KASKA

Some exciting news… I founded Kas·ka /kaˈskə/ last December.

Kaska is a dynamic software company. The idea was born out of frustration with existing decision-making tools. Users of data deserve more accessible resources that better utilize existing troves of information in a beautifully powerful format. We build these tools for the action sport and investment space. Kaska helps people make better decisions.

The Cascade Mountain Range was chosen to represent the company because of its rugged terrain and constantly evolving ecosystem that supports life across the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

Kaska is a starting point of opportunity and I look forward to what the future holds. Please get in touch if you have any thoughts on this venture or are interested in working together.

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Relearning Economics

The Post-Crash Economics Society at the University of Manchester recently released a manifesto for reforming university economic curriculum. Economic understanding and as a field of study is still very young relative to other sciences. It will be interesting to see the traditional framework around how we understand and teach about market interactions evolves in the coming years. Andrew Haldane, Executive Director for Financial Stability at the BoE, explains in the forward:

The agenda set out in this Report is exciting and compelling. While not exhaustive, it begins to break open some of the economics discipline’s self-imposed shackles. Some of this is discovery of the new – for example, in the area of evolutionary, neuro and behavioural economics. But a large part is rediscovery of the old – or, in some cases, dusting down of the neglected – for example, in the area of institutional economics, economic history and money and banking.

 

A Creepy World

A Creepy World

Great research was recently published by Didier Sornette and Peter Cauwels on a general framework to understanding financial markets and social systems. Sornette is Professor on the Chair of Entrepreneurial Risks at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Director of the Financial Crisis Observatory, and spoke about predicting financial crisis (video) at TED last June.

Before a critical threshold is reached, these parameters slowly drift, hardly changing the stress in the system, which has, at that point, a quasi-stable characteristic, only disturbed by noise. This gives us an illusion of control, we think that we understand the system and we assume that it will continue behaving as we expect it to for the indefinite future. We make naïve forecasts based on simple extrapolated trends without a real fundamental understanding of the underlying processes. Forecasters are happy and proud that they manage to find a trend and can fit a curve to it, without realizing that in fact they are blind. Examples are the credo that stocks always go up in the long run, the concept that inflation is contained because the velocity of money is low, the idea that governmental debt can always be refunded in the capital markets or that house prices always go up.

The real risks and opportunities in our modern, interconnected society can only be better understood if we get out of this fallacy. Only then will we be able to see and interpret the generic symptoms that occur when a system approaches criticality. (SSRN)

 

The End of Discrimination…

I recently enjoyed watching a dated (90’s), but fully applicable, video on testing the social acceptance of our communities. It was based on two equally great men, only major difference being skin color. John and Glen set out to experience prejudice and discrimination in a new surrounding thinking that they would not share any differences. I have seen much of the behavior displayed on the video first hand and even had similar things happen to me before. The individual’s demeanor changes instantly depending on who surrounds them. Based on preconceived notions, Glen, the black gentleman, gets treated worse than John in almost every situation.

Millions of ethnically diverse people are judged by stereotypes that are based on ascribed differences. How can societal beliefs be so hateful that the police stare you down as they drive by, and passing drivers yell “Little far south” if you’re in the wrong part of town? The everyday grinding carries an emotional price with those who face prejudice and discrimination. It is wrong that the certain races in our country pay more than a $150 million dollar markup (annually) on expenditures, just because of their skin color.

Life threatening scenarios occur daily that fall to discriminatory levels and, in a way, encourages the underemployment of entire racial groups. Searching for a job is incomparable between these races due to the higher regard many employers have towards Caucasians. Our countries economic prosperity is cut short because of the loss of opportunities that some parts of society struggle to accept.

The fact that we, humans, predetermine each others successes in life, predicated on immutable characteristics, is a classical thought process. I believe that as generations transition power, racial acceptance and diversity will become the predominant basis of our culture. The social justice movement kick-started acceptance, but it is my hope that the future leaders will truly extend these amiable beliefs.

Racism, History, & the Noose

This video was shown in my sociology class, it displays graphic and disturbing pictures. CNN interviewed Jim Allen, a lynching photograph collector, for a special on the noose. I cannot even imagine the pain that these black individuals went through. They had been beaten, sexually abused, burned, stripped naked, and lynched. The white men in the pictures treated the black men like animals, completely desensitized to what was happening.

In the interview, Allen explained that humans tend to forget horrific events, which emphasized the necessity of knowing our history in my beliefs. These painful photos of our countries past need to be analyzed in educational systems, to raise awareness and hopefully prevent a reoccurrence. The image from Texas, of Leege Daniels, a sixteen-year old black boy who was hung from a tree in the middle of a crowd, left the greatest impact. White fathers and sons gathered, satisfied in their accomplishments, initiating a new generation of racists.