Thursday, April 30, 2009


Maybe I don't understand child labor laws

There was an interesting labor on a package CRT received from Nu Horizons yesterday (a Xilinx JTAG cable).

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

League: polyscifi (Group ID #100531)
PWD: polyscifi

You know what to do. Taunting (of me) to ensue beginning Thursday.


Friday, March 13, 2009


House Construction and Blog Irony

One of the reasons I've been blogging less is I've been spending an hour or so every day out at the site where we're building a house. (The other is the business is still growing, but that's not important right now.)

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

I'm not a fan of demand-side stimulus efforts (in my best case scenario, you get inflation which might help with sticky prices / wages) so you can imagine my dislike for the stimulus bill, which seems to be best summarized as "throw a lot of money at pet Democrat projects and see if it helps the economy" and I've been looking for the best angle to convince my liberal friends that this is a *really* bad idea.

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?

Random asides:
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

Coming soon to a theater near you - perhaps the most awesomely bad movie ever made...

Pride and Predator.

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.

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)

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

Those who knew me in undergrad as that guy who never came to class and played StarCraft all day (or Civ or WarCraft or one of several other games) might find this post surprising, but those who've interacted with me over the last several years (and /or seen the blogging rate drop off) won't be.

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):

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.

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Friday, February 13, 2009


Wherein I ruin your weekend productivity

Behold, Desktop Tower Defense 1.9. (0.4 better than 1.5, plus with sequential missions, multiplayer and stuff!)


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