Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Economist's Valentine's Day:

Also, from xkcd comics:

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.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Toxic Homes

Have you ever heard of the Beveridge Curve? Me neither. But it has nothing to do with drinks.

I was just reading the Modeled Behavior blog and there's an interesting post about friction in the job market being caused by "underwater" mortgages.

Basically, the Beveridge curve has job vacancy rate on the y-axis and unemployment rate on the x-axis.

When unemployment is high, job vacancies should be low. But that hasn't been true in recent years! Why?

Apparently, people end up being stuck in their underwater homes and can't move to places where their skills are needed. 

This American Life had a great episode about toxic assets that were bought on purpose by reporters of Planet Money. They interview people with underwater mortgages and discover elaborate schemes of those who made bank (sort of) from the subprime mortgage crisis.

Sigh. Housing is stressing me out. Still looking for a place to live in SF. Looking through Craigslist postings is always entertaining.

There was a post that said, "Home is shared by 2 guys and 2 girls. We like to cook dinner together, sometimes at 4:20 PM." I thought, "What? 4:20 PM is so early for dinner! I'll never get to bond with my housemates because I get out of work so much later!" And then it hit me...like the strong smell of pot when I take the bus home sometimes.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Yoram Bauman, Standup Economist. New Video!

His older video, which I love:

And finally, his book, which will make a great holiday gift for anyone!

You would think that I work as this guy's publicist, but I've only ever spoken to him once. On this very blog! See his comment on my blog here!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Day In the Life Of...

My team is insane, in the best possible way.

One guy flew in from China for the UN MDG summit and is now flying over to India. Yeah...that's right. China --> NY --> India in a span of like 5 days. INSANE.

Two guys got invited to Leonardo DiCaprio's house for dinner tomorrow night. One had to decline because he's just THAT busy. INSANE.

One guy managed to get everyone ground passes (pretty much unlimited access to all of the UN). INSANE.

Two guys made time to have dinner and watch Promises, Promises with me! INSANE given how busy these guys are.

I couldn't catch a cab after the MDG summit so I took a pedicab for the first time and it was THE MOST FUN THING EVER. And we ended up taking one after the Broadway show. Two pedicab rides in one night?! INSANE!

NYC is adding tax on clothing and shoes soon. INSANE. That has nothing to do with work, but I felt the need to add it. WTF NY?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Going here tomorrow.

I am contemplating a 6 month shopping hiatus. Not as ambitious as the MDGs...I know.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ugly Names and Ugly Situations

The Economist had an article about the proposed Cordoba Centre in New York (at ground zero).
I completely agree that by treating Muslims in America as "outsiders" or as "terrorists," we are providing actual terrorists with new recruits.
I also completely agree that Americans should be the "bigger person" and say, "This is America. We are intelligent enough to recognize the difference between Muslims and al Qaeda. We not only accept, but embrace having a mosque at ground-zero."

However, having been so close to ground-zero on 9/11 (saw the 2nd plane hit from bio class at Stuy), I can understand the emotional response to the Cordoba Centre proposal. I am lucky enough to have had a diverse group of friends and know for a fact that none of my Muslim friends would EVER condone such horrific acts of terrorism. But let's face it. Most Americans are from boring, homogeneous cities in the middle of nowhere. I can easily see myself being one of those Americans...and if I had lost a loved one on 9/11, I can see my anger being horribly misdirected.
In fact, even though I'm Catholic, if an extreme sect of Christianity murdered one of my family members, I can see myself turning against my own religion.

I get that Imam Feiisal Abdul Rauf has good intentions, and that he wants to promote interfaith understanding. He hopes that his mosque will "heal some of the wounds opened by the felling of the twin towers and all that followed." But it's hard to get Americans to realize that diversity is a good thing when you have shameless idiots like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich running around.

Shame on you, Sarah and Newt, for blatantly using the emotions of those who have already been so hurt in the past to promote your own political agendas. As my friend Dan says, "[you] are so hellbent on making another party look bad that [you] will hop on the bandwagon to resonate with an issue [which] is clearly against the foundational underpinnings of our government."

I am thoroughly disgusted.

And Newt, you have a problem with the name "Cordoba" but really...you're not one to talk with a name like Newt. Newt Gingrich has got to be the ugliest name I have ever heard in all 22 years of my life.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sponge-worthy Men

I was on the elevator with two guys and pressed the 12 button, but they didn't notice initially.

Guy #1 to Guy #2: Did you press 12?
Me: Oh, that's my floor.
Guy #2 to Guy #1: But I would rather be going with her than with you.

Awkward...but then!

Guy #1: That's not funny.
Guy #2: You're right. That's not funny. I'm sorry, miss.

I have had encounters with sketchy people before, but at least this guy had the decency to apologize. And it's not like he was absurdly inappropriate. I wish boys were more chivalrous nowadays...

I wish they were more spongeworthy - an economist at Princeton, Avinash Dixit, wrote a paper on the option value problem of Seinfeld. "The paper uses option pricing theory to deconstruct Elaine’s decisions in the “Seinfeld” episode number 119 “ The Sponge.” In it, Elaine’s preferred contraceptive sponge goes off the market, sparking an ultimately fruitless hunt for a greater supply. Her limited supply of contraceptive sponges forces her to reassess their usage, and decide whether a potential partner is “sponge-worthy” or not." [See full WSJ article here]

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Buying Happiness

More on buying happiness.

But sometimes people can't handle the choices. SF is considering banning Happy Meals b/c parents are complaining that the toys cause their children to become...pigs. Right. And I grew up in a bubble where McDonald's did not exist. Therefore, I am 42.5 kg/94 lbs.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Deja vu

On August 18, 1976, two US Army officials in the JSA of the DMZ (between North and South Korea) were brutally murdered by axe wielding North Koreans. This event has been called the axe murder incident and the poplar tree incident because it happened while South Korean soldiers were trying to cut down a poplar tree (on South Korean land). See the full story here.

On August 3, 2010, two Lebanese soldiers, a Lebanese journalist, and an Israeli officer were killed because an Israeli maintenance crew was using a cherry-picker to prune a tree. See the full story here.

WTF is wrong with people. The world is a f-ing mess.

I will drown myself in retail therapy, despite the NYT's advice on happiness...

I found an Alice + Olivia dress on shopbop.com, and they only had one left in my size. But I'm at my aunt's house in Incheon and left my wallet in Seoul. Almost had a fashion emergency b/c I couldn't remember the 3 security digits on the back of my debit card. They came back to me eventually.

Alice + Olivia dress, you are so much lovelier than this world.