Huntsville, AL based Intergraph agreed Wednesday to be purchased by Swedish measurement technology company Hexagon AB for $2.3 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. Intergraph, a leading geospatial and CAD software company, will remain a separate division of the company. Local coverage and comments are here.
A few interesting links from recent days…
- Vin Suprynowicz explains his modest proposal to eliminate the National Debt and keep the government from excessive (well, actually “any”) borrowing in the future: default.
- Humorist P.J. O’Rourke offers another modest proposal – this one for improving American education.
- Last week, I presented a post characterizing terrorists as nitwits. New York’s Police Commissioner disagrees.
- Are engineers more prone to terror? That’s the conclusion of a University of Oxford study: “Engineers of Jihad.” The study argues that engineers are disproportionately represented among the ranks of terrorists. Hat tip: Maggie Koerth-Baker at BoingBoing. See also coverage in Slate.
- Yesterday the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the extent to which the government may spy on cell phone users. Over 10,000 federal orders are filed for electronic surveillance, virtually none of which are ever disclosed.
- A ban on knives in the workplace almost killed Transocean’s employees who were unable to cut the rope securing their life raft to the burning Deepwater Horizon oil rig.
A few quick picks…
- Austrian physicists claim ball lighting is an optical illusion induced in the visual center of the brain by the intense magnetic fields of lightning.
- PatentlyO on the USPTO’s proposal to create a “slow,” “standard,” and “fast” lane for patent applications. Applicants will pay more for a quick examination, less if they’re willing to go to the back of the line. More from the Wall Street Journal.
- Cheaper data plans from ATT? Maybe it’s finally time to get an iPhone and immolate my miserable Windows CE phone in suitably epic fashion.
- An object is approaching the moon’s orbit from deep space – and it appears to be artificial.
- From the “if you don’t like what someone else is saying, call it hate speech and get someone to suppress it” department, this Ars Technica piece discusses a petition effort to get the FCC to censor “misinformation” and “hate speech.”
- The always insightful and usually entertaining Sharon Weinberger has an excellent piece over at Nature on the science (or lack thereof) behind the “Screening Passengers by Observation Technique” (SPOT) behavior detection scheme currently deployed by TSA to try to identify security threats. Which reminds me, it’s about time I blogged on the fascinating subject of nuclear hand grenades.
Dan Danner of The Wall Street Journal takes on the 1099 mandate in a recent opinion piece:
Adding insult to injury, the law also requires all businesses to issue IRS 1099 forms to document every business-to-business transaction of $600 or more. To someone who’s never run a business, this may sound like nothing. But Congress hopes to raise $17 billion in added tax revenues and fees from this new mandate. That’s hardly nothing.
The burden of raising that expected revenue falls again on the backs of small business owners who already suffer under unmanageable federal paperwork burdens. What’s worse, this new reporting requirement has absolutely nothing to do with health-care reform. It was included to help pay for the nearly trillion-dollar price tag of the bill. Why should small business owners have to pay for a bill that causes them so much harm? They shouldn’t, which is why NFIB is fighting against this law in court.