Showing posts with label Wall Street Journal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wall Street Journal. Show all posts

Jun 26, 2015

Butt Biometrics

A team of engineers in Japan is working on a device that can recognize your butt.

A few years ago, a mechanical engineer named Shigeomi Koshimizu, along with his team at the Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology in Tokyo, designed a biometric cover for car seats. The sheet of fabric, with 360 embedded sensors creates an individual profile of each driver’s bum, based on size, shape, weight distribution, and pressure points. That profile could be stored in the car’s computer system, and only drivers with registered bums would be able to start the car.

The sensor sheets recognized drivers correctly about 98% of the time in lab tests. Koshimizu had also considered using facial recognition or palm scanners on the steering wheel to identify drivers, but found those methods “overbearing,” according to the Wall Street Journal. It will likely be a few years before they would be ready for a commercial product.

Jan 3, 2012

A Look Back to 1912

How have things changed in the past one hundred years?
New Mexico and Arizona joined the US as 47th and 48th states.

Here is a political quote from that year, "Former U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt wins all the Republican primaries, but party bosses beholden to Wall Street block his nomination by the convention."

Here are a few prices from 1912:
Federal spending 690 million dollars
World Series tickets box seat $5 (Bleacher seats 50 cents)
Chevy six cylinder $2,150
gas 7 cents gallon
Loaf of bread 8 cents
Pound of coffee 15 cents
Dozen eggs 22 cents
Pound of butter 35 cents
Milk 12 cents quart
Ham 15 cents pound
Bacon 16 cents pound
Oreo cookies came to market in 1912

Aug 19, 2011

What is the Dow Jones

Charles Dow was a legendary newspaper mogul and co-founder of The Wall Street Journal.  The average is named after Dow and one of his business associates, statistician Edward Jones. In 1896, Dow created the first version of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The idea was to monitor the health of the business sector by tracking the performance of the country’s 12 largest firms. The Dow was originally measured in dollars, and accountants averaged the 12 stock prices. The first Industrial Average on record was $40.94. When the firms were doing well, that average went up; when they performed poorly, the Dow went down.

The measuring system has become more sophisticated over the years. The modern index includes 30 companies, and the Dow has to account for things like stock splits and spin-offs.  The value of the Dow is not the actual average of the prices of its component stocks, but rather the sum of the component prices divided by a divisor, which changes whenever one of the component stocks has a stock split or stock dividend, so as to generate a consistent value for the index. Because of these adjustments, the Dow is now measured in points rather than dollars. A single dollar increase in any of its current members’ share prices causes the Dow to rise by about seven points.

A three-person committee, including the managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, handpicks the companies, looking for stocks with strong reputations, solid growth, and interest from a broad pool of investors. Of the original 12 companies selected, only General Electric is still in the pool. The 'industrial' in the average’s name is a throwback to the original companies. The Dow remains one of the best indicators of the overall health of the U.S. economy. Lately, the Dow is slipping, but hopefully will never get back down to 40.94.

Jul 13, 2011

Ponzi Scheme

Most of us heard of Ponzi schemes and there is an interesting story of how the name began.

Charles Ponzi was an Italian immigrant to the US in 1903. He was a con man and was in trouble with the law many times for his cons. His greatest scam, and the one that begat the name 'Ponzi scheme' is the scam he created with international reply coupons. At the time, it was common for letters abroad to include an international reply coupon (a voucher that could be exchanged for minimum postage back to the country from which the letter was sent). If you sent a letter to a friend in Italy, you could include a coupon so he could respond. This is the equivalent of a self addressed stamped envelope.

As exchange and postal rates fluctuated, there was an opportunity to make a profit. You could purchase postal reply coupons cheaply in some foreign country, send them back to the U.S. to swap them out for American stamps of a higher value, then sell the stamps, and it was legal. Ponzi started buying and selling postal reply coupons using agents from his native Italy, and he began making a comfortable living doing it. Then he became greedy.

He started to recruit investors into his system with the promise of 50% returns in just a few days. Investors would pay their cash in and Ponzi would get them the promised return. Everyone was happy with the results, and word started to spread about this Italian financial wizard. Within two years, he had employees all over the country recruiting new takers for his 'investment strategy'.

Ponzi was pocketing millions. At his peak, was taking in $250,000 a day. Many investors wanted to reinvest, so he didn't even have to continue to pay them the profits.

Eventually, in 1920, the Wall Street Journal ran an article debunking the scam. This was followed by a book written by a PR man Ponzi hired, but who also discovered the scam. Eventually the government came down on him for using the mail system to perpetuate his con. He pleaded guilty, spent a few years in jail, followed by another few years from another scam, and was eventually deported back to Italy. He died in 1949 in Rio de Janeiro, where he is buried in a pauper’s grave.

Oct 27, 2010

RapLeaf Opt Out

RapLeaf is an internet company that compiles your personal information, including name, email, etc and sells it to political parties, marketers, etc. It has been accused of sending names along with personal identification info, gender, income info, children ages, Facebook accounts, and more. It has already sold and sent this info to a number of marketers, although it says it was a mistake and has stopped selling personally identifiable info.
Here is a LINK to a Wall Street Journal article explaining more.

In any case, you can opt out here LINK and let them know you do not wish to play.