What your Mother should have taught you about Entrepreneurship

I’m holding a talk today tonight at ACACES 2008 in lovely l’Aquila outside Rome. This posting is a placeholder for putting up information related to that talk and facilitating audience follow-ups.

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Turn off the lights, just don’t light any candles

Today was the WWF Earth Hour event. CNN reports:

The environmental group WWF has urged governments, businesses and households to turn back to candle power for at least 60 minutes Saturday starting at 8 p.m. wherever they were.

Yes, for some bizarre reasons candles are viewed as good for the environment. I first assumed it was just media and folks in general that were confused, but nope. On the Earth Hour FAQ you can read:

If you plan on burning candles during Earth Hour, make sure you use 100% beeswax candles which are gentler on our planet – smoke free, non-toxic and non-allergenic. They are also made of natural products, not petroleum-based materials, so they are effectively carbon neutral (the CO2 they emit has already been taken from the atmosphere to produce the wax).


Here’s an idea: let’s use beeswax for all our energy needs, since it’s carbon neutral. Continue reading

A nuclear power plant equals 100 billion bags of potato chips

PepsiCo’s Walkers unit in the UK spent two months to figure out that the carbon footprint of a bag of chips is 75 grams (Business Week). There are about a million grams in a short ton, and at $20 external cost of a ton of CO2 that’s 0.2 cents (see my previous posting about those numbers). Of course, there are no regulations covering how this number is generated, and there is no audit, nor any liability for PepsiCo if they get it wrong. But even at face value, we have a new reference point for CO2 emissions: bags of chips. Continue reading

Gasoline is Good for Global Warming

Today the price of oil just set a new all-time high of over $104, something that may come as news to a President that doesn’t know the price of gasoline [1]. But that’s not what’s most interesting about the news on energy. What’s interesting is the recent data that gasoline consumption in the United States is down slightly, and what that tells us about carbon taxes and climate change.

The issue isn’t whether global warming is real or not, or even whether it’s mostly (or just partly) a man-made phenomenon. The issue is what to do about it. And in the midst of the hoopla around super delegates and related matters of import, it merits to be reminded of some of the key issues that the next President will face.
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Yossi Vardi wins Quote of the Day at TechCrunch 40

In the category of best closing comment to close the first day of TC40, I hereby declare the legendary Yossi Varid the winner.

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TechCrunch 40, Day 1

I’m hanging out at the event of the day, the TC40, where Jason, Michael, and Heather have done an amazing job of getting sizzling hot startups to fight for a seat at the podium. Well, that’s the story, anyway. As if this event needs blog coverage, lol!

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Blaming Jane Fonda for Global Warming doesn’t help

Levitt and Dubner takes a look at why nuclear power only accounts for 20% of electricity production in the US, and playfully blames Jane Fonda. It’s a cute narrative, but Levitt and Dubner ignore a number of economic aspects of the energy sector in their column, which is interesting since, *ahem*, Levitt is a brilliant economist.

If you haven’t read Freakonomics yet, you really should. Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner do a marvelous job of applying critical thinking (or as they term it, “economics”) to some non-typical problems and arrive at some thought-provoking conclusions. E.g., crime rates don’t drop because of “get tough on crime”; the only statistically significant factors are (a) the number of cops and (b) legalization of abortion; and backyard pools are more dangerous than guns.

Ok, that’s enough of a plug for their book and my own affiliate kick-back.

The Freakonomics blog is an extension of the book, and continues Levitt’s tradition of revisiting old topics with a fresh, critical eye. And eyebrows were raised over the weekend as he took aim at Hollywood. In an expanded article in today’s New York Times Magazine, Levitt argues that Hollywood, with “The China Syndrome”, which coincided with the Three Mile Island incident, helped derail US exploitation of nuclear power, and so playfully blames Jane Fonda for global warming.

A wonderful headline, to be sure. But this is a troublesome perspective, for a number of reasons.

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Miniguide: Moving your contacts from Windows to Mac

The best way to migrate your Outlook contacts to the Macintosh Address Book is by way of the Mozilla Thunderbird installation wizard on the Windows side; Thunderbird will then export to LDIF, which Address Book can import. And you’re done. This tip took me a while to find amongst all the options, and with an increasing number of friends and acquaintances switching from Windows to Mac these days, I thought I would share it.

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For the first time in 10,000 years, farming is not the dominating industry

The international reporting on the KILM report mostly rehashed the original Reuters report, and failed to emphasize the most interesting tidbit: that of the three economic activities – farming, industry, and services – farming is no longer the largest global employer.

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Miniguide: Liquids and Electronics

I’ve been enjoying hanging around at GetSatisfaction lately, and for some reason decided to research the issue of what to do when you spill liquids on your electronics. This isn’t the usual heady strategic stuff that I prefer to write, but odds are this is actually more useful. I haven’t really found a good general online guide for this, which is bizarre since this is really something that basically every modern adult should know. If you’re anything like me, then it’s not a question of if you’re going to spill something on your laptop or mobo, but when. I suspect if you know me and my blog you probably know this stuff, but odds are you have friends and family that don’t.

Well this advice may be too late, but this is an area that is broadly misunderstood, so this might be of general interest. I learned the bulk of this stuff years ago, but after freshening up with some online guides, here’s the dope on liquids and electronics:

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