, it has died it has expired.
E: You mean the car won't start?
P: You could call it that
E: Ah, so whats the meter read?
E: DOR? I don't understand that
P: Dead On Red
E: So how can I help you, it sounds like your battery is dead.
P: Exactly. I would like a running car.
E: Well, can you plug it in?
P: Sure, when I get back to my hotel
E: Where is that?
P: 96 miles away
E: Hum, thats a difficulty.
P: Yea, you said the car had a 100 mile range.
E: round trip
P: You didn't tell me that wasn't round trip
E: Yes I did, it was in the fine print.
P: You expected me to read that?
E: You signed, but enough of the small talk. We need to get you home. I will send a truck out to jump start your battery and get you on your way.
P: Jump start? Really?
E: Oh, yea...It leafed my mind about that whole...electric thing...

What is your opinion? Are electric cars a possibility? Is the Leaf worthwhile?

Goldman Sachs outlaws swearing in emails.

“The foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing is a vice so mean and low that every person of sense and character detests and despises it” ~ George Washington

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Warning This Sport Might Be Dangerous

A collection of posters for each major sport.....

While the article is making a mild jest of the issues of concussions and other injuries relating to playing sports as a profession, there is growing evidence of the long term detrimental effects of small concussions from tackles. More and more players are being encouraged to not take blows directly to the head, and to not use their heads as a "battering ram"...males me think of Rex in Toy Story 2...."I don't want to use my head"...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I go be bushman...No be so?

One of the best yet least know authors of the last century was Gerald Durrell. He was an English naturalist who spent most of the years from 1946 to 1972 on trips collecting animals for zoo's. Public zoo's, some private and eventually his own zoo, on the Jersey islands.

Gerald Durrell primarily wrote accounts of his life and various collection trips. The trip locations varied from Africa to South America to Australia. He has a delightful ability to write about the capture attempts of the various animals, and has wonderful descriptions of working with the local natives or "bushman" . His transcription of talks with the bushman, as they work together to capture a anteater, hairy frog, flying squirrels, or multitudes of other animals that you have ever heard of are a hoot! They will keep you laughing and entertained!

He wrote numerous books, articles and short stories. He didn't profess a love of writing, but saw it as a way to fund more animal collect trips. While his writing might have had econmical motivation more then a joy of his, the books clearly show his love and respect for the different animals and cultures that he encounters on his trips.

I have read several of his books. My Family and Other Animals is one of his better know books and is about his childhood in Greece. the overloaded ARK and The Bafut Beagles are both favorites and have been read several times. He has several other books I've read including Three Singles to Adventure and A zoo in my luggage are both exciting and addictive. As sometimes happens though, the books written later in his life are more political and environmentally focused.

A short exerpt from the overloaded ARK regarding the his introduction to his hunters in Africa Eshobi:

"Good Morning, Masa" said the short one, displaying his teeth in a ingratiating grin.
"Good morning, Masa" echoed the tall one, simpering at me.
"Good monring. Are you the hunters the chief sent?"
"Yes,sah," they chorused.
"What are your names?"
"What they dey call you?" translated Pious (bushman helper from earlier) from behind me.
"Elias, sah," said the short one in his husky voice.
"Andrais, sah" said the tall one, wriggling with embarrassment and draping a long arm over his companion's shoulders.
"Pious" said I, "ask them if the will be my hunters. I will pay them one and six a day , and they will get dash for every animal they catch. If it's an animal I want very much then the dash will be big. If it's some other animal then the dash will be smaller"
Pious listened carefully, his head on one side then turned to the hunters and translated rapidly into pidgin-English:
"Masa say; you go be hunter man for him, eh? Masa he go pay you one shilling and six pence every day you go take Masa and go for bush, eh? If you go catch beef kind Masa de like plenty, he go dash you fine. If been no be good Masa go dash you small., You de hear?"
"We hear," chorused the hungers grinning.

And another excerpt regarding the attempt at a capture of a skink.

"Elias, you haven't lost it?..."
"E go for bush, sah," said Elias dismally.
"Why you no catch no get hand?" I inquired angrily, brandishing my skink under his nose by way of illustration.. He backed away hurriedly.
"Mas, na bad beef dat. If'e go bite you, you go die"
"Nonsense" I retored and I pushed my little finger between the lizards's half-open jaw and let him bite. It was no more then a slight pinch.
"You see? He no be bad beef. he no fit bit proper, no get power"
Masa, 'e get poison" said Elias, watching fascinated while the skink chewed on my finger "no bad beef, sah, for true."
"Well, if he bite me I go die, no be so?
"No, sah" said Elias, iwth one of the wonderful twist of African logic which are impossible to argue against. "you be white man. If dat beef go chop black man he go die one time. White man different"

Friday, July 23, 2010

RFID Tags at Wal-Mart

The ability to check clothing stock instantaneous and would revolutionize how Wal-Mart and clothing company tracking abilities. Not only does it reduce staffing levels required to manage inventory (thus reducing cost), it will generate higher sales, since all sizes would be more likely to be available and on the shelf, instead of on a pallet in the storeroom.

I know my clothes shopping adventures (which I have few and far between), would be much more enjoyable and profitable for both me and the company if the sizes I need were available.

Is it an invasion of privacy? I think the following quote answers it concisely

"Concerns about privacy are valid, but in this instance, the benefits far outweigh any concerns," says Sanjay Sarma, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "The tags don't have any personal information. They are essentially barcodes with serial numbers attached. And you can easily remove them."

So whats the big deal? Why are privacy groups up in arms? Would you have issues buying clothes with RFID tags attached?

In the end, consumers are going to choose either to support the RFID tags, or purchasing the clothes or not.

And as you will notice one person in the article was " director of replenishment". That is one great job title. Actually, it should be applied to all the mothers who cook for their families each day. I can see the business card now:

Mrs. Cone, Mother.
Director of Replenishment for the Howards Mill Plant

Contact info: Yell Mom, Mother, Mommy or "I'm Hungry!" to reach her.
If busy, please leave a mess, and she will get back to you.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Glasses industry

The above was posted to FB as well. It is regarding the glasses industry. The following quote sums up a majority of the article

"This is extreme vertical integration. The eye doctor telling you that you need a new pair of glasses, the sales people helping you choose them and the people who design and make the glasses all work for the same company".

Wow...just wow. As the article continues it states that the margin is 63% (gross) and 52% after cost. Is there any other business that you know of with that lucrative of a profit?

As a comparison, the average company needs 30% of gross revenues to be comfortable, 19-20% is breaking even, and anything much less is losing money. Obviously, those numbers do not hold for all industries but they are good guidelines.

Transition....What to do with this "blog" thing?

In the world of blogging, I'd be willing to bet 10 minutes of your time that average blog is busy for season, neglected for a period and then comes back with an inspiring and motivational post regarding the heart, soul, and purpose of the blog. Such questions typically arise as "what is this blogs purpose in life?", "does anybody really care?", "is this really worth my time", and "I will be more consistent....or not".

Thus has this blog arrived at all those points, only not through the authors fault. As is common knowledge, the blog was started for a class project (now complete), nobody really cares about his ranting and yes, it is worth my time because he am going to use it to improve his consistency in other areas of life. (notice how all the above questions just got answered at once?)

The attempt of this blog is to be a place for humorous writing attempts, comments on articles from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ for short), random observations and considerations regarding life and interest of mine. It will not be as consistent as it should be, far less funny then it could be, and more intriguing to me then it would be to you.