Bill's Blog

10/ 9/2016 Name Change Followup

Well, thank you all for not giving a damn what we call this blog. I’m inclined to leave it alone. ... more

10/ 3/2016 Well, dang

Well, dang. Sometimes a person just happens to say something and then other things happen. Sometimes the first person never knows that he or she started something, even after seeing the aftermath. But that won’t happen here; I’m about to tip off the person who happened to say something, right in the next paragraph but one. ... more

9/18/2016 APL

In 1983 we went on vacation to the Yucatán Peninsula. We initially reserved rooms (and paid for them) at a hotel in Cancún. Mexico devalued the peso and suddenly Cancún became everyone’s destination. The hotel defaulted on our reservation. ... more

7/29/2016 Video

While testing a new Linux distribution, I went to the Wall Street Journal online to see how the video-in-a-browser worked. It didn't.[1] Oh well. ... more

6/13/2016 Productivity II

In 2005 I started a new job in Philadelphia. It didn't take me long to realize that I was spending more per month on gas than the cost of a SEPTA pass, SEPTA being the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority, swallower-up of the Reading and Pennsylvania railroads along with various light rail lines. ... more

5/ 2/2016 Productivity I

I received a client's trial balance, along with some other working papers, from the client's auditor. When the email came in, I saw what the workpapers were and filed them. Yesterday I had to go look at them in some detail. I was flabbergasted. ... more

4/ 4/2015 Libertarian and economics

"Felix would be better off in the sense of higher lifetime earnings if he were given a cash transfer to invest than a subsidy restricted to education." (Lovenheim-Turner, Economics of Education, forthcoming from Macmillan Education) ... more

3/ 7/2016 Guest Blog: Sunk Costs

Economists talk about sunk costs as being irrecoverable, hence not relevant to decision making. But it seems to me that a lot of sunk costs are also investments, and investments really should be considered in the budget. Say you bought a Matisse--not one of the really good ones--for top dollar in 2007. Two years later you couldn't sell it for a wallpaper pattern and the painfully high number of millions you spent was a sunk cost. But you bought it because you liked it, and you still like it. Also, those Chinese will bounce back one of these days, and when they've bought back all the trade goods China has ever exported, they'll start to buy Western again. However, you still can't get your money out of it, so the economists would tell you to ignore the money you spent on it. ... more

3/ 1/2016 My Search for the Ultimate Stylesheet

This page is made up of several files, but it does not contain a JavaScript file. JavaScript is the programming language of the Web. Many web pages rely heavily on JavaScript, and they may upload several files to your computer. Me, I like to ask before I run a program on your computer. Seems rude, not to mention presumptuous, just to barge in and tinker. ... more

2/ 4/2016 Depreciation

I sat in a committee meeting recently as we labored over depreciation. I had a hard time because I rarely consider it. The number is just a calculation I must do based on estimated useful lives of questionable accuracy. ... more