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links for 2008-11-13

13 Nov
  • The light-absorbing structures — chloroplasts — in plant cells are so similar from one species to another that it now seems apparent they all must have had one common ancestor. DNA and other analysis performed by Falkowski offers evidence that this family tree stemmed from the chance meeting of two unicellular organisms, close to 2 billion years ago. The amoeba (or amoeba-like organism) contributed its robust physiology to the pairing, and the cyanobacterium contributed its ability to power its metabolism with the sun's energy.
  • Having buried their heads firmly in the sand for much of the past year, most professional economic forecasters are now predicting a moderate recession that will last until the middle of 2009—a consensus that could well prove as overly optimistic as the previous one, in which the U.S. was expected to avoid recession altogether. Even allowing for another significant stimulus package sometime in the spring, consumer spending, business investment, and exports all seem set to fall throughout most of next year, which would rule out any meaningful recovery.
  • C is for Credit Default Swaps, defined for me by a Wall Street watcher as: Risk whatever you want, and we insure it; risk too much, taxpayers insure it. And there are those CDOs (pronounced "seedy owes") that were all the rage at Citigroup, one of many tarnished poster children of capitalism, a philosophy that's taken a hefty write-down. (Congress certainly doesn't believe in it.)…
    L is for leverage (a means of maximizing your losses), liar loans, Lehman (pronounced "lemon")–and the losses/liabilities that unite them all. L is also for liquidity puts (don't ask me what that means, Robert Rubin didn't know, either); and layoffs.
  • Captaincy isn't about running to the bowler every two balls to tell him what to do, or about strategies devised on the field. It's about getting on with the game, trusting the men who've come through for you in the past, encouraging players to make mistakes and learn and keeping their faith whether you're on top or under pressure.
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Posted by on November 13, 2008 in Links

 

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