Thursday, February 25, 2016

Money Changes You (but not the way you think): The Case of Ancient Sparta

Many societies have attempted to control how money is earned, saved and spent.

This seems to have been an attempt to create a centrally planned economy, to create a certain psychological state in the citizen, and to keep wealth within the national borders.

Here is the case of ancient Sparta.  According to Plutarch, the semi-legendary founder of Sparta, Lycurgus, mandated that money be iron trinkets rather than the more common gold and silver of the time.

You couldn't possess gold and silver, or any other objects that conceivably could store value, And the iron trinkets themselves were treated in such a way they could not be melted down and made into other iron objects.

It was difficult to earn, spend or save other kinds of money outside the official rules. It might be done, but was difficult and also illegal. 

So you're stuck doing what the system wants you to do.

And most people won't even think to notice this.

Estimating Construction Costs


Here is a list of great construction cost estimation books.

Direct link to Means construction estimation books.

The Statistical Abstract of the United States has a really cool PDF that shows you housing starts, types of housing built, and the cost of materials (among other things.)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Business Statistics Demystified

You need a good introduction to a HARD topic. Written to get you started, and as intelligent as you are.You already know what the median and mode are; you need a discussion of Bayesian probability, or 12 ways of looking at correlation, or population distribution, etc.

Enter the wonderful Demystified series.

We're looking at business stats today. So check out these out and get caught up:  


Business Stats Demystified.
Stats Demystified
Probability Demystified



Thursday, February 11, 2016

Where to Research Bonds @ Alkek


Here's how to find current bond prices, specific securities available (including corporates, sovereigns, municipals and more), coupon rates, CUSIPs, upgrades and downgrades and more.


Mergent Annual Bond Record (print): Corporate, Municipals, government plus exhaustive entries for these categories. Moody's ratings, bond coupon rate, CUSIPs, ratings up and downgrades,

Mergent Bond Record (print/recent): Corporate (including international), Government, Convertibles, Features Moody's ratings, when issued, amount outstanding, currency,  etc.

Mergent Manuals (electronic resource - industrials, municipals, utilities and more) should have complete issuance up to the date, plus 52 week high and low for those.  

Standard and Poor's Netvantage (electronic): Features a corporate bond screener. Search by parameters if desired or by issuer/CUSIP. Current trading price, yield, etc.

PLUS DON'T MISS:

The Bloomberg Terminal in 4th floor Alkek  Computer Lab. Features current trading conditions on any security you could want.

You could also search back issues of the Wall Street Journal. You can oftentimes find the original issuance announcement as well as other information.  

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sanborn Maps

Sanborn maps are a great way to study the historical layout of a town. Originally conceived as fire insurance maps, Sanborn Maps have proven to be of use to local historians, civic planners, real estate developers and sometimes small business people (just got a question that involved using Sanborn maps).

Sanborn maps cover the years 1867-1970 - and they do include small to middle sized towns, as well as large cities.

We have a Sanborn Maps Database.