- Washington Post: Former US Attorney General John Ashcroft joining security company once known as Blackwater
Good Lord, I'm glad that Bush is no longer president.
- A Computer Scientist in a Business School: An ingenious application of crowdsourcing
After discovering that product sales increase when reviews are well-written, Zappos has been using Amazon's Mechanical Turk to copyedit reviews that are submitted to their site. It's a clever use of Mechanical Turk.
- CBS-19: Dominion Virginia Power Pushes to Increase Rates
The average monthly bill would go up by $12.76. That's a really, really large amount of money. I'd sure like to see the state extract some concessions from Dominion for this. For starters, they should start buying back green, customer-generated power at a rate substantially higher than the rate at which they sell their lousy coal power.
Dominion has gotten the OK from the State Corporation Commission to raise electrical rates by 18%, effective immediately. The SCC agreed with Dominion’s assertion that they were simply trying to cover the increased costs of fuel, and I don’t know of any reason to doubt that’s so. (Dominion had to ask permission because they’re regulated by the SCC, after begging to be regulated a few years ago. Remember, kids: industries are regulated not because of big, evil government, but almost always because the industries ask to be regulated.)
I have just one quick thought on this, which might be obvious to some, but is worth calling up. Dominion says that they’re working on efficiency programs, encouraging people to conserve, etc. This is just goofy. Why in the world would a company discourage people from buying their product? Their stockholders would be up in arms if they actually believed Dominion’s claim. Could you imagine Coca-Cola saying we’re really trying to discourage people from drinking our soda, or Apple assuring a concerned public that we want people to understand that they really shouldn’t buy an iPod? Of course not. They’re in the business of selling a product, and their board of directors have a legal duty to act in the best interest of their corporation, maximizing profits. They should not be faulted for doing so.
When Dominion says that they’re committed to getting their customers to conserve power, they’re lying. You wouldn’t expect your dealer to persuade you to cut back on your heroin consumption. Don’t expect Dominion to help you buy less power.