Greetings. This site is just a place I occasionally toss stuff and things about which I'm interested. I'm a serial entrepreneur, software engineer, movie theater owner, book writer/editor/publisher, pastor, geek, father, husband, and human. I think a lot about philosophy, bicycling, flying, sailing, theology, parenting, current events, predictioneering, financial investing, ethics, and other stuff and things.

Avoiding the Traffic

April 14, 2014

Sunday after church, my family drove directly to the airport just around the corner and loaded into our airplane. We had planned a flight up north to the Skagit Regional Airport because I thought we might be able to sneak in a preview of the Heritage Flight Museum before their official opening in a couple weeks.

Very Excited Little Girl Co-Pilot Wife Xander Happy to Fly The Pilot

We took off into completely blue skies, warm temperatures, and mostly stable air. There were a few annoying bumps along the way up, but not too bad. What made the trip up north particularly stressful was a couple different pilots who thought it would be a great idea to fly up really close to us to get a good look at our strange airplane.

Lake N8003H In Flight

Yes, I get that we fly a weird-looking contraption. Yes, the propeller is up on the back and points the “wrong way.” But if you’re a pilot, please don’t misinterpret these things as a grand invitation to fly up within a few hundred feet of me. It freaks me out.

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Posted by Gryphon Shafer on April 14, 2014 12:21 PM | | Comments (0)

Teacher Pay

April 11, 2014

A friend of mine is a teacher, a very good one. So good, in fact, that if I could somehow transform into a young student and attend his class, I believe I would be richer for it. Personally, I enjoy teaching. I’ve done it a few times in my life. Never as my primary source of income; sometimes for pay, sometimes for free. Between the long chats I’ve had with my friend and my own experiences, I can certainly say there’s value in teaching. Does our society respect that value by adequately compensating teachers?

Ideally, how much should a teacher make relative to other professions? Consider jobs like engineers, doctors, sanitation workers (who persistently earn my respect and thanks), landscapers (who work in the rain), nursing care providers of all varieties, financial advisors, and veterinarians. Where should teachers rank in that group? What should a teacher’s salary be relative to the average salary of everyone else? Certainly, it’s an important and valuable job, so maybe they should be paid more than the average. Maybe 120% of the average salary. Maybe 130% for really good teachers like my friend.

I got curious, so I looked around for some data about teacher’s salaries. I found some summary data at the web site. If you click on a state in their US map, you can find out teacher salary versus the state average. I clicked on my state of Washington and found that we pay our teachers 140% of the state average. “Good for us,” I thought. I started clicking around, and after collecting some data, I built this chart:

Teacher Pay

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Posted by Gryphon Shafer on April 11, 2014 3:25 PM | | Comments (0)

Restrict the Vote

April 10, 2014

Last week on Wednesday, April 2, the Supreme Court made a ruling on the McCutcheon v. FEC case, which resulted in the striking down of limits on overall federal campaign donations set since the 70s. It was a 5-to-4 decision to drop the limit on the total money a single person is allowed to contribute to a spectrum of candidates. Whereas before the decision, you were allowed to contribute only a few thousand dollars in total per year, now you’re permitted to contribute as much as you’d like so long as no single political recipient receives more than a few thousand.

There has been some rather tremendous wailing and gnashing of teeth about this decision, which was a bit puzzling to me at first. Prior to the ruling, if you were crazy-rich and you wanted to buy an election, all you had to do was fund a super-PAC. Now, you’re still limited in what you can contribute to any single campaign directly, you just aren’t limited in how many campaigns to which you can contribute at any given time.

So why all the angst? Because it’s a well-accepted axiom of politics that he or she who wields the most money statistically over time will win more elections. Why? Because of three problems with humans.

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Posted by Gryphon Shafer on April 10, 2014 9:47 AM | | Comments (1)

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