June 16th, 2006

buzzed, B&W

Relaxing on a Friday afternoon . . .

All right, before I start digging through links, I thought I'd do the "new" Friday Five.

1. What’s the most embarrassing thing/job you’ve had to do to earn money?
I don't think I've done anything embarrassing to earn a buck . . . Maybe a coney eating contest, but that was raising money for charity . . .

2. What’s the easiest and quickest way you have earned a buck?
Probably gambling . . . I've made a couple hundred bucks playing blackjack for a few hours . . .

3. If you could set your own salary, according to your skills and worth, how much would you earn?
Mmm . . . I think I'd set it at whatever level would make me content. With my current job, I've found a good balance between work and play, and it's enough to get by. For the sake of this question, we'll assume it's implying a 40-hour a week position, that demands my skills/abilities, then I'd say I'm worth at least $60k/year (in Helena). I don't think that kind of position exists in Helena . . .

4. Are you a good saver?
Not particularly - I tend to live within my means, but I don't save worth a damn . . .

5. What’s the most expensive and useless thing you have ever bought?
I don't think I've bought anything totally superfluous or excessive like that. I do tend to be willing to pay a premium for goods, but I tend to believe that you get what you pay for. Also, most of the expensive things I've owned have been presents from my parents. Perhaps the most expensive/useless thing in hindsight was probably my PalmPilot . . .
  • Current Music
    Staggering Statistics - Matter Of Time (WOXY.com [24k aac+])
buzzed, B&W

Grad School?

The NY Times has this interesting article about Harvard MBAs and whether the degree is worth it.  Most of the grads find the degree worth while, but there are some interesting quotes:

  • "The real value of an Ivy League business degree is arguably not the education itself, but the screening of intelligence, drive and past accomplishments that the schools do.  Just like with undergraduate degrees, if you're smart enough to get into a top-tier school, you're likely to inspire confidence."
  • "People tend to give you the benefit of the doubt that you're somewhat intelligent.  They assume that if H.B.S. has done the screening, they don't need to concern themselves with the intelligence screener."
  • "It's this big safety net; it's a credential that makes it easier to get
    a job later.  Maybe life shouldn't be that way, but it is what it is."
The quotations reminds me of an article from the Atlantic, Lost in the Meritocracy, which talks about how an Ivy League education is a "ticket to the ruling class."

Grad school (and an MBA) is still on my radar, but I'm also looking towards doing a joint degree after talking with a lot of folks in town who went to law school.  The sample size has been small, but diverse, including local law schools, as well as Stanford and Yale, with careers in public sector and the non-profit sector, which is where I see myself - I don't think I could become a corporate lawyer . . .
buzzed, B&W


Hmm . . . looking through my cousin Dennis' pictures from my grandfather's funeral weekend, I'm a little sad I didn't go. As an aside, while I'm not as big a devotee of flickr as my brother is, I find sites like Kodak's Photogallery and Snapfish infuriating for a number of reasons:

  • Do you really need me to login to look at some pictures?
  • Do you really think there's useful information to get by knowing which pictures I look at?
  • Why don't you let me direct link to images?

Bleh, anyway, I'm sad I didn't get to see my cousins, who I haven't seen in like 3 years (and I think longer than that for Tina and Anna), nor did I get to meet Calvin or Bernie. As Dennis said in an e-mail, "it will be nice but bittersweet to see everyone together again, but we can honor the man who is ultimately responsible for the chang gang's existence."
  • Current Music
    Silversun Pickups - Three Seed (WOXY.com [24k aac+])
buzzed, B&W

Forer Effect

Hmm . . . never knew there was research for this fortune-telling like effect that "refers to the tendency of people to rate sets of statements as highly accurate for them personally even though the statements could apply to many people." Apparently it's called the Forer effect.
  • Current Music
    The Presets - Girl And The Sea (WOXY.com [24k aac+])
buzzed, B&W

Revolutionary Thinking

So, I'm a big fan of paradigm shifts, over incremental change. Most of the research out there suggests that real change only occurs when you do something completely different, than with incremental change.

I do wonder about the St Louis' Schools mandatory summer school for incoming freshman . . . I'm curious as to where they found the money to have another 7 weeks of school, along with how parents will react. It would also be interesting to see if the summer school makes a difference in performance . . .

The Washington Post has been running a pretty solid series about education as well . . .
  • Current Music
    Yo La Tengo - Beanbag Chair (WOXY.com [24k aac+])
buzzed, B&W

Free speech?

Interesting free speech case and ruling: "A federal judge has declared a state law requiring students to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional, stating it violated the rights of a Palm Beach County student who sued the state last year. U.S. District Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp also ruled unconstitutional the provision of the 1942 Florida law requiring students to obtain permission from their parents to be excused from reciting the pledge."

There's a silly quotation in the article from a representative: "What a federal judge has done is taken away patriotism from our schools." Right . . . because having students recite the pledge in a ritualistic manner in the morning instills patriotism . . . While I'm not against the Pledge, I'm dubious that many students attach any meaning to it. I know that when I was in school, it was something I did without thinking about it, and not really understanding what I was saying till I was in high school. By the time I was in high school, I was omitting the "under God" portion.

I doubt the ruling will make much of a difference though - most high schools, and our society, rewards herd behavior, and a student would probably take a lot of flak if they choose to remain seated or not recite the Pledge.
  • Current Music
    DeVotchKa - The Last Beat Of My Hea.. (WOXY.com [24k aac+])