Debunking That Stupid Federal/Household Budget Graphic

If you’ve been on Facebook/Twitter/The Internet lately, you’ve likely seen this graphic, which purports to make it easy to understand why the US is in fiscal trouble. Of course, that graphic doesn’t tell the whole story, and is, quite frankly, idiotic. But I’ll continue the metaphor since people love thinking this is so simple.

United States Federal Debt Compared to Household Budget

A dozen years ago, your accountant, Bill Clinton, had some good news for you: “You’ve got about $56,000 in debt. But if you keep bringing money in like this, you don’t have to put any more debt on those credit cards and can finally pay down the debt that your old accountant, Ronald Reagan, encouraged you to run up.” Continue reading “Debunking That Stupid Federal/Household Budget Graphic”

Chinese XBox 360 Workers Threaten Suicide

Stories like this make me want to move forward with Shop Conscious, a pet project I’ve been mulling for 2 years now:

According to reports, dozens of workers at a Chinese factory that assembles Xbox 360 consoles threatened to jump off a dormitory roof. The rooftop protest began on Jan 2, following plans to close the Xbox assembly line, with workers saying that Foxconn reneged on a promise to compensate anyone wanting to leave.

While an incident of this scale is unusual, suicides at Foxconn factories are far from unheard of. A suicide cluster in 2010 saw 14 deaths, with workers throwing themselves from the tops of the company’s buildings. Last year employees were asked to sign a ‘no suicide’ pact in response to the rise in suicides, and the company unveiled plans to install safety nets around its buildings, to keep workers from jumping to their deaths.

Does your spending match your values?

Pinterest’s Signal to Noise Problem

When my mom is an early adopter of something, I tend to think it’s important. She’s been raving about Pinterest for many months now and as of this writing has pinned 1,990 items on the site. (Here she is, if you’re curious). My sister and a few other friends – mostly women – are also in love with Pinterest. It’s giving them a spot to record and remember the creativity of others to inspire more creativity in their own lives, which I think is awesome.

But my sister tells me that Pinterest has a problem, and it seems to me that it’s going to be a fairly tough one to solve. Now that the site is gaining users more quickly, their tastes are diverging just as quickly, severely reducing the relevancy of common pages like Women’s Apparel, which my sister claims is now full of ugly, unfashionable clothes. For a site built on collecting peoples’ tastes, this seems to me to be a major scaling problem. Continue reading “Pinterest’s Signal to Noise Problem”

Making It Count – My Goals for 2012

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions. That’s pretty much a guarantee that I’ll forget about them before the end of January. But I am a very aggressive goal-setter, so I tend to pick a Big Theme for the year and develop a set of goals surrounding that theme.

The past two years have felt a bit stagnant for a mixture of reasons, only some of which have been in my control. So 2012’s theme is Make It Count, and I spent the last two months of 2011 preparing to hit the ground running. Continue reading “Making It Count – My Goals for 2012”