Posts tagged with USA

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Things I notice:

  • teachers and nurses are not low earners. that would be cooks, cashiers, janitors, customer service reps, secretaries, housekeepers, and teachers’ & nurses’ aides.
  • "confidence intervals": if you click on any job-title in the NPR link, it highlights all occurrences of that job-title in yellow. Some job titles span wide across several income categories (truck drivers, sales supervisors) whereas others (software developers) are more concentrated/narrow in quantile.
  • vagueness of data: Data data data. Data. By the way, did I mention data? There’s a lot of it, you know. But check it out: measurement entails the creation of categories and sometimes those categories are so vague that “sales supervisor” shows up in the $12k–$26k level, whilst “salesperson” shows up in the $207k+ category. Wait, aren’t the supervisors supervising those salespersons? Turns out, “salespersons” show up ≥ “sales supervisors”, who show up ≥ “sales”. Oops.
  • histogram: look at the distance between incomes for each (constant-size) decile bracket. +12, +9, +5, +8, +8, +10, +14, +31, +104, +∞. This matches Catherine Mulbrandon’s picture:
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    where the latter leaps capture the convexity of US earning power.
  • jobs you can just get: Many of the dark-teal jobs are ones with a low barrier to entry. The jobs that, if I found myself unemployed and needed money, I could apply and believe that I actually have a chance of being hired—as opposed to the less-than-1% response rate from sending CV’s to large corporations for salaried office work.










Robert Reich is writing as if nobody in the US actually gets a vocational-technical education. Is he that wonky? What about all the young people who, um, get vocational training?

What about JobCorps?

Job Corps is a no-cost … vocational training program … that helps … people ages 16 through 24 improve the quality of their lives through vocational … training.

Funded by Congress, Job Corps has been training young adults for meaningful careers since 1964.

Here are JobCorps’ performance measures (.xls files).

            	        2007 	2008 	2009 	2010 	2011 	2012
Entered Emp/Educ	73%	66%	66%	73%	73%	75%
HSD/GED or Career Tech. Training Cert.	53%	55%	61%	64%	65%	71%
Literacy or Numeracy Gains	53%	58%	64%	65%	65%	69%

Vo-tech training is not a novel idea. It is not exotic. If vo-tech and community college will solve the United States’ labour-force problems, why aren’t they already solved?

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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.

(Source: clevelandfed.org)






Kiryas Joel, New York has the lowest per capita income of any location with over 10,000 population in the US.

Kiryas Joel, New York has the lowest per capita income of any location with over 10,000 population in the US.


hi-res




graphs from Capital in the 21st Century

(Source: youtube.com)










A geek is someone who is so wed to his own fixations that he is unable to imagine the world through the mind of another.
Seth Edenbaum

(Source: blog.edenbaumstudio.com)




Angelo Franco

hi-res




Flash Boys is deliberately set up to suggest a “perfect world gone bad” scenario: As if, prior to the advent of HFT, … nobody ever got bad fills and liquidity was provided by a fairy godmother who never skimmed. It is … irresponsible, … dumb and deceptive, … to … talk about HFT without talking about what HFT replaced.

… Why … did floor traders and market makers play a key role in the function of markets for multiple centuries? Because floor traders provide liquidity. Liquidity provision is a service, and it has a cost. A discussion of what HFT replaced—with examination of new systems, old systems, and continuity between the two, with attendant pluses and minuses [would have been better]. Yet for Lewis it barely [merits] a paragraph.

Liquidity has always been an issue. The more size you want to move, the more of an issue it becomes. There has always been a need for middlemen to provide it, and friction / incentive issues in doing so, ever since the fabled meeting under the Buttonwood tree.

In the late 1980s, the Justice department busted 46 traders and brokers in the Chicago trading pits. The stealing had gotten so bad, the FBI came onto the trading floor.

Flash Boys reveals itself as a tempest in a teapot on pages 52 and 64. (I speak here of the hardcover edition from Amazon.) When Lewis … uses real numbers, the frivolity of his case is revealed.

On page 52 … an HFT “tax” that amounts to $160 million per day on $225 billion worth of volume. That is significantly less than one-tenth of one percent.

's review of { Flash Boys by Michael Lewis }




[S]tereotypes aren’t so much about people totally projecting things that completely aren’t there but about people having a framework with which they interpret things that actually are there.

It’s not that racism causes people to see (for example) belligerent teenage boys where there are none, but that a white belligerent teenage boy is just seen as himself while a black belligerent teenage boy is part of a pattern, a script, and when people blindly follow the scripts in their head that leads to discrimination and prejudice.

So yeah, it is a fact, I think, that I was a bit off-putting in my Jeopardy! appearance—hyper-focused on the game, had an intense stare, clicked madly on the buzzer, spat out answers super-fast, wasn’t too charming in the interviews, etc. But this may have taken root in people’s heads because I’m an Asian and the “Asian mastermind” is a meme in people’s heads that it wouldn’t have otherwise.

Look, we all know that there’s a trope in the movies where someone of a minority race is flattened out into just being “good at X” and that the white protagonist is the one we root for because unlike the guy who’s just “good at X” the protagonist has human depth, human relationships, a human point of view—and this somehow makes him more worthy of success than the antagonist who seems to exist just to be good at X. So we root for Rocky against black guys who, by all appearances, really are better boxers than he is, because unlike them Rocky isn’t JUST a boxer, he has a girlfriend, he has hopes, he has dreams, etc.

This comes up over and over again in movies where the athletic black competitor is set up as the “heel”—look at the black chick in Million Dollar Baby and how much we’re pushed to hate her. Look at all this “Great White Hope” stuff, historically, with Joe Louis. So is it any surprise that this trope comes into play with Asians? That the Asian character in the movie is the robotic, heartless, genius mastermind who is only pure intellect and whom we’re crying out to be defeated by some white guy who may not be as brainy but has more pluck, more heart, more humanity?

It’s not just Flash Gordon vs. Ming the Merciless, it’s stuff like how in the pilot episode of Girls Hannah gets fired in favor of an overachieving Asian girl who’s genuinely better at her job than she is (the Asian girl knows Photoshop and she doesn’t) and we’re supposed to sympathize with Hannah. Okay, here’s one more comment from the Internet that kind of encapsulates it. The kind of un-self-awareness of what someone is saying when they say they’d prefer I not win because I try too hard at the game, work too hard at it, care too much about it, and that they’d prefer that a “likable average Joe” win.

This is disturbing because it amounts to basically an attack on competence, a desire to bust people who work very hard and have very strong natural gifts down in favor of “likable average Joes”—and it’s disturbing because the subtext is frequently that to be “likable” and “average” you have to have other traits that are comforting and appealing to an “average Joe” audience, like white skin and an American accent.

Arthur Chu to Ken Jennings (via pushinghoopswithsticks), highlights mine

Filing this lucid account as more evidence that, mathematically, I want to think about racism / sexism / stereotypes of various sorts as being about lack of variationnot about location of mean/median/mode.

Related: scaly llamas




by Wes Janz and Olon Dotson

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