Monday, November 24


Memorial Stadium following Cal's victory in the Big Game - thank you Christian.

I hear Malcolm Gladwell speak about his book "Outliers: The Story of Success" - Gladwell is best known for his book "The Tipping Point" - that illuminates secret patterns behind everyday phenomena. He begins with the NHL where players are mostly born from January to March (this BTW applies to European footballers and other sports). It turns out that youngster selections occur during this period and the biggest kids chosen who in turn receive the most training and resources; they may not be the most talented but this hardly matters over the long-haul. Gladwell argues that mastering complexity - music, sports, finance - requires 10,000 hours work and those who achieve do so because they have the opportunity to put the time in (swimming, any one?) He then explains cultural aptitudes - Chinese and maths, for instance. Asians for thousands of years have cultivated rice which is the most sophisticated early production known to man requiring 3,000 hours of labor per year+an understanding of drainage, seeding and multiple plantings. Contrast this to European's wheat at 1,000 hours and fairly straight-forward. Given this 10,000 year legacy is it no wonder that the Chinese thrive in arithmetic?

Gordon Brown announces a stimulus package and tax cuts in his new budget. Worringly, the Financial Times reports that the Britain's jobs boom from 1998 has been fueled by the public sector creating two out of three jobs. This suggests the private sector may not be equipped to weather a recession.