Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The new I-Pad is thinner and has a camera---The component parts SHOULD cost more, right? Check here to see...

Cost of the inputs that go into producing the I-Pad2, in their totality, have remained  about the same as the original I-Pad BUT it is considerably thinner and has a camera.  The retail price is going to stay the same as well.   Does this pose a problem with calculating the Consumer Price Index? How about GDP?  Hint: YES, it does! Extra credit for good answers to these questions...The first I-Pad is coded blue, I-Pad 2 is green.
Source: WSJ

Who is the most dependent on Nuclear Power for its energy needs? Sacre Bleu! Dire qu'il n'est pas vrai...

The Economist Daily Chart

The important number is to the right---by percent, the importance of nuclear power to satisfy domestic energy needs in selected country's...France is by far the leader in the use of nuclear power.

The world's largest nuclear-energy producers

""THE explosions and meltdown fears at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power plant that followed Friday’s earthquake have increased concerns in Japan about the safety of nuclear power. The country is not well placed to move away from it though, with only America and France producing more electricity from nuclear sources. Germany, which yesterday suspended a deal to delay closing its ageing nuclear plants, is the world’s sixth-largest producer. In percentage terms the story is rather different. Nuclear power in Japan accounts for just 29% of total domestic power production, putting Japan 15th on the list of the most nuclear-reliant countries. It ranks far below France, where nuclear power makes up three-quarters of electricity production.""

10 Things You Don't Know About Steve Jobs---I was very surprised by ALL of them, but most disturbed by one in particular...

...No Charity? Really, Steve? Gee Whiz...(Read the rest HERE)

10 Things I Didn’t Know About Steve Jobs

6) He doesn’t give any money to charity. And when he became Apple’s CEO he stopped all of their philanthropic programs. He said, “wait until we are profitable”. Now they are profitable, and sitting on $40bb cash, and still not corporate philanthropy. I actually think Jobs is probably the most charitable guy on the planet. Rather than focus on which mosquitoes to kill in Africa (Bill Gates is already focusing on that), Jobs has put his energy into massively improving quality of life with all of his inventions. People think that entrepreneurs have to some day “give back”. This is not true. They already gave at the office. Look at the entire ipod/Mac/iphone/Disney ecosystem and ask how many lives have benefited directly (because they’ve been hired) or indirectly (because they use the products to improve their quality of life). As far as I know, Jobs has never even commented about his thoughts on charity. Good for him. As one CEO of a (currently) Fortune 10 company once told me when I had my hand out for a charitable website, “Screw charity!”
HT: Newmarks Door

Teachers and would be teachers: Would you like to make $125,000 per year? View this video before you make up your mind...

Below is from a recent "60 Minutes" episode.  I thought it was interesting and the trade-off it presents---a much higher than average salary BUT it is tied to rigorous metrics for measuring success. Would you take this deal?  Could you work under these conditions? Interesting to think about..(HT: Carpe Diem). The commercials are annoying but the clip is worth it.

CBS News --"With state after state confronting massive budget problems, several governors have been looking to extract whatever they can from public employees like teachers, going after benefits packages and guaranteed job security that unions have won for them. But would teachers be willing to give up those protections for a chance to earn a lot more money?

There's a school in New York City that's trying to prove just that. It's a bold new experiment in public education called "TEP," which stands for The Equity Project, a charter school that is publicly funded but privately run. It's offering its teachers $125,000 a year - more than double the national average.

TEP aims to prove that attracting the best and brightest teachers and holding them accountable for results is the essential ingredient to a school's success. Could this school become a national model for the future of public education? That's the $125,000 question."

Monday, March 14, 2011

Last week "The Happiest Person in America" was profiled...This week it is the LEAST happiest...Could it be YOU?

Last week the Happiest Person in America was identified (Link HERE).  This week a profile of the LEAST happiest person has been developed.  I am guessing somehow this person will be found soon, although it might be more difficult....

The Least Happy Person in America

Last week we wrote about Alvin Wong, the American who fits all the demographic characteristics associated with happiness, based on results from Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index data. That is, he is a tall, Asian-American, observant Jew who is at least 65 and married, has children, lives in Hawaii, runs his own business and has a household income of more than $120,000 a year.

In response, several readers have asked who would be the least happy person in America based on Gallup’s data.

So I’ve put together a statistical composite of the person whose characteristics are associated with the lowest levels of well-being. Statistically speaking, the least happy American would be a 4’10”, middle-aged Muslim woman without children who is separated from her husband and earns under $12,000 a year. She’s also an unemployed manufacturing worker in West Virginia.

(You can find an explanation for how all these characteristics contribute to, or detract from, well-being levels in this annotated post.)

I confess I have not actually taken the time to find the woman who meets all these requirements (if she exists), and to determine if she really is as unhappy as the statistical correlations would predict. But if you know someone who fits this description, please let us know.

Early Warning System for a Tsunami---American-Style

Source KPC
This is from a sign on a beach is North Carolina...

End Daylight Savings Time because it harms the environment. Wait, I thought it supposed to be good for the environment? Economics is so confusing...

You are welcome to read the whole research paper HERE, but I excerpted  the conclusion below with the relevant parts highlighted.  This is an excellent example of how studying the microeconomic effect of a policy, that is generally accepted by the public as a good thing, may indeed produce the opposite effect in practice. Is it time to do away with Daylight Savings Time (DST)? 


The history of DST has been long and controversial. Throughout its implementation during
World Wars I and II, the oil embargo of the 1970s, more consistent practice today, and recent extensions, the primary rationale for DST has always been the promotion of energy conservation. Nevertheless, there is surprisingly little evidence that DST actually saves energy. This paper takes advantage of a unique natural experiment in the state of Indiana to provide the first empirical estimates of DST effects on electricity consumption in the United States since the mid-1970s. The results are also the first-ever empirical estimates of DST’s overall effect.

Our main finding is that—contrary to the policy’s intent—DST results is an overall increase in residential electricity demand. Estimates of the overall increase in consumption are approximately 1 percent and highly statistically significant. We also find that the effect is not constant throughout the DST period: there is some evidence for an increase in electricity demand at the spring transition into DST, but the real increases come in the fall when DST appears to increase consumption between 2 and 4 percent.

These findings are generally consistent with simulation results that point to a tradeoff between reducing demand for lighting and increasing demand for heating and cooling. According to the dates of DST practice prior to 2007, we estimate a cost to Indiana households of $9 million per year in increased electricity bills. Estimates of the social costs due to increased pollution emissions range from $1.7 to $5.5 million per year.

In conclusion,we find that the longstanding rationale for DST is questionable, and if anything, the policy seems to have the opposite of its intended effect. Nevertheless, there are other arguments made in favor of DST. These range from increased opportunities for leisure, enhanced public health and safety, and economic growth.

In the end, a full evaluation of DST should account for these multiple dimensions, but the evidence here suggests that continued reliance on Benjamin Franklin’s old argument alone is now misleading

HT: Economists do it with Models

International Women's Day in Uganda and Rwanda--It is not what you say, it is what you do...

The following are the observations from a Ugandan blogger who happened to be in Rwanda on International  Women's Day.  It is a reminder that unless followed through with action, these "holidays" can be misused by leaders with little intention of improving the lives of women, or anyone else for that matter. The last paragraph sums it up for me.   (HT: Senegal- Mali)
In Uganda women got medals and promises, in Rwanda, a better life-
In Rwanda...Among the activities were community-level meetings organised by local leaders to discuss and reflect on different aspects of local women’s lives and, where necessary, what to do to change or improve them.
In some places "umuganda" (communal work) had been organised to build or repair houses for poor and vulnerable women, with much of the activity focused on replacing grass-thatched huts with more solid iron-roofed houses.
Later I learnt that in many communities, houses had been built or repaired, goats and cattle donated to poor and vulnerable families, and girls who had excelled at national exams given prizes.
All this made me curious about what had transpired in my native Uganda which is led by a government with an equally deserved reputation as that of its Rwandan counterpart, for promoting women and championing their rights and interests. 

There, as usual, the event had been marked by a high-profile national fete in Kampala, presided over by the big man himself, the omnipresent, President Yoweri Museveni. 

Among the day’s highlights had been the awarding of medals to several well-fed women army officers, all still holding the relatively junior ranks of major, captain and warrant officer, for their participation in the war that brought him to power 25 years ago. Thereafter, it was time to recycle old promises. 

The president pledged to reduce the high infant and maternal mortality rates, provide hospitals and health units with drugs, monitor closely schools and health facilities to prevent absenteeism and inject money into income-generating activities.

And so ended International Women’s Day: in Uganda big women got medals and the rest promises; in Rwanda poor women got improved shelter, livestock, and a chance to reflect on how to move ahead.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

On the lighter side--Burglar calls 911 afraid the surprised homeowner might have a gun and shoot him while he (the burglar) is taking a shower...Yes, you read that right. Video enclosed

Add to the files of "Stupid Criminals"...

(CNN) -- This time it was the intruder who called 911.

A man who broke into a house in Portland, Oregon, called police -- afraid the homeowner may have a gun. The suspect, Timothy James Chapek, was in the bathroom taking a shower when the homeowner returned to the house Monday night, Portland police said in a statement. Accompanied by two German shepherds, the homeowner asked Chapek what he was doing in the house.
Chapek locked himself in the bathroom and made an emergency call, police said. He said he had broken into the house, the owner had come home, and that he was concerned the owner might have a gun. The homeowner also called the police to report that he had found a man in the house. Police with dogs took Chapek, 24, into custody "without incident," they said. He was booked for criminal trespass. They did not say if the homeowner did in fact have a gun.

Before and After interactive aeriel photos of the devastation in Japan. This is a dramatic as it gets.

(HT:Micheal Johnston) These are before and after aeriel photos of the devastation in Japan.  Go HERE to the ABC News website to view a stunning interactive that allows you to sweep across the page as the photos turn from a "normal" view to devastation. VERY dramatic and worth a look. (More links HERE. HERE, and video HERE)
Source: ABC News
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