Memes are beautiful
10/12/2012, 19:56
Filed under: Culture, Ephemera, Myself, Thought

A few days ago spread the word about a beached dead whale raising a stench not far from Barbara Streisand’s Malibu property and the practical challenges of disposing of it.

The historical significance of this coincident wasn’t lost on those commenting on boingboing’s, nor the LATimes’ coverage. Two of the internet’s greatest memes had happened upon one another. Continue reading

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What is my PhD about?
27/11/2012, 15:51
Filed under: Economics, Myself, Sociology, Thought

Yesterday the Huffington Post published an article by CCPA Senior Economist David Macdonald on whether Generation Y is more hard done by than the generations that came before it. According to Macdonald, while some things have changed for better or worse, one shift has overwhelmed all of them: Millennials will confront greater risks over their life times than any living generation before them.

And yet, what is risk? Macdonald lists a handful of instances—unemployment insurance is less likely to cover you; students have to go into more debt; pensions are more vulnerable to market fluctuations; housing markets are more volatile—but doesn’t take care to define a general concept.

While risk is an idea with intuitive appeal, if you ask most folks what exactly it means, most would have a hard time giving a concise answer. In fact, it wouldn’t be easy for me either, and I study risk everyday.  Continue reading

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Geeky Graffiti
26/09/2012, 10:49
Filed under: Ephemera, Myself, Statistics

I got stats on the mind. The first thing I thought when I passed this graffiti this morning en route to my favourite daily coffee spot was, “R-Squared!” It does not help that right now I’m working on a paper in which the main hypothesis test consists of a comparison between R^2.

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Tax hikes can lead to economic growth
15/09/2012, 18:03
Filed under: Economics, Myself, Policy, Politics

I spend a lot of time studying economic indicators and reading what various analysts have to say about them. I’m a PhD student in economic sociology and a paid policy analyst. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to reference all these years upon years of study and reflection every time I open my mouth to make a point.

So it’s always nice when the New York Times assembles a pithy infograph that communicates something that I and everyone else that spends all their time thinking and reading about this stuff takes for granted.  Continue reading

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I am not…
13/08/2012, 13:00
Filed under: Ephemera, Myself, Statistics

I am not the same person I was four years ago. Yesterday evening, I found myself skimming the conference proceedings for a recent Stata conference.

With presentation titles like, “Custom Stata commands for semi-automatic confidentiality screening of Statistics Canada data” and “Binary choice models with endogenous regressors,” I chuckled to myself: How arcane this list would seem to the uninitiated? What about myself, only a few years ago? It seems like only yesterday that I’d have never guessed that I would be among the purveyors of such esoteric nomenclature.  Continue reading

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Support FSL Education
12/08/2012, 17:54
Filed under: Myself, Policy, Sociology

Marie-Hélène Lussier’s recent report is probably the first report that begins to tell a dastardly story about a growing underclass of anglophone Quebecers.

When I first arrived in Montreal some years ago, I initially worked as a nighttime grocery clerk at a Super C grocery store in Montreal’s NDG neighbourhood. A handful of my fellow workers from that period still stand out in my mind—a man that had taught himself fluent English by watching the Simpsons; a shift manager with little income but, due to his extraordinary abilities in financial management, owned his house and car, and was already putting college money away for his young chidlren; a man from the Congo who’s facial expression when I asked him about it told me that I should never ask about it again.

One day, another fellow, a young man from Barabados, told me that he planned to stick with Super C for a long time. He was pretty excited that he could eventually make up to 11 or 12 dollars an hour with them. I was a bit horrified by this—I’d been making 16 dollars an hour working in construction just before moving out East. 11 or 12 dollars was a couple dollars more than minimum wage at the time, but it was still a pittance. How could someone look forward to this, expect no more than this, plan for this?  Continue reading

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Those who can provide for themselves
14/06/2012, 09:38
Filed under: Ephemera, Myself, Thought

The other day this comment came up in my facebook feed,

Look to the west my friends…… we value freedom and as little government intervention as possible in our lives. Those who can provide for themselves dont require government handouts. Nor do they feel entitled to them.

I can’t remember who said this, or why—it was nobody I knew—but it took some self-restraint not to lash out at them. I typed the following, but didn’t end up posting it,

Those who can provide for themselves can provide for themselves, except when they can’t provide for themselves. Then they are not those that can provide for themselves. Although I’m a Westerner, this doesn’t prevent me from avoiding tautological reasoning.

I copied and pasted the relevant bits into my Evernote folder under unfinished writing.

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