Friday, December 31, 2010

What is special about economists?

Academic Economists To Consider Ethics Code -

Nothing. When someone receives advice the sources incentive and conflicts of interested should be considered. Whether a sociologist or climate scientist is being hired, follow the money trail.

Yes, Journals should require funding sources be disclosed to uphold their reputations.

The AEA should not set a list of guidelines because they will either have one catch all or will be used as a defense. Fact is, economists are experts in incentives, so if we can't tell when a deal is shady who can? If not sure, just ask your mom.

Skype outage compensation and communication 2

Maybe Skype listened to me.  Just kidding.  But they are adding a week to all subscriptions, meaning for the U.S. and Canada plan giving about $0.75.  At least it is provided automatically so I don't have to login and there is some logic to just saying a week rather that having dynamic emails based on plan that adjust the amount and currency based on country.  That would be wasted engineering effort I'd rather have them use improving their service, that I like a good deal already.  Latest email text below.

To our valued customers:

As 2010 draws to a close, I would like to take a moment to thank each of you for your patience, understanding, and support during Skype’s recent outage.

We know how important your Skype conversations are to you and we take any disruption to our service very seriously. We are pleased to confirm that Skype is back to normal allowing you to connect with friends, co-workers, family and loved ones.

As a valued customer of Skype, we would like to offer you a sincere apology and credit you with an extra 7 days to your current Subscription at your next renewal date.

This will be added automatically so you don’t need to do anything. Thank you for allowing us at Skype to be a part of your life. May your holidays and the New Year be a time of joy, peace, and health for you and your family.

If you require any additional information please visit

Kind regards, 

Tony Bates

Thursday, December 30, 2010

On google like Shaq

Google is best a search, but Bing is not far behind. I am would be willing to bet that if user interfaces were exchanged with results less than 5% of users would notice. So Google is profiting on a combination of preset search settings and familiarity. Their other area of homegrown excellence is Adwords. The auction mechanism of placing ads according to expected revenue as opposed to highest bid, like yahoo, was a relatively obvious but huge innovation and diferentiator so far as revenue per page view is concerned.

Kudos Google.

But at what else are they the best rather than the simply the cheapest?

I love gmail. But the developer is no longer at Google. was bought as the front runner and they did not Yahoo! it. (mmm tasty)

Docs is good for simple stuff sharing, but for a complicated sheet or pretty document it can't hold a prayer against Office.

A bunch of hobbies are cool. I like, but doubt it is positive net present value.



Voice=I like but niche and no revenue model yet.

Bottom line, as Shaq is a very good dunker who grabbed rebounds and dunked those too, Google Combines search and Adwords. Shaq has rapped, acted, and participated in reality shows, etc. Did he make much money or was it simply fun? I'm guessing fun, and that's good for Shaq. But for a company who's fiduciary duty it is to maximize shareholders' value their hobbies are occasionally hard to defend. In their defense Android is a sucess so far as market share and likely search revenue are concerned, but again, how does Google make money. Adwords. Oh and Doubleclick makes money. So what. Another acquisition. Ironically googles search is no longer their most secure business. Adwords is their claim to fame, but Facebook and others are threats. Other than their ad networks and search loyalty on what else will Google make money?

Microsoft has Windows, Office, Server, SQL, CRM, Sharpoint, Exchange, Officelive,, ect. Phone 7 is also a winner according to all reviews. MS has the framework and need only iterate and exploit existing enterprise relationships.

2010-2020 is MS over Google. Apple will hold their niche but Jobs has no intention of being an open enough platform to be the market leader. History repeats...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Skype outage compensation and communication

Skype was down for a day causing many users major pain.  Shit happens, especially with software.  100% uptime is still a dream, I accept it.  But the response I received today was annoying for a few reasons.  Maybe I a being particularly aspergian about this; let me know.
1. If you are giving users a credit, just give it to us.  Don't make us follow a link, enter our user name and password, and finally enter a secret code.
2. Don't tell use in the initial email that you are giving us a "voucher worth a call of more than 30 minutes to a landline in some of our most popular countries, such as USA, UK, Germany, China, Japan. Or spend it however you like on Skype."  You are offering us $1.  Just say it so I don't waste any more time entering codes etc.  
I understand the communications gurus message/PR planning, I think.
1. We have to send something so we can say we did.
2. We don't want it to cost very much, so it wont be very valuable.
3. Because it's not very valuable we don't want people to see how much it actually is worth, so hide the value from most people.
4. We want redemption slippage and true value slippage so force code entry for redemption rather than just crediting accounts.
5. An alternative is that they are fooling to think the users will consider Skype generous for giving us $1, so want to make the experience more memorable by forcing code entry, but I doubt they are this foolish.
See email and post code entry text below.
To our valued customers:

As 2010 draws to a close, I would like to take a moment to thank each of you for your patience, understanding, and support during Skype’s recent outage.

We know how important your Skype conversations are to you and we take any disruption to our service very seriously. We are pleased to confirm that Skype is back to normal allowing you to connect with friends, co-workers, family and loved ones.

As a valued customer of Skype, we would like to offer you a sincere apology and offer you our gratitude with a credit voucher worth a call of more than 30 minutes to a landline in some of our most popular countries, such as USA, UK, Germany, China, Japan. Or spend it however you like on Skype.

To redeem your voucher:

1. Go to
2. Enter your Skype username and password
3. Enter your unique voucher code and click redeem

Voucher code V94BB3HYUPKTBFT8

Thank you for allowing us at Skype to be a part of your life. May your holidays and the New Year be a time of joy, peace, and health for you and your family.

If you require any additional information please visit

Kind regards,

Tony Bates
Upon redemption
Your voucher or prepaid card was succesfully redeemed, and we are now activating the following services:
$1.00 Skype Telephony Voucher for $1.00 

On many women

This situation is well captured by the following quote of Demosthenes, a Greek philosopher: "We have prostitutes for our pleasure, concubines for our health, and wives to bear us lawful offspring"

Didn't Bill Clinton say this? Ha ha...

By way of

by way of

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cali Pot

The Crime Report » Archive » Oakland Pot Commercialization In Limbo After U.S. Threats

There has to be so much more irony available. Someone please write a recent economic history or case study on the pot legalization in California.

One might think that the small time growers and users are on the same side of this one, for legalization, but no.

In an amusing conversation with my dad, who is against legalization, I leaned that he did not know that pot was more easily available than beer to high school students. He might have been pandering to me, but appeared to the considering the similarities to prohibition, the failure of which he recognizes.

Are there facts, if they were accepted as such, that would turn the swing voters toward legalization? What are these facts?

Monday, December 27, 2010

TechCrunch Surges To Lead In UCSF Challenge, Crushes Hopes Of Twelve Year Old

TechCrunch Surges To Lead In UCSF Challenge, Crushes Hopes Of Twelve Year Old

Think Zynga will name the room "Save Paddy", pay paddy for the Trademark and to be the spokes model for the new game "Save Paddy", and pay 1% of game revenue to SF Children's Hospital. Facebook Bucks will feed the game, so they can donate for good press also. One wins the game by getting others to donate to the hospital. If anyone person in a group fails to donate enough their group's paddy dies and they are the scape goat.

Obama is USA's most-admired man, Clinton most-admired woman -

Obama is USA's most-admired man, Clinton most-admired woman -

This list is pretty funny if you consider the extraordinary amount of prevarication, entertainment, and manipulation included.

Notable absences are Steve Jobs, maybe meaning that Gates is admired more for what he is doing with his wealth than how he earned it.

Most of the others are professional symbols of political perspectives.

Please explain why the Bush women are there? Nothing against them, but I'd put Reese Witherspoon above them in a heartbeat, not to mention a few supreme court justices, regardless of whether I approve of their philosophies.

Most amazing:
"Evangelist Billy Graham, tied for sixth, has made the top 10 every year the survey has been taken since 1955."

Thursday, December 23, 2010

AFP: Anal cancer vaccine approved

AFP: Anal cancer vaccine approved

If you don't find this at all funny, then I feel sorry for you.

But given the affected demographics and implied health risks real privacy risks emerge.
Will the patient lists be public?
Can it be performed anonymously?
How much will it cost?
Will insurance cover it?
Will insurance companies be able to use knowledge of receiving the vaccine to discriminate against recipients?

How 50 Cent scored a half-billion

How 50 Cent scored a half-billion

In my first and only undergrad marketing classes first exam a question read approximately:

True/False Commodities cannot be branded.

My answer, "No" was marked wrong. Once a product is effectively branded it is not a commodity is the mind of the consumer. So what is the definition of commodity? Most of what people buy are commodities and commodities associated with status. I often marvel at the mens wristwatch market. Who with a watch doesn't have a cell phone? Why not be a bit honest and just get a bracelet? If no cell phone is owned then $11 will buy a perfectly good digital.

Many of Proctor and Gamble's products are commodity chemicals, but I challenge you convince my mom to use anything but Tide.

That people can brand sugar water with some vitamins does not shock but does amuse. To me, beer is a highly differentiated product while wine is less so, so maybe I just haven't acquired the required human capital.

As technology improves products are becoming more commoditised, hedonically. For example, almost all new cars now provide pretty reliable transportation and accelerate plenty fast. Style and branding determines an increasing percentage of purchases.

Humorously, the phone that doesn't work well as a phone, the iPhone (yes I had one and calls dropped far more than on my other ATT phone) has potentially the strongest brand.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Asperger Update

I still think that my father, brother, and I all suffer from the syndrome.  My father thinks not, that instead we just have the symptoms.  Whatever makes you feel better, I guess.  I have not brought it up to my brother, because we don't have much of a relationship, so I'll just follow the prime directive.

The main change accepting my affliction has caused is greater humility regarding estimates of how others will respond to stimuli, such as advertising messages.  Oddly, I am involved in marketing for my company.  I also write columns with financial advisors as the primary audience.  An aspergian is not likely to be a successful advisor because managing clients' emotions is the primary duty.  Overall I'm glad to have finally figured it out, maybe.

Knowing has removed my incentive to write because I am unable to "know my audience" thus my performance is limited to conveying dry information, which is rather disheartening.  In the sense that I used to see fewer limits to my performance, ignorance was bliss.  Writing clearly and concisely used to be a point of pride and I thought stylistically preferable to wordy pros clogged with unsubstantiated adjectives.  It still is to me, but I am not my audience.  How so normal people perceive words on a page, redundant conversation, facial expressions, body language, etc. differently.  Any suggestions for how I might understand?  Analogies, simulations, anything is welcome.



Who sends money?
Under what conditions do people send money?
How dumb or desperate do they have to be. The question is not whether there is a god (though I am not a believer), but why would sending these guys money get anything accomplished?

To the extent this guys thinks he's pulling it off, he probably sends what little he has.

I am currently ashamed to be human and am looking into species-change options.

Nexus S: Will it Overcome the iPhone? | ThirdAge

Nexus S: Will it Overcome the iPhone? | ThirdAge

Are these commentators stupid? No single Android phone is likely to suppliant the iPhone, especially as a cultural icon. Android phones are software first hardware second, as PCs are Windows OS first and the HP, Asus, or Lenovo second. That's the point. PC users are not tied to a comprehensive system than locks us in but can choose from many options. The iPhone provides fewer options but is very polished. Which option is preferred is more a matter of taste than an objective evaluation. But as we see with personal computers Apples guided tour with training wheels won early but after people learned the basics most preferred more freedom to find their own way at a lower price. History is repeating itself. I question whether Android or MS Phone 7 will be the most prevalent platform. I think MS will win again because Android is constantly customized in negative ways by carriers trying to create iPhone type lock-in with customized user interfaces and revenue with pre-installed un-removable applications. MS is imposing more restrictions on hardware manufactures and carriers meaning that users will know more of what to expect. In addition, software designers have a trade-off between usability and revenue generation, for example through ads. Sequential development as is sequential monopolistic pricing will decrease the android user experience on all but the stock Android OS phones such as the Nexus series. T-Mobiles G2 is a prime example of good hardware with indelible software bloat. I bet on MS coming from behind to win. MS's inroads and trust of enterprises provides a significant marketing and integration advantage also.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Trustee reaches settlement with Madoff investor Picower - Dec. 17, 2010

Trustee reaches settlement with Madoff investor Picower - Dec. 17, 2010

Surely she will not suffer due to lack of funds, but one still has to applaud her. Under what conditions would you give the money back? How about most people. I would give it back also if for no other reason I would not want to waste my life in a lawsuit fighting for money I would never spend, not to mention the feelings of guilt and social approval versus disapproval based on my decision.

Man admits conning baby sitters by posing as autistic and wearing diapers |

"Prosecutors allege Richardson found his victims from baby-sitting ads placed online at Craigslist. “This bizarre crime is yet another example of the dangers of letting individuals who we meet online into our homes,” Oklahoma County Assistant District Attorney Jimmy Harmon said Friday."

I love it when people act is if meeting people online is dangerous by taking someone off the street is different in kind. Maybe the correct understanding is, some people are crazy and most people suck. Take them into you home at your own risk. The article is amusing and the scheme is actually pretty clever.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Yao could be leaving behind legacy of promise and potential |

Yao could be leaving behind legacy of promise and potential |

Very sad news. I've never heard a bad thing about him and surely enjoyed watching him play. Luck is clearly on my side as rebounds, points, and assists pile up on the public courts at 39 years old. My friends tell me to quit, because my ankles are sore and face catches some elbows, but such is the price of fun and fortune.

What game is life?

Chess, Poker, or a Lottery?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WSVN-TV - Residents evicted from condemned building

WSVN-TV - Residents evicted from condemned building

What do you want to bet that either the owner is allowing this to happen to get all of the low budget resident out prior to rehabbing the building or that the city is going to seize it, sell it as a sweet heart price to a friend of the mayor's. Either way, this building will be upgraded and the residents are out on their asses with only three days notice. Is it really that urgent for structural reasons after the building has stood for almost 90 years, or urgent simply to limit the time available to file a lawsuit. Pro bono lawyer wanted! By the way, I live three blocks from this building.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Groupon etc.

The deal sights typically take 50% gross and make the merchant pay credit card fees and taxes.   Knowing this, I am considering calling a merchant and offering 75% of the Groupon price.  We both save at least 20%.  Do you think merchants will take my offer?  Why or why not?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Marginal Revolution: What's the best predictor of sex partners?

Marginal Revolution: What's the best predictor of sex partners?: "How about a portfolio approach. Friends of mine have been quite successful despite one being only 5' 7.5' but nice facial features, no athletic talent, very skinny, extremely bright, and a good talker. Another is 6' 2', college quarterback, nice facial features, nice guy, bright (not brilliant) but not super smooth. Both have obvious but very different attributes (other than reasonably attractive faces). I am kind of in between the two in most ways, and can't complain about my luck. Consider a hedonic model of the obvious attributes with a eye towards reproductive fitness. If your average is high enough and higher than her other options, you score."

Monday, December 6, 2010

Pfizer CEO Kindler Quits After Stock Underperforms 97% of S&P - Bloomberg

Pfizer CEO Kindler Quits After Stock Underperforms 97% of S&P - Bloomberg

It looks to me like the CEO might have had bad timing rather than have done a bad job. That the next big drug is shows no benefits soon after he takes control is clearly not his fault. That that patent protection is running out of their most profitable drugs is surely not his fault. Both will tend towards low stock returns. The claim that the CEO is quitting for under-performing 97% of the S&P 500 is also stupid. If returns is a valid method for evaluating performance, then why not compare to an industry index of leading competitors?

I suggest reading The Drunkards Walk for more insight into randomness and mis-attribution.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Iran says it's now fully self-sufficient at producing uranium -

Iran says it's now fully self-sufficient at producing uranium -

Why not blow up Iran's nuclear assets? Even their fellow Muslim's want it according to the leaked cables.

I have nothing against the majority of Iranians, but their government is loco.

"'Iran is searching for more uranium mines across the country,' a Tehran nuclear physicist, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Los Angeles Times. 'Therefore, the fuel cycle from A to Z is complete.'"

It this quote supposed to be coherent? It closes the article and just makes me wonder whether the trust what came before because causality implied but unapparent.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Power Up Your Wix , Get Free Domain and More

Power Up Your Wix , Get Free Domain and More

How to make your pricing page annoying and scare away business:
1. Use "-" signs and check marks to indicate whether services are included.
2. Show irrelevant crossed out pricing. Does anyone actually buy this ploy?
3. Have first 6 months and after 6 months pricing as on the eCommerce plan, your highest priced, and thus likely your most valuable clients. Yeh, their the ones that aren't going to calculate the long term cost. So now clients know that you are expecting lock-in and to take full advantage.
4 In the annual plan don't show the amount due annually which is what ones credit card would be charged if they signed up.
5. Say the % you are saving, but not say relative to what. Oh, what do you know, is relative to the irrelevant crossed out price. Thanks, so your telling me that I save 45% compared to an inflated fake price. In fact, one of their plans real monthly price is $9.90/month and $8.25 per month if bought annually, a respectable 16.67% savings. So just say this you assjacks and stop discrediting yourselves.

I was going to test the product, but don't even want to get started with a firm so full a chicanery.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Optimal shelter for children?

I was very sheltered young with the veil progressively pulled back and I aged and moved.  Most parents make a point of sheltering their children as though doing so is an unambiguous benefit.  I think that wisdom is at least as valuable as knowledge and that wisdom is primarily acquired via experience.  If parents want their children to be successful in the real world, define as you wish, shouldn't they allow their children to get a head start on experience beyond reading and math.  How about summer camps specializing in persuasion, public speaking, negotiation, and lie detection?  Let a rich kid spend a summer in the hood and see how much wiser he returns.  If/when I have a kids, I don't think that I will try to protect them from reality, but that is the rational me speaking and surely as a parent I will be more emotionally involved and protective.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

God only cares that you do what he says

Q: How to reconcile multiple religions with different requirements for entry to heaven (or the equivalent) with their only being one god?

A: God does not care what you do so long as you do what she says.  Ever have a girlfriend want to pick a different restaurant or movie just to see whether you love her enough to make the sacrifice?  That's god for you.  She doesn't need a sacrificial goat but enjoys the ego gratification.  

No, I don't really believe this, because I find it very unlikely that there is a conscious god, but this silly rationalization popped into my head as I awoke this morning and make me chuckle.  Hope it did the same for you.

Monday, November 29, 2010 : Kevin Durant Info Page : Kevin Durant Info Page

Is Kevin Durant the new Allen Iverson? A lot of points but poor shooting percentages from the field. I'd rather have Blake Griffin on my squad.

BBC News - Panorama: Three Fifa World Cup officials 'took bribes'

BBC News - Panorama: Three Fifa World Cup officials 'took bribes'

How does one get these jobs? How hard can it be to decide where to hold the world cup. I think I could to both this an work for the Olympic Committee at the same time. Considering the last world cup was in South Africa I think the diamonds work by each of the committee members' mistresses should be investigated.

World’s largest solar boat on view in Miami Beach today – Travel – Sun-Sentinel

Is under 8 miles per hour impressive? Not to me.

(4600 / 26) / 24 = 7.37179487

For a bit of perspective
The current transatlantic sailing record was set on Sunday August 2, 2009, when the trimaran Banque Populaire V made the crossing from New York to Cornwall, UK in 3 days, 15 hours, 25 minutes, 48 seconds. This was a 9 hour gain over the previous record set in 2007.

Not apples to apples, but close enough to see that the current state of solar is sad compared to wind. Maybe we should consider this when looking into alternative energy options?

Obama proposes pay freeze for federal workers | Reuters

Obama proposes pay freeze for federal workers | Reuters

Either Obama is pandering to the political center or this is another only Nixon can go to China policy endeavor. What do you think?

Wikileaks embassy cables: the key points at a glance | World news |

Wikileaks embassy cables: the key points at a glance | World news |

Another big surprise. Other middle eastern countries don't want Iran to have nuclear weapons. Oh, and they want the USA to do their dirty work (bomb reactors) so that they can feign Muslim solidarity.

Imagine if the top secret information leaked that Muslim men like booze, women, and red Italian sports cars. The scandal!

BBC News - Wikileaks: US allies unruffled by embassy cable leaks

BBC News - Wikileaks: US allies unruffled by embassy cable leaks

The most surprising thing about the cables is the absence of any real surprises. It's almost at though the U.S. is pulling a rope-a-dope, by letting people think these are the most top secret transmissions the incentive to find the "real" top secret transmissions is reduced. Are not the most secret communications more encoded and vague so that even if the words are revealed understanding the meaning requires context? If the hot stuff is quotes that Hugo Chavez is crazy or Iran is fascist, then trust me, this load of info is a load of chaff.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Better sports casting

How about the networks allow open season on the sexual exploits of players?  It would give men an alternative means of determining their favorite players.  A down side is that almost all men's self esteem will be irreparably harmed by learning what a "real man" gets.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Tim Duncan washed up?

He is #15 in the league in efficiency per 48 minutes, after eliminating players with under 5 games played. He has nothing to prove individually and as usual is focused not on winning the regular season but on the championship which means playing within the scheme as a team and not hurting himself. Come the playoffs expect to see Tim take control on demand. The regular season is here to allow his team to grow around him, especially the younger guys such as Blair and Splitter who benefit from the minutes Tim is on the bench. Expect Tim's minutes per game to fall further if the Spurs continue winning. He is older meaning he does not recover as fast from nightly pounding, but his game has never depended on jumping higher than his opponent so I think he still has the edge.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cool evolution

The Tuatara, a Still-Evolving Original -

Clearly has some pro-survival adaptations but slow maturity kills it. Reminds me of the O-ring theory of the firm or the idea that an organism is only as strong as its weakest link.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ruler of the social universe controling

Today’s Lesson: Make Facebook Angry, And They’ll Censor You Into Oblivion

Facebookers don't forget Zuck owns your data and will even decide what links you can share with friends. He'll even provide an inaccurate explanation for why the link can not be shared. How much control and freedom will people give up to stay "connected"?

I've never "used" social network beyond having an account temporarily to check it out and see another's page about 4 years ago. Oddly, I don't care to be interrupted by most updates, and I value personal conversations with friends over mass disseminated tweets.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Netflix: Prodigal Sons

Netflix: Prodigal Sons

This is an incredible film that proves reality to be less predictable and more fantastic than fiction. Ostensibly about the experience of a sexual transition (male to female), the story line runs far deeper, enough so that the sex change is at time forgotten.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Irony - Oakland Election System Allows Mayoral Runner-Up to Make a Surprise Win

YouTube - Oakland Election System Allows Mayoral Runner-Up to Make a Surprise Win

How did Oakland, not known for enlightened politics, end up with an impressively thoughtful voting system.

I love the consultant in the video.  It's so clear that he just wants more runoffs so to earn more consulting fees.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Google ads on Ben & Jerry's corporate site

Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream - Search Results

Isn't this a bit tacky.

UWC will a corporation allow a visitor be lured away from their own content for a few cents?

I guess if they do not perceive the readers' purchase decisions as positively related to time spent on their site which could mean they don't think much of their own site, that they think that consumers set in their ways, or that they think consumers typically buy whatever ice cream is closest when they want an ice cream.

I doubt we can all just get along. Family waits to see if mother, accused of blasphemy, will be hanged -

Family waits to see if mother, accused of blasphemy, will be hanged -

I know, this is not new but is always incredible.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Awsome! Brandon Bates - Harvard Economics Graduate Student

Brandon Bates - Harvard Economics Graduate Student

The top paper listed on the link is the coolest econ study I've seen in a long time. Important questions. Creative experiment. Reliable and verifiable data.

Clearly implications spread far beyond financial markets, so his concluding line is overly humble.

Love it!

I'm an Aspergler

At least that's what my girlfriend just called me.  I think she's right, at least according to my self diagnosis I have Asperger Syndrome (AS).  How can I be 39, have most symptoms, and not realized or been diagnosed until this week?  Tyler Cowen, author of Create Your Own Economy, which is largely about the autistic spectrum, was my dissertation advisor.  The book came out a few years ago.  I was aware of the subject matter, but it did not really interest me.  Obviously, it does more now.  I'm full of puns now and I will tend not to stop (another symptom). framework a coincidence giving the concentration of AS in software development?

I'm amazed how so many of my most emotionally trying experiences can be explained by understanding my affliction:
1. Thinking winning at all cost was most important when young.
2. Loosing friends as the result of 1.
3. People saying my name is a long drawn-out plead of annoyance when I was behaving selfishly.
4. Not understanding that I was behaving selfishly.
5. Social problems in general such as not being invited to the "boy/girl" parties that started in 5th grade.
6. Asking a girl to "go" with me in 5th grade despite hardly having had a conversation with her.
7. Speaking out of turn.
8. Offending.
9. Discussing inappropriate topics.  Humorously, I recall more than one occasion late in a dorm room drunk with my friend and a couple of girls ready to do us.  Low and behold I ask about their views on religion and politics.  That's bright.  I did not get laid.
10. If in a bar I feel awkward just being there but am very at home if focused (very focused) on the table.
11. I don't get along with 90 something percent of people.  Those I do get along with I value and they tend to value me.  I think that I learned (though not in a conscious sense) to avoid acquaintances because unless their is mutual trust, because I cannot read them, I am at a disadvantage.  Accordingly, I am fortunate to have several good friends but spend almost no time with people to just hang out.  I play a lot of basketball, but I rarely interact with the other players off of the court.  My athletic ability is my quality most at odds with being AS, though I tend to do best in situations that are least planned (as expected).  I have known for a while that the uglier my shot the more likely it is to go in.  I also excel most in rebounding despite only being 5' 10".
12. Despite understanding the material and impressing professors with my ability to explain it logically, enough so that I was the first Ph.D. student in my year of my program to teach a class, I was utterly unable to lecture successfully to a large class--terrible evaluations.  In one instance, because I had two back to back sessions of the same class and I let students come to either session the latter of the two only had about 10 student in most meetings (the earlier has 150).  My evals for this second session were my highest ever by a wide margin--about 4.3 to about 2.5 average.
13. Women have been attracted to me despite complaining that I am unemotional.  My responses have been: "Horny is an emotion." and "What do you mean I'm not romantic, I'm naked?"  Yes these are are rude and funny.

More posts about my discovery process are likely.  Comments welcome.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Twinkie diet helps nutrition professor lose 27 pounds -

Twinkie diet helps nutrition professor lose 27 pounds -

The simple economics of weight loss. EAT FEWER CALORIES! Exercising more is also likely to help. But the point it fat is like a bank account for calories. If you take out more than you put in the size of the account shrinks. Duh! The amazing part is the millions that have been earned pitching this simple concept and helping people try to adhere to a regimen. I'm reminded of the financial services industry. Most investors would be better off by investing in a 50% global equity market index 50% globlal bond market index portfolio and then going fishing. That's why the persuaders make so much money.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Updated tobacco warnings could feature graphic images

Updated tobacco warnings could feature graphic images

How about putting this on every package? Pun intended.

Obama to Congress: Stop shooting down deficit proposals - The Oval: Tracking the Obama presidency

Obama to Congress: Stop shooting down deficit proposals - The Oval: Tracking the Obama presidency

I think his comments are mostly rhetoric, but imagine the irony if this is the "only Nixon can go to China" result, meaning that the best way for Obama to establish himself as a great president is to curb our spending.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Message that needs to be spread

Lil Wayne Requested Beats Just Before Leaving Prison - Music, Celebrity, Artist News | MTV'

Even the talented work at it to be the best, whether Kobe or Lil Wayne. The areas that blacks excel at are some of the most competitive and require a ton a discipline. Why don't so many youth get it? Lil Wayne is not a looser. He works hard. From his Wikipedia page:

"Carter enrolled in the gifted program of Lafayette Elementary School and in the drama club of Eleanor McMain Secondary School.[2][3]" ..."At Marion Abramson Senior High School, Carter was an honor student but dropped out.[7]"

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

In Quest for a 'Legal High,' Chemists Outfox the Law -

In Quest for a 'Legal High,' Chemists Outfox the Law -

Funny because of the cat and mouse game and the ultimate futility.

Florida stone crabs are back and ready for their close-up�|�Palm Beach Entertainment: Events, movies, restaurants, nightlife & more |

Florida stone crabs are back and ready for their close-up�|�Palm Beach Entertainment: Events, movies, restaurants, nightlife & more | "

What ever happened to small, medium, large? I hate marketing BS language. I still don't know the order of large, tall, vente, or whatever Starbucks calls their drink sizes. I understand that people are tricked by such ploys, but I read into it that a business is willing to take advantage of psychological tricks to pass one over on customers. Do others? Of course every time a price ends in 9 or .99 or a menu contains high priced items by a cheaper version I get suspicious. Someday, I hope to have enough money to not look at prices. Ignorance in many ways is bliss.

“This year, they’re $5 a pound cheaper than they were last year,” says Sclafani, who sells the large claws at $20.95 a pound, the jumbos at $25.95 and colossal at $31.95. “Come Thanksgiving and I’m sure we’ll see prices creep up, but right now they’re more affordable than last year.”"

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Genghis Khan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Genghis Khan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Might this be the first Ponzi scheme?

By 1190, Temüjin, his followers, and their advisors, had united the smaller Mongol confederation only. In his rule and his conquest of rival tribes, Temüjin broke with Mongol tradition in a few crucial ways. He delegated authority based on merit and loyalty, rather than family ties. As an incentive for absolute obedience and following his rule of law, theYassa code, Temüjin promised civilians and soldiers wealth from future possible war spoils. As he defeated rival tribes, he did not drive away enemy soldiers and abandon the rest. Instead, he took the conquered tribe under his protection and integrated its members into his own tribe. He would even have his mother adopt orphans from the conquered tribe, bringing them into his family. These political innovations inspired great loyalty among the conquered people, making Temüjin stronger with each victory.[14]

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Never thought I'b blog customer review but... Customer Reviews: Bedlounge (Natural Twill) (22"H x 25"W x 21"D)

These are pretty funny. My favorite line is:

"The description makes this sound like a high tech, ergonomic device. In reality, it's some foam with arms, and a pillow on a stick."

Stop Pretending

Mount Everest Gets 3G Service | News & Opinion |

Why do rich westerners think their accomplishing something by climbing everest with the assistance of locals. That's like showing off that you fucked a prostitute. Does WiFi at the peak remove the false grandeur? Sorry Sherpas.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dumb political add and placement

This must be their thought process.  Lets put an add on because they have the young black male demographic who hardly turns out to vote.  Then lets run an add that features someone who these young, black, non-voters can really relate to and think highly of.  I know, an old, fat, white cop who literally personifies "pig".  Someone please explain to me what they are thinking.  This add is run continuously by Alex Sink criticizing Rick Scott for being a thief.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Several of my girlfriends have suffered severe paid during their monthly cycles.  For this four days of so their productivity appeared to be significantly reduced.  To what extent does "period time" explain female achievement.  A survey of accomplishments, pain severity, and paid duration plus control variables should do the trick.  Do you know of such studies?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

NPR Fires News Analyst After Remarks About Muslims : NPR

NPR Fires News Analyst After Remarks About Muslims : NPR

I am a big fan of NPR, especially This American Life and Radiolab. It is NPR's right to fire him so long as the freedom of speech isn't protected due to NPR's federal funding. But I doubt it is.

I question the move from a management perspective. Who wants to work at a station where describing ones own visceral response to an event can get one fired. I get scarred when a fat person is waddling down the aisle, don't we all. No, I love being squished for four hours, as I was on a recent flight Glad I don't work at NPR.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Holder promises to enforce U.S. drug laws if Prop. 19 passes -

Holder promises to enforce U.S. drug laws if Prop. 19 passes -

I love to hear about the interest groups against Prop 19. Mexico, a competitor of local growers and law enforcement who fears budget cuts. The police also don't want the confiscatory privileges removed. Where is Obama's change now?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Just dumb. In my humble opinion

Windows Phone 7: Arriving Late to the Smartphone Buffet | ZDNet

Microsoft has shown up late once or twice before and done OK. Think of Word, Excel, and Internet Explorer. Businesses still trust MS and most still use Exchange server and Outlook for email. Might this give MS an in and possibly a leg up? I use Google docs and Office, but most companies are still hooked on Office. MS can leverage this also into mobile. Never mind that only a small minority of all cell phones are smart phones so most of the market is up for grabs. Hopefully MS maintains sufficient control and fights the carriers to eliminate bloatware, which will distinguish it from Google's open (read ruin-able) Android.

Bloatware and sequential monopoly

Android giants: Follow Apple’s lead and ban the bloatware | Electricpig

The result of serial monopoly, higher prices and lower quantity is well known. A specific instance of sequential monopoly is particularly annoying to me now, that of cell phone networks loading up Android phones with a bung of cluttering software that is either difficult or impossible to remove. Doing so is the equivalent of raising the price, by reducing the quality of the phone. I might even be willing to pay a few dollars to not have the NASCAR or Facebook apps always staring me in the face. I can't wait until we have the option of using the phone of our choosing on a dumb pipe, as we do with our PCs over the internet. Login to your account using whatever device you want and go to town. At this point, what difference does it make if the device is a PC or a smart phone. All devices are on a continuum with overlapping features etc. Goolgle, please add a dumb pipe service to my Google account!!! I will talk over Google voice, surf to my hearts content, and promise to click on on one Adword link per day.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

'The Simpsons' airs controversial opening sequence by Banksy |

'The Simpsons' airs controversial opening sequence by Banksy |

So outsourcing work on a cultural icon must be far worst than normal outsourcing if this is the preemptive response to criticism. What is the worst form of outsourcing? UWC is outsourcing good or bad?

Fair trade outsourcing is typically considered good.

Personally, I don't care where the person lives who gets paid to do the work. I'm not sure why I should care more about someone I've never met who lives in U.S.A. versus someone I've never met in Mexico.

US physics professor: 'Global warming is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life' – Telegraph Blogs

US physics professor: 'Global warming is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life' – Telegraph Blogs

I find it interesting that global warming is referred to as a "bubble". To not agree paints one an extremest. Yet in my humble understanding the data is not so clear.

Monday, October 11, 2010

On a trick of Hitler's

No I am not a fan of Hitlers.  I am more Jewish than anything else and have a black girlfriend.  Not exactly his dream...But the use of manufactured correlation is pretty impressive for his day.

Hitler’s brilliant anchor

Hitler was able to use Anchoring in a way so brilliant yet deceitful. He created a subsonic noise undetectable to the untrained ear that was awfully unique. When turned on, a discrete buzzing noise would fill the stadium.  The noise was subconsciously irritating and even caused people to become sick.  This noise would be switched ON while the highly anticipated crowd was waiting for Hitler to come on stage and then turned OFF immediately after he stepped in front of the podium.  As soon as he appeared on stage, most people subconsciously felt immediate relief.  So the crowd was anchored to: feel good, feel relief, and feel comfortable when Hitler is in front of them.  Reasons like this anchoring technique was why Hitler rose to power so quickly and so powerfully.
I wonder to what extent this technique is neutered is people know the presence and plan behing the annoyance?  

UWC is abandoning users a smart business strategy?

Final paragraph:
It’s worth pointing out that the acquisition appears to center on Cake’s team and technology rather than its user base — rather than absorbing Cake’s users into E*Trade, the notice above states that user data will be deleted and destroyed, with premium users getting reimbursements.

It almost seams like a joke.  But a social site and abandon the community that uses it.  How antisocial!!!  I guess that explains why E*Trade felt it necessary to buy not build.  

Maybe they did not care at all about Cake and just wanted the developers?

Please help me understand the decision to buy a community and dismantle it.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

UWC will Gregory Mankiw work less?


I am confused as to why he would overlook the income effect and only discuss the substitution effect of higher rates.  If he wants to provide his children with college educations and down payment for homes, then until these are covered with relative certainty, wouldn't the higher taxes possibly motivate him to work more?

He obviously know this.  So what are his incentive for writing an article that he knows misses an obvious part of the analysis?

UWC does Gregory Mankiw write articles that appeal to idealogical readers despite him knowing the holes in his logic?

I guess, if he is paid he can work less.

Monday, October 4, 2010

UWC do should a company have their customer relations number go to an a?utomated message

Answer: The company doesn't give a sh** about customer relations like United Airlines.

In addition, I had to call lost and found.
If not a premier member, then essentially hung up and you could not even leave a message.
If a premier member of some sort you go the honor of leaving a message, but they only would respond to it (in ten days) if they found your item, so there is no way of knowing whether the actually got the message.

Moral of the story, don't leave anything on United plains.

UWC does this articles theory support support for intervention into the lifestyles of mothers to be?

Op-Ed Columnist - At Risk From the Womb -

It brings to mind "To bad we can't outlaw bad parenting." But of course we do to a point, but how far should we take it? Should smoking, drinking, drug using mothers go to jail? should junk food eating mothers? Should we guarantee a minimum lifestyle to reduce stress? Unlike in my younger more idealistic and ideological years I do not think that a slippery slope necessarily means don't try the slide. The political process performs myriad balancing acts. But this new evidence could be used to restrict the freedom of mothers to a shocking extent if the health of the fetus is perceived an preeminent. What is the minimal legal standard of care for a fetus? I have personally felt disgusted and had my night ruined when a friend of a girlfriend was "partying" while pregnant. Not sure where I fall on this one because my preference for freedom for the mother clashes with my desire to not handicap the child. Yes, I am pro-choice, which is another potential inconsistency. OK to kill, just don't hurt it. Strange implication. I guess, in my mind, that the unborn don't have rights but their future selves do.

What to do with Yahoo!?

Nobody even wants to be associated with them.

This next to what is the fair value of Facebook are likely the two most frequently asked questions in Silicon Valley.  Here my crack at it.

The one think I like about Yahoo! is their finance site.  I cannot think of the last time I visited for any other reason.  Oh yeah, when I was considering going through the hassle of moving my domains when they raised the prices of already purchased domains from $10 to $35 dollars.

Aside from a large email user based and non-tech savvy traffic, what does Yahoo! have?  A little of everything.

Yahoo! is internet novices.  Apple is easy to use pretty technology.  Both have a similar world view of controlling the user experience by guiding users through a walled garden of content.  Apple should buy Yahoo!!!

Apples stock is riding high.  Yahoo! would again be able to keep and hire talent.  Jobs would improve Yahoo's user experience.  The PR would be incredible.  Yapple, Aphoo!  Naw.  Just Apple.  Yahoo! can deliver the cheapest traffic on the internet and Jobs is more likely than anyone to succeed at a massive turnaround of attitudes.  Yahoo! will regain pride.

For full disclosure, I do not care much for Apple and think Yahoo sucks walrus balls.  I don't like to follow directions let alone be told what to or not to view or what programs to use by the maker of my phone.  When I was mugged and my iPhone was stolen my relief was unambiguous.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Answer: An ignorant customer is our best customer

Question: What is the unwritten slogan of religious leaders?

This article is funny.

Is summary, the non religious know more about religions than the religious.

For what other entire product categories do the users know less about them than the non-users?
Trans fat?

What qualifies as knowledge?  Does ideology and misinformation count as information?
Tyler Cowen made a very useful point to our class that there is a significant difference between acquiring knowledge of economics versus political ideology.  I think that only knowlege consistent with scientific/objective type evidence should count.  If applied, then many new age medicines and therapies: homeopathy, stone massages, maize covers cloth (yes, I just saw Grownups, pretty funny) all qualify as preying on the ignorant.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

UWC is parody and effective method of discrediting?

I like these people's objective and they make me laugh.

Will they have an impact?  If so, how?
Motivating those that already agree with them or changing peoples minds?
I think motivating is more likely.

The opportunity to parody European labor leaders is almost too easy given that their current slogans are "Anti-Austerity".

We want: More money for less work and you have to pay for it.  As usual, the unionized and government workers are better off then average working in the countries adding to the irony.

Have you ever notices how rarely the wages of protesting union workers are quoted in the mainstream press?
Here is one wage quote and more detail on Spain (even better).

Why so few women in Tech?

Link to Techcrunch article.

Next year the panel should be on why there are so few stay at home dads and what should be done to correct this injustice.  Ha ha ha.

Also, listen to the This American Life episode "Testosterone".  I know is sounds strange, but one of the subjects during a female to male transition that involved high doses of testosterone started to find science interesting and understand science better than prior to the injections.  The impact of testosterone on our personalities and lives is made disturbingly clear.  The show.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

UWC will one become an entrepreneur?

Purely based on experience as an entrepreneur...

1. Understands the customers
2. Understands the industry, especially if well established and complicated, such at financial services
3. Has the ingenuity to find a way to make customers happy (sometimes less than is thought necessary see Ray Kroc of McDonald's fortune)
4. Has the balls to take the risk necessary to follow the vision
5. Is sufficiently organized to know what to do next to fulfill the vision
6. Can communicate the required tasks to others
7. Can get others to follow

In most cases, being an entrepreneur has more to do with understanding the market, working hard, and leading than most people realize.  These variable are also less romantic and more difficult to place in a regression than IQ or education so are likely studied less often.


Monday, September 27, 2010

More on USA Internet snooping

From PC magazine.  "Developers of software that enables peer-to-peer communication must redesign their service to allow interception."

So Skype in the USA will be killed?  Might the carriers be behind this regulation?  Someone please track some donations or political influence.

Nice to know we are competing with Saudi Arabia, and winning

On the lack of privacy front.

The US government wants to force all services with access to the USA to preemptively build the ability to serve them with plain text of any information send over their service.  I'm not a networking expert, but I think this kills or significantly hampers P2P networks, such as Skype.  The US would immediately become a more expensive and less trusted place to operate an Internet enabled company.  Chile, get ready to accept more entrepreneurs.  Chilecon Vally has a ring to it.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

No shorts for sale in Miami Beach

That is correct.  I went to Ross and TJ MAXX today to buy short and neither place had more than a dozen standard shorts, as in solid color or simple patterned cotton shorts.  I asked a clerk in TJ MAXX it that was their entire selection and he explained that it is nearing October, meaning the end of warm weather in most of the USA.  Don't you think retailers could adjust their inventory according to climate?  Even if shorts are not being manufactured there must be extra stock somewhere on earth.  I plan to write both companies emails to see what they say and will keep you posted.

Here is the text of my email.  I am waiting for responses.

I just returned from you store in Miami Beach disappointed that you only had about 8 men's cottons shorts to choose from.  The clerk explained that during the end of summer there are none available.  This appears silly because clearly you are able to stock according to climate.  Please clarify the reasoning for not keeping shorts available in Miami Beach.  My experience is being chronicled on my blog

Best regards,

Rob Nelson

TJ MAXX update:
Thank you for contacting T.J. Maxx.

T.J. Maxx purchases all of it's merchandise "opportunistically", meaning that we buy the best brand name and quality merchandise whenever available. Our buyers would rather go a little lighter in a particular department, rather than buying merchandise that does not meet our high standards for price, style and value.

We can't say for sure if your local store will carry Men's shorts in the future, but we suggest you continue to visit your local store for this item.   And remember, if we don?t have what you're looking for this week, we could the following, so be sure to check back often! Each store receives over thousands of new items each week!

We appreciate your inquiry.


T.J. Maxx Customer Service

How has image manipulation changed the world?`

My girlfriend runs a small business retouching photos of models.  It got me thinking how being able to retouch photos has changed the requirements for being a model.  

In other words under what conditions can one be a model pre versus post Photoshop?

Another way to ask the question is, "What cannot be replicated or corrected post shoot."

Cannot be: Bone structure of face, 

When will models cease to exist and cloths are digitally pasted onto avatars?

Here is an article on the impact of photoshop?

Credibility? Wave of the future?

Conventional media and advertisers might have a hard time dealing with the internet.  Here is a great solution.

"Many muscle magazines are owned by supplement companies. Weider Nutrition Group launched "Muscle and Fitness" and "Flex." EAS Supplements grew out of "Muscle Media Magazine," and then really took off with the bestselling "Body for Life" book series, which was largely a glorified brochure for EAS products. Between the books and the magazines, the supplement industry has much of the weightlifting public convinced that they must consume protein powders to gain muscle."  Link

What other industries have the same?  
Under what conditions will companies own the media focussed on their products?
Under what conditions will companies advertise to the readers that the companies own the media?

In asset management, my industry, companies create much collateral, but it is typically branded.  Some of this is possibly to comply with SEC or FINRA regulations, but having a separate media corp might mitigate compliance risk.