Saturday, November 25, 2017

Life Extension (implications)

While in America, the life expectancy is about 78 years, it is possible to see records of people that lived past 100 years. I think that the record for oldest person in the world is 120 years. It makes me wonder how old a person could live. Biblical accounts have people living for hundreds of years to as long as 1000 years. How accurate those accounts are is speculation but it is nice to have myths.

Repeatedly, I hear that there is some sort of life expectancy technology but there is little to no detail about how it works or what kind of results it can product. People say it is suppressed from the general public.

To satisfy my curiosity, I just typed in "Life Extension Technology" into YouTube and clicked the first video that popped up.

It is a 26 minute long video by Issac Arthur about the implications of such Life Extension. Not much detail is provided about current, developing, or future technology but it is an interesting view about life after such technology is released to the public.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Who really can you believe anyway?

While I've heard that government statistics can be far from accurate, I've never really given it much thought if I could rely on that information or not. If it was a lie, how would I know it was a lie? How would I figure out the truth? It would be far easier to just assume that any government statistic is true. After all, I trust numbers. Those don't lie to me.

But when I run across an example where government officials just purely mess up to the point where it can't be hidden, then I realize that if I can't verify it, I just can't trust it.

A few weeks ago, I was curious about the population of Atlanta. Most people would say the population was 5 million people but that would include all the metro areas. The city itself only has a population of about 500,000 people. But just to make sure, I did a quick google search.

The most recent statistics put the population at 472,000 (as of 2016). It didn't even break 500,000. However, the chart looked a little weird. In 1999, the population was 401,000 and steadily increased to 540,000 in 2009. In 2010, the population took a nose dive and hit 422,000 and started steadily increasing from there.

How did this happen? How did Atlanta lose over 100,000 people over the course of a year. I was still in college at the time and I didn't hear stories of people rushing out of the city.

As it turns out, the census was taken in 2010 and a lot of estimates since the previous census were drastically incorrect. The details are explained in an article from the AJC.

I used to think I could trust basic stats as simple as population but even something as basic as "how many people live in a certain area" can be a very complex thing to figure out.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

US Life Expectancy Stalls

A quick google search reveals the following details.

US life expectancy is as of 2015 78.74 years. This is completely level since 2012.

In 2011, life expectancy was 78.64.

The life expectancy first broke 78 years in 2008.

The google search only has data up until 2015 and around December 2016, there was a flood of stories talking about the life expectancy declining for the first time in 20 years. I suppose the decline is noticed in a rounding error.

Towards the end of December, the information for 2016 might be released.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Middle Class Houses

I've heard that the current real estate market is hotter today then it was before the financial market meltdown in 2009. In the last few months, I noticed a lot of houses changing hands as well as new homes being built.

However, I noticed something somewhat odd. The houses being built were built for the upper class. Within a 10 mile radius from my house, I see multiple houses being built with price tags ranging from $300k to $500k and up. These are houses that have more room than the average American family really needs. These are two story houses that look like they have 3 to 4 bathrooms and probably 5 or 6 bedrooms. I guess these could be single family houses... with extra capacity for comfort.

But where are the smaller more reasonable single family houses? Where are the starter houses? I don't see those being built.

I keep thinking that the middle class is slowly and consistently disappearing. These large houses are being built and within the same 10 mile radius of my house, there are some really dirty looking neighborhoods that look like drug dealer houses. Houses that look like they are occupied by section 8 tenants.

My generation doesn't buy houses as much as they rent houses. And if reasonable sized and priced homes aren't being built, they won't be buying houses anytime soon.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Core Values

It is important to have a set of core values. Without having a set of core values to believe in, a man can only believe what other people tell him. He wouldn't be able to tell if a person was trying to feed him nonsense.

These are my core values.

Problems arise when people defer responsibilities to others.

Most government programs exist just because people didn't want to take responsibilities for their own actions.

Why do we have unemployment insurance? It is a protection in the event a man loses his job and needs some time to find another job. However, this is a program that encourages people to live paycheck to paycheck. Before unemployment insurance existed, a man would have to save up a few months worth of savings in the event he got fired.

The same can be said for Social Security. Social Security is a program that gives a man a small income during old age because he might be in no shape to work. This encouraged the baby boomers to spend rather than save. Unfortunately, this kind of incentive diminished the importance of long term planning. And if the parents developed poor long term planning skills, then it is likely those skills didn't get passed on to the children.

Why do we have medicare? It is a protection in the event a man suffers from accidents or gets sick during old age. Heart attacks, stroke, and cancers are more common in old age. Unfortunately, this takes away the incentive for people to focus on health and live destructive lifestyles.

Why do we have Section 8, WIC, child support, SNAP, etc, etc, etc...?

It's all for the same reason. It is to defer responsibility.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Peter Schiff, The Brady Bunch, and 1984

One thing about people that is impressive is resilience. People have an incredible ability to adapt to different situations. It almost gets to the point where, given enough time, a changed situation will begin to feel normal. It will feel so normal that it is easy to forget what life was like before. It is just like in 1984 when Winston walks into a pub to find old people to talk to and ask them if life was truly better before Big Brother took control over everything.

This is why I'm glad we have so much media to consume. We have so many records to get a glimpse of what life used to be like before 2013. A few years back, the actress that played Alice on The Brady Bunch passed away. Around 2014, there were some articles floating around speculating what a live in maid would make in 2014 dollars. Around that same time, there were articles discussing if the lifestyle portrayed in the Brady Bunch was financially accurate.

Peter Schiff discussed this topic on a few podcasts.

I used to watch reruns of The Brady Bunch during the early 2000s on Nickelodeon. From what I remembered, the show took place in the 1970s. The father worked as an architecture and supported a wife, 6 children, and a live in maid on just his salary. They lived in a two story house in the suburbs of  Los Angeles. I think the family even had 2 cars. The wife didn't work from what I could recall.

While it is just a tv show, media does try to keep itself somewhat reasonable. Nowadays, owning a 2 story house in the suburbs of California would cost at least half a million dollars. Far more expensive than the cost of a new house in America (almost $300,000).

As for having 6 children, I think I head my boss had to pay at least $20,000 to get a baby delivered. I'm getting old enough to see my peer group start to get married and have some children. Typically, they marry in the mid to late 20s and have no more than 2 children.

Even buying a house isn't all that common among my peer group. Most people I know either rent or still live with their parents. I was watching an episode of King of the Hill the other day and heard the term "Starter Home". I thought to myself when was the last time I heard the term starter home? Nowadays, if you buy a house, you are staying in that location.

Sometimes I lament about what could be. I'm even starting to see it in my life over the last 7 years. Health care wasn't as insane. A foot long at Subway only cost $5. And back before 2011, you could actually get 3% to 5% rates of returns on a certificate of deposit at a bank.

That last thing hurt so much.

Slow changes will lead to slow adaptations.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

For the love of the world

This happened to me a few months back.

I was commuting from work, and to break up the commute time, I decided to stop at the McDonald's on the way to my house. Tired and sweating, I hopped out, walked inside and ordered a coffee with 2 cheeseburgers.

I ate my burger and sat there drinking my coffee.

There was a family in the booth in front of me with some children eating there meal. There was nothing out the ordinary in the least.

While thinking about the previous 7 years, my gut feeling was complete utter struggle every step of the way. However, in that moment, something felt different.

I sat there in the air conditioned restaurant drinking my coffee. And I thought to myself.

This coffee only cost me one dollar, but just imagine all the steps it took to get in my hands. These beans had to be grown in South America where farmers had to tend the crops and eventually harvest them. Afterwards, those beans would have had to been processed, packaged, and stored on a ship. That ship had to be driven and floated all the way to America where the cargo would be unloaded and probably held in some warehouse before being again loaded on a truck. After several stops, that truck would unload the cargo and the beans would go to a processing plant where they would be ground up and packaged in the McDonald's packaging.

At that point, the packaged coffee would be put on a different truck and then that truck would go make the rounds and unload the coffee at every local McDonald's. From that point, the employees would unbox the coffee, sort it out at the beginning of the day, then wait for a customer to order it. The employee would then open the coffee and put it in the machine to brew, put it in a cup and hand it to me after I gave them one dollar.

Due to economies of scale, supply chain management, logistics, accountants, managers, and every man that was willing to work to make a dollar... I was able to enjoy that coffee.

I looked around me while drinking that coffee. As I felt the cool air conditioning, everything looked beautiful in that moment. Everything was just wonderful. Whatever problem or conundrum that came my way, life was still very good. It was still so beautiful.

In that moment, I thought that I would want to do what I could to preserve this way of life for future generations.