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  • Random Thoughts

    Posted by Jonathan on December 15th, 2011 (All posts by )

    -Uploading files over cable Internet is now often extremely slow even in the middle of the day. Until recently it was quick. Is the slowdown a function of the fact that many people are now watching TV and movies online?

    -Supermarkets’ attempt to make life easier for parents of small children by providing giant kiddie-car-shaped shopping carts makes life harder for everyone else.

    -Where did the habit of beginning sentences with the word “so” originate? This is new and annoying. I want to respond with, “So what?” but I hold my tongue.

    -While we’re on the topic of annoying rhetorical phenomena, how about the use of the word “understand” as an imperative at the beginning of a sentence? People have been saying this for a few years now. It seems to be an assertion of authority as in, “That is how it is, understand?” (but inverted). It serves the same purpose as the use of “OK?” at the end of a declarative sentence, as in: “That is how the boss wants it done, OK?” Maybe it’s another way of saying, “so”. These figures of speech appear to be designed to compel rather than persuade, and make it easier to avoid arguing issues on the merits.

    -I believe, and I think that many other people believe, that the economy will begin to pick up as soon as Obama leaves office (or as soon as it’s clear that Obama will leave office). To what extent is this belief that is probably held by many Americans likely to be a self-fulfilling prophecy?

     

    19 Responses to “Random Thoughts”

    1. Michael Kennedy Says:

      I suspect (and hope) that the recovery will begin once the results are clear election night.

      Gingrich said this in a debate and got a roar of affirmation from the audience.

    2. Lexington Green Says:

      1.

      “A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his.” Reagan. Will Romney have the stones to say this about Obama? No way.

      2.

      I think you meant saying UNDERSTAND at the end of a sentence.

      It would be super dominant to say UNDERSTAND at the beginning, as I think about it.

      Understand: Go to the client’s office, get the documents and bring them back and give them to Fred.

      Understand: Get me a draft motion by Tuesday. (This given on Friday afternoon at 4:48 p.m. so it is clear you will have to work all weekend on it.)

      At this point I have no minions to abuse, so I am not tempted to start doing this.

    3. foxmarks Says:

      Agreed on the shopping carts and the “so”.

      The economic response will be dependent on which person defeats Obama. A candidate willing to operate with continuing deficits will increase GDP but not value. One who more abruptly ends the false price signals produced by debt and leverage may see GDP drop, but value increase.

      There will be a Great Repricing. We may influence only when and how it proceeds, not the outcome.

    4. Anonymous Says:

      Understand me now and think about it later.

    5. Bill Brandt Says:

      My favorite sentence preface is “Basically”.

    6. Nicholas Says:

      “-Uploading files over cable Internet is now often extremely slow even in the middle of the day. Until recently it was quick. Is the slowdown a function of the fact that many people are now watching TV and movies online?”

      Are you sure that your cable company hasn’t started throttling your uploads?

      Ours did. I used to get in excess of 10mbit/s upload in the middle of the night. Now they limit it to 128kbit/s I think (16kB/s). It’s pathetic.

    7. chuck Says:

      This is new and annoying.

      So what do you suggest instead?

    8. Jonathan Says:

      Are you sure that your cable company hasn’t started throttling your uploads?

      I wouldn’t put it past them. I’m getting dialup speeds on uploads. Maybe they are trying to get business users to pay up for more speed.

    9. Gerry from Valpo Says:

      When Obama is gone home sales will pick up. That’s what my pro realtor friend tells me is a common belief in that industry.

      The one indicator of a true economic recovery will be a rise in home sales and value.

      But that can’t happen until corporations and small businesses start hiring again IMO.

    10. Percy Dovetonsils Says:

      This is popping into my head, and I can’t place it: “So I says to Mabel, I says ‘Mabel…’” I’m pretty sure that it’s from an old comedy bit, one that was referenced by “The Simpsons” a few years back.

      Ergo (was tempted to say “so”, I’m guessing that this way of leading off sentences isn’t that new, just more widespread.

    11. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Jonathan: In the recess of my memory, I recall that upload and download speeds on cable modems were never symmetric, and that upload was always slower.

      Percy: Simpsons reference:

      http://www.snpp.com/episodes/3F24.html

      One internet bu11$#;+er said that the Simpson’s script referred to Great Gatsby, but searches of that novel, and Google books failed to turn it up, until several years after the Simpsons.

    12. Shannon Love Says:

      -Uploading files over cable Internet is now often extremely slow even in the middle of the day. Until recently it was quick. Is the slowdown a function of the fact that many people are now watching TV and movies online?

      Possibly. Cable modems are just large ethernet segments. On ethernet, all the devices share the same line and have to negotiate packets with each other. One heavy user can bog the entire segment down for dozens of others. It could be “people” watching movies or just one guy watching movies solid or maybe running a server. Can’t tell with cable modems.

      -Supermarkets’ attempt to make life easier for parents of small children by providing giant kiddie-car-shaped shopping carts makes life harder for everyone else.

      Everything we do with children makes it harder for everyone else. Why do think childless hipster love near child free San Francisco so much?

      Where did the habit of beginning sentences with the word “so” originate? This is new and annoying. I want to respond with, “So what?” but I hold my tongue.

      There’s a technical term for it in linguistics but it’s basically a verbal marker for a change of subject. I’m pretty sure it originated as a regionalism in the upper Midwest up through central Canada where Scandinavians settled. You hear it a lot from the same Canadians that end sentence with, “ey?” e.g. “So, like I lost my CDs, ey?”

      I believe, and I think that many other people believe, that the economy will begin to pick up as soon as Obama leaves office (or as soon as it’s clear that Obama will leave office). To what extent is this belief that is probably held by many Americans likely to be a self-fulfilling prophecy?

      I’m rather dubious of the idea of self-fulfilling economic beliefs. It depends on the idea that people make economic decisions absent local economic signals. It depends on the idea that we could in some sense “will” ourselves out a recession.

      I don’t think that works because recessions result from the large scale misallocation of resources and labor. The end of the recession occurs when the misallocation has been corrected. In our current recession, we had a misallocation of resources into white elephant residential housing. Now, the economic creatives have to figure out new jobs for all those people who used to finance, sell, build, maintain etc all those houses or work in almost any housing related field. That takes time.

      Frankly, I don’t think the economic-creatives will actually begin the process in earnest until Obama is gone.

    13. PenGun Says:

      It’s interesting that people believe the connection they have is “the internet”. It’s just your local connection to it and the parameters it is subject to have almost nothing to do with the “internet”.

      You really believe that Obama is responsible for your economic problems? The crash of 08/09 was far more to do with Bush and his policies, several wars and a massive tax cut. That pales however to the actual cause, your out of control corporations and their war against the poor. After the economy started to slow around 2005 the huge push to get everyone not legally dead into a house, to boost the money flow through among other things, was the immediate cause of the crash of the housing market and the subsequent rounds of quantitative easing which has put your debt into the stratosphere and your prospects into the toilet. Go ahead blame Obama, he did roll over almost completely to Summers et al and bares a lot of the blame but just because he went along. It’s not his creation.

    14. Ginny Says:

      I don’t understand the use of “your” here; this comment is a pretty good example of why I keep making a notation over and over on student papers to avoid the “general you.” Of course, “bares” is irritating as well, but we all make mistakes like that and they aren’t really important. The “yours” reflects a deeper problem.

      As does a sense that “out of control” would be best controlled by the thoughtful and responsible regulations those like Corzine or Frank or Dodd might exercise. The more useful control is that of consequences. When bankers knew their clients and knew their house, their land, and their business, bankers also knew if a loan went sour repossession might be of the property of a man whose children went to school with his; his community exerted indirect and not even conscious pressure in the form of neighbors and kin. And the banker went under with the bank. We can’t go back to that, I assume. But we can go back to a sense of consequences and skin in the game. And the people who have the least skin in the game are those who speak the most in favor of “controls.”

    15. PenGun Says:

      “I don’t understand the use of “your” here; this comment is a pretty good example of why I keep making a notation over and over on student papers to avoid the “general you.” Of course, “bares” is irritating as well, but we all make mistakes like that and they aren’t really important. The “yours” reflects a deeper problem.”

      I’m not sure, but if you are referring to me and if I were American, I would say “our”.

    16. renminbi Says:

      Most of our political class are selfish and clueless- clueless in large part because they have never had to do anything productive in their lives. Obama is a bit different since he seems to get it wrong because of an active resentment of those who get things done. This isn’t just stupidity;it is also malice.

    17. Nicholas Says:

      Jonathan: You can usually tell if your uploads are being throttled because the upload speed is pretty consistent. Do you have any upload tools which show you the rate? I notice when I am copying a file using scp or ftp (both of which report the instantaneous transfer rate) that the rate just sits on 16kB/s and rarely fluctuates.

      If the slowness is from overutilisation in the link somewhere along the line then instead you will get different speeds at different times of the day and it will fluctuate from second to second and minute to minute.

    18. Nicholas Says:

      For the US economy to pick up I think Obama getting the old heave-ho isn’t enough. The problem is not him specifically (although he has enabled a lot of bad behaviour which has contributed to this depression) but it’s the crony capitalists which he (and many other politicians) support. Not only does he have to go but so do a lot of similarly badly behaving Congressmen and Senators and they need to be replaced with people who value their egos less and the country more. OK, so they will be polticians and thus will still have an over-inflated ego but it’s possible to go to Washington hoping to do good rather than just aggrandise (and enrich) one’s self.

      Yeah, Bush Jr. had his hand in digging this hole but so did Clinton and even earlier presidents. As well as hundreds if not thousands of their contemporaries (Barney Frank comes to mind). But in the last three years or so that hole has gotten a lot deeper and wider. The various “stimuluses” have set the USA back many years of economic growth.

    19. Ginny Says:

      Pengun,
      it was not your versus our – it was that these are not possessed, owned, nor guided by any one of us – this is a broadly general you that tends to alienate your audience. I hadn’t thought it was “ours” – since you are not an American – versus “yours.” It was the broad brush of the general you.