Billionaire tells Rice business students that love trumps wealth

Yes, of course, he’s a Nebraska fan
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

The Rice business students who visited Warren Buffett on Friday weren’t struck most by the billionaire’s business acumen, but by his affability…

For those of us at the Jones school, he’s kind of our idol,” said Jan Goetgeluk, president of the business school’s Finance Club, which organized the trip. “It’s always interesting to get perspective from the most successful investor in the world…”

He gave several students a ride to lunch, and held the elevator door open for Rice student Neha Agrawal. She’s read his autobiography and knows his reputation for unpretentiousness, that he drives his own car and eschews luxury. She was awed nonetheless…

During the Q and A, Agrawal asked Buffett what he thought about the correlation between wealth and happiness, and how he has kept his billions from weighing him down.

“He told us that success is getting what you want, and happiness is wanting what you get,” she said. “He said pretty much just be happy with what you have, and don’t let it get to you.”

He also urged the students to surround themselves with people who love them, and to give love in return…

Buffett…believes all the cars on the road will be electric. He’s already invested in a Chinese company working on the technology to make it happen…

“One thing he said was that he really believes the U.S. economy will recover and be strong for decades to come,” Goetgeluk said. “He said America has a great system and it has always worked, and it will keep working in the future.”

Nothing unique about this article – though Buffett’s view on automobiles surprised me a little bit. I figured his investment in BYD was as much for battery tech as hybrid cars.

The useful example that he offers is mostly to his peers. He supported Obama and asked for an increase on taxes on the wealthy. He’s gone to Silicon Valley and pressed hi-tech millionaires to get involved with charities – Bill and Melinda Gates being the best example.

250 new pubs to greet end of recession in UK

Pubs chain JD Wetherspoon said today that it would create 10,000 jobs over the next five years with the opening of 250 new pubs.

The business, which currently employs 21,000 people and has 743 pubs across the UK, is to invest £250m in the new outlets over the period. It expects to open new pubs in locations including Sheffield, Livingston, Leominster, Otley, New Malden, Liverpool, Haverfordwest and Newcastle. The roles include management positions, as well as bar and kitchen staff…

Wetherspoon opened its first pub in December 1979. In September it hailed its best ever annual results after the company went back to basics to ride out the recession…

The chain said it took lessons from the recessions of the 1980s and 1990s to combat tough trading conditions, “concentrating on the key ingredients of standard, service, staff training and incentives”.

Sounds like the Brits have their priorities straight.

Bah Humbug! “I can’t stand you and your bell-ringing. I hate Christmas!” yells robber.

“You’re lucky I’m giving you THIS finger!”

[Holy] Toledo, Ohio – Police on Monday arrested a man suspected of swiping a Salvation Army kettle full of donated money and pushing one of the Christian charity’s bell ringers to the ground when she tried to take it back.

Shawn P. Krieger, 44, of Toledo, was sought in the robbery Sunday evening in Maumee, in northwestern Ohio, of a kettle filled with cash donations.

According to The Blade newspaper, police say the man grabbed the kettle outside a store. The bell ringer grasped at the chain suspending the kettle and tried to take it back. But police said she was pushed down by the man, who told her: “I can’t stand you and your bell-ringing. I hate Christmas.”…

The truck, which was reported to have been stolen, and the empty kettle were recovered in separate locations.

A heart-warming story to begin your holiday season. Perhaps the first in a series….

India blocks 25 million mobile phones

Millions of Indian mobile phones with no valid unique identification code have been blocked for security reasons.

The International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number is a 15-digit code which appears on the operator’s network whenever a call is made. The absence of this number makes it impossible to trace either the caller or the phone or to access call details.

Indian intelligence agencies say phones without the code have been used in attacks by militant groups.

Mobile phones without the code were blocked at midnight – operators were asked to bar calls to them “in the wake of increased threat perception from militants”.

It is estimated that India has more than 25 million phones without codes.

Some mobile phone companies are claiming they didn’t know that phones had to offer identifiers.


America’s racist hiring gap isn’t diminished by college degree

Barry J. Sykes gets job interviews – when Barry Jabbar Sykes doesn’t!

Johnny R. Williams, 30, would appear to be an unlikely person to have to fret about the impact of race on his job search, with companies like JPMorgan Chase and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago on his résumé.

But after graduating from business school last year and not having much success garnering interviews, he decided to retool his résumé, scrubbing it of any details that might tip off his skin color. His membership, for instance, in the African-American business students association? Deleted.

“If they’re going to X me,” Mr. Williams said, “I’d like to at least get in the door first…”

That race remains a serious obstacle in the job market for African-Americans, even those with degrees from respected colleges, may seem to some people a jarring contrast to decades of progress by blacks, culminating in President Obama’s election.

But there is ample evidence that racial inequities remain when it comes to employment. Black joblessness has long far outstripped that of whites. And strikingly, the disparity for the first 10 months of this year, as the recession has dragged on, has been even more pronounced for those with college degrees, compared with those without. Education, it seems, does not level the playing field — in fact, it appears to have made it more uneven.

College-educated black men, especially, have struggled relative to their white counterparts in this downturn, according to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate for black male college graduates 25 and older in 2009 has been nearly twice that of white male college graduates — 8.4 percent compared with 4.4 percent…

RTFA. I hope you’re not surprised or shocked. Bigotry is as American as apple pie.

Advances in law don’t guarantee improvement in ethics. Most of the people making excuses for racism don’t consider themselves bigots.

Just as I said… Ivanchuk is not giving up chess

How can you not like the guy?

Vassily Ivanchuk’s statement (from translation on Chessbase): “I ask the forgiveness of my supporters, friends, colleagues in arms, and numerous chess lovers, for the emotional interview. I was very upset after losing, but am not in any circumstances planning to give up chess!”

I always update the posts that I get right. 🙂

In my previous post, Ivanchuk must not give up chess (and of course he won’t), I thought it was obvious that Ivanchuk was having a normal, human reaction. Nothing wrong with that, in my book. Too bad the chess world, now, seems to be filled with people who don’t recognize humanity when they see it. Why does everyone want everyone else to be so damned polite?

Get a grip, folks. The internet gives you moment-by-moment coverage of your favorite personalities. Enjoy it, and, in return, cut them some slack.

Argleton: the world mapped imprecisely, sort of…

It may be an unpromising place to look for Xanadu, but just north of Liverpool off the A59 there is a town that is already entering the annals of myth. This town, “Argleton”, appears on Google Maps, by mistake, and nowhere else. Mike Nolan and Roy Bayfield of Edge Hill University are the modern-day Marco Polos who discovered it, and there is now a “save Argleton” campaign on the web which is urging Google not to correct the error.

The preservationists have poetry on their side. Argleton is a fortuitously evocative name, sounding a bit like Edward Thomas’s Adlestrop, that village in deepest England known only by its railway station; and even more like something out of an old Ealing comedy, about a town fighting for its autonomy against the faceless drones of Whitehall.

Perhaps the save Argleton campaign also marks the beginnings of a dissident movement, a reaction against the speed and stealth with which Google is mapping every last blade of grass in the world. It is easy to overlook how quickly this has happened…

Now Google Earth allows us to fly from deep space to our own back garden in a matter of moments, and then switch to Google Street View and check out the state of our neighbours’ curtains. And while I don’t agree with the anti-privacy campaigners who have tried to stop the company doing this – Earth is not copyrightable, after all, and a street is a public space – it is still disconcerting to discover, as I did recently, your front door in high resolution on the web…

Perhaps this explains the schadenfreude that some people feel when they hear about motorists deposited in village ponds by their satnavs. The discovery of Argleton is part of the same reassertion of the local, the happy realisation that the world is not completely mappable, that not even Google knows as much as God or the people on the ground. The Argletonians are the contemporary equivalent of the apocryphal local leaning on a gate who, when asked directions by a motorist, sucks his teeth and says: “Well, I wouldn’t start from here if I were you.”

While I understand and mostly agree with the sentiments of the author – I’m one of those people who enjoys correct maps. In fact, just a week ago, I corrected Google Maps record of a road ending in my neighborhood – which, as a matter of fact – had been extended by a group of neighbors with a borrowed backhoe and a free [somewhat decrepit] culvert pipe to join a nearby legitimate road. Quite illegally – but, now, it’s there.

I have traced disappeared roads – El Camino Real for example – via Google Earth. I love real places as much or more than imaginary – but, I guess I can support the Save Argleton campaign, too.