Yahoo stock, and the internet search engine roadmap

From the Joe Duck blog:

I’ve been waiting for a “sign” to buy Yahoo (well, some SHARES of Yahoo ) which seems due for a huge surge when their publisher network revenues kick in later this year. Yahoo has more traffic than Google but you sure wouldn’t know it from the buzz, even among industry insiders. Capitalization lags Google big time for what appear to be no really good reasons.

My sign that Yahoo will do very well came last week as I signed up and used Flickr, which ranks among the most intuitive and brilliant applications I’ve ever used.

Read more here…

I think Joe’s insight is on track, but I think that Google has also been their own worst enemy with some of the corporate decisions they have made.

Google has been criticized for installing “cookies”; for offering a reverse-lookup phone directory that can be used to find a person’s address; for filtering out too much or too little pornographic content with its “SafeSearch” feature; for hurting small companies by ranking search results according to popularity and for altering the calculations of rankings; for scanning and digitally indexing copyrighted library books without asking the permission of copyright holders; the initial public offering had such a complicated auction system that only big investors had the wherewithal to figure it out.

But censoring its own services for consumption in China may be Google’s greatest Achillies Heel. Even though Yahoo, Microsoft, etc. have all done China deals, Google is the company with the “Don’t be Evil” mantra. So they end up looking like the biggest hypocrites.

Microsoft also has Google in its sights and Google could take a major hit if MS Live is any kind of success. Don’t be too quick to discount MS’s impact. Although investors have been pretty negative regarding the MS internet product roadmap.

Flickr, MySpace, even AdultFriendFinder are all examples of community based portals that are very successful. Yahoo is a survivor and the Flickr portal is a good example of why it stays successful. Yahoo continues to not only survive, but grow and meet investor expectations by keeping the Yahoo collective ear to the internet rail.

Meanwhile “clustering” search technology is poised to change “internet search”, as we know it now, in a profound way. Though “Clustering” has been around for a couple of years, I am finally seeing “cluster” search products in the document management and legal verticals.

Check out for an example of clustered search results.

Italy now assigning civil rights to seafood!

Italy restaurant fined for “cruel” lobster display

The real prey here is the poor restaurant owner. (oh! and also … human rights).

An Italian restaurant was fined 688 euros ($855) for displaying live lobsters on ice to attract patrons, in an innovative application of an anti-cruelty law usually affecting to household pets.

A court in the northeastern city of Vicenza ruled the display was a form of abuse dooming the crustaceans to a slow death by suffocation.

“We’re appealing,” said Giuseppe Scalesia, who runs La Conchiglia D’Oro, or “Golden Shell,” restaurant along with his brother Camillo.

“They said that the lobsters, laying on the ice, suffer… They compared them in court to other animals, like cats and dogs.”

You have the right to be … delicious!

Where is the melted butter!

The anti human dirt worshippers once again hijack a law to use it for their own religious extremist purposes and to grab a little more power along the way… as usual.

The case was brought by Gianpaolo Cecchetto, a former environmental activist, who took his two young children to the Vicenza restaurant in May 2002.

“They were shocked by the display,” Cecchetto told Reuters, adding he immediately got in touch with the ENPA national animal protection entity. “ENPA took care of the lawyers and legal proceedings.”

Ha! Imagine their shock when they find out that a customer will actually EAT the lobster!

Italy has some of the world’s toughest animal rights laws. The city of Rome in October banned goldfish bowls, seen as cruel, while Turin passed a law last year that would fine dog owners 500 euros unless they walked their canine friends at least three times a day.

What better way to force civilization to downgrade back to cave dweller status than to equate human rights with the rights of our food?

The Politics of Oil – making sense of it all

The Politics of Oil: The Discourse Must Change
by The Oil Drum Editors
Leaders of both political parties are expressing concern about the high price of gasoline. President George Bush announced yesterday that he was suspending deliveries to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to make more oil available to consumers as well as putting on hold the traditional regulations requiring additives to make fuel burn cleaner during the summer driving season.

Meanwhile, Democratic leaders have had their own response to rising gas prices.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has announced his support for the Menendez Amendment, which would “provide more than $6 billion in relief directly to the American people by eliminating the federal tax for both gas and diesel for 60 days.”

Senator Charles Schumer recently called for a federal investigation to determine whether oil companies are withholding gasoline production.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has blamed high gas prices on the administration’s cozy relationship with the oil companies, price gouging, and royalty relief.

…the leaders of both political parties are not only headed in the wrong direction with respect to gas prices, but we also worry that they fundamentally misunderstand the factors behind the current situation at gasoline stations around the US.

Public statements by political figures over the past several days would seem to suggest that oil companies and their record profits are the sole factor determining the price of gasoline. Not only is this untrue, but it is dangerous to give the American people the impression that only oil companies are to blame. The American people need to understand that the phenomenon of high gas prices cannot be attributed to a single source. They also need to understand that no one political party will be able to fix our current woes.

The major factor that determines gas prices is the price of crude oil from which gasoline is derived. When crude oil prices are high, so are gas prices. The following are just a few factors that affect the price of a barrel of oil:

Oil companies do not single-handedly determine the price of oil. The price of oil is set on the crude oil futures market. Simply put, these prices are affected by supply and demand because, at present, oil trades in a global commodity market where increased demand or reduced supply in one place instantly translates into price shifts everywhere. A variety of publicly available information sources show that supply is relatively static at the moment, while world demand continues to grow as economies grow.

We have provided evidence many times at The Oil Drum that the output of major oilfields is declining and that we may now have reached a peak or plateau in global oil supply. Oil companies have not been able to increase production for a number of years, and it is unclear that OPEC is accurately reporting their reserves. Even if there were significant sources of high quality oil remaining, it is getting increasingly difficult and expensive to drill.

These factors, along with aging infrastructure for oil exploration and a retiring workforce are also contributing to high oil prices.

The geopolitical situation is volatile, and an astute citizen may notice that every time there is news from Nigeria or Iran, the price of oil goes up because of the potential and real effects of these situations on world oil supply. Again, oil traders are fearful that the supply will not remain stable forever.

Countries like China and India are industrializing at a great pace, and while we are accustomed to obtaining oil at a comfortable quantity and price, it will be impossible (and immoral) to deny similar resources to these countries. China is working furiously to secure new oil supplies, and they’re content to negotiate with countries we’re reluctant to deal with, like Iran and the Sudan.

There is no alternative other than to find an alternative to using oil for energy. Finding that alternative or even several alternatives to replace all that we now use oil to accomplish, will take significant effort.

But as of now there really is no crude oil replacement that would also allow us to maintain the high energy consumption lifestyle that we now currently enjoy.

In that respect, there is no reason that a singularity event couldn’t cause society to suffer a major regression

back to a less civilized form.

Regressor luddites in the recording industry

A fine example of our favorite regressor luddites “the recording industry” desperately clinging to the past, but now with even more draconian govenrment help.

Congress readies broad new digital copyright bill

For the last few years, a coalition of technology companies, academics and computer programmers has been trying to persuade Congress to scale back the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Now Congress is preparing to do precisely the opposite. A proposed copyright law seen by CNET would expand the DMCA’s restrictions on software that can bypass copy protections and grant federal police more wiretapping and enforcement powers.

Way back when the automobile started replacing the horse and buggy, did congress pass any laws to force people who were driving automobiles to equip their car with a buggy whip?

Read the whole thing.

Hints of the new economy

Man using Web to barter paper clip for house

Kyle MacDonald had a red paper clip and a dream: Could he use the community power of the Internet to barter that paper clip for something better, and trade that thing for something else — and so on and so on until he had a house?

After a cross-continental trading trek involving a fish-shaped pen, a town named Yahk and the Web’s astonishing ability to bestow celebrity, MacDonald is getting close. He’s up to one year’s free rent on a house in Phoenix.

Not a bad return on an investment of one red paper clip. Yet MacDonald, 26, vows to keep going until he crosses the threshold of his very own home, wherever that might be.

Read more here…

Interesting imponderable; theorizing possibilities of the composition and properties of a post singularity economy. Anecdotes like the above account proffer us a tiny hint of things to come.

Adult Stem Cells … positive clinical results.

Adult stem cell implant first in orthopaedic patient

The Royal Melbourne Hospital has performed the world’s first implant of cultured specialist stem cells into an orthopaedic patient who suffered a broken femur nine months ago which failed to heal.

Mr Richard de Steiger, the Director of Orthopaedics at the hospital, performed the operation as an alternative to the standard bone graft which requires a separate incision and is potentially associated with other complications.

“If successful this procedure may significantly reduce or eliminate long-term patient complications while decreasing length of stay in hospital and costs associated with the treatment of long bone fractures,” said Mr de Steiger.

Adult Stem Cells have so far been the only variety of stem cell to actually have proven repeatable positive clinical results.

Unlike fetal cells which are not only politically controversial, but have had a terrifically poor track record with regards to:

fraudulent research

alltogether Fake Stem Cell Therepy

outright research thievery

and a load of unfulfilled promises.

Orderly Nanofibers

This is admirable, take a 72 year old methodology and with it create something that is on the very bleeding edge of the technology world.
Nanofibers Created In Orderly Fashion

For 72 years, scientists have been able to use electric fields to spin polymers into tiny fibers. But there’s been just one problem: Like worms that won’t stop wriggling, the fibers tangle randomly almost as soon as they are created.

Now, researchers at University of California, Berkeley, have found a way to use the electric-field process to make nanofibers in a direct, continuous and controllable manner. The new technique, known as near-field electrospinning, offers the possibility of producing out of nanofibers new, specialized materials with organized patterns that can be used for such applications as wound dressings, filtrations and bio-scaffolds.

Electrospinning was first patented in 1934, when scientists learned how to eject a thin stream of polymer mixed with a solvent out of a syringe into a charged field. As the solvent evaporates, electric forces pull at the polymer, accelerating and elongating it into a long, wildly whipping fiber that forms a matted pile on a charged screen 10 to 30 centimeters away.

Read more…