Weekend thoughts w/e 042608

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The future of food
I watched the movie (documentary) The Future of Food in the weekend, via the NetFlix “instance play” feature. This 2004 documentary is about the genetic engineered seeds, and its effect on farmers and our daily food. I remember a few years ago there was a lot talk about genetic modified food, and its resistence in Europe. The critism seems subsided recently due to the global food shortage. Agriculture chemical companies such as Monsanto (NYSE: MON), which is the top GM (genetic modified) seed maker in the world (also main subject in the film), are red hot on the Wall Street these days. The interesting thing for me, is how GM seed is changing the global agriculture industry, including many small family farms in developing countries, and at the same time, affecting our food safety and sustainability of farming.

Here is a 9 minutes introduction of the film on YouTube.

I think this topic is especially relevant now that we appears are in food shortage. What’s the root cause behind it? Is this just supply and demand? How can we ensure the food supply while maintain the safty? Is it make sense (for the goverment) to grant patent to GM seeds or living things?

Mr. Softy missed expectation
Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) had a disappointed earning season, and the main reason is the slow sales on Vista. As pointed by some experts and I agree, this means two things:

1) Microsoft can not sell as many Windows in emerging markets as in the developed countries, because of piracy. From my observation the situation improved in China, but this “anti-piracy” task won’t easy.

2) Mac is gaining market share in PC market, as seen in the Apple’s earning report. Mac appears is doing well in consumer, and education market.

Before the earning many people expect MSFT do wel, because IBM, Intel did well last week, so should MSFT? The problem with this logic is IBM has both software (mainly enterprise) and services, and has lots of overseas exposure; while one can not pirate Intel CPU easily.

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