World’s Subways Converging on ... (

World's Subways Converging on Ideal Form

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The Scrooge McDuck ‘Gold Coin Swim’


How Much Money You Need To Realistically Recreate The Scrooge McDuck ‘Gold Coin Swim’

After executing smart mortgage derivatives and diversifying high yield stocks, cash should start flowing freely, leaving the smart investor with even more questions, like “how do I protect my municipal bonds?” and, “should I invest in a C-Share or blend fund?” and, “how much money do I need to create giant floes of gold in a private vault and dive into it like Scrooge McDuck?”
In most money circles (insider tip: “money circles” is a term used by only the most elite investors), wealth is measured exclusively by how closely one can recreate this famed animation. It has come to represent success in America and anything less than doing the backstroke amongst a sea of Earth’s rarest metal should be considered an abject failure. A main problem of this measure, however, is that there is no agreed-upon Scrooge McDuck quantity of gold. In order to give the young investor a goal to shoot for, and to clear up this age-old question once and for all, the following is a precise judgment of exactly how money you need to be successful. 
Looking at some of the best pictorial evidence of the McDuck vault, it is evident that this large pile of gold on the left appears to be five feet tall. This is deduced under the assumption that the average duck 14 inches tall, which is then used comparatively to quantify the pile (5 ft = 4.3 duck heights). With a little calculus and graph-work, the rough integral can pinpointed to y=-x2-1x+5.  This equation puts every “x” and every “y” value at exactly one inch, as seen below.
When the area under the curve is calculated (from x=-3 to x=5), it yields roughly 46 square inches. The assumption will be made here that one cubic inch is roughly one ounce of gold. To convert that into a dome shape the value is simply cubed, which becomes 97,366 ounces. Given that 1 ounce of gold is roughly $5.00, it can extrapolated that each large pile of gold in the vault is worth $486,830.
However, Scrooge McDuck was first drawn in 1947, therefore inflation must be adjusted for which totals a whopping 5.2 billion dollars per pile. In the picture, there are two smaller piles which roughly equal the larger doubling the total to 10.4 billion. However, the shadows in the corner suggest that the room is a least three times as large as it is. Therefore, Scrooge was privy to a cool 31.2 billion dollars.
This means that only the six richest people in the world could afford to pull off the Scrooge swim.
Swimming in gold truly is a marker for success, but for the world’s big wigs, there are goals beyond even this. Another famous picture of Scrooge McDuck skiing down a mountain of money is even more alluring still.
Calculating his velocity (roughly 5 m/s2) suggests that this mountain (of which we cannot see the summit) has a slope of 35 degrees, putting a rough estimate of the entire hill at 73.5 billion. Is it possible that McDuck pushed together his wealth to make this monstrosity? In theory, yes, but the eye line of McDuck (fixed at 8 degrees above the horizon relative to the slope) suggests that there are at least two other such mounds, putting his total wealth at over 210 billion, and well beyond the meager 70 billion of richest man in the world Carlos Slim Helu. It’s also heartening to see cash in this picture, as a diverse portfolio is always a successful one.

The New Gmail Sucks - Especially on a Netbook

Yeah, I have a tablet. And I have a laptop. And I have another tablet. And a desktop. And a dual-core 4.3' android phone. And another tablet. And an ereader.

But the most versatile device I have? My 10' netbook.

Yeah - its not as fun to use as the tablets. But damn can you get a lot more done. If you want to have a really productive email session - tablets suck. With swype (in my opinion) they are a little bit better, but typing is still a chore.

But my netbook? Great keyboard. Better than any iPad keyboard out there, I bet you anything.

All of this helps explain why I am so freaking pissed at Google for their new interface. It is terrible. I mean really really terrible.

Worst Gmail Ever - By Far
As you can see, if you (like me) put your chat bar on the right, once Google decides to add its freaking enormous new ad bar, I am writing in a window about 100 pixels wide!!! WTF Google. And not only that, there are now 3 (!!!!!) vertical scroll bars - one for the text, one for the email window, and one just to fuck with your head. It's almost worse when I get formatted HTML emails (like every email you sign up for) because they end up being wider than my screen now - so I can't even use the vertical scroll bars without scrolling horizontally first.

I hate that I can't go back to the old look. I hate that I basically have to use "basic HTML" if I want to work quickly in gmail. I hate the line spacing. I hate the way text on the sides is white regardless of what background you choose (what google brained moron dreamed that one up?).

All in all, I really hate the new gmail. I hate it so much I am looking for alternatives. Since there are now standalone gchat clients (or my phone), and forwarding is easy, it would not even take that much to set up.

But really Google - WTF were you thinking? Did you even test this first?

Google is falling apart - I am seriously unimpressed.


The $15 Infinite E-Reader - The Solar Powered Wiki Reader and Ultimate Apocalypse Tool

So, I recently picked up a WikiReader for $13 from a one-sale-a-day site. I liked the idea that it ran on AAA batteries and could last "a year". I figured that since it came from Openmoko (a little open source company) it would probably be easy to hack.

Turns out - you don't even have to.

While it advertises itself as "Wikipedia without the Internet" - it actually also comes with the ability to download all of project Gutenburg. You either need to wipe wikipedia to do this or get a bigger microSD card (16gb) to hold them both. If you have a spare 4gb microSD card then, you get most of wikipedia (some articles are missing) and tons of great books all on one device.

While some sites say that it runs on three AAA batteries - it runs on two. And here is where the infinite solar part comes in. As you may know, small cheap garden lights typically run on one 300mAh AAA NiMh battery. These little garden lights are often for sale at Walmart etc for $1. Buy two of them, and you have two nice little AAA solar chargers ready to go (just take the battery out at night).

Now - 300mAh batteries can't run much for very long - but this little WikiReader draws so little power that I have not yet been able to run the batteries out (in relatively limited testing to be sure - but still, signs are good).

So there you have it - for $15 you can have thousands of books, hundreds of thousands of wikipedia articles, and run the whole thing forever off the grid.

The only downside is all of  your reading will be on an overgrown Game Boy screen... though I have to say I am impressed with the accuracy of the touchscreen on the thing.

Why Haven't We Made It Back To The Moon: WWHMIBTTM

We have landed on the moon a few times. But the last time that a person set foot on the moon was 1972: 40 years ago. Given the current plans of the major space powers, it is unlikely that we will go back before 50 years have passed since Apollo 17. Why? More specifically, WHWMIBTTM?

Map of Moon Landings - Manned and Unmanned
 And the thing is - it hurts. It hurts because I might be 40 before I see someone land on the moon. Which is ridiculous, considering it first happened over a decade before I was born.

But lets look back on human history, and try and figure out why people explored and moved, and when similar events (though on different time scales) occurred in human history.

1) The Vikings in North America
The Vikings came to North America first. They had some pretty large settlements too. But then they left, and no European would return for about 400 years.

Because there was no money to be made. There was little to no industry at that point, and the Vikings were making a killing raiding as far south as North Africa (they were also doing a lot of killing generally speaking). North America on the other hand offered very little: another piece of land to live on, but with nothing there "of value." The US only really started to take off 600 years later when Europe wanted cash crops.

2) The Bottom Of The World
On January 23, 1960, we went to the bottom of the world. Crewed by Jacques Piccard (son of the boat's designer Auguste Piccard) and U.S. Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh, mankind made it to almost 36,000ft under the water. And then, we didn't go back until two months ago.

File:Bathyscaphe Trieste.jpg

Because there was no money to be made. Making it down that far is expensive and dangerous. The Navy did it really to prove that they could do it. James Cameron went back a few months ago to film an IMAX movie (and, I suspect, because he just really wanted to do it). In other words, we left it alone for 50 years because there was no money to be made....

3) Cars
The first car was built in 1771, or 140 years before the Model T. That's a long time to hit general adoption. The first car was steam powered, incredibly unstable, and designed for carrying heavy loads. It was built by Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot (a crazy Frenchman), and it never quite achieved its goals.

Because there was no money to be made. Shocking? Not really. At the time, this thing was way less efficient than a few horses, and so it was a pretty tough sell. It would take 130 years for the technology to improve enough to make the whole idea economically attractive.

4) The Northwest Passage
The Northwest Passage was first navigated by Roald Amundsen in 1903–1906 (yeah... it took a while). The first time it was navigable economically was 2009. Back in the day, Amundsen took a pretty small converted Norwegian fishing vessel and managed to make it across the Arctic. Freaking impressive. But, no one did it again for 100 years.
Not very big... for three years... in the ice...
Because there was no money to be made. The crossing took too long, was dangerous as hell, and didn't exactly speed up trade. Until the ice retreated and technology got better... and now countries are fighting like mad about who owns the Northwest Passage - 100 years after we first did it.

5) The Computer
Charles Babbage figured out the mechanical computer way back in the day. He designed the "difference engine" back in about 1820 (originally). It was an incredibly innovative mechanical way to do mathematical calculations. It could have revolutionized all kinds of businesses...but it didn't. It would be another 120yrs before computers came into their own.
File:Babbage Difference Engine.jpg

Because it was actually impossible to build the thing in the 19th century. The pic you see above was built in 1990 - using modern tolerances. Basically, the technology wasn't there to properly build the amazing machine, because every part had to fit together so well, and back then, parts didn't.

So - why haven't we made it back? Simple really: technology and money. When we first did it we were on the breakneck edge of technology. It cost huge sums of money and while the returns were amazing in terms of technology breakthroughs and national pride, it would not be successful as a commercial enterprise.

So what do we need? Better technology - which is coming (yay SpaceX and everyone else working on new launch systems orders of magnitude cheaper than the current generation). We also need an economic incentive - like most of what you have seen above - it only becomes common when you can make money at it.

Well get there soon, I hope.

Army Surplus: MRAPS

With the US winding down from the largest military confrontation since Vietnam, there is going to be a fair bit of surplus available. 

Specifically, in the last few years of the conflict, the military (finally some might say) started deploying large numbers of MRAPs (Mine Resistant Armor Plated vehicles) - about 20,000 of them. Most of them are currently seeing use in Afghanistan, but in a few years they will be coming back home...

Freaking Awesome
And the thing is, they are amazing vehicles which have saved a lot of lives.. but they are not really that useful outside of terrorist zones. 

File:Army mil-2008-06-13-162413.jpg

So, what is to happen to these mighty machines? Well - come about 2016 or so, you just might be able to buy one. In the rush to get these things deployed, there are actually a whole range of different types (probably ones of the reasons they are too expensive to keep around after the fact - that and their gas consumption), and some of them would make perfect RVs for vacation in a post-apocalyptic zombieland. 

File:1st MaxxPros in Iraq.jpg

Alternately, if you live in Russia - you can probably just register this thing and drive it around. 

Android Over 50%, but Bad News for Microsoft


So, Android has passed 50%, which is pretty significant.

At the same time, Microsoft is flirting with Palm webOS levels. Obviously, the new N900 is trying to change all that, but they definitely have an uphill battle (what with market share falling and all).

Apple actually managed to gain the first little bit in a while, probably on the back of cheaper phones and the marketing gimmick which is Siri.

New Business Plan

I am about to graduate from a top MBA program... and one website has accurately captured what it is I have learned...

scale killer e-markets
incentivize frictionless solutions
maximize viral platforms
utilize bleeding-edge supply-chains
integrate transparent ROI
envisioneer next-generation infrastructures
disintermediate strategic mindshare
innovate customized convergence
benchmark bleeding-edge functionalities
generate collaborative functionalities

Actually - this comes from a hilarious generator (if you have been through the MBA/Startup/Silicone Valley wringer)

Sustainable is Unsustainable