Thursday, February 10, 2011

The ups and downs of economy

The Dutch developed many of the techniques of modern finance.

"Many individuals grew suddenly rich. A golden bait hung temptingly out before the people, and, one after the other, they rushed to the tulip marts, like flies around a honey-pot. Every one imagined that the passion for tulips would last for ever, and that the wealthy from every part of the world would send to Holland, and pay whatever prices were asked for them. The riches of Europe would be concentrated on the shores of the Zuyder Zee, and poverty banished from the favoured clime of Holland. Nobles, citizens, farmers, mechanics, seamen, footmen, maidservants, even chimney sweeps and old clotheswomen, dabbled in tulips."

Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, Charles Mackay (1841)

"Among the many companies to go public in 1720 is—famously—one that advertised itself as 'a company for carrying out an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what it is'".

How far can the power of a term go

Tulip mania, wikipedia article

"Growers named their new varieties with exalted titles. Many early forms were prefixed Admirael ("admiral"), often combined with the growers' names—Admirael van der Eijck was perhaps the most highly regarded of about fifty so named. Generael ("general") was another prefix that found its way into the names of around thirty varieties. Later came varieties with even more superb names, derived from Alexander the Great or Scipio, or even "Admiral of Admirals" and "General of Generals". However, naming could be haphazard and varieties highly variable in quality. Most of these varieties have now died out, though similar "broken" tulips continue in the trade."

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The pitfalls of using structured data

Structured data:
  1. Ontologies
  2. Textual structures

  1. Domain and purpose dependence
  2. Abundance of standardised formats
  3. Lack of standardised formats
  4. Poor support
  5. Lack of quality measures for ontologies (could be addressed by provenance tracking)
  6. Lack of appropriateness measures for ontologies

Based on: [1]