Saturday, November 5, 2011

China quote of the day

“China should be thanking Greece every day, for keeping the World’s financial gaze away from East Asia.”
-James Chanos, Kynikos Associates

I know many people who buy the china story.  I am still on the fence.  Long term, she might have potential.  However, long term, peak oil will hit and we will be dead.

Friday, November 4, 2011

This is why housing here is so expensive.

something like 60% of China's rich wants to leave the country.  There are massive capital here as a result, as well as one overpriced housing market.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Aphorisms reposted.

  1. Studying is often the surest way to avoid having an original thought.
  2. If the only reason you’re pursuing something is because you should, you shouldn’t.
  3. People find a certain joy in seeing politicians struggle with their internal contradictions, unless they voted for them.
  4. If you can fathom a bad thing happening to you, it can happen today.
  5. When pontificating about a problem there is the very real possibility that any solution you propose might be the real problem.
From Coffee Theory

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Renting VS Buying

Somebody did a study comparing renting vs buying decisions.

I sometimes think maybe I should stop trumpeting the benefits of renting a home. Granted, my home has grown much in value over the years, but I do not believe I want to take out a mortgage for this purpose. If more people own homes maybe then renting would become even cheaper for me.

Here is the link to the article.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

hmm, derby

The roller derby scene in vancouver seem to be expanding at a pretty fast clip. A few years back when a few of my friends first started i did not expect them to grow to our present spectacle. As the ring takes place in an ice rink marked at the boundaries by colored tape, it has a startup charm that seem to attract quite a crowd. The movie 'whip it' with ellen page, no doubt, helped the proliferation of this sport immensely.

a roller derby game is a lot like any other sport. There are clear established rules, there is a certain amount of skill involved, and the standard uniform include shorts and stockings. One thing i did notice is that the players are almost monolithically white, and the crowd it attracts seem to be the quasi-hip, almost young variety. Self-selected is the perfect description for the participant makeup. This leads to two possible outcomes as far as i can see. One is staying in the niche it finds itself in and i suspect there will always be people who enjoy looking at girls skate and tackle each other, or it will be adopted into the mainstream and become different, thereby losing the very supporters it currently enjoys. Eww why is that ref guy wearing shorts that short?

Anyways, thats enough musing for awhile im going to slip out and buy some groceries before my friends start
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Stigmatization of the unemployed

It seems that it's difficult for unemployed to find a job. I certainly find it so. According to Naked Capitalism, it's because management are lazy and won't broaden their scope to people who does not have their exact skills. I think this is true, here is the link.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Just-In-Time to fail

After working at a production line for way too long. I started thinking about the philosophy of having your supply chain tightly linked to your product so that you hold next to no inventory because inventory cost money. I was taught that in managerial accounting in University.

After observing this in action, I have come to the following conclusion: since you cannot eliminate risk entirely, not having an inventory buffer is a recipe for production disruptions up and down the line. If your bottom-line depends on making specific shipments on a set schedule. This will result in unreliable production scheduling and missed shipments.

For example, since parts have to be ordered months in advance and the time of order and time of shipment arrival is not easily predictable. Not having a buffer of part inventories does not make any sense. What actually happened was the parts kept running out and the order never arrived on time and the shipments always have to be negotiated lower. This obviously did not jive well with management so every so often the panic button is pushed and workers are pushed to produce more. This has an unfortunate effect of increasing the rate of error in the process. Hopefully new production managers become better at this, otherwise they're definitely going to go out of business.

Friday, March 18, 2011

As good a quote on the new age as I can find

We know the consequences of this instinctively; we feel them. We know that having two thousand Facebook friends is not what it looks like. We know that we are using the software to behave in a certain, superficial way toward others. We know what we are doing “in” the software. But do we know, are we alert to, what the software is doing to us? Is it possible that what is communicated between people online “eventually becomes their truth”? What Lanier, a software expert, reveals to me, a software idiot, is what must be obvious (to software experts): software is not neutral. Different software embeds different philosophies, and these philosophies, as they become ubiquitous, become invisible. link

Sunday, March 6, 2011

No longer the new generation, but the lost generation

Youth unemployment is at an all time high, but that is not the issue here. The issue here is that changing realities means that the defined benefits of the past are no longer available for the current crop entering the workforce. However, there are still massive liabilities that needs to be paid off for the older generations who are just entering retirement age whose pension and meds benefits will have to come from somewhere. At some point within the next 10-20 years there has to be a reckoning where some sort of a compromise will be reached. I sure as hell do not want to pay into a system that is not going to support me or is going to give me vastly reduced benefits when I retire. Now as people pay into this they're going to see what I see and while nobody wants to throw any old people out on the streets, nobody can really afford to pay these generous pensions while raising kids at the same time. What I'm predicting is a lot of renegotiation and a lot of firms get crushed and bankrupt because of their commitments. GM is not the first, and it will not be the last. So what is there to do?

Friday, January 14, 2011

How to get men to message you more on dating sites

According to the geniuses at OKCupid. You must play up your flaws that is designed to cause maximum disagreement among men's opinion of you. If some guys think you're totally hot and some think you're totally not, you will get more messages than merely being cute by everyone's standards.

More juicy analysis at OKCupid

Monday, January 10, 2011

The internet and facebook, how can you not agree?

The internet is a little slice of serendipity cast off when great men dared to think about heavier things. Facebook is the Dark Matter of the universe.

-Kevin Ferry

Saturday, January 8, 2011

1st draft recommendation letter

(Insert letterhead here)

January 8, 2011

Dear Graduate Admissions Committee:

I am writing this letter in support of Mouta Chiang’s application for graduate admission to the Master of Science in Renewable Technology Management. Mouta and I discussed his recent decision to pursue graduate studies through your university. I applaud his decision and strong desire to take his dedication and skill to the next level.

As regional director of CTDI, I oversee operations in British Columbia and supervise Mouta’s work during his time at the company. I have worked with him for a year. The thing that impresses me the most is his calmness and fortitude under stress and his curiosity for learning. his calmness and fortitude under stress and his curiosity for learning. He is able to quickly master new equipment with the help of the company’s engineering staff. He constantly looks for new challenges and quickly develops a resourceful network of colleagues that respect and admire him. His English skill is excellent; he communicates effectively and trains new recruits in a multi-ethnic setting. I believe he is an ideal fit for a program involving both academia and industry. I would highly recommend his acceptance into the Master of Science program in Renewable Technology Management.

Kind regards,

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Why I think buying a house is a bad idea

Many of my friends are getting married and buying houses. While I am extraordinarily happy they're moving forward with their lives, I cannot bring myself to view home ownership as a good idea, especially in Vancouver.

As you may or may not know, Vancouver housing prices has doubled over the past decade. This is substantial, and may not end anytime soon. I feel that this price increase is not sustainable, and I am going to lay out why.

The increase in prices in Vancouver is due to a lack of build-able space, thanks to geographically constraints in the shape of beautiful mountains and ridges and water. One other reason is the influx of wealthy immigrants. These immigrants are usually financially well off in their home countries and can afford to bid up the prices on properties in the Fraser Valley. This has the effect of buoying the housing market, making everyone feel richer and masking the underlying problem of a lack of real industry and job creation. A second reason is asian industrial economies appetite for resources. This also allows BC to live better than the underlying economic fundamentals will allow.

Here is where we run into a problem: China cannot grow at the current pace indefinitely. One reason is Peak Oil. There is just no way current growth rates are sustainable. Secondly, with the ongoing financial paralysis and the subsequent economic uncertainty means that companies are not paying people very much. This leads to consumers not able to buy more, which means exporting countries like China cannot grow their exports. Now China is countering this with rising investments. However, investing only make sense if you can make use of the investment. A lot of what I've seen suggests that China is already awash in overcapacity. At some point the factories builders will not able to find companies still wanting to build factories. Road and bridge builders will run out of projects that generates a positive return. You can not prosper by wasting money, and building things that are not going to be used feels like waste.

When the inevitable slowdown happens, the gravy train will stop and the money will stop flowing and the wealthy Chinese officials and businessmen will feel less wealthy and less willing to spend money on expensive Vancouver real estate. This will mean more selling than buying, which leads to prices coming down. My friends who all gone out to buy houses will find that their houses are worth less than what they paid for. Some of them will default, some of them will not. Unfortunately the CHMC has guaranteed the loans so I'll be stuck paying for their decisions through my taxes if they go bad. Heads they win, tails I lose.