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Archive for July, 2009

Well, so much for consistent blogging. It’s hard to blog every day, or even often, when most of the stuff you talk about are econ-related and 1000 words long, and you don’t have much time to blog. But now I’m bitching.

It’s been a very interesting and busy summer, and I’ll be away for about a week and a half (aka, not in NY), so I apologize if I will have a posting lull. I promise it won’t be as long as my last one!

And, since going to Otakon, I have obtained pictures from Kawarazu of me in my costume, so I will be putting that up in the cosplay section ASAP. Please be on the look out for them, if you have not seen them already!

Prior to reading this post, I would highly suggest you take a look at this article here, since what I am talking about will be pertaining to this merger to combat Google, which has been the subject of many editorials and articles in newspapers as of the late (with a general concentration in NYT, since that’s a newsletter I just about must read every day). For more reading, you can also go here (be warned, it’s another NYT article).

Currently Reading: Nothing, because I’m a jackass and I should read more.
Currently Playing: Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced 2 (Last Mission!)
Currently Consuming: Baby Stars
Currently Drinking: Sprite
Currently Listening To: sound from the movie “Australia” with Nicole Kidman (I think she’s pretty… >_< gorgeous even)
Currently Working On: Nothing (but I’m going to start on my Saber Lily cosplay soon)
Currently Wearing: Work Clothing.
Awesome Incident of the Day: You'll have to read about it tomorrow!

Recently, Yahoo and Microsoft decided on a demi-merger to try and compete against Google's powerhouse search engine. The mention of a merger seems to always perk my interest, but I have not been following this one as closely as I should have been, and it both surprises and amuses me that two previous competitors, that I remember as competitors, are now partnering up (now I know how it feels to get old). Although I feel that this merger won’t achieve it’s goal of matching up and eventually defeating Google (even with the merger, Google controls 65% of the search engine market), I find it interesting that both Microsoft and Yahoo are spending a lot of money in a market they have long since lost. Plus, anything that Microsoft does usually amuses (or infuriates me) in some way, shape or form.

In any case, the general concept of the merger is as follows: Microsoft gets control of Yahoo’s searching stuff, and Yahoo gets a very (very) large portion of the advertisement money for their own sites. Microsoft gets more control of of search engine technologies, which will boost up their own search engine (Bing!), and Yahoo will get more publicity and money from being a part of Microsoft search engine, without having to pay for search engine development.

Although it sound good, I worry about how both companies will do in the future. Microsoft can easily dump the project and concentrate on other things (their Operating System, Office Suite, ect), but Yahoo is very dependent on their control of internet-related applications, including their search engine. And, because Google already owns a lot of control (65% for people who forgot and are too lazy to scroll up), I am skeptical to believe that a Microsoft-Yahoo merger will put a serious dent in Google’s number one product.

Still, I am hopeful that this will encourage Microsoft to spend more money developing the technologies they now have control over, which will (hopefully) increase their usage and encourage others to use Bing/Yahoo. I am not saying this because either are strong search engines (I, myself, will probably continue using Google), but because it will give some sort of option between Microsoft’s Bing! and Google’s…. Google, and will pull Google away from the dangerous “it’s going to be a monopoly and will be broken down soon” concept.

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NaBloPoMo

The first time I saw that “acronym,” I thought of “NAMBLA” (South Park watchers will recognize that from Cartman’s search for older friends). But no, NaBloPoMo stands for “National Blog Post Month,” which encourages bloggers to post every day for one month. The main celebration is during November, but they encourage bloggers to post during other months by giving tips on how to continue blogging every day, or suggestions on what to blog on (in case you’re uninspired).

Although I don’t think I could blog every day, I am going to make an effort to blog more often. I miss the days where I blogged every other day (or twice a week), and it is something I want to continue with in the future. It encourages me to read the newspaper (or Reddit) every day, and gives me a place to dump my thoughts. It’s only a pity that my thoughts are usually over 1000 words and requires a lot of research, thought and planning (the good posts anyway). But I am going to try and write more often, so you have more to read (hurrah).

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I realized previously that I had not added the resources that I used to research the blog post, and that various people had been asking me about what articles I had read to either infuriate me or back up my claims. In the end, a lot of what I’m explaining comes from the textbooks I have been using in my introductory and intermediate micro / macro classes, as well as research from being part of the Fed team back in High School. This includes talking to the Head of the Federal Reserve in New York and a few other members of the Board of Directors. I also would have to thank my various economic teachers along the way for drilling it into my head (whether they be Democratic, Republican, Libertarian or otherwise, I’ve had a very interesting collection of Econ teachers). You can find a lot of this research on wikipedia or econ papers that can be found through jstor and other research databases. Also, if you have any questions or concerns about some economic terms or explanations that I may give, feel free to tell me so I can explain in in greater depth. I really do want to make sure people have a clear understanding of economics, so that the community, as a whole, can make an intelligent decision (this also goes for any elections… go out there and do your research! Just because your mom is a republican, doesn’t mean you are).

NY Times, “Stay The Course” (Paul Krugman)

The Economist, “The Other-Worldly Philosophers” – In discussion about the power of both Monetary Policy and Fiscal Policy, and the argument between Keynes and Classical theories (there’s an interesting tidbit about how the Fed “saved” the economy by crashing it during the stagflation era of the 1980s, as well an an interesting bit on “freshwater” economist)

NY Times, “Views Differ on Shape of Macroeconomics” (Paul Krugman) – A response to the previous article (Keynes mindset)

Political Lore, “The Inflation Lie” – An interesting piece on how deflation is good. Students in Macroeconomics will remember that deflation implies no economic growth, which is inherently a bad thing, and that limited inflation is natural for economic growth because it implies that multipliers are working as they should.

This is also interesting to note that, when I did the Fed Challenge a year ago, my group decided to increase the interest rate by .25 to show some sort of image that the country’s economic system is doing well, therefore to increase the happy people meter and encourage more investment. But then, the US Government decided to come out with a series of stimulus package reforms that would counteract our idea by overspending and giving out money, therefore rendering our idea useless. To this day, I don’t agree very much with the idea of continually increasing the interest rate, but I thought it was interesting that this article made the decision of “if inflation is bad, deflation must be GOOD.” Economics does not work this way.

“Fed Independance or Fed Secrecy” (ROn Paul) – Ron Paul is a big advocate of Fed Transparency. To some degree, I agree with him. However, his over-exaggeration here makes the article laughable. Beyond this, he does make a good point that Congress does have control of the Federal Reserve’s charter and how political the Fed actually is, but does not acknowledge that with all this junk, the Federal Reserve is still less political than Congress (or perhaps this is to obvious for him to mention, since Congress is the Federal Reserve).

I mean, there really are a large slew of blogs online (especially on Reddit) that claim the Fed is this angry beast. If a little research were done, people would find out that this is certainly not the case. The Fed may be powerful, but they are in no way any more or less powerful than the US Treasury.

And who is to blame? Well, we can blame the banks for splitting the chunks of morgages to try and spread the risk. We can blame the homeowners who bought houses they knew they could not afford. We can blame the economists that said this was a new wave of economy (as there seem to be a great majority of them in the world, as there always has been, during an economic boom). We can blame the Federal Reserve for not taking action to quell the boom before it got out of hand (I see Bernanke takes well after Greenspan). We can blame the United States Congress for overspending money that they simply do not have, then having to borrow from the Fed and other countries to continue overspending. Hell, if you really want to, you can blame the people who told you there was going to be a recession months before there actually was one, because those people essentially started the bull market. Really, it was more for my own satisfaction and so that people could read what I have (although, really, I would suggest you take an econ class or two when you can. It’s really a lot of fun).

I apologize. This post was far more of a tied-on rambling of my previous post that may or may not be more complex and may or may not be harder to understand/read.

PS: There were several other things that I had read or looked up, including a supposedly bi-partisan view on why the Fed should end (It was bi-partisan because Ron Paul was the only Republican even mentioned), and a stupid video with a policeman/woman (screw being politically correct) that had a conversation with the reporter. Again, it was a very humorous website, and I am saddened because I can no longer find it. Apologies.

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See? Updating more often, like I said I would. Actually, this is something I had intended on writing for a while but had been putting off due to work stuff, and just general disinterest and writer’s block. It’s a political/econ piece, so I apologize in advanced. If you have any questions or concerns about any of the opinions I have stated below, do not hesitate to contact me in however way you do.

Originally, I had intended on posting this (more apologies because I’m a moron like that):
“Gah.

It’s been so long since I’ve written that I think I’ve felt my brain literally melt into goodness knows what. So, I apologize for the poor writing beforehand. I really haven’t written much for a very long time, and that (combined with me not reading as much as I should) is really rotting whatever skills I had in good ranting and blogging.”

Currently Reading: Playboy (I read it for the articles)
Currently Playing: Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced 2
Currently Consuming: Nothing
Currently Working On: Nothing (but I’m going to start on my Saber Lily cosplay soon)
Currently Wearing: My awesome red yukata (which I look super duper sexy in. I think)
Awesome Incident of the Day: Bonnie’s Companion Cake making friends with my Companion Coconut

No matter where I go, I seem to be getting constant news about various people in politics. This is not a bad thing (especially since I should be getting them… through the rss feeds on my blackberry), but I’ve been getting more and more annoyed at the growing number of people not understanding what the Federal Reserve is… again.

Recently, there has been talk of Congress wanting to audit the Federal Reserve. Some advocates include Ron Paul and other democratic senators who are insistent upon pushing the fact that the Federal Reserve is a great big monster that eats our cash.

No. First off, the Federal Reserve does not make money on a whim. They increase or decrease the amount of money going into the economy to try and balance economic stability (which is now most commonly calculated by the ratio of unemployment to the ratio of inflation). Yes, they are powerful (they are the only people to control the inflation rate and such), but they are neither moronic nor out to “ruin the US economy.” In fact, every single person who works on one of several boards would only benefit if the economy is doing well. People act like this is some war between the banks and the people when, in fact, everyone is suffering in this situation.

So, back to that auditing idea. There has been a keen interest, mostly from the democratic side, to start regulating the Fed, thereby limiting the Federal Reserve’s power and forcing the Federal Reserve to fix the economy. To make a long story as short as it can be, “No, this does not work.” First of all, someone would have to take on the power if the Fed doesn’t (and we’re talking control of the money flow) and, chances are, Congress would do it (I suppose the Fed isn’t the only one with hidden agendas). This is Congress who is more than willing to spend trillions of dollar on an unsuccessful stimulus package. Most people in Congress barely know what a discount rate / reserve rate is, let alone understand the importance and complication of using their rates to, essentially, keep the country’s economy in check. The reason we even made the Federal Reserve was because no one wanted to trust a bunch of morons on Capitol Hill to control the US economy (some of whom have never passed an econ class themselves).

Beyond the fact that the US economy will be in the hands of people who don’t know about economics is the issue that these hands are already politically inclined. I don’t want senators pushing gun control bills under their to-be Federal Reserve actions. The point of creating the Federal Reserve was to keep it away from Congress/the President. That’s why there’s two ways to control economics: Fiscal and Monetary (Fiscal: Government run, like taxes and stimulus packages // Monetary: Federal Reserve and interest rates). To put all that economic power into ONE concentrated hand bothers me (and it’s not even the very good hand).

Besides, who would you have to regulate the Fed? Again, I am sure Congress would love to audit the Federal Reserve themselves. I’ve already discussed the general intelligence (or lack there of) when it comes to economics and Congress, but let’s not forget the main fact that the Federal Reserve is also the bank for Congress (meaning that for most government projects, Congress borrows money from the Fed). This would give Congress economic control to do what they want with how much money they can make. This may sound nice, but I worry about Congress over-generating money and shooting inflation sky high in an attempt to clean the US debt. In that attempt, the government will generate too much money, bringing the US Economy into a similar state as the German Super Inflation.

Okay, maybe that was an exaggeration. But in all seriousness, Congress knows little about how to increase or decrease the money flow, and I really would not like to see us hand Congress more power.

And as I’ve essentially stated before, Congress is just as power hungry as the Federal Reserve (perhaps more, and certainly more detrimental). When the Fed spends loads of money to cover their own banks, it eventually trickles down to help us anyway (Business cycle, people). Yes, the Federal Reserve has screwed up on several occasions (my first thought goes to Greenspan, who was the Fed chair during the dot com boom/bust, as well as others because of his inability to make decisions), but it’s far better than when the government touches economics (I’m thinking Great Depression times).

I agree with the idea that the Fed should be more “regulated” in some way. For example, the Fed chair is only required to make two reports to Congress. At the very least it should be 4 (every quarter) or 8 (Twice in a quarter). Also, the Fed shouldn’t be put out as this mysterious all knowing corporation. It’s not even a corporation, and the Fed building sticks out like a sore thumb (at least in NY, which is where it matters, in my head. That and that’s where all the gold lies). This is more the fault of the media and the public going “if I didn’t know about it before, it must be mysterious and inherently dangerous.” I suppose the idea came up with good intentions, but (once again) the nut houses on Capitol Hill had to bring it up a notch. I think we have more thinks to worry about (like saving the economy).

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Otakon 2009

Hey everyone! I have slowly been getting back into blogging. I’m so sorry for not posting as often as I should be. I’ve been quite busy with cosplay, work, Circle K and other stuff. I did make a review (kind of?) about Otakon, and I have various more blog posts saved, which will be slowly (but surely) coming out more and more often.

Besides this, nothing much has been going on. I turned 19 (hurrah), and got a lot of great stuff. And, at Otakon, I got tons (tons) of prints and a very nice red yukata I will show of… eventually. =] Pictures of me @ Otakon will be up, er, eventually. I promise.

Currently Listening To: I Miss You (Blink 182)
Currently Drinking: Sprite
Currently Playing: Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced 2
Currently Watching: Mushi-shi (again)
Currently Reading: Nothing
Current Mood: Whoo, Post-Con Exaustion

So this weekend, I attended Otakon 2009, the second largest anime convention in the United States (the largest on the East coast). It was a good convention (save the few disappointing panels we ran across), and was an overall enjoyable experience. For Otakon, it was slightly under par as opposed to its previous years, but I anticipated it (due to lack of money and other things), but was still a very successful con.

The main disappointing key was in the cosplay department. The “amazing” cosplays were few and far in between, and many of them were repeats of last year. There were several impressive cosplays, but the majority of the cosplays were limited to Soul Eater, Black Butler and the various Shounen Jump animes. Even Final Fantasy was under cosplayed (this includes the Kingdom Hearts cosplayers). Again, I attribute it to major money issues, but it was still depressing.

Something else I noticed, especially while observing cosplays, is that there is a clear and defined split between various cliques/groups of the con, and I’m not just talking about the furries. It makes me think back to my first convention (Big Apple Anime Fest 2003 if anyone was wondering). Was I really that rowdy and loud? I wonder if anyone wanted to strangle me the way I wanted to choke the brats that kept stepping on my cosplay this weekend. This gap is most evident in cosplay, which is mostly split into 3 or 4 groups (it’s more apparent than ever before because I’ve simply gone to too many conventions this year) at any given time. It makes me wonder what “cosplay group” I belong in. I can’t easily place myself in the half-ass cosplay group or the “God damn everyone and their mother cosplays *so-and-so*” (as popular as a cosplay Lulu is, there were far more Narutos and Luffies and Madame Reds) as I did my previous years (especially in my first couple years… I was smack in that group). But, I’m nowhere near the “pro cosplay” group, although I did have the great privilege of talking to a couple journeyman and master rank cosplayers (they were really nice and gave me a couple tips on what I could do for further cosplays… *squee!*).

In any case, I’ve been somehow convinced to cosplay next year and, better yet, compete next year in either the masquerade or the hall. I’m not quite sure which one, but I already have my costume picked out (and I’m not changing it dammit!), so I’m pumped for next year.

One thing that kind of bugged me this year was the large amount of people who stared down my chest (and this is more than usual). People were literally talking to my boobies, and there were plenty of people trying to get peep shots up my skirt (if anyone as seen the Lulu cosplay, he or she is more than aware of how short the front is). I had a couple people come to me and tell me my costume was “the best damn Lulu I’ve seen yet,” then ask to hug me and stuff like that. There was a black lady who was not part of the con-craze (aka, she was a normal woman living in Baltimore) and she came up to me and asked me how I kept my bust so “high.” (That was an interesting experience in it of itself, since she was all into asking questions about the con) And, lots of guys wanting to take pictures next to me, which is not unusual in it of itself, but is always funny. I find that female friends drag their male friends to me to take a picture, because the guys are too scared to ask me (this is usually for the younger age group, but has occasionally happened for the 20+).

In any case, Otakon has left me with the anime/gaming craze, so that’s what I’ll be doing for another month or so. That and cosplay planning.

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As it draws closer and closer to my birthday, more and more people keep asking me what I want for my birthday. I am absolutely never sure what to say, and so I have finally compiled a mostly useless list of things I want for my birthday that will be improbably to impossible. Good luck.

– Jane Austen to rise back from the dead to yell and/or kill Stephanie Meyers (that stuff was okay way back when, you know).
– Steampunk to be real.
– IE to be dead.
– My stupid Fate/Stay Night costume of Lily Saber to be finished.
– Starbucks to be cheaper (or myself to be off caffeine).
– Soccer to be an actual, popular sport in America (Really America. Really.)
– … getting better at cooking would certainly be awesome.
– Nightwish to get back together
– Candles to be legal in my dorms.
– World Peace.
– Male High Heels (so I don’t feel so stupidly tall among some guys I know).
– Me to get better at SSBB (did I mention some of these are impossible?)
– My companion cube to come back to me.
– An A-line haircut and a small black dress (possibly a reference none of you will ever get)

Instead, I will probably be getting loads of underwear and socks and skirts. Which is really okay, save I have enough of each. I also would like to think I’ve outgrown getting stuffed animals for my birthday, but apparently not. Because pedicures and earrings are exactly what I want for my birthday. My ears are not pierced. MY EARS ARE NOT PIERCED.

Someone this year will give me a pair of earrings, I’m sure of it.

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