diarmuid

Thoughts on education

I've been on lj over 12 years now, and I've had lots of thoughts on education [also, I was posting stuff on marypat.org in longer form from 1996 - 2002; I've also written a lot at the Actuarial Outpost on this subject]

So this post is simply to amass posts as I find them, and categorize them. I am defining "education" very broadly here. I may be linking to some friends-locked posts, and will note that when I link. Some of these posts may need to be moved around for better organization.

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diarmuid

January - June Money Comparisons

Okay, doing regular update as the month just ended. I'm doing year-over-year comparisons on spending:

— January: +13% [that is mostly a tax timing issue]

— February: -26% [again, tax stuff]

— March: -36% [this is not tax stuff]

— April: -25%

— May: -64% [May 2019 was higher than usual, due to car stuff...which we've put off in 2020]

— June: +33% [we had work on Stu's truck, and my turn will come in July]

Interesting to look at the pattern.

Anyway, if I put January 2019 — June 2019 against January 2020 — June 2020, here is the year-over-year change: -30%


I was going to do an income comparison, but I realized that Mint.com was double-counting some of my transactions [I'm a little suspicious of the spending numbers, too, but I'll let that go for now.]

diarmuid

COVID money update

Let me update my spending trend so far, adding onto my prior post from two months ago.

— January: +13% [that is mostly a tax timing issue]

— February: -26% [again, tax stuff]

— March: -36% [this is not tax stuff]

— April: -25%

— May: -64% [May 2019 was higher than usual, due to car stuff...which we've put off in 2020]

— June [so far]: +25% [we had work on Stu's truck, and my turn will come in July]

Interesting to look at the pattern.

Anyway, if I put January 2019 — May 2019 against January 2020 — May 2020, here is the year-over-year change: -38%

Yeah.

I'm not particularly surprised: I didn't spend money on more gas, more lunches away from home, and more car work on my vehicle.


diarmuid

Revisiting the life (and death) of Martin Gardner

Ten years ago, I was blogging on a site called POWIP [which died some years later], and just for random reasons, I've decided to go through <a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20100604040623/http://powip.com:80/author/meep/">the web archive of the site</a> to try to dig up old blog posts and see if they're worth anything to me now.

I just found <a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20101128044137/http://powip.com/2010/06/the-math-man/">this one from 10 years ago</a>. Here it is.


Martin Gardner died recently. [blog post was from 3 June 2010]

He was my intellectual hero.

Here is a good reminiscence over what the man meant to so many.

What I remember him for is being the guy who really made me love math, real math, not the kind you learn in school. He wrote about stuff like making a learning matchbox system to play tic-tac-toe — it used a probabilistic mechanism of colored marbles, and the probabilities were adjusted by adding/removing marbles as a particular series of moves ended up with the system winning or losing the game. He didn’t invent or discover the stuff he wrote about — he dug up what was interesting or fun and showed it to a general audience who never knew such cool stuff existed in math.

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diarmuid

COVID Diary: About my Wallowing Playlist

The playlist is here on my personal YouTube account [as opposed to my blogging account].

This is the playlist:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuZTk1hdpMs&list=PL01B1C9FDB36C2747

I think I've told the story before, but I figure it's worth telling again.

In February 2011, I was in the job from hell. One morning, I went into Manhattan on a Saturday morning to finish up the annual statement for the company. I expected my boss and at least one other actuary [let me call him Bob, not his name] from our group to be there.

I didn't realize that, as I was going up the elevator, my boss was going down a different one. [I figured this out as I left, because we had to sign in/out after hours at the security guard's desk at the entrance. As I left, I saw the time he had signed out.]

Why was he going down the elevator, you may ask? Because he had just sent an email to the CFO saying he was quitting, effective immediately. I believe he was in the office only 10 minutes by the ledger... it certainly was less than an hour.

Anyway, I come into the office, say hi to Bob, and get to work on my spreadsheets. Bob & I wonder where the boss is, but figure we're just early. About an hour into this, I either get a text or an email from the now-ex-boss.

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diarmuid

COVID Diary: Money Update

So, I was trying to figure out expenditure differences at the end of March, which you can see here: COVID Savings: Determining Marginal Effects

To be clear, I was attempting to figure out what spending reductions could be directly attributable to COVID-19 shutdown, as all sorts of things influence how much money I spend month-to-month.  But even with figuring gas/lunch/laundromat...there are all sorts of other expenditures I'm not making.

Not going to brunch. Not doing any roadtrips [not that I was really doing that before], not doing huge clothing shopping trips.

So, just to give a relative impact, here are the year-over-year changes in spending, according to my records on Mint.com:

— January: +13% [that is mostly a tax timing issue]

— February: -26% [again, tax stuff]

— March: -36% [this is not tax stuff]

— April [so far]: -30% [seems to keep going]

So, just one household's impacts. Some of it is cheaper electricity & heating. A lot of it is reduction in discretionary spending.


diarmuid

COVID Diary: I own the morning...again

Two posts coming up — this one, which is public. And a second, which will just be for lj friends.

In this one, I want to point out how much I enjoy that I have the house to myself for about 3 hours every morning. God, that takes me back.

One of the reasons I was able to get through all the actuarial exams from 2002-2007 while having kids in 2003, 2005, & 2006, was first, babies are easy to entertain [so I would sing my flash cards at them], and second, I have always had weird sleeping patterns.  I am usually awake by 4am, if not 3am. And while I usually lie in bed for hours [generally listening to MST3K and doing sudoku], that's not always the case.

When D & Bon started at the middle/high school, my morning was invaded by those two. They needed to be up by 5:30am, and decanted into the bus around 7am. After which I'd immediately drive to my job, and be there between 8:30 and 9am.

So my mornings were pretty much non-productive for a long while. I might have had an hour to myself, but that was usually spent making breakfast for myself and taking a shower.

This morning, I was able to: make oatmeal, handwash dishes, handwash clothes, and deal with a dead packrat. 

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diarmuid

COVID Diary: Walking in front of my house

Not a lot to talk about today.

I decided to order a deli box of squares of wax paper... to use to help with me freezing duck eggs. The short version is this: we've got 7 layers, and Ancona ducks lay on average an egg per day.  AT MOST we consume 4 duck eggs in one day, currently.

We are out of wax paper, and I don't feel like hitting Walmart (or a grocery store) anytime soon.

So I went on Amazon looking for wax paper... long story short, I decided the best choice was a bunch of wax paper squares originally intended for being used for being put between meat patties.

Pacing

The other issue is me trying to get some exercise [tho I did mention to Stu that I was likely to gain weight and I DIDN'T CARE]. It consists of me walking on the road in front of our house... and two neighbors' houses, and then back again. Until I crap out.

Early this morning, I was able to make it 30 minutes.

This afternoon... 10 minutes was as much as I could bear. That's it.

I'm tired.

diarmuid

COVID Diary: Donating Blood and Shopping Rules

First thing this morning was blood donation — I'm AB+ so I really should do platelets or plasma.... but.  My platelet count or volume (whatever) is so low, that even in two hours, they can barely get the minimum donation from me. So that's not helpful. There were actually a lot of donors in this morning at the Blood Center in Elmsford, but they had to space us out more, so they can't process the same volume, as far as I can tell.

I do often donate plasma, but again, it takes a long time, because it takes whole blood out of you, extracts the plasma, and then puts the red blood cells (plus some fluid to make up for lost volume) back in. So it takes a while. And I have been having migraines due to weather change.... and that almost canceled my donation in its middle when I went back in January.

So whole blood donation it was. That's really quick.

Differences from January

Changes to the process (as I've been to this center before for plasma donation): they took our temps with the liquid crystal strips you put in your mouth ... but they didn't check mine quickly enough (evidently) and the temp was too high. So they tried a second time, and it was okay. Then I finished the computer survey (all the disqualifying questions), but I noticed that the survey was stripped down in # of questions since last time I went. But still it was a lot of questions.

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