The Problem with the Electoral College

It seems that while Hillary Clinton will win the popular vote, Donald Trump has won the election due to the Electoral College. Out of 57 Presidential elections, there have been 4 instances where the candidate that won the popular vote lost the election because of the electoral college. This happened in 1876, 1888, 2000, and now 2016, which is a failure rate of 7%. Another interesting quirk of the electoral college is that it gives disproportionately more votes to smaller states and takes votes from bigger states. This seems to benefit the GOP because many of the states that typically vote Continue reading The Problem with the Electoral College

Release Strategy of Nintendo Switch

I’ve been a Nintendo fan most of my life. I don’t actually remember a time in my life before I had a GameBoy with Pokémon. My favorite video game to this day is Super Smash Bros Melee, a game which feature characters from Nintendo’s most popular franchises, released all the way back in 2001. However, Nintendo’s most recent console, the Wii U, hasn’t done very well compared to higher capacity rivals, the Sony PS4 and the Microsoft Xbox One. This Forbes article talks about Nintendo’s odd release strategy of the New Nintendo Switch, which is due to be out in Continue reading Release Strategy of Nintendo Switch

Economics of Nuclear Energy in the United States

With the ever increasing concern of the effect of carbon-based fuels on our climate, the need for green energy is more prevalent than ever. So what is the most used green energy source in the United States? Solar? Wind? Hydroelectric? Actually, it’s Nuclear. Nuclear power plants provided about 20% of the United States’ total electricity last year, compared with 6% from Hydroelectric, 1.6% from Biomass, 0.4% from Solar, 4.7% from Wind, and 7% from “Other Renewables.” Nuclear energy provides the same amount of electricity as all other forms of green energy combined, 20% compared to 19.7%. Many other countries get Continue reading Economics of Nuclear Energy in the United States

The State of the Venezuelan Economy (Part 2)

Two weeks ago, I discussed the state of the Venezuelan economy. Today, I’d like to provide some information about how it got there, and what it might lead to in the future. When Hugo Chavez took power in 1999, he brought in his own ideology that is known as Chavismo. Chavismo is essentially left-wing populism that, like other with other Socialist regimes, is very hostile to private business. Hugo Chavez was president for 14 years, and during that time he implemented a huge number of regulations, taking control of big businesses and centralizing decisions to the government. Small private businesses Continue reading The State of the Venezuelan Economy (Part 2)

Who is Worth More to your Autonomous Car?

This past week, the US Department of Transportation released safety guidelines to auto manufacturers regarding the production of autonomous and semiautonomous cars. This is broken down by the New York Times here. One of the points that caught my eye was the “Ethical Considerations” section, and an example it gave, “should a car be programmed to better protect its occupants or other drivers in a crash?” In this situation, the autonomous car supposedly would have to be able to calculate the worth of the people inside and outside the car, and then based on those values, make a decision on Continue reading Who is Worth More to your Autonomous Car?

The State of the Venezuelan Economy

For those of you who may not know, Venezuela is in the midst of a massive economic crisis that is leaving people without basic necessities. Inflation is expected to reach 720%, up from 275% at the end of 2015. GDP has been contracting since 2014. Drought has left the government to rationing out water, and because Venezuela relies on hydroelectric dams to produce much of its energy, the drought has caused power shortages. The government has been running huge budget deficits on social programs that they can no longer afford, as high as 29% of its GDP in 2014. Unemployment is at Continue reading The State of the Venezuelan Economy

The Why Axis: How to get People to Give More

In Chapter Nine of the The Why Axis, Uri Gneezy and John List examined some of the conventional wisdoms about the techniques used in charity fund raising to try to determine if they really work at all, as well as which work better than others. What are the motivations for people to give to charity? How might these motivations be exploited to get people to donate more? The authors noted that in their travels, that most charities rely on the assumptions and conventional wisdoms of the previous decision makers, “rather than verifiable data.” One of the conventional wisdoms John came Continue reading The Why Axis: How to get People to Give More

Pennies Suck.

Pennies are useless. Actually, they are worse than useless. In a way, they are actually harmful. Why? Because they are supposed to function as money. Money is used to “facilitate the exchange of goods and services” and pennies simply aren’t valuable enough to do that. They used to, but thanks to inflation, the buying power of the penny is so small that its practically useless. When is the last time you saw a penny on the ground and actually bothered to pick it up? Never, I know. Simply put, the opportunity cost to pick up, sort and deal with pennies Continue reading Pennies Suck.

Thesis Corner: Zander Biro

Alex Shaw (AS): First off, what is your thesis topic? Zander Biro (ZB): My thesis topic is essentially looking at developing social capital while in the institution of higher education and how the role of alcohol can actually be beneficial in lowering relationship costs in order to establish a more broad base social network. AS: I’ve heard there is a bit of a story from how your thesis started to what it ended up being, could you elaborate? ZB: It has definitely been quite the process. Starting in the fall, it started very broad as everyone says it will, and Continue reading Thesis Corner: Zander Biro

Is Marriage Worth Saving?

Marriage has long been argued as essential for building a family and properly raising children, yet, as this New York Times article discusses, more and more American children are born to unmarried parents, and consequentially, many are raised by single parents. Today, nearly 40% of new mothers aren’t married, and there is a clear racial disparity; “one in five white children, one in four Hispanics and one in two blacks live without a father at home.” Since the 1960’s, the U.S. Government has promoted marriage and two-parent families, and still does today, but it seems to not have an effect Continue reading Is Marriage Worth Saving?