In case you were wondering, my tooth still hurts. A lot. But probably not as much as this did...

posted 15 October 2002
In case you were wondering, my tooth still hurts. A lot. But probably not as much as this did [WARNING! DO NOT FOLLOW THIS LINK IF YOU INTEND TO EAT ANYTIME SOON]. Also at the profoundly disturbing rotten.com [WARNING! DO NOT GO THERE UNLESS YOU WANT TO BE OFFENDED], the Catholic church finally reveals what it truly holds sacred [WARN... actually, no, this one's pretty tame].

Meanwhile, we had a fascinating lecture from a man from UBS Warburg, who extremely effectively convinced me and lots of people I spoke to that we should never, ever work for investment wankers. This was driven home (consulting my notes here) when he talked about a system they have called IRIS. Essentially, lots of people don't like to make it known how much of a company's stock they own, so they set up holding companies to conceal this fact. Likewise, people like to know who really owns stock in the companies they run. For a fee, UBS Warburg provides both these services. Do you see the conflict of interest here? Essentially, UBS Warburg is being paid to encrypt information, and then being paid by an entirely different set of people to decrypt it again, thus making the encryption pointless, but extremely profitable.
In a similar vein, he talked proudly about their "custody and collateral" arm, which they are "just beginning to exploit". Essentially, people give them things -- such as stock -- as collateral. Their strategy for making this more profitable is to do things with that collateral, such as sell it, and hope they can buy an equal amount of it back before the entity involved needs it back. Now, I'm sure this is all perfectly legal, but does it sound like an honest living to you? Does it sound like the kind of thing you would be proud to say you did at work? Me, I'd rather work for Starbucks. At least they sell something tangible (and caramel frapuccinos are amazing).

Meanwhile, matt has pointed me to WinMX, a file-sharing program. I'll let you know if it's any good.

Oh, and the weather here right now is appalling. It's cold, and wet, and miserable, and is apparently going to stay that way for the next few days. Lovely.
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