Saturday, August 20, 2005

Rampant mismanagement plagues condo boards, report finds

You can just imagine how shocked I was--shocked, I tell you--to read this. Thanks to Fred Pilot for the link.

Did I mention that I was shocked?

Most of the 4,000 queries received by the state's new condo ombudsman between April 1 and June 30 involved directors of associations, according to a newly released report. Half concerned mismanagement and about a quarter alleged abuse of residents by directors. "The major problem continues to be the incapability and inability of boards' members to properly manage the operation of the association," said Dr. Virgil Rizzo of Fort Lauderdale, who was appointed in December and who released the quarterly report this week. "Many directors lack the knowledge to effectively and successfully operate a corporation of residential units."
From David Bernstein at the Volokh Conspiracy...
...comes this short, pithy, and alarming analysis of the housing bubble in California.

Friday, August 19, 2005

OK, I'll have my light sabre now, if you please
A team of researchers from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) has successfully demonstrated, for the first time, that it is possible to control the speed of light – both slowing it down and speeding it up – in an optical fiber, using off-the-shelf instrumentation in normal environmental conditions. Their results, to be published in the August 22 issue of Applied Physics Letters, could have implications that range from optical computing to the fiber-optic telecommunications industry.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Re/Max Site to Show All U.S. Listings
The implications of this are mind-boggling. Buying and selling real estate has always been based on local markets. This is the end of all that. Brave New World time.

The nation's second-largest real estate brokerage is expected to announce today a plan to pool all U.S. residential property listings on its website, a move that would create a formidable national competitor to industry-backed The move by Re/Max International Inc. also could eventually help reduce consumers' costs of buying and selling homes, as competition with other Web-based brokerages heats up.Online real estate companies and consumer advocates have long complained about the real estate industry's efforts to limit access to property listings on the Internet. They see it as an attempt to thwart competition from Web-based upstarts, which typically charge lower commissions or charge referral fees. The issue has attracted the attention of federal antitrust officials, who have been investigating the online policy of the industry's powerful trade group, the National Assn. of Realtors, which gives its members the right to withhold their listings from online brokerages. But Re/Max, which has supported the trade group's policy, will announce today that it will compete head-on with online companies and create a national database that would include any property listing, whether it is a Re/Max listing or not.