21 December 2006

So confusedly...

Weed = biggest cash crop in USA. I don't not have a lot intelligent say to this subject on. I will say that pot takes the prize even though we pay people to stop people from making money off of it by stopping them from growing it. We also pay people to not make money off of corn and many other crops, but in that case by growing more of it.

13 December 2006

The worth of a dollar

I was talking to a Brazilian friend of mine the other day and we got on the subject of traveling abroad. I mentioned that living abroad in Brazil is fairly easy on my American wallet. My friend said, "Well, that's because the Dollar is worth twice as much as Brazil's dollar [the Real]." In the context, I took my friend to be stating that the Dollar is "worth twice as much in Brazil."

I think that statement betrays a misunderstanding of worth. To be fair, both the Dollar and the Real have a "1" written all over them. And when you exchange the Dollar in Brazil you receive about 2 Reals. The problem with this logic is that for the Dollar to be worth twice as much in Brazil, it must give you twice the purchasing power. The problem is that it does not! The reason is that you are purchasing different products.

For an internationally available product such as a song from iTunes, the cost difference in Brazil will exactly equal the exchange rate between Dollars and Reais. Regardless of your currency you can buy the same number of iTunes. But for local goods that are subject to different marginal production cost, transportation costs and regulation structures, you are buying a different product. The fact is that in some cases these different products are more or less expensive than similar products in the U.S. Fruits, for example, are much cheaper while electronics are much more expensive in Brazil. So why don't we import Fruit from Brazil. We do. The main price difference is the extra transportation and taxation costs of importing it (even so it still cheaper than trying to grow it in the U.S.).

10 December 2006

The results of an unstructured day...

These days it seems that everyone has a curriculum vita, whereas, I have only a sparse resume. What's up with that? I need to pack more activity into my waking hours. Today I did. Some of the results, however unproductive, can be seen here (a unicycling video).

Trade. Free.

I sell my laptop to my friend down the street. Nobody cares. I sell it to my friend in Brazil. Hell raised. Sense. Makes. None.

08 December 2006

The cost of one lecture: $40?

I remember as a first year college student, there seemed to be a craze about how much we were paying for each lecture. The math worked out something like...

Tuition: $3000.
Hours of Class per week: 15.
Number of weeks: 14.

Therefore, cost per hour of class: $3000/15/14 = $14. Out of state is more like $40-50/hour. Now there were very few classes I attended that I felt I would have paid $14/hour for, and maybe one or two I'd have paid $40 for. So do I feel my tuition was too high?

Not necessarily. There are tons of benefits to a college degree AS A WHOLE, that go beyond any knowledge gained from one class.

Getting recruited to higher paying jobs even though you spent a good portion of the last 4 years goofing off and partying... priceless.

07 December 2006

ih rock

This has been bothering me for some time... How do you pronounce Iraq? Listening to NPR today two speakers used the word, one pronounced it IH-RACK, and the other, IH-ROCK. Various other pronounciations I have heard are


From Wikipedia's Iraq entry you can hear what appears to be an authentic pronounciation. Although the sounds needed to say Iraq don't seem to be found in English, I would say it is somewhere between IH-ROCK and UH-ROCK, and nowhere near UH-RACK (or EYE-RACK for that matter).

05 December 2006

Blizzard Entertainment captures a soul

The screenshot below comes from the xfire.com gaming profile of someone I know well. Note the drop off after the two Blizzard games. Valve's Counter Strike also gets an (dis)honorable mention. This covers roughly a one year time period, therefore this individual spent roughly 20% of his/her waking hours playing the top three games.

For reference, I've racked up 120 hours on Counter Strike and 20 hours on Civ IV. 80% of these hours were recorded before I started working 6 months ago.