NSFW. Click the link if you don’t know what that means.
If you haven’t heard, there’s an undergraduate at Duke his is public about doing porn to pay her bills. What I have below is the fourth part of series on The Source about her experience. My guess is that most of you won’t have a problem with what’s shown: if you do, don’t watch.
This video mostly covers her at a convention meeting fans. Just like, say, baseball … the fans pay cash for autographs and staged photos.
Towards the end of the video, she counts up her take from that day, and it’s $981. That’s revenue.
She figures it cost her $600 in expenses to do the show (flight, hotel, meals, incidentals), which she calls overhead. The distinction between fixed and variable costs in microeconomics is more situation-specific than most students are aware of. In this case, that overhead is a variable cost from the perspective of her whole life, because she didn’t have to do the show. But, once she’s decided to do the show, the overhead is a fixed cost of that show (because she could probably work longer signing autographs to increase her revenue without increasing those fixed costs). I know … more complex than you may need.
Then she recognizes that those overhead costs apply to both days of the show, while she hasn’t counted the revenue from the first day. She figures she made $600 more in revenue the previous day, subtracts out $100 in other expenses, and figures she cleared $800 for the weekend.
I’m not sure how she’s set up for tax purposes. But, the video doesn’t say anything about that, so let’s assume that she’s a proprietor. Then that $800 is the accounting profit from her business, and that goes straight into her bank account as individual income.
But she recognizes and mentions that she did a lot of work for that $800 (and I don’t mean something crude about porn, I mean just working at her convention booth).* Presuming she did two 8-hour days, that works out to about $50/hour: comparable to what professors in the SUU School of Business make (not me, I’m a peon). So, it’s great money for an undergraduate, but she’d probably be making that in 15-20 years anyway.
Now, here’s where the porn comes in. Her accounting profit is $800. But her economic profit would subtract out many things, most importantly opportunity costs. The reason most people don’t do porn is not that they can get paid better at other jobs, but that they suspect that doing porn is blocking them out of future job possibilities that might pay more. So it’s not so much an opportunity cost as the cost of opportunities foregone.
In this case, I think those opportunity costs fall mostly on the actual doing of the porn, rather than on going to conventions. So for this particular weekend, her accounting profit is $800 and her economic profit might be the $500 excess she makes over working some other job back at school.
But, for her career, let’s say she makes $100K. That’s accounting profit. She’s willing to do that because her economic profit is less than that, but still positive and presumably large. Just to throw out a number, perhaps her opportunity costs are $60K, so she’s left with $40K in economic profits. When you choose not to do porn, you’re thinking that the opportunity costs of that far outweigh the accounting profits. When you put it that way, the difference between someone who does porn and someone who does not is largely their subjective evaluation of their opportunity costs: if you don’t think they’re large, you do porn, if you do think they’re large, you don’t.
The video is of fairly recent vintage: the jetty has no water around it at all. It emerged from the lake about 10 years ago, after a couple of decades under the water. The level of the lake is still dropping, so the water is visible in the distance.
Of course, any video of the Salt Lake would be incomplete without smellovision … but what can you do?
Cool research. A team of 7 researchers, using 3 databases of individuals who are culturally important through history, plotted the migration of those individuals to determine cultural centers.
They visualize this for America:
That really gives meaning to the idea of flyover states. But, pause it and look around a bit. Check out the importance of:
Cincinnati and Louisville in the early to mid 19th century.
How about the Erie Canal being traced out.
The absence of much at all across the Black Belt of the deep South.
San Francisco popping out of nowhere in the 1850’s (before, and everyone forgets about this, not really thriving well after that).
The necklace of cities along the Union Pacific route, through Kansas City, Denver, and Salt Lake City.
The way Salt Lake City and the west coast attract people who bypassed the east coast completely.
The outsized attraction of New Orleans in the early 20th century (as its primacy as a port faded)
The development of the triangle in Texas as oil boomed.
The huge migration to Los Angeles starting in the 1920’s.
And towards the end, the influx of people into Florida.
And for Europe:
During its heydey, notice how the Roman Empire is actually fairly tenuous across the west: everyone’s in Rome in a way they’ve never been in New York.
But as the Empire fades, the centers of western European cultural start popping up before (and during) the barbarian invasions.
The Dark Ages are pretty dark, but there’s clustering across the region we still associate with medieval history: from the Ile de France, arcing northeast towards the low countries, and then back southeast across the central Rhine valley.
In the 12th century, look for Seville and Cordoba popping up under the Moors in Spain. Paris gets brighter at the same time.
Not much going on in northern Italy, until the bright lights come on in the 14th and 15th centuries.
Check out Amsterdam in the 17th century.
I found Vienna quieter than I expected in the 17th and 18th centuries. But look at the lights of Budapest, Prague, and Cracow.
St. Petersburg pops out of nowhere after its founding in the early 18th century.
By 1900, Germany has bright lights … everywhere.
And look at England … whole bunches of people leaving to go to America. Look closely, and you can see some of them coming from Germany in the 1930’s.
You can also see many eastern Europeans heading in the direction of Moscow in the mid 20th century.
Hubert Duprat noted that some insects build a carapace — not really a cocoon, but more of a shelter — out of found materials. So he put them in an environment where they find flakes of gold, and bits of pearl. Here’s what he got:
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