Finish VDOT contract work quickly, get laid off quickly.

A bridge on a major road outside of Charlottesville had to be replaced, shutting down that road for weeks. VDOT offered an incentive to finish ahead of schedule, and the full-time employees of that contractor worked their asses off to make that happen. They’ll wrap up tomorrow, way ahead of schedule. Their reward? They’re getting […]

This isn’t how medical privacy is supposed to work.

Pennsylvania is in love with fracking, and they don’t care who knows it. Their legislature passed a bill last month that makes it a secret what awful chemicals that energy companies are injecting into the ground in order to extract natural gas. It’s such a secret, in fact, that if somebody is poisoned by some […]

There is no correlation between domestic drilling and fuel prices.

The Associated Press analyzed 36 years of gasoline prices and domestic oil production and found absolutely no correlation. Increases in domestic production (it’s up 15% from three years ago) do not result in decreases in price. Based on this model, if we increased domestic oil production by 50%, best-case we’d see a 10% reduction in […]

This American Life has retracted their story about Apple.

In January, the always-excellent “This American Life” had a really stunning episode turned over almost entirely to an excerpt of a monologue by Mike Daisey, about working conditions at Foxconn, the Chinese company that manufactures products for Apple, among other companies. Daisey actually went to China, to the factory, and interviewed people about what it […]

Apple, Cisco, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

I’ve never been thrilled with the Dow as an indicator of the health of the economy (just thirty companies are factored in, using some pretty crude calculations), but Adam Nash has done the math on one facet of why it’s lousy. Famously, in 2009, Dow Jones dropped GM, and added Cisco to the DJIA instead […]

Links for December 19th

New York Times: Nearly a Third of Americans Are Arrested by 23, Study Says30.2% of us have been arrested for something more serious than a minor traffic violation. (I say "us," but I haven't been arrested.) As Sen. Webb points out, either Americans are the most evil people on the planet, or something is fundamentally […]

Links for November 23rd

New York Times: Who’s on the Line? Increasingly, Caller ID Is DupedTelemarketers are faking Caller ID information with apparent impunity, so that people believe that the IRS or the FBI is calling. (Just like spam!) The FTC has just filed their first complaint against a company for doing that. The FCC wouldn't comment as to […]

Links for November 13th

Harvard Business Review: Put Your Best People On Your Most Boring ChallengesI agree completely with this suggestion that the exciting work shouldn't be saved for enthusiastic, capable employees. The most interesting, important, effective work that I've done professionally was working on tasks or projects that were considered boring. This summer the FDA asked me to […]