Archive for November 11th, 2010

November 11, 2010

Lamborghini Countach

countach

The Lamborghini Countach was a mid-engined sports car produced by Italian automaker Lamborghini from 1974 to 1990. A total of 2,042 cars were built during the Countach’s sixteen year lifetime: Its design both pioneered and popularized the wedge-shaped, sharply angled look popular in many high performance sports cars. The ‘cabin-forward’ design concept, which pushes the passenger compartment forward in order to accommodate a larger engine, was also popularized by the Countach.

The word ‘countach’ is an exclamation of astonishment in the local Piedmontese language — generally used by men on seeing an extremely beautiful woman. The Countach name stuck when Nuccio Bertone first saw ‘Project 112’ in his studio. The prototype was introduced to the world at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show. Most previous and subsequent Lamborghini car names were associated with bulls and bullfighting.

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November 11, 2010

Option

options

In finance, an option is a contract between two parties to buy (call) or sell (put) an asset (typically a stock or bond) at a strike price by a specified expiration date after which the option is worthless and the contact is void. The price of an option derives from the value of an underlying asset plus a premium based on the time remaining until the expiration of the option. Other types of options exist, and options can in principle be created for any type of valuable asset. You would buy the stock (go long) or a call option if you anticipated the price of the underlying security was going to rise before the option reached expiration.

You would buy a put option if thought the price was going to fall, or you can short the stock, selling shares borrowed from a third party with the intention of buying identical assets back at a later date to return to the lender. Options are quoted in per share prices, but only sold in 100 share lots. For example, a call option might be quoted at $2, but you would pay $200 because options are always sold in 100-share lots. Options are identified by the month they expire, and the strike price. For example, an ‘XYZ April25 Call’ would be a call option on XYZ stock with a strike price of 25 that expires in April. All options expire on the third Friday of the month unless that Friday is a holiday, then the options expire on Thursday.

November 11, 2010

Eames Lounge Chair

Charles and Ray Eames

The Eames [eemzLounge Chair, officially titled Eames Lounge (670) and Ottoman (671), were released in 1956 after years of development by designers Charles and Ray Eames for the Herman Miller furniture company. It was the first chair the Eames designed for a high-end market. They are made of molded plywood and leather, and examples of these furnishings are part of the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art. They are prized for comfort, aesthetics, and for the pioneering use of new materials and manufacturing methods.

There is a decent used market for these chairs. Some collectors are willing to pay high prices for earlier chairs made with Brazilian Rosewood veneer, which is no longer available due to a worldwide embargo since 1992. Prices for original rosewood chairs have recently reached as much as $7,000 in auction. A new Eames Lounge Chair and ottoman starts at $3,200 for a Herman Miller model. In 2006, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the chair, Herman Miller released models using a sustainable Palisander Rosewood veneer.

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November 11, 2010

Derivative

dojima

cds

In finance, a derivative is a financial instrument (or, more simply, an agreement between two parties) that has a value, based on the expected future price movements of the asset to which it is linked—called the underlying— such as a share or a currency. There are many kinds of derivatives, with the most common being swaps, futures, and options.

Derivatives are a form of alternative investment, an investment product other than the traditional investments of stocks, bonds, cash or property. A derivative is not a stand-alone asset, since it has no value of its own. However, more common types of derivatives have been traded on markets before their expiration date as if they were assets. Among the oldest of these are rice futures, which have been traded on the Dojima Rice Exchange since the eighteenth century.

November 11, 2010

Quantum Computer

dwave

A quantum computer is a device for computation that makes direct use of quantum mechanical phenomena, such as superposition and entanglement, to perform operations on data. Quantum computers are different from traditional computers based on transistors. The basic principle behind quantum computation is that quantum properties can be used to represent data and perform operations on these data. If large-scale quantum computers can be built, they will be able to solve certain problems much faster than any current classical computers (for example Shor’s algorithm). The Bloch sphere is a representation of a qubit, the fundamental building block of quantum computers.

A classical computer has a memory made up of bits, where each bit represents either a one or a zero. A quantum computer maintains a sequence of qubits. A single qubit can represent a one, a zero, or, crucially, a quantum superposition where it is all possible states simultaneously. Although quantum computing is still in its infancy, experiments have been carried out in which quantum computational operations were executed on a very small number of qubits. Both practical and theoretical research continues, and many national government and military funding agencies support quantum computing research to develop quantum computers for both civilian and national security purposes, such as cryptanalysis.

November 11, 2010

Whig Party

Zachary Taylor

The Whig Party was a political party of the United States during the era of Jacksonian democracy (1833 – 1856). The party was formed in opposition to the policies of President Andrew Jackson and his Democratic Party to promote the strength of the presidency and executive branch at the expense of Congress.  The Whigs advocated the supremacy of Congress over the presidency, and favored a program of modernization and economic protectionism. In its two decades of existence, the Whig Party saw two of its candidates, William Henry Harrison and Zachary Taylor, elected president.

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November 11, 2010

Modern Whig Party

whig

The Modern Whig Party is a United States political party whose stated intention is to be a ‘party for the rest of us.’ The Modern Whig Party describes itself as a mainstream, middle-of-the-road grassroots movement that caters to those voters who believe in various Republican issues but also believe in various other Democratic issues. Founded in 2008 by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, the party has over 30,000 members nationally, with a sizable proportion affiliated with the American military. The general platform of the Modern Whig Party relates to fiscal responsibility, strong national defense, and social progress.

For its logo, the Modern Whig Party uses an owl, the symbol of the original Whig Party. As with the logos for the Democrats and the Republicans, a red, white, and blue color scheme is used, but with different meaning. Reportedly, the blue represents Democrats and the red, Republicans; the two colors are divided by a white band and four white stars. The party believes that the United States’ future lies in “meeting in the middle”, thus the placement of the stars in the middle of the owl.

November 11, 2010

Google Dashboard

dashboard

Google Dashboard is a service launched by Google that allows a person with a Google Account to compile all the personal information associated with their account, or in their words, ‘Dashboard helps you answer the question: What information does Google have about me?’ The tool pulls together personal information from Google’s applications and services, such as Gmail, YouTube, or Blogger, and indicates whether the information is public or not. The service was launched in November, 2009.

Google created Dashboard in response to privacy concerns about how the company handles personal information. It launched the service at the 31st International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners. The service allows a user to review and delete recent Google searches and view documents and other content created using Blogger, Picasa, Google Calendar, and other services.