THIS BLOG IS MY BLOG. THIS BLOG IS MY BLOG. Welcome to the Home of Hyperopia.: October 2006

Friday, October 27, 2006



(My apologies to the family crowd for the crudeness of the foregoing. It's an inside joke. But I do genuinely believe that the outcome of the 2006 World Series is an abomination.)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

On Articulationary Challenges - Part 1

My new favorite tongue twister is:
  • mixed biscuits

Good luck, people.

Monday, October 23, 2006

On Perplexion - Part 1

So "perplexion" is the state of being perplexed. And that resembles precisely my condition upon learning that a particular belief I have -- that Jim Rogers is a keenly intelligent man who is extremely wise about many matters political, economic, and historical -- is not universally accepted.

To me, Jim's erudition literally leaps off the pages of his books Investment Biker and Adventure Capitalist. To me, the correctness of his analysis on a large number of topics is abundantly apparent. But, I learned in a conversation in which I participated some time ago, there are people who think he "is a dangerous idiot." And who, on further inquiry, disclose that they think he is absolutely, steadfastly wrong on generally all topics on which he ventures an opinion.

The question this leaves me with is, of course, how can an experienced, intelligent person get that one so remarkably wrong?

One answer is of course that maybe I'm the one who is wrong. Of course I don't think so! So instead I choose to believe that this person has gotten this question (whether Jim Rogers is a wise man or an idiot) wrong because this person simply doesn't like Jim's ideas. This person thinks Jim is a "dangerous idiot" because he disagrees with Jim's ideas. Of course that's a big part, I suppose, of why I think Jim is right. Because I agree with him.

But that's not entirely true either, I don't think. I like Jim's ideas and I agree with Jim's ideas because I think what he has to say makes sense. I think what he has to say is logical and more likely to be correct than the explanations for world events proferred by neocons (or, if you prefer, the current administration in the White House).

But hell, what do I know?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

On the (Potential) Cost of Crime - Part 1

I commute to work. My office is about 35 miles from my house. On my return trip, I customarily take the exit off the freeway and travel approximately one mile on the frontage road (in Texas the frontage road is called the "feeder" by the way; I've not heard it referred to as the "feeder" anyplace else; I like referring to it as the "feeder") to a go light at which I turn right.

The posted speed limit on the feeder is 45 mph. The posted speed limit on the freeway is 65 mph. Many nights when I am getting home, I find it difficult to accept traveling 45 mph on a nice, three-lanes-of-traffic-going-north concrete road. It is a difficult adjustment to make from going 75 to 80 on the five-lanes-of-traffic-going-north concrete road of the freeway moments before. So I generally do not adjust my speed. I usually drive this stretch of my commute at 60 mph.

I consider 15 mph over the speed limit to be excessive enough to earn me a ticket if I am unlucky enough to be driving that fast at the wrong time when Johnny Law is in the wrong place (observing me speeding).

So I could just slow down.

But I don't want to. So tonight I crunched some numbers. I thought it might be interesting to see how much my decision to speed is costing me based on a particular arbitrary set of assumptions I came up with.

The assumptions are:

  • I will get one ticket per 50 weeks of commuting on average.
  • The ticket I get will cost USD$350 and the "traffic school" I will go to so I can avoid a blemish on my driving record and the accompanying hike in insurance premiums will cost USD$400.

The math is:

  • It takes 1.3333333333 minutes to travel one mile at 45 mph (the posted speed limit for the subject patch of road).
  • Over 50 weeks of commuting, if I drive this one mile piece of road at 45 mph, I will spend a total of 333.333333 minutes navigating this part of my commute.
  • It takes 1 minute to travel one mile at 60 mph (the speed I customarily drive).
  • Over 50 weeks of commuting, if I drive this one mile piece of road at 60 mph, I will spend a total of 250 minutes navigating this part of my commute.

So I save a little more than 83 minutes driving 60 mph as compared to driving 45 mph. But I am spending $750 to save those 83 minutes. That's $9 per minute. That's over $500 an hour.

That's a lot.

Another way to think about it is:

The traffic stop will take 20 minutes from start to finish. I will also have to spend probably no less than six hours finding a traffic school to attend, attending the course, submitting the paperwork, following up to make sure indicia of my violation have been properly expunged from the record, and so on and so forth.

Twenty minutes for the traffic stop plus 720 minutes of lost time dealing with the traffic school is significantly more time lost than the 83.3333333 minutes gained by speeding for 50 weeks.

Isn't that interesting.

P.S. Of course the assumption that I will get one ticket per 50 weeks of commuting may be overly conservative. Just last night I was driving home at about midnight. There were very few cars on the road. So I was actually going 65 mph on the subject one mile stretch of road. And as I approached the corner for my turn a cop raced past. Not pulling me over. Not pulling anyone over. Didn't have his lights on or anything. Just driving like 85 mph (40 mph over the posted limit) passing me doing 20 mph over the posted speed limit like I was not going particularly fast at all. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....

Photo credits: here

Thursday, October 05, 2006

On Lifetime Goals, Part 1 - Update #2

SUBTITLE: Open Letter to PDD

Time for another update on family progress towards that firstly announced lifetime goal -- at some point owning a larger number of dollars than the number of minutes I have been alive.

We continue to be a long ways from the goal.

Initial Announcement: HERE

First Update: HERE

CURRENT PROGRESS REPORT (as of September 30, 2006):

  • Minutes Alive -- 18,067,680.
  • Net Worth -- up about 29% since December 31, 2005.

Percentage increase in minutes alive is about 2.2%. 29% is more than 2.2%. So that's good!

As noted in the first update, however, to achieve the lifetime goal by the time I turn 50, I need to be compounding our family net worth by 35% or more. And I'm not. So I'm falling further behind again. Alas ...