Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Trench Buffer Along Gaza?


From the article Hamas surprise attack out of Gaza stuns Israel and leaves hundreds dead in fighting, retaliation by JOSEF FEDERMAN and ISSAM ADWAN (AP, Oct. 7, 2023):

The strength, sophistication and timing of the Saturday morning attack shocked Israelis. Hamas fighters used explosives to break through the border fence enclosing Gaza, then crossed with motorcycles, pickup trucks, paragliders and speed boats on the coast.

Yet another Geopolitic


I wonder if deep trenches before the border fence would make it harder for the Hamas fighters to breach. I asked Bing Chat about trench surrounding Gaza and got this reply:

I searched for information about a trench between Gaza and Israel but I couldn’t find any information about it. However, I found that Egypt completed its digging of a ditch at the Rafah Crossing Point in June 2015. It is located two kilometres from the border with Gaza outside of Rafah City and part of the enlarged buffer zone. The buffer zone will include water-filled trenches to thwart tunnel diggers and will be 500 meter wide and extended along the 13 km border.

Monday, October 9, 2023

Is There A Gap In Paying Attention To The Gap In Pay?


From the article Claudia Goldin Wins Nobel in Economics for Studying Women in the Work Force by Jeanna Smialek (New York Times, Oct. 9, 2023):

The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded on Monday to Claudia Goldin, a Harvard professor, for advancing the world’s understanding of women’s progress in the work force.


In the past, gender wage gaps could be explained by education and occupation. But Dr. Goldin has shown that most of the earnings difference is now between men and women in the same jobs, the Nobel committee said. Notably, it kicks in after the birth of a woman’s first child.

In a 15-year study of business school students at the University of Chicago, for instance, Goldin and her colleagues found in one paper that the gap in pay started to widen a year or two after a woman had her first baby.


While there has been “monumental progressive change, at the same time there are important differences,” she said, and those differences often tie back to women doing more work in the home. “We’re never going to have gender equality until we also have couple equity.”

Yet another Economics


Should the gap in pay focus on not the salary difference but on the efficiency of the hours one assigns temselves (singular of themselves) to work for a company? A person with a new child may work fewer hours, and earn less pay - this is an easy spotting for a pay difference. What is harder to spot is a person doing the same full-time employment as teir (singular of their) peers, but with teir mind distracted, refusing to work long hours, finding excuses for not traveling, and making baby-related personal calls during working hours. A full-time working day of such a person is less productive than a full-time working day of teir peers who do not have a child to take care of, either through fewer input hours or less efficiency. Companies pay salaries based on the output, and whoever outputs more (either through more hours or more efficiency) earns more, fair and square.

Above, I use "person" instead of "woman". I know personally of a young man who just had twins. His team works 12 hours a day, and he restricts himself to 8 hours a day so he can go home early and be with his children. He expects to get a so-so annual review. He and his wife make good money and they have a nanny. But it is his choice to work full-time less. He should expect a "pay gap" with his coworkers who work full-time more.

To solve the so-called "pay gap" problem is more than looking at "gender equity" or "couple equity"; it is to look at "working hour efficiency" for both men and women. Measuring fewer hours is easy with a clock-in-clock-out or log-in-log-out setup. How to measure efficiency while one is doing work with the same number of hours as teir peers is a harder problem. Unlike a manufacturing operation where the number of gadgets produced is used for efficiency, the efficiency of white-collar work is not easy to measure. Finding a way to measure it would be worthy for another Nobel Economic Prize.

Saturday, October 7, 2023

Where is Bernie Sanders with the Eggs?


From the article The Egg-Price Narrative Gets Scrambled by Aaron Back (Wall Street Journal - Heard on the Street, October 4, 2023):

Back in January, after a particularly good quarter on the back of surging egg prices, Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted of the company, without using its name, that “Corporate greed is the producer of Egg-Land's Best, Farmhouse Eggs & Land O'Lake Eggs, increasing its profits by 65% last quarter to a record-breaking $198 million while doubling the price of eggs & reporting no positive cases of avian flu.”

Now the chickens have come home to roost—literally. Cal-Maine reported late Tuesday that egg production has recovered from the avian flu outbreak of 2022, which caused the deaths of nearly 58 million poultry in 47 states. Egg prices have collapsed as a result. Cal-Maine said its average selling price for eggs fell to $1.59 a dozen in its fiscal first quarter, compared to $2.28 a year earlier.

The company’s revenue in the quarter fell 30% from a year earlier. At the same time, though, labor and other costs have remained elevated, including expenses incurred to guard against future avian flu outbreaks. As a result, it posted an operating loss of $6.76 million, compared with an operating profit of $163.9 million a year earlier.

Yet another Economics


Where is Bernie Sanders now?

Is it yet another case of a clueless socialist living in the real world of capitalism? Another case for us to make fun of the like of Bernie Sanders?

Hardly! Mr. Sanders is a seasoned politician and knows what he is doing. Anything he says fits his brand of politics.

And what he says is very helpful. Yes, Cal-Maine increased the price of eggs due to a good business reason: the avian flu outbreak. However, without socialist politicians that issued alarmist sound bites, Cal-Maine as a good capitalist, will capitalize on this reason to tag on a little more than necessary profit - never let a crisis go to waste.

In Doc Ngu's Inexorable Law Of The Feedback Equation, the increase in price due to the avian flu is the forward equation, and the damping feedback equation is the socialists' and activists' alarms. All is well and good in the capitalist world.

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Customer Helper Aisle Robots Help Catch Shoplifters


From the article Costco, Lowe's, Best Buy, and Tractor Supply are winning the battle against retail theft in a strikingly similar way by Dominick Reuter (Business Insider, Sept. 23, 2023):

All four retailers prioritize having knowledgeable, helpful staff and have high levels of customer engagement.

"We just have more employees in our stores and they just do an exceptional job of watching out over our stores," Barrie said of Best Buy.

Meanwhile, a typical Tractor Supply location may have as many as eight people working in a relatively small, 20,000 square-foot store.

For Ellison at Lowe's the best investment was simple: "Having spent my entire adult life in retail at every level, the one thing that I understand clearly is that the greatest deterrent for any type of theft activity is effective customer service."

Yet another Economics


Eventually, helpful human staff will be assisted by helpful Customer Helper Aisle Robots (CHAR) that will roam the aisles. Customers just speak to the robots, and via artificial intelligence, the robots will provide assistance in human voice. The robots also have a screen that can show customers the layout map of the store, information about the products, and of course, promotions. Oh, and the robots also have cameras to detect shoplifting. The robots calmly inform the shoplifters that they better put the items back. If the shoplifters insist on concealing the stolen items, the robots inform the store security, follow the shoplifters, and even hinder their exit - all these actions, if done by humans, can expose the staff to violence.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Let's Have A Primary For the Democrat Vice President


From the article Biden Is a Dangerous Choice for Democrats by Karl Rove (Wall Street Journal, Sept. 6, 2023):

The poll is particularly brutal for Mr. Biden. When asked if he is “mentally up for the job of president,” 60% said no, 36% yes, and by an overwhelming margin—73% to 22%—they think Mr. Biden “is too old to run for president.”

Yet another Politics


Poll after polls say that an overwhelming of Americans think that Mr. Biden is too old for the presidential job. However, by tradition and calculation, no mainstream Democrat will mount an intra-party challenge to Mr. Biden, which would expose the shortcomings of the current Democrat agenda. There is an alternative. Mr. Biden is the quarterback, and quarterbacks get hurt all the time: Good teams will have a backup ready to pick up the game. The problem is not Mr. Biden, but Mr. Biden's vice-president. Many Americans who think Mr. Biden is too old, will accept Mr. Biden if he has a good vice president to pick up the job in case he becomes incapacitated. Is Ms. Harris, the current vice president, good? The polls say she has an even lower rating than her boss.

"Than her boss" is the gist of the problem. A vice-president in the U.S. is picked by the presidential candidate and then works for his or her president-"boss" if their ticket wins. Mr. Biden should change this arrangement for his second bid for the White House. Is Ms. Harris good? Let the voters decide. Instead of having a primary election for the presidency, Democrats should have a primary election for the vice presidency. It would be very lively, with Democrat candidates of presidential caliber vying for the vice-president job (and the 2028 presidential nomination since by law, Mr. Biden cannot run again). Mr. Biden would accept whoever came out winning as his vice president, but this person would be his understudy and sounding board, not his underling. If something were to happen to Mr. Biden, American voters would feel secure that they were still in good hands. Such a Biden-headed ticket would not be too bad.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Justin Fields Needs His Own Coach


From the article Justin Fields plans to play less ‘robotic,' be himself in clear indictment of Bears' coaching staff by Josh Schrock (Bears Insider, September 20, 2023):

When asked what led to him playing "robotic" Sunday in Tampa, Fields softly pointed the finger at a coaching staff that is so focused on its coaching points that it bogs him down on Sundays. Fields appreciates the game-week information but needs to trust his prep and cut loose on gameday instead of spending so much time trying to do things exactly how the staff wants.

Yet another Sports


Does the Chicago Bears coaching staff include a quarterback coach? If there is one, tey (singular they) is probably hired by the front office, the head coach, or the offensive coach. How about letting Justin Fields propose his own quarterback coach to be hired - one that understands Fields' playing style and with whom Fields is comfortable working? This quarterback coach will represent Fields within the coaching staff.

Come to think about it. Tennis players and golf players at the highest level hire their own coaches. Why can't quarterbacks?

Monday, September 4, 2023

Can Public Trains Be A Return-To-Office Perks?


The article Train Wi-Fi Can Be Terrible. Operators Are Looking High and Low for Solutions by Isabelle Bousquette (Wall Street Journal, Aug 30, 2023) talks about improved Wi-Fi on board trains, using either 5-G networks or low-earth-orbit satellites.

Yet another Economics


Let's offer the improved Wi-Fi on board trains as an incentive for Work-from-home (WFH) aficionados to return to the office (RTO). The start of their RTO days will be when they board the trains, not when they swipe their badge to enter the buildings. With the enhanced and secure Wi-Fi, once on board, they open their laptop and start working. Likewise, they can leave earlier at the end of the day and finish their work on the train. Assuming one hour on the train each way, they will gain two hours each day - not bad for RTO.

The train operators may offer special carriages for RTO workers, such as dedicated Wi-Fi, tables for laptops, and even privacy enclosures. The operators will charge extra of course, and companies will cover the extra charges for their employees as an RTO benefit.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Who's doing the WOOHOO?


From the article CNN Sinks To All-Time Low To Help Biden by Carver Malone (Analyzing America, August 29, 2023):

Biden has set an all-time record by vacationing 40% of the time while in office. In just 2.5 years in office, Biden has vacationed for an entire year.

He is doing the WOOHOO.

Yet another Economics


What is WOOHOO? But first, how many vacation days is a U.S. President entitled to? Check the web and you'll see tey (singular "they" for he or she) has 0 and unlimited vacation days: zero days because the president is at your service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even when tey declare the days as vacation days; unlimited days because tey can declare as many days as vacation days as tey need. But what is a presidential vacation? It is when tey take teir (singular "their" for his or her) on-call responsibility outside of the White House, which is teir official residence. So when the president goes on vacation, tey is doing the WOOHOO - Working Out Of Home Office Opportunity.

Who can also do the WOOHOO? Work-from-home (WFH) employees that log in from the beach.

Monday, August 28, 2023

One 2024 Republican Candidate - Let You Wear A Fedora Hat!


The article Dwight Eisenhower created a unifying brand of politics that the GOP needs today by Richard Striner (Chicago Tribune, Aug 27, 2023) shows a picture of President Dwight Eisenhower raising his fedora hat on a trip to Northwest University in Evanston, IL, to give a speech.

A fedora hat?

Yet another Politics


A fedora hat is a reminder of the 1950s and 1960s when politicians seemed to be better because everything seemed to be better under reminiscence. There are a dozen Republican candidates or so for the 2024 election. If you like to talk about issues instead of issuing sound bites for social media, wearing a fedora hat of yore shows your brain is in your head not on your mouth. You will be distinctively different as the only one wearing a fedora hat in a debate line-up. Mr. Trump has his MAGA red cap. Your fedora hat will look better. By the way, there are fedora hats for men and women too.