Showing posts from February, 2013

Higher Education Losing its Value? Or Too Many Scientists?

Writing for The Atlantic , Jordan Weissmann touches on a sad—kind of scary—situation facing PhD graduates:   First, the big picture. Here is the entire market for Ph.D.'s, including those graduating from humanities, science, education, and other programs. The blue line tracks students who have a job waiting for them after graduation. The green line tracks those signed up for a post-doctorate study program. The red line stands for the jobless (though a sliver of them are heading to another academic program).   The pattern reaching back to 2001 is clear -- fewer jobs, more unemployment, and more post-doc work -- especially in the sciences. A post doc essentially translates into toiling as a low-paid lab hand (emphasis on low-paid). Once it was just a one or two year rite of passage where budding scientists honed their research skills. Now it can stretch on for half a decade .     As the article makes clear, the charts aren't perfect and there are a lot of ass

The Disastrous Outsourcing of the 787

source: Boeing The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a technological marvel. It’s built largely of carbon-fibre composites rather than aluminum, which makes it significantly lighter than other planes. Its braking, pressurization, and air-conditioning systems are run not by hydraulics but by electricity from lithium-ion batteries. It uses twenty per cent less fuel than its peers, and so is cheaper to run, yet it also manages to have higher ceilings and larger windows. It is, in other words, one of the coolest planes in the air. Or, rather, on the ground: regulators around the world have grounded all fifty Dreamliners... The Dreamliner was supposed to become famous for its revolutionary design. Instead, it’s become an object lesson in how not to build an airplane. — James Surowiecki, " Requiem for a Dreamliner? " Don't have much time to comment on this but it appears that the outsourcing trend is probably near its end. Like all management concepts, outsourcing tactics ove

Warren Buffett's Heinz Acquisition

Sorry about the lack of posts but have been busy the last few months—in fact, more like the last 2 years—but hope to be more involved in the future. Another reason I have been sort of out of the market is because I find it expensive and don't really see any great opportunities. Anyway, just saw that Warren Buffett participated with private equity group, 3G, in the acquisition of Heinz (HNZ) , and thought I would post my quick thought. As most of you may know, Heinz is famous for ketchup and various food products. Similar to the railroad, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, that Warren Buffett acquired a few years ago, this deal to participate in the Heinz buyout looks expensive (the verdict is still out on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe investment). This Fortune opinion piece sort of has similar feelings . My opinion is that Buffett is running out of good opportunities and is willing to seek out slightly-above-average opportunities given the super-low interest-rate environment.