Monday, September 20, 2010

Quotes of the day

I'm thinking of hiring someone for a job, but for a $50,000 salary, it will cost me $90,000 after FICA, health care ... and the employee will only see about $30,000.--Anthony Scaramucci, CNBC forum with President Obama

The very fact that Congress and the President are ignoring [filling the 3 open seats on the Federal Open Market Committee], pretty much tells me that they are clueless on monetary policy. On the other hand, both groups do favor more AD, so their “heart” is in the right place. And of course I’m a big believer in democracy. So who do I favor making the decisions; the clueless or the heartless? I’m tempted to say “Whoever agrees with me; first tell me the target Congress would set.” But of course that’s cheating. The honest answer is that I don’t know. But it is becoming increasingly clear that we won’t get good policy until this dilemma is resolved.--Scott Sumner

In the past 10 years, 141,000 women, or 2.6% of female workers in finance, left the industry. The ranks of men grew by 389,000 in that period, or 9.6%, according to a review of data provided by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The shift runs counter to changes in the overall work force. The number of women in the U.S. labor market has grown by 4.1% in the past decade, outpacing a 0.5% increase in male workers. The difference is pronounced at brokerage firms, investment banks and asset-management companies. The figures suggest that women bore the brunt of the layoffs in the recent recession. But other forces are at play. Across the economy, computers have replaced junior, back-office workers, jobs that were largely filled by women.--Kyle Stock

LAST MONTH, the College Board, the ubiquitous arbiter of educational achievement, announced that the United States now ranks twelfth among thirty-six developed nations in its percentage of young adults who have a traditional college degree. According to a 2007 study, only 40 percent of young adults in the United States had obtained even an associate’s degree; by comparison, 56 percent of young adults had done so in Canada, making it the world leader in educational attainment. Statistics like those put out by the College Board are misleading: they promote a foolish sense of tunnel vision, leading students t believe that the only possible way of obtaining even a middle-wage job is through the traditional, four-year college route. Reliance on the standard liberal arts degree as a benchmark for competence belies not only the fact that many jobs simply don’t require such an education, but also that middle-wage jobs are going unfilled due to a lack of applicants with the necessary specialized skills. This fallacy is particularly evident when looking at Labor Department data, which shows that despite all-time highs in unemployment, certain industries—business services, health care, education, and particularly manufacturing—have had record increases in middle-wage job openings, with not nearly enough qualified applicants to fill the positions. These are not jobs that will be filled simply by increasing the output of bachelor’s degree holders nationwide; instead, these jobs require specific types of skilled labor that are, problematically, not taught in any conventional school setting.--Ilana Garon

On balance, recycling programs lower our wealth.--Daniel K. Benjamin

Doubling the size of a city increases wealth and innovation by about 15 percent, but it also increases the amount of crime, pollution, and disease by roughly the same amount.--Geoffrey West

DARPA started life as ARPA (without the "D" for Defense) in response to the Soviet Union's 1957 launch of Sputnik. It was conceived as America's first space agency. But when NASA came online just a few months later, ARPA nearly didn't survive. It survived by branching out into other areas besides space, including information technology. And it survived by becoming a sort of dumping ground for projects that the armed services either didn't want or didn't know what to do with. That was how ARPA got its first computer, a surplus 250-ton, room-filling machine made to analyze radar data for the Air Force, along with the support staff needed to operate it. From there ARPA began its experiments in time sharing, interactive computing, and the ARPANET that was the genesis for today's Internet. ... DARPA's mission has always been to prevent our country's adversaries from gaining technological advantages over us (i.e., to prevent technological surprises like Sputnik), and to help the military generate surprises of its own. The fact that DARPA has become so important to our national R&D infrastructure is a measure of its success in attracting the best minds to work on its programs. That its work has lead to so many generally useful technologies is a wonderful side benefit, and DARPA should be a model for other agencies that follow its lead in the pursuit of non-defense technologies. But it can't be all things to all people.--Michael Belfiore

The Apple has excellent speech, the best software speech I’ve heard. Alex has the most emotion of any synthesizer. He even breathes. I’ve cracked up several times at his intonation while reading funny parts of this text. Apple deserves nothing but praise for their efforts. Learning how to use my Magic Trackpad to navigate the current application’s window just as I would on my iPhone or iPad has me falling in love. This represents the cutting edge of accessible technology for the blind. It cuts! I joyfully look forward to the day when blind people finally catch on and realize that for $700, HALF the cost of JAWS for Windows, the most popular software used or rather pushed on the blind, they can get a fully functional computer that delivers a superior experience and comes with a superior screen reader with superior speech. May the Mac relegate Windows to the recycle bin, where it properly belongs.--Austin Seraphin

So the AFC East is not going to be a runaway, as it turns out, and took only two weeks to prove it. The Patriots beat the Bengals, who beat the Ravens, who beat the Jets, who beat the Patriots. Round and round it goes. What a vicious cycle.--Tony Massarotti

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