Monday, February 28, 2011

Here's Why No One Saw Your Concert

Once again, we revert to images pasted from Microsoft Word.

Mazi's Link O' the Day

TED does another interview:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mazi's Link O' the Day

Some more poetry from the Epicurean Dealmaker. Some nice words before your work week starts:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Let's Spend the Afternoon Together

Before you read this post, please play this song in the background:

As the blog "Newmark's Door," said, "There are markets for everything."

Evidently so, and everybody looking for some afternoon loving let out a sigh of relief. Yes, you have no need to worry if that seedy motel you picked out will displease your post-lunch fling. Le Parker Meridien, a glitzy New York hotel, now offers rooms from 11AM to 3PM for $150, and according to the New York Post, "For $250 you can upgrade and get 'champagne, strawberries with whipped cream and an on-demand adult film of your choice.'"

It seems we here in America are behind the curve, as a Google search will reveal. There is a English company called Elite Affairs that according to, "Every day people all over the UK are meeting for stimulating, steamy quickies in hotels, both luxurious and sleazy, that would never have been possible without Elite Affair!"

Before you turn your nose up at these sorts of rendez-vous, think of the alternatives. When two consenting adults get together to make sweet, sweet love, it's not only legal, but actually quite a positive influence on both their psyches. I'm no doctor, but the health benefits of sex are well documented. So, there's one positive aspect to this business. Assuming these people do not have an immediate sexual alternative, this is actually a healthier choice than, say, drinking at a bar.

Let's consider the most similar business to the one being discussed: prostitution. Obviously, one of these endeavors is legal and the other isn't. No argument there. Financially speaking, let's do some math:

Cost of prostitute: $250
Cost of hotel: $150
Now, we'll add an error term, u, that will represent some unspecified, positive cost that comes with the risk of being arrested, getting an STD, or any other negative side-effect that comes hand in hand with hiring prostitutes.

For Elite Affairs:

Cost of hotel: $150
Now we add another error term, e, that represents the positive cost of the person you meet online being an ax-murderer, or something heinous like that.

Our two equations:



Let's compare. Clearly, 400 is greater than 150. As for the error terms, firstly the probability of e being high (as in something awful happens on your discreet affair) is most likely lower than the probability of u being high. Also, remember the probably true fact that every negative outcome contained in e is also contained in u. Therefore, I say with a fair amount of confidence:


So, are you free around, say, 11AM?

Mazi's Link O' the Day

With all these talks about unions and bargaining rights (especially in Wisconsin), it might good to even the view of things. Unions are not completely infallible either, as this video shows:

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Mazi's Link O' the Day

It's back... The unofficial problem bank list. 951 members now. Of the one's who've failed recently, many were southern banks. How is this relevant? Well, growth (population, economic, etc...) has been blossoming down there while it has slowed down on the coasts. Financial troubles will not help continue the South's winning streak:

Friday, February 18, 2011

Mazi's Link O' the Day

Take a look at the graphs about the defense budget, especially the second. Almost all the changes (as a percentage of GDP) have come as a result of real GDP growth or inflation, NOT from changes in the actual budget:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mazi's Link O' the Day

My favorite, the Epicurean Dealmaker, returns with a sobering post. And YOU thought the traveling work life was glitz and glamor. By the way, this post is being written while your humble author is in class, THAT'S how committed we are:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mazi's Link O' the Day

China is now the 2nd largest economy, and Japan falls to number three:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011

I Told You So

My last post talked about the protests in Egypt and the possibility of contagion. Well, those riots are over, and new ones begin. The military has taken over in Egypt, and while Hosni Mubarak is out, you have to wonder where the transition will go from here.

The protests have started in the country of my ancestors, Iran. The Green Movement of 2009 may be on the rise again, sparked by the success of the riots in Egypt. Of course, the irony is that the Iranian government fully endorsed the people's movement in Egypt saying, as the Financial Times reported, “If, God willing, the Egyptian nation could push this through, that would be an irremediable defeat for US policies in the region”.

The rule in Egypt may or may not be friendly to the U.S., so perhaps Khamenei was right on that point. He was wrong to think the protests emerged from religious convictions.

The question now is, "Will this Iranian revolt take hold?" So far Tunisia and Egypt have been the most resounding success stories, and the short time in which they both fell is equally shocking. Although, one might argue, Iran is better prepared for this. After all, the country did already fight the Green Revolution, and the iron grip of the ayatollah is perhaps the most suffocating of the Middle East. One good initial sign at least is that the U.S. appears to have thrown its full support into these protests far earlier than it did with Egypt. But will that be enough?

Mazi's Link O' the Day

Manikw on the gains from trade:

Friday, February 11, 2011


Republicans and Democrats alike have been talking a lot about spending cuts these days. Every new proposal to cut spending is proposed with lavish fanfare and proclamations of fiscal responsibility. They shouldn't be. Take earmarks, for example. Obama and GoP leadership proudly announced the end of earmarks, yet earmarks hardly even constitute a drop in the ocean that is our deficit. Why the announcement? It sates the bloodthirsty American public, which is crying out for cuts above all else. So, what's a smart way to cut?

The Republican proposal is all about fluff. They plan to restore discretionary spending to 2008 levels, which doesn't do anything meaningful for the budget deficit in the long run and axes good and bad programs alike. If they really are serious about cutting government, they'd attack entitlement spending. Currently, spending on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and interest on the debt accounts for a whopping 47% of the budget. By 2020, that number is projected to rise to 64%. Military spending constitutes another big chunk of the budget. How can our government be serious about spending cuts while pretending that they can ignore programs that constitute the majority of our spending?

Our leaders have a real chance to take the worries of the American public and put them to good use. The War in Afghanistan is going nowhere and sucking down tax dollars faster than ever before; phase out our involvement. We don't even have to cut Medicare or Medicaid spending, merely fixing the gross inefficiencies of the health care system (which Obamacare fails to do) would go a long way. Capping or slowing their entitlement growth would save our country hundreds of billions.

Our politicians are talking the talk. Will they step up and walk the walk?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mazi's Link O' the Day

Our inflationary (or perhaps I should say deflationary) scenario these days echoes back to the Asian crisis in the late '90s:

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mazi's Link O' the Day

A lesson in sunken costs. (By the way, sunken costs explain every mistake I've ever made. "Why'd you do that, Mazi?" "Oh well, it's a sunken cost, so let's move on):

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

"Waste Disposal: Turning Garbage into Gas"

[As i embark on my first post as a contributer to the lovely Econstu i think i might use the nature of this article to set an overall environmental theme for future posts. Being a large part of my interests here at Vassar as an economics and STS major i'll try to merge the two together and bring you guys info on not just a contemporary but very "hot" issue in economics.]

ANYWAYS, without further dealy here is an article describing a new way for the average joe (potentially) to think about how our garbage is used for energy. With everyone "going green" and all, businesses related to profiting from the transformation of trash are emerging just as fast as the technology behind them.

Thus if you're interested at all on new technologies for solving said problem, other than just plane-old slow and costly composting, check this piece out. After all, as we know from micro 101, cost minimization is the name of the game and a company with such a new technology for creating energy (and creating it especially from garbage), would definitely be worth a look.

Mazi's Link O' the Day

Another esoteric post from the Epicurean Dealmaker... poetry:

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Mazi's Link O' the Day

France and Germany have finally taken the reigns and are trying to strengthen the bonds that tie the E.U. together:

Friday, February 4, 2011

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mazi's Link O' the Day

Despite its enormous length, this link is worthwhile read if you have the time. It's about Ireland and how it got from being very prosperous to in need of a bailout in the span of 10 years. Plus, it's written by Michael Lewis, author of "Liar's Poker." (Or at least I think he's the same Michael Lewis):