Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Economics of Being Ugly

The economist, Daniel Hamermesh, is fighting for equality for the uglies!

"one study showed that an American worker who was among the bottom one-seventh in looks, as assessed by randomly chosen observers, earned 10 to 15 percent less per year than a similar worker whose looks were assessed in the top one-third — a lifetime difference, in a typical case, of about $230,000."

For $230,000, would you admit that you're ugly?

Read more

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


What are the first countries that come to mind when you think of inequality?



Think again.

These visuals are quite striking. Look at those gini coefficients!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy halloween!

Had a great combined 24th birthday party/Halloween party!

Constructed Wall-E and EVE costumes with David. They were AWESOME!

Went to the Treasure Island flea market today and got an old school film camera for $10. Yay! Time to go take pictures with a real camera instead of my iPhone.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Gabriel goes apple picking!

Took my nephew to an apple orchard and pumpkin patch for the first time!

He figured it out pretty quickly. He's CLEARLY gifted.

Hanging out in his pumpkin outfit in the pumpkin patch!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs.

Steve Jobs, you accomplished so much in only 56 years of life.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

My boyfriend says I get annoyed about the Wall Street protests because I lack empathy. But this is absolutely FALSE. I went to see the Lion King 3D and cried twice, okay?!

I'm going home to NY for Columbus day weekend and totally watching the Lion King 3D again because it is the BEST MOVIE EVER!

Phone call with my dad:

Me - "Daddy, do you want to watch Lion King with me when I go home?"
Dad - "Didn't we see that one already...a long time ago?"

Haha. Excited for NYC! I am smiling like this!

Yankees beat Tigers 10-1! ALCS, here we goooo!

Bears (like the market!):
These articles about Wall Street protests annoy me. Anti-capitalist? Anti-globalization? I understand that people are protesting against corporate greed, exploitation of the "little people," etc. But what alternative systems are being proposed? Autarky? Socialism? If you're so unhappy with capitalist America, perhaps you should move to China and see how much better you like it over there.

I have the same frustration with environmentalists who protest the creation of a market for carbon. Many environmentalists argue that it is morally wrong to put a price on clean air. But if you're shooting down the idea of creating a market for carbon, you are advocating for a price of ZERO on carbon. Congratulations. Pat yourselves on the back. You have made it even EASIER for people to pollute. Ugh.

Also, should corporations not be greedy? Merriam Webster defines "greed" as "a selfish and excessive desire for more of something than is needed."
Well, how much profit is needed by corporations? Is the needed amount of profit not the maximum amount of profit? Is it not the corporation's duty to be greedy? (so long as they are not packaging products like mortgage backed securities and lying about the inherent risk of these products?) Should the corporation decide how much is "needed" by its shareholders? Milton Friedman talks about the responsibility of corporations in Capitalism and Freedom, but the gist of that chapter in his book can also be found here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Optimistic Consultants

OMG. This cracks me up.
From a World Bank report about high-speed rail projects being oversold:
"A whole new area of behavioral research has been generated by the phenomenon of over-forecasting in transport, known as 'optimism bias.' But a brief reading of the early days of railway development in the U.S.A. and Europe would quickly reveal that optimism bias is actually an inherited trait, handed down over generations, which tends to emerge whenever the recessive gene of optimism becomes over-stimulated by the dominant gene of self interest."14

14 - Whether professional or financial, the latter becoming prevalent when projects are supported by consultants and financial advisers working on a success-fee basis.

Translation by my fish-head teammate: "people are delusional, and consultants are happy to obfuscate reality in pursuit of payment."

Saturday, May 21, 2011

What's an Ocean Without Fish?

It's a giant toilet, that's what. Our government is paying people to turn the ocean into a giant toilet.

Look, here's an ocean with fish:

Here's an ocean without fish:

SO fugly.

The good news is that if there are any aliens out there who are in the business of shopping for a new planet, they might be less likely to target Earth.

Governments spend $10-30 billion a year on subsidies to the fishing industry. A small amount of that is spent on fisheries research and improved management (North America isn't doing too bad, with 55% of subsidies going towards R&D and Marine Protected Areas). However, the majority of subsidies goes towards increased capacity on the water - more boats, better technology to target fish, port construction, fuel tax exemptions, etc.

What does this mean for the fishies?

Even though fish stocks are being depleted, fishers have the means to go further and deeper into the ocean to catch the last remaining fish. And it's not like the government is doling out subsidies because the fishing sector is really profitable. From 1995-2005, the amount that India and Brazil spent on fishing subsidies EXCEEDED the value of fish that were landed! And high seas bottom trawl fleets - the ones with the giant nets that scrape the bottom of the sea practically destroying everything in their paths - would be operating at a $51 million annual LOSS if not for subsidies.

A few organizations such as Pew, The Nature Conservancy, and WWF have been trying to draw attention to this issue by increasing transparency of information, and speaking to appropriate people at WTO, FAO, etc., but who knows how many fish species will be commercially available within the next 5-10 years?


Also, speaking of oceans, I watched Pirates of the Caribbean 4 last night at the Castro theater and it was EPIC!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Keynes vs. Hayek Round Two!

Thanks to Lin for sending this my way and getting me to blog again.

First Keynes vs. Hayek rap here!

A few longer posts to follow, I promise. Probably about harmful subsidies (this is a note to myself so that I won't forget)

I've just been spending way too much time on my new bioeconomic model at work. It's BEYOOTEEFUL! Excel sheet after excel sheet all speaking to each other. The only frustrating thing about Excel is that if it doesn't do what you want it to do, you know it's because YOU made a mistake. I've definitely ripped out a few chunks of my hair over the past few months.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ex-Aide to Bill Clinton Leads GGGI

Richard Samans as ED of GGGI.

Strange to see all of these things happening from the outside now.

Happy to see it all start falling into place.