Today Must be Math Day

Today I ran across two separate math articles from two different sources.

The first was a video from a segment on the Dave Ramsey show. He talks about Obamacare and how you are not exempt from math regardless of whether you are a Republican or a Democrat. He also mentions the effects of being forced to purchase insurance. Have a look:


The second was an article brought to my attention by a friend:

The modern-day ‘slave class’ is anyone who cannot do math… and that’s about 95% of the population (click here)

Overall, it is a good read. I do not agree 100% with everything the article has to say. For example, I understand that it is a wise decision to transfer risk by purchasing certain types of insurance (such as term life insurance and homeowner’s insurance). The article does bring up the control factor of taxation and the national debt. That, I can certainly appreciate.

There was a slight bit of overlap between the two, but they underlying premise is more or less the same:

You are not excused from math!

It does not matter what you believe or don’t believe either side of politics.

  • Do not fall victim to any of the “loudest voice in the room” arguments on either side of the political spectrum
  • Do not buy into the euphemisms designed to cover up the theft imposed on you by the government
  • Do not be fooled by the trickery used to mask the true nature of our country’s dire financial situation

Unemployed or Out of Work?

This was in my email inbox this morning.

Why don’t we hear about this on the news???

Abbot and Costello

COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America.
ABBOTT: Good subject. Terrible times. It’s about 9%.

COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?
ABBOTT: No, that’s 16%.

COSTELLO: You just said 9%.
ABBOTT: 9% unemployed.

COSTELLO: Right: 9% out of work.
ABBOTT: No, that’s 16%.

COSTELLO: Okay, so it’s 16% unemployed.
ABBOTT: No, that’s 9%.

COSTELLO: WAIT A MINUTE. Is it 9% or 16%?
ABBOTT: 9% are unemployed. 16% are out of work.

COSTELLO: If you’re out of work you’re unemployed.
ABBOTT: No, you can’t count the “Out of Work” as the unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed.

COSTELLO: But … They’re out of work!
ABBOTT: No, you miss my point.

COSTELLO: What point?
ABBOTT: Someone who doesn’t look for work can’t be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn’t be fair.

COSTELLO: To whom?
ABBOTT: The unemployed.

COSTELLO: But they’re ALL out of work.
ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work… Those who are out of work stopped looking. They gave up. If you give up, you’re no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.

COSTELLO: So if you’re off the unemployment roles, that would count as less unemployment?
ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!

COSTELLO: The unemployment goes down just because you don’t look for work?
ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That’s how you get to 9%. Otherwise it would be 16%. You don’t want to read about 16% unemployment do ya?

COSTELLO: That would be frightening.
ABBOTT: Absolutely.

COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means there are two ways to bring down the unemployment number?
ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.

COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?
ABBOTT: Correct.

COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?
ABBOTT: Bingo.

COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to just stop looking for work.
ABBOTT: Now you’re thinking like an economist.

COSTELLO: I don’t even know what the hell I just said!

And now you know why Pres Obama’s unemployment figures are improving.

Stimulus Package Explained

This lovely joke ended up in my inbox today courtesy of my friend Dave.


It’s a slow day in the small town of Pumphandle, TN and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody is living on credit.

A tourist visiting the area drives through town, stops at the motel, and lays a $100 bill on the desk saying he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs to pick one for the night.

As soon as he walks upstairs, the motel owner grabs the bill and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.

(Stay with this…..and pay attention)

The butcher takes the $100 and runs down the street to retire his debt to the pig farmer.

The pig farmer takes the $100 and heads off to pay his bill to his supplier, the Co-op.

The guy at the Co-op takes the $100 and runs to pay his debt to the local prostitute, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer her “services” on credit.

The hooker rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill with the hotel owner.

(Almost done…keep reading)

The hotel proprietor then places the $100 back on the counter so the traveler will not suspect anything. At that moment the traveler comes down the stairs, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, picks up the $100 bill and leaves.

No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole town now thinks that they are out of debt and there is a false atmosphere of optimism and glee.

And that, my friends, is how a “stimulus package” works!

Help Bring Jobs to Virginia

How would you have responded to this email I received? Comment and I will compile the list and send it back to them.


I hope this email finds you well. I am ###### ####### and I am with the Virginia Department of Business. I am contacting you in response to some comments you left when responding to our recent survey.

You comment said that you have too many comments and suggestions to list. Here at the Virginia DBA we would like to hear them. The Commonwealth is looking everywhere we can for ideas that will help get people back to work. The one thing that I ask is that when you send us your ideas make sure to select “reply all” to this email so that it will also go to our Director of Business Information Services, ##### #######. Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you,

###### ######
Virginia Department of Business Assistance

Amazon Kindle with Ads

Even though I do not own a standalone Amazon Kindle device, I am Kindle user. I use the Kindle application on my smartphone to read books. I considered buying a Kindle, but have not done so yet. I would love to have one, but don’t have the cash to justify reading the books on another device instead of my phone when reading them on my phone works just fine.

Amazon recently introduced a new version of the 3rd generation Kindle. It is nearly identical to the Wifi-only version but shows advertisements when the device is “off” and on the home screen when browsing books and whatnot. For this, you get $25 off the price of $139. This leaves you at $114 for a device with ads vs. $139 for a device without ads. Not worth the $25 right now if you ask me; HOWEVER, I think over time we will see the price come down even further. If it is a viable advertising platform, I think Amazon will get to a “sell the razor cheap but mark up the razor blades” style of thinking. I can see a future where Amazon Kindles are more in the $20-50 range if you agree to advertising and perhaps carry a subscription of some sort (perhaps two or more paid magazine or newspaper subscriptions) on it. This model seems to work for the mobile phone industry. My $700 Android phone only cost me $99 as a result. I bet it will also work for Amazon once they work out the particulars.

The Bayh Dole Act

One thing I learned over the years is that if a work is created by the government, it is in the public domain. This means if a book is written, a work of art painted, or even a photograph snapped by the government, it belongs to everyone and they can use it to their liking with or without the creator’s permission. This includes use for profitable and commercial purposes. Today I learned that there is more than meets the eye. Enter the Bayh Dole Act.

I noticed on the White House website that the government was somehow charging for use of patents created through government funding. Since I thought the government’s work was all public domain, this confused me a little. I decided to ask someone in the know. I found a ranking U.S. Department of Energy official’s email address and asked her. Her response was:

“Lab IP is owned by Lab M&O contractor, unless they pass on it back to ther federal govt.
See Bayh Dole”

After reading the Wikipedia article in detail, I thanked her for the information and went on about my day. Then it hit me… what if, for example, I funded billions of dollars of research and came up with a widget and patented it. Then the government decided to fund research for a similar widget and let the researcher keep the patent? My widgets would, understandably, be ridiculously overpriced to absorb the R&D costs whereas my competition could charge a percentage and still make huge profits. Something just isn’t right about that. How do we fix it? I can certainly think of a few ideas. Perhaps it is time for some grant funding reform.

Ode to Whitley

As some of you know, my studies were a blend of business, computer science, marketing, and economics. I am one of those rare cases where what I did my degree work in actually applies to my career from day to day. Most of my daily work is working with Auctioneers who want to market themselves and/or their auctions. With the rise of social media in recent years, it has been somewhat of a struggle to get them acclimated to the new marketing opportunities presented by social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. Struggle? Not this guy! Look carefully at this screenshot from his company’s fan page:

Looks like a stick!?So let’s analyze this for just a minute.

  1. It has a call to action, the challenge (“What is this?”)
  2. You have to be a fan to see the full size image and win the prize (“Building the tribe”)
  3. The person who wins gets…. a BRANDED hat to wear and advertise RMEB (“Branding 101”)

Well done, Mr. Whitley. Interaction via Facebook at its finest. Everyone should do two things:

First: Click here and “Like” Mr. Whitley’s company fan page.

Second: Click here and “Like” Mr. Rasmus’ company fan page.

Why the second one? You’ll find out soon! Stay tuned.