The Australian state of Victoria implemented the world’s first … sin-tax … hypothecated for health in 1987. It came in the form of … a 5% levy on tobacco products … whose revenue was then used to fund a newly formed independent health promotion foundation called VicHealth.
Apart from increasing cigarette prices, the legislation banned most tobacco advertising and formed the basis for later rules to create smoke-free workplaces and public venues.
Meanwhile, VicHealth bought-out all tobacco industry sponsorships of the arts and sports. This proved less costly and easier than anticipated, as most preferred non-tobacco sponsors. Among the foundations other activities are more than AUS$ 20 million annually in funding for health research and in support of anti-smoking and other public health campaigns.
Until 1997, all of these activities were funded exclusively from the hypothecated tax on cigarettes. Since then, the hypothecation aspect has been weakened as states are no longer allowed such tobacco levies. However, tax funding from the national level from sin-taxes and others is transferred to states to compensate.
Prior to the Victorian tobacco legislation, a survey found 47% of respondents in favour of an increase in tobacco taxes (including 20% of smokers). If hypothecated for health or other community benefits, this support surged to 84%.
To retain such support and realise the benefits in terms of accountability and public trust the hypothecation must be strict, i.e. no topping-up from general taxation and no siphoning off to other purposes.
Beyond the government-finance issues of hypothecation I’m just so fascinated that smokers want to raise taxes on (only) themselves. It’s unsurprising from real-life experience but does not fit into the standard microeconomics utility theory.
In December of 2013 I posted a cheap-o wiki-editable (thank you github) contact list which recruiters can use to find you, if they’re looking for R programmers.
In what I consider a resounding success, within a few weeks it got onto the first page of google (thank you github), and within a month or two it was the first result in Google.
So I would say this is the best (also to my knowledge the only) place to put your name if you want to be found for R work.
Posting this again because some peoples’ situations may have changed, and others may have not seen the first notice. Also because a little bird told me about a recruiter who wants to hire people for full-time ggplot work in London asap.
I’ll be checking github for pull requests in the wake of this posting, to make sure your details don’t linger in github limbo.
(NB: Actually a weighted sum. But if you just normalise it (divide by the overall total) you’ll get a weighted average.)
The Economist's Which MBA? website scores MBA programmes on:
faculty quality, student quality, student diversity, percentage who found jobs through the careers service, student assessment of career service, percentage in work three months after graduation, increase in salary, potential to network, internationalism of alumni, student rating of alumni effectiveness, and a few other metrics
— and lets you adjust how important each of these factors are to you, determining your ranking of MBA programmes (using their data=methodology),
rather than pretending there’s a universal or objective weighting of importance of factors (as the US News & World Report ranking of US undergrad schools does).
My friend made a spreadsheet of all the factors that determined what city she wants to move to.
She scored each city on various factors, then assigned each of those factors an importance, added and timesed and got a total score for each city. (I don’t think the result is meaningful, because I don’t think the space is linear. But the exercise itself was fun and gave her a reason to do the research.)
An artist in a coffee shop once told me he had found some great numerical parameters for the particular visual (like a Winamp style one) he was creating. He was clearly thinking about the parameter space as such, but the maximisation procedure he was following was probably not a mechanical one.
If polynomials are sequences where, instead of being limited to a largest digit of 9 in the hundreds digit, we’re not limited to positive, negative, fraction, whatever, in the xx=x² constant, then the constants you line up — whether they have some well-known name or pattern like combinatorial sequence, Sheffer sequence, Schur polynomial, Taylor series, or have no name — are the covector. (This overstretches my simplification that covectors are averages. Here they really need to be sums.)
A client wanted customers to be able to browse his wares easier in his online store. This boils down to bubbling up to the top what they want to see and sorting down what they don’t want to see. One idea he had was to give the customer a number of “sliders” and let them choose which aspects were important to them. So instead of sorting first by price, then sorting within that sort by alphabetical, you would catalogue various properties of the stuff in your ecommerce storefront, multiply those by a fixed number chosen by the customer, add those subscores together to get a total score, and then sort on that total score. That way the list can be mixed. (The customer wants to penalise high prices and non-red dresses, but doesn’t want to see only $2 purse accessories that somehow got parsed by the computer as “dress”.)
Another way to say this is he wanted to let customers define their own “scoring metric” and sort results based on that.
In order to not get confused about the meaning of “parameter" versus "variable" — let me just use the concrete examples above. The weighting scheme on the MBA programme is the covector and the observed properties of each MBA programme are the vector. Multiply the vector for a particular school and the covector (weighting scheme) you’ve chosen, and you get “your score” (a single number). Do this for each school and you can then sort the results to get “your ranking”.
If you changed the weighting scheme, you change the covector, i.e. you change the parameters. This is “moving in the dual space” and it outputs a different “your ranking”.
Putting these three together you can make a continuous formula approximating the median. Just subtract off the ends until you get to the middle.
It’s ugly. But, now you have a way to view the sort operation—which is discontinuous—in a “smooth” way, even if the smudging/blurring is totally fabricated. You can take derivatives, if that’s something you want to do. I see it as being like q-series: wriggling out from the strictures so the fixed becomes fluid.
“A broader tax base, it is thought, will insure that wealthy suburbanites pay for essential services needed by the poor. No evidence is available to indicate that this actually happens in large cities.
Poor neighborhoods receiving ”services” which are not tailored to their needs may not be better off when increased resources are allocated to their neighborhood. In large collective consumption units, residents of poor neighborhoods may have even less voice about levels and types of services desired than they do in smaller-sized collective consumption units. Increasing the size of the smallest collective consumption unit to which citizens belong may not help solve problems of redistribution.”—Vincent Ostrom and Elinor Ostrom, Public Goods and Public Choices
“The less you eat, drink and buy books; the less you go to the theatre, the dance hall, the public house; the less you think, love, theorise, sing, paint, fence, etc., the more you save – the greater becomes your treasure which neither moths nor rust will devour – your capital. The less you are, the less you express your own life, the more you have, i.e., the greater is your alienated life, the greater is the store of your estranged being.”—
I have two problems with this argument. It’s at once consumerist/materialistic and self-centred.
Consumerist: Of course it f―ing sucks to not be able to buy anything, to not be able to go out eat at a restaurant or have drinks with your friends.
But part of the reason it sucks so much is because of consumerism and marketing itself. To the degree that the marketing-images of happy couples, vacationers, successful rappers, roulette winners, delicious food, beautiful travel pictures, and so on make us desire and even, feel empty without those material goods, yes you may feel miserable without them. But the royal treatment lavished upon customers is technically something one needn’t buy into; buying into that salespitch is buying into consumerism. Part of what f―ing sucks about not having “enough” money is actually not having enough. Part of it is not having the things you see others around you having.
Is your fullest expression of yourself really the external attendance at paid events? Is it necessary to take an economic transaction (concert, food, drink, film) to go out and have friends? Part of that is due to lack of public spaces.—each parcel of land is owned by someone, perhaps the government, and the owner(s) may or may not permit you to be there. Another part is due to people believing, as Marx implies above, that being alive and vibrant necessitates buying things.
In the show Downton Abbey there’s one person whose function is to make food
and one person whose function is to eat it.
Is that really your expression of liveliness and bon vivance?
Self-centred. Only by being unaware of the server’s and cook’s role in the transaction—only by putting the experience of the hot kitchen, the lecherous eyes of patrons, the down-talk one receives introducing oneself by profession as food service, and so on—does the consumer relax into Bourdain-esque nirvana.
I don’t think the waitstaff or cooks are doing this for their own fun. Everyone needs to work some amount to be happy, but the low pay for them which causes low prices for me, is not a plus to any server or cook.
In the case of the thespians—well, somebody has to compensate them for their performance, unless you’re saying they should do it for you for free. Actors, dancers, and musicians do perform for free sometimes, but I don’t see it as a good thing, because they still need to work 40–60 hours a week additionally, serving tables and whatnot. Or it could be worse if they need to pay as well for the performance or practice spaces; instead we the audience should be at least defraying those costs for them, if not paying them a net positive.
The two groups who I think see through this are: a) anarchists and b) those who believe their standard-issue economics instruction. The anarchists I know are quite happy to make up games and play them, for free, in a public space which costs nothing. Participating less in the economic system—buying less, at least—tautologically reduces the demands on the people who are working. Economists preach that every transaction is two-sided, so you can’t think of only the buyer (as Marx is doing here, with himself as egoistic entertained) without considering the seller. Where I think the econ’s fall down on the job is if they take Walter Q Server’s low wages as an optimal outcome, rather than asking what might raise his earning/producing power, without incurring other negatives to himself or others.
Theoretically Marx’s observation is a “nifty” one—saving sucks, is f―ing annoying, and so on. But that’s only from an egotistical perspective. I never want to imply that others should be doing services for me unremunerated, so that I can “just be free to be myself” or some b―sh―.
Asking people to bargain or work for others’ IOU’s before having the right to request services of a third party, is much more communal and respectful than “I should just get to have stuff”—in what context-free vacuum is that happening? It’s also fully reasonable to say things like “A car can cost many multiples of a beer and therefore require not-buying many beers”. Or, you know, buy neither car nor beer.
“An astounding 26 percent of black males in the United States report seeing someone shot before turning 12.
Conditional on reported exposure to violence, black and white young males are equally likely to engage in violent behavior.”—Aliprantis, Dionissi, 2014. “Human Capital in the Inner City,” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, working paper no. 13-02R.
“McKinsey is nothing more than thousands of people who are either the most knowledgeable at what they do, or learning to become the most knowledgeable. Except many people go into consulting for the variety. Pretty early you have to focus and decide your specialty. Could be industry or function area, but the goal is to become the world’s expert so you can travel to different clients and help them with your expertise And a lot of times, that focus is based on the random projects you’ve had so far (and which you didn’t give much thought to). I know someone who ended up “focusing” on airline maintenance because his first project was 9 months with airlines.”—Ellen Vrana
“Standard histories saw the nineteenth-century medical treatment of madness … as an enlightened liberation of the mad from the ignorance and brutality of preceding ages.
But, according to Foucault, the new idea that the mad were merely sick (“mentally” ill) and in need of medical treatment was not at all a clear improvement on earlier conceptions (e.g., the Renaissance idea that the mad were in contact with the mysterious forces of cosmic tragedy or the 17th–18th-century view of madness as a renouncing of reason).”—Gary Gutting
The $400 billion US retail grocery industry includes about 40,000 companies that operate 70,000 grocery stores (excluding convenience stores).
About 50 large national and regional chains like Kroger, Albertsons, Ahold, and Safeway hold more than 60 percent of the market. The industry is highly concentrated: 500 companies that own more than five stores control 80 percent of the market.
“For what is the theory of determinants? It is an algebra upon algebra; a calculus which enables us to combine and foretell the results of algebraical operations, in the same way as algebra itself enables us to dispense with the performance of the special operations of arithmetic. All analysis must ultimately clothe itself under this form.
I have in previous papers defined a ‘Matrix' as a rectangular array of terms, out of which different systems of determinants may be engendered, as from the womb of a common parent; these cognate determinants being by no means isolated in their relations to one another , but subject to certain simple laws of mutual dependence and simultaneous deperition.”—
from the same source, quoting Sylvester’s Apotheosis of Algebraical Quantity (1884):
A matrix … regarded apart from the determinant … becomes an empty schema of operation, … only for a moment looses the attribute of quantity to emerge again as quantity, … of a higher and unthought-of kind, … in a glorified shape-as an organism composed of discrete parts, but having an essential and undivisible unity as a whole of its own .… The conception of multiple quantity thus rises on the field of vision.
adults, unlike children, rarely cry in public. They wait until they’re in the privacy of their homes—when they are alone or, at most, in the company of one other adult. On the face of it, the “crying-as-communication” hypothesis does not fully hold up, and it certainly doesn’t explain why we cry when we’re alone, or in an airplane surrounded by strangers we have no connection to…
In the same 2000 study, Vingerhoet’s team also discovered that, in adults, crying is most likely to follow a few specific antecedents. When asked to choose from a wide range of reasons for recent spells of crying, participants in the study chose “separation” or “rejection” far more often than other options, which included things like “pain and injury” and “criticism.”
“yes trees opening up like a scream yes the wolves moving their bodies before their own shadows yes claws falling in love with the air yes smoke always moving in the direction opposite of our bodies yes down yes a tearing in the ground yes a dream of a throne of birds yes throwing our bones upward saying yes that is my shape yes that is my dream yes stepping out of the fire with a mouth full of snow yes angels building houses in the screams yes a goodness yes oh my god yes my spine yes i think my spine is more of a spine and less of a shiver yes less of a fire more of a flowering yes less of a knife more of a knife yes raising a body like a sharp deliberate thing yes towards the sky yes delighting in whatever falls from it like a rain yes like a fire yes like a frost yes whatever falls it will not be me yes it will not be the trees yes it will not be the fur yes it will not be you yes i am more of an opening more of a deliberate thing”—aheartlikea-socket, via tiny ghost hands
[F]or leaders, it’s important that people know you are consistent and fair in how you think about making decisions and that there’s an element of predictability. If a leader is consistent, people on their teams experience tremendous freedom, because then they know that within certain parameters, they can do whatever they want. If your manager is all over the place, you’re never going to know what you can do, and you’re going to experience it as very restrictive.
[Employees should be saying that] the manager treats me with respect, the manager gives me clear goals, the manager shares information, the manager treats the entire team fairly.
or other things in other “smooth” categories; here I mean again the pre-atomic vision of gas: in some sense it has constant mass, but it might be so de-pressurised that there’s not much in some sub-chamber, and the mass might even be so dispersed not only can you not pick out atoms and expect them to have a size (so each point of probability density has “zero” chance of happening), but you might need a “significant pocket” of gas before you get the volume—and unlike liquid, the gas’ volume might confuse you without some “pressure”-like concept “squeezing” the stuff to constrain the notion of volume.
“Every year, wealthy countries spend billions of dollars to help the world’s poor, paying for cows, goats, seeds, beans, textbooks, business training, microloans, and much more…. Much of this aid … works. But [such aid is] expensive….
Part of [the expense] is due to overhead, but overhead [gets too much] attention…. [Worse] is the [cost] of procuring and giving away goats, textbooks, sacks of beans, and the like.
…the nonprofit Bandhan spends $331 to get $166 worth of local livestock and other assets to the [recipients]”—