Thursday, September 27, 2007

Q: What’s the difference between an economist...

...and a befuddled old man with Alzheimer's?
A: The economist is the one with the calculator.

Quick lunch break at client site. Need to post something original or I may have an aneurysm.

A while ago on another blog, someone put forth a business model involving individual investment in a particular method of clean power generation. One of the commenters said:

… the one problem with your plan is that it doesn't take into account economics.
If the entry barriers were lowered for producing power (ie. limited capital required, fewer government regulations, no technical ability required, etc), then more and more people would start these [power generators] in order to make money.

Assuming demand for energy is held constant two things will happen;

1) the cost to produce will increase as more [generators] are built, rent will
increase, maintenance prices will increase (since there is more demand for
replacement parts and services), etc, and

2) your profit will decrease as more competitors come on the market with the same product, at some point we will exceed demand. At that point some [generator] owners will accept a lower profit margin, selling the power for less money, in order to differentiate themselves.
Soon enough people progressively charge less and less until you are making just
enough money to cover costs.
These two economic concepts would pretty much render this (in the long run) to be a bad investment as you would have no way to establish and maintain a competitive advantage over all the other [generators] that would inevitably come onto the market.

Now, I’m not an economist (bet that's a surprise). But the above sounds really really stupid to me -- by that reasoning, no one makes money anywhere long-term.

It sounds like most of the rest of economics as I understood it from the one Econ class I took: there's an awful lot of circling the bulls-eyes, post-hoc reasoning, and predictions that don’t come true because there are too many variables.

The above reminds me of the joke where the Econ professor and a student are walking across campus – the student says “Hey, look, a $20 bill on the ground!” The professor says “Impossible – someone would have picked it up.”

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

oh, king, eh? very nice. and 'owd you get that?

... by exploitin' the workers...

According to rumor, these are the new fines in WA:

Cell phone usage (unless hands-free): $285

Improper lane change: $380

Driving on the shoulder: $450

Blocking intersection: $485

HOV lane violation
1st offense: $1,068.50
2nd offense: $2,137.00
3rd offense: $3,205.50
4th offense: license suspended

We're livin' in a dictatorship, I tell you...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

my cell phone company is brilliant

When I check my voicemail, I want to get to the messages as quickly and painlessly as possible. That's the point of VM, at least for me.

Anyway, the voicemail message used to be:
"You have... two... unheard messages. First unheard message..."

I already thought that was too much. So recently, in a spasm of stupidity, they added a third sentence in the middle, just in case we didn't get the point.

Now it says:
"You have... two... unheard messages. The following msgs have not been heard. First unheard message..."

Did someone actually ask for this? If so, what is wrong with that person?

this is what i have time to post

(ie, random crap i find on my hard drive...)

As we all know SAT scores have been on the decline for years. The following may be the reason why...

A math problem in the 60's
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is four-fifths of this price. What is his profit?

A math problem in the 70's
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is four-fifths of this price, or $80. What is his profit?

A math problem in the 70's using New Math
A logger exchanges a set L of lumber for a set M of money. The cardinality of set M is 100, and each element is worth $1. Make 100 dots representing the elements of set M. The set C of the cost of production contains 20 fewer points than set M, and answer the following question: What is the cardinality of the set P of profits?

A math problem in the 80's
A logger sells a truckload of wood for $100. His cost of production is $80, and his profit is $20. Your assignment: underline the number 20.

A math problem in the 90's under Outcome Based Education.
By cutting down beautiful forest trees, a logger makes $20. What do you think of this way of living? (Topic for class participation: How did the forest birds and squirrels feel?)

Friday, September 14, 2007

you should see this

the coolest thing ever, unless you have a weak stomach. (thx to Roxy)

sorry no posts lately; it's not that i don't have anything to say, just no time to say it...

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Some video links for your entertainment

an interesting style of guitar playing here and here (for unca)

nice soccer goal

the best rubber band gun i've ever seen (especially for blogball)

i have no idea how they do this magic trick

rerun: animals that are better than you (note for Mom: contains the S-word)

improve your english (starring the german coast guard)

women, know your limits (si, this is satire only)

hilarious (to me) kid fight

playing the guitar with your feet...