Monday, September 01, 2008

Graduated Annuity Calculator

I use Google Analytics to keep track of visits to the Cogitorium as a matter of curiosity. When I posted the results of my graduated annuity calculations, I figured most people would respond as my brother did: "Why would you write about something boring like that?" Much to my very great surprise, my entry on the graduated annuity has turned out to be my most popular! Since the beginning of this year, the entry has received nearly one hit per day (which is a lot by my humble standards).

Given the interest in graduated annuities, I thought I would whip up a quick applet to perform calculations with the graduated annuity, since many people might not want to slog through the math on their own. Below are a few usage notes, the applet, and several calculation examples. For those who are interested, the source code is available, and is released into the public domain.

  1. The Interest Rate and the Acceleration Rate are entered in percent and cannot be the same.
  2. When calculating the Final value, enter a positive Base Value for savings or a negative Base Value (with an Initial Value) for accelerated withdrawals.
  3. When calculating either rate, no Initial Value is permitted.
  4. Selecting Years calculates the amount of time a given Initial Value will last with accelerated withdrawals. It doesn't work with Final Values other than 0, or with positive Base Deposits.
  5. Enter 0 for the Acceleration Rate to calculate a normal annuity.

  1. To calculate the savings of $1000/year (unaccelerated) for 10 years at 5% interest, enter 0 for the Initial Value, 1000 for the Base Deposit, 5 for the Interest Rate, 0 for the Acceleration Rate, and 10 for Years. Pressing calculate gives $12,577.89.
  2. Suppose we choose to accelerate the savings in the previous example by 4% each year. Enter 4 for the Acceleration Rate. Pressing calculate shows the savings grow to $14,865.03.
  3. Suppose we have $10,000 and would like to reach $100,000 in 5 years. How much would need to be saved each year, if we expect an 8% return on the savings? Select the Base Deposit radio button, enter 10000 for the Initial Value, 100000 for the Final Value, 8 for the Interest Rate, 0 for the Acceleration Rate, and 5 for Years. Pressing calculate gives $14,541.08.
  4. Suppose we want to reach $100,000 in 10 years. If we start with a $6,000/yr deposit, how fast would the deposits have to accelerate to reach our goal, if we expect an 8% return on the savings? Select the Acceleration Rate radio button, enter 0 for Initial Value, 100000 for Final Value, 6000 for Base Deposit, and 10 for Years. Pressing calculate shows that the deposit amount must increase by 3.6% each year to reach the goal.
  5. Suppose we have $500,000 saved for retirement, earning 5% per year. We plan on withdrawing $30,000/yr and would like to increase this amount by 2% each year to account for cost of living increases (price inflation). How much will be left after 10 years? Select the Final Value radio button, and enter 500000 for Initial Value, -30000 for Base Desposit, 5 for Interest Rate, 2 for Acceleration Rate, and 10 for Years. Pressing calculate shows that $404,547.11 will remain.
  6. How long will the savings in this scenario last? Select the Years radio button. Pressing calculate shows that the savings will last almost 24 years.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Poverty Measure Proposals

Last month, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the findings in the city's Center for Economic Opportunity's proposal for a new poverty measure to replace or supplement the measure used by the Federal government.  The Federal poverty measure was originally based on the cost of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's economy food plan that detailed the minimum nutritional requirements for a family in need.  The poverty threshold was calculate as three times the annual cost of the food plan, based on the average composition of family spending when the measure was developed in the 1960s.  Since its development, the measure has been updated only based on increases in the Consumer Price Index.  Advocates for the poor claim that the forty-year old measure is now out of date, and thus does not accurately represent the level of poverty in America.  To support this, the advocates claim that food spending now makes up only one-eighth (not one-third) of family expenditures, due to increases in other necessary spending such as shelter and health care.  Moreover, although the Federal poverty measure is used uniformly throught the nation, cost of living varies dramatically by location---for the cost of renting a studio apartment in New York City, one could buy a small house in a less-urban location.

In response to this, the NYC CEO has proposed adopting a more detailed measure developed by the National Academy of Sciences in 1995.  The new measure sets a threshold just under median family expenditure on food, clothing, shelter, and utilities in a particular geographic location.  Additionally, instead of counting only pre-tax income, the new measure includes both post-tax income and the value of near-cash benefits such as food stamps and housing subsidies, minus work-related expenses (such as child-care and transportation costs) and out-of-pocket medical expenses, which reduce a family's resources available for meeting its basic needs.

While this new measure makes significant strides in providing a more accurate picture of poverty in the United States, it suffers from at least two particular weaknesses.  First, the poverty threshold's calculation of expenditures for basic needs is based on the median expenditure among all families, and not on a family's actual needs for survival.  Over time, as the real income of median families increases, a significant number of these families are bound to choose to purchase more-expensive food items or more-expensive clothing.  As a result, median expenditures will increase beyond the cost of minimally adequate goods to meet basic needs.  Although establishing a budget of minimally adequate goods does depend on the judgement of experts, as the NAS panel points out, the solution to expert bias is to include more and varied voices in the deliberation of what constitutes minimally adequate.  Instead, the multiplier approach the panel recommends is based not on what consumers' needs, but simply on how consumers choose to spend their money, whether those choices are motivated by wants or needs.

Second, the new measure's proposal to include welfare receipts among a family's resources gives a misleading picture of the family's ability to support itself.  While it is certainly true, as the panel notes, that welfare services have "have made important contributions to reducing material hardship in the United States," the fact that families must rely on these services to make ends meet is itself an indicator of poverty, thus it makes little sense to reduce poverty figures based on the input of social services.  These services, while highly valuable and eminently necessary to relieve immediate suffering, merely treat the symptoms of poverty---they cannot and do not reduce it.

Bloomberg is not the only public official to recommend use of the new NAS-proposed poverty measure: Representative Jim McDermott has also drafted a bill based on the NAS panel's findings, though the bill has yet to be introduced in Congress.  While the new poverty measure is a step in the right direction, I believe more work is necessary before we arrive at a high-quality picture of poverty in the U.S.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

On Mystery

Mystery is a state of not knowing the answer to some question after a certain amount of effort in thinking about it.  Unlike not understanding fractions, mysteries involve curiosity, a sense of wonder, and a desire to know despite the hindrances.

In any sufficiently complex system, there will always be an element of mystery given our limited capacity to understand the world around us.  Science holds plenty of mystery: What was the universe like just after the Big Bang?  What did the beginnings of life on earth look like?  How much of one's personality is nature versus nurture? Confronted by these mysteries and others, the components of awe and a desire to know fuel scientists' zeal in pursuing scientific inquiry.  Just as in any good detective novel, the fact that something is a mystery today does not imply that careful investigation will not remove the cloak to reveal the hidden knowledge.

In spiritual matters, some people seem to relish in mystery: They are perfectly content not to know and even enjoy the hiddenness of the knowledge, possibly because it fulfills a longing in their hearts to know that something bigger than themselves exists.  I, however, view spiritual mysteries as those in science: They beg to be solved.  Now, this is not to suggest that all spiritual mysteries are solvable---God is certainly a complex system.  Indeed, sometimes, I may decide after careful reflection that no matter how much more I might think about an issue, the available data are simply insufficient to decide one way or another, and I become contentedly agnostic on that point.  However in general, I see the challenge of spiritual mystery as an invitation to delve deeper in my understanding of God so that with each mystery unveiled, I can marvel at his wondrous majesty.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

On the Interest in Love

We can take an interest in things for a number of reasons.  We might be interested out of a general desire to learn about the unknown (curiosity); for example, I might pick up a book about the Maori because I know little about New Zealand aboriginal people and have a general desire to learn.  We might attend to something due to an obligation we've accepted (duty); for example, I might read about presidential candidates, even if I hate political wrangling, because I feel a civic responsibility to elect sound leaders.  We might take interest for some anticipated ancillary benefit (mercenary); for example, I may go to a social event at a conference, not because I like to socialize, but in order to make contacts useful to my career.  Or, our interest may be fueled by the pleasure we receive from following or interacting with the object; for example, I may watch every baseball game of my favorite team, due to the strong positive affect I feel from a constructed (if not imagined) sense of group identity (talk about interesting phenomena).

In my current relational theory, love involves taking on the interests of the beloved as one's own (to avoid equivocation, let this be understood to mean being interested in the beloved's well-being).  But which kind of interest?

The interest in love doesn't seem to be curiosity, since love usually implies a kind of familiarity. (In the case of "love at first sight"---the experience of strong affinity at first meeting---I would say that a certain kind of passion overwhelms what one would call mere curiosity.) Nor would many say that an interest from duty alone qualifies, since love implies a certain voluntariness that surpasses obligation. (Arranged marriage and patriotism are interesting cases: If I participate in some civic duty, the act counts as patriotism only if the duty is accompanied by a "love" of country.  In arranged marriage, if I may take on my spouse's interests merely out of marital obligation, one might say I have a kind of love, but this limited kind of love is not nearly as strong as if I am impassioned for my spouse.)  Mercenary interest certainly doesn't count, since I can't take an interest in the well-being of another if I care only for my own personal benefit.  Thus, love must involve interest that is motivated by the pleasure received from following or interacting with that interest (namely, the well-being of the beloved).

Selfless love, then, does not imply that there is absolutely no personal benefit.  Rather, the personal benefit is nothing other than enjoying the fulfillment of one's desire to see the well-being of the beloved.  In this way, the personal benefit received is predicated on the other, and not centered on oneself, which would turn the interest into something mercenary. There might also be another, stronger kind of selfless love---one in which the lover places the well-being of the beloved above all other personal interests.

This leads to the question: Is love diluted by ancillary interests?  If I take an interest in your well-being, is my love worth less if I also enjoy the fact that you give me a lift whenever I need it?  My inclination is to say no: The fact that I enjoy your generosity and hospitality does not necessarily diminish the fact that I enjoy seeing your well-being.  Indeed, it seems that these positive characteristics or ancillary personal benefits may enhance the enjoyment of the beloved and the associated desire to see the beloved's well-being.  In fact, I wonder if the mechanism of the growth of love in a relationship sometimes (many times?) makes use of these ancillary personal benefits, which then develop into an interest in the beloved's well-being.  The trouble comes when such a development never occurs, or when the ancillary benefits displace the more-important interest in the beloved's well-being.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ethics vs. Righteousness

In my conversation this past Sunday, my interlocutor suggested than an ethical act and a righteous act (he seemed to be using the words synonymously) was not merely doing the right thing, but also having the right motivation, name what he called Christian motivation, which he said was based in love of God and love of neighbor. It struck me as a bit too restrictive to say that an act is not ethical unless it bears good motivation, even more so Christian motivation. There seem to be two separate components to consider in judging the goodness of reflective actions (I'll leave aside actions that are impulsive): the external event and the internal motivation. Either of these components (independently) can be in line or out of line with God's requirements. An external action in line with God's law, even if executed with an improper spirit, is certainly better than a wrong external action, though a right action with a right spirit is indeed better than both. It seems, then, proper to make a distinction between events where both the external act and the internal motivation are in line with God's law and events where the external act is in line with God's law, though the spirit falls short.

At first glance, it seems like "ethical" and "righteous" could suit this distinction well: A righteous act is doing the right thing for the right reason, and an ethical act is merely doing the right thing, even if it's with the wrong spirit. Under this distinction, all righteous acts would be ethical, but some ethical acts might not be righteous.

Stepping aside for a moment, ethics is also sometimes contrasted with morality. I have heard some people claim that an act could be ethical but not moral (or vice versa), but such a distinction doesn't seem appropriate to me. I'm not quite sure what definitions they are using to generate such a distinction. They may be using ethical to mean in line with codified norms for right behavior and moral to mean in line with a more stringent, uncodified set of norms for interpersonal behavior. Under this distinction, one might not talk about adultery in terms of ethics, though certainly in terms of morality. Although I can appreciate the distinction between judging acts against codified and uncodified standards of behavior, I am, in general, more interested in right behavior, whether or not standards for such behavior are codified, especially since human codes of proper behavior may be fallible. Instead, at the moment, I favor the distinction that morality discusses right human behavior in the abstract, and that ethics discusses right human behavior in concrete situations. Under these definitions, an ethical act is always a moral act.

But, here I run into a problem. Peter Strawson's account of moral responsibility, which I favor when speaking in secular contexts, bases the existence of moral responsibility in the expectation we hold on others---inherent in our normal, adult interpersonal relationships---to maintain a posture of goodwill (or at least to refrain from expressions of ill-will) toward us. Strawson points to resentment and gratitude as indicators of this expectation: If you step on my foot accidentally, I do not feel the same kind of resentment as if you do it purposefully, even though my physical pain is the same; and, if you do something that helps me as an unintended consequence, I do not feel the same kind of gratitude as if you did it with me in mind, though I am benefited in either case. Given this framework for understanding moral responsibility, we hold people to account, in part, for the motivations of their actions. I believe this would imply that a moral (and thus an ethical) act depends not only on the external event, but also on the internal motivation, meaning that formally there would be no ethical but non-righteous acts.

So, somewhere I have a definitional problem. Perhaps my ethical/righteous distinction isn't appropriate. Perhaps my ethics/morality distinction isn't appropriate. Or perhaps I'm inappropriately pushing Strawson's account too far to found a moral system, instead of merely supporting the existence of moral responsibility.

More to think about.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Christianization and Culture

In a conversation yesterday morning, a gentleman claimed that the Midwest wasn't very Christian, compared as the South. I found speaking of the Midwest as not very Christian a little odd, since in my experience (and I believe my ex-patriot Mid-Western friends in Boston would agree), the Midwest is, in general, more conservatively Christian than the Northeast. No, my interlocutor replied, in his view, the Midwest and the Northeast were on about the same level. To illustrate his contention about the great Christian inclination of the South, he pointed to Southern friendliness and hospitality, citing the particular example of greeting one another---even strangers---when walking down the street. If I found the first claim a little odd, I found this second claim absurd, and for two reasons.

First, a cultural practice such as greeting people when walking down the street is not an indicator of the level of Christian inclination of a region because there are warm, friendly cultures that are not particularly Christian. I would have to do some research to pinpoint an actual, specific example of such a culture, but baised on my impressions, I would imagine one could find such an example among the communal, food-pushing cultures in Africa or perhaps India. To rebut my claim, my interlocutor pointed out that for an act to be a righteous act, it must have Christian motivations, which he defined as motivations based in love of God and love of neighbor. I didn't press the issue, particularly because I didn't see the connection between whether or not acts are righteous and the possibility of inferring a region's level of Christian inclination from particular cultural traits; but after some careful reflection, I realized that his rebuttal only emphasized my own point: Because one cannot tell whether a person's motivations are Christian (out of love of God and love of neighbor, according to his definition) or whether a person's nice action is based on some other, non-Christian motivation, one cannot infer the level of Christian inclination of a region from somewhat arbitrary cultural traits such as greeting people on the street.

Second, and more to the heart of the issue, the kind of inference my interlocutor was suggesting about the level of Christian inclination of the South and the Midwest is inappropriate because extroverted openness, such as the kind exemplified by the cultural practice of greeting people on the street, is not a necessary trait of Christian commitment. To claim that it is, I feel, would be to fall in to pietistic legalism, where one's Christian commitment is measured solely or primarily by an arbitrary set of visible actions. Certainly, Christians are called to love their neighbors, but there is more than one way to express that love, and God has created different kinds of personalities that prefer to express that love in different ways. An introvert, for example, may love people very deeply, but in small group situations, instead of in large groups. (I suppose one could claim that introvertedness is a product of the Fall, but I imagine this would be rather difficult to support.) Some people enjoy expressing their love for neighbor through service, and others through giving; but, it would be inappropriate to say that the giver is less Christian because she doesn't volunteer at the soup kitchen, or the servant is less Christian because he isn't good at giving friendly and wise advice. Moreover, some of these acts are merely cultural conventions for the expression of love of neighbor, and are, therefore, not bound up in its essence. There are some cultures (I believe somewhere in Eastern Europe) where men greet one another with a kiss on the lips (in a non-romantic, non-sexual way). I have to say that the idea weirds me out, given the symbolic norms for kisses imparted to me by my American culture; but, the implications assigned a kiss in America (its reservation for romantic lovers or the parent-child relationship) are not inherent in the act itself. Are we going to say that cultures in which people greet one another with a kiss are more Christian than cultures in which people greet one another with a cold, sterile wave or handshake, since a kiss is more intimate and thereby expresses a greater love of neighbor? Hardly. Christian commitment (and the regional level of Christian inclination, which stems from trends in the degree of Christian commitment among the constituents of the region) is measured not by cultural conventions or an arbitrary set of expressions of piety, but by the disposition of the heart.

Friday, May 23, 2008

More On Global Problems

After lamenting yesterday about the paucity of wealth to go around on a global scale, I ran across a BBC report about a pilot Basic Income Grant project in Namibia. The program, organized by a civil society coalition, gives US$13 per month to every member of the community under pension age. Now, $13 certainly doesn't sound like much ($20 PPP, ICP 2005, though I wonder exactly what kind of market basket they used)---and it isn't, in absolute terms; but in relative terms, $13 can be quite a lot. After all, that comes to more than a quarter of monthly income for half of the country's population (HDR 2007/2008, Table 3); and even if it isn't "living large," a 25% bump in income surely can do a fair amount to propel one toward improving quality of life.

And anecdotally (according to the BBC article), many program participants are using the grant for little things that can do just that. For example, some have used the money to buy clothes for their children and pay school fees. The former helps children focus on their studies without worrying about their appearance, and the latter gives parents the confidence to engage school officials on the quality of their children's education. Others have used the funds to supplement their food budget, and the local clinic has seen a drastic reduction in cases of seriously malnourished children. The grants have also provided capitol to allow the establishment of a new grocery store, a hairdresser, a barber, and an ice-cream vendor. Of course, none of these things means poverty has been solved in this village by only $13/person, but each of them has the potential to contribute to a virtuous cycle in the gradual ascent toward a more equitable society.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

On Global Problems

Sometimes I get overwhelmed thinking about global-scale problems. There are so many people in the world and utter poverty is so rampant that it can seem insurmountable, and every once in a while I wonder if it's worth even trying (usually I convince myself that it is).

Take food, for example. The world food-cost crisis has been in the news a lot recently, and there are millions of people throughout the world who suffer from hunger and malnutrition. This makes me wonder: Is there even enough food in the world for all these people? Fortunately, there is: According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, global average food consumption is 2800 kcal/person/day, which is greater than the USDA recommend caloric intake for all but the most active young adult males. So, there seems to be enough food out there---it's just a matter of getting it to the right people, which feels like a much more tractable problem than increasing global food output (though I'm not quite sure why, given the resistance too many people have to sharing).

Generalizing from food to wealth in general, the picture isn't quite so rosy (if millions of hungry people could be called rosy): If we were to take the roughly $1.6 trillion of the richest 100 people in the world and divide it equally, everyone would receive only $270---not even a nucleus, much less a "nest egg." According to the CIA World Factbook, the gross world product (GWP) per capita is only $10,000 (PPP). In other words, unlike food, poverty in terms of lack of financial wealth isn't merely a distribution problem. Now, unfortunately, I'm not an economist, so I'm not quite sure where to look for possible solutions to this little (or not so little, rather) quandary. But, I imagine that increasing human capacity (through education) will play some vital role.

In order not to get too depressed when I think about how big the world's problems are, I usually have to scale down my perspective to think about where I am currently and what I can do on my own in the present. If you're looking for a way to help in the redistribution of food resources, may I recommend Food for the Poor. They "provide food, housing, health care, education, water projects, micro-enterprise development assistance and emergency relief to the poorest of the poor," and their budget is composed of 96% program expenses, placing them among the most efficient of charities.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Retirement Investment Planning

CNN Money has some helpful advice on where to hold your investments. Ideally, all savings would be in a tax-advantaged account (401k, IRA, etc.); but when the amount you have to invest exceeds the limits for these accounts, give bonds priority to tax-advantaged accounts (starting with a 401k, if you have one), then add stocks. Bonds give off more dividend income, which is directly taxable, so these should be as tax-protected as possible.

This leaves the question: What, exactly, should one buy? They suggest a seven-fund portfolio of stocks, bonds, and money markets (with recommendations for funds in each of the seven categories). While this may be a good goal to work toward, such a diversified portfolio could be difficult to achieve straight off the bat (the cumulative minimum investment is something like $15,000). When I opened my IRA, I took a tip from Adam Bold and started with the Selected American Shares (SLASX). Since then, I've come across suggestions that he may not be the most trusted of advisors, but I think Selected was a good choice, nevertheless: Although it's not likely to impress anyone with record returns, the fund rather consistently beats the S&P 500 and has achieved an annual rate of return over the last 10 years of 8%. As such, the Selected funds seem to me to provide a nice stable base from which to develop a fuller portfolio in the future.

The CNN Money article also included three simple plans for asset allocation between the seven different types. My father once shared a rough rule of thumb for retirement-savings asset allocation: He said that the percentage of stocks in your portfolio should be about 100 minus your age. I was pleased to see that the CNN Money's plans were pretty close: In early career (20s), they allocated 80% stock; in late career (say 40s), they allocated 60% stock; and in retirement (60s), they allocated 40% stock. Of course, it's certainly nice to have the more-detailed suggestion of how much of what kind of stocks and bonds to purchase, which the article provides.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Why I Give

From a psychosocial-developmental perspective, one might say that I give my "time, talent, and treasure" because of the consistency of certain childhood experiences: Not only did my parents model active participation in a variety of church activities (singing in choir, leading Sunday School, helping with children's ministries, going on missions trips) as well as faithful financial giving, they also trained me in the same path by enrolling me in a wide variety of church activities and teaching me to put part of my allowance in the church offering. As a result, even today, these practices feel completely natural, and I think I would feel a little something missing if I gave them up.

From a theological perspective, one can say that I give because God has entrusted me with good things---life and abilities and means. Insofar as He has entrusted me with each of these, I have a responsibility to use them for His glory, which includes making a joyful noise unto the Lord, bringing offerings of all kinds into His courts, studying and teaching His goodness, rejoicing with the joyful, encouraging the afflicted, and aiding the needy in His name. Just as Paul describes the Church as a body with many interdependent parts, I am beginning to believe that God may have designed the world with disparities in income, as well as diversity in talent, so that we would be forced to give to and receive from each other for our mutual well-being, and that in doing so, we would be reminded that we are dependent not only on each other, but ultimately on God for all we have.

But, while each of these reasons is true and operative when I give, there is a deeper reason still, a "heart" reason: I give because giving gives me joy. Whether cooking a meal, participating in a church work day, or sorting food at the Food Bank, I enjoy serving, and if the truth be told, I sometimes get a little buzz placing my offering into the basket on Sunday morning---not out of some self-righteous desire to be seen for my "great works," but with the same kind of excitement a little child has when his mother gives him a coin to drop in the plate as it passes. After all, if "God loves a cheerful giver," then we should all take a certain pleasure in sharing our time, talent, and treasure with others in His name.

Monday, March 24, 2008

On the Greatness of Literature

Literature is great if through it I experience for myself the joy and sorrow of its characters, and thereby know of the love I have for them, or if it taps into some deep longing of my heart. Without this, a story is only fun or interesting, not great.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ocular Surgery

I had to conduct surgery on my poor iBook G4 to correct an acute ocular degeneration. A couple of weeks ago, I started to notice that from time to time the screen would go completely blank (white), usually as I was moving the computer. Sometimes it would just flash white, others the white screen would stick for a moment until I jostled the computer a little. It sounded to me like a connector was loose. After doing some searching and reading, I found an Apple forum discussion thread that seemed to match my symptoms. The thread suggested that the data cable in the display had come loose, and gave a description of how to open the display and reseat the cable. I figured it was only a matter of time for the connector to come completely loose, losing the display altogether, and this is precisely what happened this evening.

When I decided that the white screen wasn't about to go away this time around, I took my computer to a lab at school and connected it to an external monitor so that I could close all my programs and make sure my backup was up to date, in case I zapped the logic board or something equally as horrible. Then, borrowing a set of tiny screwdrivers from an Engineering student down the hall, and with a certain amount of trepidation, I attempted to carry out the directions without damaging the very fragile LCD screen. After struggling with the whole affair for quite some time, I managed to locate and reseat the connection. Putting the whole thing back together and booting up, I was relieved to see that the screen was once again functioning, and that I didn't seem to have broken a fluorescent backlight tube or punctured any liquid crystal chambers.

But, even as I write this, I just saw another white flicker, so apparently my problem hasn't been entirely resolved. Perhaps I should have tried putting some fresh electrical tape over the connector instead of just reapplying the existing adhesive. Alas.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Sluggish Composition

I frequently have tangential thoughts when I'm reading. This afternoon, I started thinking about teaching problem solving while I was reading the documents from World Education Forum in Dakar in 2000. Wanting to flesh the ideas out a little, I decided to write an entry for my Cogitorium on Education. But alas, I compose so carefully that it takes forever, and now 2 hours (and 1200 words) later, I can get back to my "real" work, with the afternoon nearly all gone.

No wonder I don't write more often: I have difficulty justifying the time expense to myself.