Thursday, January 31, 2008

Age Restrictions

As a follow-up to my lottery post, I feel the need to clarify that I do not agree with statutory age restrictions. Why should we be allowed to drive when 16 if we don't have the skills? Why shouldn't a 12 year old who operates machinery and a truck on his family's farm be able to drive? You should have to pass a proficiency test that's worth a shit (not driver's ed) in order to get a license. That might cut down on the number of accidents, eh?

Why are early admit college students kept out of places that are "18+"? If the age limit is meant to serve as a proxy for maturity, etc., then obviously a 16 year old college student is more ready for whatever content than a 19 year old unemployed high school dropout.

Why do we decide that you can't go to a casino until you're 18? Won't you realize it's a bad thing to do if you lose all your money? Maybe you're good at counting cards and can run the blackjack table at 11 years old...WHY can't you try your hand?

As for drinking...why 21 in the States? Other countries have hardly any restrictions on alcohol consumption and they have lower rates of drunk driving, alcohol poisoning, and other related problems. However, a German friend of mine was telling me that the driving age over there is 18 or 19, so on the weekends, high school kids get together and steal cars, much like our high school kids get together and drink.

Maybe there is something to the age of consent laws, but I think they're fundamentally flawed.
18&65 ok, 17&25 not ok? Strange. I guess we can't expect people to make certain decisions on the spot, but I think that if a 15 year old has a week to think over the decision to waive legal rights in order to go skydiving, that should be more than equivalent to letting an 18 year old decide on the spot.

Bottom line: I guess it's just way easier to impose an arbitrary age restriction and let everyone be subject to it instead of incurring the cost of evaluating everyone based on merit.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Front Running

"It takes 8% more energy to lead than to follow" - Bill Bowerman to Steve Prefontaine in Without Limits. Bowerman was trying to coach Pre out of the habit of front-running. Bowerman thought Pre could perform better in some races by drafting instead of letting the other guys draft him. I'm not sure how accurate the 8% figures is...I imagine it's a lot higher in biking.

Anyway, I was wondering if taking the lead uses more energy in signaling games. When you have a price leader, they will suffer lower sales in the initial period before other firms raise their price and follow suit. The close-behind followers may even incur some of this cost, which is not true in running. The cost for the close-behinds in running is that they may be going slower than they could, which would result in a slower finishing time...but isn't the goal to win the race?

Taking on a leadership role in beginning a romantic relationship can also be costly (maybe more than 8%!). The person who makes the first move risks looking foolish or revealing information about themselves which may cost them a strategic move later. Maybe that's why many such signals are weak initially.

Every race must have a leader, although this leader can change. One firm has to move first if prices are to change (from the assumption that all firms are charging the same price in an oligopolistic setting). A relationship may never get started if one of the interested parties does not signal that they want to begin. These (signaling) leaders make everyone else better off without receiving compensation except for what they gain by their own actions.

Sometimes the leadership role can go back and forth. In a race, the top 2-3 runners can rotate the lead until someone can't keep up any more. In the market, it's hard enough to establish one price leader that once they are established, it isn't feasible to alternate firms (except in a duopoly case where the leader can take back their new price if the other firm does not follow). However, in the starting of a relationship, it is impossible to alternate the lead with the other person. Once taken, the leader either wins the race or trips over the steeple and falls face first into the water pit.

A Note on Recessions

There's been a lot of talk recently about recession. Housing market's down. Stock market's bearish. You didn't get everything you wanted for Christmas. What's going to happen? Will you lose your job?

A recession is nothing to worry about. People hear "recession" and think "depression." Let's define recession. It is the part of the business cycle where growth in output is below the long-run trend. I should also make clear that they are a very natural part of the business cycle. It is also defined as "a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months" and "negative real economic growth for two (or more) consecutive quarters." What's that mean? It means business is not booming. Is it anything to worry about? Not immediately. Prolonged recession is called "depression."

A funny thing about recessions is that they can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Start talking about them, then people get scared to spend too much money. They aren't buying stuff...firms cut down on production and violá: something. I don't want to call it a recession because the definition of recession is such that you don't really know that you are in one until a little while later.

Recessions come and go naturally. A federal attempt to end recession can end to amplifying fluctuations in the business cycle, which is generally regarded as undesirable. Nick tells me that the tax refund check stimulus package was approved and we can all expect around $500-600. Not very much when compared to our $13+ Trillion economy (around 1.15% by my calculations). Someone said that this won't be effective because a majority of that money will be spent at Wal-Mart, which gets most of its real goods overseas...therefore, we're not boosting GDP (I'm going to assume that WM doesn't have to hire more people to handle this mild surge in spending which probably won't even generate an extra trip to WM, on average). I'm probably going to save 90% of any federal refund I get...

Recessions can have a positive effect, by putting inefficient companies out of business, thereby stopping those companies from inefficiently using resources. This could be bad for your employment prospects if you work for a sloppy company or you yourself do sloppy work for a good company.

Recessions also present opportunity for people with money to capitalize on the misfortunes of others. Take the housing market for example. If you have the money on hand, you can get great deals on houses right now. It's the time to buy.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Too Many Sandwiches...umm, I Mean, Shoes.

I was thinking about it, and I have a ridiculous amount of shoes. But they're all used for's a list of the pairs:

2 Dress shoes: black, brown
3 Rainbow flip-flops
2 cleats: soccer, baseball
2 current running shoes: brooks, saucony
2 racing flats: 5k-1/2 marathon and 10k-full marathon
1 cross country spikes
1 bike shoes (SPD)
2 boots: black, brown
1 rain boots
1 yard shoes
1 work/attic shoes
2-3? old running shoes that I just wear around 'cuz they're comfortable

~20 total. That's pretty outlandish.

Pick #61

Talib Kweli - "Shock Body" from Quality

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Carded for Lotto

Why do we ID people who try to buy a lotto ticket? I say let everyone buy a lotto ticket. Just make sure you check ID if they win and come to claim money. Underage people will learn that they won't be able to collect all their money (they could pay someone to collect the money for them, but it would have to be a trusted individual). Underage buyers will learn soon enough that they shouldn't waste their money.

Friday, January 25, 2008

On Why Being Bored Makes You Lame

Being bored makes you lame. That's right...are you bored? Then you're lame. Don't believe me? Ask my brother. Still don't believe me? Ask my mother.

Hopefully you're actively involved in reading this post hence not bored.

The basic idea is that you should be able to find something engaging to do if you are not lame. On the spur of the moment, you can read or fix something or go somewhere or talk to someone. Do research, make plans, or volunteer. You can workout or do homework or yardwork, alternatively, start (or continue) writing the great American novel...maybe cook or eat, maybe play or listen to music. Most of the above activities can be accomplished without anyone else's help; however friends help you not be so lame (as long as you don't hang out with lame people).

I think the last time I was bored was for about 4-5 hours back in high school. I was suffering from a post-good-time low. I was overstimulated and the comedown was pretty bad. I can't remember what I started doing to get over the boredom, but I'm sure it was an activity. Basically, it's hard to be bored if you're doing something (worthwhile/meaningful and not dull/repetitive). If you tell me to do X when I get bored, don't expect me to do X (I might do it anyway, without being bored).

I concede that we all possess the capacity to be bored, but the more creative and driven among us (me being of the latter persuasion) never fulfill that capacity.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Gnome-buddy Loves Me

Kathy gave me a garden gnome for Christmas 2 years ago. It lives in my front garden. Nobody's stolen it yet. I took a few pictures of it around Vero. My address is engraved in the bottom, so people can send pictures if the gnome does get to go on a trip.

Mani wanted to take gnome pictures when we went to Spain. His mom really didn't want him to steal one, which turned out positively because Customs (La aduana) smashed the (hollow) gnome, presumably looking for drugs inside. We couldn't quite glue it together. I think my gnome is made out of more durable plastic.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Valentine's Day Massacre

In keeping with tradition, I'm going to post on my blog that we're having a party at my house on Feb. 8 themed: Valentine's Day Massacre (subtitled on Facebook: come red). Umm, basically it's the same thing as our other parties. We'll have a keg of Killian's Irish Red, keeping with the theme. I'm asking that people bring $3 to cover the cost of throwing the party. I've come up with a new game...the Beer Triathlon. It parallels a real triathlon like this:

Swim: chug out of a plastic cup
T1: flip cup
Bike: shots of beer (I'm thinking 4 shots, to be taken in succession)
T2: make a ping pong ball into a beer-pong configuration of 6 cups
Run: shotgun a can of beer.

First one to slam down the empty beer can is the winner. It is a race. Not to be played consecutively by the same individual.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

No tengo la culpa

Salí con una amiga para comer en mi restaurante mexicana favorita d'esta ciudad. Comimos muy bien y con gusto. Para decirte la verdad, nos hemos sentido una atracción entre nosotros desde hace unos meses y decidí hablar sobre este tema. Me dijo que quiere estar soltera. Aunque hay un sentimiento mutual, no todo está en su lugar para adelantársenos. Estamos de acuerdo que somos gente muy guay y podemos pasear el tiempo juntos sin estar novios. Pues, mejor saber ahorita que no hay oportunidad de desarrollar nada para que sigo con este aspecto mi vida. Pero, ¡qué lástima perder una así!, con tanta aparencia y mente y suavedad.

Siento que unas estrofas pueden sumir más que el párrafo anterior.

Dos cuerpos frente a frente
son a veces dos piedras
y la noche desierto.

Tal vez:
Dos cuerpos, frente a frente
son a veces raíces
en la noche enlazadas.

Gracias a Octavio Paz.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Listening to Your Body

It's amazing how your body lets you know what it wants/what you need. Today was the first day in a long time that I craved a Gatorade. This happened right after I got off the bike (on a stationary trainer in my living room, don't worry). Mind you, I had been taking water on the bike.

This evening, I got hungry again, after eating my regular meals. My body needs more food than I have been giving it in the past month. It lets me know. I had a second dinner and ended up taking a protein shake after my second bike workout.

It's amazing when you crave salt or water or sweets that those things are probably what you need. I've always thought of "listening to your body" as stopping/cutting back on workouts when you hurt. I guess it's just as valid to listen to the body's demands for sleep and nutrition. MAYBE, you could even listen to your body's demand to go farther (although, most of the athletes I know must push their body with their mind since the body wasn't designed to suffer endless workouts voluntarily).

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Saturday, January 19, 2008


You can get a WristStrong bracelet from Stephen Colbert's website.

$5 from the sale of each one goes to The Yellow Ribbon Fund. Nick got me one (and himself one as well) kind of as a joke after my little incident.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Flags Get Graded

Check out a list of flags from every country and a critique of them. I don't agree with all the grades, but it's still fun to look at.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Year's Changes

Man, a lot has changed since this time last year. I had a triathlon meeting tonight and I was thinking back to when I decided to try the first triathlon race. This time last year, I was training without really knowing what to expect. Right now, I wish I was training like that, but I'm nursing my wrists. Since this time last year, I completed a couple triathlons, joined the FSU team, made new friends, and bought a lot of equipment. You wouldn't believe how expensive this sport is. Anyway between March and October, I was able to knock over 10 minutes off my sprint-distance triathlon time. I was planning on knocking off even more for Red Hills this year, but we'll just have to see how I heal up and what the doctor clears me to do physically. I imagine that a lot will change between now and a year from now...

This year on the school front, I was starting my second semester as a graduate student and expecting the worst. I had prelims coming up in a couple months (closer to 7) and I wanted to stay at the top of my game. Luckily, I studied really hard the second half of summer and passed both the tests.

On the family front, Uncle Mark had just died and there were all kinds of things going on with that. Now my immediate family has 2 dogs instead of one and we were all reminded of our own mortality.

On the house front, Neil was living with me and Nick hadn't moved in yet. Nick reminds me that I didn't start throwing parties until he moved in. Wow. If you only made it to Top Shelf, you didn't get a representative sample of our normally-way-better-than-average parties. Andrew moved in at the beginning of the fall semester. I had my bathroom flood and lights stop working and I kicked a huge hole in the wall.

On a personal level, at the very end of last year, I broke my wrists, giving me a few new life-experiences like casting and surgery and inability to make myself move like I should. A few people, like so many equations, have came into and out of my life. I was able to train really hard during last fall and get in great shape. I got to read some books I've been meaning to forever and I started watching TV when I had a light course load in the fall. I'm going to try to get that TV monkey off my back this semester.

It's pretty crazy what can happen in a year. You look back and it seems like just yesterday these things were happening. I feel The Shins hit the nail on the head when they sing "the years have been short but the days were long."

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I'm Not a 3rd Grader

I can read or watch a program or listen to you talk and think about the message for myself...analyze it even. I picked up a pub at my church on the first Sunday after Christmas titled "Christ in Our Home (Light for Today)" which has daily readings. I was hoping to have some sort of a structured exposition of faith to stimulate my brain. I feel like it's written for a 3rd grader. See excerpt at the bottom of this post.

It's not only (potentially cheesy) narrowly targeted literature that manages to insult the intelligence of the reader. Even a bestselling book can fall prey to such condescension. Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond, PhD develops a GREAT thesis which sends racist explanations for poverty to Davey Jones's Locker. However, he bludgeons the reader with repetition after repetition of the same idea. I realize that authors need support for their arguments, but just showing a few different nifty anecdotes doesn't back you up much more than one good empirical punch.

Another book that suffers from the I-repeat-myself-way-too-much syndrome is The End of Poverty by Jeffrey Sachs, PhD. Dr. Sachs argues that ending poverty in the next quarter to half century is feasible. He explains how the elimination of absolute (not relative, you morons) poverty can occur with the cooperation of donors and governments and technology. However, I think reading one chapter of the book will get you about 85% of the ideas in the entire book.

I'm sure you've had a conversation with someone who was sure to speak slowly and loudly to you like they were trying to get a speaker of a foreign language to understand the English words coming out of their mouth.

*Copied without permission...sorry Augsburg Fortress...Excerpt:

Wednesday, Feb 13 Exodus 34:1-9, 27-8
title: One-sided love
heading: I have made a covenant with you and with Israel (v.27)

The department manager lectured her employees about declining sales. She concluded with, "And that's the way it's going to be." The employees glanced at each other and shifted in their seats. One started to ask a question. "You are dismissed," the manager said. The employees left, grumbling about not having any say. Situations putting us at another's mercy are uncomfortable. We have no power; we feel disrespected. Most one-sided agreements are like that.
God's one-sided agreement with the Israelites may have felt like that to them, too. The Ten Commandments cramped their style. Who was this God to make such demands? The God who delivered them from Egypt, provided for them in the desert, and promised them a homeland!
God acted out of love for the Israelites, and acts out of love for us. Our Creator knows what's best for us. When we fail to keep the Commandments, God loves us. When we ignore the counsel fo Scripture, God loves us. Being at God's mercy is the best possible place to be. God's mercy endures and leads us to the home that's been prepared for us in heaven.

aftertext: God, forgive me when I want my own way. Strengthen me to follow your way. Amen [sic]
Prayer concern: Managers and supervisors

*the end*
Note how they use simple language, even going as far as style cramping. Also, the concluding paragraph gives you statements to accept without any support. I mean, maybe if you've been indoctrinated with this stuff before, it reminds you of it...and I guess it's hard to throw too much into a one-pager.
A bigger beef is that this has nothing to do with one-sided LOVE. It's about one-sided authority. It doesn't mention anyone not reciprocating love. In fact, love seems to be absent in the lead-off paragraph.
I can't read any more of this thing. I'm throwing it in my paper recycling bin. (I did get through Diamond's and Sachs's books...Diamond's was easy since it's entertaining while Sachs's took a lot of effort on my part).

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I Love Credit Cards

Credit cards are awesome. I got my first one when I was 16 years old (my mom cosigned). As long as you don't abuse the credit cards, they're like a 1 month, interest-free loan. BUT, abuse them and they will reciprocate. Very analogous to what Slim said that fateful night sophomore year: "You've gotta respect the 151° or it will disrespect you" (or something like that).

Another benefit of the card is that you don't have to carry around much cash. Whether the expense is planned or unplanned, this is an advantage. If you lose cash for whatever reason it's gone. If you lose your card or someone fraudulently uses it, you won't bear the full cost. Glenn likes to point out that credit cards give rewards points which can be favorably redeemed. I've not enrolled in a super-beneficial rewards program, but I will acknowledge them as a definite benefit.

I also like to have all my monthly charges in one place for review. It's pretty cool to look at a statement and analyze your spending. In my high school days, I had mostly gasoline on there. At the beginning of the semester, it's mostly books. Sometimes I look and see that I'm spending way too much on entertainment.

My parents were my inspiration in seeking good credit for myself. I was inspired by the way they can always negotiate the most favorable terms due to their good credit (how good is it? I couldn't say any more than "good enough"). Since they want the best for me, they were willing to help me get my own credit card once I started driving. Having that 2-year jump on most people in building my credit history has been very helpful, along with conscientious timely payment. According to Experian, my credit score is in the 89th percentile of US consumers. Such placement is exceptional since I know that my income is not in the 89th percentile, nor is my credit history very old.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Working Out Again

I went spinning today after not working out for about a month. The gym is packed due to January syndrome. Class was pretty cool and I learned that the spinning bikes have SPD pedals, so I can wear my bike shoes to spinning class. The doc cleared me to hit the stationary bike and the elliptical machine because I can't crash those things. It feels good to work out again. I'm deffly going to get back in the game ASAP.

I also hit up these new bikes the Leach has where it's like a video game/stationary bike. Basically, you have a computer screen where you see virtual terrain and other riders. You are given a pace rider and it's pretty cool. You can change gears and the handlebars turn. You can't go off the course, which is a little boring. It automatically adjusts to make pedaling harder when you're climbing and easier when you're descending. I would recommend checking those things out. Apparently, if you go with friends, you can race them. There's all kinds of cool info on the screen like your power, cadence, speed, heart rate, distance down/to go (also built into map of course), grade of surface, and selected gear.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Pick #59

Sarah Mac Band - "Open Fire", the title track off the new 4 song EP that dropped on Friday.

Nick dragged me to the show since one of his friends plays cello in some of the SMB songs. That girl has some serious lungs on her. The CD doesn't capture the power of her voice, which is disappointing in a sense and refreshing in another. I'm planning on seeing them again when they perform in Tally...schedules are on their website...hit me up if you want to come too.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Butterflies and Squirrels

Squirrels are just bushy-tailed rats. Butterflies are just colorful moths. Squirrels and butterflies are "cute" or aesthetically appealing to many more people than rats and moths. The cute creatures are almost identical to the ugly ones except for their one redeeming feature that seems to overshadow all the rest of the negative associations we have with these animals. I bet there are plenty of other things that fall into this category of having one redeeming quality. Feel free to post a comment with your idea for an element of this set.

Friday, January 11, 2008

New Office

My new office is pretty money. I only share it with one other guy, and it's about the same size as my old office. I have windows instead of being stuck in the middle of the building. I guess that might make it harder to get a nap. The office has its own printer, so I can print after 5pm.

The downside is that I'm farther from the people I shared the 291 office(s) with and the kitchen and mail room.

My computer is pretty sweet. Dual processors at 3GHz, 3.25GB RAM. ARC GIS. Awesome mouse. I pretty much have my own desk.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

El ciclo

esto es un poema que escribí el 17 de Mayo de 2005 en las escaleras de la cabaña en Salasaca, Ecuador. No juezgues...puede que fue mi primera vez de escribir un poema con la métrica.

Aguas tal vez de una orilla
lejos traversan a la mar.
Se introduzcan a arena
fina, caigando con ruido.

Como son del mar, regresan
a su hogar que sostiene
el mundo necesitado
siempre será el agua.

¿Ideas? ¿Comentarios? ¿Son todos los versos en octosílabos? ¿Tema? Pues...

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Shiny Things

If I ever open a store, I'm going to put shiny things in the window to attract people off the street.

Monday, January 7, 2008

CAFE subStandards

I recently watched Who Killed the Electric Car? and it made a recurring thought resurface: why do new model cars get such shitty gas mileage? I know that I'm awesome and my car is an anomaly, but I have a 4.6L V-8 engine and I just got 15.3mpg in the city. That's a little on the low side, but it was strictly city. When I go on strictly highway trips, I've pulled 29.9mpg in the past (maybe with a tailwind?) and a few 27+mpg trips, but I'm usually in the 24-25mpg range. Oh, did I mention that my car is THIRTEEN years old?? Oh, and it's a full size car, considered by many of my peers to be "huge" or "a boat"...

Given the performance of my huge old car with a big engine, it is absolutely pathetic that cars newer by a decade and smaller by over 1,000lbs are only getting 5 more mpg than I am. The 2008 model of my car is advertised to get 15/23 mileage!!! I pull better than that!! The only difference I can see in the engine is that I have ~190hp and the new one has 224hp. Honestly, the industry is moving NOWHERE in regards to fuel economy.

Who's letting car companies get away with their not-improving-fuel-economy shenanigans? Consumers and government. We keep buying gas guzzlers like the H2. Even for those of us who only need a commuter car and get a mid-size or economy car, we're not so selective when it comes to mileage. It's also partially a government problem due to the car companies' incentives. If one company tries to increase fuel economy, it will have to charge higher prices to compensate for R&D and higher manufacturing costs in the short run. Other companies will maintain their prices and our slightly improved company will lose market share and ergo profit. However, a government mandate can help some consumers get what they want while not putting car manufacturers at a loss for investing more into R&D.

OK, last rant: it pisses me off when new cars are marketed as having "good" fuel economy if they get more than 30mpg. Mostly because they hardly outperform my car (on the highway) and they're all tiny cars that get that only marginally more than 30mpg. By now, 55 or 60mpg should be the standard for "good" fuel economy, not half of that. Maybe by the time I'm ready to buy my next car, plug-in hybrids will be available factory.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

A Reflection on Picks of the Week

A handful of people share music with me. I've found that I usually like what they recommend. Often, something someone else introduced to me will grow on me so much that I end up using it for my pick of the week. I've noticed that Stephanie has a big representation in the pick of the week lineup. Maybe it's because she informs me about a ton of music. Maybe she has good taste. Maybe it just happens that way.

One of my rules for the pick of the week is that I cannot repeat an artist, ever. This should not be an impossible task since there are enough good artists to fill picks of the week for longer than my lifetime and there are new ones popping up every day. However, when I pick a song recently introduced to me, I don't have to go back and check if I've already used that artist. Sometimes the one song per artist rule keeps me from adding a song I'd really like to (like Days of the Phoenix by AFI), but I think that it helps keep the picks from getting too repetitive and incestuous.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Pick #58

Tony Bennett - Rags to Riches

I like this song better live than studio. Timeless.

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Jungle

One book I've heard about a million times in history courses is Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. The things you remember is that: it's about the beef-packing industry and that Sinclair aimed for America's heart but hit it in the stomach. Maybe you also learn that Sinclair was more concerned with workers' rights.

After reading this book over my winter break, I can't see how everyone missed his point. Basically, the book follows a Lithuanian immigrant named Jurgis and his family. They end up in Packingtown, Chicago and suffer numerous mistreatments at the hands of capitalists. There are graphic depictions of the level of poverty and suffering of this family, which is supposed to be taken as a case study, reflecting conditions of all families living in the area. Basically everyone works until they cannot anymore, all the while suffering unthinkable abuse from their employers and anyone else who is not in the lower class. Without adequate funds, many go hungry or turn to prostitution or live in a space smaller than a jail cell.

There are only about 10 mentions of the gross things that packinghouses do to the food and I believe that they were included to show that the capitalists had no regard for anyone's wellbeing; they were not exclusive to not caring about their workers. Sinclair sets up the profit motive as sinister. I will concede that human rights should not be violated in the quest for profit. I imagine that the reason the free market failed to protect consumers from rotten food and workers from abuse is a combination of politics and an information problem. Consumer watchdog groups can help bridge the information gap between the public and what goes on in the stockyards. As long as politicians need campaign money, I don't think it is possible to fix the graft problem.

Some also say that Sinclair was expressing his socialist agenda. The only time I saw this in the book was near the end when Jurgis finds out about the socialist party, BUT all portrayals of the socialist party make it sound far from ideal. I guess I can't ridicule his contemporary readers for missing the mistreatment thing when I missed the "socialism is good" thing.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


I photoshopped this to take out 3 small boats in the background. Can you find where they used to be? (I'm not a pro).

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Unidimensional Diversity... not diversity. *note: the focus here is on collegiate level education* A truly diverse scholastic environment offers a setting for multi-dimensional learning and extracurricular growth.

Diversity is also important in an individual's portfolio. Many have heard this argument and agree. However, when they look at a portfolio, somehow they think of multidimensinoal diversity. If you have enough money, you should put some away in diverse assets. Some dimensions of diversity here include:
term (short, medium, long)
type (stock, bond, savings, mutual fund, futures, precious metals)

Schools often focus on race as their unidimensional indicator of diversity. However, if you have a school that is half black and half asian, it may not be diverse at all...or, it could be VERY diverse. Possible other dimensions of diversity for schools include:
geographic (not just in- vs. out-of- state, but intrastate locations and internationals)
academic credentials
majors/strengths (e.g. standardized tests vs. GPA)/extracurricular interests/talents
social skills
foreign language proficiency
drug use
community involvement

While it is easy to measure racial diversity for a school, there are not established metrics for some of the other dimensions. And you can drill involvement could be with children or elderly people, sporting teams or Habitat for Humanity, or any type of non-profit organization. Drug use could vary from daily use of cocaine to recreational use of marijuana.

SO, since a percentage of each minority really tells us only a small part of the picture, I suggest that schools stop concerning themselves with it or start giving data on some of the easier-to-measure metrics such as SAT scores, religion, and income ranges of students.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

This Will Be My Year

"you can tell yourself what you want to hear / but you have to believe / this will be my year" - Semisonic.

I have played that song every New Year's Eve/New Year's Day for about 6 years now. It's about all I need to do to have a decent celebration. TBW knows this and said something to me about it. I ended up staying in tonight on account of my wrists (which, as I found out today, were broken in more places than I previously thought). Now I'm in a cast where I can bend my elbow, which is nice.