Yesterday, I went to Office Depot to purchase ink. The store was packed and the checkout line was long. After waiting in line for a few minutes, a manager came out from behind the counter and asked what I was buying. I showed him my order ticket and he scurried back behind the checkout counter where he picked out my ink from the shelves. When he returned, he swiped my credit card in a wireless, hand-held device. The receipt went straight to my email. There's nothing technologically surprising about this; it's just that I've never been pulled from a line and checked out in a retail store using a small wireless device.
Recently purchased online: a power cord for my computer. Price: $9. Retail from Toshiba: $79. Also purchased a power side-view mirror for the car: $32. Retail: $160. The cord and the mirror work. I hope they weren't made by 10-year-old children in developing countries.
When Musharraf returned to Pakistan last March, I wondered if he was out of his mind. I'd assumed that Musharraf had stolen enough money to live comfortably and safely in exile. Self-imposed exile is a huge tumble from four-star general and president, but did he really believe his chances of avoiding an assassination or indictment were good? I guess the comedown from powerful, relevant man, to exile without a job was just too much for him.
Four things you should know about Musharraf's indictment.
In the age of Yelp, should print critics continue to give restaurants time to get their legs before writing reviews? I lean toward waiting, but now that we're all reviewers, that may be impossible. This is all part of the death of print media. Discussion
Egypt. Is there any hope for people living under dictatorships in the region? They try democracy and elect people who would destroy democracy. Or the new leaders are undermined by people who don't want democracy or by the kleptocratic bureaucracies that have long been in place. Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan. This is why I would have little hope for Syria, even if Assad was overthrown. And this is why I fear for the long-term fate of Libya. Okay, before the libertarians bring up rent-seeking, yes I know rent-seeking exists everywhere government exists, but you know what I'm talking about. In many of these states, the direct looting of treasuries, violent factionalism and kleptocractic bureaucracies thoroughly overwhelm any economic development. Is the Middle East a hopeless mess? If not, where is the way out?