Archive for December, 2005

The luxury of falling prices

Sunday, December 11th, 2005

Lasik Remains a Luxury Procedure, a new AP story that purports to look back on a decade of laser vision correction:

A lack of health insurance coverage keeps the procedure a luxury item, affordable only to people who can spare $3,000 to $5,000.

The story fails to mention that prices declined 38 percent from 1998 to 2004.

Perhaps lasik does remain a good, but the lack of price data seems like a serious omission from the story given its headline and retrospective nature. (I looked at the article because I hoped it would mention 1995-2005 price changes–it’s a pain to find data period, and moreso on a subject where most search hits basically point to advertisements.)

I won’t go for corrective vision surgery until the right combination of deterioration of my eyesight and improvement in the expected outcome of such surgery occurs–probably a decade or more from now.

I’d prefer to wait for with intelligently designed (by bio-engineers) eyes with vastly greater capabilies than my current amazing yet severely limited evolved set–better for watching the scenery from my future driverless car.

Five Reasons Why Bathroom Tissue Matters

Friday, December 9th, 2005

I’d like to be annoyed by the “Web 2.0” label, but overall I think it loosely denotes a collection of good trends, and that’s slightly useful. The has a good summary. But then there are completely vacuous articles such as Five Reasons Why Web 2.0 Matters (via /.) that simply cry out for parody.

Five Reasons Why Bathroom Tissue Matters

  1. The Focus of Technology Moves To People With Bathroom Tissue.
  2. Bathroom Tissue Represents Best Practices.
  3. Bathroom Tissue Has Excellent Feng Shui.
  4. Quality Is Maximized, Waste Is Minimized.
  5. Bathroom Tissue Has A Ballistic Trajectory.

Certainly there are other reasons why Bathroom Tissue is important and you’re welcome to list them here, but I think this captures the central vision in a way that most anyone who craps can grasp and access.

BTW, I will also use this moment to state that Bathroom Tissue is a terrible name for this new vision of paper-based people-centric product. Except that is for every other name we have at the moment (for example, like “next generation of the arsewipe”). So I will continue to use Bathroom Tissue until something better comes along.

OK, don’t agree? Please straighten me out. Why does bathroom tissue matter (or not) to you?

Toilet paper anyone?

Prediction Markets Summit extract of an extract

Wednesday, December 7th, 2005

I sadly could not attend last Friday’s mini-conference in San Francisco on prediction markets, but Peter McCluskey has an informative write up.

Apparently Tradesports explained why it makes it a pain to link to its contracts. They want to sell access to the data. I don’t see easy linking and data sales as mutually exclusive, but Tradesports’ current practice doesn’t help it win bigger opportunities (becoming the dominant PM exchange).

A Microsoft representative promoted the use of open source licenses. (Indirectly.)

An implication that real money traders did consider the Bush re-election good for terrorist stock:

[Eric Zitzewitz] showed an amusing graph indicating that Tradesports prices implied Osama was twice as likely to be captured in October 2004 as in November 2004 (implying some connection with the U.S. elections).

With conditional futures voters could’ve been informed of that collective opinion before the election.

Go read McCluskey’s comments, replete with links.

Chris Hibbert is also blogging his summit presentation on Zocalo.