Archive for the ‘Technology and Business’ Category

I think everyone knows Hugh Hefner.  I know every guy knows Hugh Hefner.  He created Playboy, a magazine that cared about editorial, social causes, sophisticated humor, and nakedness.  The nakedness, of course, is what counted to we 12-year-olds.

Growing up in a world where there wasn’t the Internet or cable TV, Playboy was king.  Other magazines tried to dethrone Playboy, but Playboy always remained the standard-bearer.

Even in a world of Internet and cable TV, Playboy meant something… continues to mean something.  

It could be because founding Playboy wasn’t easy… it was the first… it went against all societal norms… and it met with, at times, violent resistance.  Huge Hefner truly was the proverbial “pioneer with arrows in his back.”

Or, maybe, it’s just because we were all 12-years-old boys once.

There’s a great quote from the movie Animal House where an adolescent boy is looking at a Playboy and a beautiful woman crashes through his window and lands on his bed.  The adolescent exclaims, “Thank you, God!”

For me, all I can say is, “Thank you, Hugh.”

Hugh Hefner

P.S.  As always, The Superficial gives Hugh the kind of unfiltered send-off that I think would put a smile on his face.  Check it out here.  (I borrowed the picture above from them.  Hugh has his arm around the beautiful Barbi Benton, of course!)

 

 

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The lotto prize was $700 million… wow!

Just read a great piece at CNBC from Kevin Breuninger that puts the odds of winning that in perspective, though:

The odds of grabbing the grand prize are 1 in 292.2 million, according to the game’s own assessment. To put this in context, your chances of being killed by a lightning strike are approximately 1 in 161,000. The odds of being killed in a shark attack are 1 in 3.7 million.

Even getting hit by a meteorite is more likely than winning the Powerball — 1 in 1.9 million.

 

But here’s my favorite part:

In fact, your chance of getting struck by lightning, bitten by a shark, smacked by a meteor and hitting a hole-in-one on the same day is statistically far more likely than winning the jackpot, according to Jim Murphy of sportsbettingexperts.com.

With all of that said, I’m still happy that I bought a ticket… after all, someone has to win it, right?!  :)

We have a LOT of problems in the United States.  All of them are important… but, realistically, if we can’t PRIORITIZE correctly, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot… and maybe the head.

It’s this prioritization that has strangled the Republican party… or should I say “hijacked.”

The greatest example of this is pro-life and pro-choice.  Clearly this is a hugely important issue… but it’s a hugely important PERSONAL issue… and as such should actually stay out of politics. 

Practically speaking, the Republican party has alienated large numbers of Americans on this single issue… meaning, no matter how intelligent the rest of the republican agenda may be, regulating right-to-choose is a complete and utter deal-breaker for many voters.

I would hope the Republican party would have learned this lesson by now.

But — unbelievably — Trump just created a SECOND complete and utter deal-breaker:  Climate change.

From Business Insider this morning:

The US officially tells the UN it is quitting the Paris climate change deal

Are you kidding me?

Whether you agree there’s people-made climate change or not… whether you agree this is good for business or not… Trump has just created YET ANOTHER deal-breaking issue for a mass of voters.

How stupid.

P.S.  My take on climate change?  Go live in Beijing for a couple months — A COUPLE OF DAYS — and then give me your opinion.

In 2014, China launched a war on pollution, vowing to cut down on hazardous emissions of PM 2.5. It's hard to do that amid a growing economy, but so far, Beijing has been able to shut down coal plants within city limits, and has tried to curb car emissions by limiting the number of license plates.

CNBC did a fascinating analysis of who’s better for the stock market, a Democrat or Republican.

Below are the visuals.

While the initial conclusion here is, “Democrats are better for the stock market”… I believe what these charts actually show is what happens when the Republican party abandons its long-standing partyline of being fiscally responsible.

That is to say, while it may have been helpful to the military complex, dragging us into needless and endless and massively expensive military action is simply bad for business.

I think the charts below prove that in spades.

 

OPEC just announced some “kinda” agreement about production levels and freeze.

Oil just skyrocketed on the potential “news” (up 5.3% @ $47.05 for the Nov ’16 contract).

Everyone has been waiting for this moment… a signal from OPEC that the strategy it’s employed the last few years is changing.

Everyone — 100% of all analysts — have come out saying this will put a floor under oil prices now.

The contrarian in me says when everyone thinks one way, the opposite usually happens.

What could possibly go wrong?

Maybe this inspires more U.S. shale oil to be produced… that was one of the reasons oil dropped from the triple digits not so long ago.

Maybe the “cuts” aren’t real cuts, just natural scale-back given the time of year (between summer driving and winter heating)… so any temporary euphoria in the market will soon get replaced with the commonsense observation that everyone is still pumping at near-record levels.

Maybe it’s just all of the OPEC members playing games with each other — and the world — again.

Who knows, but it will be interesting to see!

 

This is a big day.

For almost 40 years I’ve been a Republican. Most of it as a not-very-proud Republican.

It would be easy to say I became a Republican because my dad was a Republican. But it is better to say that my dad was a businessman and a fiercely-proud Greek immigrant / naturalized American citizen. Back when I first registered to vote… and my dad before me… the Republican party was the party of business and opportunity.

Not any more.

Today it’s the party of whatever-you-want-to-be-extreme-about… and most concerningly, about stuff that simply hijacks the important governing issues of the day.

Yes, I know, some of these issues are actually important.

But, as we’re fiddling, Rome is burning. There has to be perspective and priorities. We want the patient to live. So, air first. Then water. And so on. This appears to be lost on the collective we call the Republican Party these last few elections.

I wish there was a “Moderate” Party (coined by my friend Mike Rubin). Not too far to the right… or left… mostly inspired by down-the-middle common sense.

And trust.

Given the candidates the Republican Party has presented in the last few years — ahem, decades — I simply don’t trust the Republican Party to represent what I believe any longer: That we should run ourselves responsibly. That we should live and let live.

Fiscally conservative. Socially liberal.

In the past, I was able to look past a candidate — a party — I didn’t agree with.  I simply withheld my Republican vote.

Sadly I’ve been doing that for a long time.

I can’t do that any longer.

Not when I have ideological issues AND now also feel like I have to fact-check every word coming out of the best-the-Republican-Party-can-do candidate’s mouth… that is, when I’m not cringing from his immature mud-slinging.

So, because there isn’t a Moderate Party…

… today I became an independent.

I will now vote for what I think is best.

Maybe that will, in fact, be a Republican. Maybe not. But I am making a conscious decision not to vote along party lines… because I no longer agree with a lot of the party lines… nor trust the candidate chosen to represent those lines.

40 years of political affiliation… changed in about three minutes online.

It doesn’t feel normal or comfortable.

I guess the start of every revolution feels like that.

 

P.S. To go to the Government’s Voter Registration website, click here.

All we’ve been hearing about is that our oil reserves are near an all-time high… which I think is a good thing… since it puts a downward pressure on the price of oil… which means we consumers pay less for everything… which means greater corporate profits… etc., etc.

The “near an all-time high” has been an important investment theme, too, since it signals a glut of oil on the market.

I just read something, though, that scares the hell out of me.

Our “all-time high” is 3 billion barrels of crude… which sounds like a lot..

… but according to CNBC it’s only one month of global consumption… ?

That’s it?  That’s our big cushion?

Yikes.

I think we’re a ways away from the bull case… but given that statistic… and unless alternative energy sources become much more prevalent… you can see how the bull case will eventually (sadly) run rampant.