Hamas has a Website?!?

Well, believe it or not, Hamas has a website. After reading their communique, I was struck by two things.
It’s hard to delude yourself into believing Arafat mattered to them when they include lines like these in their communiques.

Third: our operation, which coincided with the Arab summit in Beirut, is a clear message to our Arab rulers that our Mujahid people have chosen their road and known how to regain lands and rights in full depending on Allah only. Our people do not accept other than Jihad and resistance as the main path to regain usurped rights.
Fourth: the Qassam Brigades affirm continuation of all kinds of Jihad and resistance employing all available means at the opportune time and place without paying attention to the inharmonious voices that call for halting our blessed intifada.

And secondly, this is the first time I’ve felt physically ill after reading a website.

Israel, Palestine, and Blogs

Even though I’ve been feeling like crap, I’ve managed to keep up on the news from the Middle East. I think Stephen Green explains how I feel as well as anyone could. It’s time for Israel to finish this nonsense off, and I think everyone knows it.
Stephen’s post got me thinking about something else, though. I wonder if bloggers are, in their own small way, helping shape Israel’s response. Pretty much everyone, including the mainstream media, realizes that popular bloggers like Glenn and Stephen have the views of the “man on the street”. Their on-site, unedited, feedback supports that notion — there’s far more supporting comments than dissenting comments. And on the Israeli issue, the people who admit they would normally dissent even agree.
Any intelligence agency worth it’s salt monitors foreign media outlets to guage how their enemies and allies will react to events. And I think it goes without question that the Mossad is worth it’s salt. The big question is: have they started monitoring the major bloggers to estimate US sentiments? They would have to, wouldn’t they? Now that Fox has started featuring bloggers on their site, it couldn’t have escaped their notice. And with a little coding, it would be easier to monitor than regular news casts.
So are people like Stephen and Glenn helping shape Israeli response?

Stop Spy-ware!

There’s an online petition organized to oppose the SSSCA. This bill would require every digital device to have government mandated copy protection, and would make it a felony (5 years/$500,000) to tamper with the protection mechanisms. Visit the site for more info.

Cheney Disses Arafat

In a move that’s long overdue, VP Cheney announced that he had no intention of meeting with Arafat until Yassir gets a handle on the violence caused by Palestinians. Arafat has repeated proven that he is either incapable of or unwilling to provide what he promises, especially related to controlling Palestinian attacks on Israel.

“If in fact Arafat will do what he in the past has said he will do, if he will actually deliver on the Tenet plan, if he’ll move to put a lid on the violence and do what’s required,” Cheney said, “for example, sharing of intelligence information, take responsibility for securing their own areas so attacks can’t be launched against the Israelis and vice versa — if in fact those steps are actually implemented, then at that point I’ll be prepared to meet with Mr. Arafat.
“To date, that hasn’t happened, and therefore has been no meeting currently scheduled.”

Tech Boom & Bust

I’ve been thinking about money and investments, a process I go through about once every two months or so. Back when I was in high school (early 90s), the tech sector was an obvious winner. I don’t think it is now, although apparently not everyone agrees. I’m sure that technology companies still have growth left, but I can’t imagine a recurrence of the growth during the tech bubble over the last 12 years.
From my perspective, the driving factor behind the tech boom was the wide-spread adoption of technology solutions by brick and mortar industries. In a period that seems almost over-night, companies adopted e-mail, web services, and networked architectures. This allowed huge growth rates in revenue for tech companies as they fought to keep up with demand. But the situation now is different. Most companies already have some sort of working technology infrastructure. The market for technology products is essentially saturated. To me, it’s inconceivable that demand for technology products will continue to grow at the rates we saw in the 90s.
When I briefly studied economics in college, we learned about a product life-cycle: development & innovation, growth production & marketing (supply was less than the market for the product), market saturation point, followed by sustained sales until product death or new development. TVs were the example used in class, as I recall. When the TV was first developed, they faced an introduction period, followed by a huge surge in growth. Any company making TVs could pretty much count on selling them all, because there were lots of people who wanted TVs and didn’t own one yet. Now, of course, TVs are a saturated market — practically everyone in America owns one (or two or three). TVs are still sold, but no one expects to see 20% increases in unit sales, because there’s no one to buy that many TVs. TVs have avoided the product death phase by innovating: black & white -> color -> digital -> HDTV. Each of these innovations motivated some segment of the population to replace a TV before it broke, thus increasing the sales of TVs above what you would expect for mere maintenance purposes.
So where does this leave the tech industry? While the market for computers and telecom equipment isn’t necessarily saturated, practically everyone I know of that would like to own a computer, already does. Businesses, the other driving force behind computer sales, have already made the huge purchases associated with rolling out a new technology. Now, they are only making purchases for maintence and upgrade reasons.
I’m not entirely sure what (if anything) is poised for 90s style growth this decade. It seems that medical (especially genomics) companies could be poised for dramatic growth if the final break-throughs in areas like cloning and gene therapy are made. Security related sectors may also see a surge, given new concerns over terrorism. But there’s nothing so obvious that I’d feel comfortable sinking money into it yet. So, instead, I’m just sticking with an index fund. That way I’m pretty much guaranteed to get a slice of any sector that sky-rockets, and I don’t even have to think about it.