Saturday, June 28, 2008

American imports

From Freakonomics, import genius records all the container imports into the US. Scroll to the bottom of the page to watch imports in real time.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Efficient market

Wired in a more general look at data, uncovers a way to make more accurate predictions of crop growth. Here is a small case study in the increased efficiency of information assimilation.

Farmer's Almanac is finally obsolete. Last October, agricultural consultancy Lanworth not only correctly projected that the US Department of Agriculture had overestimated the nation's corn crop, it nailed the margin: roughly 200 million bushels. That's just 1.5 percent fewer kernels but still a significant shortfall for tight markets, causing a 13 percent price hike and jitters in the emerging ethanol industry.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Apple and profit

Oren Hurvitz looks at Apple and the effect of paying engineers less than the competition.

As one of the commentators says

Working conditions at the newspaper are fine: Co-workers are pleasant, the supervisors treat me well, and I believe that both respect me. This means that my total benefits — some I certainly provided to myself — work into the equation to produce the sum total of benefits. I am conscious that I am taking advantage of them and appreciate them. I am currently satisfied with the quality and quantity that makes up the sum total. Perhaps for similar practical and intrinsic reasons, Apple employees are satisfied at Apple.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

iPhone and price discrimination

The Telegraph looks at the iPhone and emphasises the low price of the latest model. This is another reminder of the way that Apple has successfully managed to satisfy two major segments of the market.

"Apple seems to have realised it needs to drive volumes beyond gadget-happy geeks who would pay enormous amounts to have this piece of gadget bling."