Monday, January 31, 2005

Yahoo! News - On election day, elation and payback

Need a picker upper?

Yahoo! News - On election day, elation and payback: "Weeks of trepidation turned into a near-celebration through much of Iraq (news - web sites) on election day. Despite suicide bombs and mortar attacks, millions of Iraqis - Kurds and Shiites, though fewer Sunnis - showed up to vote in Iraq's first free elections in half a century. With most traffic banned for fear of car bombs, they walked to the polls and carried elderly relatives in chairs. They ignored the sound of explosions. Some prayed while they waited in line. Others cried after they had cast their ballots."

And we take Democracy for granted.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Random topics Squared #4

Brr...-11 F is cold. Cars don't like to start at that temperature, the snow squeaks, and it takes forever to dress for a run, but how can I complain about cold after thinking about Auschwitz.

I really would love to see a big turnout for Iraqi elections. And PLEASE no violence....How scary must it have been in the Empire State Building when the fire alarms went off? I saw the news and was instantly thrown back to 9AM on 9/11. And I was 6 hours away.

Things learned while shoveling:

  1. Slow and steady and pretty soon even the longest driveway is done.
  2. Looking ahead is not always a good idea
  3. Looking back at what you have done can be satisfying.

Washing my car when it was 7F out may not be the smartest thing I have ever done...The Village of Allegany shovels all of the sidewalks in the village. In Olean each occupant/owner shovels. Allegany's sidewalks are all satisfactory, but very few people clear their walks. In Olean the sidewalks have much more variability, with many quite clear. If I smarter I would suggest that this says something about why communism and socialism never work....

Terri Clark's "I Think the World Needs a Drink" is funny and maybe true. I think it is a remake. but maybe not as I could not find it online...have you ever considered how much time and money is spent on protecting one's assets? Keys, passwords, locks would all be unnecessary in my perfect world....I have not yet incorporated Vinegar into diet, but think I will to a degree. For example before having many sweets.

I finished Big Russ and Me. I started the Perfect Mile. Both are surprisingly good.

Pitchers and Catchers report in less than three weeks.

time to sleep

Auschwitz-60 years ago

60 years ago. A blink in time, yet that is when Auschwitz was freed. Absolutely unbeliveable. How could anyone do that to others? Some links:,, another Remember.orgpage, PBS, pictures from the BBC, and finally from

Some other sites that are not directly about Auschwitz, but are at least in part include

How could they do such a thing? How?

Anything else I can write pales in comparison, so I will end now.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Random topics2 squared #3

I hope thinks get into a better rhythm this week. First week of classes plus weather made last week very choppy. Not a bad week, but hard to get anything done…When shoveling, extra driving (River Road was closed for three Days), extra time to dress and undress, pack, etc. are included, I figure the winter weather cost an extra 15-18 hours last week. The low here was minus 8 Fahrenheit and we got about 15 inches. Sure it was worse elsewhere, but bad enough. I guess it makes us all appreciate warm weather more!

The New England Patriots look awfully good….I hope Jerome Bettis does come back…THis year's new RAAM video is now online. Jim Lampley is the host again. I still can not imagine that race, I think I now know what is too much.

There may be sadder songs/video's than Martina McBride’s “God’s Will” but I can not think of many...I am about 80% done with Big Russ and Me, it is good. Not the best book ever, but interesting. I especially like it since it is about Buffalo.

Well out of time.

Mississippi Burning

The recent arrest of Edgar Ray Killen for the 1964 murder of three civil rights workers was no doubt a large part of the reason for the showing of Mississippi Burning this week. And provides me the opportunity to recommend that If you have not seen it, go watch it. It is the story of the killings. The movie should be required watching for all.

The best web site I have found for information on the case is from The University of Missouri Kansas City. It centers on the resulting 1967 US vs Cecil Price et al trial.

How people could be so ridiculously hateful and say then they are doing it because it is God's will, is totally beyond me.

And lest you think that it was only a select few. This quote is attributed to the Dallas News. I would not believe it myself if it weren't listed on such reputable college (University of Missouri Kansas City):

"A thousand college students from the North are reported to be invading Mississippi this summer in order to engage in a Negro voter registration drive. It is unbelievable that a thousand college students would do this of their own volition. Those who know the ways of propaganda, especially of a Communist nature, probably correctly suspect that the idealism of some college youngsters has been taken advantage of by some very hard boiled left wingers and Communists who know exactly what they want to do--stir up trouble in the South.
This newspaper a long time ago pointed our that [a part of the Communist plan in the United States is to stir up racial strife]. The ultimate aim is . . . a black revolution. The invasion of Mississippi this summer is . . . part and parcel of this plan.
These young people who have gone to Mississippi have been attending training schools which can be described as nothing short of inflammatory . . . The naive inexperience of these youngsters has been preyed on, and they have been stirred up by tales of horror and violence that simply don't exist in Mississippi."

I guess we really cannot always trust the media.

Pitt also has some info on the trial.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Yahoo! News - Rats 'Born to Run' Show How Fitness Extends Life

Speaking of vascualr bumps, this one is related.

Yahoo! News - Rats 'Born to Run' Show How Fitness Extends Life: "rats with low aerobic capacity scored higher on risk factors linked to cardiovascular disease -- including high blood pressure and vascular dysfunction,' said Ulrik Wisloff, a professor of exercise physiology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim.
Vascular dysfunction means abnormalities of the blood vessels.
'Rats with low aerobic capacity also had higher levels of blood fat disorders (such as high cholesterol), insulin resistance (a pre-diabetic condition) and more abdominal fat than high-capacity rats,' added Sonia Najjar, of the Medical College of Ohio in Toledo"

I'll wrtie more about this later...I have to go work out now :)

Medical Breakthrough on the horizon?

As Paul Harvey would say, "it sure is an exciting time to be alive!"

Until now the best we can hope to do in preventing heart attacks and strokes has been to try and make sure our blood is not full of fat and bad cholesterol that will lead to clogs where there are bumps on the arterial walls. These bumps act like a low hanging tree in a river and cause a blockage.

This may change as doctors appear reasonably close to being able to prevent many of the bumps (or mounds as they call them) from occurring in the first place! Wow! From the Guardian:

"A project led by Professor John Martin of University College, London, is designed to tackle the world's heart disease crisis and stems from a 10-year collaboration between Finnish, German, Italian and British researchers.

The group - whose work was recently highlighted at the European Commission's Descartes Prize awards in Prague - has concentrated on a substance called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a natural body chemical that stops arterial cell division....'If we stop the mounds in the first place, then cholesterol will have nothing to stick to and no blockages will occur.' The solution, said Martin, is to persuade the body to make extra VEGF."

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Emma Haywood's Blog

Emma Haywood is a friend and former student (in both 610 and 301) who played basketabll at SBU. Unfortunately she hurt her knee and her professional career is on hold. She is now teaching English in Spain. She has started a blog that tells of her adventures over there. I think you will like it. It even has links to her pictures of Spain.

Winter training and eating

I mentioned a while ago that I had been reading Chris Carmichael's new Diet book:

From my 8/17/04 newsletter:
What am I reading? Chris Carmichael’s Food for Fitness. Yes he is Lance’s coach. I like
it. He has some very good ideas. For example, just as your training
changes from season to season, so too do your nutritional needs. Which
is obvious, but often overlooked.
Today I looked at PowerBar's site and they have much the same, so I thought you might be interested:
  • "It’s January—there’s less daylight and it’s either raining, snowing, or just plain cold outside. And while your weekly mileage may be low, the sugar plum fairies that bring all those holiday desserts are working overtime."
  • "<>In a nutshell, strategic reduction of carbohydrates, especially refined carbs, during periods of reduced physical activity can help ease the transition from one competitive season to the next.

    Experts like to say “Nutrition won’t win races, but it can lose them.” That applies not only to the days leading up to an important race, but to the months prior as well."

To read more, check out Powerbar

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Randomtopics2_squared #2

Had some people comment favorably on the last random post, so I'll do another.

I really hope the Iraqi elections are peaceful and with large turnouts...not that I am expecting it, but I hope so! A caller on C-Span brought up a great point on Friday: when a nation democratizes, it tends (with some exceptions) to grow less hostile. Let's hope it works in Iraq.

Having just reread Gettysburg and Grant Comes East, I have found myself defending alternative histories from some who claim they are a waste of time. I do think alternative histories are important as they help us to understand not only that things could be different, but also how often there is randomness and luck involved in the final outcome. Moreover, they allow us to better imagine what each person might have been thinking at the time. That said, there is a place for them and it is along side (or behind) standard histories and not instead of the actual history. To put it another way, do I feel I know more about the US Civil War for having read Gettysburg and Grant Comes East? Absolutely yes.

Going to an innaguraual ball looks like punishment. I think I would find an excuse to not go. It need not even be a good excuse.

I was definitely surprised by Beltran signing with the Mets!...Newsday ran a great story on another Met hopeful Andres Galarraga, I did not know his cancer returned. Go read the article, it is short and I am sure you will be hoping he makes the team. I know I am!

It is amazing how fast one can become addicted to wireless internet and how much being tied down to a computer (when your laptop breaks) is annoying...slow loading anti-virus packages are even more annoying!...a ten month leadtime from when you submit a paper to the actual conference is too long...but then again 12 weeks from ordering a car to delivery seems ridiculous as well. That is what we heard on a Toyota Matrix....But maybe good things do come to those who wait: before Christmas there was a waiting list at WNY bookstores for Marv Levy's book . I can see why. It is really good. Definitely recommended!

If I were a sure top 5 draft pick would I come back to college for an extra year? I do no think so, but I sure admire Matt Leinart to going with what he wanted to do. I hope he has a great year and stays uninjured!

Classes start again this week. I am teaching 3 MBA classes and one undergrad class. I really like it, but still never look forward to starting up again.

I have decided to compile the FinanceProfessorblog posts into a more or less regular monthly newsletter.

Nap time...

Saturday, January 15, 2005

POWs, From the Civil War to the Vietnam War

POWs have fascinating (and harrowing) tales to tell after their captivity. If you ever need motivation to do more, or to solve problems, or just to feel better, read or risten to a POW's story.

Currently I am ristening to The Flame Keepers by Ned Handy and Kemp Battle. It is the Handy's story of his captivity inside of Stalag 17 during WW II. Handy clains he is no stpry teller, but this is just a very well-told and interesting story.

Probably my all time favorite POW book is John Ransom's Andersonville Diary. It is a simply a great book. How anyone survived that prison is amazing. I have never been there, but do want to go sometime.

This afternoon I was listening to C-Span's coverage of a talk by two Vietnam Era POWs on James Hirsh's Two Souls Indivisible: the Friendship that saved 2 POWs in Vietnam. It about Fred Cherry and Porter Halyburton and their 7 years as prisioners.

While I have not read the book (yet) the talk was equally fascinating and motivating. (Interestingly, one of the few people that they said they had not forgiven was Jane Fonda.)

While I could not find the actual show from C-Span, I did find other POW shows that C-Span has aired.

It is also worth noting that many of the POW stories have a similar theme. That thoughout all of it, they never gave up. Some of the other points that they bring up are also good tips for all of us:
  • Look out for each other
  • keep busy
  • think long term
  • remember your duty
  • don't forget why you are here (an here may be on earth)
  • count your blessings
  • stay positive

The best coverage of Iraqi election I have seen

CSPAN has had some excellent shows lately. My favorite was the interview with Noah Feldman (a law professor from NYU)


If you have not heard the CSpan discussion of the upcoming Iraqi election by Noah Feldman, you really should listen/watch. It is clear, well done, and very interesting!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

NPR : Walter Cronkite

NPR : Walter Cronkite

Having listened to the post on the importance of the Media on Transparency, I also checked out the rest of Cronkite's shows in NPR. They are really interesting.

About 12 minutes long each. Fascinating. In fact when working on a paper I have just listened to about 8 of them!

NPR : Cronkite: 'See it Now' and McCarthy

NPR : Cronkite: 'See it Now' and McCarthy

Yet more proof that the media plays an important role in increasing transparency, even when it is dealing with sensitive topics.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Yahoo! News - USDA moves to protect nation's trees from 'sudden death' syndrome

Yahoo! News - USDA moves to protect nation's trees from 'sudden death' syndrome: "Sudden oak death syndrome is known to scientists as Phytophtora ramorum, Greek for 'destroyer of plants.' The diseases' characteristic bleeding bark cankers have killed tens of thousands of oaks on the West Coast. In other species, it causes leaf spots and twig cankers, weakening and sometimes killing them"

As if we needed more to worry about. It could be teh American Chestnut all over again. Scary stuff!

"Sudden oak death syndrome first emerged in California in 1995, but it has since been found in 22 states. Scientists say it may have come to North America from Asia but don't know for certain. What they do know is it must be stopped.

"The entire East Coast is potentially at risk," says Matteo Garbelotto of the University of California-Berkeley, who first isolated the disease along with David Rizzo of the University of California-Davis.""

"The disease affects not only oaks but also 46 species including rhododendrons, camellias, azaleas and lilacs."

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Random topics2 squared

I always like the random stories in newspapers, so here are some largely random thoughts…

The Tsunami disaster is so beyond words that I can not even imagine it….CNN and in particular Anderson Cooper is doing a great job covering this disaster….CBS should make him their anchor...I am really sick of so-called religious people even suggesting such a calamity is because of “Allah’s” or “God’s” or any other deity you chose is mad....Times like this make me wish I were an MD. 155,000 deaths is an enormous and terribly tragic number, but an estimated 59 million died in WWII…stop and think about that for a minute…59,000,000. Amazing, horrific…WW II would be reported vastly differently now. I do not think concentration camps would be allowed for so long now due to more coverage. At least I hope!

Less serious stuff:
Winter’s snow, ice, and wind are worse than the cold….flickr and other photo sites are much better than emailed photos…The Atlantic 10 is struggling this year….

The Mets getting Beltran would be a major upset…I hope PSU’s football signings live up to their expectations…SBU’s Richter Center should open the other doors and get more spray bottles…Aqua Teen Hunger Force is hilarious….I finished A Walk in the Woods today…I am reading Marv Levy’s book now and several others…more later

Friday, January 07, 2005


Just to let people know (I am sure everyone wants to know!) just uploaded some pictures to my flickr account


The New York Times > Health > A Quandary in Good News

The New York Times > Health > A Quandary in Good News

The NY Times has a very interesting article on the seemingly contradictory findings on heart disease and CRP and Cholesterol.

For instance:
"Vioxx, which was pulled from the market in late September because of those risks, had been found in a study just a month earlier to cut CRP levels in half, from the danger zone to a level considered excellent. Celebrex, still on the market but linked to an increased risk of heart attack, has also been found to lower CRP levels."
Why? It is probably too early to know for sure.

Why do I mention this? To remind people that our understanding of how the body works is still pretty new.

This is similar to finance where there is much contradictory research that has to be sorted through before we can say much definitively. WHich is why both fields are so interesting!

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

FedEx commercials

Why is it I am afraid I am going to show up on a FedEx commercial? I am scared every time one comes on TV.

Civil War Radio

How cool is this? You can listen to a discussion on the Civil War for Free!!!

The host Gerald Prokopowicz is a history professor from East Carolina University. VERY INTERESTING!

Saturday, January 01, 2005 - Scientists returning to nature for cancer cures - Scientists returning to nature for cancer cures


"Just one in 40,000 natural products yields an effective drug but scientists say the next Taxol — an anti-cancer agent derived from the bark of the Pacific yew tree — could be lurking in one of the repository's 200,000 bar-coded extracts."

"The costs of creating a marketable drug from a natural product are staggering. The General Accounting Office reports that the National Institutes of Health spent $183 million over 20 years for research on Taxol, which was approved for sale by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. in 1992"

Talk about an article that evokes hope and despair at once. On the plus side, finding cures to problems is awesome! But while simultaneously facing the prospect of losing more and more species to extinction makes it in some ways a race. And yet another reason why we should be more concerned about the environment!