QuickReaction, Monday-5

Bank crime matters! If you don’t think the shenanigans and crimes at JPMorgan don’t matter to you go look at Cyprus. There the banks lost huge amounts betting on Greek banks which lost huge amounts as well, going back to the losses U.S. banks created when they sold their “pieces of shit” to others (as the Senate hearing found). Somewhere the buck really stops and in this case it’s in Cyprus. There people with money in banks are expected to directly bail out their criminal banks, with their deposits!, not just just future taxes as we’re doing. So greedy bankers in order to get bonuses make stupid derivative investments and ordinary people in Cyprus have to pay. It’s not like Cypriots have been “takers” and living on easy street – no, they have to bail out their banks to pay back the Germans. So when JPMorgan lost that money don’t expect the bankers to pay and now don’t expect the “government” to pay, but expect one of these days the hand will slide directly into your pocket. You think you saved for retirement, as the up-by-your-bootstraps Repugs demand you must, well think again. Your savings are just next in line to be seized to pay bonuses to Jamie Dimon and his fellow kleptocrats. Or else, as they’re doing in Cyprus, the rest of the economy is held hostage and ready to be destroyed if you don’t fork over your deposits to the greedy banker crime bosses.

AstraZeneca is insane and you’d be insane to believe them. The company has a simple problem, not enough new products. So it has a simple solution, cut costs and lay off people in R&D. HUH! This makes sense to anyone (and apparently much of the financial community isn’t buying it). No, this is just cost-cutting to try to fake earnings. I’ve seen it. I actually lived it. I lost my job due to it. A company with declining fortunes due to management blunders and desperately in need of new products to enhance revenues instead simply decides to cut costs. And since high tech companies don’t make anything, costs mostly translates into developers and/or R&D. So you solve the problem of lack of new products by getting rid of the people who create new products. This is accounting mentality. This means the management of AstraZeneca (and IIG) is so damned stupid they are worse than clueless and so I say, go short on their stock as stupidity like this will lead to failure. Of course in the short term those stupid managers will pay themselves big bonuses while they negotiate the sale of the company to someone stupid enough to buy a rotted corpse.

The cloud fails again: While most of us aren’t very good about protecting our own files on our machines when we get failures it just takes us down. I’m not aware of any statistics about rate of failure of personal machines vs servers in the cloud but in some ways it doesn’t matter. When the cloud fails, even though possibly that failure rate is lower than individual failures rates, many will be affected. It’s sorta like cars vs airplanes. Few are killed in airplane crashes and many are killed in car crashes so clearly the individual plan (cars) is more dangerous. But when planes crash and especially if you’re the victim it gets more attention. Again, I don’t know if Amazon or Google or Dropbox or whoever is actually maintaining better uptime, but the cloud, which got so much positive hype before it existed, is also doomed, like airplanes, to get a lot of negative when it fails. Nobody hears about it if my disk drive breaks, but many will hear about Google breaking. So, in reality, the cloud might have to be two, three, even four orders of magnitude more reliable to be able to create the perception of greater reliability. And it’s unlikely the cloud can do this so we’ll gradually turn against the cloud. Now personally my issue is simpler. I trust their servers; I don’t trust my connection to their servers. It is amazing how unreliable networks are (not any given component, each of which is highly reliable), but the end-to-end availability, with my end being the weakest link. What good does it do me if Google or Dropbox maintains some fabulous uptime rating if I can’t connect? So, thank you, I’ll keep my own files even though I have had failures and will have them again.

Cheeky! The company (Blackberry) that fell furthest behind the times (and still is) has the nerve to accuse the company (Apple) who slaughtered them in the market of being behind the times. My, oh my, I guess that is the very definition of chutzpah and certainly arrogance and clueless as well. Their CEO must be a tea bagger and Ted Cruz fan.

Seems more reasonable on second thought: (Just bought a Kindle book of that name, I hope learn something). No, this article is about a claim that swallows are “evolving”. People often use the generic meaning of ‘evolution’ just a changing. But ‘evolution’ in the biological and Darwinian sense is much more than that. So when I saw a headline with the claim that swallows are “evolving” to not be killed by cars so much I scoffed. But then I read. Now I haven’t been on the exact bridge mentioned in this article, but I have seen swallow colonies on bridges in Nebraska, so I know a tiny bit about their behavior. Birds are actually fairly smart and they’re capable of learning. And I think we’re seeing that a number of animals have, however simplistic, “culture”, i.e. learning across generations and individuals. So many wild animals that now have to live near people are adapting, but are they “evolving”. In this case the article has a credible claim they are, in that the wing length of the swallows is changing. Darwin directly demonstrated, via the shape of bird’s beaks, actual evolution, so wing length is a real thing, where genes are being selectively passed on and in fact is evolution, not learning or culture.


About dmill96

old fat (but now getting trim and fit) guy, who used to create software in Silicon Valley (almost before it was called that), who used to go backpacking and bicycling and cross-country skiing and now geodashes, drives AWD in Wyoming, takes pictures, and writes long blog posts and does xizquvjyk.
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2 Responses to QuickReaction, Monday-5

  1. Nona says:

    I worked for a pharmaceutical company that lost 1 Billion $ before finally selling to Baxter. Relieved, nope, they closed us down the next day. The only thing they wanted was our patents. The only ones that profited were the BIG DOGS, the rest of us had to hit the unemployment line all 3200 of us. I was a regional regulatory and quality assurance manager and knew what the issues were and was surprised every year for 4 years that with an FDA consent decree we didn’t make any effort to sell earlier. AstraZeneca is just one more example of profit taking and not investing in R & D or capital expenditures.

    • dmill96 says:

      Wow, that’s pretty amazing. When I worked for small under-funded startups sometimes the buyout saved us. DuPont bought one of my companies just to get the tax breaks, but then they actually funded us (a tiny pittance of their money). It went well for a while and we got to build a fantastic system with a Japanese partner providing the hardware. Then, poof, one day some guy we’d never seen before showed up. After one hour meeting with the managers (a minor amount of negotiating terms was possible) a group meeting and most people left that afternoon. Total surprise, never saw it coming. And actually it wasn’t bad. Disappointing, of course, esp. after 80 hour weeks building the system, but if we had to get chopped that was clean way to do us. In the scale of our little company I was one of the BIG DOGs and managed to get my options vested and so became (and still am) a DuPont stockholder. My stock there plus lottery winnings could get me a nice vacation 😉

      Most of the high tech companies in California don’t look at the finance or accounting the way the big capital intensive companies do. Working with DuPont was interesting, esp. as patents were so important to them. In tech it’s rare that matters since everything is obsolete in five years anyway. DuPont was very good at what they did and very bad at what we did. Their entire business model is based on continuing sales of a consumable product (essentially the same as pharmaceuticals). So they spend a fortune getting product and acquiring customers, but then milk 90% gross profits to pay for those upfront costs. I remember the nonstop flock of DuPont lifers coming out (they all loved a junket to California to play some golf in the winter) who just couldn’t believe our products did not involved consumables (I remember once saying I thought electricity was our only consumable). They just assumed the world was the same as their world. So when they figured out we were a capital purchase business we didn’t look so good. I also remember telling all those visitors in answer to their question “What will you do when you get it built” and I said “start on the next version” that they just didn’t see R&D as an ongoing process, but only a one-time expense. And R&D was certainly just an unpleasant requirement not a core competency. So it didn’t surprise me that a pharma company would just see R&D as an expense item, to be cut when times are tough, instead of the engine of growth and profits.

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