Silent Archimedes

Posts Tagged ‘Slate’

Harvard’s rapidly shrinking endowment?

Posted by silentarchimedes on November 19, 2008

Over the past few weeks I have received emails from all the presidents of my alma maters regarding the respective university’s financial situation in this rapidly deteriorating economy. The emails all had the exact same outline. The serious tone was set right away. Followed by a reassurance of “don’t worry, the university has a good handle on the situation”. That the financial trustees have invested wisely and haven’t done as badly as most other colleges. Then by another serious tone that the university endowment will inevitably  be smaller at the end of the year, and to what extent it is not clear yet.

Harvard Yard

Harvard Yard

However, all universities have some envy with Harvard University’s financial position. Check out the endowment figures on Wikipedia. They have the largest endowment in the world, by far. In 2007 they had a $34.635 billion endowment, which completely dwarfs the second largest endowment, Yale University, $22.53 billion. Even a similar university like Princeton University has only an endowment of $15.787 billion (although Princeton does have the highest endowment per student figure, whereas, Harvard only ranks 5th in this category). The financial manager of Harvard’s endowment has a highly regarded position and has more responsibilities than most large investment firms.

I came across an article on Slate yesterday regarding the impact of the economy on Harvard’s endowment in 2008. Although it’s still unclear, and since Harvard is a private institution does not have to abide by the SEC regulations for the public disclosure of financial statements, there are many clues to its performance this year. In simple terms, it’s not looking good. But the question to ask is, why? With an endowment so large, so powerful and so stable, wouldn’t it actually be pretty easy to manage? Simply invest in the most stable and long-term entities out there? Why risk the entire university on risky investments? This seems partly true in the case with Harvard. As more comes out, it will be interesting to see what the final endowment figure is for Harvard (and for all other prestigious universities, for that matter) at the end of 2008.

Harvard’s Investment Errors – That’s where America’s greatest university is investing its endowment?


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Most annoying commercial jingles on TV

Posted by silentarchimedes on November 2, 2008

This post was originally written to talk about how annoying the Save by Zero and Five Dollar Footlongs commercials were, but now I’m expanding it to all annoying commercial jingles since November 02, 2008.


This commercial is annoying on three levels. One, the jingle is freaking annoying and just letting Beyonce sing “Let me upgrade” does not make it less annoying. Two, randomly showing Beyonce’s legs and body during the commercial makes it even more annoying because it has nothing to do with DirecTV. Finally, am I the only one that has always thought that Beyonce cannot dance. All she does is convulse with hard swinging movements from side to side.

SAVE BY ZERO – TOYOTA  (11/2/08)

Apparently I’m not the only one. Even Esquire has written about it –

The Inside Story of “Saved By Zero,” the Toyota Commercial That’s Keeping You Up at Night

Here’s Slate’s take on the commercial –

Jingle Hell The diabolical geniuses behind Subway’s “five-dollar foot-long” song.

Oh, The Mastercard Priceless commercials continue to annoy me like hell. They got lucky having success with it the first year it was out. It’s over 10 to 15 years old now. Can’t you think of anything new? Jeesh…
And the Mac making fun of Windows commercials? I’m a big Apple fan, but umm, those commercials are annoying and stupid.

While we’re at it, what about the most annoying jingle in recent commercial history.


I’ll be nice and at least put a visually appealing Vonage commercial, but boy, that jingle makes me want to jump out the window.

Posted in Opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »