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December 20, 2011 04:31 PM UTC

Tuesday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

–Winston Churchill


24 thoughts on “Tuesday Open Thread

  1. IBM’s annual “5 in 5” prognostication

    Another potentially world-changing development that IBM thinks is less than five years away is that we’re soon going to be able to produce all the energy we need for our home–ourselves. This is a radical idea, and one that could shake up the entire energy industry. But in a world where every new pound of carbon dioxide that goes into the atmosphere has the potential to help wreak havoc on the planet, this could be a very, very good thing if it turns out to be true.

    This seems incredibly outlandish. However, the 5 in 5 predictions have a pretty solid track record of coming true. If so, this not only would address our dependence on foreign oil and reduce global warming, but it would be destructive change for the energy companies.

    1. If they mean we WILL produce all of our own home energy, then that’s an outlandish prediction.  But if they mean we CAN, that’s not beyond the realm of possibility.

      Solar is becoming more efficient, home wind turbines are becoming available, and there are a few other alternative energy technologies such as geothermal that could sneak in to finish the job.  At the same time, more technologies are available to make our homes more efficient – LED lighting, LED/LCD TVs, newer Energy Star appliances and water heaters, the continued drive toward better home insulation…

      The decline in energy consumption and the increase in home energy solution power capabilities could easily meet within the next five years.

      (A cynical person would take yesterday’s AGOP comment regarding insurance brokers and apply it to energy utilities: that Democrats are just demonizing the utilities – nevermind that these changes are empowering individuals and driving new businesses.)

    2. Well conservative tycoons are fond of pushing the destruction of companies, their brands, their workforce as a natural progression toward economic renewal–as in take over, loot, bankrupt and dissolve. (See Romney, Willard M.) So they should be on board with this.

      My god, can you imagine the capital that would be freed (after the initial demise, of course) by the dissolution of the O&G and distribution industries and their lobbyists? It boggles the mind.

  2. from Marc Andreessen

    I think 2012 is the year that retail–retail stores–really starts to feel the pressure. And I don’t say that because I don’t like retail stores. I loved going to Borders. I thought it was a great consumer experience. And I was a huge fan of Tower Records.

    But the economic pressure is huge as e-commerce gets more and more viable and as these category killers emerge in the superverticals. If I own mall real estate or retail stores in cities, or if I own chains like electronics chains, I’d be concerned…. I think electronics and clothes are going to be a real pressure point. Home furnishing is going to come under pressure. It’s going to get harder and harder to justify the retail store model.

    What’s interesting is he sees what has come so far from online as being minimal compared to what is about to occur. If it does play out like this (which is quite likely), we’re going to see a lot of retail jobs disappear. And no new jobs to replace them.

    Not to mention lots of storefronts sitting empty – which is very damaging to a city.

    1. I think 2012 is the year that retail–retail stores–really starts to feel the pressure.

      WTF?  Can’t fathom how Andreessen thinks ’12 is gonna be worse than 2008-2010.  

      Come on, Tower Records failed due to massive expansion saddling the company with exhorbitant debt.  Mgmt failures, incompetence & and prior debt restructuring caused the demise.  BTW, Tower went down in ’06 and that’s about as ancient at AOL dial up …  

      And funny that no tears are shed for all the mom & pop neighborhood stores that Tower had no problem squashing.  Boulder pretty much lost places like Bart’s & others in the intervening years.  I’m not gonna cry & wail when an vacuous insipid Borders closes but it would truly break my heart if we ever lose Left Hand Books or the Tattered Cover or Boulder Book Store.

      1. Mostly because B&N has its roots in, and still operates, a local book store.  (And because Amazon is already beginning to act like an abusive monopoly.)

        I don’t personally see an end to retail.  For commodity products like music and video where you can sample the product over the Internet, there’s a definite target on the backs of retail shops.  But the clothing I buy online is quite limited because I want to see it, hold it, and try it on before I buy it.  Same goes for certain products like cameras – I care too much to buy my camera bodies online, sight unseen.  I like browsing in book stores, too, and I don’t think current online shops adequately recreate this experience, though they could.  Quite simply, there are some things I don’t trust to online shopping.

        1. But what kills stores is when their sales drop below break-even, not when they drop to zero. Enough people will switch that it will make a lot of retail unprofitable.

          And yes retail has been hurt by the Internet. But Andreessen’s point was that this year and the next couple will be substantially larger than what has occurred so far (that old exponential curve issue).

          When this happens it’s going to have a gigantic impact on local government.

  3. Attended this last night.

    I was pleased, though not surprised, both by the level of support shown by elected officials from around the metro area and by the quantity of “rising stars” among the Young Dems. There was hardly a person under 35 in the room who I couldn’t envision going on to do big things. Even better, I got the impression that the electeds attending felt the same way and are committed to helping these young people grow into their full potential.

    Wonder what young Republicans are up to locally? I’m curious about how their “in ten or fifteen years” bench stacks up against ours. Ours is pretty packed!

    1. And a possible subject for the Pols’ best/worst list. Maybe you guys that stay in the know on the inside could help the rest of us out by mentioning some of the most promising of these rising stars?

  4. Now I completely understand, you can pay these illegals less and they work harder +++ they give you the sense that your really at a Mexican joint.

    Chipotle chief now joins the call for immigration reform …. of course that is well after they were found to have 900 or so illegals working their joints.

    If they’d hired Americans in the first place of course they wouldn’t have been caught, would have been helping the nation by employing Americans and keeping our citizens off the unemployment line.

    Now we know they didn’t, they did it the illegal way. They cost other American business millions in higher unemployment premiums, thus doing their part to damage the national economy.

    Now this article holds them up as some kind of warped success story, when all they did was to abuse Mexicans and cut corners that damaged your economic standing.

    Where is the reporting that should anger their shareholders, the fines and the consent decrees theyve had to enter with the government?

  5. I lost track after he went to the penalty box.  Tried to find him today, but he was nowhere to be found.  I gather he got banned but didn’t see anything about it anywhere.  What did I miss (again)?

            1. Though I will miss the scatological, sexual, vulgar, profane, and flat-out stupid analyses I grew to expect from him.  He made me feel so damn smart….

  6. An Indian Inventor Disrupts The Period Industry

    When Arunachalam Muruganantham hit a wall in his research on creating a sanitary napkin for poor women, he decided to do what most men typically wouldn’t dream of. He wore one himself–for a whole week. Fashioning his own menstruating uterus by filling a bladder with goat’s blood, Muruganantham went about his life while wearing women’s underwear, occasionally squeezing the contraption to test out his latest iteration. It resulted in endless derision and almost destroyed his family. But no one is laughing at him anymore, as the sanitary napkin-making machine he went on to create is transforming the lives of rural women across India.

  7. Can You Learn To Code In One Day? We Sent A Non-Nerd To Find Out

    I went along to a Decoded training day intrigued by the claim that by the end of eight hours I would be able to build a multi-platform location-based app in HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript. It’s not that I thought they were lying, I just couldn’t see how that would happen. It did.

    It’ll take more than one day to get to the point a company will hire you. But if you have an aptitude for it, you’re talking months, not years.

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