Sunday, October 31, 2010

Santity Restored, at Least Temporarily

It was a great rally, and the fact that it was almost three times larger than Glen Beck's rally in late August, gives you a little hope for the american part of humanity. It was not a rally about nothing, but a rally about respect, about tolerance, for believers and unbelievers of all strands, for conservatives, independents and progressives, i.e. for human decency.
There was also an underlying critique, and it was geared towards the political coverage in our 24/7 news cycle, where "if it screams, it leads" has repaced the old adage "if it bleeds, it leads."

Alex Altman, from Time Magazine, reports:
"The press is our immune system," Stewart said. "If it over-reacts to everything, we get sicker, and maybe eczema." If you listened to the attendees, however, the point of coming was simple: "to have fun," as one D.C. resident (who didn't want to give her name because she worked for the federal government) put it. Marsha Eck, a 54-year-old teacher from South Bend, Ind., expressed hope that the gathering could provide "a model for a new kind of conversation." A trio of teenagers from Downington, Pa., who came with their high-school civics class and wore matching lime-green t-shirts so that their teacher could spot them, explained that the rally was important because "everybody is yelling but nobody listens to each other."

My youngest son Alex enjoying the rally.

Jon Stewart Rally Attracts Estimated 215,000

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Why Extreme Income Inequality Hurts the Economy

For a short and clear discussion on income inequality, read this article by professor Robert H. Frank:

Income Inequality: Too Big to Ignore

"Recent research on psychological well-being has taught us that beyond a certain point, across-the-board spending increases often do little more than raise the bar for what is considered enough. A C.E.O. may think he needs a 30,000-square-foot mansion, for example, just because each of his peers has one. Although they might all be just as happy in more modest dwellings, few would be willing to downsize on their own.

People do not exist in a social vacuum. Community norms define clear expectations about what people should spend on interview suits and birthday parties. Rising inequality has thus spawned a multitude of “expenditure cascades,” whose first step is increased spending by top earners."
"The middle-class squeeze has also reduced voters’ willingness to support even basic public services. Rich and poor alike endure crumbling roads, weak bridges, an unreliable rail system, and cargo containers that enter our ports without scrutiny. And many Americans live in the shadow of poorly maintained dams that could collapse at any moment.

ECONOMISTS who say we should relegate questions about inequality to philosophers often advocate policies, like tax cuts for the wealthy, that increase inequality substantially. That greater inequality causes real harm is beyond doubt.

But are there offsetting benefits?

There is no persuasive evidence that greater inequality bolsters economic growth or enhances anyone’s well-being."

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ever Heard of Hericsson Mobile, the Chinese Cellphone Manufacturer?

A Chinese company has brazenly copied the Swedish telecom giant Ericsson’s name and logo, but added an H to the name. Hericsson Mobile Technology says on its website that it “is one of the leading manufacturers of cellphone in Shenzhen, China…” and that it distributes its phones in North- and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. “This is not an Ericsson affiliated site,” says Kathy Egan, vice president, external communications at Ericsson North America after we shared the news about Hericsson.

“Hericsson” writes on its website that it “is specializing in designing and manufacturing of quad-band dual SIM dual standby TV mobile phones , also 3G, Smart Phones with WIFI and GPS, dual mode GSM/CDMA mobile phones and Windows Mobile 6.5, also with Google Android. Since established in 2005, we have been always devoting to keep pace with first-class technology and management of the world. Currently, we have several international advanced production lines.”

We called the company, but nobody picked up the phone. It says on its website that it has a “high-tech manufactur park base in LongGang district,We have up to 1,000 employees”, and that it has a R&D team of over 20 engineers. They claim that they “keep close cooperation with world famous telecom company and IC developing companies,RF and software for all our products are from Gualcomm, marvle, MTK,Infineon and Spreadtrum.” (It is hard to know if the referring to Qualcomm, or Gualcomm, which seems to be a software tool. Spredtrum Communications is a Shanghai based RF company.)

The Hericsson corporate culture is – according to the site – “engaged in more convenient for entertainment, information, and communication, we provide products for mobile handset integrated with fashion, simplicity, and function.”

Quality is of course a core value and priority: ”Any idea or action that risks delivery of quality is totally wrong. High quality rises from continuing creative management and technology innovation. Customers will benefit from best quality with lowest cost only if we work hard to cut down cost or improve quality constantly.”

What is Hericsson? We don't know yet, but it is quite possible that it is an Chinese startup that "borrowed" Ericsson's name and logo as they are well-known in China. Most Chinese speak little or no English and are not all that familiar with the latin alphabet, why slight modifications can dupe consumers, making them think that they are buying an Ericsson phone, when in fact they are buying a Hericsson phone.

“Our Corporate Legal and Brand management departments are presently looking into the situation to decide upon the right action,” says Ericsson's Kathy Egan. It's going to be interesting to see what happens now that Ericsson's lawyers take a closer look at Hericsson.
Hans Sandberg

PS. The plot thickens! It seems that Hericsson has been around for a long time. I found a press release from Unitech Industries, Inc., dated Scottsdale, Arizona, March 27, 1995 (!!!) and distributed by PRNewswire.
"Unitech Industries, Inc. (Nasdaq-NNM: UTII) said today that it has completed the first phase of its acquisition of Solidex and its sister company Hericson International Ltd. with the purchase of the net assets of Solidex for $3.4 million in cash. Solidex is a California-based distribution company that markets video, wireless communication and computer accessories.

According to John Londelius, president and chief executive officer, Unitech expects later this month to complete the acquisition of Hericson International, Ltd., a Hong Kong-based engineering and manufacturing company of video cellular and computer accessories. The company believes that based on 1994 revenues the Solidex acquisition could add approximately $17 million to Unitech's revenues during the next 12 months, with an additional $8 million in revenue added when the Hericson purchase is completed."
Is this the same Hericsson as the Shenzhen company?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hans Rosling's TED Talk About Child Mortality

Hans Rosling is wonderful ....makes me proud to be a Swede!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Elite Advice to Jobless Journalists: Go East Young Men, and Women

Tina Brown and Tom Brokaw seems to hav e seen the end of the tunnel for journalists left behind by the combined foreces of the recession and bloggerization of their trade. Move to India.

Here is a quote from Tina Brown as reported by New York Magazine:

"Young journalists [should] go work in India," she said. "There are so many great newspapers in India. I go quite a lot, actually. It has a very vibrant newspaper and magazine culture. There's a lot of energy in Delhi, a lot of newsmagazines. It's a very literary culture, it's great." What if we're staying put, though? "It's a transitional moment for journalists but it's much better, as a journalist, to be young than it is to be 50," she said. "So just wait it out and it'll get good again. I think there's a lot of very good talent coming up, I just worry for them because they have to get the experience. They have to be trained."
Former "NBC Nightly News" anchor Tom Brokaw recommends anybody with a college degree to leave the country once known as the land of opportunity:
"I wouldn't be looking just within our borders for opportunities. I'd be looking to see what the chances are of getting a job in the Middle East, for example. Or in India. Or in China, .... I've talked to a number of very senior American executives who -- so much of their work now is offshore -- say one of the things they need are people who are willing to pack up and go there and become middle managers."
Go East, young men and women! May the force be with you!

Hans Sandberg

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Hidden Skyscraper - Empire State Building

They are mighty, but often hard to see from the street level.