Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mortgage and Marriage

Here's an interesting article about the timing of homeownership and marriage for young couples.  Apparently, there is an interesting trend among young couples to buy houses before getting married (rather than the common perception of co-habitation while renting).  Before you judge the tagline, here's an interesting paragraph from the article:
For young people who are in committed relationships and interested in homeownership, Ludwig said that the benefits associated with shopping for a home together go well beyond the prospect of owning property. While considering the very big step of buying a house, couples are forced to deal with exactly the kinds of issues that they should discuss before marriage. “When purchasing a home, there is a need to be transparent on many levels,” said Ludwig. “You must be upfront with your partner, and you also have to get real honest with yourself.” It’s possible to get married without actually knowing how much money your wife earns, or how much credit card debt your husband accrued in college. Salaries, debt, and more are all on the table when the time comes to get a mortgage, however.
On the other hand, you could just discuss these things before marriage, but I suppose it is nice to know that buying a house with a future spouse has a side benefit.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Why not charge by weight?

Earlier this week, I saw this article on novel airline pricing by Samoa Air:
A Samoan airline that says it is the world's first carrier to charge passengers by their weight rather than per seat defends the plan as the fairest way to fly, in some cases actually ending up cheaper than conventional tickets. 
Samoa Air, which opened in 2012, asks passengers to declare their personal weight during booking, which is then charged per kilogram (2.2 lb) at a rate dependent on flight length. The customers will also be weighed at the check-in counter. 
"The industry has this concept that all people throughout the world are the same size," Samoa Air CEO Chris Langton told Reuters. "Airplanes always run on weight, irrespective of seats." 
"There is no doubt in my mind that this is the concept of the future. This is the fairest way of you travelling with your family, or yourself."
Apparently, they started this futuristic pricing last November. Now, where have I heard this concept before?  Oh, yes.  Some guy wrote an excellent piece called Should Airlines Charge Per Passenger-Pound on December 30, 2009.  Here is the intro:
Changing how we pay for airfare could improve the lives of everyone who travels by air. Let me propose one big improvement. Instead of the flat per-seat fare (plus extra fees for checked baggage), charge each passenger for the total weight he/she contributes to the weight of the plane. That's body weight plus luggage weight. 
Charge by the pound. UPS and FedEx do it, and so do professional moving companies. Airlines should do it too. Charging by the pound is not a crazy idea. In fact, if you want to see something crazy, just watch chaos at the TSA screening for a couple of minutes. Aside from being what moving companies do, there are plenty of other reasons to charge per passenger-pound.
The whole article is worth a read.

Friday, April 5, 2013

YouTube Attention Data

As of September 1 last year, YouTube Analytics now provides content owners with information about how much attention is being paid to their videos.  Specifically, how long did people watch each video on average.  As I have been otherwise busy since then, I haven't paid much attention to these attention statistics, but I was looking at some performance metrics this morning I saw something interesting in my analytics.

The blue time series is the average view duration across all of my videos by day whereas the orange series is the number of views across all of my videos by day.  The range of dates is January 1st until today.

In looking at the graph of average view duration, I was initially surprised at how little it fluctuates over time.  The average video view on my channel has a duration of 3:18, but there's not much day-to-day variation.  It is possible the law of large numbers has something to say about this.  

Then again, I am still a little surprised that high demand days (likely nights before exams) do not also correspond with a noticeable change in viewing behavior -- either shorter attention because frantic students are stumbling upon my videos searching for specific morsels of information, or longer attention because dedicated students are absorbing as much as they can.  Maybe the frantic/dedicated effects cancel each other out.