Sep 142012
 

Oh look!  Occupy Wall Street made an invitation for their Anniversary Action and forgot to color it in!

They were probably busy putting the finishing touches on plans for nine days of actions and events starting Saturday, September 15th.

Let’s do our part by coloring the invites and sending them out to our friends!

Be sure to share your version with the social network(s) of your choice and here in the comments for a chance at a free Ape Con Myth something or other!

Meanwhile, find out everything you need to know for the anniversary at #S17 , including actions in your area and this handy pdf breaking down what’s happening in NYC.

Giddy up!

The Rent Is Too Damn Median

 Posted by on September 10, 2012
Sep 102012
 

When looking at median gross rents, the extremes get washed out as location, location, location turns into everywhere.   In 2010, the U.S. median gross rent was $842/month, up from $602 in 2000.  For some perspective on the change, here’s a look back at the last few decades, with and without adjustments for inflation.

Now breaking it out by state and county with data from 2000, location begins to return as a factor.

(click to enlarge)

But if you live in a big city, these rents might seem completely divorced from reality.  To make sense of urban rents, you have to move the cutoff up to 2.5x the median.

On the other hand, below you can find out where people would likely choke at the thought of $1,500/month rent.

While the percentages seem to favor cheap rent, remember that 1% of Los Angeles, the most populated county, is larger than the population in 81% of the other 3,220 counties in the U.S.

[Historical rents and 2000 Median Gross Rents map (pdf) from the U.S. Census Bureau; $1,500/$200 maps from StatJump]

Jul 312012
 

After yesterday’s post about breaking up the banks and The Newsroom’s mention of U.S. economic performance under Glass-Steagall, Ape Con Myth decided to dust off  The Tao Jones data set and take another look at the full history of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, from 1896 through last Friday.

This time we’ll look at 31,490 trading days using Glass-Steagall’s tenure as the yardstick…

(click the image to enlarge)

For more exploration of the Dow, check out The Tao Jones.

Jul 302012
 

Former Citigroup CEO Sanford “Sandy” Weill has ruffled some feathers by suggesting that we should break up the big banks, separating investment banking from commercial banking as was the law under the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act.  It’s definitely an interesting idea coming from “The Shatterer of Glass-Steagall,” particularly since he didn’t agree in 2010 when his former co-CEO at Citi, John Reed, apologized for his part in taking down the act.

Plenty of people are going to weigh in on the subject now, but how about we ask a source that hasn’t been a player in tanking the world economy?

Enter the I Ching…

The adornments must be stripped away.  Sounds a little bit like something you’d expect to hear from an ancient oracle, but that’s what it is.

The situation has been about appearances.  Bigger was thought to be better and so many banks became four.  But there is no too big to fail.  The bigger they come, the harder they fall.  That’s general policy.

Substance is more important than packaging.  If only the banks had consulted the I Ching before slicing and dicing all those mortgages.  And before they turned from stodgy suits into wild gamblers.  It took pushing us to the edge to do it, but trust in these institutions has faded.

Strip away the dead wood.  Perhaps it will be the Safe, Accountable, Fair and Efficient (SAFE) Banking Act that reigns in leverage and places a cap on how big these dead trees can be.

Rely on our own simple efforts.  Like a few other industries, trust is flowing to local alternatives where profit and expansion aren’t the primary concerns.

Or at least that’s one interpretation.  You could read more about the two hexagrams above with the Wilhelm translation to dive further into this reading or check back with the I Ching to see what it thinks today.

[I Ching reading via Psychic Science, Trust charts from the Chicago Booth | Kellogg School's Financial Trust Index]

Jul 122012
 

In the movie Star Trek: First Contact, a character asks Captain Picard how much it cost to build the Enterprise, and he replies, “The economics of the future are somewhat different. You see, money doesn’t exist in the 24th century. The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. We work to better ourselves, and the rest of humanity.” What do you think about that? – From Wired interview with Paul Krugman

What’s the goal of BuildTheEnterprise.org?

Exactly what you might hope…

From the BTE site:

We have the technological reach to build the first generation of the spaceship known as the USS Enterprise – so let’s do it.

Now that’s the spirit.  And based on early projections, it’s only going to cost about a trillion dollars, which at $50 billion a year is pretty much peanuts, particularly considering the scale of the project.

But this is not the first time someone has made such a chart.

Back in 1992, developers were pushing to build a smaller version of the USS Enterprise as a tourist attraction in downtown Las Vegas, but the plan fell through when the studio got cold feet.

This time, however, the studio isn’t involved and the idea is to build it in space, not Nevada, for the purpose of boldly and literally going where no person has gone before.

This first generation Enterprise can have 1g artificial gravity and ample living space. It can be as comfortable to live in as being on earth. A thousand people can be on board at once – either as crew members or as adventurous visitors. While the ship will not travel at warp speed, it can travel at a constant acceleration such that the ship can easily get to key points of interest in our solar system.

What’s the plan?

9 years for research, 11 years for development and then Mars is ours in 90 days. What do you think about that indeed.

While Krugman was not optimistic about the immediately-distant future, why wait three centuries to do something we could technically achieve in our lifetime?  We can create jobs and free up some parking spots all in one go.

What else do you need to know?  How can you help?  You’ll find it all at BuildTheEnterprise.org.

[Thanks, Pete!, Vegas images from the Goddard Group via BoingBoing]