Thursday, April 30, 2009
Maybe I don't understand child labor laws
If that's somehow not legible, it says, "Adult signature required for residential delivery only" That implied to me that adult signature is not required for delivery at an office (work). So it looks like kids aren't authorized to sign for packages at home, but they could at work.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Yahoo tourney pickem
You know what to do. Taunting (of me) to ensue beginning Thursday.
Friday, March 13, 2009
House Construction and Blog Irony
So for that very small number interested in what's keeping me away from blogging, I started a .... blog. It's called "Jody and Preethi Make a House" and there's currently pics up spanning from initial lot clearing to the footers being poured (yesterday).
There won't be any new posts to that site over the weekend as it's supposed to rain the entire weekend (and is actually snowing now) which will hinder construction.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Sports Stadiums and the Stimulus Multiplier
So I was happy to see this connection from Russ Roberts (both sets of facts I was well aware of, but I had not made the connection) as the first point is something that I think most liberals acknowledge so maybe the rest of the steps will follow.
1) Spending on construction for the Olympics / sports stadiums are net money losers for a local economy. (The Knoxville World Fair of 1982 is a notable exception to this rule as it netted $64.00 to go along with its wigsphere). Sometimes they're justified as a luxury good for the city (like a park), but they're not certaintly not money makers.
2) Further, the actual # of net jobs created by these construction projects has been shown to be 0. (see the cafe hayek post for a summary or this paper). Once you grant that there's not a net positive economic impact from the government building a new stadium, that's pretty easy to see as the government is just shifting funds around (robbing Peter to pay Paul, as such) and that's what the empirical surveys have shown.
3) So clearly, not all government spending has an associated multiplier that is greater than 1. Personally, I would expect that new spending with a multiplier > 1 to be the exception rather than the rule. Government funded research projects that transition to the private sector (ala the Internet and some drug research) and some infrastructure such as the interstate system (its multiplier is actually decreasing with time due to increasing maintenance costs) are the examples I can think of. But their payback is not immediate, i.e., doesn't satisfy the timeliness goal of a stimulus package.
4) While some infrastructure has a positive RoI, clearly lots do not (such as the stadium, but see also the bridges to nowhere in Japan and almost in Alaska).
5) With the default position that most govt spending will not have a multiplier effect > 1 (which generally follows the rule 90% of all new ideas are crap, though my personal assessment of the ratio for govt plans is higher), what's the likelihood that a hastily slapped together plan patched together from things that had not independently demonstrated their value enough to otherwise receive funding will have a multipler > 1?
The Keynesian idea that government spending has a multiplier > 1 is motivated by the assumption that money flowing through the government has a greater velocity than money flowing the private sector (enough to offset the implicit inefficiency that comes from x spending y's money on something that y likely would not have bought). When people saved money in mattresses, this was true.
But since people now save their money in banks which can and do loan out multiples of every dollar saved (fractional reserves) and government treasuries are 1-to-1 (1 dollar borrowed / spent comes from 1 dollar invested) the velocity argument actually cuts against government spending, and even more sharply when you consider the long appropriation cycles now used by the government (case in point see the stimulus bill allocations out beyond 2011).
Further, if you buy the theory that the problem with the economy is insufficient credit availability, what will be the effect when the government soaks up $1 trillion in investment capital? Even if it's financed from overseas, that's still investment capital not invested elsewhere which decreases the (world wide) aggregate credit supply.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
God Bless You, Elton John
Pride and Predator.
In what seems like related news to me, two iPhone app makers are in court arguing over who has the rights to the phrase "Pull my finger" to advertise their farting iPhone app. (link)
Elton John's Rocket Pictures hopes to make the first Jane Austen adaptation to which men will drag their girlfriends.
Will Clark is set to direct "Pride and Predator," which veers from the traditional period costume drama when an alien crash lands and begins to butcher the mannered protags, who suddenly have more than marriage and inheritance to worry about.
Also I hear that I may have to go to Chicago in June for some tea or some party or something. (I could tell you more, but I don't practice Santelli and I ain't got no crystal ball...)
Saturday, February 14, 2009
How things change
Me, I think I'll have to appropriate "work-a-holic force-of-nature" to my sig.
And for a little context to that post, on the day I met with Ashwin, I (in approximate order of completion):
- finished up and delivered a 125 page report I had started Monday night (only about 40 pages were brand new as it drew heavily on intermediate reports though getting in all the required formatting was the most time-consuming part)
- put together a 1 hour presentation (but cut down from a previous 2 hour presentation with about 15 minutes of new material)
- reviewed that report and presentation with a sub for about 30 minutes (they didn't write any of it, but while they're a "sub", they're a much much bigger / experienced company and they were willing to give me feedback prior to submission based on an earlier draft).
- had a 40 minute meeting with Ashwin to loosely scope out 3 different proposals,
- had a telecon debrief for an hour with a project sponsor (and some subs)
- met with my business partner for about 15 minutes
- met with another guy at VT to discuss a different set of proposals and general interactions with a funding agency,
- met with the PI on a project CRT is funding at VT to clear up some contracting paper work (more accurately VT is a sub to CRT on a project)
- and got a quote from VTIP on officially licensing back some of my IP
- then some other random phone calls while I was driving (e.g. setting up the schedule for a trip next week)
Of course, other stuff was also done (like dropping in on Thason, driving for 3 hours and shopping some). But that day started at 5:00 AM and finished by 8:00 PM, which is a bit lax as I could've gotten some more stuff done (patents to file, papers to write / review) before I went to sleep at 11:00.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Wherein I ruin your weekend productivity