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bread
  • 314331.0605


    2001 79 % of Gvt contracts bidded. 2006 49% bidded. 51 % were just given.
    SAIC is awarded loads of NSA contracts. Vanity Fair's article on SAIC.
  • 314330.0653
  • 314328.2208

  • 314328.0545

    It won’t fill you up, but it is a feast for the eyes (if you look through a microscope). This so-called “world’s smallest bowl of ramen” — a 1-micron (1/1000-mm, or 1/100th the width of a human hair) wide bowl containing dozens of 20-nanometer (1/50,000-mm) thick noodles — was created by University of Tokyo professor Masayuki Nakao as part of an effort to develop new carbon nanotube-based microcircuit fabrication technology. Nakao used a metal particle beam to carve the bowl from silicon, and he mixed up a soup of ethanol and catalyst inside the bowl to form the carbon nanotube “noodles.” According to Nakao, it was a major challenge to keep the bowl from overflowing. No word yet on how the tiny meal tastes.

  • 314325.1858
    'credit card'
    Photobucket
    Ten years ago, a "watershed" moment changed the profile of the derivatives that Mr. Cassano traded, according to a transcript of comments he made at an industry event last year. Derivatives specialists from J. P. Morgan, a leading bank that had many dealings with Mr. Cassano's unit, came calling with a novel idea.

    Morgan proposed the following: A.I.G. should try writing insurance on packages of debt known as "collateralized debt obligations." C.D.O.'s. were pools of loans sliced into tranches and sold to investors based on the credit quality of the underlying securities.

    The proposal meant that the London unit was essentially agreeing to provide insurance to financial institutions holding C.D.O.'s and other debts in case they defaulted — in much the same way some homeowners are required to buy mortgage insurance to protect lenders in case the borrowers cannot pay back their loans.

    Under the terms of the insurance derivatives that the London unit underwrote, customers paid a premium to insure their debt for a period of time, usually four or five years, according to the company. Many European banks, for instance, paid A.I.G. to insure bonds that they held in their portfolios.

    Because the underlying debt securities — mostly corporate issues and a smattering of mortgage securities — carried blue-chip ratings, A.I.G. Financial Products was happy to book income in exchange for providing insurance. After all, Mr. Cassano and his colleagues apparently assumed, they would never have to pay any claims.

    Since A.I.G. itself was a highly rated company, it did not have to post collateral on the insurance it wrote, analysts said. That made the contracts all the more profitable.

    These insurance products were known as "credit default swaps," or C.D.S.'s in Wall Street argot, and the London unit used them to turn itself into a cash register.

    The unit's revenue rose to $3.26 billion in 2005 from $737 million in 1999. Operating income at the unit also grew, rising to 17.5 percent of A.I.G.'s overall operating income in 2005, compared with 4.2 percent in 1999.

    Profit margins on the business were enormous. In 2002, operating income was 44 percent of revenue; in 2005, it reached 83 percent.
  • 314317.0703

  • 314315.2028

     

  • 314314.0629

    "It seems superfluous to constrain trading in some of the newer derivatives and other innovative financial contracts of the past decade," Mr. Greenspan writes. "The worst have failed; investors no longer fund them and are not likely to in the future."

    In his Georgetown speech, he entertained no talk of regulation, describing the financial turmoil as the failure of Wall Street to behave honorably.

    "In a market system based on trust, reputation has a significant economic value," Mr. Greenspan told the audience. "I am therefore distressed at how far we have let concerns for reputation slip in recent years."

    As the long-serving chairman of the Fed, the nation's most powerful economic policy maker, Mr. Greenspan preached the transcendent, wealth-creating powers of the market.

    A professed libertarian, he counted among his formative influences the novelist Ayn Rand, who portrayed collective power as an evil force set against the enlightened self-interest of individuals. In turn, he showed a resolute faith that those participating in financial markets would act responsibly.

  • 314309.2212