Newsweek February 15, 2013

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United States
The Newsweek/Daily Beast Company LLC
37 号


the might have beens

PRESIDENTS’ DAY honors the two greatest presidents in U.S. history: George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Sometimes Americans use the occasion to extend attention to other important presidents, too, like Franklin Roosevelt or Dwight Eisenhower. But what about the other other guys: the presidents who showed potential, but never got their chance? This Presidents’ Day, let’s bring out of the shadows the might-have-beens of presidential history, and three of them in particular: Zachary Taylor, James Garfield, andyes-Gerald Ford. Taylor last made news in 1991, when his body was exhumed to test the theory that his death after 16 months in office could be attributed to arsenic poisoning. (Answer: no.) Otherwise, Taylor seems nowadays to exist mainly to test the memory of AP history students, who must recall whether he came before or after…

a bangalore baron

OUTSOURCING IS a loaded word in politics. But in business, it’s a vital activity, a huge source of profits. Nobody knows that better than S.D. Shibulal, cofounder and current CEO of Infosys Limited. Started in 1981 w i th 7 employees and a mere $250, Infosys now has $7.23 billion in annual revenue, a market value of $30 billion, and 155,000 employees in dozens of countries. Infosys has come a long way from call centers and help desks to being the outside IT and e-commerce consultant for the world’s major corporations. “The dimensions of value are much more complex today,” Shibulal tells me in a quiet room at the World Economic Forum meeting last month in Davos, Switzerland. Outsourcing began when U.S. companies hired people abroad to do mindnumbing support work…

david einhorn

WHEN APPLE CEO Tim Cook took the stage at San Francisco’s Palace Hotel to speak at an investment conference on February 11, the first questions weren’t about the next iteration of the iPhone. Instead, analysts asked the CEO about a lawsuit that had just been filed by New York-based investor David Einhorn. The 44-year-old proprietor of the hedge fund Greenlight Capital believes Apple “has a cash problem,” as he told CNBC. It has too much of it. Einhorn has compared Apple to his “Grandma Roz,” who lived through the Depression and was so focused on pinching pennies that she wouldn’t leave h im messages on his answering machine. Einhorn has sued Apple over a proposed governance change that would limit the company’s ability to sell new preferred stock-the mechanism he has…

seminal research

FOR THE past 20 years scientists have been fretting over the decline of sperm counts in the West. The most recent alarm came late last year, when a study found that sperm counts had fallen in French men from an average in 1989 of 73.6 million sperm per milliliter of semen in a 35-year-old man to 49.9 million per milliliter in 2005. While nowhere close to threatening our fertility as a speciesthat number would need to drop below 15 million per milliliterit is not a comforting trend given that lower sperm counts make it harder to father children. But the cause has been unknown. Did the lower sperm counts stem from high-fat diets, being overweight, or trace amounts of chemicals in the environment and their effect on the body’s hormones? The…

winging it

THE MASS cancellations of flights along the East Coast in the face of a ferocious blizzard earlier this month once again fixed travelers’ attentions on the chronic problems of airline customer service, and so it may not have been the best moment for American Airlines and US Airways to announce a merger, a move that will create the largest airline in the country-and possibly, the most-complainedabout one. News of the agreement to combine the two carriers into a single, $11 billion company, operating under the American Airlines name, raises the question: is bigger really better? American is set to emerge from bankruptcy protection soon, and executives at US Airways have been desperate to acquire another airline since they led tiny America West’s takeover of US Airways in 2005. What remains to…

the locals need to dig you

WHAT RELATIONSHIP should archeologists have w i th the local community near their dig? For Larry Coben, a businessman turned archeologist, the answer is: a close one. Coben was working at an Incan site in Bolivia in 2001 when he faced a problem. The local people were interested in the site not because of its archeological value, but because the land itself was useful. People were using the site to plant crops and play soccer, not ideal activities at a place where preservation is key. The traditional archeological approach to safeguarding heritage would be, he says, to “teach people how important it is.” But after discussions w i th locals, they decided to try a different approach: putting a gate across the access road. Bolivians could come in for free, but…