Sunday, March 23, 2008

News Sources

For the past 5/6 years, I have started just about everyday on www.wsj.com, it has been my connection to the business world and has kept me abreast of what I need to know (as a young professional, this is quite a bit). However, since the recent sale to News Corp, the site has been changing; first it was subtle - the number of political stories has been increasing. Now, it's just plain obvious - music reviews in the breaking news area. While the business news is still there, this is causing me to question the trustworthiness of the Journal, and I've begun to seek out other sources for information.

A lot of my news now comes from a smattering of blogs in google's reader - my concern here is it is a slanted world view; while this is great for tech news, no one blogs about merger trends in the steel industry, at least to such an extent where I would view it as a credible source. So while I view this as my customized news paper, and this is an avenue to one part of the world - it's not all encompassing, or better said encompassing of what I need to know.

At work I now have a bloomberg - the TOP function is great as it offers an ever changing stream of news. My gripe here is that I'm not watching the screen at all times, and the frequent updates mean I miss stories.

I've been exploring other news websites (ie www.ft.com) and have found them good - just not great. There is something I particularly like about the WSJ.com layout - the river of news concept I suppose - and it's hard to dig through a site for important stories, which are buried under four links.

It seems, the difficulty lies within the fact that I'm not looking for just any news (because then CNN.com or something like digg might push up the stories that I'm interested in. Instead, I'm looking for news that is of relevance to my job and my interests. And while I'm just complaining - I think somewhere in there is an idea for someone to grab on to.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Juror #4

As a young professional living in New York, I have spent the past 5 days fulfilling my civic duty by sitting on jury duty. I have purposely put off writing about the experience, as I hoped to wait until it ended and then capture it in its entirety. After my first two days of sitting in the pool of potential jurors, I was tempted to rant about the mindless waiting. After a day and a half of testimony, I was inclined to go on about the silliness of requiring 12 people to agree to something obvious. After nearly two days of deliberation, which ended in a hung jury, I wanted to vent about the details that resulted in our impasse. Frankly, the experience inclined me to believe that our system does not work. To be blunt, in my mind - beyond a reasonable doubt - a crack dealer was not brought to justice.

After taking the past few hours to collect my thoughts, and catch up with what has been going on in the rest of the world since my sequestration, I am now at a more levelheaded point, and I am able to take stock. While I have digested the dramatic events surrounding Bear Sterns and scoffed at the succession of political scandals in the tri-state area, the item of greatest note was something Josh drew my attention to.

I do not want this viewed as a testament of my political leaning, nor do I post it here to try and sway anyone, I simply found it a compelling view of the state of our nation. Undeniably, Obama's message was focused on the racial stalemate in the US. I also do not want to detract from this important point, but rather add to it by explaining what else I took away from his speech. In a country founded on the goal of achieving a more perfect union, it reminds me of why, last Wednesday, I looked forward to potentially serving on a jury. Additionally, it emphasizes that we all have obligations to help achieve the goal set forth by the founding fathers. While the past few days have been difficult and filled with feelings of anger and ignorance, feelings only to be further exacerbated by not reaching a verdict, it is precisely this jury process that makes our country work. Therefore, I will not bore with my rant about what a waste the past 5 days have been, but rather remind of the importance of these mundane obligations and encourage embracing them with an open mind and no prejudices.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Next Bubble

We are in the midst of the collapse of the housing market, and the ensuing credit market's turbulence. It seems, however, that the next bubble is already starting to build. This is hard to admit for me, as the build up appears to be coming in an industry near and dear to my heart: the environment.

There is a definite push of investment into the field; estimates point to circa $3.0bn of investments in 2007. But I am skeptical about many of these investments - just how many different solar cell manufacturers are sustainable? and how many community bike sharing projects will actually work?

This push of investment is again creating a wave of fictitious wealth based on valuations which may not pan out. While there is certainly a place for many of these technologies, and I am a huge supporter of environmental improvement through technology, it is concerning to see dollars chasing these investments in a fad like manner, especially when considering the vital importance of these technologies panning out in an effective manner.