Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!

What are YOU thankful for?

(Courtesy of Mormon Messages,

I am thankful for my beautiful wife whom I love more than life, for my families, for good friends, for good coworkers, for opportunities to grow and learn, for good books, for the beauty of nature, for dinner rolls, for dogs, for hooded sweatshirts, for exercise, for fruits and vegetables, for Google, for missionary moments, for Super Mario games, for adoption, for opportunities to teach, and for staples.

Econ 110 Moment

I just thought I would share with y'all a quick thought from Econ 110.  This is a principle that is understood by most if not all people with any backbround in economics, but little understood by most people.

The argument is often made that a higher minimum wage will benefit the lower social classes, but this is untrue.
A higher minimum wage increases unemployment among uneducated and unskilled workers. 
The main point is that an increase in minimum wage means that firms must pay more for their employees.  As the price of employees increases, firms will decide that they cannot afford or do not need as many.  Less people will have jobs and, given the ultimatum, guess who firms are going to choose not to hire?  That's right.  The uneducated and the unskilled.
Also, because the wage is higher, more people will want to go to work who would otherwise stay at home.  This influx of workers will either crowd out other workers, or simply find that jobs are not available.

If anyone wants to add or correct this explanation, please feel free.  This has been your Econ 110 moment.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Oh! J. Ashten Svenn" or "Ashton J. Svenn, eh?"

Allow me to preface this post with the fact that this analysis is not meant to be in any way offensive.  I have a lot of respect for both Steve Nash and Grant Hill.  They both are great basketball players and--as far as I can tell--men of great class.  Good luck this season, Suns!

Since being traded to Phoenix in 2004, Steven John Nash has averaged over ten assists per game, made over 90 percent of his free throws,and won the MVP award two years in a row.  Some speculate that his magical ability to find his teammates and get them the ball comes from his years of experience in soccer; Nash was amazed at what he was capable of doing with a ball when he was allowed to use his hands.  I submit, however, that Steve Nash's abilities are nothing less than an extension of his powers over dark magic.

At first glance, one may not see much of a resemblance to his alter-ego, the Dark Lord Voldemort from the beloved Harry Potter series.

Indeed, one may argue that Nash looks nothing like the fell Tom Riddle.  I mean look at the many differences in the above pictures.  Steve Nash has hair, and a nose, and a smile.  And Steve Nash has hair.

But let's take a closer look.  What if Steve Nash were to remove his long, greasy wig?  Do you think it is coincidence that Nash tries to hide his exposed melon when the cameras are around?

The truth is beginning to surface.  But many questions remain unanswered.  How long has Lord Voldemort been hiding out as a muggle NBA star?  Was he not killed by Harry Potter in the end of the seventh novel by J.K. Rowling?  Doesn't Steve Nash have a nose?

The convenient truth is that the Harry Potter books were written about ten years after the actual events were said to have taken place.  This means that the fall of Lord Voldemort probably happened around 1994 (three years before the first book was published, and also the first year that Nash was named West Coast Conference Player of the Year at Santa Clara).

In response to the second question, one must remember that what J.K. Rowling wrote was just a book, a nice story for children.  How would her stories have sounded if she had written the truth that Voldemort had escaped and was in hiding, waiting to regain his power once more?

As for the nose...although You-Know-Who did a fairly good job covering it up, I believe that the little mishap during the 2007 NBA playoffs speaks for itself.

Result:  Steve Nash is Lord Voldemort

If that weren't enough, take another look at who else is hiding out in the Phoenix Suns' starting lineup.

That's right.  Grant Hill is also not who he seems.  It turns out that the 15-year NBA veteran is little more than an amazonian lemur in disguise.

And if you're still not convinced, take a gander at this shot of Hill from college at Duke. 

This kind of resemblance is no coincidence.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

VALS test

I am not sure who Strategic Business Insights (SBI) is or what all they do. In part, though, SBI has created this thing called the VALS test. The purpose of this test is to identify the psychographic background of you, as a consumer.

In other words, this test identifies how you see yourself so that marketers can more efficiently target you with their advertisements.  Based on your primary motivation and level of resources (both tangible and intangible), this test will sort you into one of eight categories below:

When I took the test, I found that I am mostly motivated by self-expression and I have a lot of resources at my disposal.  I am impulsive and variety seeking; sophisticated, in charge, and curious.  At least that is a reflection of how I see myself.  The most effective ads for me are on the Internet, in magazines, or otherwise in print.  I guess they assume that I read...

What do you think of my results?

Or better yet, what do you think of your own results:

*Images retrieved from, 11 November 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

I am colorblind, not stupid

My parents found out pretty early on that I have trouble with colors. I would come home from school with pictures I had colored of green-trunked trees with brown leaves. One day, I came home from church carrying a picture of Jesus with green hair.

The older I have grown, the more I have realized that being color deficient really does make a difference in the way I see the world. I used to think that I can see most colors, but that certain shades of green or red or brown are just hard to differentiate (can't just use the power rule on this one... haha... sorry, math joke). I have since learned that I cannot see pink unless it is hot pink, and that fall leaves change more colors than just yellow.

To get an idea of how I see the world, take a look here: What Color Deficient People See.

All three circles look the same to me.

I have verified the information on this website. I am not tritanope, but I can barely tell any difference between the pictures representing "normal", "protanope", and "deuteranope". None of those circles contain any numbers, and only with the help of my wife can I say that the street lights or the berries are not identical.

Before you get too excited, I want to just clarify one thing about colorblindness. Games like "what color is this?" and "what does this look like to you?" are not fun games. I promise.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Don't give up til it's over

I have always been a glass-half-full type of person. Never to be daunted by any barriers, I have always learned to make do with whatever life has allotted to me.

Generally speaking--though my mother may disagree--instead of just complaining about my situation or throwing my hands up whenever I am faced with major limitations, I always try to assess the situation.  I carefully analyze (1) my goal, (2) my assets, and (3) my limitations.  Then I make a plan based on the best I can do.

One example of this mentality is that as a kid, I wanted to be a computer animator: I did not know at all what that desire entailed, but I found that I really enjoyed drawing bitmap pictures in MS Paint.  I wish I had some old pictures of things that I created as a child that I could post on here.  I was never a very talented artist, but I feel like I pushed MS Paint to the limit with fairly decent results.

I soon discovered MS PowerPoint.  I could create a series of pictures and then display them one at a time--like real animation!  PowerPoint would even allow me to move a character from one point on the screen to another.  This was long before motion paths, mind you!  It took some creativity to figure out how to make my character move to a point on the screen; stop; and then move again after the giant, man-eating chicken appeared.  But once again, I feel like my little films were a success.

Later on, I downloaded a free version of Macromedia Flash 5.  My first real days of animation had begun.  I made two short movies (may they rest in peace) before my 30-day trial subscription ran out.

In my freshman year of college, I discovered that I am not a good enough artist to do animation; I switched to film.  Again limited by technology options (and time), I utilized the full abilities of Windows Movie Maker to create silly short films, like this one I made during the course of one FHE in October 2004.

You can imagine my excitement when, on the mission in Serbia, I had the opportunity to experiment with then-brand-new software like Adobe Photoshop CS3 and MS Office 2007.  I was able to completely revitalize the English-teaching program of the missionaries in Belgrade.

I created newspaper ads for the free daily paper, inspiring hundreds of people to come see what we were about.  I created placement tests, lesson plans, grade sheets, and final exams.  I even created business cards for all of the missionaries.  It was a lot of fun, and very successful.

My point is that no matter what it is that you want to do--as long as you are not locked in to one specific way of doing things--there is always a way to get it done.