Monthly Archives: February 2005

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Another reason to go to the library 

Red Ted: “The reading room in Firestone Library is a great big space with great big windows. Hanging over the door is a huge — it looked to be 8 feet tall — Charles Wilson Peale portrait of George Washington.”

Sledgehammer/nut 

Stop Veritas. A worthy but unnecessary debunking of the ludicrous Robert Kilroy-Silk.

Addendum Daniel Davies explains why it’s unnecessary: “’Really popular with nutters’ isn’t an election winning strategy, but it can get you a good showing in UK local elections.”

Countering California’s $3 billion 

The decision by California to devote $3 billion to stem cell research is apparently creating a gold rush of biomedical researchers who want a foothold in the state.

That’s raised problems for places like the UK and Singapore, which had forged ahead of the pack on stem cell research because of the restrictive policies of the US government.

So it’s encouraging that forces are mobilising to stem the tide in the UK. The intended £100 million for the Stem Cell Foundation pales besides California’s funds (although if the dollar slide continues it might not seem so paltry), but the record of British scientists getting extraordinary bang for the buck is astounding.

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Put down that phone 

Getting off my flight yesterday I encountered an announcement that was novel to me. “Use of your cellphone is subject to fines of up to $1,000.”

I’d always known you weren’t supposed to use your phone when going through immigration, but for many of us, turning on the phone at the end of a flight to check messages, and to call home, is an ingrained habit. But this fine apparently applies to any use from the plane until immigration is cleared.

I suspect, if they want to enforce it, US immigration officials could raise tremendous revenues from that fine.

Team Ellen 

I’m in California on business and, as usually happens, I woke well before the crack of dawn. It’s a good time to check the news before the press of events rule the day.

I have to confess that I had little interest in the result of the Super Bowl, Condi Rice’s diplomatic swing through the Middle East (what a fawning piece in today’s New York Times — but she seems to have exactly predicted the Super Bowl result), or Chelsea’s slipup yesterday.

What I wanted to know was how is Ellen doing?

Ellen MacArthur seems to have passed the US by, but Britain and France are totally captivated by the small 28-year old. Sometime in the next 24 hours, barring catastrophe, Ellen will break the solo round-the-world sailing record.

She has been at sea for over 71 days, not touching land or seeing another person. It’s an extraordinary story of determination, technical mastery and physical endurance. Far more thrilling than a few hours of American football.

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Finding a new rhythm 

Having been a reasonably regular writer on Davos Newbies over the last five years, I feel a bit guilty that I’ve let things slip in recent weeks.

There’s a simple explanation. I’m on the verge of starting a new company, which has unquestionably captured my attention to the exclusion of pretty much everything else. With my three partners, I think we’re nearly there but the next few weeks will be crucial.

When things are signed and sealed I’ll be able to write about it here. As with my previous jobs, I suspect my new role will make occasional intrusions into Davos Newbies. I also hope to infuse weblogs into my new venture as soon as possible.

Exciting times.