Who Taught You Math???

Mod Note (Andy): Best of Eddie, this originally was posted on 11/29/12.

We. Are. So. Screwed.

It's no secret that the educational quality in the United States has been on the decline for well over a decade. But I had no idea exactly how far we've fallen in real terms. That is, until I read this Psychology Today piece about a recent survey of the math skills of college students in the US. And then I threw up in my mouth a little.

How bad is it?

In an interview one student was asked if he could think of a way to check whether 462+253 = 715. He smartly subtracted 253 from 715 and came out with 462. So far so good. But when he was asked whether he could have subtracted 462 from 715 instead, he said he did not think so. He had been told in school to subtract the second number from the bigger number, not the first. It appears he was just following a memorized script.

Most Prefteejus High School?

Mod Note (Andy): Best of Eddie, this was originally posted on 9/27/12.

I was talking to a female friend of mine who happens to be an atheist last week, and she was telling me about how she attended a church in NYC just to get into the good books of the head of admissions at the preschool she wanted her son to attend, who also happened to be a member of that church. Ultimately, her kid didn't make the cut. We laughed about it, of course, but it shows the lengths to which some parents will go to give their kid a leg up in life.

So I guess it stands to reason that some parents think it makes sense to spend $43,000 a year for high school. Yup, you read that right. 43 GRAND. A year. As in $200,000 for a high school diploma.

Predictably, 47 of the 50 most expensive high schools in America are located in the Northeast, with the three outliers located in California. And I think it's important to note that the quoted tuition figures do not include room and board; it's just straight tuition. So what exactly are you walking away with (aside from a high school diploma and a bunch of Marc Ecko gear) after your folks cough up two hundred grand?

This 15-Yr Old Is Cooler Than You'll Ever Be

Mod note (Andy): Best of Eddie, this was originally posted on 1/6/12.

You know that resume you dream about submitting? The one that sets you so far apart from your competition that the firm brings you in for an interview just to shake your hand? Well, while you were wondering whether or not to include your interest in Skrillex (seriously?), this kid was out conquering the world.

Is Meritocracy Dead in America?

Mod note: Best of Eddie, this was originally posted on 8/22/12.

Here's an interesting spin on the class warfare that seems to have grown much worse over the past decade. MSNBC's Chris Hayes opines in his new book that America is no longer a meritocracy, but an aristocracy with a couple hundred million serfs. In a lot of ways, it's hard to argue against that. He makes the point that the ruling elite weren't satisfied just climbing the ladder, they had to pull it up behind them. What do you guys think? Is America still a meritocracy, or are we forever doomed to this inequity?

Altucher: Don't Go to College

Mod Note (Andy): Best of Eddie, this was posted on 2/9/11. Old video got taken down, but this one is pretty relevant.

I can almost hear the collective gasps from the peanut gallery as you guys watch this, but Formula Capital's James Altucher thinks college is a sucker's bet. Well, not really. But he thinks it can be a really bad move to go straight from high school into college, and he makes some great points. Why shouldn't everyone try to start their own business, if for nothing else but the experience? I really want to hear your feedback on this one, and try to think outside the box a little.

Homeless Joe Is Back

For those who have been wondering what Homeless Joe is up to these days, I present you this update. He's such a sanctimonious prick now that he's sober I almost couldn't make it through to the end, but boy am I glad I did. There's a payoff.

I Guess That's One Way to Pay for College

Mod note: Best of Eddie, this was originally posted on 2/11/14.

God, I love the free market. This is absolutely hilarious. Call me old fashioned, but I look back with fondness on the days when a guy could walk into just about any strip club and witness the cold war between the perky college girls and the haggard single moms with past due rent playing out on the stage and in the champagne room. The lithe youngsters would glide casually from patron to patron, and their surly older counterparts would give them stink-eye while bending at the waist - more to conceal their C-section scars than to titillate the married guys on Pervert's Row. Alas, technology appears set to lay waste to another of our vaunted institutions.

This might come as a shock to you, but occasionally older guys are willing to cough up a little dough to find themselves in the company of beautiful younger women. So it stands to reason that the free market would provide a solution for these...ummm...introductions. One such provider is very up front about what they're offering, and even has a hilarious video extolling the virtues of amateur prostitution. But is it really prostitution?

"Prostitution is black and white; it's just an exchange of sex for money," says Angela Jacob Bermudo, public-relations manager for SeekingArrangement, which encases its matchmaking service in a cloud of euphemisms.
"On SeekingArrangement, people are coming to find their ideal relationship. It's about the connection. These men are shelling out $3,000 a month for a sugar baby. That's not something that a man is going to spend for a simple, one-night engagement."

You're Having a Better Day Than THIS Guy

I know, two posts in one day. Just couldn't resist throwing this one up. You can almost hear the moment his life comes apart:

Poor bastard.

Do You Think the Market Is Rigged?

Mod note: Best of Eddie, this was originally posted on 4/2/14.

Mod Note (Andy): See more discussion on this topic here.

I just started reading Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt and I'm not the least bit surprised that I love it so far. Michael Lewis is out promoting the book, naturally, and he caused something of a shitstorm on CNBC yesterday by claiming that the market is rigged due in large part to high frequency trading. I've included a shortened version of the video below, but I wanted to get your take on the subject. I happen to agree that the market is rigged, but then I believe that it always has been and that's no reason to stay out of it. It seems I'm not the only one who feels that way, but again, I'm curious about what you think. Check out the video and let me know in the comments. I have a feeling this could be one of our more productive discussions.