Collegiate Cow Tipping-
This project covers 6 pm to 6 am.
Nov 24 2012
Black Friday is a bunch of meaningless hype, in one chart
Posted by Neil Irwin, The Washington Post
November 23, 2012 at 9:58 am
When television news crews and newspaper writers go to cover the holiday crowds, they try to give the festivities some great economic import. Standard aspects of the genre include noting that holiday sales can account for about a third of retailers’ annual sales; cite authoritative-sounding projections from the National Retail Federation about what this year’s sales will be, and perhaps even note that consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of the U.S. economy (conveniently leaving out that most of that spending has nothing to do with gift-giving or holiday cheer).
In fact, sales over Thanksgiving weekend tell us virtually nothing about retail sales for the full holiday season-let alone anything meaningful about the economy as a whole. Paul Dales of Capital Economics analyzed the relationship between retail sales during the week of Thanksgiving against the overall change in retail sales for November through January. As the chart shows, the relationship is a very weak one, with dots all over the grid. But if there is any conclusion to draw at all, the relationship is actually negative!
In other words, strong sales results around Black Friday actually predict slightly weaker holiday sales overall.
Retailers know that a typical family spends whatever it will spend on holiday gift-giving, and that whether that spending comes on Nov. 23 or Dec. 23 doesn’t make that much difference in the aggregate. But retailers aren’t a monolith; they are all chasing market share from the others.
For the media, it is a ready-made story. It takes place at a time that there is little other news, and it is known in advance, so editors and TV news directors can plan in advance for coverage. And there’s no doubt that video of people stampeding through the doors of a Wal-Mart in hot pursuit of a new Wii makes for great television. That is even putting aside more cynical possibilities, such as that media depend on retail advertising and thus have a vested interest in creating a sense of hype and anticipation around an orgy of consumerism.
And what, then, of the people themselves, the consumers who line up with breathless anticipation and make the whole thing possible. From an economists’ perspective, this is a case in which the retailers are using a rationing mechanism other than price to allocate scarce goods: They price a limited number of TVs and other products at a below-market price, and then ration those goods based on who is willing to stand in line the longest.
“I think they want to bring the people here and make them tired,” a man named Saeed Yazdi told my colleagues Abha Bhattarai and Steven Overly Thursday night outside the Best Buy in Columbia Heights. “It’s veiled punishment.” Well yes, Saeed, precisely.
Our elites hate us
Fri, 11/23/2012 – 11:21am
Looking at this video of shoppers at Walmart fighting over Phones I realized how much our elites must really hate us. I am sure that when members fo the Walton family watch videos like this they must laugh.
Walmart does this deliberately. They have a handful of low priced loss leaders, but nowhere near enough to meet the demand. So people line up and fight to be first, because if you are low income, getting one of those low priced items might be your only chance to own one. This is what the elites delight doing, creating situations where we are battling each other frantically for crumbs. It is not just their workers they hate, the Walton family hates their customers, hates everyone with a net worth less than a billion dollars.
Nov 24 2012
If your alma is represented I’m sure that’s the big game to you. The two with the most BCS significance are Stanford/UCLA @ 6:30 pm and Notre Dame/USC @ 8 pm. Armando will be watching Florida/Florida State @ 3:30 pm.
Nov 24 2012
This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
November 24 is the 328th day of the year (329th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 37 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1859, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, a groundbreaking scientific work by British naturalist Charles Darwin, is published in England. Darwin’s theory argued that organisms gradually evolve through a process he called “natural selection.” In natural selection, organisms with genetic variations that suit their environment tend to propagate more descendants than organisms of the same species that lack the variation, thus influencing the overall genetic makeup of the species.
Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, published on 24 November 1859, is a work of scientific literature which is considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology. Its full title was On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. For the sixth edition of 1872, the short title was changed to The Origin of Species. Darwin’s book introduced the scientific theory that populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection. It presented a body of evidence that the diversity of life arose by common descent through a branching pattern of evolution. Darwin included evidence that he had gathered on the Beagle expedition in the 1830s and his subsequent findings from research, correspondence, and experimentation.
Various evolutionary ideas had already been proposed to explain new findings in biology. There was growing support for such ideas among dissident anatomists and the general public, but during the first half of the 19th century the English scientific establishment was closely tied to the Church of England, while science was part of natural theology. Ideas about the transmutation of species were controversial as they conflicted with the beliefs that species were unchanging parts of a designed hierarchy and that humans were unique, unrelated to animals. The political and theological implications were intensely debated, but transmutation was not accepted by the scientific mainstream.
The book was written for non-specialist readers and attracted widespread interest upon its publication. As Darwin was an eminent scientist, his findings were taken seriously and the evidence he presented generated scientific, philosophical, and religious discussion. The debate over the book contributed to the campaign by T.H. Huxley and his fellow members of the X Club to secularise science by promoting scientific naturalism. Within two decades there was widespread scientific agreement that evolution, with a branching pattern of common descent, had occurred, but scientists were slow to give natural selection the significance that Darwin thought appropriate. During the “eclipse of Darwinism” from the 1880s to the 1930s, various other mechanisms of evolution were given more credit. With the development of the modern evolutionary synthesis in the 1930s and 1940s, Darwin’s concept of evolutionary adaptation through natural selection became central to modern evolutionary theory, now the unifying concept of the life sciences.
Nov 24 2012
Yesterday the United States celebrated yet another Thanksgiving Day. I think that Thanksgiving is a marvelous holiday, but it is hardly uniquely American. As a matter of fact, it is hardly recent, if you can call something that supposedly began in 1621 as recent.
As a matter of fact, celebrations of the harvest at about this time of year go back millennia. It is known that the Egyptians has such a celebration, and it seems that such festivals have occurred off and on in all agrarian civilizations since prehistory.
However, we shall confine our discussion to the US holiday (Canada has a similar one, celebrated in October due to the earlier onset of cold weather). Almost all of our “knowledge” about this festival is imparted in children in the early years of grade school, and almost all of it is either very speculative or is created from whole cloth.
Nov 24 2012
Sometimes the news articles just start piling up and the best way to dismantle the pile is to do a diary which shares multiple stories. Tonight I have a trio of stories to share, featuring human rights progress Canada, the election of a transgender politician in Cuba, and a transgender summit (of sorts) at the White House here in the US.
But I’ll start off with a separate item, namely first time that the transgender flag has been flown over the Castro. After several months of contention, the Board of Merchants of Upper Market and the Castro consented to the raising of the transgender flag (the one designed by Monica Helms) for Transgender Day of Remembrance on Tuesday.
On with our stories: