I recently made the challenging trek to Lost Wages, Nevada (also known as “City of Lights” – “Glitter Gulch” – “Sin City” – “The City That Never Sleeps” – oh, and Las Vegas) to speak at an annual meeting. It was 110 to 112 degrees every day! New casinos were going up everywhere. There was no sign of recession or depression anywhere.
I’ve been coming to Vegas for decades, and while it looks different every time you get off the plane, some things simply never change. This town is full of gambling devices … roulette wheels, crap tables, slot machines, and wedding chapels!
I personally don’t drink or gamble and seldom have time to make it to pool side at these events so I skipped the obligatory “Cooks’ Tour” … getting baked in the sun, stewed at the bar and burned at the crap tables!
One of the challenges for anyone flying from east to west is the time change. It’s interesting to leave Detroit at noon and arrive in Vegas at 1 p.m. It certainly doesn’t feel like a mere hour of flight time and, of course, it isn’t. The non-stop flight is actually 4 hours and 11 minutes, which feels more like 4 days and 11 hours. Add the hour you must arrive early prior to the flight, another hour for the usual delay and the eternity between touching down and actually arriving at your gate, and you’re pushing close to 7 hours.
I learned long ago to come prepared by bringing my laptop and the enormous stack of magazines and newspapers I review weekly to keep current on business news, political situations, and world events. However, on this particular trip I think I may have overdosed on negative news. In the future, I think I’ll be limiting myself to just a few sources a day. Here’s some of what I learned on this trip.
12,000 Laptops Lost Each Week! (624,000 Per Year!)
A new study by the Ponemon Institute estimates that about 12,000 laptops are lost every week (based on interviews with officials at 106 American airports). That same study revealed that half of all the business travelers surveyed said they fly regularly with important information on their laptops. Most of them—more than two thirds—don’t use any type of security system in the event that laptops are lost or stolen. Eventually, one of those laptops is going to be loaded with our Social Security numbers and names. I wonder what they do with all those computers?
The Wall Street Journal reports that many small towns and community colleges are switching to four-day workweeks in an effort to help employees cope with the rising gasoline prices and could soon be joined by some larger local governments. Expect to see this trend become the norm if something isn’t done about oil prices.
Waterless Washing Machines?
BusinessWeek reports that researchers at Xeros, a British company linked to the University of Leeds, have developed a machine that washes a regular laundry load using as little as one cup of water, about 1% of the 10 to 15 gallons a typical washer requires. The machine uses tiny plastic chips and a bit of detergent to rub dirt from clothes, which emerge virtually dry—and extremely clean. According to research, washing machines in Britain alone consume about 120 million gallons daily, enough to fill 145 Olympic-size swimming pools!
In one of the most carefully orchestrated transitions in corporate history, 52-year-old Microsoft Chairman William H. Gates, third richest man on earth, walked away from his day-to-day duties at the company he co-founded. He plans to spend more time working on philanthropy. He will continue to play a key role in Microsoft’s biggest long-term technical bets.
Going to the Dogs
Real estate baroness Leona Helmsley apparently earned her famous nickname, “The Queen of Mean,” by the way she treated her staff. However, following her death, she left instructions that her estate, estimated to be up to $8 billion, be spent on the care and welfare of dogs. The Humane Society of the U.S. and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said they will be suggesting programs for applying the funds in the most productive method.