Thursday, February 12, 2009

On Settling

I just read an interesting article on settling written by self-proclaimed feminist, Lori Gottlieb.
Whenever I make the case for settling, people look at me with creased brows of disapproval or frowns of disappointment, the way a child might look at an older sibling who just informed her that Jerry’s Kids aren’t going to walk, even if you send them money.


It sounds obvious now, but I didn’t fully appreciate back then that what makes for a good marriage isn’t necessarily what makes for a good romantic relationship. Once you’re married, it’s not about whom you want to go on vacation with; it’s about whom you want to run a household with. Marriage isn’t a passion-fest; it’s more like a partnership formed to run a very small, mundane, and often boring nonprofit business. And I mean this in a good way.
Personally, I support the idea of settling. Finding the perfect person is just too costly. When do we hold out for the perfect anything? In a world where search costs are positive, we always settle. The more important question:What characteristics are most important and by what magnitude?

It's entertaining. And something to think about. Certainly good conversation fodder for the upcoming Valentine's Day. ATSRTWT

[HT: Angela]

Considering Dating Pools

This XKCD comic got me thinking this morning. I agree that the quantity of prospects might increase as one gets older. However, what is there to be said about the quality of these prospects? I drafted the following chart to help with this discussion.

There are a few things to note about this graph. First, the shape of the curve f(x) is such that f'(x) < 0; for some initial age A to A + E, f''(x) > 0; from A + E to infinity, f''(x) < 0. This first derivative expresses that people are exiting the dating pool (by marriage, death, etc.). The second derivative states that they do so at an increasing and then decreasing rate (a lot of people exit around 23-30, while fewer exit from 40-50). The area under the curve is the total number of prospects in your non-creepy range.

Suppose you are x years old (where x > 26). What can you conclude about your prospects? I'd suggest that those to the right of the dashed line are probably lower quality prospects. Probably. There are certainly some who have not yet married because they were focusing on their careers or traveling the world. But most are simply the leftovers.

If we were to adjust the original XKCD findings to include a qualitative measure, we would essentially eliminate the area to the right of the dashed line. However, a portion of those to the left are low quality as well. This could be illustrated by shifting the entire f(x) curve down.

Now let's think of this in a dynamic sense. Every year, your x moves one notch to the right. But, a batch of new prospects (NP) enter your non-creepy range on the left [recall that we are ignoring those entering on the far right because we already know they are low quality]. Of these new prospects, a portion of them are low quality, NP(LQ), and as such are above the red curve (but below the black curve). The rest, however, are average quality, NP(AQ).

At the same time, a portion of the average quality prospects who had entered the dating pool in earlier years exit the pool (again, by marriage, death, etc.). Let's call them EP(AQ). The question, then, is whether NP(AQ) is greater than, less than, or equal to EP(AQ).

I think some back of the envelope calculations would support the original XKCD hypothesis. Even adjusting for quality, your non-creepy dating prospects increase until around middle age.

So don't feel bad if you are single on Valentine's Day. Unless you are middle aged or older...

[HT: Angela]

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Nailed 'Em - Amtrak Photographer

Second Amendment

Who's rights are protected by the US constitution? I would say American citizens. Rahm Emmanuel has a slightly different view (at least with respect to #2):
If you're on that no fly list, your access to the right to bear arms is canceled. Because you're not part of the American family. You don't deserve that right. There is no right for you, if you're on that terror list.
I wonder if being a member of the American family (whatever that means) is a precondition for other rights protected by the constitution. That could be scary. And, if not, what argument allows one to make the exception for the second amendment?

Monday, February 02, 2009

Blockquoting X

X = Caplan. On rigorously solving GE equations:
There must be some journal that still takes these papers, but you don't want to be in it. Well, maybe you do. But you don't want to read it.


My friend Braam Hanekom will be speaking at Harvard Law this month.
Time and Place
Date: Monday, February 16, 2009
Time: 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Location: Ropes Grey, Harvard Law School
Street: 1563 Massachusetts Ave
City/Town: Cambridge, MA

The Zimbabwe Kupemha is a dinner to raise money for PASSOP (People Against Suffering, Suppression, Oppression, and Poverty), an organization based in Cape Town, South Africa that works both with Zimbabwean refugees in South Africa and with those remaining in Zimbabwe.

Braam Hanekom, the Chairperson of PASSOP, will be speaking at the event about the current situation in Zimbabwe, as well as about PASSOP's initiatives to aid Zimbabweans. Braam is regularly featured in South African media reports on the problems immigrants face in South Africa, in addition to the situation in Zimbabwe. Braam recently won the Inyathelo Award for Youth in Philanthropy, an award from the South African Institute for Advancement.
Tickets are $20. Contact Leigh Ann for additional information:

Trust Us

After all, you elected Us because We know best.

That seems to be the message broadcasting from the leader at the top of the party in power. In all honesty, I am becoming increasingly afraid of a full embrace of collectivism under Obama. I am typically quick to brush off all the right-wing propaganda. But three things have me second guessing this initial impulse:

1. Lot's of people love him. And it's the do-anything-for-you sort of love. Exhibit A.

2. There is already talk of mandatory national service. Exibit B.

3. The so-called financial crisis. And we will let Higgs' work on the Ratchet Effect stand as Exhibit C.

If I am unnecessarily fearful, please correct me.