Archive for ‘Lifestyle’

March 25, 2011

Owning Your Home: Investment or Forced Savings?

Yves Smith contends that from a policy standpoint, it’s the latter. The graph below, showing real vs. nominal growth providing evidence for her claim. Via Naked Capitalism. Originally at VisualizingEconomics where the focus is on investment value of home ownership rather than social/economic policy:

A $10,000 house in 1890 would be worth almost the same in real dollars in 2010 but more than $350,000 in nominal dollars in 2010. Which matters to the home seller, real or nominal prices? If a seller is holding a mortgage then the question is: Can I sell for more or less than I owe? Since that loan amount is not adjusted for inflation then the nominal value is more important both the seller and the mortgage holder. It is when nominal prices fall that banks have trouble with high rates of mortgage defaults. But if you are looking at the long-term value of real estate as an investment (compared to stocks or bonds) then you need to take into account the real growth.


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January 12, 2009

Poise and Grace in Motion

Breathtaking. Two short (under 2 minutes) videos of the same performance from different views. I suggest watching the top one first. Thanks to Fred Mitouer for recommending it.

August 13, 2008

Pandora: Let the Music Play

As I write this, I am listening to Pandora’s generic “funk” station. “What is Pandora?” you may ask. It’s pandora.com where you can create your own “radio” stations based on artist, title or you can pick from a number of generic stations like the one I’m playing now. (Funk, not only is it danceable, you can keyboard to it as well — though probably not at the same time.)

Pandora is based on the Music Genome Project. As the site says

Since we started back in 2000, we have been hard at work on the Music Genome Project. It’s the most comprehensive analysis of music ever undertaken. Together our team of fifty musician-analysts has been listening to music, one song at a time, studying and collecting literally hundreds of musical details on every song. It takes 20-30 minutes per song to capture all of the little details that give each recording its magical sound – melody, harmony, instrumentation, rhythm, vocals, lyrics … and more – close to 400 attributes! We continue this work every day to keep up with the incredible flow of great new music coming from studios, stadiums and garages around the country.

With Pandora you can explore this vast trove of music to your heart’s content. Just drop the name of one of your favorite songs or artists into Pandora and let the Genome Project go. It will quickly scan its entire world of analyzed music, almost a century of popular recordings – new and old, well known and completely obscure – to find songs with interesting musical similarities to your choice. Then sit back and enjoy as it creates a listening experience full of current and soon-to-be favorite songs for you.

You can create as many “stations” as you want. And you can even refine them. If it’s not quite right you can tell it so and it will get better for you.

Check it out here. And now to shift the soundtrack, inflect the mood — a little reggae? Or maybe some Bach?