My wife regularly contends that while my abstract inapplicable research is pursued entirely for self-gratitude, her chosen field leads to practical, human-benefiting innovation. Economists, you see, are motivated by results that are “cool” but useless, while engineers (clearly not motivated by coolness) pursue practicality.

A counter-example:

fluid mechanics wine glass

The glass tank is a purported marvel of fluid mechanics:

when the amount in the glass decreases, a constant amount is poured from the tank into the glass. never overflowing from the glass because of air pressure and water pressure.

That’s all well and good, but what happens when I swirl this monstrosity?

  1. It takes the sustained effort of many people to create a positive corporate culture. It takes a few people no time at all to ruin it.
  2. When someone starts a sentence with “We benchmarked our performance against …” it means they screwed up, and are now covering their asses.
  3. Trying to build consensus where none is possible is not leadership. Making a decision respected by those who disagree is.
  4. People who do the least while in power are the most critical of their leaders while out of power.
  5. Thinking “out of the box” doesn’t make you clever. Having more tools in your box does.
  6. Many of the best business ideas seem obvious, like opening a bar across the street from a Baptist college.
  7. Lawyers generally abhor qualifying adverbs, while economists can rarely write a sentence without at least two of them.
  8. You can’t just tell people that you value them, you have to show them. You can’t just show people that you value them, you have to tell them.
  9. It takes less effort to act ethically than to create the pretense of acting ethically. Yet, most prefer the latter to the former.
  10. People read Top Ten lists. Even if you have only nine things to say, stretch it to ten.

Financial “analysis” like this makes my head spin:

Earnings … were expected to beat expectations. [The Street]
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Think of the Children! (But only on Sundays, say area liquor stores)

Connecticut is considering a law lifting the ban on Sunday liquor sales. The current prohibition is a throwback to the religious blue laws. Of course, like most legislation that comes under the banner of morality, someone is sneering and profiteering. Opposed to the legislation is the Connecticut association of liquor stores. Head cynic cretin (err, President) Alan Wilensky justifies his opposition:

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No money Down!*

Satisfaction Guaranteed!*

Those ubiquitous asterisks used to point to standard disclaimers about war, riots, or force majeure, but the small print at four point font now occupies tomes. There is a fine line between disclaimers, limitations, conditions, restrictions, and outright fraud. The following examples are nowhere near that line.

Accident Forgiveness… Helps keep your rates from going up just because of an accident. Even if it’s your fault. [Allstate Auto Insurance]

Fine print: “Safe Driving Bonus is based on eligible premium for prior policy period and won’t apply after an accident.”

Translation: “We forgive you! (but you still pay)”

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