Friday, December 26, 2008
I've been somewhat hit or miss with this due to the busy schedule, but the nice thing is that many workouts are in the 20 minutes or less range (but still very high intensity). I haven't had the discipline to simultaneously change my food intake, so I'm not losing weight with this, but that can come after the MBA. For now I need something just to maintain a basic level of fitness.
Monday, October 13, 2008
I’ve got a plan to solve this whole financial crisis. We should put together a $700 billion hedge fund and let it overpay for securities. We should have Congress oversee this hedge fund because they have a record of financial expertise
Monday, October 06, 2008
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
First he saw the girl's eyes: dark and wide, unfocused, unblinking. She wasn't looking at him so much as through him.
She lay on a torn, moldy mattress on the floor. She was curled on her side, long legs tucked into her emaciated chest. Her ribs and collarbone jutted out; one skinny arm was slung over her face; her black hair was matted, crawling with lice. Insect bites, rashes and sores pocked her skin. Though she looked old enough to be in school, she was naked — except for a swollen diaper."The pile of dirty diapers in that room must have been 4 feet high," the detective said. "The glass in the window had been broken, and that child was just lying there, surrounded by her own excrement and bugs.
She wouldn't make eye contact. She didn't react to heat or cold — or pain. The insertion of an IV needle elicited no reaction. She never cried. With a nurse holding her hands, she could stand and walk sideways on her toes, like a crab. She couldn't talk, didn't know how to nod yes or no. Once in a while she grunted.
Armstrong called the girl's condition "environmental autism." Danielle had been deprived of interaction for so long, the doctor believed, that she had withdrawn into herself.
Bernie, 48, remodels houses. Diane, 45, cleans homes. They have four grown sons from previous marriages and one together. Diane couldn't have any more children, and Bernie had always wanted a daughter. So last year, when William was 9, they decided to adopt.
Their new daughter would have to be younger than William, they told foster workers. But she would have to be potty-trained and able to feed herself. They didn't want a child who might hurt their son, or who was profoundly disabled and unable to take care of herself.
Diane called Bernie over. He saw the same thing she did. "She just looked like she needed us."
Bernie and Diane are humble, unpretentious people who would rather picnic on their deck than eat out. They go to work, go to church, visit with their neighbors, walk their dogs. They don't travel or pursue exotic interests; a vacation for them is hanging out at home with the family. Shy and soft-spoken, they're both slow to anger and, they say, seldom argue.
They had everything they ever wanted, they said. Except for a daughter.
Well, that's just to give you a taste. It's long, so I was trying to capture it in excerpts, but it just isn't doing it justice. It's worth your time. It almost made ME cry.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Forbes rates Collin County (our county) the 14th best county in America in which to raise a family, edging out Marin County at #15.
Business Week rates the best and worst cities for pay, cost of living adjusted, in various disciplines. Dallas is near the top of virtually every job type. Slides 12 and 17-19 are of particular interest to our family.
Forbes rates Dallas the tenth best recession-proof city.
Some cost of living comparisons with other cities of interest, all done using $100K base (so you can easily see % difference) in Plano. Following the link will let you see what areas comprise the difference, often housing is the prime suspect.
Sacramento: $123k (to equal a $100k salary in Plano)
Salt Lake City: $100k
Northern VA: $141k
CNN just named Texas the top state for business for 2008.
From the San Antonio BizJournal:
CNBC Inc. ranked Texas as the best all-around state economy and the No. 1 state to do business in America in 2008.
Texas boasts over half of the nation's new jobs created in the past 12 months, and has added over 1.2 million net new jobs in the past five years, more than any other state.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Here's some things that will likely be changing and impacting oil prices (some of this is in the aforementioned article also).
1) Weak dollar. I expect US monetary policy will move towards a more sound dollar, making oil worth less dollars/gallon.
2) In normal free market situations, as profits rise in an industry, new entrants are attracted to those profits and find ways to do things differently and more efficiently or at least source more of the desired item so that they can gain some of the profit. This should be happening in the oil industry. A variety of regulations make this difficult, but eventually these hurdles will be crossed. You probably hear a lot surrounding drilling in ANWR in regards to this topic, but oil shale in the west seems like a bigger story. Some of these options, like shale, require a higher price of oil/barrel than the $40 we used to be at, but settling down around $80/barrel would still make the new investments lucrative and be a significant decrease from where we are now. Also, refinery capacity is going to have to increase. All of these things take time.
3) We are seeing shifts in demand. While small, these trends are actually likely to widen over time. Technological innovation will shift not only to alternate fuels, but also to greater efficiencies with what we have now. As the original article explains, slight adjustments in demand can actually have a large effect on price.
In the end, who knows. Regardless of the price of oil, it doesn't hurt any of us to figure out ways to use less energy, for no other reason than it's nice to save money, even if it ends up being less savings than it is right now. My family was into buying higher mpg cars back when gas was less than a buck a gallon. A good dose of cheapness so often exceeds today's environmental fads.
** Update 7/1/2008 **
A couple more interesting links on the same topic:
Some interesting graphs from the WSJ. I especially like the one at the bottom overlaying the recent oil runup to the stock boom.
Article from Barron's saying oil may be back to $100/barrel by the end of the year!
Now let's move on to McCain. He proposed, with Hillary no less, a moratorium on the federal gas tax for the summer. We all know I virtually never oppose reducing taxes any way possible, but I have a hard time making sense of this one either. Removing taxes on an item has the obvious effect of lowering prices. Businesses lower prices to stimulate demand. If the reason oil prices are so high is that current demand outstrips current supply...how are things improved by a temporary stimulation of more demand?
*It looks like the numbers I'm feeding into the google stock screener above have reset, so you'll have to re-enter the appropriate date if you want to see the number of companies for yourself. Obviously the number vares slightly over time as companies' valuations change. With the recent losses, we now have 20-some fewer companies with a market cap above $10B.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
In this world of ours, those resources going to the rebate recipients don't come from the Tooth Fairy. They have to come from workers and producers. If the resources come from workers and producers who thereby receive less for their work than they otherwise would have received, won't they in turn spend less? Of course they'll spend less, and the people who now supply them with less will also spend less, and so on down the line.
As my former colleague and friend Milton Friedman liked to say, "There's no such thing as a free lunch," and this rebate is exactly what he meant. The net effect is that the reduction in demand from those who pay the real resources will be exactly the same size as the increase in demand from the rebate recipients. It's sad but true. Income effects always net to zero in a closed system.
To see this point from a more generic standpoint, if the price of apples rises, it is true that apple growers are better off. Their income effects go way up, and they can spend more. But apple consumers are worse off because their incomes go down by the exact same amount, and they have to spend less.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Ba Ba: Baby (now also occasionally actually pronounced BAY-BE)
Ba Ba Ba: Banana (sometimes just abbreviated ba-ba. You really have to pay attention to context.)
Da Da (occasionally even Da-DEE): as far as I can tell, this is either Melinda or me.
Do (pronounced dough): said whenever she sees, hears, or thinks about a dog. Will often be said excitedly over and over for several minutes.
Dis (followed by pointing): This. Means she wants something, or wants you to notice something, or who knows?
Mo mo (with sign language for more): usually equals GIVE ME THAT FOOD!
And a quick update, Emily still isn't exactly walking, but she is taking two or three steps between things to hold on to, so I think it is just a matter of time now.
Getting up to date info was a real challenge, since the laws in Vietnam are constantly changing.
Check out the Vietnam stock index, and how it has cratered over the last few months.
This article from early 2007 shows how they were in bubble behavior.
Very helpful report from the World Bank, though it was somewhat outdated, being from 2006.
One last article on raising capital.
More on the stock market madness.
Final note is that I was amazingly comfortable presenting in front of the class. I think the preaching I did a few times in California really took care of that. The only little bit of nervousness I did have was because we had to hit 15 minutes in presentation time, and given that I went last, I had to manage whichever way time went awry. Ended up being no problem. We banged out a lot of practice and were fairly polished.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Monday, March 03, 2008
A map that shows what country each US state's GDP corresponds to. Gives you a feel for how mammoth our economy really is.
The moral sense test.
Leading in times of transition.
Hmmm...apparently I haven't really been saving a lot of interesting links.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
- I finished my first semester of my MBA (grades were decent, but did not achieve my personal goal of straight A's). But overall not bad for someone who has been out of school for 8 years and also has a family and a full-time job.
- Speaking of which, I got a new job. I am now the manager of a 10-person team of engineers, still in the same division at HP. I had 5 individual interviews and one panel interview in the same week as I was studying for my MBA finals. A bit exhausting.
- I went on my Vietnam international trip. I want to do a post for each day so that I can have something to reference and so you can have close to my full experience. However, I need to do that quickly before I forget everything but I am still recovering from my 36-hour journey back and the resulting massive jetlag, while also returning to my new job where I have to quickly bang out performance reviews this week and also do all my prep work for the first week of second semester MBA. So probably won't get to this before the weekend.