Google growing

Google is about to issue 14 159 265 more shares (the number chosen is derived from the decimal expansion of pi) aiming to raise about $4 billion at an average price of about $250 a share. Given that I argued that Google was overvalued at the initial offer price of around $80, it might be time to take another look, both at Google as an investment and at the issues raised by its position in the Internet. In this post, I’ll stick to the first issue.
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What I’ve been reading

The Da Vinci code by Dan Brown. Long after everyone else, I’ve finally got around to this publishing phenomenon. It kept me turning the pages reasonably steadily, which I suppose is the crucial test for a best-seller. But I found the code and the hero’s efforts to solve it pretty annoying. At one moment, he’s performing incredible feats of reasoning, worthy of a Harvard professor and world-leading symbologist. The next he’s stumped by the most simple-minded of anagrams[1] and unable to recognise mirror-writing. And when the readers need information, we either get presented with slabs of facts directly from the author or, even worse, one character lecturing another about things both should know. Couldn’t we just have links to Wikipedia inserted at appropriate points.

fn1. The contorted plot machinery required to justify the whole thing being in English, despite the setter and intended solver being French, are also fairly annoying.

Don’t Minchin it

The Australian’s Margin Call column has an amusing comment on the privatisation of Telstra. The policy is rather like Voluntary Student Unionism in that it’s been pushed for so long that no-one in the government can abandon it, even though it no longer has any obvious rationale.

The fact that selling Telstra will make the public worse off in fiscal terms has finally sunk in and I suspect that Nick Minchin and the Finance Department (once the leading agency pushing a sale) would be happy enough to drop the entire idea.

Irony-challenged

Judging by his response to this post, Andrew Bolt hasn’t read Swift lately. [1]

Actually, Bolt’s article reads as if he didn’t look at the post at all, but reprinted something he found at Tim Blair’s or some similarly irony-challenged site, without going to the original source to check his quotes. Since that would be a violation of journalistic ethics, let’s charitably assume that the phrase “a modest proposal” didn’t ring any bells with him.
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Global liquidity

My column in yesterday’s Fin (over the fold) was about the idea, being argued by The Economist that the low interest rates currently prevailing are the product of monetary expansion rather than a real ‘savings glut’. Today’s Economist puts the point even more bluntly, arguing that capital markets are acting as a barrier to adjustment. It’s certainly striking when a voice of orthodoxy like The Economist reaches the conclusion that financial markets aren’t doing their supposed job.
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