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Posts from the ‘Current Events’ Category

9
Mar

Daylight Savings Scam

DST - Day 67
Creative Commons License photo credit: √oхέƒx™

Even on a blog about inelegant solutions, Daylight Savings Time (DST) has a special place. Not only is it an inelegant solution, but it is a bad means to a solution that doesn’t solve its designated problem. It’s a bad answer to a very stupid question.

The idea is simple, in a bid to save energy, make people happier or whatever the logic is this year, we all, save those of us who don’t live in a DST zone, set our clocks back one hour in the fall and then set them ahead that same hour in the Spring. The idea is that, during the months where DST is in effect, we get more sunlight in the evening.

The problem is three-fold. A) For it to work it requires every county in every state in every nation to agree to go along with it, then requiring every person in those countries to successfully set every clock to the right time. B) It doesn’t do the job its advertised to do and may actually make things worse. C) Even if it DID work, there would be far more efficient ways to achieve the same effect.

So let’s take a moment to stop and think about DST for a bit and marvel at its stupidity. If you think it’s a good thing, give me a second and hear me out, you might like my competing solution better.

After all, the true marvel of DST isn’t that it doesn’t work, but that it’s such a horrible way to get to something that doesn’t work. Read moreRead more

20
Feb

Why Boycotts Fail

Oh no!!! Don't club the baby seals!!
Creative Commons License photo credit: EDgAr H.

Last week, the The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology announced that they were going to boycott the state of Louisiana due to recent laws passed in the state that has opened the door for creationism to be taught in the state’s schools.

As a result of this, they will not be holding their 2011 meeting in New Orleans, instead, they will be taking it to Utah.

No matter what you think of the politics of teaching creationism in schools, one can easily see why an organization like SICB would be opposed to it and why they might want to do something about it.

But boycotting Louisiana, in particular New Orleans, isn’t going to solve the problem and is only going to hurt good people who work hard and likely agree with them politically. After all, New Orleans is a very liberal city (a bright blue dot in the deep red south) and one of just four parishes to vote against Jindal in the 2007 gubernatorial election.

However, the problem with boycotts runs deeper than that. With only a few exceptions, they are just lazy, ineffective means of protest that do more harm than good. They are misused, especially in modern history, and almost never achieve the intended goal.

The reason is pretty simple when you look at the math. Read moreRead more

13
Feb

A Quick Question for Financial CEOs

Money!
Creative Commons License photo credit: Tracy O

I’m not a mathematician. I admit that I completely suck at math, a big part of why my childhood dreams of becoming a programmer were dashed and I switched to writing. However, I think I spot a number issue here.

You see, many of your banks and firms have received billions of dollars in government assistance over the past few months. You say your firms needed it to stay afloat and, looking at your staggering losses, I am definitely hard pressed to disagree.

But then comes the rub, you take that money and, out of the funds, you give yourselves and other executives multi-million dollar bonuses. While I grant that it was only a percent of a percent of the bailout money spent that way, it certainly shows a lack of care and concern for saving money at a time where your companies are, supposedly, so desperate to stay alive they need government help.

This, understandably, upset the public. After all, very few taxpayers earn anywhere near the amount of money you guys do on your worst years and we aren’t getting any serious government assistance. In large part, we’re the ones financing you. So we made some noise and the government heard. President Obama signed an executive order limiting executive pay to just $500,000 and adding some additional oversight.

How do you guys respond, by trying to give the money back.

This begs a simple question. What are you guys thinking? Sure, you don’t get to keep making your multi-million dollar salaries, but you get billions of dollars in cold hard cash and you get to keep your business afloat. What is there to decide?

I have a sneaking suspicion that even laypeople are better with money than you guys and I think I can prove it pretty easily. Read moreRead more