Even though many experts are claiming that Iran is years away from a nuclear bomb, that's not going to matter much. This isn't economic forecasting. This is war. The worst case estimate will win (particularly when dealing with nuclear terrorism). One year is the worst case estimate if the Israeli claim of a secret program is to be believed (see below). That will become the timetable.
Downside risks of a conventional attack on Iran will not be overriding factors either. Regional chaos -- including everything from conventional war, oil disruption, and global terror attacks -- all pale in comparison to a terrorist nuclear detonation on US or Israeli territory. Only the latter is considered an existential threat and it will not be left as an open ended question, particularly by those in power today.
From the The Sunday Times (UK). The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) admitted on Friday that it was alarmed by “gaps” in its knowledge about Iran’s centrifuge programme and the role of the Iranian military in undeclared nuclear work. An Israeli source said Mossad had evidence of hidden uranium enrichment sites in Iran “which can short-cut their timetable in the race for their first bomb”.
Dagan, a stocky former commando who was injured in the 1967 six-day war, was sent to Washington by Olmert, the victor of last month’s Israeli elections, to prepare the way for his own visit to the White House on May 23. The Mossad boss is thought to have held meetings with counterparts at the CIA, the Pentagon and national security council. “Dagan is not given to small talk and niceties,” said an Israeli intelligence source, who believes he told the Americans: “This is what we know and this is what we’ll do if you continue to do nothing.”
Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, vowed last week that Iran’s nuclear programme would go underground if attacked. But many intelligence experts believe it is already operating a parallel uranium enrichment programme concealed from IAEA inspections. “When I read the recent (intelligence) reports regarding Iran, I saw a monster in the making,” said Dr Yuval Steinitz, chairman of the Israeli parliament’s foreign and defence committee, who oversees Mossad’s activities in Iran.Steinitz fears the Islamic republic might be only a year away from developing a bomb, although the Iranians claim to be pursuing a peaceful nuclear energy programme. “There is only one option that is worse than military action against Iran and that is to sit and do nothing,” Steinitz said.
Here's a Washington Post story on the problems of insuring people that live in high risk areas. Like with the health system, I get more confused the deeper I dive into this problem.
From what I can tell, from this article and others like it, is that the simple explanation is that housing prices in high risk areas are going up fast, while the risk to those homes is also increasing. Given that the risks can be estimated and the cost of the homes is known, the answer should be easy. Of course, it's not. These home owners, apparently, aren't being forced to factor in the true cost of insurance coverage into the carry cost of the home. Of course, as always, the rest of us are being asked to subsidize their desire to live in high risk areas.
In an address to the Shura council, Saudi Arabia’s appointed legislature, the Chinese leader promised to work with Riyadh and other Arab governments on securing peace in the region. “Under these current circumstances, China is ready to work with Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries to support peace and growth in the Middle East and build a harmonious world that enjoys constant peace and prosperity.” The Chinese leader told his hosts that the West should not “hurl false accusations against the internal affairs of other countries, let alone blame a specific civilisation, people or religion for causing problems and conflicts in the world”. He received a standing ovation.
With my father and his father, life at middle age was tough but it had a knowable trajectory. You could expect to work on the same thing, with some minor variation, for the rest of your life. In contrast, I've already switched or combined focus eight times -- pilot, analyst, entrepreneur, COO, CEO, CTO, author, and consultant -- with lots of variation within those areas.
The good part about this is that it keeps life interesting and fun. It is also a hedge against the future. The bad part is that it is impossible to plan long term. There isn't any known trajectory other than the expectation of more change. I suspect lots of other people are running into the same problem.
This inability to plan has forced me to look at things on the macro-scale in a different way than my predecessors. I don't feel tied to my surroundings. One reason is that I am now globally competitive. I can sell my services on a global stage. Another reason is that I am not getting any help. In fact, I've found the environment where I live in increasingly more of a hinderance than a benefit (your mileage will vary).Where does this rootlessness end up? I'm not sure. I can tell you that the first place that does make it easier, I am there in a heartbeat.
Dvorak wrote an very interesting article on how Microsoft's push to dominate the browser market with Internet Explorer was the company's greatest blunder (I have a vested interest in this, since I was at the heart of the browser wars back in 1995/96/97). His analysis hinges on two facts: 1) Microsoft's bundling of the browser caused anti-trust activity and 2) the company is spending billions fighting spyware (which is distracting it from its core mission). While agree that the impact of owning the browser has been a disaster (both financial and legal/perceptiion), it is a bit more complicated than this.
At the time Microsoft made its decision (1996), it wasn't in a position to know how the Web would play out. Their browser strategy provided a means to gain control the pace of development. That worked. As a hedge against failure, this was a necessary thing. Also, a static browser (Microsoft stopped development) allowed the Web to develop functionality against a static target (an unchanging browser). This turned out to be a good thing too.
However, things began to become unhinged in the early part of the new century. The Web wanted to move the browser forward and Microsoft wasn't moving it forward (due to anti-trust fears, an inability to capitalize on improvements, and bias against the browser). The rise of spyware should have been a good sign as well as new developments that should have been incorporated quickly (Weblog publishing, RSS, search, P2P, and tons of other social software) into the browser but couldn't (partly due to anti-trust issues).At this juncture, it's clear that Dvorak's recommendation for correcting the problem (investing/granting funds to Opera/Firefox) is right on target. It's time to open this portion of the ecosystem up to a diverse set of development tracks. Microsoft isn't the best company in the world for dealing with browser exploits (nor should it be) nor the one that should be innovating on new feature functionality. It's slowing down ecosystem growth.
Microsoft's strategy should be to lock down IE to the basics (for security reasons) -- by reducing functionality as much as possible. At the same time it should be investing in and bundling alternatives into the O/S. Also, in a radical step, it may want to open source IE's code to invite clones and potentially a couple of partners that they could invest in that would move this fight against spyware forward.If this strategy was followed, in three years we would have three to four major players with 30-40% market share (in total). Those companies that provided functionality plus security would be able to charge corporate customers for the subscription. Those that incorporated lots of functionality would be able to pursue the shareware model (like Opera, with for fee upgrades for unimpeded usage). The open source companies would be a mix of the two and some might be able to charge for timely updates and controlled versioning (like Redhat).