EppsNet Archive: Money

Teaching Computer Science: How to Get Top-Notch Teachers in the Classroom

I read something every day where educators and/or elected officials are talking about the importance for our kids, our country, our future, etc., of teaching computer science, the sticking point being an extreme shortage of qualified teachers. A person entering the workforce with a computer science degree is unlikely to go into teaching because of the opportunity cost: they can earn a lot more money as a software engineer. The likelihood of getting a mid-career tech industry professional to switch into teaching is even lower. Teacher salaries are based in large part on years of service. A mid-career person switching into teaching is not going to get a mid-career teacher’s salary, they are going to get a first-year teacher’s salary. So here’s the idea: Give CS professionals the opportunity to apply their years in industry to years of service as a teacher. It’s still a pay cut going from software… Read more →

“I Need to Pay Higher Taxes,” Says Bill Gates

If Bill Gates really believed that, he could decide how much he “should” pay, subtract it from what he’s required to pay, and send Uncle Sam a check for the difference. Which he doesn’t do. Gates was talking about taxes in the context of the recent tax bill not being progressive enough for his liking. “People who are wealthier tended to get dramatically more benefits than the middle class or those who are poor,” he said. Bill Gates is as smart as anyone I can think of, so I think his remarks are disingenuous rather than uninformed. People who are “wealthier” (“people with higher incomes” would be more accurate) benefit more from income tax cuts because they pay dramatically more in taxes to begin with (see chart). For example, the top 1 percent of earners pay almost as much into the federal income tax pool (38 percent) as the bottom… Read more →

TFW Hackers Steal $530 Million From Your Cryptocurrency Exchange

$530 million cryptocurrency heist may be biggest ever — CNNTech Read more →

Good News, Bad News on Minimum Wage

Good news: Seattle (among other cities) has established a $15.00 minimum wage. Bad news: Seattle (among other cities) is automating minimum wage jobs out of existence. Readers are invited to formulate their own cause-and-effect hypotheses. Read more →

Two Reasons For the Low Number of Women in Computer Jobs

I saw this chart on LinkedIn with the heading “Chart: Women in tech continue to face uphill battle” and the hashtag #STEMSexism. The first reason for the low number of women in computer jobs is that we rarely hear about women in computing except in the context of pay gaps, harassment, discrimination, “uphill battles” and #STEMSexism. It’s self-perpetuating. “Computing is a terrible profession for women in so many ways.” Followed by “Why aren’t there more women in computing?” You’ve answered your own question. If you think computing is a hostile profession (I do not, btw), why do you want more women to go into it?   The second reason for the low number of women in computer jobs — sometimes the simplest explanations are the best — is that women prefer to do other things. Men and women are different and make different choices about their lives, as a result… Read more →

Soda Sticker Shock in Seattle

Seattle is trying to discourage its citizens from drinking sugary beverages by imposing a 1.75-cent per ounce tax on all sugary drinks sold in the Emerald City. A $15.99 case of Gatorade at the Seattle Costco now has an added tax of more than $10. A case of Coke is now $7.35 more expensive than the Diet Coke or Coke Zero. Sticker shock! What will people drink instead of sugary beverages? Coffee. Seattle drinks a lot of coffee. Is coffee good for you? What if you put sugar in it? Beer. At these prices, it’s cheaper than soda. Diet soda. Are artificial sweeteners better for you than sugar? Fruit juice. Not taxed but contains a lot of sugar. Should there be a tax on all-you-can-eat buffets? How about a tax credit for eating a vegetable? Or maybe — just maybe — the tax code was not designed for and shouldn’t… Read more →

Is Healthcare a Right or an Entitlement?

That’s the title of a lengthy article on LinkedIn in which the author makes the following argument: I had to spend more than $30,000 on cancer treatment. Therefore, healthcare is a right, not an entitlement. Because having a “right” to something implies that you have the right to force another person to work and pay for that thing. You can add a level of abstraction, i.e., “the government should pay for my healthcare” sounds more appealing than “another person should pay for my healthcare” but where do you think government gets the money to pay for things? The article also offers this: Prisoners get free healthcare and shouldn’t we get the same rights as prisoners? Of course, prisoners give up a lot of rights in exchange for free healthcare but if you think it’s a good tradeoff, commit a crime and go to prison. If we, as a country, did… Read more →

The Miser and the Angel of Death

A miser had accumulated, by effort, trade, and lending, three hundred thousand dinars. He had lands and buildings, and all kinds of wealth. He then decided that he would spend a year in enjoyment, living comfortably, and then decide as to what his future should be. But, almost as soon as he had stopped amassing money, the Angel of Death appeared before him, to take his life away. The miser tried, by every argument which he could muster, to dissuade the Angel, who seemed, however, adamant. Then the man said: “Grant me but three more days, and I will give you one-third of my possessions.” The Angel refused, and pulled again at the miser’s life, tugging to take it away. Then the man said: “If you will only allow me two more days on earth, I will give you two hundred thousand dinars from my store.” But the Angel would… Read more →

Wild Wild Life

Sleeping on the interstate oh oh oh Getting wild, wild life Checkin’ in, checkin’ out! Uh, huh! I got a wild, wild life Spending all of my money and time oh oh oh Done too much wild, wild We want to go, where we go, where we go oh oh oh I doing wild, wild life Read more →

Tech Gender Bias: Men Not as Concerned

According to LinkedIn: Despite a string of revelations that women in tech face considerable headwinds — from persistent gender-based pay gaps (per Bloomberg), to limited VC funding for female-led startups (per Fortune), to sexual harassment (per The New York Times) — just 29% of men say that discrimination is a major problem in the industry, according to data from Pew. In fact, some 32% of men claim that it’s not a problem at all. Here’s why I claim that it’s not a problem: Women are capable of making decisions for themselves. For the most part, they choose to do things other than work in tech and do startups. So what? (Pay gaps and harassment are not tech-specific, obviously.) Thus spoke The Programmer. Read more →

A Hotbed of Asininity

I’ve never heard of this woman but she has a verified account and claims to be a Harvard woman: The fact that presidents are raising money from the public for something the government should pay for is disgusting. https://t.co/2GMAZ4E6JX — Kimberly N. Foster (@KimberlyNFoster) October 22, 2017 OK . . . but where do you think government gets the money to pay for things? Sometimes I think America should change its marketing from the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave to A Hotbed of Asininity. Read more →

Spot the Fake News: Obamacare Subsidies

I read four news stories on the same topic — the end of Obamacare subsidies to insurance companies. The Wall Street Journal plays it straight down the middle: President Donald Trump’s executive order on health care issued Thursday marks the first major salvo in what the White House promises will be an extensive, targeted campaign to unravel the Affordable Care Act administratively. As does Bloomberg: President Donald Trump said he is moving “step by step” on his own to remake the U.S. health care system because Congress won’t act on his demand to repeal Obamacare. The Trump administration took its most drastic measure yet to roll back the Affordable Care Act Thursday evening, announcing it would cut off a subsidy to insurers hours after issuing an executive order designed to draw people away from the health law’s markets. See if you can spot the fake news in the Politico version:… Read more →

The Five Hundred Gold Pieces

One of Junaid’s followers came to him with a purse containing five hundred gold pieces. “Have you any more money than this?” asked the Sufi. “Yes, I have.” “Do you desire more?” “Yes, I do.” “Then you must keep it, for you are more in need than I; for I have nothing and desire nothing. You have a great deal and still want more.” Read more →

Where the Hell’s My Money?

Judas can say what he likes. He can go and hang himself. The money bag won’t help him either. He’ll have to leave it behind. The money belongs to me . . . Read more →

Making it Through High School Alive

Baltimore schools spend a staggering $16,000 per student – the fourth-highest rate in the nation – and still an investigation by Fox45’s Project Baltimore revealed that at six city schools, not one student scored proficient on the statewide tests for English and math. At West Baltimore’s Frederick Douglass High, one of five high schools and one middle school where not one student scored a four or a five on the state test, only one out of 185 students who took the test last year scored a three, while 165 students scored a one, the lowest possible score. — Zero Hedge The schools are: Booker T. Washington Middle School Frederick Douglass High School Achievement Academy at Harbor City New Era Academy Excel Academy at Francis M. Wood High New Hope Academy It looks like if you live in Baltimore, you want to avoid sending your child to a school whose name… Read more →

10 Reasons That NY Times Chart Might Not Mean What You Think It Means

From the New York Times: Money is not the only metric for measuring life outcomes. Charts and articles like this seem to reflect an inappropriate obsession with narrowly materialist values. If you do want to measure your life with money, it looks like the 99th percentile is where you want to be. Why aren’t you there? Why aren’t you a CEO? Why aren’t you making a million a year? If you can’t figure out how to get there, don’t begrudge the people who did figure it out. If you don’t have the education, motivation, intelligence or skills to get there, don’t begrudge those who do. The amount of wealth is not a fixed amount. It’s not a zero-sum game. If it were, it would be concerning that a few people are very wealthy. But it isn’t. The distribution of income has to be skewed to the right because income is… Read more →

Regal Cinema is Alienating Me

Went to the movies yesterday and found that Regal Cinema has joined the ranks of Chevron and Walgreens as companies willing to hit up customers for a charitable donation as part of their regular purchase. You’re part of an industry that burns up a billion dollars making pirate movies and Baywatch and special effects science fiction bullshit. Donate that money to whatever cause you’re passing the hat for, instead of hustling the customers for a donation over and above the price of a ticket and a 6-dollar soda and a 10-dollar sack of popcorn, and then tooting your own horn over your generosity and community involvement. Read more →

Big Losers

I saw this headline on an AP story today — Poor and disabled big losers in Trump budget. The story includes a photo of the budget (see below), so I think it’s safe to say that the AP writer didn’t read the entire thing before announcing who the “big losers” are. He’s just flogging his own agenda. (See also Harvard Study Says Media Are Very Biased Against Donald Trump) “Trump’s plan for the budget year beginning Oct. 1 makes deep cuts in safety net programs . . .” the story says. What’s the difference between a “cut” and a “deep cut”? The latter sounds mean and scary. Why not just say something factual like “10 percent cut” or “50 percent cut” and let readers put their own characterization on it? “Safety net programs” is also a loaded expression. “Trump’s budget would cut the food stamp program by $191 billion over… Read more →

Monday Night at the Chevron

I like the sodas at Chevron . . . they’re not restaurant quality, but they’re better than the flat, tasteless sodas you get at most other gas stations. On the downside, Chevron as often as not has some donate-a-buck-to-charity shakedown going on at the register. Today the place is plastered with photos of bald children with brave smiles on their faces . . . “Would you like to donate to St. Jude pediatric cancer research?” the clerk asks. “I already donated two dollars last week and they haven’t cured it yet?”   Meanwhile, I notice another employee plucking all the hot dogs off the rotisserie with a pair of tongs and dropping them in a trash can . . . “You have to throw those out if they sit too long?” I ask the clerk. “Yes.” “Do you ever pluck a couple off and eat them if you’re hungry?” “No,”… Read more →

I Almost Got Into a Fistfight With a Realtor

My wife and I stopped by an open house yesterday . . . after looking around, my wife said something to the listing agent, an oily-haired Chinese guy, about the fact that we’re working with a buyer’s agent and he said, “No agent! You get a better deal with no agent.” “So we cut our agent out of the deal and save some money,” I said. “It sounds like that’s what you’re suggesting.” “Agents charge 2 percent. You get a better deal with no agent.” “OK, but I like to get paid for my work. I’m sure you like to get paid for your work. Why would you suggest not paying someone for their work?” “It’s up to you,” he said. “You can save some money.” “How about if we just talk to the seller directly and cut you out of the deal?” “I have a contract,” he said. “They… Read more →

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