Monday, March 30, 2009

World's Worst Job?

Check out this slideshow on The London Telegraph's site HERE. Nasty.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wall Street Finance 101: What the Hell are Derivatives?

Heidi is the proprietor of a bar in Seattle. In order to increase sales, she decides to allow her loyal customers - most of whom are unemployed alcoholics - to drink now, but pay later. She keeps track of the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby granting the customers loans).
Word gets around about Heidi's drink-now-pay-later marketing strategy and as a result, increasing numbers of customers flood into Heidi's bar and soon she has the largest sale volume for any bar in Seattle.
By providing her customers' freedom from immediate payment demands, Heidi gets no resistance when she substantially increases her prices for wine and beer, the most consumed beverages. Her sales volume increases massively.
A young and dynamic vice-president at the local bank recognizes these customer debts as valuable future assets and increases Heidi's borrowing limit. He sees no reason for undue concern since he has the debts of the alcoholics as collateral.
At the bank's corporate headquarters, expert traders transform these customer loans into DRINKBONDS, ALKIBONDS and PUKEBONDS. These securities are then traded on security markets worldwide. Naive investors don't really understand the securities being sold to them as AAA secured bonds are really the debts of unemployed alcoholics.

Nevertheless, their prices continuously climb and the securities become the top-selling items for some of the nation's leading brokerage houses.
One day, although the bond prices are still climbing, a risk manager at the bank (subsequently fired due to his negativity), decides that the time has come to demand payment on the debts incurred by the drinkers at Heidi's bar.
Heidi demands payment from her alcoholic patrons, but being unemployed, they cannot pay back their drinking debts. Therefore, Heidi cannot fulfill her loan obligations and files bankruptcy.
DRINKBONDS and ALKIBONDS drop in price by 90%. PUKEBONDS perform better, stabilizing in price after dropping by 80%. The decreased bond asset value destroys the bank's liquidity and prevents it from issuing new loans.
The suppliers of Heidi's bar - having granted her generous payment extensions and having invested in the securities - are faced with writing off her debt and losing over 80% on her bonds. Her wine supplier files bankruptcy and her beer supplier is taken over by a competitor who immediately closes the local plant and lays off 50 workers.
The bank and brokerage houses are saved by the Government following dramatic round-the-clock negotiations by leaders from both political parties. The funds required for this bailout are obtained by a tax levied on employed middle-class non-drinkers.
Finally, an explanation I understand.

Monday, March 23, 2009

X-Ray Art

I remember moving into a huge house with a couple of friends in downtown Toronto in the late 60's. The three-storey house apparently belonged to a doctor who lived there with his famil and ran his practice downstairs. We spent a lot of time exploring this place and among the cool stuff left behind (we never found out what happened to the good doctor and his family) was an old fluoroscope machine. It became a source of amusement for many a party, much like those old x-ray machines that they used to have in shoe stores that allowed Mom to see if your shoes were too tight. That is, until they discovered that too much x-ray exposure was bad for you!

Artist Satre Stuelke created a series of eerie images of everyday items using a CAT scan: food, toys, you name it. Check out his site HERE. Below? A McDonald's Filet-o-Fish Sandwich (WITH sauce, of course!).

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009

One Cool Clock

From the description on YouTube:

The Corpus Clock has been invented and designed by Dr John Taylor for Corpus Christi College Cambridge for the exterior of the college's new library building.

It will be unveiled on 19 September by Prof Stephen Hawking, cosmologist and author of the global bestseller, A Brief History of Time.

The £1 million timepiece, known as The Corpus Clock, has been commissioned and designed to honour the John Harrison, who was famously the pioneer of Longitude and inventor of the esoteric clock mechanism known as a grasshopper escapement.

The clock has been designed by the inventor and horologist Dr John Taylor and makes ingenious use of the grasshopper escapement, moving it from the inside of the clock to the outside and refashioning it as a Chronophage, or time-eater, which literally devours time.

For more information, log on to

Friday, March 13, 2009

Panorama Collection

Remember that panorama of Obama's Inauguration Day? Here's one of the best collections of 360 panorama shots online at 360cities. My favorite? The coral reef view HERE. Wow!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What a Way to Take a Dump!

Georgia MAX Coffee decided to take a different approach to promote their brand of coffee at ski resorts in Japan. This is what I call participatory advertising! Read more about it HERE on the Ideas Search Engine.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Another Money-Saving IKEA Idea

With the recent troubles of North America's Big Three automakers, Ikea has announced that it will begin selling cars at a discount. Here's a picture from their latest catalog:

Of course, some assembly will be required but all tools will be included in the packaging:

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Steve Wozniak - Dancing with the Stars

OK - I promise this will be the first AND last time I ever post one of these video clips here. I personally NEVER watch these shows - ever. But this one was special and so bad, everyone needed to see it. Woz - don't quit your day job. Geeks can't dance...

Don't know how long this one will stay up on YouTube.

Nationalized CitiBank Commercial (NSFW)

Monday, March 09, 2009

Wednesday, March 04, 2009