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"A View From Across The Pond" an Englishman's personal view of the week's news in the USA - from Erithacus
30th December 2001
Stock Markets seem set to have an optimistic end to the year as the Dow Jones index managed a 1% rise for the week and the Nasdaq Composite climbed around 2%. For the year, however, the Dow Jones has lost 6% - nearly as bad as the loss of 6.2% in the previous year.
Traders seem to be gambling on a swift economic recovery in the New Year, but many analysts are more cautious. "We’ll be seeing many ups and downs in the Markets for the next few months," said one, "I wouldn’t be counting on stock prices being any higher by summer than they are now."
Despite the caution, some of the economic indicators do look encouraging. Consumer confidence, which had been declining dramatically in the last three months and in November had hit its lowest level since 1994, is showing a sharp rise this month. However, some economists believe the confidence to be fragile, with the first sign of bad news likely to send it plunging again.
I was amused by the panic and chaos in the UK this week as a few inches of snow fell and temperatures drooped below freezing. No doubt the people of Buffalo, N.Y., will share my amusement as they cope with over seven foot of snow and make scarcely a murmur of complaint. I liked the comment from the Mayor of Buffalo, Tony Masiello, who said, "There's nobody in America who can deal with snow removal like Buffalo's street crews. We just flat out know how to deal with this. We've had a lot of practice." He did, however, admit that "it was very severe, even by Buffalo’s standards," and was unable to return to the town himself because of the blocked roads and closed airport which had all happened while he was on an out-of-town trip.
"Who?" did you ask?
Karl Eisener, the original designer of the first multifunctional pocketknife in 1891 in Ibach, Switzerland, which became the "Swiss Army Knife".
And he must be turning in his grave because his invention has just gone electronic. There’s no need to panic – the genuine "Swiss Army Knife" will still have all its useful gadgets including the one that has puzzled generations of owners and which I can now reveal is actually NOT for taking stones out of boy scouts. The new Swiss Army Knife has the added features of an electronic altimeter (reading up to 15,000 feet) and a temperature gauge (measuring between zero and 110 degrees) built into the familiar red handle.
Well. What will they think of next?
So now we can make the most of every moment that might have otherwise been wasted. All those minutes on trains, planes, or waiting for meetings.
And of course we’ll use every second of it constructively to maximize the working day, won’t we?
So why do both Palm and Handspring include such built-in facilities as "Sub-Hunt" in their products? Why is AstroNest launching a PlayStation-like controller unit specifically for Palmtop devices? And, most of all, why is it that when you leave two Palmtop owners alone in a room where they think they can’t be overheard, sooner or later the conversation always turns to which games they can download onto their Palmtops?.........
30th December 2001
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