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Opening Bell: 12.12.07

“At Least” (CrossingWallStreet)
Did you catch what happened with GE yesterday? The company put out an earnings forecast and the news was that it was a disappointing one because it was only forecasting 10 percent earnings growth. But someone forgot to do the last edit. Turns out they meant to call for "at least" 10 percent earnings growth, which sounds a lot better. Wonder if the mistake was at GE or some PR company, cause you know that if it was at GE, then someone lost their job.
POSCO Orders 2 FuelCell Power Plants (AP)
What is this, the first clean tech bubble? Fuel Cell Energy (the company that changed its name from... blanking, back in 2001 just to better cash in on the fuel cell craze) has sold two fuel cell power plants to Korean steelmaker POSCO. If we know POSCO (and we do, because it was a moneymaker for us over the past few years), then it probably represents a strong endorsement of the company and the technology, because POSCO's got a serious jones for efficiency.
Exxon plans floating natural gas terminal (AP)
At first we thought that Exxon was planning an IPO for a natural gas terminal, which seemed cool, if not a little narrow. Not quite though. THe company is literally looking to float (as in float on water) a natural gas terminal, which will supply energy to New York and New Jersey. The $1 billion project could supply 1.2 billion cubic feet of the stuff per day.
Italian Truckers Defy Government Order to Halt Strike (Bloomberg)
We tend to think most strikes are silly, because they don't accomplish anything that couldn't be accomplished by, say, negotiating (or so economics tells us), but European strikes are different, since they seem to be a deeper part of the culture. Anyway, Italian truckdrivers are striking over something and they're defying orders to halt it. Good. A strike is ridiculously pointless if you're just going to roll over anytime the government tells you.

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The wisdom of crowds: "w00t!" voted word of the year (Ars Technica)
Wow, the word of the year is apparently w00t. That's just nonsense. First of all, that word was big in like 2004. Did it really have a big year this year? Seriously, what in 2007 happened that got people to choose w00t? Seriously. Ok, we're just repeating ourselves here, but seriously? Anyway, we've been thinking about this for awhile. The obvious word of the year: tranche.
China Agrees to Post U.S. Safety Officials in Its Food Factories (NYT)
The US and China may agree to embed US safety officials in Chinese food factories and safety bureaus. Sounds like a pretty thankless task, and we can only imagine it will have all of the effectiveness of on-board, armed sky-marshals. Anyway, China has a lot of US cash, so we can only hope that they're getting stuck with the bill.
Snappy answers to stupid hippies (ValleyWag)
Keep this post in your bookmarks folks. ValleyWag offers a snappy list of rebuttals of "hippie tech", like biodiesel or "sustainable agriculture". Seriously, you never know when you're going to be at a party, talking to someone who just got back from a year of fieldwork working on this stuff, and you'll have to explain why oil and shipping are all good things. Actually, we were once at Thanksgiving and someone tried explaining that we could run cars on water via electrolysis pretty easily, but that it was an oil/government conspiracy to thwart the technology. We just let him talk and nodded. Sometimes fights aren't worth fighting.
Lehman's Fuld Gets $35 Million Stock Award for 2007 (Bloomberg)
Sometimes, you deserve an award just for not being as bad as the others.