Monday, August 31, 2015

G11 Week 4 - Day 1

In-class work

  1. Begin working on chapter 2 outline
  2. I will be marking your assessments from last week with you individually in-class
Upcoming work
  1. Bring news article for practice IA to class on Friday, Sept. 4th
    1. Make sure it is on a topic from chapter 2
    2. Make sure there is something that can be evaluated
    3. Be prepared to share/discuss with class
      1. What diagram could you draw?
      2. What key terms will be important?
      3. What theory/topic will you analyze/apply to the article?
      4. What will you evaluate and how?
  2. Practice IA will be due Thursday, Sept. 10th 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Chasing Excellence

Below is a long quote from Paul Carter, a strength coach who writes regularly for several magazines and other media outlets. Obviously, the quote is on the topic he's paid to write about (lifting weights), but it applies equally to anything else you do in life. If you're wanting to be excellent at something, there are going to be thousands of hours spent alone doing that thing when no one else is around to give you support.

A popular rule of thumb is 10,000 hours, but that was made famous by one journalist (i.e. Malcolm Gladwell) looking at a few research articles by Anders Ericsson. The real truth is that it depends on the field you're chasing expertise and excellence in. Music and chess will take over double or triple that due to the international level of competition.

I haven't seen numbers for computer programming, but would imagine it's closer to 25,000 hours as well. Other fields are probably fairly easy to get ahead of by devoting as little as a few thousand hours. Naturally, the more obscure and less competitive, the less time will be required.

The reason more time is required for more competitive fields is that it takes more and more experience to separate yourself even a fraction of a percent from the rest over time. You can see this in the graph above. It's typically quite fast to go from zero knowledge or skill to intermediate as shown in the rapid rise of the curve; it takes far longer to continue making incremental progress as the rate of learning slows down.

Since some fields are "winner take all", like music, chess, sports, law, medicine, etc., being even a small fraction of a percent better can get you the majority of success in the field. To truly be the best will therefore require thousands of hours toiling away with only small increases of skill with the hope that it pays off with recognition from society that you truly are the best available in your field.

“The true test of a man's character is what he does when no one is watching.” -- John Wooden 

I read an interesting article this week about a key factor in success, and successful people, is that their will to succeed surpassed that of their need for approval or affirmation by others. 

I have no idea why, but the very first thing that popped in my head, was how often I have read from people that they need training partners, or even a training group. That this was or is a big factor in their success.

This always baffled me. 

I've trained alone for the most part of 26 years. That means I was training a long time before the internet and social media, and all that shit. I never "needed" training partners. I've had a few, and did enjoy it at various times. But I never found that it made a difference in how hard I worked in the slightest. If anything, my 13 year old pushes me harder than anyone else ever has because she always wants to do more work, and doesn't need much rest time between sets. So dad has to work harder to impress his training partner, lest she think he's a lazy bum who is getting outworked by her. 

I'm not saying lots of people haven't been successful because of training partners or even groups, I just find it baffling when someone sees that as a "need" to improve. 

Can you imagine a guy trying to make a college or pro team as a walk on or free agent with the attitude of "I was going to run 100's today, but John can't come so, eh, I don't know." 

That is not the attitude of someone who has a desire to achieve their own personal degree of excellence. 

If there is one thing I've learned over the past few years, it's that your passion and desire to be great at something had better surpass what other people think about you, your efforts, your abilities, and your worth.

I hear guys talking about want to look a certain way, or lift a certain way, then watch them eat shit most of the time, and forget what hard work really looks like in the gym.
Truthfully, I forgot too. Months and months ago I realized my training had become a very comfortable place. Too much complacency. This has happened before. If you're aware enough, you'll know it when it happens to you too. Because you will do all the shit you like to do, the way you like to do it, and have a million excuses as to why you aren't doing the shit that is hard, that you hate.

When the sun sets each day remember, it's about self worth. Which is derived from how you feel about who you are.

And regardless of what someone else says or thinks about you, or your efforts, if you want to be "great" at something, you better do great work when no one else can see it, judge it, or pat you on the back for it.

Monday, August 24, 2015

World Economic Growth from 1 C.E. Onwards

I've started reading The Age of Sustainable Development by Columbia economics professor and special advisor to the UN, Jeffrey Sachs. Below is a short excerpt and graph from the first chapter of the book illustrating worldwide economic growth in per capita 1990 international dollars.

Essentially, the world experienced close to zero growth for the first 1750 years of recorded economic history and only began to really take off around 1750 in Britain with the Industrial Revolution. This is seen by the sharp rise in the curve of the graph below.

It's pretty remarkable that only 250 years ago, we would most likely be living at near subsistence levels with little wealth or financial security. Of course, this is still true for roughly one billion people on our planet, as this growth has mostly found its way to the developed countries of the west and Japan.

Another book, The Haves and the Have Nots, which I finished over the weekend calculated that 80% of your financial income and wealth can be estimated by the location and parents you are born from. That leaves roughly 20% of your lifetime income as a result of luck, work, and other factors. This helps to explain why so many migrant workers simply wish to change their location and emigrate to other countries where the location premium alone can add substantial amounts to their lifetime incomes and financial security.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Reading Is a Better Deal than Harvard!

Greg Mankiw's Blog: Textbooks are a bargain
Compared with Harvard tuition, that is, according to Irwin Collier:

"Excerpts from the Harvard Catalogue for 1874-75 with principal texts.... Incidentally, one finds that annual fees for a full course load at Harvard ran $120/year and a copy of John Stuart Mill’s Principles cost $2.50. Cf. today’s price for N. Gregory Mankiw’s Economics which is $284.16. If tuition relative to the price of textbooks had remained unchanged (and the quality change of the Mankiw textbook relative to Mill’s textbook(!) were equal to the quality change of the Harvard undergraduate education today compared to that of 1874-75(!!)), Harvard tuition would only be about $13,600/year today instead of $45,278."

In other words, over the past 140 years, textbook prices have risen only 114-fold, whereas Harvard tuition has risen 377-fold.

Over this period, the CPI has risen 22-fold. So the real price of textbooks has increased about 5-fold, or a bit more than 1 percent per year.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

New Maternity Leave Really About Incentives for Talent

Robert Reich (The Fraud of the New “Family-Friendly” Work)
First, these new policies apply only to a tiny group considered “talent” – highly educated and in high demand.
The second thing to know about the new family-friendly work policies is that relatively few talented millennials are taking advantage of them. 
They can’t take the time. 

G11 Week 2 - Day 2

In-class work
  1. Chapter 1 Studying
At-home work
  1. Find news article related to a concept in chapter 1 (scarcity, opportunity cost, etc.)
  2. Write summary and post to personal blogs
  3. Be ready to chat/discuss in class
Chapter 1 test date
  1. Thursday, August 27th

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Lorenz Curve and Income Distribution - Jason Welker

Welker has a new video up on the Lorenz Curve from chapter 16 on income distribution. It walks you though a good explanation as always. For those of you who have already studied chapter 16, it's probably worth reviewing this video as another resource to help your understanding.

For those in grade 11, you can simply wait until you get to chapter 16 (or not, if you're in a hurry).

G12 Week 2 - Day 1

  1. Analyze/discuss paper 2 sample
  2. Get familiar with paper 2 assessment marking

Monday, August 17, 2015

Singapore Spending on Education

Singapore fact of the day
According to Morgan Stanley, Singapore’s public spending on education amounts to about 3 per cent of GDP — far behind the Nordic countries, which spend 7 per cent or more, and even Malaysia at its 6 per cent. For wider comparison, the US spends about 5.5 per cent and Hong Kong 3.5 per cent.
The FT story on Singapore’s 50th birthday is here.

G11 Week 2 - Day 1

Friday, August 14, 2015

Grade 12 Reminders

Hi Everyone,

Please remember that all chapter products will be assessed based on your demonstration of the the IB criteria. They can be found on the assessment marking page above or the Economics guide in the right hand side-bar.

As a summary, the general criteria include:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of specified content
  2. Demonstrate application and analysis of knowledge and understanding
  3. Demonstrate synthesis and evaluation
  4. Select, use and apply a variety of appropriate skills and techniques
See the guide for further details on this.

The pacing guide for this class also recommends that you be studying chapters 20 and 21 during the month of August, so that you can be ready to start chapters 22 and 23 for September. This means you should be completing roughly two chapters each month until April so that you can have time for review before you exams in May.

If you are significantly behind this pace, you should see me to figure out how to keep up.

Thanks for a good first week!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Day 2 - Introduction to Course Learning Tools for Grade 11 Student

  1. How do we learn?
  2. Feedly
  3. Blogger (2 pages)
    1. Home (Learning Log)
    2. Portfolio
  4. Studying
    1. Pacing Guide
    2. Chapter Outlines
  5. The tests
    1. External Assessment
      1. Paper 1
      2. Paper 2
      3. Paper 3 (HL Only)
    2. Internal Assessment
      1. 3 Commentaries (750 words each)
      2. Must be on different sections of the syllabus
      3. Must use three different news sources