Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The hardest working member of the EU

Greece! On average, the Greeks work nearly 50% more hours than Germans. Overall a great article in the Atlantic about how European countries perceive each other and really emphasizes that hard work doesn't necessarily equal wealth.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mad Men Is So Good / Monogamy and Cheating

I'm pretty sure that somewhere someone on the internet has made a relatively intelligible argument supporting almost any viewpoint. Not saying this blog post is one of them but it kind of gave me that impression. Given that I just finished Mad Men Season 4 I think this article fits nicely with the theme of my night. Its titled "Is Cheating a Rational Choice?"


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Who's to blame?

According to economix, more people blame Bush for our economic problems than Wall Street. That may be a little extreme but I would agree that the Bush presidency was the most disastrous since... Nixon? No wonder Romney refers to Bush as "Obama's predecessor." OUCH.


Monday, May 21, 2012

One of the best articles I've read this year

From NY Magazine, titled "Paper Tigers: What happens to all the Asian-American overachievers when the test taking ends?"


Its not just an article about Asian-Americans but really about what makes people successful and why lots of hard work isn't enough. I find it very fitting that the protagonist (if articles can have such a thing) went of the UofC.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Scary Math

With all the kerfuffle about student loans of late I decided to do some of my own research and forecasting. For the past 25 years tuition at private universities has risen an average of 3.47% in real terms (adjusted for inflation). Given that my theoretical future children will be starting college about 25 years from now I decided to calculate the real cost of their college if this rate persists. Here's where things get scary. Last year the UofC estimated $62,425 in total expenses per year, per student - already about $20,000 more than when I started undergrad. If the current growth rate persists, the REAL cost of 1 year at the UofC will be $146,460 per student. In other words I'll need to be making $500,000 (pre-tax) just to send 2 kids to college - assuming no other expenses. This situation seems unsustainable, that is unless private university is to become for only the 0.1%. Also can you imagine college students living a $146k per year lifestyle? Massages and jacuzzis available in every dorm room, personal chefs, hummer limos driving you to class. At some point universities will have to run out of things to spend money on... right?

Thanks Lucretius

As if death weren't bad enough, now you've got me depressed about my non-existence prior to birth.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

How to Live

There are only a few books that have made me think as much as this one - road to serfdom, genealogy of morals, no exit first come to mind. And although at the core of this book is Montaigne, Bakewell does an incredible job of illustrating Montaigne's philosophy using examples from his life. Anyone who is interested in classical Greco-Roman philosophy or just feels like they're stuck in a rut should definitely read this book.


Friday, May 11, 2012

More on JPM

Great post from financial times' blog on JPM's trade that blew up:


I don't blame Dimon, how can anyone possibly keep tabs on all $2 trillion of JP Morgan's assets?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Moral Hazard Bitches

JP Morgan just announced a $2B trading loss with more certainly to come as they unwind their positions. Given how big this loss was the size of their position must be tremendous. Blood on the Street.


Who in the world approved this? Actually a quick Google search yields an answer:


And more importantly why in the world are too big to fail banks still prop trading?!?

Lunch In Sweden

The latest big thing in Sweden - lunchtime raves. Complete with DJs, smoke machines and strobe lights. I want in, how do we get one of these in the Loop?!?!

Instead I'm going to close the door to my office, put on my headphones and dance to Avicii. OooOoo sometimes I get a feeling!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Leaving Banking

Two great stories about people who left wall street / i-banking. They pretty much give all the reasons why I didn't get into this in the first place.



Thursday, May 3, 2012

Broken Promises

Another great thought provoking link c/o Marginal Revolution:
The industrial countries have a choice. They can act as if all is well except that their consumers are in a funk and so what John Maynard Keynes called “animal spirits” must be revived through stimulus measures. Or they can treat the crisis as a wake-up call and move to fix all that has been papered over in the last few decades and thus put themselves in a better position to take advantage of coming opportunities. For better or worse, the narrative that persuades these countries’ governments and publics will determine their futures—and that of the global economy.
I don't understand how anyone who has studies the causes of the crisis can believe that our current situation is the result of Keynes' "animal spirits." We've made too many promises that we can't possibly keep - whether in the form of credit default swaps, Medicare, mortgages or pensions the story is fundamentally the same. How and when these promises get broken will be one of the biggest issues over the coming decades.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


WOW, what a month! Still trying to absorb all the experiences and catch up on sleep. I can't believe the month started with FRC Duffy's, Marcus' goodbye party, Coast and a Cubs game. It feels like those things happened ages ago. After much discussion we finally bit the bullet and went to Duffy's for their $20 all you can drink / all you can eat special. Given my low expectations for the night it was surprisingly fun - maybe a little too much fun! The following night was Coast which is always a great crowd and a sake-fueled shit show. Michael may have video of me starting a dance party in the middle of the street around midnight - good times. The next weekend was our (now annual) NYC trip with me, Jake, Michael and Marcus. It's sad to see Marcus leave Chicago but we definitely showed him a good time in his first weekend in NYC - I'm really glad we got to spend it with him. Between hanging out with the three bulls and my mom at dive bars in Brooklyn, a party in Yanni's hotel room and craziness around Nolita with Patrick it was quite the weekend. And even Greek Easter was a smashing success! I was very happy that my mom agreed to go after all the drama this year. She hasn't been on speaking terms with my sister for months so hopefully this was a step forward toward mending their relationship and helping my mom accept my sister's relationship with Yanni. A delicate process indeed.

So that was the slower half of the month.

3 days after getting back from NYC, it was time to leave for Coachella. (Jake: We went to Coachella bitches!) In retrospect I was certainly underestimating the awesomeness of this trip in the weeks leading up to it. But when I got on the blue line to head to o'hare I met a guy who was also going and my energy level went through the roof. By the time I got on the plane I was downright giddy. And that feeling still hasn't faded! Hanging out with Kyle in LA was a blast on Thursday night, the drive to Indio was beautiful on Friday morning and arriving at the festival in 106 degree heat was out of this world. All of a sudden it is the middle of summer and music festival season - life is good. The festival itself was perfect in many ways, a great mix of energy and relaxation, natural and man made beauty. And the music... if the bands I had to miss were headlining a festival I would definitely go to that festival! Didn't get the chance to see: Black Keys, Explosions in the Sky, Bon Iver, Kaskade, Feist, Florence and the Machine, Calvin Harris, AVICII and DJ Shadow. Jeez! The trip home was fun too, we stayed up all night Sunday to catch the early flight out of LAX. We were certainly the happiest/rowdiest bunch on that flight - much to the annoyance of all the business travelers I'm sure. And finally 3 days after Coachella, Abigail came to Chicago for my golden birthday weekend. Saving the best weekend for last! My golden birthday fell on a Friday - of course I had to go all out and that means a trolley ride with 20 of my closest friends. It was my first time on a trolley and it definitely exceeded my expectations - that seems to be the theme of April! As Elizabeth put it, just the challenge of drinking and dancing on a moving trolley is worth it. I really do have incredible friends and I'm very thankful for them. The rest of birthday weekend was quite spectacular as well - thanks to Abigail. Whether it was dancing together at Danny's or listening to Canon in D together on my couch it was really the perfect mix of fun and relaxation. I'm smiling a ton while I reminisce.

And now its May. A few days to catch up on life and then time for more adventures!