Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saturday Of Odds and Ends

The day started early--at least for my wife and eldest daughter--one took the other out to Great Brook Farm for >--CC--> practice at 8:00 AM.

While my wife was out, I got some coffee roasting done--I did about three pounds, which should last a couple of weeks.

My wife tried to do an exercise video in the interregnum, but her laptop ran out of juice mid-way, so she ran out to Great Brook Farm with the dog.  

When I drove out to get them all, I noticed a wet patch all the way across the road.  Sure enough, though I didn't think of it at the time, my wife carried the dog across the wet patch.  She was not spoiling the dog, though she does spoil the little beast, wife just didn't want the dog to get filthy and thus need a bath--which is a hassle.

After the running, we had waffles and coffee and sausage and then got ready to go out apple picking.  I grew up in Washington, of all places and never went apple picking with my family--raiding the WSU orchards is another matter, Our family did go to orchards in Green Bluff for cherry and peach picking though.   My wife and kids have been going apple picking most every Fall for better than a decade now, first in Vermont and now in Massachusetts.

On the way to picking, the eldest had a major gripe about where we planned to pick.  It only had apples and a hay ride.  The other place had all that, plus fresh cider doughnuts and animals.  The problem with the other place is that last time it was a madhouse AND they were all picked-out, so we had to still go to the usual place for apples.  In addition, given the driving, crowds and the time which would be spent in line waiting for the cider doughnuts, we are talking an hour and a half.  We could make our own (superior) doughnuts in that amount of time.  In any case, we had a good time; the dog was welcome there--even on the hayride and they still had plenty of nice apples.

Once home, I mowed the whole lawn--usually I only do one part or another at a time since it is so large.  It took a whole tank of gas and then part of another to complete the task.

Next:  I want to go in search for some nice steaks with bones in them, like T-bone or Porterhouse.  I got steak knives around a month ago and they have been used, but not really put to the test.  The test is carving small morsels of meat from little crevices around the bones.

Friday, October 21, 2011

10 Miler from a couple of weeks ago

There was such a huge delay in the race organizers posting of pictures and results that I forgot all about it.  Here is the finish picture from that race.

The race was October 2nd.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Income Inequality Thought Experiment

Megan McArdle over at The Atlantic has a post which (as always) is thought provoking, but presents data which, once one has thought about it, is pretty obvious.

In economic downturns, such as the one we are in now, income inequality actually becomes less severe.  You can look at the handy charts she provides here, but I will describe a couple of things that are easy to see from the charts:

1.  You can see that in each recession and in the great depression, income inequality falls sharply.  The chart shows the share of total income earned by the top 1% of earners.

Why is it obvious that this would be so?  The income of top earners is tied to capital.  In good times, capital is in high demand and so interest is high.  Businesses are working at higher capacity and so the owners make a lot more profit.  Their fixed costs are what they always were;  The value of the land, machinery, buildings and so forth haven't changed.  They are selling more widgets and so they are using more materials and labor, but these are only a small portion of total costs. 

Workers also improve their income because of two factors:  First, there is more work to be done and so they may go from part time to full, or may gain some overtime hours.  Second, all the added work will create demand for more workers and this should drive up wage rates.

2. The second notable item from the chart is that, in spite of reduction in income disparity during recessions, there are trends which are easy to spot.  From around 1929 until around 1980 the trend was of declining income inequality, after that the trend is in the opposite direction.  I do not have any good hypothesis for why this should be so.

Here is the thought experiment part of the post:

I do not know if the relationship between economic prosperity and income disparity is something that anyone can do anything about.  If someone has ideas on that, I would be open to hearing them.  The thing is that for over 30 years, there has been a clear association between inequality and economic prosperity.  Given two choices which would you choose?

1.  The bottom two quintiles gain a real 10% in income  AND the top quintile doubles their income.


2.  The bottom two quintiles loose 10% of their income  AND the top quintile looses half of their income.

I would choose # 1. because everybody is better off than they otherwise would be.   I didn't want to overcomplicate things, but if you are wondering about the middle two quintiles--they gain or loose in the same direction as the others in their scenario, but by an intermediate amount.  I suspect that people of a more leftward inclination than me would choose # 2.  or would at least be tempted to choose it.

Barefoot Running Update

I haven't run barefoot for a while, just due to various schedule conflicts.  I only do barefoot runs from home since the roads around work are rough, covered in glass shards and have traffic the makes me jump to the side of the road sometimes.  On Sunday I wanted to get in a longish run and so wore shoes since anything over 8 miles barefoot has given me blisters.

Tuesdays, I normally work from home and do a lunchtime run but this week we had a group lunch, so I came in to the office for that.  It would have been a really nice day to run compared with today, which is rainy.  But I didn't want to skip a day, so I ran today. Barefoot.

The early bit was just what one would expect on a rainy 50 F day.  It felt cold on my feet.  After maybe 1/3 mile, I lost feeling in my feet.  It felt fine but I was concerned that I would injure them and not know it. In the next couple of miles, they started to thaw out and it didn't hurt but was unpleasant.  Finally, they warmed up completely and the run became a sheer joy!  I was warmed up and the final two miles were smooth and fast.

4.28 miles @ 7:37 per mile pace.

This was probably very high sevens or low eights for the first mile or so and then low sevens for the rest.