Marco's Blog

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Extrins, Intrexes, and the Wonderful World of Being Semi-social

2017-06-06 6 min read Musings marco
Are you an extrovert or an introvert? If you’ve ever done a Myers-Briggs test, you are familiar with the questions: Do you prefer being in a crowd when you are stressed, or would you rather retreat? Do you have lots of friends, or just a few, very deep ones? Do you prefer a loud party of 100 or an intimate gathering of 4? While in parts of the business world the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is almost a religion, it was originally meant as a tool to explain that different people think differently, and that these differences of manner shouldn’t be read as differences of attitude. Continue reading

Why I Gave Up On Facebook

2015-01-10 5 min read Musings marco
You probably noticed if you follow me on Facebook: I’ve barely been on there in the past two years. I’ll log on, once in a while, mostly because I remember it’s someone’s birthday and I wish them well on the channel I know they use. But for myself, I am over it. Why? There was a time when Facebook was cool. That was, of course, before I was on it. It’s when you had to have a . Continue reading

What Auxiliary Language Should You Learn and Why

2015-01-09 9 min read Musings marco
As you may know, among the many languages I speak there is Esperanto. When the average American hears the name, the reaction is probably either Huh? for those that never heard about it, or the general notion of a failed project for those who have. Also, in general, you’ll find that those that have an active opinion will say that nobody needs a made-up language as a form of communication any longer, since everybody speaks English. Continue reading

Racism May Not Be the Worst Thing About Racism

2013-06-20 9 min read Musings marco
I moved to America because of racism. Not the racism you find in America, but the racism I faced in back home, in Germany. It may seem odd, but Germans were still wildly racist in 1998. Instead of targeting the (relatively) few Jews, they had chosen Southern European immigrants, especially those from Turkey, plus the asylum seekers to whom the constitution granted general welcome (but not the people that followed that constitution). Continue reading

Addendum to PPR: Actual Numbers

2013-06-02 4 min read Musings marco
In the previous post I made the claim that the Percentage of Premiums Returned (PPR) is the one number that all insurance companies should give us, so that we have a better idea of what we are buying. I also made the unsubstantiated claim that the PPR is shockingly low, despite a wealth of web sites (strangely affiliated with the insurance industry) claiming that the cost of payout frequently exceeds premiums. Continue reading

The One Number We Need From Insurers

2013-05-31 7 min read Musings marco
When you get a loan, they always give you two numbers: the (nominal) interest rate and the APR. The first one takes into account only the interest you pay the bank, while the second is supposed to include fees and other items that get tacked on. Since banks get creative with their fees, you should always consider the APR more important than the nominal interest rate: if a loan costs you 1% up-front, that’s a lot of money to add to a potentially enticing interest rate! Continue reading

Causality: My Cats Know About It

2013-02-13 4 min read Musings marco
When trying to pinpoint the root accomplishment of human intelligence, we are frequently tempted to use our inquisitive nature as an explanation. The relentless “why?” of a five-year-old seems to be as good an indicator and instigator of intellectual progress as any. We humans are intelligent because we want to find out. Nice theory. Only it’s not true. We ask why? to determine causality. We have this notion that for something to be, something else has to have made it that way. Continue reading

YHIHF: Bach's Double Violin Concerto BWV 1043 is Really Vivaldi's

2012-08-04 3 min read Musings marco
The YouTube player can not be loaded with disabled JavaScript. The following video is embedded here: Every culture loves its heros. To Italians, the Poet is Dante – to Germans it’s Goethe, to English-speakers it’s Shakespeare. This is nearly universal. What is not universal is that some of the greats disappear or fade because the culture they belong to does. It is infernal how many “minor” cultures have brought forth amazing artists and scientists that don’t register for all their worth simply because we are not used to their culture producing genius of universal proportions. Continue reading

The Two Numbers We Need

2011-08-10 3 min read Musings marco
I have spoken with many friends about super-taxing the super-rich (according to the Democrats, that’s anyone that makes more than $250,000 a year after deductions). I have heard many different opinions as to why that’s a good thing or a bad thing. In the end, I decided I need more information to make a decision; in particular, I need two numbers. The first number is an easy one to get: What percentage of the wealth of the super-rich is invested outside this country? Continue reading

The Information Revolution Has Not Arrived Yet

2011-06-30 4 min read Musings marco
Some of you may remember Al Gore’s claim he had invented the Internet. Well, the claim was never made that way, and Al Gore’s role in commercializing the Internet made out of a government playground what we know today, so he may have had a little to boast about. The other thing he was talking about, though, never really came to be. That’s the Information Superhighway. It was supposed to deliver information at your fingertips, and for some things (like cheap watches) it works even too well. Continue reading
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