Material girls and boys

Some mathematicians at University College London claim to have found the secret to a girl’s heart. (That alone should give you pause). According to their extensive game theory simulations, men should offer women expensive gifts that have no lasting value. Things like fancy dinners or a night on the town, which the women cannot resell or use later.

The idea – now follow closely – is a woman cannot spend the gift in the company of another man. And some gold-digger who was only interested in extracting gifts from our poor Romeo would not be willing to spend much time with him just for a good meal.

Well, I don’t know. Maybe it depends on what else is on TV that night. Apparently one of the researchers came up with this theory after hearing about some poor sap who was paying the rent of a woman he considered his girlfriend. And she was callously accepting his gift, while carrying on with another guy.

So which is more pathetic? The fellow being duped, or the mathematicians who base their research on him?

That’s the best name they could get for $1.2B?

IBM just announced a new line of mainframe computers, called the z9. They say that over 5,000 engineers worked on the project for 3 years, at a cost of $1.2 billion. That seems like a lot of money to invest in any project, let alone dinosaur technology like mainframes.

Sure, the new system has twice the performance of IBM’s previous mainframes. And it has good hardware support for encryption and virtualization. But aren’t large clusters a cheaper way to get that kind of performance and reliability?

Yet customers are still buying these systems, at over a million dollars a pop. And although analysts figure that IBM only sold about 2,500 systems last year, they estimate that sales of associated software, services and storage accounted for up to 25% of IBM’s annual $96B revenue. (And up to half of its operating profits).