Tuesday, November 30, 2004


I think I might try to get a grant from the Honors College here at BSU so I can do the following experimental game. If anybody knows what this game is called so I can look up info on it I will give them a beer (if they come to Muncie).

The game goes like this: Player A can either give Player B a dollar or not play. If he gives the dollar, Player B gets five dollars (the other four are why I need to grant). Player B can then give Player A as much of this back as he wants. Then the game is played the other way. Variations could be considered, like letting Player A buy insurance for a quarter or something.

Anyway, if you know the name of this game so I can start researching, tell me and you get a beer... if you come to Muncie to get it. Or just give me the name of the game for free if you can't come to Muncie and I will drink a beer in your honor.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Research Topics

Whenever any of my friends tell me an interesting topic that they're working on for their senior thesis(pluralize that) I really just want to steal their idea. This is bad, and I've been able to stop myself, but I just want to monopolize every good idea. Example: my friend is currently playing around with an oligopoly model that I had never seen, tweaking the cost curves, changing the number of participants, etc. I just wanted to grab his notes and run. Anybody else ever feel like this? Maybe that is why I don't tell people many of my ideas!

Monday, November 22, 2004


1. My differential equations professor says something really funny. Whenever he is saying that a function exists on some interval, he says, "This thing lives on some interval." I imagine a function kicking back, smoking a pipe, a little function dog at his foot...

2. I really need to better motivate myself when it comes to my macro independent study. I like dynamic programming, but really just the theory and math stuff. Also, I am playing around with simple two period maximization problems for a lecture I have to give to the prof and I'm trying to get at what would happen if the social security tax was replaced with a mandatory savings...

3. This weekend was beer-ific. I tried Oak Aged Arrogant Bastard- ultra-grapefruit bitterness, kind of smoked tasting, a bit of woodiness coming through, much better than the non Oak Aged version.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Richardson Arms Race Model

So I'm doing a project for my diff eqs final on the Richardson Arms Race system of differential equations. I honestly never thought I would remember how to find an eigenvalue or eigenvector after linear algebra, but it is all coming back. Has anybody ever dealt with this model in an economics class? I really like these sorts of things and I wonder if it would be a good undergraduate research paper, since it would have plenty of theory.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Math problems...

I solved the diff eq that was giving me such problems... When I get a math problem after a lot of thought I'm both excited and angry- excited that I figured it out, angry that it took me as long as it did.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

An idea from another blogger...

I was reading Jacqueline Passey's blog about her calculus homework and it reminded me of a problem I've been having in mathematical finance. You see, I have the class at 8 AM four days a week, and while we all love finding yield rates and proving the formula for annuities paid continuously, I just can't make it most of the time. I missed 3 out of 4 classes last week. It sucks.
Anyway, she came up with the following plan for her:
I am not asking anything like this, since I don't have any readers, but here is what I do:
My friend Paul has the same problem with the class, so we have agreed that he who misses the most classes per week will buy the other a pint of Bell's Two Hearted Ale that friday! This is motivation in liquid form. I suggest this study plan to all!

Why didn't I get this and why can I still not understand?

Last problem of the diff eqs test:
Show that
x^2[y''(x)] + x y'(x) + y(x) = 0

Is transformed to:
y''(z) + y(z)=0 if one makes the substitution z=ln(x).

I solved the diff eq for z, then resubbed for x to get the answer, but I can NOT figure out the steps to make the first in to the second. It is driving me mad.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Holy Crapola

Ok, really busy this semester, the first time since I've been in college. Diff Eqs test this Friday, so I have been busting my ass trying to get all of the homework done. Lots of proofs, lots of theorems, man that Euler guy did a lot...

Also, computer programming sucks. The class is sooo boring and is at 9 AM, so I don't make it all that often. This means I have to spend more time that I otherwise would working on the assignments, but man do I love that extra hour of sleep I get when I skip!

Finally, I'm really starting to make progress on Sargent's Dynamic Macro Theory. I got a chalk board up in my office, so I always work the problems on it instead of paper. It just makes me feel cooler doing it. I definitely exhibit some ownership effects when it comes to my value for the chalk board- before it was up, I really could have cared less if I had it. Now that it is, I would shove chalk down anybody's throat who tried to take it from me.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

A lighter note...

Tried two beers last night during the coverage- Lost Coast 8-Ball stout and a Unibroue (can't remember the name...). A lot of people really like Lost Coast brews, especially Old Rasputin, but I just can't get in to any of them. For me the best Imperial Stout is Bell's Expedition and the best stout in general... probably Bell's Kalamazoo or Dogfish Head's Chicory.

On economics news, I think I was able to convince some people to try for a mathematical economics degree today at the department info session! This is good, since I hear a lot of people say they are somewhat interested in grad school and our department sometimes pushes the liberal arts option as a grad prep degree. I've set up a coffee hour every Monday with the econ club (yes, we have one and I'm the president... w00t!) so maybe we'll get more majors through that.

American Conservatism

A few thoughts:

Why is it that only John Stewart is brave enough to speak of liberalism? This, I think, is one of the signs of just how conservative this country is- only the goofy pseudo political analyst is openly liberal... and he is obviously devastated, rightfully so. When he read the states that passed strict gay marriage bans last night... I really felt ashamed of our country.

There is a lot of discussion about how the democrats can gain power in the "heartland". The democrats must not sacrifice progress or compassion in order to do so. A democratic party that bars homosexual marriage might gain offices, but would essentially turn American politics in to a single fundamentalist party.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Contingency Plans


For those of you who are in grad school, were you 100% certain that you would get in? If not, what did you consider as a back up strategy? I have a few, like economic sociology or political science, etc... either way, hopefully econ.

For those who aren't grad students yet, what are you considering if econ doesn't work?

Sorry if this is too pessimistic!

Election Day

We need to make a national holiday out of Nov. 2, get a snappy mascot (Uncle Sam the Ferret is my vote), and show movies or something at polling stations. Then we would only need to worry about people being knowledgable... crud.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Ayinger Something

Tried a new brew tonight, a German style lager from Ayinger. I can't remember the exact title, but man it was a damn fine lager. I usually don't love lighter beers, stouts and IPA's are my favorites, but this had lemon, orange, and a bit of yeast. Way too expensive for what it was, but still tasty!

On econ, has anybody read King Leopold's Ghost? It is by a historian, Adam Hochschild, about the de facto slave trade in the Congo under Belgian rule during the late 1800's. Excellent book, but like many historians, starts talking Marxist theory and comes to a faulty conclusion about free trade that needn't be the case given his evidence. Still a good read, however, if you can turn econ brain off for a while. Good example of political intrigue as well. Definitely better than the lager!


In my first comment ever, w00t, Chris asked what my curriculum is like. Here is my tentative plan of study:
Currently taking:
Differential Equations
Mathematical Finance
Macroeconomics Independent Study (Dynamic Programming)
Computer Programming 1
And an honors class where we read a bunch of stuff

Math classes that I will hopefully complete:
Calc 3; Real Analysis 1,2; Probability Theory; Statistical Theory; Topology; Abstract Algebra; Discrete Systems; Mathematical Models (discrete applications); and finally, a math thesis.

Math classes that I have completed:
Calc 1,2; Linear Algebra. Notice that I have a much larger to do list than an actually done list, so who knows, I may not be able to pull it off. The reason for this is that I was a pure econ major before I actually thought to look at what I needed for graduate school.

What is your curriculum like, Chris?