Saturday, April 9, 2011

Snooki's speaking fee is $25,000 per appearance...WOW, what a bargain!!!

Is Snooki worth the speaking fee she receives? Rutgers University paid $32,000 for her to come to speak to students. However, apparently she receives a usual fee of $25,000 to cavort with paying customers at clubs.  Does the business get is money worth?  By the estimate given in the article below (full article below the fold) the change in revenue (Marginal Revenue) for a Snooki appearance is approx. $260,000. Far in excess of the extra cost of hiring her (Marginal Cost) for $25,000.  Marginal Revenue is greater than Marginal Cost...In Microeconomics, we learn that to maximizes profits, they should hire her until the change in revenue equals her speaking fee (Marginal Revenue $25,000=Marginal Cost $25,000)...guessing that might happen after (during) the second appearance....

Snookinomics: Profits from a Tan

Nice article on cost savings from attending a Community College for a year or two...Worth a read...

Nice article on the virtues of attending a Community College for the first year or two of college before transferring.  Smart adive. The only thing I would add, would to advise against taking classes in subjects that pertain to your major.  For example, if you are going to be a math major don't take math classes at a C.C., take those at the University level. Take your English or Social Studies classes instead, because they will impact your major less.  If you are going to be an English major, take your math classes at a C.C....So on and so forth, whatever you major in.

NYTIMES: Bargains on the First 4 Semesters

When Rich Johnston started college in the 1970s, four years at a standard university was out of the question financially. So he worked, knocked off two years of community college credits in 19 months and then worked some more.

He ended up graduating in 1981 from the University of Puget Sound, a private college in Tacoma, Wash. “Nobody ever asked where I went the first two years, and I don’t think anybody cares,” he said. “And I bet I saved myself $30,000.”

When it came time for his son Bret to start college, Bret decided to take the same path, choosing smaller classes, a more flexible schedule and a price that was a fraction of what he might have paid in Washington’s state university system.

He is hardly the only one. A few weeks ago, in a “Your Money” special section of the newspaper, I wrote about Mino Caulton, a high school senior in Shutesbury, Mass., who was weighing the virtues of a community college versus a more prestigious private university that would have required him to take out lots of student loans.

Advice for Mr. Caulton poured in on our Bucks blog, and it became clear that there were few centralized resources for families who had made a strategic financial decision to attend community college first as a cost-saving measure.

Let's not obsess over growing the budget pie or shinking the budget pie...Let's obsess over the crumbs instead---Nice pie chart putting the budget battle in perspective...(thanks Colin Chisholm)

Source: The Big Picture

How could the House budget-cutters miss this EASY program to do away with? Subsidies to install gas pumps to dispense E-85 gas with Ethanol...Please help me pick up the pieces of my exploding head...

What a way to start the day. I sit down with a nice cup of coffee and this gem pops out from the WSJ....Grants and subsidized loans to install new gas pumps so we can sell gasoline that has even more ethanol (E-85)  which everyone, but the ethanol lobby, believes is bad policy...How was this NOT low hanging budget fruit subject to cutting in the budget battle that went deep into the night? 

The Secretary of Agriculture declined to say how much the program would cost because he did not know how many station owners (or oil companies) would take advantage of the program...Fair enough, I get that. But a better question for him from would have been how much has been budgeted for such a program.  THAT he should know.  Wish the reporter had asked that. OR better yet, a budget-cutting ELECTED official...Just sayin'...

Gas Stations Get Aid to Sell Ethanol

"""The Department of Agriculture will soon be helping gasoline stations install new pumps that can dispense fuel with higher ethanol content, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said.

The USDA will soon offer grants and loan guarantees for the installation of costly new "blender pumps" so drivers can purchase fuel with a higher ratio of corn-based ethanol.

Most gasoline sold in the U.S. is 10% ethanol, but a growing fleet of flexible-fuel vehicles can run on an 85%-ethanol blend, or E85. However, there are fewer pumps available to dispense it, Mr. Vilsack said.

In the U.S., only about 2,350 fueling stations out of more than 110,000 offer E85 pumps, according to the USDA.

Gloria Bergquist, vice president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said the number of E85 vehicles in the U.S. is growing about 10% each year. In 2008, there were 6.1 million such vehicles; now, the number has increased to about 8.2 million.

New blender pumps, which Mr. Vilsack said cost about $120,000 to install, also would make it easier for drivers of conventional cars to increase the ethanol content of the gasoline they buy. He declined to estimate the total expenses, saying he didn't know how many station owners would seek the guarantees and grants. """

Friday, April 8, 2011

Dollar Depreciates overnight...get ready to pay more for "stuff"...

A nice article illustrating two AP Macro concepts.  The first is the interest rate effect on the value of currencies relative to each other.  The European Central Bank (ECB) raised a benchmark interest rate yesterday.  As interest rates increase, we know financial capital flows to the "more desirable FINANCIAL ASSETS.  In this case European financial assets.  Hence, the demand for the Euro increased in the last 24 hours and the Euro has appreciated relative to the Dollar. 

In the short run (there seems to be debate about the long run) there is an inverse relationship between the value of the dollar in the FOREX and various commodities (metals, agricultural, oil, etc).  This is because most/all major commodities are traded on world markets in dollars. When the dollar depreciates then foreign sellers of commodities need to get more dollars (relative to before the depreciation) for their product just to maintain the same purchasing power of their own currency back in the home country.  This is the blessing and the curse of having the dollar as the currency of record for international trade.

Commodities rally as dollar slumps
The dollar has hit a fresh 15-month low as traders move into euros following the European Central Bank’s rate rise on Thursday.

Investors are dumping the buck as the US Federal Reserve is seen lagging in the nascent tightening cycle, while worries about a government shutdown should Washington budget talks fail are also adding to pressure on the greenback.

Commodities are a big beneficiary of the dollar’s decline. Dollar-denominated commodities like a softer buck and it seems the market is also still fond of the greenback as an inverse proxy to broad risk appetite.

Silver is in focus after it hit $40 an ounce for the first time since 1980 as traders also ride the “bullion-as-inflation-hedge” bandwagon.

The same strategy has also driven gold to a fresh record of $1,471 an ounce, with investors pouring funds into precious-metal exchange-traded funds.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Chart of worst jobs in History...I had one in college that I think can be added to the list...judge for yourself...

I believe I have one to add to the list. In college, I had a job in the Anthropology department boiling, skinning (or de-feathering), stripping to the bone road-kill or otherwise dead animals.  I had to strip the meat off, pull apart all the bones, dry them, label them, and put them in a box for the department library....Go ahead, beat that as one of the worst jobs ever....
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