FAQ

Q: What is this blog about?

A: That is a really good question. Unfortunately, the complete answer is very long (you can find the full answer in the About section.)

The abreviated answer is that this blog belong to me, Per Jacobsen, is somewhat of an experimentation in blogging, and is a place for my musings on just about everything that I find interesting, but primarily about business and investing. This answer, however, is a simplication, as you can understand by the fact that when the blog had been active for approximately three months, it had touched upon trading, best business practices, World War II, weather, weeds, movies, blogging, Hemingway, suicide, and killing.

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Q: Is this blog socialist, communist, liberal, etc.?

A: No, it is not, and certainly not in the way that these terms have been interpreted in the United States from the beginning of the 20th century, over the Car War period’s McCartney insanity, through the 21st century’s neo-conservative, neo-religious, and tea-party insanity.

The underlying thread of the question, by the way, is probably that socialism, communism, and liberalism somehow inherently is bad — a contention that rabid talking heads of the radio talk shows such as Sean Hannity are bombarding us with daily.

I grew up in a social-democratic country and now live in the United States where, arguably, capitalism has run amok, and unlike most of the talking-heads, I have therefore lived in both types of societies and am actually qualified to comment on the difference. And the truth is (1) that socialism (substitute whatever term you would like here) has many great attributes that I can assure you that vast majority of the United States population would welcome in their lives, and (2) that capitalism — in its modern pure form — is unsustainable as a societal model.

This, by the way, does not mean that I am against capitalism. In fact, as anyone who know me will attest to, I am a capitalist at heart. What it means, rather, is that, in my view, that the current incarnation of capitalism, where any form of criticism or questioning is labeled as ignorant or unpatriotic, is unhealthy and — ultimately — will lead to societal failure.

In fact, the blog represents something new, I think. I call it responsible, critical capitalism, and it leans towards the conclusions drawn in Economist Richard Wolff’s work on economic justice.

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Q: Do you accept advertisements on your blog?

A: Yes, but only if I feel I can genuinely endorse the underlying product or services. I cannot, for instance, endorse debt-service companies or companies that hawk diabetes readers, and, so, you will see no advertisements for this on this blog.

Generally, what keeps this blog running are donations from readers like yourself.

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Q: Do readers really donate to this blog?

A: Yep. The amounts vary widely, and many readers do not donate anything (shame on them!)

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Q: Why would anyone pay for something that is free?

A: Obviously, I don’t have the full answer to that (you will have to ask the donors.) I hope that people who donate to this blog do so because they recognize that this blog is very different than a standard, relay-type blog (you know what I mean… a blog that basically regurgitate other blogs or Yahoo.com’s one-page quasi-news or “top-ten” lists or pitch products (for a fee, of course.))


I guess you might as well ask why people still subscribe to the New York Times when you can read the local version of the Gazette for free or just tune into Fox TV — Ultimately quality does matter to readers.

Your donations help keep this blog going, and a large portion of the donations received helps support non-profit organizations. See the About section for more details. While on the subject, here is your oppotunity to donate right now:

Consider donating the equivalent of the price of 30 minutes of movie watching or one cup of Frappuchino at Starbucks, i.e. $5. Add more when you find an article that you enjoy. Remember, content is not free.

Fortunately, I am not alone in this view. As a reader and financial contributor, Sid from California, wrote:

I just stumbled upon your blog as I was searching for articles … Co-incidentally, I found an article on your blog about another idea that I was researching about … Sheer coincidence! I find your blog posts – especially your choice of words – thought provoking and lucid. I agree with your sentiment that good content should be paid for, and this blog is no exception! Cheers!

On this note, the one group that appear to not donate is programmers and IT types even when they get tangible benefits from a blog posting (read more about this here.) Shame on them!

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Q: Can I donate in another form than cash via PayPal?

A: Absolutely. We accept checks and cash. We also need subscriptions to magazines and newspapers, such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

Furthermore, we accept blankets, towels, pet food, etc., which we, in turn, donate to Second Chance Wildlife in Maryland in accordance with our policy for donations. You can read about this policy in the About section (look for the sub-section Appreciation is Appreciated.) Contact us via electronic mail for more information.

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Q: Do you accept blog entries from guest writers?

A: Probably. To date the problem has been that we require the guest writers to write something meaningful and to write in a style that is similar to the style of the rest of the blog. That’s a tall order since most blog writers are trained to write meaningless drivel in 500 word snippets.

I would probably be willing to pay for meaningful content written in the right style, consistent with my belief that content isn’t free.

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Q: Are you on Facebook and Twitter?

A: This blog is not on Facebook, and it never will be. I think Mark Zuckerberg and Peter Thiel have made enough money in the Facebook IPO debacle, and I see no reason to help them make more.

We have a Twitter account (@EngineeredReal) and will maintain this until the day Twitter starts charging for its services or we have a serious problem with Twitters mission or approach (we do have problems with some parts of Twitter, say Paris Hilton’s shameless promotions on Twitter, but, for now, these problems has not amounted to a critical mass.)

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Q: Are you on Pinterest or Myspace?

A: Please don’t make me laugh. No!

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Q: Can I use the information on this blog on my blog, in a research paper, or in my schoolwork.

A: This blog and use of this blog is governed by the disclaimer, policies, and copyright statements detailed in the About section. You need to read this section carefully, but the short answer is that, to a limited extent, you can use the information in this blog, as long as you comply with the copyright statement and associated use-rules laid out in the section.

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Q: Can I use license some of the the information on this blog?

A: Yes. However, it is probably going to cost you. Contact us via electronic mail for more information.

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Q: Some of the blog postings are very long and some of the subjects seem lofty. Could you change your style and the subject matter?

A: No. If you don’t like the postings on this blog, don’t read them. There are lots of other blogs with different subjects and with much more accesible style and less content available to you. You can read more about this subject in the About section and in a posting that I wrote.