The Republican party rolls out its product to the nation at the Republican National Convention this week. Today, the party placed George W. Bush's and Dick Cheney's names in nomination for president and vice president. No surprise there.

Check out the GOP all week on cable, particularly if you're an undecided voter. All bets say this election will be closer than close. So your vote counts!

In today's Motley Fool Take:

Making Money From Moore's Law


Rich Duprey

As most have heard by now, Intel(Nasdaq: INTC) founder Gordon Moore famously predicted in the 1960s that the number of transistors on a chip would roughly double every two years.

That has held true, though lately there have been questions over whether the industry has hit the wall in terms of being able to squeeze more and more transistors onto ever smaller chips. Intel, though, has announced that, at least for the time being, "Moore's Law" is in no danger of being proven wrong. The company claims it has developed a fully functional 70-megabit memory chip with transistor switches measuring just 35 nanometers, about 30% smaller than state-of-the-art chips found on the market today.

Nanometers are billionths of a meter, and Intel has been able to shrink the size through the use of superior materials and technologies that avoid problems like heat and power dissipation.

Along with competitors like Advanced Micro Devices(NYSE: AMD) and IBM(NYSE: IBM), Intel uses "strained silicon," a material that has widely spaced apart atoms to allow more room for the electrons to move between them, improving the semiconductor's electrical properties. It can increase performance by up to 30% and improve inadvertent electricity leakage by up to four times current levels.

The semiconductor industry is in the midst of a transition to the 90-nanometer size, and Intel says the industry is on track to deliver products at 65 nanometers in 2005, with high-volume production beginning in 2006.

There are ways investors can profit from the shrinking chip sizes without directly investing in the cyclical chip industry itself.

Back in June, Tom Engle and I recommended FormFactor(Nasdaq: FORM) as a Hidden Gem, the Motley Fool's small-cap investment newsletter. The company is the leading manufacturer of advanced test probe cards, devices used to ensure the chips work as intended. As chips continue to shrink in size, the industry, of necessity, will be required to make use of this advanced test technology. Despite being down about 18% from where we recommended it (ouch!), FormFactor just about owns the market and is positioned to capitalize on these shrinking trends.

While Intel has been beset with some production problems, including having to recall its Grantsdale chip and delay its Pentium M chip, the company was able to report a sharp rise in profits as the demand for flash memory chips used in mobile phones has rocketed.

Even as the 35-nanometer chip underscores the prescient nature of Moore's Law, one does have to ask, just how small can they go? As the chips get smaller and smaller, it tests the physical limitations of silicon. Yet whether it's in the chip makers themselves, or in the picks and shovels of the industry, investors stand to make big profits from tiny chips.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey picked FormFactor as one of the June Hidden Gems recommendations. (How about a free trial?) He owns shares of FORM, but not of any of the other stocks mentioned in this article.

Discussion Board of the Day: Nanotechnology

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From Zero to Hero


Rick Aristotle Munarriz (TMF Edible)

In Disney's(NYSE: DIS) animated Hercules feature, during a pivotal moment when the title character reveals his brute strength the jumpy From Zero to Hero tune punctuates the plot point home.

It's also a fitting ditty after Disney's Miramax scored a surprise late-summer hit over the weekend with its visually stunning martial arts epic Hero claiming the throne over the weekend's box-office receipts.

Perhaps the movie's strong showing shouldn't have come as much of a shocker. It had already grossed more than $100 million worldwide since its initial theatrical release overseas in 2002. One can argue that Miramax should have introduced the classy flick stateside earlier. Since the runaway success of The Passion of the Christ, Life is Beautiful, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, it's not as though rolling out an overseas hit with subtitles has been much of a liability.

However, by waiting until the hearty summer movie season has all but come to a close, one is left wondering how the movie would have fared with a little more fanfare either earlier in the summer or closer to its initial release overseas.

Disney has had a bad year at the box office. King Arthur was overruled. Alamo was forgotten. Home on the Range was put out to pasture. While the studio started to show signs of life later in the summer with The Village and Princess Diaries 2, it has fallen a bit short of expectations.

Disney still has Pixar's(Nasdaq: PIXR)The Incredibles coming out in November, yet that may prove to be a bittersweet reminder that Disney will be down to just one more film due from the computer animation studio before it goes it alone come 2006.

Naturally, a movie studio doesn't have to churn out blockbusters to appease its investors. Even as Time Warner(NYSE: TWX) was wowing audiences with its Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings movies, its stock was stuck in neutral. Sony's(NYSE: SNE) shares are trading lower today than when the company first rolled out its high-grossing Spider-Man flicks.

Because most filmmakers are part of huge entertainment conglomerates, it often takes more than just a hit to turn a company around. However, for a company such as Disney that prides itself on milking a hit through its various operating revenue streams, fiscal success often begins with the successful parting of the red curtains. Disney needed a hero, but this Hero came too late.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares in Disney and Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation Pixar.

Quote of Note

"Generosity is not giving me that which I need more than you do, but it is giving me that which you need more than I do." -- Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese artist and poet

Stale Wonder Bread?


Seth Jayson (TMF Bent)

This morning, Interstate Bakeries(NYSE: IBC) announced that it would be adding a new product to its line of baked goods: financial reports.

(Can I get a rim shot?)

Low blow? Perhaps, but you have to wonder what's going on in the accounting offices of the firm that produces both Twinkies and Wonder Bread. This is the second time the firm has delayed its 10-K, and to judge by the 32% flop the stock took this morning, investors are not amused.

Let's face it: When both your marquee products exist in the public consciousness mostly as derogatory euphemisms, your brands are in danger. Interstate has really suffered the past few years, struggling to compete with peers such as Flowers Foods(NYSE: FLO), Tasty Baking(NYSE: TBC), and Sara Lee(NYSE: SLE), as well as a changed commercial landscape in which low-end bread is sniped by any number of brands at Wal-Mart(NYSE: WMT) and Target(NYSE: TGT), while large numbers of consumers also look for better fare at places such as Whole Foods Market(Nasdaq: WFMI).

Sales have been flat at $3.5 billion for half a decade, while earnings have eroded 65% over that period. Slim profit margins -- well below 1% -- and a dividend that exceeds earnings are just a few of the reasons that the balance sheets show no cash at all.

But, chin up. Maybe they got the numbers wrong! After all, the company blamed today's delay on accounting inadequacies stemming from "initial data entry and training deficiencies in the Company's newly implemented financial reporting systems."

That's not a particularly confidence-inspiring explanation. Not only does the firm have dwindling earnings, it also doesn't even know how bad things are. Factor in the $478 million in long-term debt and management's dire predictions that its current troubles will slash its credit rating, and you have one of the best recipes for bankruptcy I've ever seen.

It may look like a bargain, trading well under listed book value, but this stock is as appealing as a squashed loaf. Management comments indicate that the captains have become fatalistic and are content to steer this ship straight toward the iceberg. Invest accordingly.

Seth Jayson has lived near a Wonder Bread bakery. Curiously enough, it was located close to an interstate. He has no position in any company mentioned. View his Fool profile here.

More on Today

In Major Airlines Will Fail, Mathew Emmert wonders why bankruptcy and airline companies are so acquainted.... Charly Travers says you wise up fast when the market smacks you around in It's a Hard-Knock Market.... In The Players and Pretenders of Nanotech, Carl Wherrett and John Yelovich identify companies positioning themselves to make big profits in tomorrow's small tech.... Bill Mann asks whether the market is really overvalued in The Biggest Secret in the Stock Market.

In other news:

For a list of all our stories from today, see our Today's Headlines page.