Who is the Artist?

Nikon D700, Nikon 28-300mm, f/5.6, Aperture Priority, 15s, -0.3EV, ISO 800

Do you know who painted this picture? Nope, it’s not a trick question or a contest. The artist didn’t sign it and I am asking the question as a favour for a friend who owns it. I realize that the likelihood of a visitor knowing the artist or anything about this work is remote, but I promised to help the owner use the Internet to at least ask. And the obvious place to start is right here. Continue reading Who is the Artist?

Economic Freedom and Property Rights

Profile of Steve Carlson

Today, the Fraser Institute released this year’s Economic Freedom of the World report. This report “measures the economic freedom (levels of personal choice, ability to enter markets, security of privately owned property, rule of law, etc.) by analyzing the policies and institutions of 157 countries and territories… using 42 distinct variables to create an index, ranking countries based on economic freedom, which is measured in five Areas: 1 Size of Government, 2 Legal Structure and Security of Property Rights, 3 Access to Sound Money, 4 Freedom to Trade Internationally, and 5 Regulation of Credit, Labour and Business.” The report uses 2013 statistics because that is the most current data year.

Property rights in Area 2 are our most fundamental and important rights. For many Canadians, property is their greatest asset and one they are placing considerable dependency on for a comfortable retirement. If a state doesn’t provide a strong legal structure and security of property rights, then it is seriously remiss, indeed. Canadians may think their economic property rights are secure, however, that is not exactly true. Continue reading Economic Freedom and Property Rights

Obama, Take Harper!

Profile of Steve Carlson

Today is the start of the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES). The co-host this year is Kenya where the conference is being held. According to one U.S. government source, “GES is an annual summit bringing together entrepreneurs –- including social entrepreneurs — business people, venture capitalists and foundations for an intense two-day conference to network, learn from each other, and identify ways to improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem. GES is a White House initiative that partners with a different host country each year to showcase the dynamism of the local environment and hopefully strengthen entrepreneurial infrastructure.” Naturally President Obama will be there, but maybe this year he should take along some help. Continue reading Obama, Take Harper!

Harper Stumbles

Profile of Steve Carlson

When the NDP government was elected in Alberta, I sold two of my six oil stocks. Yesterday morning before Stephen Harper’s agreement with the G7 was announced to phase out fossil fuels by 2100, I sold two more. This morning I won’t sell my last two. Reason? One of the companies is not active in Canada, the other is on an acquisition march and might become a take-over target itself.

That’s about all the uncertainty I can tolerate in the oil and gas industry. I don’t want to lose any more sleep over the Prime Minister’s commitment. I’ll leave the sleepless nights to Harper and he will be having them. Why? Because in the coming months his Conservative government will likely lose any hope of forming a majority government in the next election and his party may not even form a minority one. In fact, by the end of the year, they may not have much political clout at all. ‘Eastern treachery’ will cost him dearly in the West, although many Conservative voters in provinces to the east of Ottawa aren’t going to be very happy either. Continue reading Harper Stumbles

Are MACs Losing Their Shine?

Profile of Steve Carlson

Last week some 600,000 MAC users lost their virginity. The Flashback Trojan has made it glaringly apparent that Apple’s operating systems are not nearly as immune to nasties as many of their aficionados thought. In our innocence and years of hype, we have assumed that there is little need for antivirus software. After all that’s a Windows problem.

Apple was painfully slow issuing a patch and, when it did, it was only for its latest operating systems. The rest of us were left to fend for ourselves. All of which once again brings up that old question in my mind, “Should the next system I buy be MAC or Microsoft?” Many assume that MACs are the cadillac of computers and well they should. Go Apple and you spare no expense. When this writer bought his first MAC tower five years ago, I paid $4500. A good Windows counterpart could be had then for under two grand. A year later for about $1,600 I also paid twice as much, relatively speaking, for an Apple laptop. Continue reading Are MACs Losing Their Shine?