My Other Blogs

American Expeirience

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Minimum Wage

Minimum Wage

Can you imagine a entry level McDonald's worker making the same wage as a entry level teacher?  If the minimum wage was raised to $15/hr your typical McDonald's employee would make $30,000 annually (working 2,000 hours).  According to Florida Atlantic University the average annual income for an entry level teacher is $33,227.
Minimum wage has been a controversial issue.  People aren't making enough money to live the lifestyle they want.  If we were to raise the minimum wage then they could live the lifestyle they want but it would come with some costs.  One of the most major of costs would be the loss of employment.  Raising the minimum wage would cause a large amount of layoffs.  Companies wouldn't be able to afford their employees causing a large amount of unemployment.
One major argument for raising minimum wage is to compensate for inflation.  In order to raise the minimum wage to match earlier values the current rate would be about $10/hr.  We lived through the sixties so why wouldn't we make it now with a minimum wage to match it.
I think that we wouldn't be able to afford it because of the rising population.  Looking at the data of population and minimum wage there is a strong correlation.
If you over lap the two graphs you can see that the minimum wage has grown with the population size and raising it would not be affordable.  In fact our minimum wage is higher in comparison than ever before.
The federal minimum wage is $7.25/hr.  Most states have raised their minimum wage above the federal minimum wage.  Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, D.C., Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.  The only states with a minimum wage lower than the federal wage are Georgia and Wyoming.  Companies in Georgia and Wyoming have to follow the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and pay the federal minimum wage of $7.25.  But employees not covered under the FLSA may be paid the state minimum wage of $5.15.
A McDonald's in Phoenix has replaced workers with robots.  This is a result of McDonald's recent decline in earnings and because of the demand for a $15/hr wage.  It is a huge benefit to McDonald's.  The robots work at a speed 50 times faster than the average human employee and without error.

Livable Wage

If minimum wage isn't raised people want to consider implanting a "livable wage."  Living wage is the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet their needs that are considered to be basic. wikipedia*  Where livable wage is used, this means that if a person working +40 hrs/week, they should be able to afford the basics for quality of life, food, utilities, transport, health care, and some recreation, one course a year to upgrade their education and childcare.  There is no US state where the minimum wage will pay the rent: At least 60 to over 80 hours a week needed for market-rate one bedroom apartment.  
For the people working part-time or not at all.  Should they receive benefits to this?  Should people have to put in hard work to earn the benefits?  If Livable wage is implemented, will it become an alternative version of welfare?

Livable Wage for Wright Co.
Other US Locations: Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Living Wage

Questions for Discussion

Should the U.S. raise the minimum wage?
Can our economy afford a higher minimum wage?
Should the U.S. have a livable wage?
What should be the requirements to gain assistance for a livable wage?
Does welfare already cover livable wage?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

10 Days of News

There are thousands of news sources throughout the world.  It's overwhelming how many sources we can choose from.  With the huge amount of news sources we can choose from why do we have hundreds when we could narrow it down to a few or even just one?
News sources typically specialize in one type of news.  International, national (typically combined with international), semi-local, and local.  International news would be places like BBC, they cover news all across the world.  National news sources covers places like US News.  Semi-local would cover papers like the Star Tribune.  Lastly local news, which would include things like The Drummer.  If people want local news they'll go to a news source, national they'll go to a national source.  We need these different levels of news sources so people can get news that they want to see and/or applies to them.  News would be a mess if they combined all these categories together.  There would be too much information for the few news sources to cover on their own and navigating it would be terrible.  This is why outside sources are the biggest reason that people see news stories.
Facebook, Twitter, and other social media are some of the biggest reasons news corporations get their articles viewed.  People need a way to sort through the pages of titles, the easiest being other people doing it for them.  If you had to pick between scouring through multiple sources and stories to find what you want to read and someone else doing it for you, which would you pick?  Most likely the one requiring less work this is why social media is one of the most common means of sharing articles with others.  But what if you don't want your friends political biases? That's part of the reason why there are news aggregates.
News aggregates like the Drudge Report do the chore of sifting through articles and aren't as random as your friends Facebook feed.  Aggregates do have a 'narrative' but that will be a part of every news source and the bias that you want to read.  But that is not going to cover every level of news.
I prefer using Reddit for getting my news because I can pick each category I want to see.  I can pick any news category that I want to see from and combine them all into one webpage.  It's not perfect because you won't see every news story that might be important but I think it's a good system to build off of.
We need the multiple news sources.  Everyone's bias is different so they need a news source to fit them.  News sources can't cover every category of news themselves.  Aggregates are useful because they can sift through the piles of articles.  There are sites like Reddit who can give you the variety that you want.  But no news source will ever be perfect so we need the great multitude we have to make up for the gaps in the other sources.  No two people are alike so news has to be the same way.  Great in number and great in variety.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Merry New Christmas (and a Happy Oklahoma Day)

Merry New Christmas!  According to sources Oklahoma Day and Christmas have switched dates.  Every child's favorite holiday is now moved to December 25 and the day that some Jewish kid was born is moved to April 22.
Some more major changes to go with this include...
The song "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" will be replaced with "You Can't Handle the Pan-Handle."
Santa will start wearing short sleeves due to the warm weather.
Oklahoma Day will get a new mascot, Kevin Durant from the Oklahoma City Thunder
"Green Gatorade is the best Gatorade" -Devin Kurant

The North Pole is now a territory controlled by Oklahoma.
Critics of this major change say that you can't change the day a child was born.  They're all wrong and should shut up.  Just be happy that the children can celebrate Kevin Durant in all his glory while chanting "OKC! OKC! OKC!"
Please memorize the lyrics to "You Can't Handle the Panhandle" or your family will be executed right in front of your face,
(To the tune of "We Wish You A Merry Christmas")
Oklahoma is the greatest;
Oklahoma is the greatest;
Oklahoma is the greatest, screw off fat Texans.
Tornadoes 'n' stuff will destroy our homes;
Hurray Oklahoma, screw off fat Texans.

Let's go watch some Will Rogers;
Let's go watch some Will Rogers;
Let's go watch some Will Rogers, and deep fry some food.
You can't handle the panhadle;
You can't handle the panhandle;
You can't handle the panhandle, let's watch the Sooners.

Oklahome is the greatest;
Oklahoma is the greatest;
Oklahoma is the greatest, screw off fat Texans.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Everything is designed.  Everything.  Your clothes, your house, the computer your viewing this blog on have all been designed.  Most people never think about it but every little thing that you use throughout the day has been designed.
There are things that have obvious design put into them.  Cell phones are the best example.  One of the biggest selling points in a phone is the design.  You will pick the sleek looking iPhone 6 or Samsung Galaxy S6 over a phone that looks slower like a Nokia Lumia.  Design is what draws us in. We won't care how a phone functions when it looks cooler than everybody else's phone.  Design can tell us so much without telling us anything.
Design isn't just a selling point for products.  It's put into the simplest things that you use every single day.  Imagine a door.  It's just a door, right? You turn the handle and open it.  Simple.  Doors were designed at one point.  Think about a piece a paper.  It's the perfect size and thickness.  The perfect shade of white made from the pulp of trees.  Design.  Everything is designed.
Design is more than just products.  Design is also in what we read.  In my journalism class we have been working on design and I have created two magazine layouts.  The first one I used and ESPN Magazine for the inspiration.  It started as a Notre Dame page with boring pictures of an office space.  It wasn't interesting looking at all.  So I changed it.  I made the pictures more appealing.  I put in multiple people instead of focusing on one persons empty office.
The second layout I made was from scratch.  I had 50 minutes to create that layout.  The first ten minutes of my time I was completely clueless of what I should create my layout around.  I started over my whole layout from scratch at least five times.  Eventually I decided to do it on my favorite sports team, the Minnesota Wild.  The focus of my story became what I thought people would be most interested in, Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota's goalie.  He has been the biggest reason for their success in the past couple months which would make him the most interesting to read about on the team.  I made the focus of the page a picture of him in the middle of the spread with two small stories on each side of him and a few stats at the bottom.  If I had more time to work on the spread I would have made separate stories more obvious and made the numbers for the statistics on the bottom larger.  People are suckers for large numbers.

Design is everywhere.  Watch for it.  You will find beautiful designs where you least expect it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


People don't like choice.  We like to think that we do, but truly we don't like the choices we make.  It doesn't make sense at first because choice seems like a good thing.  It's not a good thing though.  When you give people a choice they will make the wrong one.  Partially because people don't know what's good for them.  Partially because your decision could be the wrong decision.  The fact that you could have made the wrong decision drives you insane.  If the people around you are happy and you are even just slightly dissatisfied, you will believe somewhere you made the wrong choice.  If you want more happiness you should choose to have less choice.  The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz talks about how more is less and happiness depends on achievement of goals.  If you set your goals low or have low expectations, you will never be let down.  But choice is so good.  Right?  Wrong, you may think you love to make choices but if you had only one choice for each of your problems, there wouldn't be any dissatisfaction.  People are the happiest when choices are made for them but they think they have choice.  You can choose route a or route b, but in the end the result is the same.  You had the "choice."
People prefer people who agree with them.  In fact when you search for news, opinions, electronics, etc. (pretty much anything,) you will have bias in your search.  Confirmation bias, everybody does it because you want people to agree with you.  Think for a second and ask yourself "Where do I get my news from?"  What ever the source is, the source is most likely biased.  If you had to pick between these two sources, which one would you pick?  Drudge Report or Huffington Post.  Chances are if you're a Republican you will choose Drudge Report and if you are a Democrat you will most likely choose Huffington Post.  It shows your confirmation bias.  When you read the news next and you start feeling all warm and fuzzy because everyone agrees with you, think for a second what you're reading and where you got it from.  Don't let your confirmation bias give you power, try to find a different point of view to challenge your own.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Future of News

People drive every day.  It is a necessity to be able to drive places.  But driving gets repetitive when you are doing it over and over, day after day.  Plus people are bad drivers.  Robots are not.  So once all of our cars are self driving, we will have a lot of time in the car to use on whatever we want.  Cars will become giant moving smart phones.  Our news will be changed completely.
You can already see the change in news today.  Social media is slowly taking over.  News is becoming tailored to your interests.  People want to pick their (free) news instead of reading a newspaper for $1 or $2 each week.  Consumers love customization.  They want their possession to resemble themselves.  So for my group project of showing the future of news we came up with this...
The future of news.  The future of entertainment.  You will be able to use your car like a smart phone.  The interface will be built into every car.  It will be a part of your everyday life.  Just like your smart phone has.  The change in phones has been tremendous even in the past 5 years.  This is very possible.  We could see something like this by 2020.  It's not all that unlikely when you look at progression.
Anthony's group had a different idea for what the future of news would be.  They also realized that the future of news will be focused on our personal devices.  We are starting to care only about what is going on a foot away from our face and are news is going to be changed by that if people still care about the news and being informed.