Friday, March 27, 2015

Student loan delinquency is higher than for other borrowing

Click here to read the article. Excerpts:
"Student loans had a higher delinquency rate than credit cards, auto loans and home mortgages over the past three years, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported recently.

Outstanding student loans in the country have reached $1.16 trillion, an increase of $77 billion from a year ago. About 11.3 percent were in default – more than 90 days delinquent – in the last quarter of 2014, compared with 11.1 percent in the previous quarter.

By comparison, 3.5 percent of car loans were past due, as were just 3.1 percent of mortgage loans."

"Outstanding household debt increased to $11.83 trillion, a 1 percent rise over the previous quarter. Home mortgages and student loans, which increased by $39 billion and $31 billion, respectively, are the biggest contributors to the rise in debt.

The student loan delinquency rate – payments missed for fewer than 90 days – may be much bigger than the default rate shown in the report. An earlier report by the New York Fed said the delinquency rate for student loans was 21 percent in 2012."

"During the recent financial crisis, Americans reduced other debts but they continued education financing, according to the New York Fed.

“I’m not that surprised, too much, about the findings,” said Mike Branch, a certificated financial planner at Focus Financial, based in Minneapolis.

He does college-planning workshops for parents of high school students.

“Schools are selling kids the idea of student loans,” Branch said. “They tell those young students, particularly teenagers still at high schools, not to worry too much about the money because they can borrow. But those kids really have no idea what it takes to pay those loans back, and how much money they’ll have to make, and how that’s going to affect their lives after college.”"

Friday, March 20, 2015

Are Computer Programs Replacing Journalists?

See If an Algorithm Wrote This, How Would You Even Know? by SHELLEY PODOLNY of the NY Times.

In my macroeconomics class, we talk about the types of unemployment. Here is one of them:

Structural-unemployment caused by a mismatch between the skills of job seekers and the requirements of available jobs.

One example of this is when you are replaced by a machine. We don’t have as many bank tellers any more because people use ATMs. Another example is when there is a fall in demand for your product, so you get laid off, like with typewriters since people now use computers. A third example is geographical, when the jobs are not in your region of the country.

This article might be an example of this type of unemployment. Excerpts:
"these days, a shocking amount of what we’re reading is created not by humans, but by computer algorithms"

"Companies in this business aim to relieve humans from the burden of the writing process by using algorithms and natural language generators to create written content. Feed their platforms some data — financial earnings statistics, let’s say — and poof! In seconds, out comes a narrative that tells whatever story needs to be told."

"These robo-writers don’t just regurgitate data, either; they create human-sounding stories in whatever voice — from staid to sassy — befits the intended audience."

"when presented with sports stories [some written by humans, some by computers] ... study respondents couldn’t tell the difference."

"Then we have Quakebot, the algorithm The Los Angeles Times uses to analyze geological data. It was the “author” of the first news report of the 4.7 magnitude earthquake that hit Southern California last year, published on the newspaper’s website just moments after the event. The newspaper also uses algorithms to enhance its homicide reporting."

"90 percent of news could be algorithmically generated by the mid-2020s, much of it without human intervention."
The article even has a quiz you can take to see if you can tell the difference between a human written article and a computer written article. If journalists lose their jobs to computers, maybe professors are next. Are you even sure who or what wrote this blog post?

Here are two related posts:

Robot Journalists-A Case Of Structural Unemployment?

Structural Unemployment In The News-Computers Can Now Tell Jokes 

WHAT do you get when you cross a fragrance with an actor?

Answer: a smell Gibson.

Robot jockeys in camel races

Monday, March 16, 2015

50 College Majors With the Best Return on Investment

From Business News Daily. Excerpts:
"Topping this year's rankings were computer programming and entrepreneurship, both of which have average annual salaries of more than $85,000 for graduates and above-average job growth. Overall, degrees in information technology, computers programming/computer science, business/management, medical support, and retail and administration were the five categories that offer the largest return on investment."
Here is the top 10:
  1. Computer programming, specific applications
  2. Entrepreneurship/entrepreneurial studies
  3. Network and system administration
  4. Information technology
  5. Computer software technology
  6. Osteopathic medicine/osteopathy
  7. Business/commerce, general
  8. Computer systems networking and telecommunications
  9. Business administration and management, general
  10. Computer and information systems security/information assurance

Friday, March 06, 2015

$60,000 fine for driving14 mph over the speed limit

See Why Finland fined this driver $60,000 for going 14 mph over the limit. Excerpts:
"Reima Kuisla was on his way to the airport when he got caught going 103 km/h (64 mph) in an 80km/h (50 mph) zone, setting him back 54,024 euros. It’s a seemingly excessive penalty until you realize how Finland calculates its fines.

Unlike in the United States, where the flat fine is based on location and speed over the limit, Finland bases the penalty also as a percentage of daily income, according to the previous year’s tax return. Since Reima Kuisla earned over 6.5 million euros ($7 million) in 2013, he had a penalty equivalent to a brand-new BMW M3. The rationale is that the fine should sting for anyone, whether they’re scraping by or living in the lap of luxury."

"He wasn’t the only one to pay a hefty sum in Finland — a Nokia executive had pay 116,000 euros (over $103,00) back in 2002 for speeding on a Harley. Say what you will about excessive fines, but that's a penalty no one forgets."