July 29, 2011

What Do You Think of Elance?

As a freelance writer, people often ask my opinion of services like Elance and ODesk. And my answer is always the same.

It completely depends on whether you're looking for employment or looking to outsource?

Elance, ODesk and other professional recruitment/freelancer sites are commodity-based competitively-driven races to the lowest possible $/hr rate. As an American professional, you're not making money here outsourcing your creative talents. Because people looking for resources here are looking for the cheapest option. And the dude in the Phillipines quoting $4/hr is always going to win.

Now, on the other hand, if you're interested in outsourcing any of your professional or personal life, or have a business idea and don't want to go broke giving it a try, these services may be perfect for you.

July 28, 2011

Evidence-Based Gambling

Yesterday, we discussed the recent push of "evidence-based practice" within the medical community and questioned how ridiculous it was that this is only a recent push.

Today, we talk sports.

"Moneyball" or "Sabermetrics" is the idea of objectively valuating athletes and situational decisions in sports based purely on statistical outcomes.

Some people hate this. I recently had this discussion with a friend of mine who said, "Stats are useless. I don't need to see stats to know how to manage a game."

I countered with, "Well, if you're making the right decisions, the stats would back you up. The stat guys are on your side."

He retorted, "No, I don't need them."

I said, "But what if I showed you stats that proved objectively, over time, you were wrong? Would that change your mind?"

"Absolutely not."

This friend of mine thinks his intuition as a sports God is vastly superior to anything statistical measurement or science could calculate...

Does that arrogance remind you of any doctors you know? Now, this is all starting to make a little more sense.

July 27, 2011

Evidence-Based Practice

Did you know that "evidence-based practice" is a fairly recent concept in the medical world?

Seriously. Also known as "empirically-supported treatment", the concept of choosing a course of treatment based on statistically significant and supported data has only recently surpassed intuition as primary decision maker in the medical community.

Why do you think this is? More on this lunacy tomorrow.

July 26, 2011

What You Make: Yearly vs. Hourly

"What do you make?" should always be answered as an hourly rate.

Let's say you make $35,000 a year. And you decide to switch jobs for a nice 20% pay bump up to $42,000/yr. That's a hard increase to turn down. A number that might take you 5 years in annual mini-bumps at your current company. So, you switch, knowing that the new job is going to be quite a bit more demanding. In fact, you are now consistently putting in 60 hours a week. Whereas, at your old position, it was a pretty regular 40.

Are you getting paid more at the new position? Sure, if we're looking at annual income. But, we shouldn't be.

60 hrs/wk x 50 wks/yr = 3,000 hours
$42,000/3,000 hrs = $14/hr

40 hrs/wk x 50 wks/yr = 2,000 hours
$35,000/2,000 hrs = $17.50/hr

Sure, that $7,000 bump is a lot. But, it's not a pay increase. And there might be a more efficient way to increase your income.

July 25, 2011

I Am Going to Hit a Kid With My Car

I am going to hit a kid with my car.

Driving through my subdivision this summer has become a constant game of chicken. I'm not sure if children are getting dumber, or if there's some sort of leak in our drinking water. But, the children in my neighborhood speed out in the middle of the street - completely blind - all the time.

I am going to hit a kid with my car. The odds have determined it. The only question is, when? And how fast will I be going?

July 22, 2011

Hope is Passive

Hope is passive.

I can't seem to get this idea out of my head. It hit me one day like a brick. The idea of hope as merely "wishing". Passive laziness.

Help me understand "active hope".

July 21, 2011

Loving the Unlovable

Here's my problem with Jesus.

It's super easy to love the lovable; the polite; the meek; the well intentioned.

It's the jerks I can't stand. The cynical. The arrogant.

I am commanded to love the very people I can not even like. It seems impossible to do?

July 20, 2011

There is No Population Problem

Ok, I'm sick of hearing this constantly spouted, so let's try clearing this up today.

There is no population problem. Not a real one at least.

Thomas Malthus' Population Theory was based on the false assumption that an increase in personal wealth would increase the child rate, increase the population and obliterate our food supply. Theoretical, this appears to make sense, because a higher standard of living would provide you with more money to raise more children. Yet, pragmatically, this has has proven to be utterly false. As personal wealth increases, the child rate goes down.

Yet, many continue to fear this and cite this, despite the overwhelming evidence to the problem's nonexistence.

There are indeed negative consequences of tight urban living, specifically in terms of pollution. But, there is no population problem. Human ingenuity is the solution. For that, we need more humans.

July 19, 2011

Vegas Doesn't Want You

Vegas doesn't want you. They don't want your $200 weekend of slot money. They don't want your $12.99 buffet money. They don't want your $89 hotel money.

But it would be a really creepy ghost-town place to hang out in if only the super-rich came. That's why they need you.

But be assured, you are not wanted there.

July 18, 2011

Facebook is Broken

People ask me why I'm not putting more baby photos on Facebook. And they don't like my answer, which is, "Because the vast majority of my 'friends' don't want to see them."

But, it's true. Because my Facebook friends aren't actually my friends. They're anyone I've ever encountered who asked to be my friend. In fact, I have come to think of it as more of a networking tool than a real communication device. Which I am rightfully aware is awful.


Here's why Google + is amazing. For those of you who haven't heard, Google Plus is Google's latest and greatest attempt at social. My favorite part about it is Google Circles. When you add a 'friend' on Google Plus, you put them in one or multiple groups. Friends. Family. Co-Workers. Church People. Any group you want to customize. When I want to share a photo of my daughter, I can select which people see it on their wall.

For this and this alone, I love Google +. As Facebook becomes less and less entertaining, I am excited to have a new choice.

July 15, 2011

Hitler Was a Vegetarian

Did anyone else know that Hitler was reportedly a vegetarian? It makes my head explode! Check out this quote from a German Magazine back in the day.
"Do you know that your Führer is a vegetarian, and that he does not eat meat because of his general attitude toward life and his love for the world of animals? Do you know that your Führer is an exemplary friend of animals, and even as a chancellor, he is not separated from the animals he has kept for years?...The Führer is an ardent opponent of any torture of animals, in particular vivisection, and has declared to terminate those conditions...thus fulfilling his role as the savior of animals, from continuous and nameless torments and pain." Neugeist/Die Weisse Fahne
Can you fathom the idea that Adolf Hitler found the destruction of animals so barbaric and distasteful that he simply could not participate in it? Yet...

July 14, 2011

Busyness Can Still Be Laziness

I like getting to the end of my inbox each day.
I like getting to the end of my Google Reader (RSS Feed) each day.

It provides me with the illusion of a hard day's work, while actually avoiding work altogether.

July 13, 2011

The Cosby Show: Continued

Loyal reader Jason sent me an e-mail after yesterday's post.

It turns out that just hours after posting, WGN 720 interviewed Ben Shapiro, author of Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV, and asked specific questions about the Cosby Show. The following are are Jason's thoughts.
"Shapiro argued that almost every sitcom in modern television entertainment has a liberal bias, but that the Cosby Show was one of the few accidentally right-leaning shows of its time. The first main point he made was that the family had to be minority, in order to portray that all minority families in America could pursue the American dream. The second point (criticism) was that the Cosby's wealth meant the family never had to deal with small everyday obstacles (financial hardships) and allowed them to be happy and get along."
Jason also sent a link to the archived program show. If you are specifically curious about the Cosby discussion, skip to the 2/3 point.

Critics on the right had Liz' same complaint from yesterday. But critics on the left who claim the show is too "unrealistic"...you can't really get around the fact that's incredibly racist, isn't it?

July 12, 2011

The Cosby Show

Two months ago, I found the entire series of the Cosby Show available on Netflix instant streaming. Since then, I have watched all 201 episodes, and largely nothing else.

The show ran from 1984-1991 and holds up extraordinarily well over time. In fact, today I make its claim as the greatest television show of all time (Specifically the first 4 seasons. After the kids started going to college, we lost all of the amazing parenting examples week after week, and it became more or less, a straight sitcom).

Unlike today's sitcoms, the show portrays a family you want yours to become - not one even more dysfunctional than yourselves that you can feel good laughing at. The children are loved unconditionally, disciplined strictly and always polite. And like I have claimed many times on Martin Luther King Day, I believe that Bill Cosby had a bigger role in civil rights for my generation than any other man.

He made a black family aspirational in 1984, and turned them into the most watched show on television.

Here's my question. Could a show like this succeed today? Because TV needs it.

July 07, 2011

Must Have Been All That Fresh Air

Why does being outside in fresh air make you tired? It doesn't make any real sense to me. And yet, I "feel" that rule to be true?

Anyone know the science behind this? (Yes, I Googled it, but the results were unsatisfying.)

July 06, 2011

Future Eric

In the mornings when my wife and I run through our neighborhood, sometimes we see a couple 40 years more experienced than ourselves riding their bikes together.

The irrational part of me has decided that those people are "Future Eric" and "Future Kathleen".

Somehow they are now living in their past, and are just messing with us.

I'm pretty sure working on the QED Podcast has been messing with my mind. Or perhaps I simply like believing it because they look super hip for being that old?

July 05, 2011

Chris Hansen: Potential Predator?

Let's start off the week by making you mad at me.

You may have heard the reports that Chris Hansen of Dateline NBC's "To Catch a Predator" fame, was recently caught on video tape going to dinner with a woman 21 years his junior. This report by the National Enquirer (which although a tabloid, accurately broke the John Edwards affair) claims a long-term and secretive romantic tryst between the two journalists.

Let the cries of hypocrite come raining down. But, let me speak briefly first.

1) There's no hard evidence here. Perhaps there will be. Not yet.
2) If this is true, adultery is not the same as pedophilia. This women is significantly younger than him, but not a minor. She's 30 years old.
3) A while back, when I was researching the Internet hacker group, Anonymous, for our QED podcast episode on the subject, the message boards were covered with individuals hoping to start a rumor about Chris Hansen getting caught having sex with a minor. They thought it would be hysterical. The popularity of this news story shows they were right. Perhaps it's true. Perhaps it's a false rumor.

Now, to the stuff you'll really get mad at me for. I brought up this argument two years ago, but here we go again for our new readers. I don't exactly understand what Chris Hansen is arresting these guys for. They're being charged with "soliciting a minor over the Internet." But, that's not what's happening. They're "soliciting an adult pretending to be a minor over the Internet."

I'm not sure how having a sexual conversation with an adult can be a crime - regardless of "intent". I'm not saying these guys aren't creep shows. I'm just wondering how they're doing anything illegal?

July 01, 2011

Confessing An Affair To/With a Therapist

I wonder how many psychologists are having affairs with their patients?

Here's how I got there. To an individual in therapy, the psychologist is their refuge. An escape to truth from the purgatory that is their life. The one person they're honest with. Their priest. The one hour a week they feel free.

How could they not fall in love with this person?

Aside from the obvious restraint and oath preventing reciprocation of this love by the therapist, it has to be happening on a comparatively massive scale, no?

A Christian Approach To The End Of Life

 Note: This post has been contributed. Unsplash - CC0 License Talking about the end of life isn’t a popular topic. But it is something that ...