Wednesday
Jun132018

Deficit of the Dead in Puerto Rico 

Today CNN reports that Puerto Rico released ~24000 post huricane death records to two news outlets out of concern that hurricane related deaths are being under reported.  So I'm confused, and don't have access to the dataset.

There is something odd obout that number, let me explain.  Its been by my accounting 265 days post Maria, and there are 365.2422 days in a year, and Puerto Rico has a population of approximately 3,742,016 people with a life expectancy of 79.57 years.  If Maria never happened there should of been about 34,121 deaths (265 days /365.2422 days/year * 3742016 lives /79.57 years per life = 34121 anticipated deaths).  

 Are they reporting unexpected deaths alone and not all deaths?  And how good is the reporting?  The CDC asks "But for the disaster, would the person have died when they did?"   Certainly 10,000 lives were not saved by Maria's!  

 The Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico estimated half a million people left, even so that would leave a natural expectation of 29,561 deaths.   This number would seem to be low as hitting ballpark 24000 deaths require 1,109,960 people (or more) to leave Puerto Rico.  Almost one in three.

That's staggering and heart breaking!  I can't use this circular model to get to the true causalty of Maria.   All I can state is roughly, island population departure rate + unreported death rate are approximately equal to 29.7%.    If the the island departure rate was about 13% (per the CTFEGPR estimate), then about 17% of natural deaths, perhaps four thousand in 266 days, were not officially recorded by Puerto Rico or took place outside Puerto Rico.  

The disaster has "fog of war" in the data.  Doubtless, survival is more important than perfect record keeping.   

Sunday
Jun102018

RIP Net Neutrality

Tomorrow marks the birth of a new US internet, perhaps a better one.  Certainly it will be better if better means more ways for a pipe to charge users and producers alike.

Think of it, what sheer delights could a Disney flavored internet hold.  Oh.. wait, scratch that... Disney is a content provider.  

What sheer delights could a Time Warner Cable company flavored internet bring, perhaps "Individual access charges by website?"  Who knows perhaps a Comcast flavored internet tastes like "Everything is framed with our Banner Ads all the time?"   Maybe Cablevision and Verizon will offer unique "man in the middle" flavored internets, while ATT sticks with its tried and true flavor, "Big Brother is Watching You."  And could not Cox Communications offer a "Premium Adult Rock Hard Cox" internet flavor?

One thing is for certain, these companies are suddenly worth a lot more to companies that are flush with cash than they use to be.  Why rebuy your own corporate stock when you could be rebuying access to your customers and limiting your competitions access to theirs?  

I expect a rally in this "shouldn't be worth much but now is" sector.

Let the new internet free for all begin, greed has made it so.

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New note: September 21, 2018.   The net still seem much the same- "One China" might well be the first of the flavored internets. 

Thursday
May312018

ABC Fires Roseanne After She Defames Two Large Advertisers

Apparently Roseanne enjoyed exercising her rights to free speech on Monday, Memorial Day and continued Tuesday with a peppering of tweets defaming Valerie Jarrett, Chelsea Clinton and George Soros.  Soros, a billionare that in the past has owned large holdings of Disney, has a multimillion dollar advertising buget across several networks.   

Disney ABC executives Channing Dungey (ABC Entertainment President), Ben Sherwood (President Television Group) and Bob Iger (Disney CEO) apparently reached out to Roseanne that morning.  Roseanne responded on twitter that she was "Leaving Twitter" and moreover blamed her seemingly impared judgement on a product manufacuted by YET another active ABC advertiser, Sanofi's Ambien hypnotic sleep aid.   Ambien spends nearly $207 million in ad placements per year.

Sanofi promply replied via twitter to Barr's tweet.

Roseanne, the TV show, had estimated ad revenue of $45 million set against costs of approximately 26 million dollars for 9 hours of television.   

Roseanne Barr was fired around 11am, and without her, Roseanne the TV show was cancelled.  Some news outlets have suggested the firing was motivated by a sense of social justice and not the blind cognition of corporate America.  I'm not 100% certain.

Tuesday
May222018

Congressional Budget Office: 2018 to 2028

https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/images/pubs-images/53xxx/53651-home-cover.png

 

In just a decade things could really change for US.  "The Little Engine That Could" times might be ahead... 

Tuesday
May222018

A Problem with "America First" and Saving Chinese ZTE Jobs

America First?  Can't say I'm a universally a defender of this policy but let me play devils advocate here.   What has ZTE done for America? 

Colluded against US companies with the Chinese government in order to transfer patent and trade secrets to a competitors?  Almost certainly.   Won US military contracts that appeared to be intentionally infested with spyware and posed serious military security risks?  Again, almost certainly.  What about given material aid to embargoed nations like Iran?   Yep, almost certainly.

The result:  a well earned ban on all US companies selling software or hardware to ZTE.   Except for some US orange reality TV executive taking pity on lost Chinese jobs, and lost - soon to be outsourced given ZTE’s well established practice - US revenue from selling said hardware and software. 

I just don't see "America First" moral consistency here. 

Offshoring takes a job and puts it in a different country with no net benefit to the host country.  Sell tech to ZTE and fully expect history to repeat itself.  Yes the host company might benefit by a production/tech transfer, but not the US GDP.  Compared to the "America First" stance on immigration - where every immigrant entry is seen as taking US citizen jobs - oversea outsourcing is somehow viewed as a favorable cost cutting measure.

Let me reference Okun’s Law:  a 1% increase in unemployment shift equates to a 3% drop in GDP, a 1% decrease in unemployment equates to a 3% increase in GDP (Gross Domestic Product).  Yes dear reader, a falling GDP is not really a very good thing.

Maybe let me put it this way, low paid immigrants actually live here, and actually spend money here, and even contribute to the economy here in a net positive way because they have to have living accommodations, have to eat, have to wear clothing, have to get around and largely have to work in lower paying less desirable jobs.  Even if immigrants compete for jobs with locals, as a whole they appear not to have a significant negative effect on the economy so long as they are not greatly focused in locality or intentionally impoverished.    

Outsourcing and offshoring directly increases unemployment.  It directly decreases GDP.  And yet democrats and republicans alike somehow see it as a vaguely good thing as under the guises of "globalism" or "revenue enhancement strategy."   

Encouraging outsourcing or offshoring should do not fit into any "America First" perspective.   

Do business with a company like ZTE at your own intelectual property and national economic peril.  ZTE has yet to reveal, at least to me, any net positive "America First" type reason why the US should encourage ZTE's continued existance.

 

 

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