September 28, 2007
Have you ever noticed that economic majors tend to understand political issues better than anyone else? I think it's because they are forced to identify all of the different results of a particular decision. For example,
Argument: Raising the minimum wage will raise the quality of life for thousands of families in this country.
Rebuttal: No, raising the minimum wage will cause unemployment for thousands of families in this country.
Mr. Economist, what say you? Their answer...yes.
It's not this black and white, total good or total bad decision. Every political decision has multiple layers of consequences, and it's an economist's job to understand all of the ramifications, and choose the greatest good. While this decision is still subjective, it's much more rational than how the majority of Americans base their political stances.
And frankly, I'm dying for an economist to show up and take their place in this political battle.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 9:15 AM
September 27, 2007
Protectionism is the concept of securing American jobs/industries by raising tariffs on competitive import goods. This is a temporary solution that ignores the inevitability of globalization, and is one of the only policies that ALL economists are adamantly against. Because, simply put, the good that it does for those people in that industry is FAR outweighed by the higher costs that ALL Americans have to pay for the goods from this industry we're protecting.
Typically, Republicans have been on the "economist" side of policy, which often comes across as "uncompassionate". But, a few years ago, Bush introduced a tariff on foreign steel to protect the ridiculously struggling American steel industry. Why? All economists agree that this is wrong. But, steel industry employee who have to switch to a different manufacturing job would be angry at Bush if he didn't create the tariff, and American citizens won't really think about the fact that they're paying this increased price for a commodity because of this political action.
So, staying in power is always more important than doing what you know to be right. That's the lesson for the day.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 10:05 AM
September 26, 2007
Why do I behave differently around different groups of people?
Why does my humor become more depraved around my male friends? Why do I alter my slang at my predominantly black church? Why do I try to act like a pure intellectual around my father?
Are these just all different facets of my authentic self that come out when around people with similar facets? Or am I just a big fat faker?
Posted by Eric Olsen at 11:09 AM
September 25, 2007
So, what kind of DNA might Jesus have had? There are several theories. An early thought of mine was to discount the idea that Joseph's DNA could have been a part of it, since that just wouldn't make sense. But, an immaculate conception doesn't really make "sense" either. But, the works of Jesus, his resurrection, and the historical record gives us great evidence to believe in it.
So, what are the options? Mary's mitochondria with God's Y chromosome? Would this Y chromosome have resembled Adam's, also created directly from God in the image of God. Was the redeemer of the world a 1/2 blood twin of the first fallen man? Any other options?
Posted by Eric Olsen at 8:52 AM
September 24, 2007
I recently wondered why guys don't really get catty with other guys. Perhaps this is obvious, but here's my thought.
Guys don't understand that girls wouldn't want them, so they don't even understand the threat that another guy possesses to them. While girls are overly concerned and paranoid regarding female threats, and overreact against them.
So, are there reasons for this? Or are we all just stupid?
Perhaps men are considered desirable for multiple reasons, while women are considered desirable primarily (at least initially) based on aesthetics.
So, we have this dude who's ugly as sin, but thinks to himself, "I'm hysterical!"
Whereas, we have a brilliant, talented, considerate women who thinks to herself, "I should lose 6 pounds!"
Posted by Eric Olsen at 9:35 AM
September 20, 2007
During this season of 'The Office', NBC is having a contest on www.dundermifflininfinity.com.
There are several different virtual branches, and they will be competing against each other. I have applied as Regional Branch Manager for the Schaumburg, IL branch (virtually the only available branch in the MidWest) to represent the TWSS podcast. For those of you interested in competing against other online branches, visit
www.dundermifflininfinity.com and register as a regular employee of the Schamburg, IL branch using the password, 74gtynbdl9
There are many regional manager applicants for each branch, and they will be choosing one by next week. So, if I am not chosen, we will still all be on the same branch, working under a different regional manager.
Hope you can play! Should be fun!
So, after a year of going to the same healthclub in the mornings before work, I still don't know anybody. Partially because everyone's kind of tired in the morning, and partially because I don't like the idea of starting up conversations when males are undressing quite close to me.
But, I've seen a lot of the same faces for over a year now, and I've made up personalities for these people in my head...at least, I've determined whether or not I like them.
After thinking about this, I realized that there is a huge correlation between those people that smile (look happy) and whether or not I like them.
So, if this true of strangers, think of how important smiling must be to succeed in other venues/relationships where actual human interaction takes place.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 11:59 AM
September 19, 2007
Heathcliff Huxtable. Claire Huxtable. Sandra, Denise, Theo, Vanessa, Rudi...Huxtable. What show were these characters all on?
The Cosby Show.
Why wasn't it called, "The Huxtables"? Ok, you lose the Cosby name recognition. Then, why didn't they keep the last name? Ok, 'cause that would be weird since they weren't his real family. But, you know what's weirder?
Having the Cosby Show be full of Huxtables. And what's weirder is that I never really thought of that before.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 11:30 AM
September 18, 2007
Recently, Senator Larry Craig was arrested for soliciting male prostitution in a Minnesota airport's bathroom by tapping his foot and waving his hand underneath the stall divider of a known place for obtaining these services.
A couple of days after this was made public, I decided to be hysterical.
I was in the bathroom at work, and saw a pair of shoes in the next stall over. There's only about 60 people at my company, so I sort of know everybody, and I decided to tap my foot near the divider, hoping for a laugh. None came. So, I figured he just hadn't heard the story of Senator Craig. Later that week, people at work were discussing the incident with the Senator, and I told them about my hilarious efforts.
They thought I was joking until I was able to convince them I was serious. The group was horrified. They think that now, whoever that guy was in the stall (i don't know who it is) is probably terrified of me. And they all pretty much think I'm a psycho for thinking that would be funny.
I still stick to my thought that he just must not have heard the Senator's story.
For those of you who know the story, in a semi-private place where you sort of know everybody, would this have made you laugh?
Posted by Eric Olsen at 7:56 AM
September 17, 2007
September 14, 2007
#5: James Monroe
Monroe signed the Missouri Compromise in 1820, prohibiting slavery in the former Louisiana Territory north of latitude line 36-30, except within the boundaries of the proposed state of Missouri. This compromise, meant to keep Congressional slave slate/free state power equal, not only contradicted Monroe's typical defense of the constitutional rights of individual states, but also created a literal splitting of the Union, promoting the possibility for secession.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 8:51 AM
September 13, 2007
Biggify [big-ih-fie] - to grow larger; increase; expand
I use this word quite often, and yet it is not universally (or even locally) accepted. Let's say I want a logo bigger on an ad I'm working on, and I write down "BIGGIFY" on the ad and give it back to the artist. They laugh at me, sometimes point, and question whether I'm really a writer or not.
But, the point of words and language rules is to enhance the means of communication. No one ever questions what I mean when I say "Biggify", and it's a much more active word than what people commonly correct me with, the term, "enlarge."
I think biggify sounds better. And I think Webster's should listen.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 9:38 AM
September 12, 2007
Read a cool quote today. Here it is paraphrased.
"If we are able to redistribute the wealth of the world equally, so that there was no absolute poverty among us, we would still be left with those able to create wealth, and those who after spending their new inheritance, would be right back where they began."
It was an interesting thought to me, but troubling for what our actions should then be. Instead of just sending cash overseas, what should we be sending? Farming innovations or the equivalent of? Any thoughts?
September 11, 2007
Micro-loans: providing third-world entrepreneurs with the initial funding they need to create a profitable business that gets them out of poverty, in the form of an interest-free loan.
The Nobel Peace Prize for economics last year went to Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank, for his studies and work regarding micro-loans as a possible answer to the problem of poverty.
Feel free to visit Kiva.org and see what it's all about. It's crazy cool.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 9:33 AM
September 10, 2007
September 07, 2007
"Only the government has the resources capable to educate our nation. Only the government has the ability to provide health care to the nation. Only the government has the ability to feed to poor."
This is a common treatise cited for why our government should act as a savior for the lost. But, this is incorrect. Do you know who else has the resources? The people of this country. The one's who are funding this government. And they can do it better. And definitely more efficiently.
Yesterday, this thought experiment just hit 10,000 page views. I think it makes sense that it should fall on a day where a post makes me look like a maniac. But, thank you very much for your contributions over the last year+, and let's continue to learn so that we can act.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 10:18 AM
September 06, 2007
So, people like watching people do disgusting things. Yet, homeless people are stuck trying to sell bad newspapers, or just hound people down in high-traffic areas.
Why don't they follow the trend of fear factor, and offer to do dares ordered by strangers in return for compensation.
Maybe there's a certain level of respect for human dignity that I'm just missing. Or perhaps if these people could think in terms of determining their marketable abilities, they wouldn't be in their situation for very long in the first place.
While we're on the topic. True Survivor. 10 people battle out on an island for $10,000,000 dollars. Last one breathing wins.
You know people would sign up for that. Alright, I feel dirty now.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 10:21 AM
September 05, 2007
So, if you could have the United States copy any other country's total governmental policies, who would it be? Who's doing it better? And make sure you don't just pick any random country that has universal health care where the populace is choosing to risk their lives through escape by lifeboat rather than live there.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 7:51 AM
September 04, 2007
So, let's say there's an older lady living a neighborhood. Her dog Baxter gets hit by a car and needs a hip replacement or else they'll have to put him to sleep. She's mortified at the thought of losing Baxter, but she just doesn't have the money to pay for the operation.
Her neighbor hears the story, knows how much Baxter means to her, and decides to put up the money himself. She is forever grateful.
A beautiful story, no?
So, political logic will tell you that the resources of the federal government can make this beautiful story a reality for the entire populace. Instead of having to rely on a good-conscience neighbor, anyone in this situation can rest assured that the government will take care of Baxter.
But, what we lose under this approach is the incentive to befriend your neighbor, the gratitude created from witnessing a willing man's heart, and the friendship/community that is formed/strengthened.
What say you?