Weekend Digest: Lance Armstrong, The Death Star & 18 Human Heads

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 101 views 

For our weekend business and political readers:

In a much-anticipated, much-hyped move, Lance Armstrong appeared on Oprah Winfrey last week to admit he has used PED's (Performance Enhancing Drugs).

He also met Monday with the staff of the Livestrong Foundation, the charity he founded to help cancer patients and apologized for the damaging impact of the doping scandal on their morale.

Go inside a Wall Street Journal article to learn why the seven-time Tour de France winner decided to talk about what the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency called the “most sophisticated doping program on the planet.”

Find out here what the Wall Street Journal thinks are his possible motives for a confession and why his lawyers didn't think the Oprah appearance was a good idea.

It's all about tapping. Not tap dancing, but an electronic tap between two devices to share data.  It's called Near Field Communications.

It enables mobile devices like smartphones to communicate with nearby devices and objects with a simple tap.

It works like this: A chip in your phone sends out a radio wave that is picked up by another NFC device or any object with an RFID tag. The tag is small, about the size of a dime, and can be embedded in or attached with a sticker to a product or advertisement. When tapped by a device, the tagTtells the device what to do, such as open a web site, transmit a file, download an app, or make a payment.

Harvard Business Review has an intriguing post on the future of commerce with NFC that “is no longer considered a novelty.”

You might think this was just a novelty effect of new NFC users trying it out. But the data suggests otherwise. More than 36% of shoppers who tapped the sign went on to save a recipe, download the Kraft app, or share with friends. Typically, a consumer spends between five and ten seconds at the shelf choosing a product. But consumers who tapped the sign spent 48 seconds engaged with the brand experience.

Tap here to learn more about the unique experience on NFC and its advantages over existing technology.

“Technology companies that go public demonstrate a sharp drop-off in innovation after they come public compared to similar firms that stay private.”

That's according to a Stanford University study reported by Forbes.

In short, the inventors at public companies tend to produce more incremental work, rather than breakthrough ideas.

What are the theories behind this and what is the percentage of decline?  Get the full story at this link.

That's the banter apparently, according to Harvard Business Review as “Some investors are dissatisfied with Apple.”

The constant refrain is that Apple has not introduced a disruptive product since Steve Jobs passed away. It's as if they want Apple to unveil a happiness device and they won't be happy until it does.

But are the “naysayers” correct after a closer look and what about the new products under current CEO Tim Cook?

So Tim Cook has not introduced any disruptive new products in his first year. But bear in mind that four years elapsed from the time Steve Jobs took back the reins until the iPod was introduced. Six years elapsed between the introduction of the iPod and the iPhone.

Find out the full analysis and whether Harvard Business Review thinks Cook is taking the right approach by clicking here.

It's complicated, but the National Journal has simplified it in a recent post about the two announced candidates in Arkansas to succeed Mike Beebe as governor.

Republican Asa Hutchinson is leading the NRA's nationwide effort to place armed guards and volunteers in schools.  The organization launched the high profile initiative following the December elementary school massacre in Connecticut, and Hutchinson's role has helped propel him back into the national spotlight.  And soon, he'll be facing a highly competitive gubernatorial race back home against Democratic Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, who until recently, looked in decent position to keep the governorship in Democratic hands.

Until admitting an extramarital affair McDaniel was considered the frontrunner, but now according to the Journal he is being compared to former President Bill Clinton for the wrong reasons.

The McDaniel comparisons to Bill Clinton are obvious.  Both were young, ambitious Arkansas attorney generals with higher ambitions.  But the big question for McDaniel is whether he has that famous Clinton charisma to bounce back politically after an extramarital affair.  In a state whose politics are driven by personality, some political operatives doubt whether he has built up the personal likability that helped Clinton.  And Clinton's first sex scandal hit as he was running for president.  He was a known quantity by then.

For more on this nationally evolving go to this link.

President Barack Obama loves to win, but he knows his limits according to Politico.

But the massacre in Newtown, Conn. last month and Obama's pledge Wednesday to force Congress to act on an assault weapons ban limit on high-capacity gun magazines and enhanced gun-tracking measures is forcing the innately cautious Obama to break that rule.  For one of the few instances in his presidency, he now appears willing to burn political capital by pressuring Senate Democrats to vote for a measure that is likely to die in the House, a symbolic victory that sets the stage, he hopes, for more meaningful ones.

Why would this extremely emotional measure possibly die in Congress and why does Obama have no other reason than to push ahead?  Review the whole Politico analysis at this link.

In an amazing array of potential national changes, the Obama administration has rebuffed calls for Texas and other states to secede from the Union, deport CNN host Piers Morgan and, somewhat humorously, let down supporters who urged the government to build its own Death Star.

The administration crafted those responses to various petitions posted on its “We the People” website, which allows people to sign petitions that can receive a White House response if enough people sign the online urgings.

Why were they rejected and what is the White Houses's threshold for an official response?  Go here to find out.

January 21 is the date for President Barack Obama's inauguration. For a fascinating story on one Democratic couple's past date surrounding their baby's arrival to coincide with the President's swearing in… click here.

18 human heads were delayed at Chicago's International Airport before the Christmas holidays for a simple reason.  Zombie's…no.  Murder…not the case. Why?

Click here to find out.

Believe it or not, foul play is not suspected. It says so in the subtitle.


Web site “All That Is Interesting” posts “Five of the World's Most Interesting Ghost Towns.” As much a picture essay as a descriptive story, this post is worth a view.  Learn more at this link.