Thursday, August 03, 2006

Things to Ponder

I was going to do a Dave and Blarney, but right now I am just in a random musing kind of mood. This post was triggered by something I heard on the radio. The weather forecaster said something about the "normal" rainfall for this time of year. Followed by a remark about the temperature being "higher than average" for this time of year. For some reason, I actually thought about what he said, instead of just filing it away in the recesses of my mind.
What exactly, is "normal" and "average"? Well, if you followed the links you see that one definition of "normal" is "average". And of course, you know that to determine an average, you add all the values and divide by the number of values (that, strictly speaking is the mean as opposed to the median). Anyway, the whole concept of mean and median is that some values are above and some values are below. That is, on any given day, the high temperature is either higher than, equal to, or less than the "average" high for that day. And this is somehow "news"?
That set me off on another silly phrase: "trade deficit". Or "balance of trade". The whole concept of "trade" as opposed to "theft" is that I give you something I value less than the item you have if (and only if) you value my item more than the one you already have. In any other instance, one or the other of us would have to resort to force, the threat of force, or deception. The whole concept of trade is that both parties are satisfied with the outcome. So then, how can you have a "trade deficit"?
Of course, what is usually meant is that we are buying more things than we are selling. In that regard, I have a deficit of trade with Wal-Mart. They have yet to buy anything from me (with the possible exceptions of items I returned because I already had one or wanted something else). And yet, I am not deprived. My stuff has increased. Stuff has value. I traded my money for it.
OK, that's all for now.

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