Sunday, November 10, 2013

Bloomberg, Champion of the Poor -

A response to Bloomberg, Champion of the Poor -
...but pushing the same ideas as always, that the poor are poor because they behave in flawed ways. Poverty is not necessarily an outgrowth of bad behavior, but is a result of how society directs its resources. It is not surprising that the program is generally worthless, since it is simply a better marketed, upscale version of welfare reform.

Reducing inequality, thereby improving the welfare of most American, especially the poor, requires increases taxes on the wealthy, and actually to very high levels. That combined with programs like these will raise the quality of life for all Americans.

Hiring Help...

I used to think my time had value, but it is worthless as is most people's time, simply trading one non-economic activity for another. Most people are not trading drudgery for productive endeavors.  My spouse and I do outsource some items, mainly services and expertise: 
Services - The wash actually is done more cheaply by the services, and that also has the benefit of relieving us of the drudgery. Outsourcing housecleaning is for our piece of mind and relaxation, since we do not exchange housework and cleaning for economic activities, but like most people, exchange it for leisure. The only concern is the piddling amounts of money service workers are paid, and the typical economic argument would be that they get what they are worth; outsourcing activities can often be unfair and degrading.
Expertise/skill - We hire for construction and home-modelling activities, and although obvious, medical care. 
On the other hand, I was certified as a personal trainer decades ago, and do not need help with physical training. I work in technology, so all manner of technology activities are easy for me, and also why I am sometimes the go-to person for friends' tech problems. Also, technology has often usurped the need for some kinds of expertise, because it is now easy to lookup or arrange things for oneself.  Besides, although economically worthwhile, the expertise provides feeling of self-esteem and worth, and intangible.  As for the benefits of DIY and keeping the tasks, a study last year showed a positive correlation between time spent on chores and couple sexual activity.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

A Response to The 10 Ugliest Cars Of 2013 |

Yes, these are not sleek as cars from Porsche or Jaguar, but they are cute, appealing, and different, as well as good on gas...

The 10 Ugliest Cars Of 2013 |

A response to Watching Her Drown by Francine Prose | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books

Watching the demise of Jasmine might be disturbing, but is Allen the only creator involved, and is that creation only negative? Allen has said he allows his actors to work, and here Blanchett's performance is likely the winner. Allen chose the material and directed, but Cate acted, and she made real a character that is unlike her real self.

Watching Her Drown by Francine Prose | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books

Friday, July 26, 2013

Technology Workers Are Young (Really Young)

This will seem like biased support of older workers, but it is simply a counterbalance to the inherent bias toward younger workers as described in this NY Times piece. In truth, younger workers have many qualities to their benefit, but the issue is manifold:

  • More experienced workers are presumed to be less skilled, less compliant, etc., but recent studies have shown that older workers have comparable skills compared to younger workers. In one study, the most skilled and knowledgeable were in their 40's, with less 'skill' to either side.
  • Younger workers are sometimes assumed to be more analytical, while older workers more productive and stable, albeit more expensive. Younger workers are presumed to have more g (the fluid intelligence stuff), part of creativity. Productive creation often requires a mix of new insight mixed with crystallized knowledge, but the experiential aspect is dismissed in the drive for new.
  • Cost plays a part, and smaller companies will look for cheap employees, and despite productivity, younger workers are often chosen.
  • Younger employers, hence younger, managers are biased to hire younger workers via affiliation, as well as concerns about control
  • Younger workers have lower opportunity cost, and often take riskier employment without concern for repercussions older workers might have already experienced
  • People are notoriously bad at hiring, and considering the complexity of the competing facets, i.e., cost, productivity, skill assessment, etc., hiring is malformed
  • Appearances also play a role, in that many older workers likely look particularly old, e.g., overweight, balding, etc., and younger companies might be loath to hire them. It pays to be fit.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

The Emperor's Budget Wardrobe, from Bergdorf's...

This article reflects an aspect of inequality, a focus on upper-end of the spectrum, while ignoring concerns that affect regular people. People with middle-class incomes often do not have the luxury of the choice. These choices are as mentioned by others somewhat false, as the writer is highly affluent, downsizing to merely affluent. 
I have the same 'problem ', so that my first thought was yes I can and do sacrifice money for happiness, but then again I make low six-figures. Added to that, my wife works; the only downside is that we pay Manhattan costs. I could make a higher low six-figure income, but then life could be more uncomfortable, with longer hours and less generous work environment, and similarly for my wife.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

The Meanings of Ender's Game

In response to an Ender's Game discussion (Goodreads), with a link from Reddit, I posted the following:

Much of the Reddit stream seems to focus on military tactics, or the lack thereof, used by the Ender, but who reads Ender and thinks it about military tactics, except the 20-year old grunt that started the thread?

For a book written in the 80's, then edited in the early 90's, it seems more prophetic, with its use of game immersion, remote military operations and portable computing. Then when you think about the use of children in military games, one can think somewhat more deeply about sociopolitical indoctrination.  The series itself becomes a broader exploration of empathy and foreign culture.  The criticism seems more like the problem of a man with a hammer, who thinks every problem is solved by hammering, but even worse, every problem is about hammering.

An additional post, regarding suspension of disbelief:

Some people commented on the suspension of disbelief, and that they could not suspend disbelief. I have at times wondered what is required for suspension to occur. With any great science fiction, suspension of disbelief is required to tolerate the seemingly impossible. For me, with Ender, it was simple, and I did not suffer from doubt about possibilities, but for me acceptance occurs in the beginning of the book, and afterwards I only question the actions of individuals, as to whether they are plausible actions given the character and setting.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Structure Creates the Response

I sometimes use tools to analyze my websites, two non-technical tools in particular are TypeAnalyzer and GenderAnalyzer.  TypeAnalyzer returns the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI) classification, while GenderAnalyzer returns the gender.  The more interesting of the two is the MBTI classification; I am not surprised that my written presence is easily discerned as male.  From what I understand, most persons' FaceBook posts are easily classified.

My usual, as in almost always, MBTI classification is INTJ, so I found it interesting when my social sites, Twitter and FaceBook, showed me to be ISTJ.  A little surprised, I tried a few other of my sites, LinkedIn and Google+, which both were classified as INTJ.  From there, I just kept going:

ISTJ:  TwitterFaceBook
INTJ: Google+, LinkedIn, Algorithms
INTP: Interiors, Foxes and Hedgehogs
ISFP: GoodReads
ESTJ: Amazon (my reviews)
ESTP: LifeHacker

Although it is conceivable that my social presence changes to fit the site, I intuit that the structures of the sites lend themselves to particular interaction styles, at least from me.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

On The Proliferation of Email Accounts

A friend got a kick out of this, so I will share...:


Wowsa, do you know you have 4 different email addresses James?!


Apologies for the proliferation of accounts, but only four?

For GMail I have three, one primary, one for managing my mother's affairs - she is in long-term care - and one that I just created fror future use as self-promotion.

For Outlook/Hotmail and for Yahoo, I have two each, although one Yahoo account comes with domain ownership.

Then there is another domain I own, and that comes with its own address.

Lastly, there are My mac accounts. I actually have three, one of which is our married account, but Apple's domain changes triple that; the domains are,, and, meaning 9 Mac accounts.

A Journey — if You Dare — Into the Minds of Silicon Valley Programmers

My responses in a NY Times comment section for the book, Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World by Clive Thompson ...