Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Headline: Home values up 31% since 2000.

And that includes the 12 percent drop since last year this time. The increase is far greater than 31% in some areas such as Miami and Las Vegas. Here is a graph of home values for Las Vegas over the past 10 years: Notice the modest appreciation during the 90's and early 2000's, followed by a sharp (around 200%) jump. The slump that follows looks like a modest correction to that unrealistic jump. Even the endpoint on the graph is higher than the value the homes would have if you extrapolated the modest appreciation from the 90's to the current year. So I ask: Why is everyone so shocked and acting all doom and gloom about the housing market? If something goes up astronomically in value for no good reason, its going to come down. Shocking. Yes yes yes, I know some people now owe more than their home is worth. Guess whose fault that is? (Answer: Theirs). Yes I know that it spills over to other areas of the economy. I just don't understand all the news articles that express shock and disbelief over the modest correction we are having right now. Every news article has a title like: "Largest decrease in home values since great depression!!!!!!!!!" (punctuation included), but they never say anything like: "Largest decrease in home values since great depression, which follows largest increase in home values ever".

The big economic news story that gets buried because of this non-story is how "green" subsidies for ethanol are driving up basic food prices, driving millions around the world into poverty and starvation. Thank you Mr. Gore for your benevolent service.


Monday, April 28, 2008

My best minute subbing.

Being a high school substitute teacher is not a job usually associated with the word 'fun', but today for about a minute it came close. I was at Brighton high school, not with my favorite calculus kids (the ones who call me Jason Bourne), but with another teacher's classes. During first period while we were working on homework, in walks about 20 students, who I instantly recognize as my calculus kids. The word spread that I was there today so they all asked if they could leave their class for a minute, brought me cookies, talked to me, wrote 'Jason Bourne rocks!' on the board, and then left. The class I was teaching looked at me wondering what just happened. I said "Well at least SOME students like me..." (they were not the best class). Throughout the rest of the day, other students from my calculus classes would pop in one at a time to say hi. Some days I'm even tempted to be a full time teacher, until I look at the pay scale.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Calling all ska fans!

So I don't know if this will apply to much of the readership here, but I'm trying to get as wide a distribution as possible for this.

I'm writing a paper on ska and its fans, and I created a little survey to help me collect some data. If you are a fan of ska (and only if you consider yourself such a fan), please click on the link and take the survey. It's pretty short--should really only take you five minutes or so. Thanks!

Click Here to take survey


Wednesday, April 02, 2008


The start-up had been declared dead (by me), but it now has tiny pulse. They are agreeing to an hourly contract until funding is obtained.