Crazy high salaries for MBA graduates


I wonder how much of this is because a lot of people who were high earners before going to business school are also high earners upon graduation, but it is tough to argue with $286,000 per year as a median first-year-out-of-MBA-school income (for MIT Sloan graduates). See Bloomberg for some more numbers.

[See Real World Divorce, though, for how an American resident or visitor doesn’t need to go to business school, or to work at all, to have this kind of after-tax spending power. The Massachusetts chapter has at least one concrete example.]

Readers: Is this rational behavior for employers? Why not hire smart folks fresh out of college for $100,000 per year, have a night school at the company where they go through the MBA textbooks and watch some YouTube videos, and promote the best of this group? Or back it up to high school graduates! Hire them for $50,000 per year, supervise their online bachelor’s degree in the evenings at the company’s office, and promote from that pool? Why let MIT and Harvard college huge $$ to do the filtering? You can argue that you’re investing money in training people who will quit, but most of the investment is a conference room that wouldn’t be used at night anyway. Also, if you hire an MBA at $286,000 per year and he or she gets some experience at your firm there is always a risk that the MBA will quit for a yet higher salary elsewhere (these are not teachers, certainly, who will just keep working despite being underpaid).

Washington Post explains what motivates men to have sex with blondes in their 20s


I’m grateful to readers for sending me “I am tired of being a Jewish man’s rebellion” (Washington Post) in which readers learn that the motivation for two men to have sex with a blonde in her 20s was that they were rebelling against Judaism.

Accurate to say that a child “makes” a parent?


Here’s a Facebook post has me wondering about biology and English:

***link to a younger male Facebook user*** 26 years ago on a mildly snowy night in NYC you made me a mom. You were such a smart, sweet, adorable and enthusiastic little guy! You are responsible for most of my knowledge of dinosaurs, volcanos, frogs and Pokémon’s. …

[over a collage of happy baby/toddler photos]

Is this a reasonable use of the English language? Does it comport with human biology?

How was the refugee immigration of Nasim Najafi Aghdam supposed to work out?


“Furious at YouTube, passionate about fitness and veganism: Shooter left warning signs, questions” (LA Times):

Aghdam entered the country as a refugee roughly two decades ago, a family member said. In one of her videos, she said she was born in Urmia, Iran — where she and other members of her Baha’i faith face discrimination — and that her family had spent a year and a half in Turkey.

Wikipedia on the Baha’i Faith:

  • Backbiting and gossip are prohibited and denounced.
  • Drinking or selling alcohol is forbidden.
  • Sexual intercourse is only permitted between a husband and wife, and thus premarital, extramarital, or homosexual intercourse are forbidden.
  • Abstaining from partisan politics is required.
  • Begging as a profession is forbidden.

Let’s consider the interface between Nasim Najafi Aghdam’s Baha’i faith and U.S. culture.

  • Gossip is prohibited and she finds that the front page of every newspaper is devoted to stories about which young Americans had sex with old rich guys 12+ years ago.
  • Alcohol and premarital sex are forbidden and she is embedded in a culture where young people get drunk every weekend and have sex with strangers.
  • Homosexual acts are prohibited by her religion and she lives in the country that invented the Gay Pride parade (see also frequent nytimes coverage of this topic)
  • She is supposed to abstain from partisan politics and sees that the majority of Facebook content is people expressing outrage on political topics.
  • Begging is prohibited by her faith and she is now in a country where roughly 74 million people are on welfare (see Medicaid and CHIP enrollment)

Clearly she had some kind of mental breakdown before shooting. But oftentimes people with mental issues do a lot better or worse depending on the environment (see “Environmental Connections: A Deeper Look into Mental Illness”). Wouldn’t she likely have been far less distressed if she had stayed in Turkey? Prevailing Turkish culture would seem to be much better aligned with the Baha’i rules than U.S. culture. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to use U.S. tax dollars to help Ms. Aghdam get established in Turkey than to bring her to the U.S.? Turkey has also experienced much stronger economic growth than the U.S. during the past 20 years so there should have been plenty of opportunity for someone with an Iranian education.

Readers: What do you think? Does it make sense to use tax dollars to bring someone who can’t practice the Baha’i religion in peace to the U.S., a country that seems to be specifically set up to drive crazy anyone who practices the Baha’i religion?


Folks in Massachusetts hate drones


A friend decided to purchase a more advanced avionics suite than a combination of what is in an Airbus A380, a Boeing 787, and a Gulfstream G650. In other words, he has a DJI drone.

We went around our local town asking the Millionaires Who Hate Trump if they would mind if we flew the drone near their property. One hundred percent of the people with whom we talked refused to permit the operation. The only people who were polite and accommodating were the Tower controllers at Hanscom Field, one of the busier airports in the U.S. (more than 300 operations per day). These are the folks who actually do own and control the airspace in question.

In addition to being awed by the DJI technology, I learned that folks in Massachusetts seem to hate drones!

Supposedly the FAA, not the states or local authorities, regulates airspace. I wonder if the fix will be to make it an illegal human activity (“no human is illegal,” of course, but humans may still engage in illegal activities?) to control a drone while standing on the ground. This will motivate folks to bring back Google Glass and control the drone without an obvious rig?

Readers: If you have a drone, what have you observed? As the U.S. population expands to densities formerly known only in China, will we have to give up our drones to keep Americans from killing each other? (Second Amendment guarantees that people will have guns, but drones are optional!)


Would gentiles like Jews better if we complained more?


A virtuous Facebook friend highlighted “Anti-Semitism Is Rising. Why Aren’t American Jews Speaking Up?” (nytimes) He suggested “Rock the boat and fight back.” (where “fight back” in the article is “complain verbally,” not “pop a cap in the Jew-haters ass”)

A year ago we had a big Jew-hatred scare from the NYT and similar media. Donald Trump had caused dozens of Jew-haters to call in bomb threats to dozens of Jewish schools. It turned out to be an American Jew in Israel with an auto-dialer and an angry Hillary supporter in the U.S. (see Donald Trump is threatening Jews?).

Here’s the war-winning advice from the best minds at the New York Times:

If the vinyl banners proclaiming “Remember Darfur” that once graced the front of many American synagogues could give way in a wave to “We Stand With Israel,” why can’t they now give way en masse to “We Stand Against Hate”?

Suppose that there is someone in the U.S. who currently hates Jews (maybe Iron John, who commented on my Black Panther posting). Will this person hate Jews less because there is a “We Stand Against Hate” banner on the nearby synagogue? Because American Jews fill their Facebook feeds with posts about how they don’t like Jew-haters? Because they see a group of Jews marching in the streets waving signs reading “We are super-likable people”?

[Separately, why don’t they have “Remember Darfur” banners up anymore? They don’t want to remember Darfur? They don’t care anymore? Wikipedia says that the war continues.]

Can a border wall pay for itself?


My Facebook friends heaped derision on the calculations in “Cutting welfare to illegal aliens would pay for Trump’s wall” (New York Post):

If a wall stopped just 200,000 of those future crossings, Camarota says, it would pay for itself in fiscal savings from welfare, public education, refundable tax credits and other benefits currently given to low-income, illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America.

Camarota explains that illegal border-crossers from Mexico and Central America — who account for more than 75 percent of the illegal immigrant population in the US — are overwhelmingly poor, uneducated and lack English language and other skills. In fact, the average Latino illegal immigrant has less than a 10th-grade education. That means if they work, they tend to make low wages; and as a result pay relatively little in taxes while using public services. And if they have children while in the US, they more often than not receive welfare benefits on behalf of those US-born children, who have the same welfare eligibility as any other citizen.

“A large share of the welfare used by immigrant households is received on behalf of their US-born children,” Camarota said. “This is especially true of households headed by illegal immigrants.”

Therefore, illegal border-crossers create an average fiscal burden of more than $72,000 during their lifetimes, Camarota says. Including costs for their US-born children, the fiscal drain jumps to more than $94,000.

I can’t see how these calculations can be right. There seems to be no allowance for the cost of building infrastructure to accommodate the new Americans that result from immigration. (See “How much would an immigrant have to earn to defray the cost of added infrastructure?“)

Let’s just look at the school construction cost. Mexican immigrants to the U.S. have an average of 3.5 children per woman (source). So let’s assume that each adult immigrant therefore adds 1.75 children to the U.S. school population. Our town is about to spend $166,667 per student on a new K-8 school (previous posting). Let’s assume that these kids also need a place in high school at $166,667. That’s a maximum of $583,335 in construction costs for every person added to the U.S. school population (this is a maximum figure because the marginal cost of building extra classrooms, per square foot, is presumably lower than the average cost; it doesn’t cost quite 2X to build a school that is 2X larger).

Readers: What do you think? Is there any way that the $94,000 number can be correct for a low-skill immigrant coming across the border with Mexico? That’s about what the City of Cambridge spends, including capital costs, to educate a child for three years in the K-12 schools.

[Of course, one could argue that we will be better off in non-financial ways as a consequence of expanded undocumented overland immigration. Money isn’t everything. This post is really about whether my Facebook friends are right in that the border wall is a stupid idea purely on fiscal grounds.]

Tesla 3 interior noise


Car and Driver has posted “The perils of outsize expectations,” a review of the Tesla 3:

Although the Model 3 is a bit less involving than the best sports sedans on these roads, it lacks the refined isolation of its similarly priced rivals. The stout structure stifles harsh impacts, but you do hear what’s going on below as the tires persistently thwack and thrum over pavement imperfections. Our sound meter measured 69 decibels at 70 mph, louder than an A4. There were also some subtle yet annoying rattles and creaks in our test car, which had less than 2500 miles on the odometer.

This is a louder number than what I and Car and Driver measured in a 2018 Honda Odyssey.

The knob- and button-free dashboard sounds like a user interface disaster:

This aggressively minimalistic approach results in some strange and unsuccessful attempts to reinvent the automotive interior. The process required to move the mirrors and to manipulate the power-adjustable tilting and telescoping steering wheel incorporates both a menu within the touchscreen and the finicky steering-wheel scroll buttons. Changing the direction of airflow from the HVAC vent that stretches across the full width of the dash is, similarly, a multistep affair in which you must pinch and swipe a display within the climate-control menu that resembles a not very addictive smartphone game.

My old dream was adding navigation information to the speedometer right in front of the driver, instead of having it off to the side. Tesla has done the opposite. The nav information stays in the middle of the car and the speedometer and other critical data have been moved to join the navi screen. (See also Honda Clarity versus Accord test drive for how annoying it was to lose a volume control knob.)

Car and Driver didn’t like the seats, especially in the back, or the exterior build quality:

Inconsistent panel gaps around the doors and myriad ill-fitting trim pieces were among the worst we’ve seen in recent memory.

They got 200 miles of range (against a spec of 310 for the $56,000 car) in weather just below freezing.

Will Tesla 3 passengers who aren’t starstruck by Elon Musk say “I feel like I’m riding in a tin can mounted on top of a marine battery”?


New York Times celebrates indentured servitude


“Where Companies Welcome Refugees, the More, the Better” (NYT):

Haimonet Demcasso, the recruiter, explained, in two languages, the broad outlines of the jobs. The poultry-plant work pays roughly $11 to $13 an hour in small towns in Virginia and West Virginia. Labor Solutions would transport the recruits, find apartments for them to share, help fill out paperwork, and advance them the money to cover their travel, the first month’s rent, the security deposit, heavy work boots and home essentials. They could pay it back out of their paychecks with no interest at a rate of $60 a week.

They are paid the same as other plant workers, but they are employees of Labor Solutions for up to a year, until they’ve repaid their loans.

The tone of the article is a little closer to neutral than the typical NYT piece celebrating immigration, but basically it seems positive. Would it then be fair to say that the NYT is celebrating indentured servitude?


Americans versus Germans and Brazilians


A friend works as a helicopter tour pilot. The operator has a fleet of beautiful EC130s. One day a colleague was flying the usual route when the Turbomecca engine remembered that it had been built by the French. There was an instant loss of power and it was time to enter an autorotation. Unlike in training, the engine failure did not come with quotation marks (a throttle rolled to idle) and did not occur conveniently over a smooth clear surface. The pilot did the best he could and the helicopter landed hard enough on some uneven terrain that the gear was bent. Two groups of tourists were on board. The Germans booked a replacement flight for the next day. The Americans went to the hospital “to be checked out.”

Separately, as part of our ground school class at MIT, we scheduled a Brazilian Air Force officer (and current MIT PhD student) to talk about flying the F-16 and working as a test pilot. Here’s some email correspondence:

the American (me): MIT is doing an article on the class and the journalist, cc’d, would like to talk to you about your role. I explained that you’re going to give a talk on the last day of the class (Thursday, Jan 18, around 12) on the differences between Brazil and the U.S. and also, of course, about your heroic adventures in the Air Force!

the Brazilian: “Keep in mind that there is nothing ‘heroic’ in defending my country during peaceful times. We all prefer this way, right?”

I explained to him that, with this kind of attitude, he would never make it in the U.S. military….


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