Our society increasingly relies on complex, tightly coupled systems that handle our healthcare, finances, travel, and more. While those systems can be more productive and theoretically safer, they have vulnerabilities, including the complexity in itself. Sometimes, the addition of more safety features can actually make something less safe by making it more complex and therefore more likely to allow for a mistake to be made. Continue reading “Book Review: Meltdown by Chris Clearfield”
Microsoft (MSFT) is one of the leading companies in the technology sector. The media and the President may obsess over Amazon (AMZN), investors may follow Warren Buffett into Apple (AAPL), and the average Joe may spend half his day on Google (GOOG/GOOGL), Netflix (NFLX), and Facebook (FB), but Microsoft has been quietly expanding its empire far beyond its traditional PC business. It has everything from a popular video game system to a 500 million-member social network to commercial software and cloud services. Those products are generating growth and income for the company’s shareholders. Here are three reasons they are doing this so well. Continue reading “3 Reasons Microsoft Is a Great Company”
- Facebook violated its own terms of service by not protecting customer data from developers.
- This scandal will drag out through government investigations, regulatory moves, lawsuits, and the exposure of further details about Facebook’s failure to protect user data.
- The outlook is not entirely negative. FB still has long-term earnings potential, and there may be opportunities to buy it cheaper.
In his questioning of Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Senator John Kennedy said that “there are some impurities in the Facebook punchbowl.” More bluntly, he continued, “your user agreement sucks.” Kennedy’s questioning deteriorated from there, as he did not get specific enough about the user agreement and showed a lack of understanding about how Facebook and its 3rd party apps work. However, he was absolutely correct in his starting point about Facebook’s user agreement. It sucks. Continue reading at Seeking Alpha…
While I called solar energy “mostly a speculative venture” in my previous post while making the case for investing in LNG transport, I want to make the case for why solar still has a role in my portfolio. Continue reading “The Case for Investing in Solar Energy”
Let’s explore some potential investing strategies in 4 different stock sectors: technology, healthcare, energy, and real estate. We’ll start with tech, which had a huge drop today worth serious examination. Continue reading “Sector Study Session”
This book has a misleading title, which may or may not be the author’s fault, but it is a valuable resource for considering the possible technological developments of the next several decades. Dr. Michio Kaku focuses a lot more on biology than physics, which is the one thing I found disappointing about the book. However, his coverage of nanotechnology makes a nice recovery.
Dr. Kaku’s realistic discussion of artificial intelligence presents the most important conclusion of his research in future technologies: we cannot recreate the human mind. He writes,
Since we are drowning in an ocean of information, the most precious commodity in modern society is wisdom. Without wisdom and insight, we are left to drift aimlessly and without purpose, with an empty, hollow feeling after the novelty of unlimited information wears off.
Much like Thomas L. Friedman in The World Is Flat, Dr. Kaku shows how the economy progresses from commodity capitalism to intellectual capitalism through processes like the Four Stages of Technology and Moore’s Law. Your mind is the one thing that disruptive innovation can never replace. So invest in yourself and train your brain by reading books. Physics of the Future is a good place to start!
While it seems a little early to write a “history of the 21st century,” The World Is Flat is full of amazing insights that reshape the way we look at our world. What do the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Netscape IPO, and 9/11 all have in common? Thomas L. Friedman shows how these and other events are both causes and effects of the flattening of the world that has been on a fast track from 1989 to today.
There is no aspect of our lives that isn’t affected by the flattening trend. Most of these effects are good for us, but only if we understand them. 9/11 is an example of what happens when one group of people takes advantage of the flattening world for destructive purposes while another is unimaginative about its possibilities. The rise of eBay is an example of how a simple technology-based platform can open the business world to people who had previously been held back by geography, age, prejudice, or disability.
This book is an absolute must-read for every global citizen, whether they hold a political office, invest in emerging markets, or work on an assembly line. So many non-fiction books I read start off interesting and then become dull, as if the author had a great idea, but had trouble filling a few hundred pages with it. TWIF gets more and more interesting as you go, building up to a final chapter where Friedman offers a viable solution to create global peace, while simultaneously predicting the populist revolution that is happening today. It is clear that this book has not been read by enough people, and that needs to change!