Monthly Archives: December 2007

Take the Broweird News Quiz

Miami is weird and wonderful. But Miami people say that Broward, the next county north, is just weird. That's not completely fair, but you'd be forgiven for thinking it after you take the Miami Herald's fun Broweird news quiz.

Sample question (I had to think about this one):

16. Which of the following in Fort Lauderdale terrorized two teenagers and sent a dog to the animal hospital for treatment?

A. Africanized honey bees.

B. Deerfield Beach firefighter and reality TV show star Dani Campbell.

C. Alligators.

D. Airport bus drivers.

Could have been any of them, really.

Posted in Florida | Comments Off on Take the Broweird News Quiz

Another Reason for Americans to be Proud of Our Government


Kevin Jon Heller, Bilal Hussein's Kangaroo Court (summarizing Scott Horton's excellent An Update on the Trial of Bilal Hussein).

Given how raw the US's behavior is, this case has gotten remarkably little media: You'd expect reporters to care more about the treatment of a fellow journalist. Perhaps the Pentagon's anti-reporter tactics are getting better?

Posted in Iraq | 3 Comments

Globalization Has Some Work Left to Do

Tom's Hardware finds that computer hardware prices vary enormously around the world. Globalization — and even the European single market — still has a long way to go:

Meanwhile, the price differences between different PC products are remarkable. Basic consumer electronics accessories such as a 2-GB SD memory card vary in price around the world by up to 100%, while prices for premium PC components vary by 10-30%. Cost for a Core 2 Duo E6850 processor or a GeForce 8800 GTS graphics card was very much balanced, while the Coolermaster power supply or the Zalman CPU cooler showed large pricing differences. We selected products that are available almost everywhere, and we took the average price of the four cheapest etailers to get a solid number.

We found that France is rather expensive, especially if compared to Germany, which is next door. The United States is at the other end of the pricing spectrum, as most products are less expensive there.

One reason may be that consumer-level arbitrage isn't easy:

It does not make sense to order hardware in a foreign country, or to buy large amounts of hardware when you travel. One the one hand, shipping cost will eat up all cost advantages. On the other hand, you'll have to pay custom duties or an import turnover tax for many products. The only exception is the purchase of inexpensive products, as consumers in different countries can often buy goods abroad that remain below a certain price level without having to pay duty charges.

Posted in Econ & Money, Shopping | 1 Comment

Embarrasement of Riches (or Something)

Today's top 10 list: Dahlia Lithwick of Slate's The Bush administration's dumbest legal arguments of the year.

I make it about 387 days to go. Plenty of time for another bumper crop.

Posted in Politics: The Party of Sleaze | 1 Comment

Miami Herald to Outsource Local News?

Businessweek says,

The Miami Herald is outsourcing some of its advertising production work to India, the newspaper's editor said Thursday.

Starting in January, copyediting and design in a weekly section of Broward County community news and other special advertising sections will be outsourced to Mindworks, based in New Delhi.

I know Broward (the county north of here) feels like a foreign country, but really…

Posted in The Media | Comments Off on Miami Herald to Outsource Local News?

Catalog Choice Scares Marketers

I've used Catalog Choice to attempt to stop 19 catalogs so far. I'm not sure any of them have actually stopped yet, but the site says it can take three months, and dates range from one to 45 days ago, so I guess I have to be patient.

Interesting to read, though, that rather than write me off as a waste of marketing money, the catalog industry wants to ignore my preferences and keep sending them. According to Business Week, a Direct Marketing Association honcho e-mailed all members to pull up the drawbridge:

How did they respond? Some—mostly outdoorsy brands like L.L. Bean and Lands' End (SHLD)—made soothing noises. Others blew off the Web site (and subsequently, the people declining their catalogs), and have done nothing with the names. Still, despite being less than three months old, Catalog Choice has managed to spook an industry. Consider the Nov. 29 e-mail from the Direct Marketing Assn. Bearing the subject line “JUST SAY NO,” it warned retailers that Catalog Choice's “priority is to eliminate catalogs as a marketing medium. It is not in your interest to further their efforts!”

Charming, isn't it. More at the Catalog Choice Blog. If you want the view from the (relatively) enlightened wing of the marketers, check out MineThatData Blog.

Posted in Shopping | 2 Comments