Teenagers on a Plane

15-year-old Jacksonville, Florida resident Bridget Brown was bored. That happens. It’s August and she’s 15.

She had been saving money for a car, but then a better idea came to her.Airport Crop Why not make a daytrip to Dollywood with her little brother and a friend, aged 13 and 11, respectively. I think we’d all agree that she’d be better off with the car. And it would have been a good idea to discuss it with her parents first. She didn’t.

Bridget grabbed her cash, called a cab, and headed for the airport with boys in tow. Once there she bought three round-trip tickets to Nashville. They went through security without ID, which is allowed if you are under 18.

Once in Nashville, the trio was confronted with the minor detail that Dollywood was still 200 miles away. (Flying to Knoxville would have been a better choice.) Without an obvious way to get there, they panicked and called home. Not that clever, but hey, she’s 15.

Read more »

600,000 Dead Chinese Workers

Chinese Factory - Robert Scoble The Consumerist is, according to a popular ranking, the #1 personal finance blog. I am not sure that it fits cleanly into the personal finance category but there is no denying that it is a monster in the blog world, linked to by 8,865 other sites. (For context, this blog has 89 inbound links.) I read it every day.

A post last Friday, written by the Consumerist’s managing editor, ~600,000 Chinese Die Making Our Shiny Toys caught my eye. To save you a click, here is pretty much all of it, links included.

Let’s expand our foreign language vocabulary! Can you say, "guolaosi"? It’s a Mandarin word meaning "death from overwork!" The word describes the phenomenon of Chinese workers falling dead on the spot as they toil in sub-Dickensian conditions so you can save a dollar on your next laptop!

China Daily, an English-language state-run publication, says an estimated 600,000 Chinese workers die each year in this fashion, sometimes falling "off their stools bleeding from the ears, nose and anus," as left-leaning mag The Nation reported in 2007.

Read more »

Complete Credit Card Confusion Continues

It has been months since I last shared confusion over the way everybody else uses credit cards. Today I am back at it.

Over the weekend the New York Times had a report about a new featureC Cards (Andres Rueda) being rolled out by MasterCard and Citigroup. (By which the Times means Citibank.)

The service, called inControl and already in use by some Barclaycard holders in Britain, is a sort of financial chastity belt that offers the potential to prevent a variety of budget sins and other money traps.

Worried about your restaurant habit? If your bank adopts MasterCard’s service, you could tell it to have your debit or credit card reject any restaurant purchase above whatever monthly cap you set.

I must admit I do like the name of the product. “inControl” neatly implies that without it you would be “outofControl” and I think that if this service appeals to you that is likely true.

Read more »

Nothing Down Mortgages are Back

I really thought it would take longer than this.

Mcmansion_under_construction W. Marsh If you have been reading this blog for a while you know that I am generally skeptical of the proposition that we will learn much of anything from the Great Recession. My assumption has long been that given five or ten years we will be the same bunch of ignorant fools we always were, doing the same foolish things.

But I did think that in the shorter term, this year and next, some of the more obviously foolish stuff would be avoided. I didn’t think anybody would be willing to invest in GM in 2010. And I didn’t think that anybody would be discussing taking out new no-money-down mortgages any time soon. I was wrong on both counts.

Read more »

Random Round-Up

It’s time for one of my periodic post-topic cop outs, in which I string together a collection of little things I want to bring up because I can’t think of a topic worthy of an entire post.


I’ll start with a link. Promise you’ll come back afterward.

Best headline ever.

And another:

Much worse than confusing adverse with averse.

Man Sentenced to Poker

I generally like the law. But sometimes professionals in that field, lawyers and judges, can spend so much time concentrating on the minutiae that they lose sight of the big picture. They make one tiny logical step after another until they get lost in the forest they couldn’t see for the trees.

Read more »

WordPress Themes