Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
From the WWF: "Of all the species that have lived on the Earth since life first appeared here 3 billion years ago, only about one in a thousand is still living today."
From Carl Jung: "Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves."
Monday, December 28, 2009
Fifty-two children who no longer believed in Santa Claus were individually administered a structured interview on their reactions to discovering the truth. Their parents completed a questionnaire assessing their initial encouragement of the child to believe in Santa and rating their child's reactions to discovering the truth as well as their own reactions to the child's discovery. Parental encouragement for the child to believe was very strong. Children generally discovered the truth on their own at age seven. Children reported predominantly positive reactions on learning the truth. Parents, however, described themselves as predominantly sad in reaction to their child's discovery.By age seven, the story of Santa Claus seems to exist more for parental enjoyment than for their children. Not even considering the complications of explaining the purpose for celebrating Christmas (Jesus) and how it mixes with elves and flying reindeer, the bottom line for me is the dishonesty. To continue the charade, parents must lie to their children. Whether it's leaving cookies for someone who doesn't exist, having them meet an impostor in the mall, or attempting the explain the scientific impossibilities of Santa; parents who want to convince their children St. Nick is real must deceive them. Though I'm not in their situation yet, it seems most parents tell their children Santa is real for the same reason they circumcise them, peer pressure. They don't want to be different, so they go with the flow. As for now my wife and I plan to treat Santa like a game that some people play more serious than others. My kids will know he's not real, but it's fun to tell fictional stories about him.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
1) Unconscious Incompetence: "The individual neither understands nor knows how to do something, nor recognizes the deficit, nor has a desire to address it." This is most people. May have heard of improv, or seen Whose Line is it Anyway?, but don't really know what it is because improvisation is hard to understand. It's not a play, stand-up, or sketch, but something completely different all together.
2) Conscious Incompetence: "Though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, he or she does recognize the deficit, without yet addressing it." This is the regular improv audience member. Likes to watch it, but doesn't really understand the mechanics. Many times they believe the performance was scripted or at least partially pre-planned. What they don't understand is that would be much harder than playing and supporting.
3) Conscious Competence: "The individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill or knowledge requires a great deal of consciousness or concentration." This is a student of improvisation. They are learning the basics (characters, games, and "Yes, and"), but have it has yet to be completely natural. They constantly remind themselves of ""the rules" and play tightly to them.
4) Unconscious Competence: "The individual has had so much practice with a skill that it can be performed easily (often without concentrating too deeply)." These are the experts. Like a pro-athlete who relies of experience and muscle memory to complete their task. Though I do realize that even experts are still learning. Michael Jordan did peak when things became natural for him. Hopefully neither will I. Also, this stage would make a great name for an improv team.
I think that I am currently transitioning from 3 to 4. I can feel myself naturally reacting on stage in ways that would have been calculated before. I haven't put in the 10 years or 10,000 hours that many claim are needed for expertise, but I hope I don't have to wait until 2014 for that. The other major difference from Unconscious Competence and the first 3 stages is that they are equipped to train others. In fact, starting on January 13th I will be teaching my first class at the Dirty South Improv Theater. The cost is usually $195/$150 for students, but there is a holiday price of $125 that expires December 31st. There is no obligation to take another level of classes and many community members use it as a tool in their work. You also get to see shows for free during the 6 week course. However, if classes aren't for you, maybe you should consider Conscious Incompetence; seeing me perform every Friday.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
- Sumerians Look On In Confusion As Christian God Creates World from the Onion
- Uninsured in 2009, in terms of life expectancy, is as bad as insured in what year? (earlier)
- Christmas today is better than ever [video].
- What English sounds like to foreigners [video].
- From me: Blogging Under the Influence from the Mister Diplomat blog.
- How to avoid Christmas inefficiency, GiftCardRescue.com.
- Good analogy for inflation [video]. But wouldn't money saved in banks go back out into the market as investments?
- One small health care idea: Teladoc.com.
- Scientific evidence for ripping the Band-Aids fast, but apparently there's support for slow too.
- John Hanson, the first of 7 total US "Presidents" before Washington.
- Doodling helps you focus (earlier on yawning).
- Hilariously interesting review of The Phantom Menace (video part 1 of 7)
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Whatever your gift philosophy, you may be thinking that you would be happier if you could just spend the money on yourself – but according to a three-part study by Elizabeth Dunn, Lara Aknin, and Michael Norton, givers can get more happiness than people who send the money on themselves.
Liz, Lara and Mike approached the study from the perspective that happiness is less dependent on stable circumstances (income) and more on the day-to-day activities in which a person chooses to engage (gift-giving vs. personal purchases).
To that end, they surveyed a representative sample of 632 Americans on their spending choices and happiness levels and found that while the amount of personal spending (bills included) was unrelated to reported happiness, prosocial spending was associated with significantly higher happiness.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
- The total number of Wikipedia articles tagged in each country [map].
- Genius idea for scamming the credit card companies out of frequent flier miles.
- 56 newspapers in 45 countries printed this climate change editorial.
- For a group of states' rights advocates, the Confederacy looked a lot like socialism.
- My worst economic fear is the end of social cooperation.
- Fair Trade is mostly a marketing gimmick.
- The original RedBox.
- Apparently the diminishing marginal utility of wealth begins at $40,000 (earlier).
- Time flies and you're having fun.
- I figured out way too late that the key to interacting with people is asking questions.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
- Amateurs are better than experts.
- Boys are the biggest victims of sex discrimination.
- Hard work is more important than intelligence for success.
- Breast-feeding's benefits are more correlation and causation.
- Car seats are less safe than just a seatbelt.
- Global cultural homogenization is good.
- Drug dealers don’t make more money than the working poor
- Gay marriage is good for Conservatism.
- New Orleans shouldn't be rebuilt.
- Obesity is not an epidemic, but America's obsession with it is.
Monday, December 14, 2009
I found that women were more attracted to humourous men, but men's mate choice was uninfluenced by women's humour production. I also found that women were most attracted to a partner's production of humour, while men were most attracted to a partner's receptivity to their own humour. Men and women also differed in the extent to which they reported producing humour in the presence of the opposite sex; men reported a greater increase in their use of humour around the opposite sex than did women.This must be at least part of the reason women are underrepresented in comedy improv, even at the theater I perform with. There is little doubt that women have the ability to be funny (I can name plenty of examples), but it seems men are socially groomed for it.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
1. The Upper Right-Hand CornerVia Marginal Revolution
That’s the prime spot where diners’ eyes automatically go first. Balthazar uses it to highlight a tasteful, expensive pile of seafood. Generally, pictures of food are powerful motivators but also menu taboos—mostly because they’re used extensively in lowbrow chains like Chili’s and Applebee’s. This illustration “is as far as a restaurant of this caliber can go, and it’s used to draw attention to two of the most expensive orders,” Poundstone says.
2. The Anchor
The main role of that $115 platter—the only three-digit thing on the menu—is to make everything else near it look like a relative bargain, Poundstone says.
3. Right Next Door
At a mere $70, the smaller seafood platter next to Le Balthazar seems like a deal, though there’s no sense of how much food you’re getting. It’s an indefinite comparison that also feels like an indulgence—a win-win for the restaurant.
4. In The Vicinity
The restaurant’s high-profit dishes tend to cluster near the anchor. Here, it’s more seafood at prices that seem comparatively modest.
5. Columns Are Killers
According to Brandon O’Dell, one of the consultants Poundstone quotes in Priceless, it’s a big mistake to list prices in a straight column. “Customers will go down and choose from the cheapest items,” he says. At least the Balthazar menu doesn’t use leader dots to connect the dish to the price; that draws the diner’s gaze right to the numbers. Consultant Gregg Rapp tells clients to “omit dollar signs, decimal points, and cents … It’s not that customers can’t check prices, but most will follow whatever subtle cues are provided.”
6. The Benefit Of Boxes
“A box draws attention and, usually, orders,” Poundstone says. “A really fancy box is better yet. The fromages at the bottom of the menu are probably high-profit puzzles.”
7. Menu Siberia
That’s where low-margin dishes that the regulars like end up. The examples here are the easy-to-miss (and relatively inexpensive) burgers.
A regular trick, it’s when the same dish comes in different sizes. Here, that’s done with steak tartare and ravioli—but because “you never know the portion size, you’re encouraged to trade up,” Poundstone says. “Usually the smaller size is perfectly adequate.”
Friday, December 11, 2009
From Milton Friedman: "The minimum wage is a law saying that employers must discriminate against workers with low skills." or "We regard the minimum wage law as one of the most, if not the most, anti-black laws on the statute books."
From the Tax Foundation: "Remarkably, the share of the tax burden borne by the top 1 percent now exceeds the share paid by the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers combined."
From USA Today: "The marketplace doesn't determine how many doctors the nation has, as it does for engineers, pilots and other professions. The number of doctors is a political decision, heavily influenced by doctors themselves." (and also the government)
From Bryan Caplan: "In the thirties, governments had Four Year Plans. Today, they have Four Year from Now Plans - big policies that basically don't kick in until the next election."
*Past worthwhile sentences.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
results show a strong correlation between economic growth and certain shifts in beliefs, though only in developing countries. Most strikingly, if belief in hell jumps up sharply while actual church attendance stays flat, it correlates with economic growth.I think it's because of the good qualities religion encourages that are important for economic growth. Trust, self-control, sympathy and fairness are all vital to economic cooperation.
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
But two new research papers suggest that microcredit is not nearly the powerful tool it has been made out to be. The papers, by leading development economists affiliated with MIT’s Jameel Poverty Action Lab, have not yet been published, but they are already being called the most thorough, careful studies yet done on the topic. What they find is that, by most measures, microcredit does not offer a way out of poverty. It helps a few of the more entrepreneurial poor to start up businesses, and at the margins it may boost the profits of existing microenterprises, but that doesn’t translate into gains for the borrowers, as measured by indicators like income, spending, health, or education. In fact, most microcredit clients actually spend their borrowed money not on a business, but on household expenses, on paying off other debts or on a relatively big-ticket item like a TV or a daughter’s wedding. And while microcredit champions point to microloans as a tool for empowering women, the studies see no impact on gender roles, and find evidence that if any one group benefits more, it’s male entrepreneurs with existing businesses.That's not to say they aren't helping, but they aren't a miracle solution.
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Monday, December 07, 2009
Sunday, December 06, 2009
Trustworthiness. Why do people keep their promises? There are surely many reasons. According to Smith, one of the more prominent is self-interest. He writes: “Where people seldom deal with one another, we find that they are somewhat disposed to cheat, because they can gain more by a smart trick than they lose by the injury that it does to their reputation.” Thus, the principal sanction that holds dishonesty in check is the loss of business that would follow the damage to the businessperson’s reputation. A reputation for being trustworthy will create business opportunities, while even a hint of suspicion of untrustworthiness may preclude such opportunities.All of the complaints against capitalism, except for maybe equality of results, are when we stray from markets and towards an intrusive government. Whether it's bailouts, bonuses, or stimulus packages, when the government does more protect property rights these virtues are skewed. What do you call a system where costs and benefits are returned to those who caused them? It's not Karma, it's capitalism.
Self-Control. Trustworthiness assumes self-control. What, after all, is promise-keeping if not the ability or disposition to pass up an immediate advantage or gratification? That explains why, for Adam Smith, “self-command is not only itself a great virtue, but from it all the other virtues seem to derive their principal lustre.” Self-control is not a tradeoff between self-interest and the public interest; it is instead a tradeoff between short-term and long-term self-interest.
Sympathy. In a market economy, the fortune of an economic agent depends upon successfully meeting the needs of other people. To the extent that sympathy—or what might be called empathy—helps an entrepreneur to anticipate those needs, it contributes to economic success. Smith knew that sympathy is indirectly linked to self-interest because it might be in our self-interest to work to understand the needs of others.
Fairness. Like the other practical virtues, a reputation for fairness or equity is likely to create business opportunities. Since it is virtually impossible to regulate complex transactions by means of simple written contracts, in many cases parties prefer to restrict their business to those on whom they can rely not to take advantage of them if circumstances change. They are spared considerable transaction costs such as attorneys, auditors, and inspectors of all kinds.
Saturday, December 05, 2009
- In a world where consumers choose their own health care, the "uproar" over mammograms would be a non-issue.
- When government tries to control the economy, it does crazy things; like move Thanksgiving.
- A reliable Scrabble strategy: keep the most common letters in hope of the bonus.
- The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting richer.
- Yawning is good for your health and your attention.
- Facebook is linked to lower grades.
- Great summary of clear ways health care can be reformed [video].
- Tiger Woods' wife isn't just sticking with him, she's leasing herself to him.
- Peak oil is a lie because we will naturally move away from oil, though maybe not as fast as environmentalists want.
- In the future computers only connect to the web. With Google, the future is now [video].
Friday, December 04, 2009
1) What is the Ad Council?
Privately funded organization that helps other non-profits and the government advertise their public service announcements. To me it sounds a lot like the United Way.
2) What continent is Hawaii in?
Apparently there is a lot of controversy over how many actual continents there are. From I can gather it is part of the Oceania ("I remember when Australia was a continent"). This is further evidence for why continents are useless structures of human geography.
3) Who paid for Michael Jackson's funeral?
The memorial cost Los Angeles $1.4 million in security and traffic control. The rest was paid for by the family, the Staples Center, and the Jackson estate.
4) What does "ZIP code" stand for?
It stands for Zone Improvement Plan. It's a backronym from the 1960's that was originally named to imply the mail was quick.
5) After the Bible, what is the best-selling book of all time?
To my disbelief, the answer is Quotations from Chairman Mao at almost 1 billion sold. Here are the runner ups.
Thursday, December 03, 2009
subjected [mummies] to whole-body CT scans to look at their insides. 16 mummies still had identifiable hearts or arteries. And 9 of them showed hardening of those arteries.and here's us:
more than 11 million Americans have been diagnosed as with coronary artery disease
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
I believe people are totally depraved and rationally self-interested (or maybe this justifies our inherent extra selfishness). The Bible and other faiths say we should love or neighbor as a ourselves, assuming loving ourselves is the default. You don't have to teach children to be selfish, though sadly we do. So if we are our number one, then number two must be people who are like us. This is true racially, geographically (neighborhood, city, state, nation) and even within our social class. Not only is it easier to put ourselves in someone else's shoes who is like us, it is also more likely to be us in the future. My bet is that people from Boston were more sympathetic to 9/11 victims in New York or that people from Miami better understood the pain felt by Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans. There is even evidence we are nicer to the siblings that look like us. The good news is as the world becomes more connected we see how similar humans are all over the world, the less prejudice we there will be.
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
From Lindsey Jones: "This is not to say that I need my students to love – or even like – what I’m teaching them in order for me to like and appreciate my job. But I gotta say, I’ve started to feel more like a parking cop and less like a purveyor of life-enriching knowledge."
From Tyler Cowen: "Vampires do not seem to mind social disapproval, and in this sense many teens look to them as role models."
From Mark Perry quoting Larry Summers: "male intelligence is inherently more variable than female intelligence."
From Penelope Trunk: "In typical parent fashion, parents stress what they are lacking so that their kids don’t lack it."
*Past worthwhile sentences.
Monday, November 30, 2009
So next time you hear about the future, check the markets.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
1) Business owners with last names near the end of the alphabet are more likely to be in the back of the yellow pages (or at the end of a bookshelf), more likely to be less successful, and more likely to have less money to spend on their kids education.
2) Whether it's lining up for lunch in elementary school or handing out papers in high school, people with last names near the end of the alphabet may have a more contentious relationship with the educational system.
3) When put in alphabetical order, they may be more likely to be in the back of the class, which has a negative effect on learning.
4) Being at the end of the alphabet puts you later in class registry for college, which could decrease grades, which could decrease income, which could decrease the money spend on children's education.
5) Perhaps last names starting with X, Y and Z are harder to pronounce, which I can imagine has a negative impact on career.
I'm grasping at straws, anyone else have a better explanation?
Thursday, November 26, 2009
- Fewer Americans died in traffic fatalities in 2008 than in any year since 1961 (whew)
- Life expectancy in the U.S. reached an all-time high of 77.9
- Death rates dropped significantly for many leading causes of death: cancer, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, accidents, diabetes, homicides and pneumonia
- The proportion of undernourished children world-wide under five declined to 20% in 2005 from 27% in 1990.
- The U.S. divorce rate dropped by one-third from 1981 to 2008, and is at its lowest level since 1970 (though this may be because people are marrying less).
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
- I generally support payday loans as a helpful way to get quick money, but apparently giving a clear description of the loan reduces applicants by as much as 10 percent.
- Listen to people who hate you and other great advice on taking advice.
- Ayn Rand was not a Libertarian and didn't really like them.
- When offered credit or debit at the register, choose credit.
- Way for bloggers to know what the popular links are, not sure if it's useful.
- When your plane is delayed, it might be Federal Aviation Administration's fault
- Trying to get Al Gore to debate global warming (I'm torn).
- Clear explanation of how companies take over other companies.
- I'm skeptical of "are you happy?" questionnaires, but these observations are fascinating.
- The landmark Supreme Court case that once gave government the right take away private land for private use has fallen on its face.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
The average person talks at a rate of about 125 – 175 words per minute, while we can listen at a rate of up to 450 words per minuteEven if that second number is half what the research says it is, we should all be talking faster.
Monday, November 23, 2009
In 1984, Oprah Winfrey became the host of a morning talk show that in less than a year became so popular that it was renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show. That means I have never lived in a world without Oprah on TV, but this is about to change. Last Friday Oprah announced that she will be ending the show next season. From a ridiculous interview with Tom Cruise to pulling a Radio Flyer wagon full of 67 pounds of fat that she lost, who knew a woman with misspelled Bible character’s name could go so far. Even worse, with Oprah not giving away cars, boosting book sales or starting new television shows, we may just fall back into a recession. But don’t fret middle aged housewives, there is some silver lining to this daytime storm cloud. Perhaps Chicagoans who used to devote their time to Oprah will now leave their homes and go see some great improv. And now maybe now she’ll finally have time to take us up on our Diplomat guest offer.Subscribe here to see me get my comedy writing feet wet.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
There’s nothing like a good nap. It can refresh your mood—and possibly your memory. Because a new study in the journal Science shows that a quick snooze after a mental workout helps to consolidate learning. And that sounds heard during sleep can trigger associations that sharpen memory even more.Here's the full story.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Swedish scientists have discovered that long life and good health have nothing to do with a man’s education and everything to do with his wife’s. Men married to smart women live longer — simple.By improving our nutrition and keeping us from being too risky, educated women help their husbands live longer. They also help them die less:
The mortality rate among single men under 34 is about 2½ times higher than that for young married men. Widowed and divorced men over 80 have a mortality rate one third higher than married men.This is yet another motivator for me to keep my promise to treat my wife well.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Economist David Romer studied years worth of data and found that, contrary to conventional wisdom, teams seem to punt way too much. Going for a first down on fourth and short yardage in your end zone is likely to increase the chance your team winsIf you goal is victory, go for it. But is that the coach's goal?
Even though going for it increases his team’s chance of winning, a coach who cares about his reputation will want to do the wrong thing. He will punt, just because he doesn’t want to be the goat.This story was particularly interesting because of it's parallel to politics. The goal of a elected officials isn't to create good policy, it's to get votes. This should make us at least skeptical, if not outright pessimistic, of politicians.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Diminishing Marginal Utility of Wealth means the more wealth you have, the less happy each incremental dollar makes you. A dollar means a lot more to someone in third world, than it does to Bill Gates. I say this as a challenge to what I say regularly on this blog. Sure people are richer they than used to be, but does that mean they are happier? The general consensus seems to be that once humans get above the minimum wealth needed to support life, then the happiness brought about by each dollar gets smaller and smaller.
One possible explanation for why is happy amnesia. We forget how bad we used to have it. It could also be because happiness comes from relative comparisons of wealth. A keeping up with the Joneses mentality. A final reason could be the wealth/time constraint I've talked about before. That said, though they are diminishing, the benefits are not zero. There is still a strong correlation between measured happiness and wealth. We should continue pursue human progress, but not idolize it.
It's an unscripted documentary of real events featuring non-actors. People like sports for the same reason I like my favorite reality TV show, Survivor. The more you know about the players, the more relatable they are, the more interesting the show is. Committed fans know the back story. Whether it's the new up and coming coach or the possible Heisman winner, it's the drama that brings the audience in. That said, my sports apathy probably isn't going way. It's the same reason I didn't start watching Lost until after they announced how many seasons there were going to be. Time is scarce and I won't give sports the attention required to be engaging.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
- Good summary of what I want in health care reform, more choice
- Earmarks were less than 1/2 of 1% of all Federal spending last year, but they still suck
- What the inside of a Redbox looks like [picture]
- Teachers should suggest more education, but what if college "a drain on our economy"?
- Apparently food is a gateway drug [audio]
- Then again, the unemployment is heavily dependent on education
- Personal debt could also be genetic
- Great video series from ABC's 20/20 [video]
- A nice shout out from a fellow blogger
- How insider trading is good for all investors
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Via Marginal Revolution. This is how the online auction site Swoopo.com works. They sell a flat screen TV for $12, but make hundreds on sale. Find a product and watch the bidders countdown, as long as you're the one watching, not bidding.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Another idea mentioned is not investing in the company you work for. Even if you are getting a employee discount on the purchase, you are putting yourself at incredible risk. If your company goes bust, then you not only lose your savings, but your current income. For the same reason, it is probably not a good idea for breadwinners in the family to work for the same company. "But my company is a secure staple of the American economy." Tell that to the laid off employees of General Motors or Jim and Pam from last night's episode The Office.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
7:34pm: poop as a fuel source: wanted a funny comeback to a blog comment
6:22pm: gay celebrity: wondered if Ellen Degeneres would be the first result, she wasn't
1:52pm: spanish mission: wanted to show a picture to my students
1:07pm: o magazine: my wife must have been on my username
9:16am: us map in 1850: also for a class
9:04am: dark horse: read this in a text book and wasn't sure what it meant
8:55 am: stephen austin: always get him mixed up with Sam Houston
8:43am: davy crockett: trying to figure out if he survived the Alamo, he didn't
8:21am: bad in school if your name is at the end of the alphabet: upcoming blog post idea
7:43am: harrison brookie: apparently I searched my own name first thing, can't remember why
Not as interesting as I would have thought. Maybe blogs should have a side bar of what the writer searched for that day. It has the potential to be either really boring or really weird. I found an RSS feed for the "hot trends" on Google, but it updates every hour. Anyone know where I can find a daily version?
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
After adjusting for inflation, Americans now spend some 35 cents less per gallon of gasoline than they did in 1950.Don't worry there's more:
Increased gasoline prices would have spurred more rapid development of fuel-efficient automobiles and alternatively fueled vehicles such as electric cars.and more:
Air pollution would have been reduced significantlyand it's not just for hippies:
The Federal treasury would have received more than $250 billion over the past 12 years [with a 30 cent tax]. These funds could have been used to reduce the deficit or to address other critical needs, such as rebuilding America's transportation infrastructure.There also the reasons I've mentioned before of less behavior distortion and reduced traffic deaths.
Monday, November 09, 2009
Sunday, November 08, 2009
The municipality was previously named after its founder, Landis Clark, who incorporated it in June 2000 and served as its first mayor. Clark was beaten by one vote in the Spring 2005 election by Bill Merritt.Don't tell Ed Helms, but I didn't pay anything for Harrison, Ohio.
In exchange for renaming the town, all residents of the town have received free basic television service for ten years and a free DVR from DISH Network. There was no formal opposition to renaming Clark; twelve citizens attended the council meeting to support the measure.
Saturday, November 07, 2009
After a fun show at the theater last night, I got the chance to talk with some audience members and I really enjoyed it. On the ride home, I felt the need to continue the conversation, but my wife was busy watching Rihanna's interview with Diane Sawyer (she loves human interest stories). Then it hit me, I selfishly love interacting with strangers, especially ones that want to interact with me. For the low low price of a couple minutes of polite questions, these people will walk away with a positive opinion of me. My wife on the other hand, has a lot more information. One conversation with her has less impact on her opinion of me because it is one of many.
But don't worry, this is a confession, not a justification. If it's inexpensive to gain the approval of strangers, then I'm probably getting what I paid for. Random people forget me as quick as they met me. My wife's admiration, because it is based on many interactions, is more valuable. Her opinion of me is not based on the me I want people to see, but the real me who puts his dirty clothes on the back of the couch, rarely does dishes, and probably spends too much time blogging. The solution is to recognize that cheap praise, is just that, cheap.
Friday, November 06, 2009
- free trade keeps you from spending $10,000 on a crappy suit [picture]
- decreasing importance of physical labor strength and its impact on families
- house flies carrying banner ads [video]
- the trade off between murders and suicides
- neat way to tell comic book stories [videos]
- local improv over the radio
- being a complainer makes you more perceptive
- the value of hiring ugly people
- dolphins understand scarcity
- sneezes make people afraid of everything
Thursday, November 05, 2009
They will be shipped Monday morning to a warehouse in Sewickley, Pa., near Pittsburgh, where they will become property of World Vision, a relief organization that will package the clothing in wooden boxes and send it to a developing nation, usually in Africa.Sadly, even in third world countries, the Phillies still lost.
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
"Friends of mine in Siberia told me that their friends were lobbying parliament to legalise polygamy," she says. "I always knew that there were men who like the idea of polygamy, but what I found fascinating was that women were also in support."As a libertarian Christian this is one of those tough issues for me. I want to give people the freedom to chose their best life, but I wonder if they know what their best life is.
So is the recession going to turn the good burghers of Tunbridge Wells into polygamists? It's unlikely. But it remains the case that the reasons why men – and, even more interestingly, women – are advocating polygamy in Russia and Mongolia are as much about economics as they are about sex. The critical issue is demography. The Russian population is falling by 3% a year – and there are 9 million fewer men than women. Nationalists, such as the eccentric leader of the Liberal Democratic party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, claim that introducing polygamy will provide husbands for "10 million lonely women" and fill Mother Russia's cradles.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
2009: pay of student loans
- 2010: fund 3 months expenses emergency fund
- 2011: buy a townhouse with 20% down
- 2011: have some babies
- 2012: begin savings for college/pension supplement
- 2020: move into house to fit all 3.5 kids
- 2030: begin handing out college tuition
- 2050: pay off house completely
- 2050: retire, collect Social Security (or not), play with grand kids
- 2070: sell the house and move with my old lady to a "home" that can wipe our drool
- 2085: die driving a motorcycle on the open road while smoking a Cuban cigar in Brazil
With all this talk of savings it got me looking into how much I'll actually have to set aside, especially once Traci starts to stay home with the kids. I've talked before about how the stock market is so complex that it is essentially random. What this means for the average person is that stock market is for long term, not short term saving. Historically there’s an 55% chance that the stock market will give a 10% return over one year. There’s an 85% chance over a decade. But, there is a 100% chance of earning that return over a 30 years. Here's a resource for calculating how much you have to save/invest each month to reach your goals. For example, you have to only have to invest $442.38 a month in the stock market at 10% over 30 years to reach a million dollars! I'm looking forward to sitting down with a professional financial adviser in the near future to see if my opinions, which are a combination of my economics background and financial radio talk show host Dave Ramsey, make sense in the real world.
Monday, November 02, 2009
- majority of the executives whose salaries were to cut have left already
- President George Washington stopped this little known almost revolution
- scientific support for the hard tests I give and the time spent going back over it
- common cup communion during the flu season, what's a Christian to do?
- murderer/kidnapper sues victim from prison
- French court convicts Church of Scientology of fraud
- how to deal with "too much choice"
- my old church gets featured in a photo blog
- the grass is always greener, even when you can pay someone to mow it for you
- why the public option is not the answer
Sunday, November 01, 2009
We provide evidence on the speed and accuracy of price discovery by studying stock returns and trading volume surrounding the crash of the space shuttle Challenger. While the event was widely observed, it took several months for an esteemed panel to determine which of the mechanical components failed during the launch. By contrast, in the period immediately following the crash, securities trading in the four main shuttle contractors seemingly singled out the firm that manufactured the faulty component. We show that price discovery occurred without large trading profits and that much of the price discovery occurred during a trading halt of the firm responsible for the faulty component. Finally, although we document what are arguably quick and accurate movements of the market, we are unable to detect the actual manner in which particular informed traders induced price discovery.In other words, the market was able to figure out what went wrong before the scientists did.