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相似的形状,相似的读音,相关的意义 2019-01-18 17:34:42

相似的形状,相似的读音,相关的意义


英语字母中,M 和 W 形状相似,读音也经常转换,我们用几个汉字作例子。

未 (wei), 妹(mei)

万 (wan), 迈(mai)

亡(wang), 忙(mang)

上面几个字,都是 M转成 W。有时候, 读 M 的和读 W 的意思相对应

娃 (wa), 妈 (ma)

未 (wei), 末 (mo)




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Own something small wholly or big partially 2019-01-17 15:46:27

Should we own something small wholly or own something big partially

 

Warren Buffett likes to buy high dividend paying companies and turn them into private companies. Then he stops distributing dividends from  these companies. In that way, he doesn’t have to pay tax on dividends. How much is the difference with and without dividend tax?

 

Suppose a company has constant earning every year. The dividend payout is 6% of asset value. Suppose the dividend can be reinvested with the same level of return. Suppose the initial value of the company is 1 billion. What is the final value of the investment with and without dividend tax, after 40 years? Assume the dividend tax rate is 25%.

With tax the final value is

1*(1+6%*(1-25%))^40 = 5.82 billion

Without tax the final value is

1*(1+6%)^40 = 10.29 billion

Wealth level without tax almost doubles that with tax.

 

Sometimes, Buffett traded part ownership of a company for a whole subsidiary. For example, he once traded some stocks of P&G for the whole of Duracell, a subsidiary of P&G. Since Duracell becomes a private company, Buffett doesn’t have to pay dividend. With few exceptions, almost all public companies at mature stage have to pay dividends. Otherwise, investors would be very uncomfortable to hold a company that never distribute dividends. But one doesn’t have to pay dividend if it is private. In that way, one saves a lot of taxes, which can be understood as part of the transaction costs.

 

In general, should we own something small wholly or own something big partially? The above example shows that it is more profitable to own something small wholly. In that way, you don’t have to pay inevitable transaction costs that are associated with shared ownerships. Similarly, should we put more effort to our families or engage in more external activities? Should the tax and regulatory system encourage small family businesses or large corporations? Currently, complex regulatory systems deter small companies from entry and protect established large companies from competition.



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Money as a performance enhancement drug 2019-01-16 09:48:48

Money as a performance enhancement drug

Money is a type of performance enhancement drug. When two persons compete, the one who uses drug usually wins and takes away trophies. But things don’t stop here. More and more people will use drugs, with larger and larger doses. In the end, the situations often turn fatal to individuals and the societies.

Similarly, two persons compete, the one who uses money usually wins and takes away trophies. But things don’t stop here. More and more people will use money, with larger and larger amount. In the end, the situations often turn fatal to individuals and the societies. Highly monetized societies usually collapse spectacularly. 

Religions are developed as a tool to counter the lure of money. In bible, it is said the love of money is the root of all evil. In islam, money lending is prohibited. The suppression of money is the secret of long term success of religions. But the success of a religion will ultimately bring back large amount of money and wealth to that society.

How to deal with money? We may reflect on the life cycle of plants.  In spring time, flowers flourish to attract mating opportunities. After mating, plants shed expensive flowers to concentrate on fruits, the next generation. 

In Chinese language, many idioms are about the relationship between flowers and fruits. One is spring flower, autumn fruit (春华秋实). This is nature’s way. Another is flowering but not fruiting (华而不实). This is against the nature. 

But today’s society is very much against the nature. When one is young, one is heavily burdened by low incomes, taxes, pension deductions, student loans. The youth can’t flourish. Many people can’t form families. But when people reach their fifties, sixties, seventies and even eighties, their incomes and old age benefits enable them to live opulent lives. Many of them flaunt their expensive houses, expensive cars and expensive tastes to attract new mates and new admirers. 

Why old people, who are physically and mentally weaker than youth, are socially dominant? It is the prevalence of money. In a highly monetized society, the distribution of resources inevitably becomes highly inefficient. Over time, a highly monetized society is being destroyed by simpler societies, as we are witnessing now. 



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How much we pay for retirement every year? 2019-01-10 11:33:25

How much we pay for retirement every year?


Many articles talked about the benefit we will receive upon retirement. Few articles talk about how much we have to pay for the potential benefit. We will briefly discuss the cost we pay for retirement.


The easiest part to calculate is CPP (Canada Pension Plan) contribution. For people earning $55,000 or higher a year, CPP contribution is over $5000, including the employer‘s contribution. OAS (Old Age Security) benefits come from general tax income. It is not directly connected to your individual tax contribution. As OAS benefits cover everyone and benefit amount is of similar value to CPP, we can estimate our average tax contribution to OAS is at least $5000. With CPP and OAS, an average person pays about $10,000 per year for retirement.


Most companies provide company sponsored pension plans. Total contribution, including employer’s contribution, is about 10% of your income. An average Canadian worker makes about $50,000 a year. His company pension contribution is about $5000 a year. Together with CPP and OAS contribution, we already pay about $15,000 for retirement every year. 


There are many optional retirement plans with tax benefits. It is up to individuals to determine how much one wants to pay. For me, it is much more valuable to spend money when one is young than one is old. We can have one more memorable vacation, one more precious child, and one more beautiful memory when we are old. Why squeeze our youth to pursue a mirage of paradise in old age? 


Finally, we will estimate the efficiency of retirement benefit. Our average CPP and OAS contribution is $10,000 a year. Over 40 years, our total contribution is $400,000, without counting time value. Average Canadian life span is 81 years old. On average, we will receive 81-65 = 16 years benefits. The maximum retirement benefit for a single pensioner from the government is $24000, or $23997 to be precise, in the year 2017. But not every one is a single, and majority have other incomes, such as company pensions. The average payout may be much lower than $20,000. Suppose the average payout is $20,000. Over 16 years, the total payout is $320000, which is much lower than the total contribution of $400,000. Forget about the supposed huge time value over such a huge time span. We can’t even get the principal back.


Given the dismal performance of the government pension system, one might recommend reducing pension contribution. But the contribution has been increasing over time to cover the supposed shortfalls. 









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2019-01-07 08:07:26



造字的古人告诉我们,家中最重要的是豕,也就是猪。

猪和牛羊一样,给人提供肉食。但是猪的能量转换率,比牛羊高。同样多的饲料能够提供更多的猪肉。

而且猪的饲料,大多是人类食物的副产品,象淘米水,米糠,烂菜叶。不需要专门的牧场来养猪。

由于猪的重要性,过去几乎家家户户都养猪。而家这个字本身,也都用豕,也就是猪,来代表。





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政府,家庭,和人口结构 2019-01-05 17:42:57

政府,家庭,和人口结构

政府和家庭是两个不同的社会组织。强化政府一定会弱化家庭。两千多年前,商鞅就规定,“户有二丁以上不分者,倍其赋”,家庭规模小了,统治就容易了。

现代社会也一样。在西方国家,不结婚生孩子,政府会给很多补贴,结婚生孩子,因为父亲的收入成为家庭收入的一部分,就很难拿补贴。政府对家庭的打击,使得家庭的结构松散,规模缩小。

年轻人的生产能力高于老年人。但年轻人思想活跃,是政府不喜欢的。压抑年轻人的一个手段是养老金的缴纳,年轻的时候,生产能力很强,但收入很大一部分要交退休保险和其它税收,到手的钱很少,社会地位很低,养家能力差,生育率低。年老的时候,生产能力很弱,但退休金收入很高,社会地位很高。老人更需要政府服务,对政府更支持。

在一个强势政府的社会,家庭结构松散,生育率低迷,人口老化,是不可避免的。这和政府采取什么人口政策是无关的。大多数西方政府都鼓励生育,但这些国家生育率都很低,因为这些政府都压制家庭,压制年轻人。





















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How to reduce anxiety over financial matters? 2019-01-05 09:52:12

How to reduce anxiety over financial matters?

To many people, financial matters are extremely complex. They cause great anxiety over our lifetime. The following are several simple rules that simplify our financial decision making. They can help reduce our anxiety over financial matters.

1. Don’t invest before paying off debts

More and more people accumulated debt over their lifetime. That is often a source of great anxiety. At the same time many people invest heavily in the stock market. They will be better off to pay off debt first. In that way, they greatly reduce the number of financial transactions. They neither have to worry about debt nor the fluctuation of the stock market.

Some might say that the cost of debt is lower than the return of the stock market. So it makes sense to invest in the stock market while accumulating debt. But if we include the fees and the taxes, the results may be different. From the law of one price, it is unlikely to expect the return from one asset class to be much higher than the other. Most people cite statistics from the US market. United States is the largest stock market. Japan and China are the second and third largest stock markets in the world. When we use Japanese or Chinese stock market returns to measure investment performance, we probably won’t reach the conclusion that stock markets provide fantastic returns, even over long term.

Borrowing and investing simultaneously involve two rounds of transaction costs. But from the perspective of financial institutions they involve two rounds of income. That is why financial institutions will recommend borrowing and investing simultaneously.

Pay off debt before we start investing. This greatly reduces the number of financial transactions and the related costs. This greatly reduces the complexity of financial decision making. 

2. Don’t accumulate credit card debt

Interest rates on credit card debt are very high. But over time, people are carrying or “managing” more and more credit card debt. Some think using debt will increase our spending power. They don’t. High interest payments quickly erode our ability to spend.

It is better to pay off all balance each month than to “manage” a debt with high interest rate.

3. Don’t worry about retirement before fulfilling other obligations 

Financial advisors often advise us to save for retirement as early as possible. If you start saving at 25 and withdrawing at 65, you pay service fees for 40 years. That is great for financial advisors but not necessarily great for you. When you have a mortgage or other debts, pay down the debts first. If you are mortgage free, even if you don’t have much other retirement money, you can always draw down your home equity. 



There are more ways to reduce anxiety over financial matters. The key is to reduce the amount of financing. The use of financing is necessary for large capital investment, such as house and car. But financing for routine expenses will constrain, not free our life.

The above suggestions are to reduce complexity and anxiety over financial matters. They are not aimed at wealth maximization. To maximize wealth, people often take the opposite route, to utilize financing extensively. But isn’t maximizing wealth the main goal in life? Darwin made the following observation many years ago in his book, The Descent of Man. 

The very poor and reckless, who are often degraded by vice, almost invariably marry early, whilst the careful and frugal, who are generally otherwise virtuous, marry late in life, so that they may be able to support themselves and their children in comfort. Those who marry early produce with a given period not only a greater number of generations, but ... they produce many more children. The children, moreover, that are born by mothers during the prime of life are heavier and larger, and therefore probably more vigorous, than those born at other periods. Thus the reckless, degraded, and often vicious members of society, tend to increase at a quicker rate than the provident and generally virtuous members. Or as Mr. Greg puts the case: “The careless, squalid, unaspiring Irishman multiplies like rabbits: the frugal, foreseeing, self-respecting, ambitious Scot, stern in his morality, spiritual in his faith, sagacious and disciplined in his intelligence, passed his best years in struggle and in celibacy, marries late, and leaves few behind him. Given a land originally peopled by a thousand Saxons and a thousand Celts --- and in a dozen generations five-sixths of the population would be Celts, but five-sixths of the property, of the power, of the intellect, would belong to the one-sixth of Saxons that remained. In the eternal ‘struggle for existence,’ it would be the inferior and less favoured race that had prevailed --- and prevailed by virtue not of its good qualities but of its faults.” 

Like most other people from upper class, Darwin has low opinion of lower classes. However, he is an honest scientist. He observed that “The children,” from lower classes “are heavier and larger, and therefore probably more vigorous.” 

In doing anything, the concept of economy need to be applied. The best environment parents can create for their kids is to have more siblings. If we exhaust ourselves with even one child, it is unlikely that we will have many kids. I think the biggest problem in modern society is the over consumption, physically and mentally, on each individual. This makes it impossible to have more kids in an average family.





































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Suo Gan 2019-01-03 11:12:25

Suo Gan


Suo Gân is a traditional Welsh lullaby. The name of the song means sleep song. This is very close to Chinese pronunciation of sleep song. The Welsh lyrics, with English translation is attached below. The Welsh language sounds similar to Chinese. Welsh national flag is a dragon. These could suggest Welsh and Chinese share similar heritage in ancient times.


Suo-Gân


Hunan blentyn, are fy mynwes
Clyd a chynnes ydyw hon
Breichiau mam sy'n dyn amdanat
Cariad mam sy dan fy mron
Ni chaiff dim amharu'th gyntun
Ni wna undyn a thi gam
Huna'n dawel, annwyl bientyn
Huna'n fwyn are fron dy famHuna'n dawel hana huna


Huna'n fwyn why del ei lun
Pam yr wyt yn awr yn gwenum
Gwenu'n dirion yn dy hun
Ai angylion fry sy'n gwenu
Arnat yno'n gwenu'n lion
Titha'you'n gwenu'n ol a huno
Huno'n dawel are fy mronPaid ag ofni, dim ond deilen
Gura, gura are why ddor


Paid aga ofni ton fach unig
Sua, sua are lan why mor
Huna blentyn nid oes yma
Ddim i roddi iti fraw
Gwena'n dawel are fy mynwes
are yr engyl gwynion draw


To my lullaby surrender
Warm and tender is my breast
Mother's arms with love caressing
Lay their blessing on your rest
Nothing shall tonight alarm you
None shall harm you, have no fear
Lie contented, calmly slumber
On your mother's breast, my dear


Here tonight I tightly hold you
And enfold you while you sleep
Why, I wonder, are you smiling
Smiling in your slumber deep?
Are the angels on you smiling
And beguiling you with charm
While you also smile, my blossom
In my bosom soft and warm?


Have no fear now, leaves are knocking
Gently knocking at our door
Have no fear now, waves are beating
Gently beating on the shore
Sleep, my darling, none shall harm you
Nor alarm you, never cry
In my bosom sweetly smiling
And beguiling those on high


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kU7CRDb61Pc


















































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请教一个统计学的问题 2019-01-02 11:00:04

请教一个统计学的问题


一个地方,平均每年只有一天降雨,其他364天都是晴天。有个人预测每天都是晴天,另一个人预测了五天降雨,其中有一天准确。如何计算每个人的预测准确度?


请告诉我预测方法或参考资料。多谢!







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新年话创新 2018-12-31 06:53:55

新年话创新

创,刀字旁,就是用刀劈,新,斧斤,就是用斧头砍柴。创新,就是砍伐旧世界,让新世界有空间生长。

英语中,有创造性毁灭(creative destruction) 的说法,当我们毁灭了一个旧世界,新的世界会蓬勃升起。

当大火烧了森林,过几年,新的树木重新长起来,满眼是青春的翠绿,鹿群贪婪地享受着新绿。整片大地,不再阴郁,不再死气沉沉。

创新,就是砍伐死气沉沉的旧世界,让新世界有空间生长。那是一个充满青春活力,满目生机的新世界。



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