As part of Windows Vista’s $300 million marketing rehab, Microsoft Corp. will hire an initial wave of 155 “Windows Gurus” to walk around Best Buy and Circuit City stores, answer customer questions and defend Vista’s reputation against skeptics.
One way Windows Gurus will differ from Apple Geniuses is that they are not intended to be sources of free technical support for existing Vista users.
“The guru role is to help sell Windows-based PCs. It is not to be an alternative tech support channel for Microsoft, as this has no financial return beyond improved customer satisfaction,” Baker said.
So the solution to people disliking Vista is…. get more people pitching the product at them.
Right. That’ll work.
An even better comparison is the Netherlands, which has a teenage birthrate 1/7th of ours and a teen abortion rate 1/7th of ours as well. And the Netherlands has what is considered to be the world’s most comprehensive sex education programs, complete with free and anonymous birth control and free and anonymous sexual health screening and treatment. And by the way, the average Dutch teen starts having sex nearly 2 years after the average American teen despite all of that. Good sex education does not lead to promiscuity.
In a study of terrorism prepared for the Copenhagen Consensus project by Professor Todd Sandler, of the University of Texas, and two other economists, they conclude that “guarding against terrorism can use large resources for little reduction in risk”.
What’s more, defensive measures against terrorism “may simply change the focus of attacks (for example from hijacking to kidnaps) and even increase attacks by creating new grievances”.
Sandler and his colleagues conducted an analysis of the costs and benefits of five different approaches to combating terrorism. I must warn you that, because of the dearth of information, this study is even more reliant on assumptions than usual. Even so, in three cases the cost of the action so far exceeds the benefits that doubts about the reliability of the estimates recede.
Because the loss of life is so low, they measure the benefits of successful counter-terrorism measures in terms of loss of gross domestic product avoided. Trouble is, terrorism does little to disrupt economic growth, as even September 11 demonstrated.
Using the case of the US, Sandler estimates that simply continuing the present measures involves costs exceeding benefits by a factor of at least 10. Adopting additional defensive measures (such as stepping up security at valuable targets) would, at best, entail costs 3.5 times the benefits. Taking more pro-active measures (such as invading Afghanistan) would have costs at least eight times the benefits.
According to Sandler, only greater international co-operation, or adopting more sensitive foreign policies to project a more positive image abroad, could produce benefits greater than their (minimal) costs.
What’s that? You don’t care what it costs because no one can put a value on saving a human life? Heard of opportunity cost? Taxpayers’ money we waste on excessive counter-terrorism measures is money we can’t spend reducing the gap between white and indigenous health – or, if that doesn’t appeal, on buying Olympic medals.
Maybe like most Americans with 7 homes…
A recently released study has claims that the current ‘Intellectual Property’ situation in the world is not working well. Driven by a fear of losing out, and bolstered by an attitude that profit is the aim of IP, progress is hampered. Not only by the entertainment industry, also in biotechnology where medicines are sometimes restricted or withheld, causing deaths.
Creationism and intelligent design should be taught in school science lessons, according to a leading expert in science education.
The Rev Prof Michael Reiss, director of education at the Royal Society, said that excluding alternatives to scientific explanations for the origin of life and the universe from science lessons was counterproductive and would alienate some children from science altogether.
Reiss agreed that creationism and intelligent design are not scientific theories, but he said that did not automatically exclude them from science lessons. “Just because something lacks scientific support doesn’t seem to me a sufficient reason to omit it from the science lesson.”
Other subjects coming up soon:
Flat earth geography
Seven years after the Sept. 11 attacks, there is no consensus outside the United States that Islamist militants from al Qaeda were responsible, according to an international poll published on Wednesday.
The survey of 16,063 people in 17 nations found majorities in only nine countries believe al Qaeda was behind the attacks on New York and Washington that killed about 3,000 people in 2001.
On average, 46 percent of those surveyed said al Qaeda was responsible, 15 percent said the U.S. government, 7 percent said Israel and 7 percent said some other perpetrator. One in four people said they did not know who was behind the attacks.
Did you notice who wasn’t mentioned at all?
Hints: It starts with an ‘I’
Ends with a ‘Q’
Has ‘RA’ in the middle
In 1951, Morton Sobell was tried and convicted with Julius and Ethel Rosenberg on espionage charges. He served more than 18 years in Alcatraz and other federal prisons, traveled to Cuba and Vietnam after his release in 1969 and became an advocate for progressive causes.
Through it all, he maintained his innocence.
But on Thursday, Mr. Sobell, 91, dramatically reversed himself, shedding new light on a case that still fans smoldering political passions. In an interview, he admitted for the first time that he had been a Soviet spy.
“Have you ever met a foreign head of state?” Gibson asked Palin Thursday.
“I have not,” Palin said, “and I think if you go back in history and if you ask that question of many vice presidents, they may have the same answer that I just gave you.”
However Palin, who obtained her first passport two years ago, would in fact be the first vice president in 32 years who hadn’t met a foreign head of state, if she were elected.
Scientists from the Evolutionary Acceleration Research Institute (EARI) announced that the first test of the Giant Animal Smasher (GAS) will begin on December 19, 2008, the 41st anniversary of the premiere of Dr. Dolittle.
Dr. Thomas Malwin, head of the research project, said, “The first test runs will only accelerate microscopic life-forms like bacteria and viruses to high speeds, but theoretically the GAS can handle animals as large as squirrels, hence the squirrel smasher moniker.”
Biologists from around the globe hope the GAS will unlock the secrets of the so-called “Darwin particle” that could unlock the secrets to life.
I’m reading lots of complaints about the new iTunes 8 update causing horrific problems on Windows machines, including widespread reports of STOP errors, aka the Blue Screen of Death.
An even bigger problem is Apple’s attitude toward its Windows customers. These additional software packages and drivers are being installed with no disclosure and no consent. A pile of software, including the troubled MobileMe service, is also being installed and enabled at startup on Windows machines, even where the user has no MobileMe account and, for that matter, no mobile device.
Apple’s Get a Mac ads love to tweak Microsoft for its frequent crashes. Someone from Apple needs to look in the mirror and realize that they’re the problem in this case.
Forget the war with Russia quote. Yes, that was a terrifying – but clarifying – moment in that it revealed the utter folly of pushing NATO membership for Georgia or Ukraine. Smart politicians are never supposed to admit to a possible war with Russia, even if it’s technically possible. And her “perhaps so” comment is getting WIDE play already (front page on the Washington Post, for example).
But far more troubling for me was her moose-in-the-headlights look when asked about the Bush Doctrine. See the video here.
How could Palin have flubbed this basic question about current national security policy? It was THE justification for the war in Iraq. There are dozens of books out there on it. Everybody in the McCain foreign policy camp knows the Bush Doctrine backwards and forwards – many of them helped write it. And yet she doesn’t know what it is?
What’s worse is that when she was finally told what the Bush Doctrine was – anticipatory self-defense and pre-emptive striking – she still flubbed it. She answered that the US could respond militarily in the case of an “imminent threat.” Well, that’s actually traditional war theory and NOT the Bush Doctrine. Remember all those defenders of the Iraq war insisting that Bush NEVER claimed Iraq was an “imminent” threat? How many times did we debate the meaning of “imminence?” The reason for that exchange was clear: if Iraq posed no imminent threat, then war was unjustified…UNLESS, you accept the Bush Doctrine that advocates war even when the threat is NOT imminent.
The question now is whether or not John McCain will let her speak unscripted again before the debates. Apparently her “regular mom” schtick is better protected by shielding her from even softball policy questions.
I don’t get it. At all. This is how they’re going to improve the Microsoft image and sell lots of Vista?
Geraldo Rivera and Bill O’Reilly at half-speed. I am easily amused, and find this riotously funny when they start screaming at each other about a minute or so in. The Slo’Reilly Factor.