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Ryan Beck
Works at LeMar Industries
Attended Iowa State University
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Let's say you switched places with a drug addict. You are actually them, you have lived their life, you have their genes. Now let's rewind to the first time they (you) did drugs. Why would you have made a different choice?
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Leave it to Star Trek to have covered something like this already.

+Kwan Lowe​ I haven't seen the show but I've heard it's pretty good. It is an interesting question though, and it's why I think it's society's responsibility to provide positive influence and experiences for people who are more likely to be criminals or drug abusers. Some people are driven to certain things by having unfortunate life experiences.
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Election season has begun, which means that we're probably going to start seeing one of my least favorite analogies being used again. This analogy has circulated social media during every election I have paid attention to (which is admittedly few). The analogy I’m talking about is the comparison of federal funds to family funds, typically comparing the federal budget to a family budget, or the federal debt to family debt.


I like analogies a lot, and I think they are really useful, but I think this one is overly simplistic, mostly useless, and one of the most misleading analogies out there. It isn’t entirely useless, but close to it. You can perform a google search and in about three and a half seconds find a bunch of articles about why this analogy isn’t very good. However, since I like analogies so much I would instead prefer to come up with a more accurate analogy. This more clearly illustrates the differences, and also is a nice way to describe the ridiculously complex way that US and world economics works. My understanding of this kind of stuff is not the best, but analogies are fun so it’s worth a shot.


My analogy family started out as a bunch of children living with their parents in Britain. The children didn’t really like their parents and felt like they were being mistreated, so they moved away to live with their Uncle Sam. Uncle Sam had lots of land that he let the children use, and each of the children used the land to make a living. Eventually, the children decided that they needed an independent body to settle disputes and provide for the common good, so they gave this responsibility to Uncle Sam. Uncle Sam was now able to settle disputes between the children, and was also able to provide services that had little incentive for any of the children to provide. Uncle Sam also established a family currency to use, to provide a more convenient way to trade. In order to fund these services Uncle Sam levied a tax on the children, to be paid in the established currency.


One of the children, named Fred, was good with money and established a bank, which provided a safe place for the other children to keep their currency. He used some of the deposited money to loan money to the other children, and charged interest on these loans. By gaining this interest he was able to pay interest for the deposits he received from the other children, as well as make a living for himself.


Sometimes one of the other children would run into problems, and their business would struggle. This would have a ripple effect on the other children, since they all depended on each other for goods and services. When one of the businesses struggled, businesses that it sold goods to would face higher prices, and businesses that it bought goods from would have lower sales. This would then spread throughout all the children, and was usually made worse because the children would become afraid that things were going to get worse, so they would purchase less goods. In this way, small fluctuations in the children’s business could create tough times for everyone. During tough times the children would become afraid that the bank would lose the money it had loaned out, and thus lose some of their deposited money. So they would all try to withdraw money from the bank at once. The bank does not hold all of the money that is deposited, so the bank would run out of money. This is known as a run on the bank. So the bank would have no money to invest, and the children would have lost much of their savings, and their businesses would be performing poorly. Uncle Sam would see what was happening to his adopted children and get depressed, so these occurrences were called depressions.


Uncle Sam wanted to avoid depressions as much as possible, so he worked with Fred to establish rules for how his bank should operate, and ways to avoid the depression. Fred got someone else to run the normal bank, and he instead became an independent central bank, which would set rules for how much money the normal bank had to keep in reserve, in order to try to prevent future runs on the bank. Additionally, Fred has the ability to control interest rates and inflation, by buying and selling bonds to the bank. This adds additional money to the bank or removes money from the bank. This controls the interest rate through supply and demand. When the bank has more money it wants to make more loans, loans are easier to come by so the interest rates go down. Fred operates independently of Uncle Sam, since Uncle Sam can't make decisions as quickly as Fred can, but ultimately he answers to Uncle Sam. After he received his new job title his siblings started referring to him as "the Fred".


So Uncle Sam taxes the children and uses that tax money to provide services for the children, and uses the Fred to try and prevent the children from panicking and tanking their economy. However, the Fred often isn't enough, since the misfortune of some of the children can still negatively impact the rest and can lead to a depression. To avoid this, Uncle Sam spends more than he takes in in taxes when the economy begins to look bad. This extra spending on services can ease the children's fears and get them to continue spending again. In order to spend more money than he takes in, Uncle Sam sells promises. His promises guarantee that he will repay what the promise was purchased for, with interest. Uncle Sam can sell promises because it is widely recognized among the children and other families that Uncle Sam's word is good and that his family is strong.


As it turns out, over the years Uncle Sam has been in debt for the vast majority of the time. The demand for his promises has stayed strong, and he can continue to sell new promises to pay old promises, in a way paying off the children's and other families owed debts by selling them new ones. In this way future generations fund past ones, and on and on as long as the children and other families value Uncle Sam's promises. The children own most of Uncle Sam's debt, and other families own a smaller portion of it. Even though his debt has grown, Uncle Sam's family is widely considered strong, and demand for promises stays high. Additionally, Uncle Sam issues his own currency, and could create more to pay back his promises, if necessary. Although this runs the risk of making the currency less valuable, which could reduce the value of his promises.


I think the analogy I have described is still a simplistic version of how things really work, but like I said, world economics is tough to understand. I think this just illustrates that there is far more going on than a simple family budget. Families are not a mostly self reliant economy, they do not issue their own currency, they don't tax their children, and they don't sell securities to their children. The topic is commonly just written off as having an easy solution: don't spend more than you make. But if economics were that simple it wouldn't be something you need a college degree to research. As far as I can tell, many economists disagree on monetary policies, and many disagree on whether the US drastically needs to reduce its debt or not.
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Yeah a bit of a read, but there are so many aspects to it and even this is oversimplified. It is too bad this stuff is so complex and difficult to understand, it's pretty easy to see why most people aren't interested in learning more about it. I've done a fair amount of research into it and I still don't have a very good grasp of it.
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Hey look, a candidate has joined who I may actually be happy to vote for!
He's the longest-serving independent member of Congress in U.S. history and once voted with the National Rifle Association. Here's what you may not know.
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History is one of the best places to find perspective on current events, in my opinion. In 1967 police raided a bar in Detroit, and the resulting conflict turned into a massive riot, fueled by the ongoing struggle for equal rights that was occurring at the time. More "race riots" occurred in other cities around that time as well.

To answer the questions of why the riot started and what to do to prevent it in the future, president Lyndon B. Johnson created what was known as the Kerner Commission. The commission created a report about what they found, and essentially they found that the riots stemmed from anger about the lack of economic opportunities, the unequal treatment, and police brutality and unfairness.

This seems pretty obvious, but what is interesting to me is how similar it sounds to what is currently happening. The bigger focus this time is on police brutality and discrimination though, since we have made significant advances in reducing racism and discrimination in most areas. What is most interesting is white people's opinions then and now. From what I can tell, many white people at the time thought the riots were terrible, that nothing was wrong with the way things were, and that black people should just get over it. Looking back on these events though I think a lot of people are way more sympathetic. I know if I was treated the way they were I might have rioted too. The riots that are currently happening in Baltimore seem to be met with the same sort of dismissal that white people gave in 1967. Obviously rioting isn't the answer, but just because the attempted solution is poor doesn't mean the problem isn't important.

I think it seems easier to sympathize with historical rioters because the way things were was so much different then and seem awful in comparison to the way things are now. We are accustomed to the way things are, so the current riots seem terrible and unnecessary. But people in 1967 felt the same way about the riots they saw. I think the point I'm trying to make is that we should consider why these Baltimore riots are happening instead of condemning them and writing them off. Riots like this don't start just because one person may have been mistreated. They start because one person may have been mistreated and everyone else has a legitimate fear that it could happen to them too.

Here are some Wikipedia pages about the Detroit riot and the resulting commission. It's pretty interesting:

wikipedia.org/wiki/1967_Detroit_riot

wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerner_Commission
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The way I see it three days ago because of the media. What can we believe. Hence why you look to the past. https://news.vice.com/article/baltimore-gang-members-say-police-allegation-they-are-uniting-to-kill-officers-is-a-lie?utm_source=vicenewsfb
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That is a cool video. Looks like they are getting closer.
 
Video of Falcon 9 first stage landing burn and touchdown on Just Read the Instructions https://vine.co/v/euEpIVegiIx
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I'm at the NASCC steel conference, which is in the Nashville Music City Center. The Music City Center is a very cool building, which has achieved LEED Gold. It has a large green roof (you can see the grass on the roof in the picture) and it flushes all its toilets with reclaimed rainwater. It's very cool to see LEED being used more and more commonly, and this building shows that there are a lot of things that even huge buildings can do to lower their footprint.
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That would be a candidate I would be excited about. We need more candidates who recognize that we need to treat the environment better if we want to prosper in the long run.
 
YES!!! (via +Alan Loayza)
If Gore is really so concerned with the future of the planet, then running in 2016 is his best chance to change it.
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A lot of great questions and answers in here. This is a fantastic way to learn Bernie Sanders' views on the issues and what he plans to do in office. Read it!
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I agree, a lot of people do a good job of researching, but it seems like there are even more that don't. I don't know if I heard about that one, but I completely believe it. Political ads that attack other politicians shouldn't work, but it seems like they do. The brief images and feelings that they create seem to matter more than the actual facts.
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Thor has created light! I received this awesome lamp from +Brianna Beck​​ for my birthday yesterday, and it is super cool.

Edit: I didn't even think about it being Thorsday while posting this, how fitting!
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Since today is earth day here are some of the environmental issues we have overcome, thanks to the EPA. Another issue not mentioned on this list is banning CFCs to prevent further damage to the ozone layer. Although it was probably excluded from the list because it was worldwide cooperation that fixed this problem and not just the EPA. I think these are inspiring examples of the environmental problems we can overcome when we try. It just goes to show that we can improve our health and environment while still making progress, despite what you might hear.
For Earth Day, here's a look back at EPA successes, and a look ahead to the next big challenge: climate change.
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This is just a great idea. You can purchase a solar panel that will be a part of a large generation system, without having to actually have the panels installed near you. The electricity is sold to local utilities near the panels and you receive the money from this. The panels are installed in locations with high populations and high electricity prices, which maximizes the amount of money you make. So basically you are getting a good return on your investment while also providing clean energy, without having to spend the high initial cost typically associated with buying solar panels for your own home.
No roof? No problem. Become a physical solar panel owner and enjoy solar no matter where you live. | Crowdfunding is a democratic way to support the fundraising needs of your community. Make a contribution today!
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+Brianna Beck​ going through platform 9 3/4 at Universal Studios!
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In his circles
430 people
Have him in circles
353 people
Sherry Franklin's profile photo
Michelle Sparr's profile photo
Amber Michael's profile photo
Renise P's profile photo
Kyle Willis's profile photo
Emily Sight's profile photo
ishtiaq mushtaq's profile photo
LearnTwoPlayTV's profile photo
Shelby Graham's profile photo
Work
Occupation
Structural Engineer
Employment
  • LeMar Industries
    Structural Engineer, 2014 - present
  • Iowa State University
    Research Assistant, 2012 - 2014
  • Iowa DOT
    Inspection Intern, 2012 - 2012
  • Council Bluffs Public Works
    Flood Worker, 2011 - 2011
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Relationship
Married
Story
Tagline
An engineer and a geek
Introduction
I'm a structural engineer who also happens to be a huge nerd. I have a lot of interests and hobbies which I am usually doing in my free time. Here are some of my hobbies and interests, which typically make up the things I post about, in no particular order:

  • Movies and TV: I love all sorts of movies, especially Star Wars and Marvel movies, as well as TV shows like The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, and Agents of Shield.
  • Comics: I'm a big Marvel fan and a big fan of comic books and characters in general.
  • Animation: I really enjoy animating and making videos. This is time consuming so I don't come out with them too often, but I'll post some occasionally and you can check out my previous ones on my YouTube channel.
  • Crafts: I like to make things, whether it be building 3D HeroClix maps or any other random project.
  • Video Games: Assassin's Creed is my favorite series, and I enjoy several other games as well.
  • Programming: I'm a novice programmer but I have a few projects I like to work on for fun.
  • Politics and Environment: I've recently realized that to fix the problems with the government that everyone likes to complain about, we all need to get involved. I'm a big believer in caring for our environment and the power of a few people to make a difference.

I welcome discussion and I love to hear alternative opinions to mine, so don't be afraid to comment and discuss things!
Bragging rights
Way more humble than you are.
Education
  • Iowa State University
    Structural Engineering, 2012 - 2014
  • Iowa State University
    Civil Engineering, 2009 - 2012
Links
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Ryan Beck's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
Solar Roadways
plus.google.com

Solar Roadways and parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, playgrounds etc.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Circle)
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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Premieres Sept.24 @ 8/7c on ABC

FreddieW (RocketJump)
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The creators of VGHS, FreddieW, and other awesome web videos!

‘Thor: The Dark World’ after-credits scenes explained
www.hypable.com

Thor: The Dark World after-credit scenes explained and how they lead us into Marvel's next movies.

comiXology
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Creators of the bestselling Comics by comiXology platform for the iOS, Kindle Fire, Android and Web.

Police pursue truck onto Central Campus; shots fired
www.iowastatedaily.com

UPDATE: 11:59 a.m.: Geoff Huff, investigations commander, said the Division of Criminal Investigation is involved with the investigation wit

vlogbrothers
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As we say in our hometown, DFTBA.

Bernanke's Obfuscation Continues: The Fed's $29 Trillion Bail-Out Of Wal...
www.huffingtonpost.com

The Fed's bail-out was not $1.2 trillion, $7.77 trillion, $16 trillion, or even $24 trillion. It was $29 trillion. That is, of course, the c

Did Chuck Todd Really Say Media Not Responsible to Correct Obamacare ‘Fa...
www.mediaite.com

NBC News Political Director and Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd has taken a beating from both sides of the political spectrum thi

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
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The Official Page for Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC!

Marvel Entertainment
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The House of Ideas and home to the Avengers.

Playful Galapagos sea lions
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The Galápagos sea lion is a species of sea lion found in the waters of the Galápagos Islands. Their loud bark, playful nature, and graceful

Run For Your Lives
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The Original Zombie Infested 5k Obstacle Course Race

33 Years Ago Today, Jimmy Carter Put Solar Panels on the White House
motherboard.vice.com

On this very day, June 20th, 33 years ago, President Jimmy Carter installed solar panels on the White House roof. Seven years after that, Ro