Saturday, July 15, 2017

Businesses Misusing Required Private Information

It should be the law that if you are required to provide private information such as phone number, address etc. to a business that they cannot use that information without expressed written permission.

So if a financial institution requires a physical address due to the laws our politicians have passed they shouldn't be allowed to then use that to send you junk email, sell your name and address to others to send you junk mail, etc.. If they have a legal requirement to send you something, fine.

I had a large financial institution send junk mail and then refuse to not send junk mail without a phone call from me. I can buy and sell stocks online, I can send big amounts of money to and from the account online, but I can't stop them from misusing my private information without calling them.

Such institutions also call me to marketing various services (though usually there is some way to stop them doing so if you can figure out where they have hidden the process to stop them from misusing your private information). Again they should be required to separately collect private information for marketing efforts (or to sell it to others...).

It is unacceptable we are required to provide private information and then need to jump through hoops to not have it misused. They should have to request the information specifically for their own marketing and other purposes. They should not be able to misuse legally required private information. They should have to collect private information from you explicitly for such purposes.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Filter Out Links to Lame Websites on Reddit

The Reddit Enhancement Suite is a great browser extension to enhance Reddit browsing. One of the very useful features is the ability to filter out all the links from sites that are not worth your time. I use it to filter out links to Twitter in several subreddits and for "newspapers" that post clickbait and misleading content (several UK "newspapers). I also use it to filter out links to sites with bad practices such as autoplay videos or popups.

Follow this link to add a filter. I have found it hard to locate by browsing but at the current time it is found under the [SubReddit] section and then [filteReddit]. Hopefully they keep the url and don't force you to try and figure out where it has moved to (if you are browsing this after they make updates to the software).

I first discovered this since /r/CollegeBasketball was full of all sorts of useless Twitter links. Removing them made the subreddit much better for me.

And now using it to remove the poor usability sites and to eliminate all the clickbait "newspapers" makes it much better. Having to try and remember which UK "news" sites were even as reliable as a random middle school kid was too complicated. I knew The Guardian and BBC were pretty good but sorting through the links from all the others was wasting my time. Now they no longer clutter up my Reddit browsing.

The image shows the options which include removing matching content from specific subreddits, removing it from everywhere and also removing it everywhere except specific subreddits (which I can imagine is occasionally useful - I put in an example just to show how it works).

I am adding more sites to improve my experience with Reddit and figured I would take the opportunity to share this useful feature in this blog post.

Related: Most Popular Links on Management Sub-Reddit in 2016 - Curious Cat List of Super Useful Websites (2012) - Curious Cat Interesting Web Sites to Browse

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Economically Lucky or Not?

Most people on earth today and people on earth in all of history and people in the USA even in the last 120 years had it much harder than young people in the USA today. There is a very small window of people luckier economically: The USA Doesn’t Understand that the 1950s and 1960s are Not a Reasonable Basis for Setting Expectations.

Yes, that group of even luckier people is often some of those a few decades or even 50 years older in the USA (there may also be a few places in Europe in the last 50 years).

So while it is true compared to some of the luckiest people economically in all of history those young people in the USA today have it harder when compared to most every group (those in the USA previously, those alive today elsewhere...) they are extremely lucky.

I do agree that the policies in the USA that last 50 years that have dramatically helped trust fund babies and increased income inequality are unwise and harmful. We should fix those problems. But even with those problems there are very few places that someone could be randomly placed into where their economic luck is as good as those born in the USA in the last 30 years.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Moz Page Authority and MozRank History for Some of My Web Sites (May 2017)

MozRank compares to the previously interesting Google pagerank (a measure of the pages linking to the page, with greater value given to links from high ranking pages). Moz Page Authority is meant to more closely measure the importance of links by considering not just the number but also the quality of the links. This is oversimplified but essentially can be seen as if a page had a high number of links (even from other pages with high numbers of links to them) but those links were not deemed to be high quality the Moz Page Authority would be lower.

In the chart below the MozRank is shown inside ( ) after Aug 2014. [] indicate Google PageRank measures. Those without parenthesis are Moz Page Authority divided by 10 (because SEO Moz also decided to scale MozPA up to 100 while Google PageRank tops out at 10 and I already been listing the data listed in the 10 scale the last few years).

SiteMay 2017Apr 2016Sep 2015Aug 2014 (MozRank)Dec 2013
Oct 2011
MozPA > 5
Curious Cat Management Blog5.7 (6.3)6.1 (5.8)6.0 (6.1)5.9 (6.0)6.1 [5] 5.5 [5]
The W. Edwards Deming Institute Blog5.5 (5.8)5.7 [6.6]6.4 (6.2)5.2 (6.0)5.5 [5]-
Curious Cat Engineering and Science Blog5.4 (6.4)5.8 (5.7)5.6 (6.0)5.5 (6.0)5.8 [5] 5.3 [6]
Curious Cat Investing and Economics Blog5.3 (6.3)5.7 (5.9)5.5 (6.1)5.5 (6.1)4 [5.7]5.3 [4]
John Hunter5.0 (6.4)5.0 (6.1)6.2 (6.1)4.8 (6.1)5.0 [5]5.4 [4]
@CuriousCat_com6.3 (5.1)5.6 (4.3)5.8 (4.4)5.8 (4.6)
My Kiva page5.3 (5.3)5.5 (4.4)5.8 (5.1)5.6 (4.7)5.8 [-]4.0 [-]
Curiouscat.com5.0 (5.0)5.1 (5.8)4.9 (6.1)5.0 (6.0)**5.6 [4]
MozPA > 4
Curious Cat Travel Photo Blog4.9 (6.1)5.3 (5.8)5.1 (5.9)5.0 (5.9)4 [5.0]3 [4.9]
Curious Cat Management Improvement Connections*4.7 (5.7)4.7 (5.5)4.6 (5.7)4.6 (5.6)3.3 [**]5.5 [5]
Economic Strength Through Technology Leadership*4.3 (6.2)4.0 (5.4)4.1 (5.8)4.1 [5.8]4.2 [-]4.7 [4]
W. Edwards Deming quotes4.3 (5.6)3.9 (6.5)3.3 (5.7)new
Six Sigma Management Resources*4.3 (5.4)4.6 (5.3)4.8 (5.7)4.7 (5.6)4.9 [**]
Living in Malaysia4.2 (5.6)4.3 (5.7)5.2 (5.8)3.9 (5.8)4.0 [4]4.1 [3]
Living in Singapore4.2 (5.4)4.4 (5.7)5.1 (5.8)4.0 (5.7)4 [4.1]3 [4.0]
Curious Cat Code (programming)4.2 (5.4)4.3 (5.4)4.8 (5.6)3.8 (5.5)4.1 [4]4.2 [4]-
Curious Cat Gadgets4.2 (5.4)4.4 (5.6)4.7 (5.7)3.9 (5.5)4.1 [4]
Architecture and home design inspiration4.2 (5.1)4.2 (5.6)4.5 (5.6)3.9 (5.5)4.0 [3]-
Curious Cat Comments (this blog)4.1 (5.3)4.0 (5.3)3.9 (5.3)3.8 (5.1)3.9 [3]3.8 [-][3]
Life and Legacy of William Hunter4.0 (5.8)4.0 (5.4)3.9 (5.6)3.7 (5.5)4.0 [4]4.5 [4]
Good Process Improvement Practices*5.0 (5.5)3.9 (5.2)4.0 (5.2)4.2 (5.2)4.0 [3]4.1 [3]
Multi Site PageRank Checker4.0 (5.2)4.2 (5.2)4.2 (5.2)4.1 (4.9)4.1 [4]4.7 [3]
SiteMay 2017Apr 2016Sep 2015Aug 2014 (MozRank)Dec 2013
Oct 2011
MozPA > 3.5
The Future is Engineering*3.9 (6.2)4.1 (5.2)4.2 (5.8)4.3 (5.7)4.3 [4]
The Aim Should be the Best Life – Not Work v. Life Balance*3.9 (5.4)4.5 (5.2)4.3 (5.3)new
The Engineer That Made Your Cat a Photographer3.9 (6.2)3.5 (5.2)3.8 (5.8)3.9 (5.7)4.1 [3]4.7 [4]
Curious Cat Management Comments3.9 (5.2)4.2 (5.3)4.2 (5.3)4.1 (5.0)3.9 [3]4.5 [3]
Management Articles*3.9 (5.1)4.1 (5.5)4.0 (5.6)4.1 (5.5)3.9 [3]
Management Matters (my book)*3.8 (5.8)4.0 (5.3)3.8 (5.6)3.5 (4.6)3.8 (5.4)3.5 [4]--
Management Dictionary*3.8 (5.0)4.4 (5.4)4.3 (5.6)4.0 (5.4)2.6 [**]5.4 [5][4]
Curious Cat Travel Blog3.7 (6.1)4.3 (5.9)4.0 (5.8)New
Curious Cat Travel Destinations3.7 (5.8)3.9 (5.7)3.6 (5.8)3.4 (5.7)3.2 [3]
Management and Leadership Quotes3.5 (6.1)3.8 (5.4)3.7 (5.8)3.6 (5.7)3.7 [4]5.2 [2]
MozPA > 3
Statistics for Experimenters3.4 (6.1)3.8 (5.3)3.6 (5.7)3.7 (5.7)3.9 [4]4.5 [3]
Improving Your Search Engine Ranking Blog3.4 (5.5)3.3 (5.3)3.1 (4.1)New
Freelance Lifestyle, Finance and Entrepreneurship Blog3.3 (5.2)3.5 (5.1)4.5 (5.2)new
Curious Cat Travel Photos3.3 (5.0)3.7 (5.2)3.2 (4.7)New
Hexawise blog3.3 (?)??3.6 (4.9)3.8 [4]
Justin Hunter (my brother)3.2 (5.5)3.4 (5.1)3.4 (5.4)3.3 (4.8)3.4 [-]2.9 [2]
CuriousCat Wordpress3.2 (3.4)3.4 (3.9)3.6 (4.4)3.4 (3.8)3.5 [1]
SiteMay 2017Apr 2016Sep 2015Aug 2014 (MozRank)Dec 2013
Oct 2011
MozPA < 3
Hexawise.tv2.8 (?)2.4 (5.3)2.8 (5.4)2.8 (4.9)2.8 [2]-
Investment Dictionary*2.7 (4.1)4.5 (5.5)4.7 (6.0)4.6 (5.9)4.8 [**]5.2 [4]
W. Edwards Deming on Management*2.7 (?)2.0 (4.4)4.7 (5.5)4.7 (5.3)4.9 [**]4.5 [4][4]
Curious Cat Travel Destinations: Marina Bay Sands (Singapore)2.4 (4.8)3.6 (5.3)3.2 (5.3)2.9 (5.3)2.9 [2]-
Curious Cat Travel Destinations: France1.9 (?)1.9 (5.2)2.0 (5.2)1.4 (5.1)1.3 [-]
Public Sector Continuous Improvement Site*1.6 (?)2.9 (4.8)4.8 (5.5)4.8 (5.4)5.0 [**]5.0 [5]
Management Improvement Resources1.5 (?)3.0 (5.1)3.1 (5.1)3.0 (4.7)3.1 [3]3.8 [3]
Johor Bahru Real Estate1.3 (?)3.0 (5.0)3.0 (5.4)2.8 (5.3)3.0 [2]-

* internal pages
** new url or old url forwarded (so Google losses track of the page rank for awhile)
- didn't exist yet or google didn't rank it for some reason
[blank] I don't know what the pagerank was, sometimes the site didn't exist yet.

Related: Moz Page Authority for Various Sites (April 2016) - Moz Page Authority for Various Sites (May 2015) - Historic PageRank and MozPageAuthority for Various Sites (December 2013)

Thursday, May 04, 2017

The USA Should be Ashamed of Who We have Elected

The bill passed by the House of Representatives in the USA today to cut taxes for the very rich and eliminate heath care coverage for tens of millions of people was a disgrace.

Every Republican who voted for this abomination must be held accountable

I won’t mince words. The health-care bill that the House of Representatives passed this afternoon, in an incredibly narrow 217-to-213 vote, is not just wrong, or misguided, or problematic or foolish. It is an abomination. If there has been a piece of legislation in our lifetimes that boiled over with as much malice and indifference to human suffering, I can’t recall what it might have been. And every member of the House who voted for it must be held accountable.

He is right. We have to stop voting in such reprehensible individuals.

The last 2 administrations have been very disappointing. The actions of the administration and the Republicans in the House and Senate now though are taking things to a level not seen since at least Watergate and maybe back to McCarthism.

It is shocking to see the country so let down by those we vote in and day after day see that disgrace trumped by even greater failures of basic decency, honesty or competence.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Naming the Results of Corruption as "Free Market" Failures is Damaging to Society

We shouldn't allow those using plain corruption to call it "free market." They, and their talking heads, seek to do so in order to prevent sensible actions being taken to address the corruption. It is much better for them if people think what they are doing is capitalism instead of just being criminals. That is the same as allowing kleptocrat dictators to call what they do "democracy."

Corruption destroys the potential value to the public. It does that when it corrupts free markets. And it does it when it is used for other purposes (corrupting the rule of law, etc.).

If we call corruption - "free market" - it makes it difficult to design the correct counter measure to address the damage being done to society.

Those practicing corruption win if those that what to have society address the damage being done think the problem is free markets instead of focusing on the real problem which is corruption. There may well also be some issues with how free markets work and therefore putting in place political adjustments is sensible to discuss in terms of "free market" adjustments. But most often people complaining about the failures of "free markets" are complaining about straight up corruption. And failing to address the problem for what it is results in what we see now - those problems growing instead of being addressed.

Related: We Need to be More Capitalist and Less Cronyist - Political and Corporate Cronyism are not Capitalism - Monopolies and Oligopolies do not a Free Market Make

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Continued Fall of the USA's Political Leaders that We Give Power To

A few days into the new President's administration and it is as bad as anyone paying attention would have expected. It is very sad the USA elected Trump and the Senators and Representatives standing with him. The consequences of electing Trump and the others that support his actions and that are choosing not to protect the USA constitution will be very damaging.

Photo of the White House by John Hunter. This house should be a place worthy of respect (even for those with political differences) but the current occupants are straining that hope.

As a kid in high school I couldn't understand how the USA could fail as badly as McCarthyism; Japanese internment; Nixon's enemies list, watergate etc.. Other failures I would witness later, while a shockingly abhorrent, such as the Iran-Contra scandal flaunting of the rule of law and the failure to do anything about it I saw as sad but not surprising.

The USA we created isn't a binary no-Trump = good v. yes-Trump = bad. The current situation was created by us voting for who we did for decades. The actions of the people we put in power, created the system where Trump could be elected and have huge support from the others we elected.

There were many warning signs of how bad it was during the last 2 administrations. True, it is much worse now, but we were on the path here. But we have created a toxic system that was intentionally shaped by those we granted political power. They shaped a system that ignore facts, devolve discussion into 1984 News Speak, ignore the rule of law when it was convenient for whoever was on your side in the battle for power, pretend complex realities have simple solutions, badly distorted democracy with unconscionable gerrymandering, etc..

The current president and his leadership team certainly are taking the toxic situation created by those we elected for the last few decades and are taking it extremes even more damaging than those that designed it wished for it to be. But when you create and promote a dumpster fire in order to get whatever your short term desires are you can't disown responsibility for the damage that dumpster fire continues to do after you.

Photo of the USA capital by John Hunter. If those elected officials voting in this building the next few years continue as they have done in the few decades we are going to suffer greatly for the mistake of electing them.

The kids of kids today are going to be wondering the same thing about us that I did about our McCarthyism, Japanese internment... supporting ancestors. It is devastating that for decades we allowed our political parties to destroy the fundamental aspects of what the USA should stand for.

The challenges we face as a society are great enough without continuing to put in power the people that have lead the USA to the extremely sad state of affairs we see today with the actions of the current president and his supporters in the White House, on Capital Hill and in the State houses and legislatures around the country.

Sure the current president is a huge mistake we will suffer greatly for voting into office. But the problem is much deeper than just him. The political leadership has been allowed to rot to the core. He is merely a symptom of how bad we have allowed things to get.

We need to fundamentally change who we give power to if we want change. We need to provide power to those that seek to fix problems. We need to give power to those that acknowledge scientific and economic reality. We need to elect people that appose hate. We need to elect people that care more for the country than for personal aggrandizement and reward. We need to elect people that care more for the country than following the orders of their party.

Things are much worse today than a year ago but if we believe the problem is the current president we will fail to address the real problem. He is just a symptom of how messed up our country is. Replace him with his Vice President or most of the other leadership of his party and maybe a few of the most extreme embarrassments to the country would go away but the core of what they stand for doesn't change. The president is not a King or Dictator. The Courts, House and Senate can (and the Constitution depends on them doing so) block actions that damage the country. But the House and Senate are not doing so.

As the current system has evolved the politicians state a few words about they believe in such and such and don't support this other thing and then they go ahead and vote for this other thing while undermining such and such. They have created a system in order to promote the belief that what they actually do isn't what matters but what they say. That way they can fully support actions that they claim to not support. Sure the current president is even less concerned with the truth but he is just extending the policy of News Speak that became the standard practice for both parties over the last few decades.

If we are lucky a few Republicans will stand with the USA and the Constitution and join Democrats that mainly will appose just because the current president isn't from their party and we will avoid some of the worst of what we can expect. But we may very well not be lucky for a several years. Being stuck in a position where we have to hope for a few politicians to be courageous is not a good position to be in given the poor performance of our politicians the last few decades.

Related: Living Through Your Society Becoming a Police State (2013) - Security Theatre Thinking is Damaging the USA (2013) - Freedom Increasingly at Risk (2008) - The Aim of Modern Day Political Parties is To Scare Donors Into Giving Cash (2014) - Selling Out the Country: We are Electing the Wrong People to Control Our Government (2015) - SWAT Raids – Systemic Failures? (2007) - Anti-Market Policies from Our Talking Head and Political Class (2011) - We Need to be More Capitalist and Less Cronyist (2011) - Preaching False Ideas to Men Known to be Idiots (2010) - Adding More Banker and Politician Bailouts is not the Answer (2012) - Failure to Regulate Financial Markets Leads to Predictable Consequences (2009) - Don't Excuse Immoral Looters (2009) - Lobbyists Keep Tax Off Billion Dollar Private Equities Deals and On For Our Grandchildren (2007)

Monday, January 16, 2017

Government Debt - How Safe or Costly is It?

My comments on: Debt’s a Funny Thing // Plus: Why We’re Not Prepaying Our Rental Mortgage

There’s also the national debt, which it turns out is not really like debt you or I might have at all, and — this was mind-blowing to me — most economists don’t even think the national debt is bad, and some actually think we should have more national debt...

Government debt is indeed different than personal debt. It is true some of the USA debt we owe to ourselves (we also owe a lot to China, Japan and others). The situation is fairly odd now for the USA in that the interest rates are extremely low. That makes the huge amount of debt less painful - but even now 15% of the spending by the government is just paying interest. And that could easily double without interest rates really even getting high. That is a real problem. To the extent we owe it to ourselves it is less of a problem but we owe lots to people overseas which means we are going to be paying back hundreds of billions of dollars to people in China, Japan... At these rates it might be fine (or even a good deal) sometime in the next 20 years it is likely to be very costly.

I wrote about the issue of government debt and the different impact of it being held overseas or within the country.

Japan has far more debt than even the USA. But it is also much more owed to themselves than is true in the USA.

The USA also has significant advantages over other countries. We can hold more debt safely than other countries due to the perception of the safety of the US$ and the size of the USA economy.

Related: Chart of Net Government Debt from 1980 to 2013 by Country - Which Currency is the Least Bad? (2012 - USD) - Who Will Buy All the USA’s Debt? (2009) - USA Federal Debt Now $516,348 Per Household (2007)