Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Close the Door

I know I am copying Instapundit, but this article hit way too close to home:
“Closing a door on an option is experienced as a loss, and people are willing to pay a price to avoid the emotion of loss,” Dr. Ariely says. In the experiment, the price was easy to measure in lost cash. In life, the costs are less obvious — wasted time, missed opportunities. If you are afraid to drop any project at the office, you pay for it at home."
One think I think that was missed in this research was the consequence of chasing the immediate and small opportunities and failing to focus on the long-term and high payoff opportunities. I call it the "oh shiny" way of choosing what to do versus the plan-do-check-act Deming model that I prefer and practice. The "oh shiny" approach looks for whatever is proximate, with an importance appearance, and takes little time. I also call it the see-do-redo/undo syndrome. Very ineffective.

Cafe Hayek: Shift Happens

More brilliance from Cafe Hayek. I am happy to point the way to a "read the whole thing" post with just a teaser: Cafe Hayek: Shift Happens:
"Trade is just one manifestation of consumer sovereignty. Just as there are, by Blinder's calculus, winners and losers from consumers shifting their expenditures from goods made in America to goods made abroad, there are winners and losers from consumers shifting their expenditures from goods made in Illinois to goods made in Arizona - and from consumers shifting their expenditures from donuts, beef, cigarettes, whiskey, and train travel to bagels, fish, yoga lessons, wine, and air travel. Trade plays no unique, or uniquely important, role as an avenue of economic change spurred in part by consumer sovereignty. The only practical way to rid the economy of such 'loses' is to try to freeze it, a futile step that will in the long-run only make losers of everyone."
I wish every single person in the world thought like this. Imagine what the world would be like.

Monday, February 25, 2008

So, Get Me a Cure

Scientists find genetic keys to inherited hair loss:
"Geneticist Regina Betz of the University of Bonn and her colleagues hunted down a gene -- P2RY5 -- that causes a rare, inherited form of hair loss called Hypotrichosis simplex."
When I was much younger, I thought they would have whipped this by now. But noooooooooo.

Oh Yeah. This...

...might work.:
"President Hugo Chavez's government is taking its battle against U.S. 'imperialism' into Venezuelans' vocabulary, urging state phone company workers to eschew English-language business and tech terms that have crept into the local vernacular.

Through a campaign launched Monday, newly nationalized CANTV hopes to wean employees and others from words like 'staff' ('equipo'), 'marketing' ('mercadeo') and 'password' ('contrasena')."
Has someone started a count-down clock for his fall?

Forget global warming... least so far in 2008! Was Al Gore everywhere in January and early February?:
"According to the NCDC, the average temperature in January 'was -0.3 F cooler than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average.'"
What will Al Gore do if 2008 is not one of the top ten on record?

Cafe Hayek: Spare Me from Collectivism

Cafe Hayek: Spare Me from Collectivism:
"Being libertarian, I find no romance in collective action. The yearning to be part of a great collective 'challenge or crusade' - be it conservative or 'liberal' - reflects humans' tribal instincts. These instincts served a sound purpose during our hunter-gatherer past, but are today at odds with the individualism that makes us free and prosperous."
Of course, this is a lesson we are going to be forced to unlearn over the coming decade or two.

But wait, there is more from Boudreaux:
If you, Dear Reader, want to be part of a collective movement, that's fine with me. Really, it is. I wish you luck and happiness. But please don't force me to join you in your crusade (whatever it might be). And please don't presume that if I choose not to join in any collective effort, or only in a collective effort involving fewer persons than the efforts you favor, that my life is somehow empty, my soul shriveled, my mind small, my heart uncaring, my habits contemptible.
I could not say it better myself.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

It is All About Costs

Fitness guru says healthy workplace is good business:
"As in vogue as wellness is in corporate America today, many companies do little more than pay lip service to it, says Houston's new health guru, William Baun. He's incoming chair of Mayor Bill White's Wellness Council in addition to his day job managing employee wellness at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

'People don't have time to be healthy at home anymore, which is why wellness has to be addressed in the workplace,' he says."
I guess this is a win-win. Being well reduces healthcare costs and absenteeism. Plus, the employee is healthy.

Million-dollar bonuses go global

Million-dollar bonuses arrive in China:
"The million-dollar bonus has arrived in China’s financial services industry as local firms, buoyed by the spectacular boom in the country’s markets, compete to hire from the small pool of experienced staff.

Fierce competition has forced companies to start offering Wall Street-type compensation, especially in the fund management industry, according to industry executives, headhunters and consultants."
They are welcome in Texas anytime.

Now She Needs a DUI Program

I guess she will be going to DUI classes now:
"PALM CITY — The leader of a Treasure Coast-wide agency established to provide classes for people convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs was suspended from her job Wednesday in the wake of her DUI arrest Monday."
And the really bad part, she was not just a little drunk.
Cioffi, whose blood alcohol level was measured in a breath test at 0.336, could not immediately be reached for comment. The legal driving limit in Florida is 0.08 percent.

An auto accident on Martin Downs Boulevard in Palm City shortly after 5:30 p.m. Monday led to Cioffi's arrest about an hour and a half later at her home in the Lighthouse Point subdivision, a deputy's report says.
5:30 pm on a Monday. I wonder what she is like on a Friday or Saturday night.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Politicians Can't Manage the Economy

John Stossel is spot on:
"Notice that she equates government power and market power. That is absurd. 'Power' in a free market means success at creating goods and services that your fellow human beings voluntarily choose to buy. Government power is force: the ability to fine and imprison people."

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Problem of Nature's Evil

Nature's evil is a problem for those who believe in so universal force for good:
"A California man is battling a rare and usually fatal parasite caused by a brain-eating amoeba found in soil, the Press Enterprise reports.

Matt Moore, a fire captain in Murrieta, Calif., became seriously ill in November and doctors were initially baffled as to what was causing his sickness, according to the report. Moore, 43, is on life-support in a critical-care unit in San Diego."
A fire captain and civil servant who is going to die. How does a benevolent universal force fit into this equation?

Bumper Sticker Economics

A bumper sticker from the late 1980's read: "Let the bastards freeze to death in the dark: ban mining". It was never more true than today:
The Sierra Club said it is launching a national campaign against coal-fired plants by Houston-based Dynegy and punctuated the announcement with a rally outside the company's headquarters.
I just wonder how they got downtown.

Supply and Demand Works in the Far East

Imagine economic principles working in the mysterious middle east
"Qatar may eventually divert a quarter of its western market-bound liquefied natural gas cargoes to the Far East, while Trinidad and Tobago are increasing deliveries to Asia, as they seek to benefit from higher prices paid for the fuel."

Loren Steffy: The most shareholder-friendly companies

Loren Steffy: The most shareholder-friendly companies:
"Institutional Investor has released its list of the most shareholder-friendly companies, sorted by industry sector. You have to do a lot of clicking around to find the individual companies, and while there's an index, there's no comprehensive ranking."
Of course, if you are the anti-business iconoclast like Steffy, how can any company be "shareholder friendly"?

And here I thought shareholder friendly companies were those that provided a high rate of return for the investment (of course, in an ethically and socially responsible manner). But I am just silly that way.

The Age of Global Capitalism

As I always say, Capitalism has done more to lift the global population out of poverty than any other economic system in history. It delivers the goods: "The last quarter century has witnessed remarkable progress of mankind. The world’s per capita inflation-adjusted income rose from $5400 in 1980 to $8500 in 2005.Schooling and life expectancy grew rapidly, while infant mortality and poverty fell just asfast. Compared to 1980, many more countries in the world are democratic today."

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Your Tree Is Blocking My Sunlight

Your tree is blocking my sunlinght:
"In an environmental dispute seemingly scripted for eco-friendly California, a man asked prosecutors to file charges against his neighbors because their towering redwoods blocked sunlight to his backyard solar panels.

But the couple next door insisted they should not have to chop down the trees to accommodate Mark Vargas' energy demands because they planted the redwoods before he installed the solar panels in 2001."
The irony.

My thoughts exactly.

I am not even going to make a comment. I agree with 99.9% of this sentiment and, thus, reproduce it in full:
I’d like to say something pithy and cutting regarding this newest asininity spewing forth from the bloated arse of the European Union, but that horse is seriously dead, no sense continuing to beat it.

Ted and I spent much of this last weekend discussing various things that are wrong, and how to fix them, and it really comes down to the fact that everything leading to the rise of the nanny-state cannot be fixed. There are too many corrupt bastards too happily taking advantage of too many acquiescent sheep. The number of sheep isn’t going to decrease, therefore there will always be corrupt bastards. And until we can start lining them up against the wall wholesale, nothing about that dynamic is ever going to change.

There are always going to be people who want to be told what to do. They need someone more powerful in charge and are fine with giving up whatever personal liberties they possess for a sense of security. How do the rest of us, who are perfectly frippin’ capable of providing our own sense of security, fight against that? There’s more sheep than there are wolves, that’s for damned sure, so how do we win? Do we all pack up and move to Montana? Buy up all the property we can get our hands on and secede? Limit immigration to those capable of demonstrating self-reliance and an IQ over 150?

How do we win?

Sigh. You don't.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

More Evidence of Global Warming

Glenn Reynolds does not realize he is shilling for the global warming crowd. You see, global cooling is evidence of global warming. Didn't you know that?

Economy, trade biggest misunderstood issues

They are not impressing me with their economic knowledge:
"Seven in 10 Democratic primary voters said U.S. trade with other countries winds up costing jobs in Wisconsin. Fewer than one in five said it creates more jobs than it loses."
So less than 20% demonstrate any fundamental economic knowledge. Very disappointing.

If you don't want to be like them, here is a suggested book.

Time as Life Currency

As I mentioned here, attention is a form of currency. But, as Dr. Michael Cox demonstrates repeatedly, the ultimate life currency is time.
The conveniences we take for granted today usually began as niche products only a few wealthy families could afford. In time, ownership spread through the levels of income distribution as rising wages and falling prices made them affordable in the currency that matters most — the amount of time one had to put in at work to gain the necessary purchasing power.

At the average wage, a VCR fell from 365 hours in 1972 to a mere two hours today. A cellphone dropped from 456 hours in 1984 to four hours. A personal computer, jazzed up with thousands of times the computing power of the 1984 I.B.M., declined from 435 hours to 25 hours. Even cars are taking a smaller toll on our bank accounts: in the past decade, the work-time price of a mid-size Ford sedan declined by 6 percent.

And what does the good doctor cite as causality:

There are several reasons that the costs of goods have dropped so drastically, but perhaps the biggest is increased international trade. Imports lower prices directly. Cheaper inputs cut domestic companies’ costs. International competition forces producers everywhere to become more efficient and hold down prices. Nations do what they do best and trade for the rest.

So our lives as a nation have gotten better in the only currency that counts as a result of international trade. Just remember that when politicians talk about erecting trade barriers. In every real sense of the word, they are stealing from you.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Recent cold snap evidence of Global Warming

Recent cold snap helping cement evidence for Global Warming, scientists find:
"Satellite images are showing that the cold spell is helping the sea ice expand in coverage by about 2 million square kilometres, compared to the average winter coverage in the previous three years."
You see, cold weather really is human caused climate change.

Aren't you glad that I am back?

Shamless Dog Plug

It's my current foster dog Cole - the sweet black Lab Cole.

You know the drill, Lab Rescue and all.

What Have I Been Doing?

Well. My professional life has taken twists and turns. At the beginning of 2007, I got a big promotion and move do another manufacturing plant within my company. I was tasked with replacing myself which I did internally and then replaced the internal candidate. Unfortunately, the replacement resigned in May of 2007 and I had to replace myself again. Fiiiiiiinally in September, my replacement version 2.0 arrived and I spent several months training him. Training someone else was very difficult. Either I am not a good trainer or the job is more complicated than I thought. Regardless, I spent 75% of my time with him and the other 75% working on my new job. That meant a lot of overtime - crazy hours at home and on weekends. Crazy, crazy hours that I am ashamed to reveal. Then came the travel - a week in October in the Netherlands on short notice and then two weeks in the Netherlands in December. Then a week with visitors over Christmas.

Needless to say, between September and the end of January, blogging just did not happen. It was a conscious decision to deal with the real world and leave the cyber world to take care of itself.

And yet, I just cannot keep quiet. There is too much stuff to leave uncommented. Too much stupidity. Too much incredible creativity and smarts. Too much knowledge that is out there for the taking. Too many interesting times and happenings.

So...I won't be blogging five times a day, only when the mood strikes me or I see something I need to comment on. I have more time now, but I am trying to fill that time with real people instead of cyber ones. Both are important, but I will choose a heart beat over a mouse click any day.

Once again, thanks for reading.

Attention = Cash

Inbox Zero:
"In an environment where attention is the economic equivalent of cash, you aren’t doing people any favors by sending gothic novels. And taking your cues for etiquette, propriety, and efficiency on a message-by-message basis will quickly land you in a very bouncy room with a fresh box of crayons."
I hope that I can (re) capture just a small portion of your attention as I attempt to keep myself out of the the loony bin. That is why I have decided to restart blogging a little bit here and there. Hopefully, I can add some unique thoughts to the world to earn your consideration of my ideas.

Thanks for reading.