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+ - Why a Chinese Company is the Biggest IPO Ever in the US

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has made headlines lately in US financial news. At the closing of its Initial Public Offering (IPO) on Friday, it had raised $21.8 billion on the New York Stock Exchange, larger even than Visa's ($17.9 billion), Facebook's ($16 billion), and General Motors ($15.8 billion) IPOs. Some critics do say that Alibaba's share price will plummet from its current value of $93.60 in the same way that Facebook's and Twitter's plummeted dramatically after initial offerings. Before we speculate, however, we should take note of what Alibaba is exactly. Beyond the likes of Amazon and eBay, Alibaba apparently links average consumers directly to manufacturers, which is handy for an economy ripe for change. Approximately half of Alibaba's shares "were sold to 25 investment firms", and "most of the shares went to US investors"."

Comment: Pan-Racial Future (Score 1) 82

by retroworks (#47944431) Attached to: Europeans Came From Three Ancestry Groupings
On an evolutionary time scale, this is a snapshot. "Europeans" meant something for several thousand years, but the intermarriage and population growth and travel will commingle DNA in a century or two (evolutionarily known as an "instant"). I'm white and have native American DNA, most black / African Americans are dark skinned and have loads of European DNA, etc etc. These DNA results are interesting but it's like trying to follow a weather pattern, the geographical barriers are toast.

Comment: Part of the defamed "e-waste" culture (Score 4, Interesting) 52

by retroworks (#47944313) Attached to: Inside Shenzen's Grey-Market iPhone Mall
Have been to these markets in Shenzhen and Foshan, and to similar marketplaces in Cairo and Lima and Jakarta. In Chinese there is a word "shenzhai" I think which means to "hack" or copy, but it doesn't have the nefarious English connotations. It's more like a musician jamming someone else's guitar riff, it's seen as a talent worthy of applause. Slate had a great article in 2012, "The Chinese Steve Jobs is Probably a Pirate". I'm now working with 3 researchers at universities to document what we call the "Tinkerer Blessing", which is the opposite of the "Resource Curse"... correlating that emerging markets with a lack of natural resources develop better through technology repair and "grey market" activity. Simon Lin of Acer, Terry Gou of Foxconn, both started in video display refurbishment, by the way.

Comment: Employer says Thank You (Score -1) 107

by retroworks (#47941421) Attached to: Microsoft Lays Off 2,100, Axes Silicon Valley Research
While it's popular to cheer for victims of lost jobs and the unemployed, the brutal truth is that unemployment is 4% (in my state) and asshole-dom is about 14%. We look forward to MS-less resumes to grow our business. There's a shortage of smart employees, and until we figure out how to educate the emerging intellect-nots, medium-tech industry needs the dis-employed. Or immigrants. We are color blind, we don't care.

Comment: Generally accepted (Score 0) 55

by retroworks (#47941393) Attached to: Mystery Signal Could Be Dark Matter Hint In ISS Detector
Dark matter simply means matter that is too small to be detected by what humans have so far developed to see, but which gravity study suggests should be there. Seventy years ago, Pluto was probably "dark matter". Giving a name to "everything" we can't see and then finding evidence that there's something more is a bit curious. What hasn't been "seen" yet is "dark". We will eat away at "dark" matter one snapshot at a time.

Comment: Industry Needs Self-Certification or Academy (Score 2) 118

by retroworks (#47892713) Attached to: Software Patents Are Crumbling, Thanks To the Supreme Court
If the code-writing industry is going to rely on civil court judges and federal patent clerks to make the decisions, the firms with 2 lawyers per coder will win out. If the code-writing industry goes to no-patents, it will be from each coder according to his ability, to each according to his need. The only solution is for some industry gurus to come up with some rules which everyone agrees to abide by, and then to submit the concensus in friend-of-court decisions. I have no idea whether anyone in the industry is prepared to even define the 80/20 rule, but if they can agree on the WORST patent decisions (either way) and get some concensus on them, and then try to find commonalities in what made those "bad", it could be a start.

+ - Paypal Jumps into Bitcoin with Both Feet->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks (652802) writes "BBC, WSJ, Bloomberg, Forbes and several other business sites are buzzing with Paypal's incorporation of Bitcoin transactions. According to Wired, Paypal will be "the best thing ever to happen to bitcoin" Paypal-owned Braintree not only brings 150 million active users in close contact with Bitcoin, it signals "mainstreaming" similar to cell phone app banking, perceived as experimental just a few years ago.

Meanwhile Wired News reports on "someone's efforts" to expose or unmask Bitcoin guru Satoshi Nakamoto..."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Improved? Or Hyperbolized to Start With? (Score 3, Interesting) 15

by retroworks (#47862091) Attached to: How China's E-Waste Capital Is Trying To Clean Itself Up

1. Guiyu is a used semiconductor / chip harvesting and reuse center. The acid baths stuff (for biproduct after chip reuse) stopped years ago, the material is now shipped to Dowa in Japan. There's an ongoing issue with incineration of the boards to concentrate the metals ash for Dowa - that is the focus of the improvements in the article.

2. Guiyu's main industry is textile dying. The river pollution blamed on "e-waste" is almost identical to Louhajang River in Bangladesh - a textile industry pollution site.

3. Abogbloshie in Ghana is mostly an automobile junkyard. Very little of the "e-waste" there is recently imported. African cities have had TV and recycling for a long time. World Bank statistics show Nigeria had 6.9M households with TV in 2006, for example. India has NO used imports, plenty of informal sector processes.

4. Three separate peer reviewed studies show 85%-91% reuse of used electronics imports in South America and Africa.

5. According to TFA, the material currently processed in Guiyu is mostly generated in China.

6. USA has never been a significant exporter to Africa.

Emerging markets pay $$ for all the shipping. They pay for stuff they want, which is usually reuse value. They also generate "e-waste" and have their own dumps. China and India and Africa generate more electronic junk than USA or Europe. For some decent academic study on the Hoax, here are links to research at Memorial University, MIT, ASU, and UN at this /. story from last December. Innocent tinkerers and fixers are getting a firehose of bullshit #FreeHurricaneBenson. It is true that China (and TCL, the largest TV manufacturer in China) have invested in a clean up of Guiyu, and it's true Guiyu was nasty, but there was fortunately not all that much "ewaste" to clean up (worst is incineration of boards to concentrate ash, after chip harvest, prior to export to Dowa). Unfortunately they are not taking on cleanup of the textile industry, so the arsenic in the water samples will remain. Finding arsenic in the Guiyu river should have tipped people off in the first place, it has nothing to do with e-waste and everything to do with textile factories and copper mining.

Comment: User Errors (Score 4, Insightful) 185

by retroworks (#47851641) Attached to: GM To Introduce Hands-Free Driving In Cadillac Model
I don't doubt GM and others can make this work. But we'll never know how many of the "sudden acceleration" Toyota accidents were actually user errors blamed via "Oh yeah, me too. That's the ticket!" excuse. Toyota eventually just settled with everyone rather than go through the cases all trial-by-trial. In other words, even if it works perfectly, how many drivers will blame the technology irregardless? And if it doesn't work perfectly, how many juries will err on the side of the victim?

Comment: #1 Source of Environmental Mercury = Gold Mining (Score 4, Interesting) 173

by retroworks (#47849175) Attached to: Surprise! More Than Twice As Much Mercury In Environment As Thought

#2, Silver Mining. It turns out mountains don't come labelled as "gold" and "silver-only". As world affluence increases, demand for gold and silver increases. Today, affluent trapped from filters at gold mines produces more mercury than mercury mines. But the only mines "trapping" any mercury are in regulated western economies... most gold mining is in unregulated forests.

Lamps, by the way, have jackshit mercury, less than a fraction of what they had when lamp recycling got started. Billions of dollars are being spent "recycling" lamps which have barely any mercury in them.

At least the recycled mercury saves the environment, right? Oh. Nope. Read the great journalist John Fialka on WSJ 2006. Most of the mercury recovered from the recycling went to alluvial gold mining in Amazon and Congo river basins.

I'm an environmentalist, but environmentalists 3.0 need to recognize past mistakes, and correct them, the same as engineers and software coders are expected to do.

Comment: Re:Parent of University Frosh Twins: "Thank You" (Score 1) 161

by retroworks (#47841749) Attached to: Getting Into College the Old Fashioned Way: With Money

That's what we all said in 1982 when Reagan was blamed for cutting the Pell Grant Program (which was replaced by loans). It turns out Reagan may have been right after all. The cost of tuition increases, when all other cost factors (energy, interest rates, salaries, etc.) were controlled for?... Federal Pell grants. The more the feds slopped into students, the higher the college tuition draw. (cue sucking sound).

I suspect that in nations where tax aid for tuition is working, the universities are government owned, and there are too many private colleges in the USA. And to give USA credit, our colleges are admired overseas in part for the competition between private and public enterprise (even if some was for the athletic facilities arms race). I was out protesting Reagan's cuts as a freshman and sophomore, but by the time I was a junior, I realized why Eisenhower included universities in his "military industrial complex" speech. We were patsies. The more our "need" was met, the higher the tuition went. It correlated to aid.

Comment: Parent of University Frosh Twins: "Thank You" (Score 4, Interesting) 161

by retroworks (#47841065) Attached to: Getting Into College the Old Fashioned Way: With Money

Competition and expense at elite colleges is really tough for my kids. Today, I don't think I would have gotten into the colleges I attended 30 years ago. And I hear most of the parents of my generation griping about competition from incoming foreign students.

No, I say this is good. The USA college tuitions have been going up 3 times the rate of inflation for three decades. While much of the increased annual fees go to "need based" tuition scholarships, the university endowments have funded an arms race on "country club" campuses complexes, the maintenance of which draws from the same tuition and fees. Students are paying for the lavishness. MOOC (massive online open courses) have been proposed as the solution, providing the education without the cost of the colleges' overhead.

As this would trend, the smaller and middle reputation colleges would fold and get privatized (which has not worked well at all). Colleges like, say Hendrix in Arkansas or St. Mike's in VT, are fine schools with good professors, and they'd be the victim if it weren't for an increase in students who can afford to pay the full tuition. If the country club and reputations of US colleges didn't attract foreign full-tuition paying students, the only solution would be more college debt, which is already unsustainable. So if my kid (with better grades, scores, and languages than I had) didn't get into the "A-List" college I attended, I'm satisfied she'll find more people as smart as she is at the less prestigious school, and that all the foreign tuition coming into this program will float all boats.

The only two things most people remember about college are 1) the interesting people they met (friends, faculty, etc) and 2) the debt they leave with. MOOC's only address the latter. More wealthy foreign students paying full tuition addresses both.

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current." -- Thomas Jefferson