Daily Archives: November 13, 2008

Google Explores Flu Trends

Each week, millions of users around the world search for online health information. Google had found close relationship between how many people search for flu-related topics and how many people actually have flu symptoms. Google Flu Trends uses aggregated Google search data to estimate flu activity in your state up to two weeks faster than traditional systems.

Google compared query counts with data from a surveillance system managed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and discovered that some search queries tend to be popular exactly when flu season is happening. 

gft

So why bother with estimates from aggregated search queries? It turns out that traditional flu surveillance systems take 1-2 weeks to collect and release surveillance data, but Google search queries can be automatically counted very quickly. By making our flu estimates available each day, Google Flu Trends may provide an early-warning system for outbreaks of influenza.

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Filed under Environment, Gmail labs, Google, Health, News, Random, Technology, US

What if General Motor Fails?

Catastrophic Chain Reaction that will eliminate around 3 million jobs.

– Government will loose around $150 Billion in revenue
– Part Makers will Shut down and will be out of business.

– Sales would plummet as consumers will loose interest 

– Rental car companies, purchasers of about 15% of GM’s volume, would get nervous, too. They often sell their used models back to the auto maker. They’re worried they would have to liquidate the cars themselves if GM went bankrupt, says Maryann N. Keller, a longtime GM watcher who sits on the board of Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc.

–  If GM went belly-up, retirees, workers, could all take a hit

– GM’s creditors would also stand to suffer. The company has $31 billion in long-term debt, most of it due in 2023 and beyond.

GM and Ford reported they spent a combined $14.6 billion more than they took in last quarter. GM said it could run out of money by the end of the year. Ford said it could last through 2009, but only because it arranged a hefty credit line last year.Next week, Congress plans to consider giving the auto industry part of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout during a lame-duck session.

On the other hand  “Bankruptcy could do great things for GM,” says William J. Rochelle III, a bankruptcy attorney with Fulbright & Jaworski LLP. But, of course, Chapter 11 is no sure bet. History is full of examples of companies that have emerged from bankruptcy simply to return in a few years.

As airlines and steelmakers have done, GM could use Chapter 11 to rewrite union contracts, potentially enabling it to slash retiree benefits and close plants without having to pay furloughed workers. The auto maker could even dump tarnished brands and get bankruptcy court protection from dealer lawsuits.

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Filed under Blog, Blogging, Business, General Motors, GM, News, Uncategorized, US, US Government