My opinion on who should be teaching “baby signing”

May 2, 2009

Hi all.

It has been interesting to note that many hearing parents are teaching their hearing babies sign to decrease communication frustration derived from being non-verbal for a year or so. However, I find something extremely troubling: The significant majority of baby signing courses are taught by people who do not use sign language.

It seems that the majority of hearing people have misconceptions  about sign language and deaf culture embedded unconsciously in their psyche. These misconceptions cause these parents – however well-intentioned they are – to want to use baby signing as a bridge to speaking.

In my opinion, these misconceptions are as follows:

  • People that use sign language cannot talk.
  • People that use sign language are stupid.
  • People that use sign language cannot do the same everyday things as people who do not use sign language.
  • People that use sign language are just using English with their hands.
  • People that use sign language should be speaking to get along with the rest of the world who do not use sign language.

If a person that uses sign language taught baby signing, there would be significant benefits:

  • The student (parent that does not use sign language) would see that people that use sign language CAN.
  • The student would be motivated to continue learning sign language because sign language is useful in a variety of situations.
  • The student would have a point of contact for the purpose of learning more sign and questions related to sign language / Deaf culture

Visualization of payday loans

February 28, 2009

Hi all.

As in the last post about rent to own, this post will explain payday loans without the jargon.

Say you have a deal with a friend lending him $100 for 2 weeks, if he pays you 15 dollars now (a fee). If he continues this for a whole year, he will have borrowed $2,600,  but he would have paid you 390 dollars in total in the fee.

If you got paid 15 dollars each 2 weeks for 100 years, you would get $39,000.  That is a lot of extra money.

Over the life of the loan, each day your friend would only pay you $20 for the $100 you lent him, but he would pay $30 in extra money.

A clear visualization of rent to own.

February 23, 2009

Hi all.

As with the previous post on what a credit card loan looks like, I will give you an explanation of rent to own without the jargon.

Imagine that you rent your laptop valued $2,000 to your friend, who I’ll call Mike, at 40 dollars per week.  He must pay you that each week, or he will lose the laptop. If he pays it off, he gets your laptop.

How many weeks will it take for Mike to pay off the loan? $2,000 / $40 = 50 weeks.

Imagine that you have 5 other friends you have the same deal with. How much money do you get in a week, given that there are 6 people you have the same deal with? 30 dollars.

Now, for Mike’s individual loan, let’s see how much money you get from the deal. You effectively get 104 dollars out of each 100 dollars that he gives you. He pays you only 80 cents per week for the laptop, coming up to a total of 40 dollars over the life of the loan. You get an extra $1,960!

Clear visualization of credit card loans

February 23, 2009

Hi all.

I explained about credit card loans. I will give you a way to visualize them, by turning them on their head.

Imagine you are loaning $200 to your friend, who I’ll call Mike, at 20 percent interest compounded monthly. You allow him to pay it off at any time he wants, and to get more money from you.

This means that each month, he should pay you about 4 dollars. 4 dollars from one person is not a lot. But say you have the same amount being borrowed by 2 thousand other people. The total loan amount? $400,000. The minimum payment on this per person? Still 4 dollars each month.

Now, let’s say that you decrease the interest rate by 10 percent, but increase the loan amount by a number that still allows you to get an average minimum payment of 4 dollars per month. What is this loan amount? About 122 dollars!

What about the reverse? (Decreasing the loan amount by $100) The new interest rate would be about 50 percent!

Isn’t it shocking when you think of it in another way?

What is a credit card?

February 23, 2009

Hi all.

A credit card is a loan. You are borrowing money from a credit card company. Loans aren’t free money!

Let’s create an imaginary credit card, at 20 percent annual interest and buy a 200 dollar item with it. There will be a 30 day billing cycle.

The balance is $200. You owe $200. You have to repay this, plus a finance charge.

What is the finance charge on the balance? Finance charge = Average daily balance * APR * Number of days in billing cycle / 365 days in a year

What is the average daily balance? Average daily balance = (Balance on day 1 + … + Balance on day N) / Number of days in billing cycle

Assuming that we don’t repay this loan at all during the month, the finance charge is:

Average daily balance = $200 * 30 days not repaid / 30 = $200

Finance charge =  $200 * 0.20 * 30 / 365 = $3.29

So you must repay $200 plus $3.29. Sound small?

Well, let’s pretend that you do not repay the loan at all for 43 months (3 years and 7 months). The accumulating finance charge will be close to $141.47 ($3.29 x 43 months).

The minimum payment

There is a certain percentage that credit cards require in payment, which is pretty small. Let’s calculate it for our imaginary $200 debt:

200*x = 3.29

x = 3.29/200

x = 0.01645

The minimum payment on this balance is 2 percent.

If we paid 2 percent on $203.29, the balance would go down by $4.07, but it would be offset by $3.34 of finance charges. So the balance next month would be:  $202.56. So effectively it has gone down by 73 cents! Some credit cards have an exact minimum payment also attached, looking like: The greater of 3% of the balance or 30 dollars. Even if 30 dollars is greater than 3 percent of the balance, the 30 dollars is eaten up by finance charges in about a year, assuming that the loan is not repaid by then.

Paying it off “early”

Maybe you’ve never realized that you can pay off your credit card loan earlier in the month. This results in a lower finance charge. Huh? Let’s try it out.

Using our imaginary $200 loan, let’s pretend we make a $50 payment every 5 days, stopping the third week.

Visualization:

Day 1 to 4 – $200

Day 5 to day 9 – $150

Day 10 to day 14 – $100

Day 15 to day 30 – $100

Let’s determine the finance charge:

Average daily balance = ($200 *  4 days) + ($150 * 4 days) + ($100 * 15 days) / 30 days = $800 + $600 + $1500 / 30 days = $2900 / 30 =  $96.67

Finance charge = $96.67 * 0.20 * 30 / 365 = $1.59

We have saved $1.70 by paying $50 every 5 days. This can add up to a lot of money over many years.

The lesson here? Credit cards are not a very good way to go if you cannot repay the loan at the end of the month, and/or every few days.

“Hearing Impaired”

February 4, 2009

Hi all.

The title of this post is the phrase “Hearing Impaired”, a word which drives me absolutely crazy.

What if I called you wheelchair impaired because you could walk?

What if I called you sanely impaired because you thought slowly?

What if I called you reading impaired because you read slowly?

You wouldn’t like me to call you these words, right?

So, please don’t call me or any other deaf person (whether or not they know ASL) “hearing impaired”. The phrases above that I could’ve called you are so degrading that you would feel berated.

Thank you.

- Kyle

How to truly love other people

January 27, 2009

We have great difficulty with loving other people as they are.

There are many ways to do that, but only one will be mentioned here:

COMMUNICATION

It is really vital that we communicate our thoughts, opinions and feelings to other people so that we can be heard.

If you were not able to do that, you would feel:

  • frustrated
  • lonely
  • depressed

Communication may seem easy, but it is not easy. You see, there are two parts to communication:

  • sending the message
  • receiving the message

In between these steps, meaning is almost always lost because words cannot fully describe what we mean. Words are symbols for a concept that is only experienced in the brain.

In my last post, I defined what love is:

We don’t understand what love means. We think love means romantic love, but romantic love is temporary. To love someone else is to have joy for them.

I also, albeit subtly, defined what joy is:

The most important thing that has joy for us[?] [is] The Sun.

[...]

[You see,] it shines regardless of what we are doing right now.

(Emphasis mine and text added to clarify)

Joy is gladness regardless of circumstances.

I do not want people to misunderstand what I am talking about. That is how important I value communication.

How can we communicate with love?

  • Think before you speak. Many a communication befuddle could have been avoided if we chose to think before we spoke.
  • Listen. Focus on what the other person is saying. Do not interrupt other people while they are talking.
  • Be aware of what constitutes a message. Words only make up seven percent of a message. The rest is made up of how people say words (38 percent) and body language (55 percent).

The problem with “Rent to Own”

January 18, 2009

Hi all.

I’d like to make you aware of what Rent to Own is and why it is such a big problem in my opinion.

It can be best explained with a example.

You go to a store, They sell a TV in two different ways.

First way: Buy outright at $2,200.

Second way: Pay $60/week – price is $2,200. When you buy the TV, you’re not really buying the TV. You’re really buying the privilege to have it at a certain address until you pay it off.

Let’s look at the second way:

What is the effective APR? 142%

How much of the per week cost goes to the store? (Interest) $59.86

How much of the per week cost goes to the TV? (Principal) 14 cents

Is this a fair distribution? You decide. Hopefully this hypothetical example should answer this question for you.

A bank provides an savings account at rates of 142 percent compounded quarterly. You put 50 dollars into this account. How much will the account have at the end of 1 year without any monthly additions?

A = P(1 + i)^n

P = $50

i = 1.42 / 4 = 0.355

n = 4

A = 50(1 + 0.355)^4

A = 168.54939003125

which, when rounded up, is $168.55. The interest: $118.55.

Can the bank afford to do that for 1 thousand accounts over 10 years? Look:

$118.55 * 1,000 accounts * 10 years = $1,185,500.

If you opened a rent to own business, you could get that much money if you sold the hypothetical TV about twice every hour for 24 hours, or about once every hour for 8 hours.

Pick one: Rent your TV, or own your TV. Don’t do both for America’s sanity. Please. I beg you.

Interpretation of “Will you bring an interpreter??”

December 27, 2008

I decided to interpret a video called “Will you bring an interpreter??”, which is done in ASL. The English interpretation is below.

Hi, the video looks better. I got tired of struggling with my webcam, so I decided to buy a new webcam for Christmas. As well, I am getting tired of having hearing people ask me “Will you bring an interpreter?”. If I phone a doctor for an appointment, they will ask me if I will bring an interpreter. My usual response to this question has been to explain about the ADA law, my rights, and so on. Sometimes, they respond by hanging up the phone so abruptly, it seems that they are angry. I have been thinking about how to briefly respond to what they ask me so that they comprehend fully. Finally, I thought about a suitable answer. I haven’t yet used it because no one has asked me if I will bring a interpreter. I will give you the answer i thought of to see if it works for you or, if it doesn’t, you can give me another answer. So, an example: Suppose you phone a doctor for an appointment, they may ask you if you will bring a interpreter. You could respond as follows: “I’m just wondering, do you have people going to your office in a wheelchair?”. They could say: “Yes, we do have a few patients in a wheelchair”. You could then say: “Do you ask them to bring their own ramp?” They could say: “No.” You could then say: “I have the same rights as people in wheelchairs, so why did you ask me for an interpreter? You don’t ask people in wheelchairs to bring their own ramp!” Will this embarrass the hearing person enough to understand, or what could be another way to do so? Thanks.

The only thing necessary for survival

December 13, 2008

Hi all.

Sadly, there is something missing from the lives of many people. They may have been hurt, disappointed, angered, or even abused by other people. They are fully aware of this thing, but they don’t want to be hurt again, so they harden up with fear.

Love is the most important thing that has made us survive for thousands and thousands of years.

Unfortunately, it is slowly ebbing away, leading people to think that there is absolutely no hope in this world (to give and receive love).

Why is love slowly ebbing away? Caring for other people the same way that you care for yourself is very important, so why don’t we do it very well anymore?

The reason is very simple: We don’t understand what love means. We think love means romantic love, but romantic love is temporary.

To love someone else is to have joy for them. What is the most important thing that has joy for us?

The Sun.

It is incredibly important to the welfare of us humans. It does not stop shining just because we did something wrong. It does not stop shining just because we have cars. It shines regardless of what we are doing right now.

The Sun gives us many things. It has given us:
* food
* water
* a blue sky to look at and enjoy
* colour
* … and us.

We are all from the Sun, because the billions of atoms in our bodies are in the Sun also. Therefore, we are all one and the same.

We need to stop being so short sighted and incredibly callous.

- Kyle


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