Saturday, March 10, 2007

That's some powerful biofuels agreement

Peter Baker reports in the Washington Post that the United States and Brazil have announced a new biofuels initiative:

President Bush announced a new energy partnership with Brazil on Friday to promote wider production of ethanol throughout the region as an alternative to oil, the first step in an effort to strengthen economic and political alliances in Latin America.

The agreement, reached as Bush kicked off a six-day tour of the region, was crafted to expand research, share technology, stimulate new investment and develop common international standards for biofuels. The United States and Brazil, which make 70 percent of the world's ethanol, will team up to encourage other nations to produce and consume alternative fuels, starting in Central America and the Caribbean.

The new alliance could serve not only to help meet Bush's promise to reduce U.S. gasoline consumption but also to diminish the influence of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, the fiery leftist who has used his country's vast oil reserves to build support among neighbors. Analysts have called it the beginning of a new OPEC-style cartel for ethanol makers, a characterization U.S. officials dispute because they say they want to expand, not control, production.

Sounds pretty ambitious... until we get to this snippet of this New York Times story by Jim Rutenberg and Larry Rother:
[D]espite the agreement, some strains were visible between Mr. da Silva and Mr. Bush.

Mr. da Silva is hopeful that the United States will reduce its tariff of 54 cents a gallon on Brazilian ethanol, which is made primarily from sugar cane — a trade barrier that protects the American farmers who produce corn for ethanol.

But when Mr. da Silva was asked about the possibility of eliminating the tariff, Mr. Bush jumped in. “It’s not going to happen,” he said, noting that it is congressionally mandated through his term.

Mr. da Silva joked: “If I had that capacity for persuasion that you think I might have, who knows? I might have convinced President Bush to do so many other things that I couldn’t even mention here.”

You can read more in the White House transcipt of Bush and Lula's press conference. It contains this accurate Lula summary of the state of play in the Doha talks:
I learned from my Minister, Celso Amorim, that if we draw a triangle, we could show you what the difficulties are in the negotiations we have. What do countries want from the European Union? They want it to facilitate access to their agricultural market for poorer countries to export to them, including the U.S. wants to export to them.

What do we want from the U.S.? We want them to reduce subsidies that they pay in their domestic market. And what does the U.S. and the European Union, what do they want from us Brazilians and other countries in the G20? That we have greater flexibility and access to markets for industrial products and services. That's what's at stake. That's what's in the game.

If we are intelligent enough and competent enough to pull out of our vest pockets the numbers that are still held secret, as top state secrets, then we will find a common ground. Don't ask me what the number is. If I knew, I wouldn't tell you, because if I knew, then I'd establish a paradigm, and he'd say that I should back off a little bit. So that's why these numbers are held back, though, as a soccer player, when they're going to kick a penalty goal, they never say which corner they're going to try to kick into. But things are happening. They're underway.

posted by Dan at 09:50 AM | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)

Friday, March 9, 2007

Why I won't be blogging this weekend

From the Associated Press:

Next up for Salma Hayek is a wedding -- and a baby carriage.

The 40-year-old actress is engaged to businessman Francois-Henri Pinault and is pregnant with their first child, her spokeswoman, Cari Ross, said Friday in a statement. No further details were provided....

Pinault is chairman and chief executive officer of the luxury goods company PPR SA, which owns high-end labels such as Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Stella McCartney.


Give me 48 hours, and I'll be fine.

posted by Dan at 09:12 PM | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)

Exporting university education?

Via Greg Mankiw's rave, I see David Ignatius has column in the Washington Post talking about the global power of American Universities:

America's great universities are in fact becoming global. They are the brand names for excellence -- drawing in the brightest students and faculty and giving them unparalleled opportunities. This is where the openness and freewheeling diversity of American life provide us a huge advantage over tighter, more homogeneous cultures. We give people the freedom to think and create -- and prosper from those activities -- in ways that no other country can match.

This "education power" may be the best long-term hope for dealing with U.S. troubles abroad. Global polls show that after the Iraq debacle, the rest of the world mistrusts America and its values. But there is one striking exception to this anti-Americanism, and that is education. American-style universities, colleges and schools are sprouting up around the world....

What worries... university presidents is that at a time when the world's best and brightest are still hungry for an American education, U.S. immigration regulations are making it too hard for students to come here. That's shooting ourselves in the foot.

Pentagon generals are always bragging about their "smart bombs," which sometimes go wide of the target. American education is a smart bomb that actually works. When we think about the foreign outreach efforts by these university presidents and dozens of others, we should recognize that they are a national security asset -- making the world safer, as well as wiser.

I hope Ignatius is correct -- but as a useful corrective, one should check out William Brody's "College Goes Global" in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs. Brody, the president of Johns Hopkins, has some experience in exporting American education, and offers some sobering advice:
Since the end of World War II, the United States has been recognized as the world leader in higher education. It has more colleges and universities, enrolls and graduates more students, and spends more on advanced education and research than any other nation. Each year, more than half a million foreigners come to the United States to study. A widely cited article written by researchers at Shanghai Jiao Tong University that looked at the academic ranking of universities worldwide based on faculty quality and research output found that more than half of the top 100 universities in the world -- and 17 of the top 20 -- were in the United States.

It would also seem that higher education is a market ripe for globalization and that U.S. universities -- by right of their acknowledged achievements, outstanding reputations, and considerable advantages in size and wealth -- are predestined to take on the world in the way that Boeing, IBM, Intel, and Microsoft have done within their respective industries. But as the president of a U.S. university that has operated one campus in China for two decades and another campus in Italy for more than half a century, I can say that consolidating U.S. dominance in international education will not be as easy or as likely as it seems....

The loosening of the affiliation between faculty and universities is an inevitable consequence of the globalization of knowledge. In the quantum physics model, faculty obey a kind of uncertainty principle: you may know where a professor is at any given time or you may know his institutional affiliation. But the more you try to ascertain the former, the less sure you may be about the latter, and vice versa. This phenomenon prompted the former president of Boston University, John Silber, to actually propose taking roll call to see whether faculty members were on campus. But such a measure would go against the grain of how knowledge is generated and diffused in today's information-sharing environment, and Silber's proposal unsurprisingly has come to nothing.

One consequence of these changes is that the relationship between faculty and universities has become more and more one-sided. Tenure provides a lifetime, no-cut contract for faculty. But professors' and researchers' allegiance is linked to their research, and they have no requirement to stay until retirement with the university that granted them tenure. At the same time, faculty whose field of study becomes obsolete or is no longer within the primary purview of the university's mission cannot be removed. This is a potential Achilles' heel for world-class universities bent on remaining relevant in an environment that places a premium on research and development and evolves at a rapid pace....

Drucker, Friedman, and others may have observed that the power of the nation-state has withered, but by no means has it disappeared. Universities and the nations they call home exist in an extremely close and elaborately constructed symbiosis. Every nation in one way or another makes significant financial contributions to its resident universities and demands considerable returns in exchange -- both in numbers of qualified graduates and in terms of the economic benefits that the education and research carried out by the universities provide. Also, credentialing -- always a vitally important part of the educational process -- is exclusively defined and controlled by the host nation, and it would behoove the soothsayers to remember that few nations are willing to adopt a laissez-faire attitude toward the teaching, beliefs, and activities on their campuses.

Finally, as is so often the case, the advent of the Global U really comes down to a question of money. Plato would not have had his Academy but for the generosity of friends who helped him buy the land it was built on. It was supported, according to a medieval account, by rich men who "from time to time bequeathed in their wills, to the members of the school, the means of living a life of philosophic leisure." That model of the university survives to this day. The only thing that may have changed is the question of degree. Ancient and medieval universities were expensive hobbies of the rich and the royal; today's modern research universities are several orders of magnitude more costly to run and sustain. Virtually every great university today depends on government funding, student tuitions (each of which covers only a portion of the cost of an education), alumni support, and the outstanding generosity of philanthropists to make ends meet. Even so, financing is always a struggle, and the price of a university education in the United States has marched determinedly ahead of the rate of inflation for decades now. To be successful -- and even to stay in business -- a global university would somehow have to garner consistent and dependable financial support from many different nations simultaneously.

posted by Dan at 03:30 PM | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)

Talk about addiction to cheap oil

The Financial Times' Gareth Smyth reports that Iran is starting to tighten its belt in anticipatio of serious economic sanctions. Of course, one person's "belt-tightening" is another person's "pitiful reduction of massively inefficient subsidy.":

Iran’s parliament this week set May 22 as the day when the country’s 15m motorists lose access to unlimited cheap fuel.

Pump prices, frozen for three years at 80 tomans (or 9 cents) a litre, have boosted consumption far beyond the capacity of Iran’s oil refineries and meant that 40 per cent of petrol has had to be imported.

With Iran facing further UN sanctions over its nuclear and missile programmes, politicians have opted to dampen demand by a combination of rationing and higher prices.

Parliament decided on Wednesday to limit annual petrol subsidies to $2.5bn, and Iranian news wires have reported the new rationed price will be 100 tomans (11 cents) a litre, with extra fuel sold at a higher price.

Deputies left the government to decide by April 20 on ration quantity, the price of un-rationed petrol, and the method of rationing, likely to be the use of ‘smart cards’.

The price of petrol has been regarded as politically sensitive, especially as many Iranians run cars as unofficial taxis to supplement low incomes or survive unemployment.

Basic commodities – like bread, electricity, gas and medicines – are subsidised by the government, and with Iran sitting on the world’s second highest oil reserves, many Iranians see cheap petrol as a birth-right.

Mahmoud Abtahi, a deputy, warned a 25 per cent increase would bring a “severe shock because petrol is the life blood of the economy” and urged parliament to support low-income groups.

posted by Dan at 10:14 AM | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)

Born to blog

The Opening Day starter for the Boston Red Sox, Curt Schilling, now has a blog. In his first week, he's already moved down the learning curve, following David Pinto's advice and introducing much-needed line breaks into his posts.

Sports fans love or hate Schilling. To the haters, he's an egomaniac who cannot and will not shut up -- particularly if he's talking about himself. To the admirers, Schilling has always walked the walk (see: sock, bloody) in pressure situations, a very rare commodity in professional sports. Perusing his posts to date, I would advise non-sports fans and even casual sports fans to ignore it. However, for baseball fanatics, there's lots of good stuff.

From his first post, I have a hunch that Schilling intuitively gets the blog thing:

I’ve never been a yes/no kind of guy, which probably hasn’t been received well by some. I don’t know that I’ll be changing my style, but I do know that getting ripped for something I say here will be getting ripped for something I actually said–with the entire contents of my comments included.

That’s not to say I’ll be preaching from the pulpit–far from it. Being a major league baseball player does not give me keen insight into politics, education, or anything else for that matter. It does give me insight and knowledge about baseball, about being part of a team, about excelling at something not many people can. Beyond that my thoughts and beliefs are my own and for the most part pretty normal.

The truth is, I’ve been wrong as many times, if not more, than I’ve been right in my life. I guess that’s part of the human package, something that makes me every bit as prone to mistakes as anyone. Like every other male on the planet I think I’m well informed on a lot of things, which usually lasts until I run into someone else who thinks he’s well informed but has a different opinion.

Fortunately, I have zero problems being wrong. I don’t intend to make mistakes but it happens, which is part of the learning curve of life. I’m prone to having quick reactions which, in the world of baseball and media coverage–even when you might be right–can make you wrong.

Unless you're willing to be wrong -- really, badly wrong -- you'll never make it as a blogger.

UPDATE: Seth Mnookin also thinks Schilling has the chops to blog.

posted by Dan at 09:57 AM | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)

So you want to write for a wider audience

David Damrosch has a thoroughly accessible essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the difficulties scholars face when they try to write for a wider audience. This paragraph in particlar explains why academics generally don't do this all too well:

The problem isn't that academics "can't write," as is often claimed, but that we are typically engaged in what scholars of the Renaissance know as coterie writing. In 16th-century England, for instance, small groups of aristocrats such as Sir Philip Sydney, his sister Mary Herbert, and their circle would compose poems for their mutual entertainment, circulating them privately from one country estate to another. Scholars today may reach a somewhat larger circle, but most academic writing is part of a continuing conversation among a coterie of fellow specialists with common interests and a shared history of debate. Even for scholars who are elegant prose stylists, it isn't an easy matter to make the transition from writing for Milton's "fit audience, though few" to a larger but less fit readership.
Damrosch then discusses his own efforts to write an accessible book that doesn't feel "dumbed down." He runs into an editor at Holt who provides the way:
Not only did the people at Holt want the book I wanted to write — antiquity and all — but they also suggested ways I could revise my sample chapters to better effect. The "Aha!" moment came when John Sterling, Holt's publisher, pointed to the opening of my first chapter. I had begun with a flourish, emphasizing the excitement created when a young curator at the British Museum first deciphered the Gilgamesh epic, with its seeming confirmation of the biblical story of the Flood: "When George Smith discovered the Flood story in the Epic of Gilgamesh in the fall of 1872, he made one of the most dramatic discoveries in the history of archaeology." Sterling ran his pen along these lines, but instead of praising this bold beginning, he tapped the page and asked, "Couldn't you make this opening just a bit more dramatic?"

He was right. I had told the reader that George Smith had made a dramatic discovery, but I had failed to dramatize the scene at all. Rewriting my opening, I placed Smith at the long trestle tables where he worked amid the watery sunlight coming in through the museum's windows. I went on to detail his awkward social position: Never having gone even to high school, he had been apprenticed as a bank-note engraver. Brilliant and ambitious, he had taught himself Akkadian and begun to haunt the museum's Near Eastern collections during his lunch hours, making his way up from Fleet Street through the press of carriages, pedestrians, and hand-drawn carts full of cabbages and potatoes.

With the scene now set, Smith was on his way, and so was my book. I could still make my central cultural and political points, but they had to be carried by a strong narrative line, built around intriguing characters and fleshed out with a judicious use of telling detail. An ominous mongoose, for instance, made an effective lead-in to a chapter on the Assyrian empire, "After Asurbanipal, the Deluge." The mongoose's sudden appearance beneath King Esarhaddon's chariot led to a revealing exchange of anxious correspondence between the king and his chief scribe, who tried to reassure the king that the mongoose was not a warning sign from heaven but merely a bit of imperial roadkill.

The lesson I would draw from my Goldilocks experience is that it is neither necessary nor desirable to dumb our projects down when writing for a general audience. At the same time, we need to write quite differently when we want to reach beyond the comforting confines of our disciplinary coteries. It is good to have a clear and vivid style, but equally, we have to retrain ourselves to write for readers who don't already know what we're talking about, and who need to be shown why they should care about the things we know and love so well. The trade market can bear an impressive degree of scholarly substance if we can teach ourselves to reach out to a substantial nonscholarly clientele.

posted by Dan at 09:21 AM | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Dealing with the hysterics and the humorless

Let's surf the net to see if anyone's saying something about me that's worth repeating.

Hmmm....well, this person really didn't like my "New New World Order" essay:

Since I am about as far away as any intelligent and rational American can get from the politics of any proposals for a "new world order," let alone a new new world order, my attention was drawn to a " New New World Order" article (my emphasis on "New New"). After reading it, my suspicions about where our local, state and federal politicians are trying to take us was confirmed. That is, We The People of the United States of America appear to be destined -- by our own political leaders, as well as other power-and-money-seeking political leaders of nations throughout the world -- to be a part of their dictatorial grand scheme, i.e., We The People would no longer be living in an independent, sovereign nation under a Constitutional Federal Republic.
You know, you can accuse George W. Bush of a lot of things, but surrendering American sovereignty to some supranational order is not one of them.

UPDATE: Another negative reaction to "Drezler's article" can be found here.

Meanwhile, Amitai Etzioni is upset about how I characterized his organ donation scheme:

I am sorry to see that Mr. Drezner finds this issue a source of “amusement.” Thousands of people die each year needlessly and many more suffered a great deal, because not enough organs are donated, and because the market has been allowed to intrude into the ways they are allocated. (For instance there is a shortage of donated skin for burn victims because skin is sold to plastic surgeons who pay a high fee to use it to make the hyper rich look younger). One person’s donations can improve the life of twenty others, if on death organs are made available....

Sadly I fear that we here face the business model of blogging. Some bloggers sell stuff, anything from diapers to baseball cards to soft porn (in Drezner’s case). In order to make money they have to bring buyers to their sites. And those bloggers that succeed in kicking up a fuss, seem to draw a much larger crowd than the reasoned ones, that is make much more money. Is there some other way to finance blogging? Do we need a NPR and PBS for blogging, to ensure civil dialogue?

OK, for the record, I do take the question of organ donation seriously -- which is why I will refer to I thoughtful posts by Kieran Healy and Virginia Postrel on the matter (and click here for why I don't think harangues work all that well on the American psyche).

Amitai Etzioni attacking bloggers for self-promotion? As someone who has been on the receiving end of a steady, unremitting barrage of Etzioni press releases, brochures about Etzioni, and actual Etzioni publications, no, I'm afraid I can't take that criticism seriously at all.

[What about the soft porn allegations?--ed. I can only assume that Professor Etzioni read this post from a few years ago. Repeatedly.]

posted by Dan at 10:56 PM | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (0)

What I learned at the nonproliferation conference

For the past 36 hours I've been attending the Burkle Center's conference on ""Nuclear Weapons in a New Century: Facing the Emerging Challenges." (Also, I got to use Ron Burkle's bathroom. But let's stay focused for once).

The following is a short list of what I learned:

1) Former SecDef William Perry believes that if Iran and North Korea manage to develop/keep their nukes, "the dam has burst" on the nonproliferation regime.

2) In April 2006, when Iran announced that they had managed to enrich uranium at Natanz, there were female dancers at the announcement holding up vials of the stuff.

3) There was a general consensus that the best way to ensure the continued tenure of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran's president would be to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities.

4) The best way to induce a lunch coma is to have someone rattle off the Bush administration's accomplishments on nonproliferation for 45 minutes.

5) The general consensus was that on nonprolferation, the Bush administration deserved credit for Libya and for the Proliferation Security Initiative. They deserve blame for not talking to Iran or North Korea for too long. Oh, and Iraq was a bad idea too. There was no consensus on the India deal.

6) Despite this assessment, Wesley Clark said someone complained to him that there was "not enough Bush bashing" at the conference. Of course, this was before Joseph Cirincione spoke.

7) The Clinton people, by the way, count North Korea and the former Soviet states as successes -- but they also acknowledge that Pakistan and India were big failures on their watch.

8) At a conference that is open to the public, never, under any circumstances, call on someone wearing a hat to ask a question.

A final point. Mark Kleiman asks:
What I've heard about Iranian politics, from people that I believe know what they're talking about, is that the Guardian Council is somewhat hostile to Ahmadinejad, who isn't very controllable, and that various important power players within the country are nervous about provoking a confrontation with us and the Israelis. I've also heard that the Guardian Council is both faction-ridden and corrupt. How much would it cost for the anti-Ahmadinejad, non-anti-US politicians in Iran to bribe enough Guardians to get their candidates through the next selection round? I don't know, but I doubt it's any substantial fraction of the cost of keeping a CBG on station for a month.
The problem with this analysis is the assumption that a Rafsanjani is a better option than Ahmadinejad. At this point, I'm not so sure. Most of the conservative clerics want the nuclear program as well -- they're just craftier about it. Paradoxically, Ahmadinejad is such a loon that he makes it easier for the U.S. to organize multilateral action against Iran. If the mullahs replaced him with someone who was cagier, it will be next to impossible to get Russia and China to buy into any further action.

posted by Dan at 10:19 PM | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

"Feh" to globalization

That's the conclusion of Pankaj Ghemawat in this Foreign Policy essay. He makes a convincing case:

In truth, the world is not nearly as connected as these writers would have us believe. Despite talk of a new, wired world where information, ideas, money, and people can move around the planet faster than ever before, just a fraction of what we consider globalization actually exists. The portrait that emerges from a hard look at the way companies, people, and states interact is a world that’s only beginning to realize the potential of true global integration. And what these trend’s backers won’t tell you is that globalization’s future is more fragile than you know....

One favorite mantra from globalization champions is how “investment knows no boundaries.” But how much of all the capital being invested around the world is conducted by companies outside of their home countries? The fact is, the total amount of the world’s capital formation that is generated from foreign direct investment (FDI) has been less than 10 percent for the last three years for which data are available (2003–05). In other words, more than 90 percent of the fixed investment around the world is still domestic. And though merger waves can push the ratio higher, it has never reached 20 percent. In a thoroughly globalized environment, one would expect this number to be much higher—about 90 percent, by my calculation. And FDI isn’t an odd or unrepresentative example....

[T]he levels of internationalization associated with cross-border migration, telephone calls, management research and education, private charitable giving, patenting, stock investment, and trade, as a fraction of gross domestic product (GDP), all stand much closer to 10 percent than 100 percent. The biggest exception in absolute terms—the trade-to-GDP ratio shown at the bottom of the chart—recedes most of the way back down toward 20 percent if you adjust for certain kinds of double-counting. So if someone asked me to guess the internationalization level of some activity about which I had no particular information, I would guess it to be much closer to 10 percent—the average for the nine categories of data in the chart—than to 100 percent. I call this the “10 Percent Presumption.”

More broadly, these and other data on cross-border integration suggest a semiglobalized world, in which neither the bridges nor the barriers between countries can be ignored. From this perspective, the most astonishing aspect of various writings on globalization is the extent of exaggeration involved. In short, the levels of internationalization in the world today are roughly an order of magnitude lower than those implied by globalization proponents.

Read the whole thing. This paragraph helps explain to me why my editor at Princeton made me remove the world "globalization" from the title of All Politics Is Global:
According to the U.S. Library of Congress’s catalog, in the 1990s, about 500 books were published on globalization. Between 2000 and 2004, there were more than 4,000. In fact, between the mid-1990s and 2003, the rate of increase in globalization-related titles more than doubled every 18 months.

posted by Dan at 05:44 PM | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)

Monday, March 5, 2007

Movie stars. Swimming pools. Loose nukes.

Blogging will again be light this week because I'm going to Los Angeles for a UCLA conference entitled "Nuclear Weapons in a New Century: Facing the Emerging Challenges."

As I have to say something about this in 48 hours, readers are strongly encouraged to proffer any bright ideas they might have about how to deal with this issue.

posted by Dan at 02:07 PM | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (0)

Reflections on the International Studies Association

Another conference in the books. Some thoughts:

1) No, I do not miss Chicago weather from late February or early March.

2) My most surreal moment had to be when a non-conference person, upon finding out what I did for a living, went on to say, "Now let me ask you something -- I've read this somewhere.... do you think it's true that some Jews in government have had divided loyalties? Is that why we invaded Iraq?" What made this moment extra-surreal -- it happened in the hotel jacuzzi.

3) Bob Wright will be very happy to learn that book publishers do, in fact, watch

4) A warning shot across ISA's bow: the number of panels at your conference is well beyond the point of diminishing returns. I know that most panels are accepted because that allows people to receive travel funds to attend the conference in the first place. At this point, however, there are simply too many panels per session -- and too many paper presented per panel. The wheat-to-chaff ratio has gone way down, and there are too many panels where the presenters outnumber the audience. If this trend continues, it will not surprise me if senior people abandon the conference all together (unless it's back in Honolulu) in favor of smaller, more narrowly focused conferences.

posted by Dan at 01:16 PM | Comments (12) | Trackbacks (0)

Sunday, March 4, 2007

How offshore outsourcing continues to devastate the tech sector

Robert Weisman reports today in the Boston Globe on how the local IT job market is doing three years after offshore outsourcing devastated the tech sector:

Five years after the dot-com bust ravaged the technology industry, erasing tens of thousands of jobs in Massachusetts, the "Help Wanted" signs have been pulled out of storage. State figures released Thursday show several high-tech job categories growing at more than triple the rate of overall employment over the past 13 months.

The job market hasn't returned to the feverish state of the 1990s, and fields such as telecommunications have been slower to recover. But multiple job offers are no longer rare for managers and consultants, software developers, researchers, website designers, marketing and sales professionals -- even newly minted college graduates -- knocking on the doors of resurgent high-tech companies. Especially hot are Internet businesses riding the new wave of digital commerce.

And, on the flip side, employers are struggling for the first time in years to hire technology talent. Many are paying signing bonuses ranging from $15,000 to $40,000, often structured as tuition forgiveness, to lure masters in business administration graduates from top schools.

More junior employees are finding themselves in demand, too. Internet consulting firm Molecular Inc. offered a job to a woman who interviewed at its offices in the Arsenal on the Charles River last month. She is a software engineer relocating to Boston from Alabama.

"She flew up for a few days, interviewed with three companies, all referrals from friends, and had job offers from all three the next week," Molecular managing director Patrick Heath reported in an e-mail last month to Ralph Folz , chief executive officer of the Watertown company. Heath concluded the e-mail, which Folz shared with the Globe, by observing, "The market is crazy right now." (Late last week, the coveted software engineer accepted Molecular's offer.)

New data from the Massachusetts Department of Workforce Development show the number of non-farm jobs in the state increased 1.2 percent since the start of 2006. At the same time, employment grew 3.7 percent in computer systems design, 4.5 percent in technology management and consulting, and 4.9 percent in research and development, fields encompassing many of the employees being snapped up by Internet companies. "The hiring market is tougher than it's been since 1999 or 2000," said Folz, recalling the last boom.

posted by Dan at 07:06 PM | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)

Best bloggingheads ever

Just click and watch. It helps if you are/were a fan of Iron Chef.

posted by Dan at 09:03 AM | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)