Archive for June 2009
Last night, I was lucky enough to get a personal tour of the California Academy of Sciences from Dr. Brian Fisher, a taxonomist specializing in ants. He’s doing some amazing work trying to help Madagascar prioritize and save the 10% of native rainforest they have left. It’s reminiscent of Willie Smits‘ work in Borneo, though focused on preservation rather than revitalization. But it has the same feel of getting the local people committed to managing their own ecological resources.
You can donate here (I gave them $500), but make sure to write “For the Fisher Madagascar Project” in the “Comments” field. Otherwise, you’ll be paying for the building lights. Go ahead and leave the “Allocation” field at the default, “Campaign for a New Academy”. Update: Forgot to mention that if you donate $2,000 they’ll name a new species after you or whomever you designate.
It’s hard to do justice to what I saw last night in a blog post, but here goes…
Here’s a nice post on how little old Amherst Holdings of Austin, TX got the best of J.P. Morgan Chase, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Bank of America. Amherst sold them all Credit Default Swaps (CDSs) against mortgages that were already under water. CDSs pay out if the underlying mortgages default. Everyone knew these mortgages were in bad trouble. Sure thing for the big guys, right? Wrong.