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Opening Bell: 4.8.08

As Price of Lead Soars, British Churches Find Holes in Roof (NYT)
Pretty wild story that's been making the rounds lately, about how soaring commodity prices have led to commodity-related petty theft and vandalism. It's an old story, really. Back in 2005, stories about theft of copper wire and tubing were fairly common and at the time we wondered how long that could possibly last (ha!). Anyway, the hook here is a church in England, where thieves have been tearing out holes in the roof because there's lead in them thar roofs. Heathens.
Lost your luggage? RFID tags could help (
Wow, was this story written in 2002? The hopes and dreams, that RFID tags could end lost luggage has been around for awhile, and for the most part hasn't really gone anywhere. Part of the problem: it's expensive. Good luck finding someone to shell out for the tags right now, when they're not even going to spring for in-flight almonds. And, even high tech tags have a hard time compensating for extreme human error, which is often a big problem.
Erich Doerr Gets it Right!!! (Wages of Wins)
Congratulations Kansas! We were actually rather mixed on who to root for last night. We had Kansas winning our bracket, so that's cool, but the rest of our bracket was in utter shambles, so it hardly matter. We came in near the bottom of our pool. On the other hand, we got offered a scholarship to go to Memphis back in the day. We made the right choice in going to Texas, but Memphis might've been fun. You know, Poplar St. and all. Anyway, from what we understand, this year was a good year for statistics wonks. The guy here picked the winner and the loser of the final game using some Montel Carlo sims. And if we recall, Carl Bialik also gave props to the math nerds this year.
Intel Capital Bets on China Growth (WSJ)
Intel Capital, the famed VC arm of the big chip company, has raised a $500 million China fund, which will be invested in the country over the next several years. It will support a range of investment themes, including alt energy. The main point for us: see, we can invest over their too.
America's Mortgage Problem And Sarbanes-Oxley (Alan Meckler)
We've been impressed with the blog of Jupitermedia CEO Alan Meckler. For one thing, there aren't a lot of CEOs who blog (that's probably a good thing, because by and large, it could be argued, it's a waste of time). But Meckler's post come off as fairly unvarnished and, well, dashed out in a couple seconds -- which is exactly how we like our blog posts: quick and dirty. Anyway, this entry is particularly relevant, cause he's bashing SarbOx, which, as a public company CEO, is cool.
U.K. House Prices Fall the Most Since 1992, HBOS Says (Bloomberg)
House prices fell 2.5 percent from February to March in the UK, the worst monthly drop since 1992. They ain't seen nothing yet.

Detroit Sets Bold Goal: Exporting U.S. Cars (WSJ)
Combine a weak dollar and a lower cost basis, and what do you get? An auto industry that's looking abroad for fresh sales growth. WSJ trumpets the fact that Detroit automakers are actually hoping to sell cars -- the product that they get paid to sell -- to markets around the world, including Latin America. It's pretty audacious when you think about it. Either that, or depressing that this is even such a big story. But we're long past the point about being depressed about the auto industry, so we'll just go back to thinking it's audacious.
Google App Engine readies for brawl with Amazon (VentureBeat)
You've probably heard, at some point or another, about Amazon's S3 web services -- the offering that allows internet startups easy access to their entire infrastructure for hosting their own services. Anyway, Amazon's sort of gotten a free ride in that the other internet companies -- i.e. the ones you'd naturally expect to take up the game -- haven't really come out with an alternative. Anyway, it appears Google has with something called App Engine. Read all about it.
Argentine Beef Crisis Is Perhaps At An End
Interesting piece about the politics of the beef market in argentina. If there's one thing you read today...
Giving Away Content (Big Picture)
Here's some very inside the financial blogosphere baseball stuff that we're intentionally putting last, so you can avoid it. Anyway, Barry Ritholtz, probably the biggest of the true financial bloggers discusses his frustrations with the site Seeking Alpha. We won't bother to list his complaints -- you can click through. Anyway, he's not the first person we've seen complain. Other bloggers, wondering what benefits there are on the site, have brought up issues as well, and pulled their content from it. Anyway, something interesting to watch for sure. Our guess is that plenty of folks will continue to want their stuff on there, but for Seeking Alpha -- which practically owns the whole space, certainly some interesting issues to wrestle with.