On the road again:
Europeans sure do know how to keep their weekends. I was walking around Sunday and everything was closed*. People were actually "window shopping". Instant gratification is difficult if the item of interest is locked away inside the window of a store with indeterminate hours. Compare and contrast with the U.S. where in the interest of convenience and economy everything is open 24 hours a day. I find it a bit troubling that the grocery store in the small town in Montana where I live actually closes at night, such is my expectation that I should be able to buy what I want (Krispy Kremes) when I want (3 AM). Given the sad, sad state of the dollar, it makes one wonder if all the extra hours we put in compared to our European cohorts are worth it. We're expected to work more, for less money, with an artificially low dollar so that we can buy more crap at the Sprawlmart. I suppose this makes sense in some Greenspanian-Bushian Bizarro world of keeping the economy afloat. Yes, our trade deficit means that foreign investors have capital, and -- at least for now -- they pump it back into the U.S. economy. Outsourcing our industries, McDonald's PlayPlaces, military, and government doesn't seem like a good idea to me. Isn't this a security issue? And if not that, how about just one of pride? How much longer can we sustain this? At some point, the U.S. is just going to be a bad investment. Our trade-deficit partners will take our money elsewhere and the downward spiral will continue. 5 years ago, we lost parity with the Euro. Now a greenback only gets you 0.68 eurocents (tm). Embarrassing. *The doner kebap stands were open, thank God.
I'm in NY at the Genome Informatics and GMOD meetings at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. I presented a little something detailing our experiences with community annotation.