Stuff You Should Know – Misc

There’s No Such Thing As Global Warming

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How To Stay Young
1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay ‘them’

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. ‘An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.’

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person, who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love , whether it’s family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9. Don’t take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
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Quick WWII History Lesson
Really interesting, and I never knew this little bit of history:Tour boats ferry people out to the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii every thirty minutes. We just missed a ferry and had to wait thirty minutes.. I went into a small gift shop to kill time. In the gift shop, I purchased a small book entitled, “Reflections on Pearl Harbor ” by Admiral Chester Nimitz.

Sunday, December 7th, 1941–Admiral Chester Nimitz was attending a concert in Washington D.C. He was paged and told there was a phone call for him. When he answered the phone, it was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the phone. He told Admiral Nimitz that he (Nimitz) would now be the Commander of the Pacific Fleet.
Admiral Nimitz flew to Hawaii to assume command of the Pacific Fleet. He landed at Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1941. There was such a spirit of despair, dejection and defeat–you would have thought the Japanese had already won the war. On Christmas Day, 1941, Adm. Nimitz was given a boat tour of the destruction wrought on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Big sunken battleships and navy vessels cluttered the waters every where you looked.
As the tour boat returned to dock, the young helmsman of the boat asked, “Well Admiral, what do you think after seeing all this destruction?” Admiral Nimitz’s reply shocked everyone within the sound of his voice.
Admiral Nimitz said, “The Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could ever make, or God was taking care of America. Which do you think it was?”
Shocked and surprised, the young helmsman asked, “What do mean by saying the Japanese made the three biggest mistakes an attack force ever made?” Nimitz explained:

Mistake number one: the Japanese attacked on Sunday morning. Nine out of every ten crewmen of those ships were ashore on leave. If those same ships had been lured to sea and been sunk–we would have lost 38,000 men instead of 3,800.

Mistake number two: when the Japanese saw all those battleships lined in a row, they got so carried away sinking those battleships, they never once bombed our dry docks opposite those ships. If they had destroyed our dry docks, we would have had to tow every one of those ships to America to be repaired. As it is now, the ships are in shallow water and can be raised. One tug can pull them over to the dry docks, and we can have them repaired and at sea by the time we could have towed them to America. And I already have crews ashore anxious to man those ships.

Mistake number three: every drop of fuel in the Pacific theater of war is in top of the ground storage tanks five miles away over that hill. One attack plane could have strafed those tanks and destroyed our fuel supply. That’s why I say the Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could make or God was taking care of America.

I’ve never forgotten what I read in that little book. It is still an inspiration as I reflect upon it. In jest, I might suggest that because Admiral Nimitz was a Texan, born and raised in Fredricksburg, Texas –he was a born optimist. But anyway you look at it–Admiral Nimitz was able to see a silver lining in a situation and circumstance where everyone else saw only despair and defeatism.

President Roosevelt had chosen the right man for the right job. We desperately needed a leader that could see silver linings in the midst of the clouds of dejection, despair and defeat.
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The Oligopolies Problem
In a recent T-Mobile commercial, one black-hatted outlaw breaks with the rest of his gang. “Aw,” he says, “I can’t do this anymore.” The message is not subtle. Yes, we’ve all been robbing you for years, declares T-Mobile, but at least we’ve decided we’re done with it. There’s more than rhetoric here: T-Mobile recently broke with longstanding industry norms and abandoned termination fees, sneaky overage charges, and other unfriendly practices.Although T-Mobile’s decision is welcome news for consumers, it doesn’t change the fact that the old extortion remained in place for about fifteen years, and that they remain in place for the vast majority of Americans still trapped in contracts with Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint. And it sheds light on a long-standing problem with how we think about and treat anti competitive practices in the United States. Our current approach, focused near-exclusively on monopoly, fails to address the serious problems posed by highly concentrated industries.

If a monopolist did what the wireless carriers did as a group, neither the public nor government would stand for it. For our scrutiny and regulation of monopolists is well established—just ask Microsoft or the old AT&T. But when three or four firms pursue identical practices, we say that the market is “competitive” and everything is fine. To state the obvious, when companies act in parallel, the consumer is in the same position as if he were dealing with just one big firm. There is, in short, a major blind spot in our nation’s oversight of private power, one that affects both consumers and competition.

This blind spot is of particular significance during an age when oligopolies, not monopolies, rule. Consider Barry Lynn’s 2011 book, “Cornered,” which carefully detailed the rising concentration and consolidation of nearly every American industry since the nineteen-eighties. He found that dominance by two or three firms “is not the exception in the United States, but increasingly the rule.” Consumers, easily misled by product labeling, often don’t even notice that products like sunglasses, pet food, or numerous others come from just a few giants. For example, while drugstores seem to offer unlimited choices in toothpaste, just two firms, Procter & Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive, control more than eighty per cent of the market (including seemingly independent brands like Tom’s of Maine).

The press confuses oligopoly and monopoly with some regularity. The Atlantic ran a recent infographic titled “The Return of the Monopoly,” describing rising concentration in airlines, grocery sales, music, and other industries. With the exception of Intel in computer chips, none of the industries described, however, was actually a monopoly—all were oligopolies. So while The Atlantic is right about what’s happening, it sounds the wrong alarm. We know how to fight monopolies, but few seem riled at “The Return of the Oligopoly.”

Things were not always thus. Back in the mid-century, the Justice Department went after oligopolistic cartels in the tobacco industry and Hollywood with the same vigor it chased Standard Oil, the quintessential monopoly trust. In the late nineteen-seventies, another high point of enforcement, oligopolies were investigated by the Federal Trade Commission, and during that era Richard Posner, then a professor at Stanford Law School, went as far as to argue that when firms maintain the same prices, even without a smoke-filled-room agreement, they ought to be considered members of a price-fixing conspiracy. (By this logic, the Delta and US Airways shuttles between New York and Washington, D.C., would probably be price-fixers, since their prices do vary by how far in advance you buy, but are always identical.)

Like many things from the nineteen-seventies, the treatment of oligopoly was subject to an enormous backlash in the nineteen-eighties and nineteen-nineties. (Posner actually helped lead the backlash.) And with some justification: some of the cases were quite bad, like a long-forgotten federal war on the breakfast-cereal industry. Firms shouldn’t be penalized for practices that are parallel but not actually harmful, nor for mere “parallel pricing.” An interpretation of law that makes nearly every gas-station owner into a felon is questionable.

But just as the nineteen-seventies went too far, the reaction to the nineteen-seventies has also gone too far. As part of a general retreat from prosecution of all but the most extreme antitrust violations, the United States has nowadays nearly abandoned scrutiny of oligopoly behavior, leaving consumers undefended. That’s a problem, because oligopolies do an awful lot that’s troubling.

Consider “parallel exclusion,” or efforts by an entire industry to keep out would-be newcomers, a pervasive problem. Over the eighties and nineties, despite “deregulation,” the established airlines like American and United managed to keep their upstart competitors out of important business routes by collectively controlling the “slots” at New York, Chicago, and Washington airports. Visa and MasterCard spent the nineties trying to stop American Express from getting into the credit-card industry, by creating parallel policies (“exclusionary rules”) and blacklisting any bank that might dare deal with AmEx. It was only thanks to the happenstance that both put their exclusions in writing that the Justice Department was able to do anything about the problem.

The rise of the American oligopoly makes it an important time to reexamine how antitrust enforcers and regulators think about concentrated industries. Here’s a simple proposal: when members of a concentrated industry act in parallel, their conduct should be treated like that of a hypothetical monopoly. Of course, that doesn’t make anything necessarily illegal, but abusive or anti-competitive conduct shouldn’t get a free pass just because there are three companies involved instead of one. (I have co-authored a detailed academic paper, with former New York antitrust bureau chief Scott Hemphill, about how this should play out.)

Meanwhile, the idea that an industry is nominally “competitive” should not provide excessive protection from regulatory oversight. Consider, again, the wireless carriers. The Federal Communications Commission is supposed to insure that the carriers, who are leaseholders on public spectrum, use that resource to serve “the public interest, convenience, and necessity.” Unfortunately, the agency, for more than a decade, has let the industry get away with all nature of monkey business, from termination fees through “guess your minutes” pricing plans and subsidization schemes. All this has been allowed under the theory that the industry is “competitive” and therefore not in need of oversight. But, to quote T-Mobile, “[t]his is an industry filled with ridiculously confusing contracts, limits on how much data you can use or when you can upgrade, and monthly bills that make little sense.” The F.C.C. could have done something about this years ago; the fact that it took a member of the industry to call out more than a decade’s abuse of consumers amounts to a serious failure on the part of the F.C.C.

Exploitation of concentrated private power is not a problem that will ever go away. In the United States, it has been a concern since the framing: the original Tea Party was actually a protest against a state-sponsored tea monopoly. The challenge is that power constantly mutates and assumes new forms. That’s why, whether overseeing private or public power, it’s important not to become fixated on form, but to attend to the realities that face consumers and citizens.
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Think Outside The Box
You are driving down the road in your car on a wild, stormy night, when you pass a bus stop and you see three people waiting for the bus:

1. An old lady who looks as if she is about to die.

2. An old friend who once saved your life.

3. The perfect partner you have been dreaming about.

Which one would you choose to offer a ride to, knowing that there could only be one passenger in your car? Think, before you continue reading.

This is a moral/ethical dilemma that was once actually used as part of a job application. You could pick up the old lady, because she is going to die, and thus you should save her first. Or you could take the old friend because he once saved your life, and this would be the perfect chance to pay him back. However, you may never be able to find your perfect mate again

The candidate who was hired (out of 200 applicants) had no trouble coming up with his answer. She simply answered: “I would give the car keys to my old friend and let him take the lady to the hospital. I would stay behind and wait for the bus with the partner of my dreams.”

Sometimes, we gain more if we are able to give up our stubborn thought limitations. Never forget to “Think Outside of the Box.”

However, the correct answer is to run the old lady over and put her out of her misery, have sex with the perfect partner against the bus stop, then drive off with the old friend for some beers.
Just Kidding
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Harvard University Vs Stanford University: A True Story
A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a homespun threadbare suit, stepped off the train in Boston, and walked timidly without an appointment into the Harvard University President’s outer office.

The secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods, country hicks had no business at Harvard & probably didn’t even deserve to be in Cambridge.

“We’d like to see the president,” the man said softly.

“He’ll be busy all day,” the secretary snapped.

“We’ll wait,” the lady replied.

For hours the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away.

They didn’t, and the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president, even though it was a chore she always regretted.

“Maybe if you see them for a few minutes, they’ll leave,” she said to him!

He sighed in exasperation and nodded. Someone of his importance obviously didn’t have the time to spend with them, and he detested gingham dresses and homespun suits cluttering up his outer office.

The president, stern faced and with dignity, strutted toward the couple.

The lady told him, “We had a son who attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard. He was happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed. My husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him, somewhere on campus.”

The president wasn’t touched. He was shocked. “Madam,” he said, gruffly, “we can’t put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died.
If we did, this place would look like a cemetery.”

“Oh, no,” the lady explained quickly. “We don’t want to erect a statue. We thought we would like to give a building to Harvard.”

The president rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress and homespun suit, then exclaimed, “A building! Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical buildings here at Harvard.”

For a moment the lady was silent. The president was pleased. Maybe he could get rid of them now.

The lady turned to her husband and said quietly, “Is that all it cost to start a university? Why don’t we just start our own? “Her husband nodded.

The president’s face wilted in confusion and bewilderment.

Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford got up and walked away, traveling to Palo Alto, California where they established the university that bears their name, Stanford University, a memorial to a son that Harvard no longer cared about.

You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who they think can do nothing for them.

— A True Story
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