Interesting — Roundest Object, Sonic Black Hole, Relativistic Arbitrage

* “Roundest Object In The World”:http://www.adafruit.com/blog/2011/02/14/roundest-object-in-the-world-the-avogadro-project/. I could so bowl 300 with one of these.
* “Sonic Black Hole”:http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-01-physicists-sonic-black-hole-lab.html. Bring one of these to your next meeting, watch hilarity ensue.
* “Relativistic Statistical Arbitrage”:http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2011/04/relativistic-statistical-arbitrage.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+marginalrevolution%2Ffeed+%28Marginal+Revolution%29. This is why I would make a crappy day trader, I always forget to include relativistic effects.

Stuff I want but don't need — Post Father's Day edition

Had a great father’s day, got some cool photo tools, some books that look great, and a couple of games since I have played Left4Dead and Fallout3 to death. Here’s some stuff I didn’t get and probably for good reason.

Physical Stuff:

* Faux fountains via Scott Loftesness. Cool looking and an inspiration for Halloween.
* IP PBX tips for home. I was all excited about this several years ago but increasingly not so…having resident phone technology seems so backwards
* Projects Watches wristwatches. Cool looking but increasingly I have given up on wristwatches.
* Television emulator. I don’t know, I think the dogs would prefer to watch real TV.
* Olympus PEN. Having just hauled the Canon up and down a mountain Sunday morning, the idea of a smaller form factor camera with great lenses is appealing.
* Super Duper Denon pre-amp. Just can’t face all the cabling problems tho of disconnecting my current and connecting in a new.

Virtual Stuff:
* Mint.com. Like the idea of automated analysis of my financials, but I am just not going to give another party access to all my financial credentials. They should license these tools to financial service firms for use on their own websites.
* Cisco Network Magic. Nice review. Congrats to the former Pure Networks team.
* Filemaker Bento iPhone app. I regularly get sucked into thinking I need a database and this app is sucking me in again. I know tho I will enter 7 records and abandon the damn thing so I am holding off.

Economists on the bailout

From Marginal Revolution: Economists Speak:

As economists, we want to express to Congress our great concern for the plan proposed by Treasury Secretary Paulson to deal with the financial crisis. We are well aware of the difficulty of the current financial situation and we agree with the need for bold action to ensure that the financial system continues to function. We see three fatal pitfalls in the currently proposed plan:

1) Its fairness. The plan is a subsidy to investors at taxpayers’ expense. Investors who took risks to earn profits must also bear the losses. Not every business failure carries systemic risk. The government can ensure a well-functioning financial industry, able to make new loans to creditworthy borrowers, without bailing out particular investors and institutions whose choices proved unwise.

2) Its ambiguity. Neither the mission of the new agency nor its oversight are clear. If taxpayers are to buy illiquid and opaque assets from troubled sellers, the terms, occasions, and methods of such purchases must be crystal clear ahead of time and carefully monitored afterwards.

3) Its long-term effects. If the plan is enacted, its effects will be with us for a generation. For all their recent troubles, Americas dynamic and innovative private capital markets have brought the nation unparalleled prosperity. Fundamentally weakening those markets in order to calm short-run disruptions is desperately short-sighted.

For these reasons we ask Congress not to rush, to hold appropriate hearings, and to carefully consider the right course of action, and to wisely determine the future of the financial industry and the U.S. economy for years to come.

Hear hear.

TripleAlert is useful

Protect yourself from identity theft with Credit Monitoring from TripleAlert.com — i got a free subscription to this for a year because one of my financial institutions screwed up and released some data. and i have to say it is pretty useful. i get an email alert anytime there is a change to my credit record at any of the 3 major credit tracking institutions — any new account opened for instance. it is a nice part of your personal identity theft package — if all your defenses fail, you can get an alert when something does happen.

it would be interesting to write up and discuss people’s best practices for identity protection. the other thing i am glad i do is to maintain basically two complete bank accounts. one is the “public” account, from which i write all checks, do automatic bill payment, etc. the other is a private account that is where my financial assets are really kept. they are at different institutions. i routinely move money over to the “public” account to pay bills. with this setup, if someone learns how to forge checks or compromises my atm card or something else, they have access to only a teeny tiny part of my assets and i can shut down that public account if i need to.