Take the 5th is a Picks and Pans page on Political, Economic and Cultural Events worldwide. We are looking for consistent excellence ... sometimes remarkably easy to find; and other times devilishly hard to get through the front door.

Here is a list of popular Takethe5th Posts

Apple Good News Bad News

The Good news for Apple is very Good indeed. Apple has a deal with China Mobile for selling Apple iPhones.Given that China Mobile has huge market share this should significantly impact Apple iPhone sales in China. However, the bottom line details are still a little murky depending on the contract. What is most remarkable is …

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NYTimes Magazine Makes A Scene, Literally

NYTimes Magazine online edition has been the subject of lavish praise from this reviewer of late[see the fulsome accolades for NYTimes Magazine story on a Philippines outpost against the Chinese land grab here]. But the Magazine can be too indulgent as appears to be the case in its extravagant Making a Scene production – 11 …

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Elegy on Apple and Macs

Why I’ve all but given up on Apple and MacOS. As a photographer and graphic artist, these are words I never thought I would write. After more than two decades of being a dedicated graphics power user, someone who over that time has polished and finished tens of thousands of images and  video clips while …

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NYTimes Defines the Web Magazine

NYTimes is in the process of defining the Magazine format for the Web. Yes, Newsweek and others [please add your favorites in the comments below] have done some superb full-page, Magazine-like stories but the NYTimes is taking it to a new media  level of excellence: As China in our century become as aggressive as Japan …

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Protest Against NSA Surveillance

Click on the poster to get more information on the protest The terms of NSA Surveillance are way too broad Ally governments like Mexico, France, japan, etc are now subject to the same scrutiny as “terror” sources. And each day there is another revelation that NSA surveillance seeps into the US on an ever broader …

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Windows 8.1: Good Strategy But Flawed Execution

Windows 8.1 is here and this is what Windows 8.0 should have been. Like its lead in tablets and mobile phones in the the late 1990’s and 2000’s, Microsoft may be squandering in the expanded world of mobile computing a great overall Windows OS  lead and new version  strategy to a flawed  execution. Meanwhile all …

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More Reddit Censorship

The latest trend in popular Reddit censorship is automatically spam filter generated. Who ever writes the Spam Filter code must have 1984ish roots. See the latest choice for censorship: A Chicago man, following the  Republican playbook, is threatening to destroy   rare papers unless Harvard offers a better price. Truly a Tea Party Schooled knave! …

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Echo Trips in Russia and the USA

The NYTimes has a stunning travel story, The Russia Left Behind, open free to the public. It is a journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow not by plane or high-speed train; but by motor car – sort of like a Route 66 trip in the USA. The Times tells us at the journey’s outset: On …

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Reddit Censorship: More Automation

Reddit was featured on PBSNews Hour this last Friday highlighting the rapid rise to 80M users replacing Digg, StumbledOn and Tumblr as the new place to go for Web cognoscenti. However, Reddit has to watch out because leadership in this category is like Fashion – rapidly changing on strange whims. Meanwhile Censorship is alive and …

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The End of Chairman Bill?

Reuters started the ball rolling earlier this week saying 3 of the top 20 Microsoft shareholders raised the question of whether Bill Gates should be replaced as Chairman of Microsoft. Now Bill’s 5% holding of Microsoft stock is the largest but the 3 dissident  shareholders have a combined holding that is slightly larger. And because …

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Reddit Censorship: NYTimes Story on Decline of Middle Class

Reddit’s Moderation Log is a good benchmark for Popular Censorship. The Moderation log shows which articles have been removed from Reddit by either moderators’ actions  or automated spam filters. It is a measure of popular censorship because the moderators who do the removals are all volunteers. Within the past half year, admission to becoming a …

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Microsoft and the Web

Definitely see the 1 year later 2014 update to this report. This Google+ Post is a picture that captures the essence of the continuing story about Microsoft and the Web. This slide is very telling because it reveals once again and summarizes neatly Redmond’s attitude to the Web for nearly 20 years. Remember Bill Gates …

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Science in Denial

In the NYTimes, Adam Frank, a distinguished scientist at the University of Rochester laments the decline of Science in the public – but fails to address the underlying issues and reasons for the decline of Science from the publics point of view. First and foremost, when only 26% of graduating high school students are prepared …

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NYTimes Hits The Quinfecta

In a week that saw the Washington Post bought out for a tenth  of its value ten years ago, the NYTimes put on  a quiet but virtuoso display of journalism in  Sunday’s  “paper”. Not one or two “must read” stories but five. Now below is a discussion of why hitting this Quinfecta is important. Meantime, …

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Marketwatch Speaks the Truth

It is amazing that the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones allows the Opinions on Marketwatch  to swing so far to the left. Or perhaps it is a sop  to compensate for the rigid conservatism of the WSJ editorial page. Whatever, the case, Al Lewis today is right on Denmark with his note about the …

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The Windows 8 Touchscreen Fumble

  Bamboo Stylus works with only 5 Win8 PCs This reviewer has been praising  Windows 8 for being the first PC Client OS vendor to bring full touchscreen operations to their OS . It started with Windows 7 getting partial support and then Windows 8 with full touchscreen capabilities. Now as  Web devloper who does …

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Move to Windows 8 Despite Love/Hate

This move to Windows 8 is  major decision. It is taken after 3 years of work on a combination of Fedora Linux and Windows 7. In addition for the last half year I have been working extensively with Android Jelly Bean on a Nexus 7 tablet. I have had Windows 8 for slightly longer than …

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PC Renaissance

The world of computing has been turned topsy turvy by mobile devices – light, mobile, long-battery life and most important – touch screen operable. Smartphones and tablets  from Apple have lead the way; but now the Wintel Empire Strikes Back with ultrabooks , convertibles and 2-in-one PCs. But what may shape this latest twist in …

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Will Sony SmartWatch 2 Win the Wearable Watch Race

This blog recently took a look at the lead Sony has in the wearable device market which is currently only a minuscule overall market. But according to Forrester,  30% of consumers are interested in wearables. All the big boys – Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung among the computing leviathans are openly or otherwise working on wearables. But …

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Elmore Leonard’s Westerns

The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard  is a small jewel, like a remembered line of dialogue from one of Leonard’s stories. Now this reader chooses his Western’s carefully being more a Mark Twain fan than Louis Lamour. Give me the edginess and contradictions of the grasping opportunism that was Western expansion. And that is at …

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Will Sony Wearable Watch Win More Users?

Uncharacteristically, Apple has let a lot leak about its undelivered iWatch. Perhaps this leakage was motivated by all the Me-Too blunderbussing about iOS7. Whatever the cause, Sony is taking a riff from Samsung and extolling the virtues of  its already released SmartWatch with a series of ads that say in Samsung Galaxy fashion – look what is …

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Intel’s PC Comeback

The writing on the PC Wall is ugly with not just a 14% decline in year over year sales in 1Q2013  but 4 straight quarters of sales declines as well. This trend has hit Intel as the primary PC chipmaker doubly hard because Intel has failed to break into the mobile chip market where smartphone …

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Massive Income and Wealth Inequality in the United States

Income  and Wealth Inequality is about deserving and fairness. In a democratic society, income  and accumulated wealth have to be unequal because effort and captured good fortune are not equally distributed. So by definition income and consequent wealth will not be even – call this expected  inequality of earnings and consequent wealth. However this expected …

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Healthcare Costs Exposed

In a Coursera class Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel detailed how medical service cost growth  was driving the greatest increases in Healthcare costs in US History. This was a superb course that exposed the real drivers in health care costs in the US. Bottom line. Dr. Emanuel revealed that USA Healthcare is a set of  markets that …

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On Google Plus: Austerity vs Keynesian Economic Policy

Geoff Brandt asked the following question on Google Plus: I was having a discussion with an acquaintance of mine who is somewhat more conservative than I am. He was railing against most gov’t spending (perpetrated of course by “those Liberals in Washington”) and insisted our nation’s top priority other than defense should be to pay …

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The Best Explanation of Wealth in the USA

This is the best information  by far on the nature of wealth in the USA and the series of problems spawned by ever-widening disparity in wealth. This has occurred before in the USA during the Gilded Age, then again in the Roaring 20’s. But World War II seemed to bring a new deal – an …

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The NYTimes Pontificates on Global Warming

Sunday’s readers were treated to a NYTimes Editorial Board Grand Pontification. The news that atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, the most important global warming gas, have hit 400 parts per million for the first time in millions of years increases the pressure on President Obama to deliver on his pledges to limit this country’s greenhouse …

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An Essay for the Coursera Class: Behavioral Economics

In the Coursera class Behavioral Economics taught by  Duke Professor Dan Ariely, all the students had to write a mid-term  essay in which they described the ideas of Behavioral Economics  and how the methods of the discipline  could be used to solve an economic problem. Despite the fact, that most of the methods in the …

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On Google Plus: There Are No Jobs

On  Google Plus, one can find circles and communities where it is possible to have civil discussions. Here is an example. The card to the left was posted and got 10 +clicks and 3 repostings. One of the comments was notable. I am ambiguous about this notion – and it is fundamental. Are there enough …

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News Media: Succumbing to Lower Standards

Brett Arends has a very interesting post on MarketWatch  – Why the NewsMedia is Worse Than You Think. He states his case succinctly: There have been the high profile goofs — by CNN, in its coverage of the Boston bombings, and by Howard Kurtz, the famous media “critic,” in a blog post about gay athlete …

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Brenda Says Hello

Introduction Thank you for taking the trouble to look me up. You will know right away if I am who you think I am: certainly not the same person you knew maybe 30 years ago.  If my ideas are of any use to you I hope you will spread them to others. This profile was …

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Coursera and Group vs Individual Decisionmaking

I have been taking Coursera’s  Irrational Behaviour taught by Duke Professor Dan Ariely. The course concentrates on individual decision making and how decision methods depart from traditional rational  and economic utility models. There are compelling experimental and neuroscience proofs that a)individuals use different model or methods of decision making depending on circumstances[ the Kahneman and Tversky fast …

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