Austinomics

Avoid Using Facebook Messenger

Are you like me and think Facebook already controls enough of your life? Recently Facebook made a change where mobile users must now use the Facebook App Messenger in send/receive messages over its platform. I think it’s a bit much to download another app to reply to a message I may receive once a month. So, how do you avoid this? The answer is by avoiding using the mobile site. Here’s how:
1. Go to facbeook.com in your mobile web browser.
2. Click the hamburger icon in the top right corner:
hamburger
3. Click “Messages”
4. When you receive the “You must install messenger” message, click and hold the refresh button, and you’ll be given the option to request the Desktop version of Facebook:
Facebook messenger

5. Now click the Message icon next to the notification icon at the top of the screen. You can now view and reply to your messages on your mobile phone!
send message on facebook without downloading messenger

Glory to the Green

The end of my time at the University of North Texas as an undergraduate student has all too quickly come to an end. This Saturday I will leave my life as a student behind and walk across the stage and receive my diploma; a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. My time at UNT has been special. I am thankful for every minute I’ve been able to call this campus my home. From living in a terrible apartment to being one of just a handful of students standing in the rain in December watching Lance Dunbar break the all time rushing record, I will cherish each and every memory.

I arrived on campus as a know-it-all-already libertarian, eager to finish school and make my mark in the real world. In fact, I had actually considered transferring away from UNT because I thought it was too easy (ironic for someone who made a 2.5 GPA his first semester). But then, I took some calculus. I took some advanced economics. Later, I took a course in environmental philosophy taught by a guy named Joey. I realized I didn’t have any of the answers. The academics at UNT, along with one of the most diverse student bodies in the state of Texas really broadened my horizons. I am intellectually honest enough to consider others’ ideas and understand that my own may not be correct. My heart has softened to sympathize with those less fortunate. I understand what it means to support your team because they are your own. For these things, I am grateful.

I have met some amazing people at UNT and in the city of Denton. Everyone who helped create and support my student organization, Mean Green Dodgeball, will not be forgotten. I look forward to connecting with each member again someday. The blue-collar yet creative heartbeat is what makes Denton and UNT so special; it truly is a melting pot.

I will be joining UNT as a full-time staff member starting in January, but there will always be a special place in my heart during my time as an undergraduate. Whenever else in your life are you going to leave a library at 2:00 am to take a break from studying accounting? Yeah, I’m weird because I’ll miss things like that, but my perspective is this: I have the rest of my life to work. I’m going to enjoy everything I can now, even if it is staying up until 2:00 am to study for something like financial markets and institutions.

I’ll end by saying this: If I could do it all over again, I would. The stress of finals, the 8:00 am classes, Spanish, football games, basketball games, papers, Big Mike’s coffee. I would do it all again in a heartbeat, and I would do it all again at the University of North Texas.

Singing glory to the green, singing glory to the white,

For we know our university is striving for the right;

Down the corridor of years, we’ll forget the joys and tears,

But North Texas, North Texas, we love!

unt_mean_green_texas_state_flag_71033sma

Thoughts on Pornography and the Degration of Women

This evening I went to The Village church in Denton, TX. The lesson was on the creation of Man and Women, but if you’ve ever listened to Matt Chandler, everything remotely related to the scripture will be brought up. One of those things that was brought up tonight was something I’ve never blogged on: pornography.

To understand my thoughts on this subject, we must start in Genesis. Specifically we’re only looking at two verses, Genesis Chapter 1 verses 26 and 27. These verses read:

[26]Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” [27]So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

At first glance, these two verses appear to just tell the basic story of creation of humans. While on the surface that is correct, we must look a little deeper into the meaning. If you are a Christian then you undoubtedly believe that God is perfect. Therefore, to be made in the image of God automatically gives beings made in this image self worth. Human worth is not dependent on possessions, achievements, attractiveness, or any other worldly materials but rather on the fact that each person is made in God’s image and shares His characteristics.
So, I can hear you asking, how is this related to pornography? Great question. When you watch porn you go from having the ability to appreciate a fellow human being made in God’s image to treating the human being as a product not made in His image and used for consumption. Indeed you are essentially stripping the self-worth from that human.

For this to make the most sense, you must read Genesis Chapter 1 up to verse 26. Before God created human beings, he created other things such as plants, trees, and animals made for consumption. These things God did not make in His image because plants and animals cannot reflect characteristics of God such as love, patience, forgiveness, kindness, and faithfulness. Therefore, when you consume pornography, you are treating the human as not someone with self-worth made in the image of God, but rather a product. This does not stop with pornography however. In fact, the same analogy applies to, and in my opinion intensifies, when talking about strip clubs, “massage parlors”, prostitution, and human trafficking.

When watching porn, hiring a prostitute, or going to a strip club, you are literally stripping that persons’ worth and degrading them. There is no little girl or boy that grows up wanting to be a stripper or a porn star. Indeed there is an innate sense of self-worth that comes from being made in God’s image that drives us towards other professions. It is only during the most desperate times do people choose to go down this path because they feel they have no other options. Wouldn’t it be a great world if there was so little demand for adult-entertainment that strip clubs and prostitutes could not make money? How about instead of pushing these people down and declaring they have no self worth by consuming them we actually were to bring them up and recognize the divine image in each person?

But, Austin, it’s just entertainment, after all, being a student of the free market, do you not support a voluntary transaction of services? Indeed I am very free-market oriented, boarder-line libertarian. However, I believe the consumption of pornography, prostitution, and the like can easily have the “coolidge effect”  which could lead to infidelity, paying prostitutes, and even just looking at all women lustfully. These things are bad enough, but when you combine infidelity into the married home, you are clearly asking for disaster. Man is suppose to project the image of God and lead his family to also project the image of God and show His grace. However, by choosing to treat people as products for consumption rather than recognizing their divine characteristics, you are not aligning yourself under God which you must do in order to lead your family to project His greatness. In the end, this infidelity can split a family causing children to not only not know their biological father, but also not know their Father in Heaven, as there is no man to be the head of the household.

Also – just a quick note… while I mostly wrote this post from a male-accusation perspective, women are not immune here. BYU reports that 33.3% of pornography website visitors are women. I will let someone else write from that perspective though…

Soon to be graduates know it all; obviously.

For most colleges and universities, graduation ceremonies took place within the past two weeks. However, not all of them had a headline commencement speaker, thanks in part to student protests. Condoleeza Rice, who was scheduled to speak at Rutgers University graduation backed out amid student protests against her connections with the Iraq war. Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, was scheduled to speak at Smith College, but also had to back out amid student protests. These were just the first two in a long list of commencement speakers who have resigned the speech giving duty because they were not wanted.

While some would say good for the students to stand up for what they believe it, I would disagree. If you want to take a stand because you’re against the policies of Ms. Rice, or Ms. Lagarde, and you want to drive social change, putting duct tape over someone’s mouth isn’t going to do it. (At least not for the long-haul.) I would instead suggest actually listening to the speech, and if there is something you disagree with, use your shiny new degree and craft a well thought out, well researched opinion piece that stands in opposition.

Additionally, silencing those you disagree with reeks of egotism. New college graduates are known to think they know it all, only to be humbled six weeks after graduation when they still don’t have a job. What I’m trying to get at is this: The whole point of higher education is to expand your human, technical, and conceptual skills. Even if there is a teacher or speaker that you disagree with, can you still not learn from that person? How unfortunate for the graduates of these two universities that at the graduate’s last moments of higher education, instead of being filled with powerful words from some of the world’s greatest leaders, were instead regulated to a mediocre and generic speech instead.  One of my most influential professors, Dr. Mark Clark told me on the phone one time, “Don’t think you’re smart; the minute you think you’re smart, you stop learning and fall behind.” It is a common complaint among many businesses that current MBA graduates have a too narrowly focused education, and miss the “big picture”. These recent protests only add to that problem. I sincerely believe that you learn most from those you disagree with.

Greetings!

Hello and welcome to my blog! This site isn’t much yet, but it will be growing as I write and expand my mind. Many topics to discuss here, and hopefully soon I’ll have a portfolio section of the site as I did on the last version of artstin.com. Some topics to look forward to in the future…

  • A post on minimum wage.
  • Posts on finance.
  • Portfolio risk and balance.
  • Public economics.
  • How in the world faith is suppose to work.
  • Christianity and economics.
  • General thoughts as they come to my little brain.

More to come….

Go Facebook Go!

This was originally posted on 2/13/2010 on an earlier version of artstin.com. It has been reposted because it has been referenced in a newer blog post.
If you have used Facebook the past year or two like I have, there’s no doubt that you’ve noticed changes to the site’s layout multiple times. It seems like every time Facebook changes their layout out it’s met promptly with criticism. “Why’d they change it”, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it”, “I hate this new layout”. Those are just some of the comments I hear about the style of Facebook whenever they change. All of them are valid points, Facebook has never really had any show stoppers with their UI (user interface), so why do they always change it? I can say I’ve been a critic myself, while I’ve never seen the layout change so dramatically that I can’t use Facebook, I’ve never really seen the reason to change it in the first place. And that’s exactly why they should continue to change their layout.

Yes, that may sound absurd, but that’s what they need to continue to do. Do we all remember when Myspace reigned king of the social networking websites? And do we all remember the vast UI changes that Myspace went through? Oh, you don’t? Well that’s exactly why Myspace isn’t a social networking dominance anymore. Yeah, some could argue that it’s for other reasons like it’s slow, it has too much ads, etc. and they’re right, but if it’s made well enough, users will put up through those ads – I mean they did, for the 4-some odd years that Myspace was king of the hill, right? Here’s the issue with Myspace… they never changed their UI- whether they needed to or not. This caused a huge lack of innovation. It was always the same with no change and people got tired of that. I can guarantee you that if Myspace would have made changes to their UI, they would have stumbled upon some of the things that people flocked over to Facebook for. But they didn’t.

 

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make here is that Facebook changing their UI is a good thing. With their changes they will continue to innovate and create a better user experience in the long run.

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