26 March 2003
Pint photoHow and why your black pint of Guinness is crowned with a head of white bubbles...
9:14:56 PM  #   your two cents []
When are facts facts? Not in a war. A daily round-up of the claims and counter claims made in the media as war progresses. [Guardian Unlimited]
8:33:11 PM  #   your two cents []
Oracle begins Linux partnership plan. The database giant is welcoming third-party software companies into the Linux fold, offering money for development and promotion to those with products that back the open-source OS. [CNET News.com] And then there's... Linux for the Rest of Us [Slashdot]
8:29:32 PM  #   your two cents []
Interested in a research post at MIT's MediaLabEurope in Dublin? They have places for three senior research scientists, two post-doc researchers, and 10 research scholars (who need a bachelor's degree). Closing date is April 16th, more info here.
8:26:44 PM  #   your two cents []

Another interesting story in the Irish Times. I wouldn't be so sure about Ireland's high ranking (entrepreneurs I know would certainly disagree!), but the clusters of countries are certainly intriguing, as is the fact that developing world countries lead as good places for entrepreneurs:

The Republic has been rated one of the best countries in the world in which to start a business, level with the United States and ahead of Britain, Germany and France.

The State was placed 12th in a survey of 37 first- and second-world nations last year. One in 11 Irish adults owns or is attempting to establish a company, a study by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor found...

...Developing nations headed the rankings. Thailand was placed first, followed by India, Chile, Korea and Argentina. Iceland was the top-rated European state, trailed by Ireland, Norway and Switzerland.

3:34:50 PM  #   your two cents []

So could the rest of Europe stop complaining? From today's Irish Times [sub only]:

The Republic of Ireland's low-tax regime should act as an example to governments in other jurisdictions, according to the head of taxation policy at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Mr Jeffrey Owens, who leads the centre for tax policy and administration at the Paris-based body, said policymakers in the Republic had selected the "high road" on tax competition.

The "high road" amounts to "fierce and fair competition" while the "low road" entails competition based on secrecy and lack of transparency, Mr Owens told the Finance Dublin conference.

Competing states should realise that a low-tax rate does not mean that a Government receives less revenue, Mr Owens said. "It's a win-win situation. There is less incentive for evasion," he added.

From my perspective, the EU argument that Ireland should abandon its 10-12.5% corporate tax regime that was a cornerstone for revitalising the economy, in order to equal out competition across the EU, is perfectly ridiculous. That tax rate helped pull Ireland up from being among the bottom three nations in the EU in the 80s to having the most bullish economy today (we still have lower unemployment and slightly higher growth than the UK, according to the last figures I saw). Ireland averaged between 8-10% growth in the economy every single year for the past decade, which is why it became known as the Celtic tiger. The downturn has hit the State badly but still not as badly as much of the world (the US has lower growth rates and higher unemployment at the moment). Surely Ireland has set an example of what can be done and other EU countries should consider dropping their tax rates, too.

Not that it's all rosy over here -- far from it. We have had a government that has largely squandered boomtime revenue because it never did the root and branch pruning needed within govt and semi-state structures (and I'd argue it's taken the "low road" of secrecy as a governing method). The state, an export economy, faces serious challenges to maintain growth in the future. But upping corporate taxes and thus driving business out of the country is about as self-destructive as you could get.

3:17:25 PM  #   your two cents []
My new DSL ethernet modem and ethernet card just arrived from Amazon UK -- as I'm going out the door to a yoga class! Rats! And then I have to come back to the house and write another story. Argh. It will be late afternoon before I can try to FINALLY set up my wireless network with my new Apple Airport base station. Reports anon.
12:46:03 PM  #   your two cents []

Roland Piquepaille summarises an intriguing article about a potential new physics of materials -- materials with metaphysical properties:

The creation of an unusual flat lens may finally resolve a long-running controversy about the existence of materials that have metaphysical qualities -- so-called "metamaterials" -- that transcend the laws of nature.
The lens could lead to amplified antennas, smaller cell phones and increased data storage on CD-ROMs, claims University of Toronto electrical engineering professor George Eleftheriades in the March 24th issue of Applied Physics Letters. "This is new physics," Eleftheriades told NewsFactor.

12:26:51 PM  #   your two cents []
Deborah Branscum is producing some of the most incisive and thought-provoking writing on the war and related topics. She's always a good read. Recommended.
10:55:54 AM  #   your two cents []
Sony steadies two-legged robot. The electronics giant updates the prototype humanoid robot, the SDR-4X II, to make it more agile, chatty and safe. Also, Aibo has been updated with software for snapping and e-mailing photos. [CNET News.com]
10:51:47 AM  #   your two cents []
Microsoft caps Hotmail to prevent spamming. Company reduces number of messages users can send to 100 per day [InfoWorld: Top News]
10:08:17 AM  #   your two cents []
Co-founder downplays Google IPO. The search-tool company has no plans to sell its shares to the public any time soon, Sergey Brin says at the PC Forum technology conference. [CNET News.com]
10:07:45 AM  #   your two cents []
Jean Giraudoux. "The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you've got it made." [Quotes of the Day]
10:05:47 AM  #   your two cents []
Red Hat upgrades Linux desktop OS. Download will be available on Monday [InfoWorld: Top News]
10:02:00 AM  #   your two cents []
Blair pleads for US and Europe to end rift over Iraq. Tony Blair yesterday pleaded with Europe and the US to heal their rift over Iraq to prevent a bipolar rivalry which would be disastrous for world stability. [Guardian Unlimited]
10:01:34 AM  #   your two cents []
Emma Brockes: What is it about men and guns?. With their jazzy graphics, fact boxes and breathless statistics, the military pundits are everywhere but Emma Brockes wonders if they're enjoying themselves a little too much. [Guardian Unlimited] ... A nice story to stir things up on a quiet Wednesday morning...! More seriously, I was thinking along these lines yesterday, especially with many of the warbloggers and all their maps, analysis and barely-contained sexual excitement at describing troop movements, tactics, battles, military hardware. I really get the sense of men desperately wanting the WWII they never got to live through, trying to invoke it through html. Vietnam, perhaps for the times that were in it, never had the patriotic spin attached to it that this war has, and this particular kind of guy has waited a long time for a moment like this. You really get the feeling that a lot of these guys (though there are a handful of girls) would just love this conflict to escalate into something that would last for years, extending their punditry-at-a-safe-distance ad nauseum. I say -- stick those guys into uniforms and put them on the front line -- or at least embed them with the troops, out of reach of the companion Bud, Cheetos and mouse. PS: yes, of course there are many wonderful sites with informed analyses, too. I'm not talking about them. The war-as-porn guys know who they are. Or should.
9:59:31 AM  #   your two cents []
Outages hit Arabic news site. Al-Jazeera and its English-language counterpart were only intermittently available for the second straight day due to an onslaught of network traffic, a Net monitoring company says. [CNET News.com]
9:45:22 AM  #   your two cents []
SuSE delivers Linux 8. Company will help develop TeraGrid [InfoWorld: Top News]
9:44:29 AM  #   your two cents []