Posts Tagged with "economics"

Speaking of Doughnuts…

February 10th, 2012 at 5:52 pm by Mark
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Want to an excellent idea in action to keep a small business alive? This guy was a true Business genius, in my opinion.

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Internet Dating (NSFW)

May 16th, 2010 at 7:00 pm by Mark
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If you’re offended, not to worry. He does explain Men towards the end. Not safe for work due to language. Also not safe for mixed crowds or longstanding, harmonious relationships.

Wal-Mart.com USA, LLC

Are You a Communist, or a Citizen

January 27th, 2010 at 10:02 pm by Zacque
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I was sitting in my Economics 1010 class today, when briefly after watching a video I saw this link.  I said to myself, “I have to watch this as soon as I can.” So to succinctly describe communism in a nutshell is this video from Dr. Clifton L. Ganus, Jr.

Aren’t you glad I go to class?

Breaking Down the Oil Barrier

February 17th, 2008 at 10:03 pm by Mark
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     It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything logical and sensible, so here goes…

     While everyone goes on the Hybrid trip, paying astronomical prices for cars with no real fuel savings, some of us hang on to older cars from the 80’s which have real fuel savings without the need for all the extra garbage.  Cars like the Pontiac Sunbird/Chevrolet Cavalier with the 2.1 OHC engine, or even the Subaru 1600DL, still get 40+mpg on the interstate.
     Yes, they really do.
     My 1984 Sunbird, for instance, consistently ran at about 42mpg and the OHC made it a nice, quick car.  Meanwhile, the old Subaru consistently ran up to 48mpg. 
     With kick-ass gass mileage available with older cars, why bother with a hybrid?

     The fact is, as far as Automobiles go, very little has happened since the 1980’s except to make vehicles more complex.  Despite the Government’s cries about efficiency, and even tax relief for high-mileage vehicles, gas mileage has done nothing but suffer.
     Meanwhile, our dependence on foreign oil has increased exponentially.  Why should we continue to subsidize the economies of a chosen few in foreign nations when we could easily reduce our dependence while increasing our innovation and exports?

     There have traditionally been two barriers: Political and Economic.

     Our artificially inflated economy in 1990’s and our Government’s subsequent “lifestyle of excess” bear a substantial portion of the blame, as we simply made too many under-the-table deals with foreign countries.  
     As a case in point, China, for instance, continued to have Favorite Nation status.  Mind you, this was absolutely necessary to make it a viable and reliable country for low-cost, high-quality manufacturing like its predecessors, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.  However, the strong increase in the Chinese economy came at the expense of other Asian economies.  Proof of this is shown in the economic collapse in 1997, and the subsequent recession which struck all other APaC nations in 2001.  Meanwhile, tax and import subsidies, cuts and rebates for domestic corporations purchasing Chinese products have continued, while China continues to produce the “same old, same old” products cheaper than we can manufacture them at home.

     Economically, with our own post-9/11 “lean times,” many domestic corporations have adopted the attitude that research and development of new technologies is too risky, and thus continued to attempt to make innovations geared in familiar directions with familiar technology.  Using familiar technology (with cheaply acquired foreign components) has allowed for more modular designs, thus reducing the amount of labor, manufacturing and maintenance costs in our domestic auto factories.  For corporations, this spells profit even when their economic future is unclear.

     In this video, Amory Lovins comes up with some seriously compelling ideas.  It’s a long one, so grab a snack:

     It’s really compelling stuff. 

     And, besides, something like this should even make the Moonbat segment of the global warming argument happy.  But then again, they’re usually really easy to get calm once you know which buttons to push. 
     I mean, dinner with E.T and a roll of Reynold’s Wrap can go a long way.

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Simplicity Rules the Day

February 27th, 2007 at 9:16 pm by Mark
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     Before I start this little rant, I just wanna say, this is not to ridicule Chris — he’s certainly worth his salt.  This was just an example — and a rather basic one, at that, given that this was more of an oversight than a faux pas — of something that’s been getting on my nerves for years.

     Every once in a while, someone’ll do something, semi-cool with a piece of software, but their execution makes it appear that they’ve forgotten why a given function works the way it does.  It happens a lot these days, and I’m glad I’m old enough to remember “why” things are like they are.

     A case in point — and Chris is a brilliant guy, mind you, and again, I’m not bashing him — was the beginnings of a WordPress plugin (blog software, for the initiated) to show extra formatting buttons in the Text Editor.

function st_addAdvanced($buttons) {
    unset($buttons[22]);
    array_push($buttons, ‘wp_adv’);
    return $buttons;
}

     It’s a pretty elegant little function.  It takes an array called $buttons, and changes the last value to ‘wp_adv’ and returns it.  Unfortunately, it makes things look ugly because of the way the $buttons array is used elsewhere in the code.
     He says, “Ahh, there are some formatting issues to take care of.”

     I’ve always had this bizarre K.I.S.S. approach to programming anyway.  I mean, hey, why bother calling two other functions, unset() and array_push() when I can do what I need with a single, local variable?

function st_addAdvanced($buttons) {
    $x=$buttons[21];
    $buttons[21]=’wp_adv’;
    $buttons[22]=$x;
    return $buttons;
}

     Sure, I could’ve used two, and said, “$a=$buttons; $x=a[21]; $a[21]=’wp_adv’; $a[22]=$x; return $buttons;” to save keystrokes…. but… I’d be wasting as much memory as I gained CPU by foregoing the functions.

     But that’s basically my argument about most Developers these days.  It’s a pretty serious can of worms for me to open, because I know I’ll have developers coming from all over to tell me I’m full of it…  Even though I was writing Assembler before their parents ever met, and have some pretty cool — working, useful, debugged — software under my belt…. Joke ’em if they can’t take a f… *shh*

     Seriously, it’s no wonder our CPU and Memory requirements are so ridiculously high these days.  There’s an API or a DLL or a Library for freaking everything!  Layers upon layers, upon more layers, with repositories and snippets and widgets and scripts galore!

     Our Universities teach this method, often telling people, “Do it this way!” without telling people “Why it should be done this way.”  The “simpler” things get, the more abstract they become.
     They’re not churning out programmers and problem solvers.  They’re churning out memorize-and-regurgitate linkers who can’t write code without the assistance of a Visual Integrated Development Environment.

     Hey … Wasn’t the whole point of all this Link Library, Visual garbage to make software development easier?  Faster?  More bug free?

     I used to sit down with vi, edit or Notepad and it’d take me a couple of days to write a program.

     I can use all these neato-keen, new-fangled hooks and VIDEs, and it’ll still take me a couple of days to write a program…
     But it might take weeks to debug.

     Most developers do the same thing… And spend a lot of time setting up their VIDE.  Or getting a bit of code they copied off the internet to work.  Or…

     But, hey … I’m probably full of it, right?

     As employers, educators and policy makers, we need to get back to basics.  Yes, teach how.  But teach why, as well.