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  1. The End of Wall Street by Roger Lowenstein Very well written story of the financial crisis. Links to blog with clips from 2007 annual reports of JP Morgan Chase and Citicorp and the speech Absence of Fear, by Robert L. Rodriguez. Public documents (history!) provide an interesting look-back to the events as they were unfolding.
  2. Historical airfare comparison graphs at FareCompare.com have several time period options.
    • Recently news of American dropping out of the Expedia search results suggests that new solutions for searching multiple airlines is necessary. Notably, Southwest Airlines has not been part of any of these search sites either (plus they are one of the few airlines not charging extra for checked bags). Google is in the process of buying ITA which has an excellent Matrix for searching for airfares. Continue to watch Matrix Search for future changes and creative ways to find airfares.
  3. Searching for Industry and Sector information for stocks and found a nicely written article about Quality as a 3rd dimension of invest picking. Of course Manifest Investing and Mark Robertson has been focused on that concept for a few years now!
    • Perspective: 3-D Investing, Brian Smith, CFA. CFA Magazine, Sept-Oct 2010
    • The earlier white-paper from March 2010, The Third Dimension - An Investor's Guide to Understanding the Impact of Quality on Portfolio Performance From the Executive Summary: Most investment managers are categorized along two dimensions: market capitalization and investment style. However, there is a third dimension – quality, which can significantly influence a portfolio’s risk and return characteristics as well as distort, if not overwhelm, the influences of size and style. Fluctuations in the performance between high and low quality stocks are not random or totally unpredictable events. In fact, a “quality cycle” appears to exist which is closely related to the economic and stock market cycle. For the 30 years ending 2009, high quality stocks have outperformed large and small cap, and growth and value stocks with substantially less volatility. Contrary to efficient market theory, superior risk-adjusted returns are available to high quality investors.
  4. Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night 1/8/2011
  5. South Dakota Birds - excellent wildlife photography, primarily from SD. Also photography tips.
  6. Backupify - backup application for your online data. Moving data to the cloud, or applications that only exist in the cloud, requires some new thoughts on backup. Backupify automatically backups on a weekly/monthly basis Twitter, Google Docs, Flickr, Facebook, and other web 2.0 applications. The free account has 2GB of storage - pretty generous!
  7. Homemade soda - I've experimented four times in the last month and have been pretty successful. This is custom soda that tastes much different than the high fructose version of cheaper soda. Not expensive, easy to mix up, carbonates in a sterilized 2 liter plastic bottle using rapid rise yeast, within a day is ready to drink.
    • Root Beer - based on 2 different recipes
      • Gnome Soda Root Beer extract is a key ingredient and their recipe which involves dissolving the sugar on the stove works very well.
      • Making Root Beer at Home - from a Biology/Chemistry professor! Nicely illustrated and clearly explained.
      • My personal modification is to use the Gnome method of dissolving the sugar (either raw cane or simple white sugar). About 1.5 teaspoons of root beer extract is just right for a 2 liter bottle batch. Carbonation time is 12 to 24 hours.
    • Ginger Ale using fresh grated ginger and lemon is great. But next time, I'll modify by dissolving the sugar on the stove. The "heat" method also helps carbonation work faster. This recipe is from the same Biology/Chemistry professor U.C. Clermont College in Ohio. I really love the floating ginger pulp.
    • Lemon-Lime soda using lemons and limes and zest. The recipe was based on the Ginger Ale recipe: 2 lemons, 3 limes, 3 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice, and lemon and lime zest. This had more fans than the root beer or ginger ale. But I liked them all!
    • Next I'm ready to try the "syrup" version which would be added to carbonated water. I'm thinking of minimal water over heat on the stove to dissolve the sugar and mix in the ingredients. The result would be concentrated flavor. Add the concentrated flavor to carbonated water for an immediate cold soda with custom flavor.

Log Jan 2011

The soul must perform two duties.
The first is to always wonder and be surprised.
The second is to endure, always taking pleasure in God.

Julian of Norwich

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