Monthly Archives: February 2013

What percent of an iceberg is visible?

independent penguin on iceberg

What percent of an iceberg is visible?

It’s a simple question.  But like many questions in the real world, nothing is as simple as it seems.

The reason that ice floats is that there is a density difference between the ice and the water.  And that density difference determines how much ice is above water and how much is below water.  The density of the ice can be affected by any occluded bubbles, any rocks that are being carried along, and even any algae that is growing on it.  The density of the water depends on how much salt is dissolved and the temperature.  Different icebergs in different parts of the world will have different amounts above sea level.

The estimates range from about 1/7 to about 1/10.  That should be good for almost all real icebergs.

The Independent Penguin sits on an iceberg constructed in my imagination as an ideal goal.  There is no need to consider bubbles or rocks or algae or salt. There is no need to estimate.  It’s my world. Your Independent Penguin can live in your world.

My Independent Penguin sits on an iceberg that has exactly 1/9 of the volume above sea level.  It’s a very special point.   Assuming that one can get a 5% return on investments and that one can safely spend 2.5 times the yearly income on the purchase price of a home it represents the  point where the penguin can maintain it’s living standard with no earned income  (8*0.05*2.5=1).  That’s the point where the penguin becomes the Independent Penguin.

Three paths

InspirARTion (1)

Every penny we have ever received in our lives has taken exactly one of three paths.

Some pennies were exchanged in ways that did not increase our material possessions. Rent. Utilities. Food. Gifts and entertainment and trips. This money was distributed to the vast ocean of society.

Some pennies were exchanged in ways that did increase our material possessions. A house. Car. TV.  Furniture and clothes and books. These might be redeemable for cash if needed in the future, and can be a way to increase net worth. In any case, this money expanded our possessions, our lifestyle, our footprint in this world.

Some pennies were not exchanged for services or goods.  Bonds.  Retirement plans.  Stocks.  Pockets and junk drawers and bank accounts.  This money didn’t increase our material footprint,  but did increase our net worth.

The Independent Penguin has a stable iceberg to live on because of the distribution of money and the decisions made in the past.  Much more is submerged (in net worth) than is visible (in possessions).  If the resource distribution of the iceberg was off, money could be redistributed along the three paths to restore the balance.

Let me check the distribution of my iceberg.  What about yours?  Does it need adjustment?

One thing is certain:

Every penny we will ever receive for the rest of our lives will follow exactly one of three paths.




robinson with cigar and fedora

This weekend I was watching an old move, “Key Largo”.  Good movie, great actors, and some timeless dialogue.


Johnny Rocco: There’s only one Johnny Rocco.
James Temple: How do you account for it?
Frank McCloud: He knows what he wants. Don’t you, Rocco?
Johnny Rocco: Sure.
James Temple: What’s that?
Frank McCloud: Tell him, Rocco.
Johnny Rocco: Well, I want uh …
Frank McCloud: He wants more, don’t you, Rocco?
Johnny Rocco: Yeah. That’s it. More. That’s right! I want more!
James Temple: Will you ever get enough?
Frank McCloud: Will you, Rocco?
Johnny Rocco: Well, I never have. No, I guess I won’t. You, do you know what you want?
Frank McCloud: Yes, I had hopes once, but I gave them up.
Johnny Rocco: Hopes for what?
Frank McCloud: A world in which there’s no place for Johnny Rocco.

YouTube clip:  Rocco wants more


What an emotionally powerful word.  Wanting more.  Needing more.   It can cause wars.  Create institutions.  Bring couples together … and  drive them apart.  Get students to pull all-nighters and employees to work at night and weekends.   Make children dream.  Cause depression.  Create hoarders.  Create debtors.  Create moguls and magnates.

As in the case of Rocco, it can even become a goal in itself.

But MORE  can never be achieved.  Because there is always MORE.  And then a little MORE.  Oh, and then there is some MORE over there too.  There is no contentment or peace with MORE.

The Independent Penguin has contentment and peace.  That patch of ice provides a solid comfort in the ocean.  The Independent Penguin focuses on an emotionally powerful word too.  ENOUGH.

Do you have enough?  Can you ever have enough?  How much is enough for you? Tough questions, and each person has to answer for themselves. I am working on my answers & challenge you to answer too.  The Independent Penguin knows his answers.