50 States' Debts

While reading the usual morning slew of bad news from around the world, I came across this article about the 50 US states' debt burdens. The article includes unsurprising claims, such as each Californian today owes $20,800 for past government policies and budgets, we're all the state's assets and liabilities to be summed and paid off today; New York, $20,700; Illinois, $45,000; New Jersey, $52,800. At some point, these states will raise taxes even higher on today's taxpayers to address past fiscal incontinence. In short, these are states I will avoid.

Looking at each state's assets and debts, it is no surprise to see resource-rich low-population states like Alaska and North Dakota doing well. It is a shame to see Indiana has a bit more debt than assets, but the difference is hopefully manageable. A state that I find very attractive topographically, Kentucky looks like a lost cause with debt around four times its assets. Kasich's Ohio is debt-heavy as well.

Of course, there is also the ratio of capital makers versus takers, the subject of a Forbes magazine Death Spiral States article. The darker the state on the article's map, the greater the number of takers. California, again:

There are 114 clients drawing from the government for every 100 people chipping in by working outside the government and paying taxes. We’re calling this the Feedme Ratio. Six states have a number over 100.

Years ago, my father was offered a well-paid engineering job in California. My sister and I were all for it, because we were mere children who thought California would be hip and happening. My mother was ambivalent. Dad called around to some people he knew in California and they were unanimous: Don't come! Extortionate taxes! Insane real estate costs! Thankfully, he heeded their warnings.

Errata for "Getting Started with the TI-89 Graphing Calculator"

Let me start by saying that I have a TI-89 Titanium, so perhaps what I list as errata is not for the TI-89, which differs from the Titanium. Regardless, I am working through Carl Swenson's book Getting Started with the TI-89 Graphing Calculator, quite a good book, but errors pop up now and then. Those that trouble me most follow.

Chapter 13, page 56 has two sum equations that are incorrect. I found the correct forms at TechniCalc. Change the equations to:

\Sigma(y1(a+i*(b-a)/n)*(b-a)/n,i,0,n-1)\rightarrow lhs(a,b,n)
\Sigma(y1(a+i*(b-a)/n)*(b-a)/n,i,1,n)\rightarrow rhs(a,b,n)

The commands in Figure 13.3 will now work.

Chapter 16, page 68 has code for a program called rsum() that will not work as written. To make it work, omit the final 1 in each summation command; that is, not
\Sigma(y1(xmin+i*d),i,0,n-1,1)*d\rightarrow s1
\Sigma(y1(xmin+i*d),i,0,n-1)*d\rightarrow s1
Fix all three instances and it will work.

Chapter 19, page 83 has no error but the equation is missing. It is simple enough, but here it is anyway:


Chapter 21, page 92 needs a second closing parens added to the piecewise equation for y1.

Chapter 24, page 104 has a boxed-in Tip for unlocking the data file. The last value should be 22, not 21.

Chapter 26, page 112 lacks the full equation for the overdamped case. The equation to enter is:

deSolve(y''+3*y'+2*y=0 and y(0)=-.5 and y'(0)=3,t,y)

Chapter 26, page 113 lacks the equation for the Home menu's F2:zeros() command. You can cut and paste from the equation in the history above the entry field then delete the "y=" part, but here it is:


Chapter 26, page 114 lacks two equations that are not difficult to figure out; nevertheless, here they are:

deSolve(y''+2*y'+2*y=0 and y(0)=-.5 and y'(0)=3,t,y)

私の新たな計算機: TI-89

The other day I decided to buy a really spiffy calculator, since my $10 Casios and TIs occasionally come short. An engineering friend swears by his TI-84, but reading reviews on Amazon convinced me to cough up some extra money to buy the TI-89. I called my closest Best Buy to confirm they had it in stock; however, the salespeople were skeptical although we found two remained on the shelves. I paid my $160.49 and left.


Though it has only been a few hours, I have worked through the skimpily bundled tutorial booklet. Now I am working through more tutorials I have found online at the site Using the TI-89 Graphing Calculator. The learning curve is rather steep, but I know this will be handy for my upcoming EE courses.

David S.

Yesterday I confirmed the death of a friend. Some days ago, after a lull in correspondence, I received a very short message if his having been in the hospital thrice in 8 days; the worst was over. Then nothing for a long time.

Term having begun, which included being hired last-minute to teach a math course, I had little time to follow up. I shot the occasional email, but I knew he was down, perhaps too enervated to respond. Then it became too long. I called his company on a weekend but the answering machine was full. Yesterday I again called his company to find he had died on the 15th, just hours after his email assuring recovery.

Though never having had the good fortune to meet him in person, I came to know David extremely well, as he did me. A lover of classical music, wielder of an Olympian vocabulary, past mathematics major, computer programmer, notable businessman, and much more, he was a unique man who touched me deeply. I am a better person for having known David.

It is painful to note his passing; it still seems unreal that I will never hear from him again.

You are sorely missed, David.

Japan to Run out of Cash?

A recent article in the UK's The Telegraph says that is a possibility. Japan's massive debts and poor demographics were things that concerned me about its future.

When I worked at the national public Tokushima University, the rumor was the other national public up the road, Naruto University of Education, had more teaching staff than students. People at TU were concerned that the national government would forcibly merge TU with NUE, which would cause great financial turmoil. Although I loved TU, that encouraged me to shift to the private university system. Thus I find the following passage unsurprising:

Subsidies to local governments and state-run universities will be cut by half from the originally planned amount until the bill passes parliament, the finance ministry said.

When I left Japan, the incoming college student population had peaked and was not going to move back up for a long time, if ever. Lesser known colleges were closing, junior colleges were attempting to become four-year colleges, four-years were trying to open new grad programs, everyone hoped to draw in well-off retirees (I think the phrase was "silver students"), and single-sex institutions were going coed, all in attempts to stay viable. A fellow I knew at private Shikoku University noted that one of their four-year programs had just one incoming student in 2005 or 2006.

A financial crunch is coming almost everywhere, but I fear Japan will be particularly hard hit.

After Upgrading to OS 10.8

On August 5th, I upgraded to OS 10.8, Mountain Lion. The process went smoothly, and I made a bootable installer on an 8GB USB memory stick using Disk Utility.

Things have mostly gone well, although some of the new Apple applications installed, like Notes, which syncs with iOS so I can easily see my iPod's notes, crash on the first attempted opening; they work fine thereafter. Syncing has been fine. Integration with iOS looks to be thankfully more developed.

Many old applications no longer work. Good-bye, Canvas X for Mac, Bryce 5.5, and CubicConverter. I cleaned out everything that no longer works after looking for updates, like Bryce 7 (yet it refuses to accept my new serial number).

One concern I had was about claims that 10.8 slowed others' machines. That has not been my case, not consistently. Occasionally an application hangs, but that might be a failing hard drive problem, not 10.8.

Mathematicus Interruptus

math•e•mat•i•cus in•ter•rupt•us |'mæθ•ǝ•'mæt•ɪ•kǝs ɪntɜ:ʳ•'rǝpt•ǝs|
1: an interruption of any mathematical process that can subsequently not be provided with a solution: The sudden ringing of a cell phone resulted in temporary mathematicus interruptus during the calculus exam.
2: the frustration that results from mathematicus interruptus, whether voluntary or not: For question number two, we were only required to set up the equation, not solve it, which caused me such intense mathematicus interruptus that concentrating on other questions became more difficult.