Monday, December 29, 2008

Coughing Home Remedy

I've had a cough for a little over a week now. When I got home for my dad's birthday/Christmas, my mom told me about a way to quell my cough when I was about to go to bed (seems like my symptoms get worse around bedtime). You rub Vick's VapoRub on your feet, then put on socks to keep that stuff from getting everywhere and wearing off. Sounds like a crazy idea, but I was in the middle of a fit and ready to try anything. Miraculously my coughing was attenuated. I didn't completely quit, but they were less harsh and longer in between. I'd recommend giving this a try.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tiger Direct

If you didn't know, I'm going to build my own computer. I was kind of doing it as a project. Now I realize that picking your own components gives you lots of control over what you're putting in your computer. However, there's a lot of crap that has to match up. The motherboard needs to match up with the case dimensions and have the capabilities of hooking up your drives. The processor has to fit the board. If you get a processor fan, that has to fit...other fans have to fit the holes in the case. Memory has to be the same as what the motherboard supports. The power supply has to be powerful enough to run everything. Anyway, TigerDirect makes this whole process rather simple. I'd never heard of them before. They sell all kinds of electronics stuff and you should definitely check them out if you're in the market for anything electronic.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

That White Dog Poop from the '70s

An episode of the Sarah Silverman program showed Sarah asking "whatever happened to that white dog poop from the '70s?" I was all like "yeah!?" Nick reminded me that I wasn't alive during the '70s. I agreed, but remembered that I had seen white dog poop in my earlier years. What's different these days that crap doesn't change colors like that? I think it's something different in the food. Otherwise, I can't explain it. I don't think that dog physiology or ambient conditions have changed enough to make all dog poop stop turning white. What kind of regulations were passed to keep whiteners out of dog food? Is it because all the whitening agents are now being diverted to toothpaste manufacturers?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bring Your Bags

Publix has a great new campaign called "Bring Your Bags." Basically, they're encouraging you to "go green" and bring your own canvas bags to the store. BTW, they sell these bags in the store. It's brilliant...if their customers bring their own bags, then Publix has to purchase less paper/plastic bags and it saves them money...and they get to sell you Publix branded canvas bags.

I've been bringing my bags to the store with me for about 3 years now. I used to forget so now I just keep them in my car. I think they're way superior to paper & plastic. Environmental aspects aside, the canvas bags perform better. You can fill them with canned goods without having to double bag or worry about the bag breaking and sending its contents straight to the ground. You can put more stuff in each bag which means fewer trips while unloading.

I guess "canvas" might be the wrong word to use. There are other materials (nylon) that reusable bags are made out of. The FAU Enviro Club was selling Chico Bags a year ago as a fundraiser. Chico Bags fit in your pocket/purse and open up when you need them. They fold into their own pocket, kinda like some of those lightweight camping shorts.

If you're not yet in the habit of taking your bags with you when you go to the store, I recommend that you make a conscious effort to try it out. Give it at least 5 shopping trips and see how you like it. If you hate bringing your own bags, then go back to paper & plastic.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Gobstopper Smoothie

Andrew made a smoothie today that changed flavors 5 times in your mouth. It was insane. I can't remember all the ingredients, but it was something like this:

frozen mixed fruit, publix brand
2 oz FRS lo-cal Orange concentrate
cherry juicy juice
welch's mountain berry juice
6 oz stonyfield farm blueberry yogurt
mott's apple juice
ice cubes
maybe some dole pineapple-orange-mango juice

we might try to replicate it. I've never had a smoothie do that before. It was almost magical. We made Dan try some too so that we had another witness. If you have any excellent smoothie recipes, comment on this post & leave them for us to try!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Exclusive Offerings

I just finished my term paper for Industrial Organization. I was trying to develop a theoretical model that could explain why some goods are available only online and others are only carried inside a store owned by the same company. I'd like to figure out a way to attach the .pdf here. Anyway, when I started out, I could only get the good to be sold online or only in the store. I couldn't get neither or both at the same time. I had to throw in some consumer heterogeneity and fixed costs of selling a good online or in the store. In the end, I got the result to hinge on what the transaction costs are for each retail outlet (online v. in store) combined with the fixed costs. If you're interested, let me know and I'll email you the .pdf. I normally don't like my own work, but I like this one a lot.

Pick #105

Cold (Metal) - "Happens All the Time" from A Different Kind of Pain

Friday, December 5, 2008

Smaller Class Sizes

Smaller class sizes are not the answer to creating better schools. I've been in classes of 5 students where the teacher had no control and we ran the room. I've also been in classes of 60 where the teacher was in full command and we learned our lessons. All else equal, class size might have an effect on student learning (or performance or any other tangible measure). However, every dollar spent on accommodating smaller class sizes is a waste. That money could be put toward hiring better teachers. How do you get better teachers? You pay them more. Right now, K-12 teachers (at least in Florida) get paid peanuts. You get people who either 1) love teaching, or 2) couldn't get a better job somewhere else so they settle for teaching. To improve schools, you want to eliminate the Type 2 teachers. Keep the Type 1s and pay them more if you can. But, we need to recruit people with skillz who have jobs in other sectors precisely because schools won't compensate them adequately to teach.

In fact, schools may be able to save money by hiring better teachers. If they trim the fat, aka shitty teachers, and replace it with lean meat (the rockin' new hires) then they can increase class sizes. This will raise the student-teacher ratio and schools can use their space more efficiently. No need for new construction or acquisition of new land. Just out with the non-hackers and in with qualified instructors. Their contracts should make pay relient on performance: a weighted average of student evaluations, peer and administrative evaluations, standardized test scores, and workload.

Students who learn better in an intimate setting can go to office hours. F*** smaller class sizes.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Pick #104

James Otto - "Just Got Started Loving You"

heard it on the radio after forgetting to change the CDs in my car for about a month.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fun Fact #25

Aluminum cans should be recycled.

It takes 95% less energy to recycle aluminum than to create it from raw materials.


Recycling one can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours or a 100-watt light bulb for four hours.


Recycling 40 cans conserves the same energy as one gallon of gasoline.


Don't throw away your cans!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ozzy Says Don't Do Drugs

All school children should be forced to watch a video of Ozzy Osbourne trying to have a conversation with someone when they're sitting in the "drugs are bad" class. I mean, they see their friends doing drugs and for the most part nothing bad is happening at the moment. You need them to see what happens to you later in life. The small probability of arrest isn't enough to keep (especially juvie) drug users away from dope. Maybe a before-and-after on Ozzy would make them think twice.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Whale Wars

Animal Planet has a new show airing Fridays @ 9pm called Whale Wars about a conservation group (Sea Shepherd) doing everything it can to stop Japanese fishermen from whaling in an Australian wildlife refuge in the Arctic. The conservationists are more like eco-terrorists, buy you have to sympathize with them. Each person on the conservation ship (the Steve Irwin) is willing to give their life to save the life of a whale.

I recommend watching at least the first episode in this series. You'll want to keep watching whether you're pro- or anti-whaling. If you're a Comcast customer, these episodes are available On Demand.

Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream

DYK that you can mix together ingredients for ice cream, then instantly freeze them with liquid nitrogen and it's ready to eat? Check out this recipe...good luck getting some liquid N2.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Forked Tongue Harmonica

Dan's getting in to the harmonica. Overblows, overdraws, and all that jazz. One of the most fundamental techniques for making chords on the harmonica is the "tongue block" where you plug a hole or two with your tongue and pass air through adjacent holes. Dan was talking about it and said (with a little encouragement from me) that if he got to a certain skill level that he'd consider getting his tongue split. You can control each half of the tongue individually and could thus play chords on the harmonica that nobody else can! Ever think about that?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Impossible Quiz

I'm stuck at 42 is the answer to everything on the Impossible Quiz. See if you can beat me. It's pretty fun.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Jensen's Sleeping

I recall a night when Jensen was taking a nap and people were conversing loudly in the common area. Walker came out and said something to the effect of "can't y'all be quiet?...Jensen's trying to sleep." As it turns out, Jensen's a pretty heavy sleeper and can snore through outside noise and even people lightly shaking him. However, Jensen wakes up at the sound of his name. Hence TBW's well-meaning effort to keep J asleep is the thing that woke him up. Ha.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fun With Statistics

Most people have more than the average number of legs. Honestly.

Waterfall Pool

Check out the Devil's Pool, on the edge of Victoria Falls. There's a 108m drop from the top. That's pretty crazy. Check out the pix.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fat People & Bathroom Stalls

Sometimes I'm amazed at how little space there is when you're trying to get into a bathroom stall. Why do the doors open in? They should definitely open out. Sometimes I have a hard time fitting in there. What do fat people do? Crap in the urinals?

Also, I went to the North Florida Fair this weekend and seats on the rides were pretty tiny for some of them. I mean, I guess I don't want a bunch of 400lb. behemoths on the swings at the same time I am. I just thought it was funny that I barely fit in the seat. I guess I should stay off the little kid rides. (No, but seriously, seats were small on bigger rides).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pick #102

Opeth - "Burden" from Watershed

Video Contest Entry

One of my friends has a friend who entered a contest to make a video for Coldplay's "Lost." Apparently, the more views it has, the better chance it has of winning. It's pretty good. Play it here!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Save!

I can't stand when stores advertise that you can save "up to X% or more." If there's an upper bound, just state it. The phrase "up to" means that you won't necessarily save the entire X%. Aargh.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Color Catcher

Shout makes a product called Color Catcher. You put it in your wash and it absorbs all the loose dyes so that they don't stain your other clothes. Takes care of the proverbial red sock. I guess a lot of people haven't heard of these, but they're really cool b/c you don't have to wash new clothes separately if you use these things.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

You're Caucasian!

Last night, I was walking to Sarah's apartment from a visitor spot in the front of the complex when I came upon 3 black people getting out of a car. There were 2 guys and a girl. The girl was obviously drunk. She walked up to me and asked "Do you have a sister? Because my brother loves white girls...and you're caucasian." I assured her that I didn't have a sister. At that point, she saw that I was wearing a FSU Tri hoodie & asked if I went to Florida State. She told me that she too attends there. She put out her arm to escort me to my destination, much like men do for women at formal events. She insisted that we walk in step. She asked me where I was going. I said "to go see my girlfriend" then she abruptly dropped my arm and turned around. Ha.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pick #101

Black Lab - "Circus Lights" from See the Sun

TBW gave me this album over the weekend. I listened to it about 6 times through in the car. Awesome album. It starts and ends on very strong notes, just like good relay teams and speeches are supposed to do.

Blog Win

Check out FAIL Blog and laugh.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Botched Shot Attempt

Everybody likes soft serve / down in the June sun /.../talk about the botched shot attempt on the president... - Soul Coughing (Soft Serve).

One of the first thoughts to run through my head last night when I was sure that Obama is the president-elect was: I wonder when the first assassination attempt will be. I think that McCain offered an immaculate concession speech urging us to come together as one nation and support our leaders. That might have deterred some who had thoughts of avenging McCain's defeat.

When Obama gave his acceptance speech, I noticed the glass in front of him and thought it might be a bullet-proof barrier between him and an angry right-wing extremist. I guess we'll see how it pans out. I wish nothing but the best for my country and its leaders and hope that the first assassination attempt will never come, or if it does that it's unsuccessful.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

PimpStar Rims

These things are pretty crazy. They cost more than entry-level brand new cars. Pretty awesome tech. Also, props for a good, non-cheesy theme song.


Pick #100

30 Seconds to Mars - "From Yesterday" from A Beautiful Lie

yet another song I heard on Pandora.

Monday, November 3, 2008

First Swahili Dream

I had a dream last night where I spoke a few words in very broken Swahili. That's pretty cool...I mean, it's not like my first Spanish dream where a lot was said. I think I'll spend more time on Swahili next semester when I have a lighter course load.

Lotto

It bugs me that places won't sell lottery tickets to people younger than 18. I know that you have to be 18 to gamble, etc. and I'll not get into a rant on how I loathe age restrictions. My point is this:
Stores should sell as many lottery tickets to everyone they possibly can. The trick is that they should not let anyone under 18 REDEEM a winning ticket. Youngsters will learn that they lose, even if they win. Someone else must be contracted with in order to redeem the winning ticket, and the prospect of repayment to the child is uncertain and if paid, would be less than the winning amount. After enough such encounters, kids would wait until they could claim all their winnings.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sweet Lasers

I didn't know that lasers are available in so many colors. Check out CNI's website for some cool pix. I can't seem to find prices.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Beer Mile

Some of my friends and I just did a "beer mile," which is where you go to a track and do 4 x (drink a beer, then run a lap). Tommy won, followed by Erik, then myself. Our times were lame. Tommy barely broke 10 minutes, Erik right around 10, me at 15 (I had to run a penalty lap for throwing up). Ya, on my 4th beer, I had to puke. I felt it coming while running the third lap. Think: 4 beers in about 10 minutes while shaking it up with a mile's worth of running. Sounds like fun, and it is...only while it's funny to laugh at other people being miserable, you have to be in the same boat.

We might turn this into a monthly event. If we get ambitious, maybe even a grand prix series! Andrew said that some of the guys he used to run with would do 12 12s, which is where you chug a beer, then run a 1200m and repeat 11 times. That's a total of 8 miles and 12 beers! I'm definitely not up to that level yet. Maybe next time I'll break 12 minutes...I just need to avoid the penalty lap and chug my beers faster.

I started off with a slow chug (trying to pace myself) of about 30 seconds, but I was the first to cross the line for the first lap...second lap not so bad. After the third beer, things just started going downhill.

Lowercase for Newbies

I think that fraternities and sororities should make their newbies wear lowercase greek letters instead of the capitals that are normally associated with the organization. That would be funny.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

My Dream Team

I was thinking about the following problem: what if you had to pick a group of people (aka "team") with whom to be stranded on a deserted island or sent into space with or forced into the wilderness or pretty much any situation. I took about 5 minutes and decided to pick 10 people who I would enlist to be in that group. Restrictions on who I can pick are: must be someone I know well enough to make the request to be on my team and must be living (e.g. can't pick Plato or Tesla; Gates or Sachs).

Some members have a specific talent for the group and others are more diversified players. Don't feel left out if you aren't on the list. I obviously can't list the excellent qualities about everyone, but here's my initial thoughts on what the team members might be asked to do:

Roster (in no particular order):
1. M. Cable - all things science, crawling into small spaces
2. A. Snodgress - Eagle Scout stuff, heavy lifting, medicine
3. S. David - keep all other team members from negative thoughts/acts toward each other
4. Mike D. - lend music to our world, brainstorm
5. C. Maniscalco - creative problem solving, more Eagle Scout stuff, break any laws necessary
6. D. Shiner - all things computer or fire
7. D. White - philosopher, translator (proficiency in 8 languages)
8. P. McCurdy - anything nautical
9. M. Selby - animals
10. P. Arce-Trigatti - laughing, empanadas, more music

Notes:
I may add more notes later.
interesting that 7 out of 10 came from the HC. Exceptions: #2, 3 & 10.
9 have athletics background (maybe #4 does too, but I never knew about it)
all have big brains, a large set of talents, like to have a good time, and can work on the same thing for a long time (only applies to #5 for things he's interested in).

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Emerald Coast 4 Turnout


Check out the showing we had at this team race. Lots of people won awards. Tommy won overall. Go team.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Chupacabra

I was at Gordos on Pensacola about 2 weeks ago for lunch on the weekend. I didn't know what I was going to order until I saw "Chupacabra" on the menu. Game over. I had to have it. The menu proclaims that it tastes like chicken, which was my first clue that they didn't actually have access to enough cupacabra carcases that they could regularly supply it on the menu.

I ordered it and it had a little spicy sauce in the middle. It came in round, fried balls. It was definitely interesting. In fact, part of the reason I orderd it is just to tell people about it, which is what I just did. Mission accomplished.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Godzilla's $5 Footlong

Subway has a catchy ad campaign for their $5 footlongs. People hold up five fingers, then spread their hands about chest high, palms facing, a little less than shoulder width apart while $5 footlooooong is jingled in the background. That's all cool, except when Godzilla does it. I mean, he's not making a gap of a foot with his hands...it's probably more like 8 feet. I mean, I guess if Godzilla walked into a Subway and asked for a $5 8-foot long, then they'd better abide. I just think it might be a bad choice to realistically represent the size of their on-sale subs.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Single Issue Voter

I'm still undecided as to who I'm voting for in two weeks. I prefer Obama on most issues, but a couple weeks ago, my mom made me think about whether I want to turn into a single issue voter. I think that Obama has a better economic advisor and a better understanding of the economy. I don't like the fact that both candidates support "clean" coal, but I guess that cancels out. I like Obama's more hands-off approach to dealing with individuals' personal lives.

What started me on the single issue idea was a mailer sent out by the NRA about how Obama is anti-gun. Granted, I don't agree with the NRA on all issues...for instance, I am definitely for a waiting period and a background check when buying firearms. I have nothing against traceable bullets. I don't agree with Obama's anti-assault rifle mentality, but that wouldn't be a deal breaker. However, I do firmly believe in Florida's castle doctrine (you can shoot anybody who breaks into your house, no questions asked) and I have a concealed carry permit. I know that Obama is not for the concealed carry laws (which is a big issue for me) and that he's against the castle doctrine (a huge issue for me).

I don't know if Obama will accomplish his anti-gun agenda, and I don't know how important it is to him. I do think that he can have better relationships with foreign leaders, mostly because he doesn't have that smirk that I want to punch off McCain's face.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Have No Fear, Warren's Here.

If this article by Warren Buffett doesn't restore your faith in the stock market, then I doubt that anything else will.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pick #98

Kingsbury - "Peninsula" from The Great Compromise

Lots of stuff on this CD is about/relates to places/concepts in or around Vero Beach.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

EcoStore

check out GoodCommonSense.net and look at all the eco-friendly products available. Too bad they're a little pricey.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Watson


Remember that kitten I got for Sarah? Isn't he cute? We took him to the vet on Tuesday and found out that he has roundworm and hookworm. He came back negative for kitty-aids & kitty-leukemia. We gave him a few shots. He has to go back in 3 weeks. I think then he'll get the rabies vaccine. After that, he's got to get fixed and I think that he should be microchipped. I told Sarah that I'd pay half the cost of microchipping.

I'm not much of a cat person, but Watson thinks that he's a dog so we are friends. I could probably teach him to fetch if I had enough patience. Sometimes, I think he likes me better than his mommy. It was pretty much by chance that I saw him in an adoptable setting and I'm glad that Karen hooked it up.

You know you're jealous of how cute he is.

Tesla Roadster

If you've been living under a rock, you might not have heard of the Tesla Roadster. The company is named after your favorite chemist's favorite chemist, Nikola Tesla. They make electric sports cars that outperform Ferraris, Lambos, and Porches. The Roadster is sexy, fast, and soon to be (relatively) cheap.

I don't think I'm in the market for a purely electric car...I want a plug-in hybrid so that I can make continuous long distance trips if I want. However, I would definitely drive the Tesla Roadster if given the chance.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pick #97

Alabama - Song of the South

This used to be one of my favorite songs as a kid.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Rudy Project Syton Review

I bought the Rudy Project's Syton Supercomp helmet, which is basically the Syton with removable ear covers and a windshield. It is my first aero-helmet. I wasn't sure how much of an advantage it would give. I wore it for the olympic distance Mexico Beach race, but since it was only my second olympic, it was hard to tell. I also just wore it on Saturday for Emerald Coast #4. That's when I realized how much it helped. My bike time was only 30 seconds slower than last year...but I was in way better shape last year and last year's race didn't have the killer bi-directional headwind. That's right...the wind changed just after I turned around, so I got a headwind both directions.

Makes me feel like I'm getting my money's worth out of the Syton.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Wall St. v. Main St.

I've heard a lot of bullshitting about Wall St. v. Main St. out of these politicians mouths. They attempt to manufacture a dichotomy between those who have greed and wealth v. the good and upright people of the middle class. WTF? Ok, I guess they want you to think of CEOs with bogus (even from an economist's standpoint) compensation packages as being Wall St. and think of home made apple pie for Main St. The reality is that half of American households own stock. THERE IS NO SEPARATION BETWEEN WALL ST. & MAIN ST. I own stock. I've never been near Wall St. I bet that over half the people reading this blog own stock.

I'll be glad when this election's over and 3/4 of the highly visible political bullshit dies down.

While I'm at it, don't blame Wall St.'s greed for bringing down the financial markets. It was stupid people playing in a game with fucked up incentives that brought this mess about. First of all, anyone who decided it would be a good idea to pay someone to generate loans is a moron. Of course the commission-paid mortgage broker doesn't care if you can make the payments...you get one anyway. Secondly, I really don't know how the markets were duped for so long...does "O-ring" mean anything to you?
So, don't blame anonymous suits for bringing down the economy; blame your neighbors who bit off more than they could chew. Dumbasses who decided to live the lifestyle of the rich on the means of the middle class via credit. Blame yourself it you fall into this category. Go ahead and blame the government for lack of regulation, but realize that you would also blame them if they had imposed too many regulations ex-ante and you thought that those regulations stifled growth.

By the way, I figured out what people need to do to fix this...we need everybody's cooperation, kind of like that "don't buy gas on this one day" crap, only I think that my idea might actually work. Everybody needs to be more productive and less wasteful. Work more, spend more, save more... I think that this is the time to spend. Stocks are selling for a good discount (you might want to wait a week or so before buying), inflation is about to erode the value of your savings account, so buy consumer durables that you can use to generate a utility stream while your money is still worth something.

Friday, October 10, 2008

More Money, More Problems


I saw a kid today wearing a shirt with this graph. I laughed. He said that he saw it and just had to get it. I personally think that the intercept should be shifted up and that there are concavity issues to deal with, but agree that the general point coincides with the message presented by Biggie, repeated by Puff Combs.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mortgage Relief?

I hear that part of the economic recovery plan is to help out people who are having a hard time making their mortgages. Maybe I can look into that and reduce my interest rate or something. If you know how to do it, drop me a comment pointing me in the right direction.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tri to Save the Economy

Right now, I hear a lot of talk about negative things for the economy. The bank bailout can cause inflation and produce the wrong incentives for businesses. People are losing confidence in the economy and therefore are going to stop spending so much, etc. I now modestly propose a fix that would (at least partially) revive the economy.

If everyone picked up triathlon as a hobby, they'd be forced to spend some money. A lot of equipment for triathlon is made in the USA, which helps GDP. Not only is the equipment domestically produced, but also the money spent on races is in turn used to purchase T-shirts, law enforcement, trophies, beer, and food. There's a good Keynesian multiplier effect in this process. Currently, people usually drive an hour or 3 to get to a race and stay in a hotel room, which is good for the city in which the race is held. However, if everyone adopted the sport, then the density of demand for races would increase and each town could have its own race, reducing the amount of fuel consumed in order to get to a race. Speaking of fuel consumption, more people would be commuting on bikes to fit training into their busy schedules. This would produce a lower wear on the road system and we wouldn't have to spend nearly as many resources repairing roads. Road work is costly for a few reasons: 1. it slows drivers down when it's happening. 2. it uses up scarce resources. 3. it doesn't add anything that wasn't there before (like building a new road would do).

Another effect of widespread adoption of triathlon is that people would be healthier on average and they would require less health care. Health effects can be realized in a short amount of time. There's a kid on the FSU team who lost 10% body fat over the summer. Also, triathletes are less likely to smoke than the general population. Between smoking less and driving less, they are imposing fewer negative externalities on the rest of the economy.

It's better than eating your children.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Pick #96

Spoon - "Everything Hits at Once" from Girls Can Tell

With a lead-off track like this, you just want to keep listening to the whole album.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

100% Energy!

I saw on a can of Rockstar energy drink a claim that it was "50% juice, 100% energy." I was wondering how it could be made up of 150% of anything. Also, the 100% energy bothered me...I mean, it looked like it had some mass...I think we've got a case of false advertising on our hands here.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

Fun Fact #24

People photocopying their butts cause 23% of all photocopier faults worldwide.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Kitten

Yesterday, I walked into Karen's office & she had a cute little kitten in there. She asked if I knew anyone who wanted one and I replied that Sarah would love one. I called her and she confirmed that she wonts for a cat. Karen took it home, gave it a bath and some other grooming stuff (flea medicine and the like). Sarah picked it up today and is enjoying Watson (double helix, y'all) thoroughly.

Watson is a very friendly, skinny little kitten. He's curious and sweet and doesn't scratch people and he's funny and can entertain himself. Sarah said that she showed him the litter box once and he has used it exclusively as a depository to evacuate his excrement. I like him. Maybe a pic coming soon.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Not So Fat

I was under the impression that I am fatter now (in terms of body composition) than I was a year ago. I went in today to participate as a guinea pig in an exercise physiology study and they found that I'm now 7.1% body fat whereas I was 7.4% a year ago. I also found out that I burn fat almost exclusively when I'm at rest. Now that I know my composition, I don't have to worry about being a fat body any more (I thought I'd be up around 8.5-9% right now).

If you want to participate in this study, you just have to be able to run for an hour. Contact Jacob at jmw06x[at]fsu.edu to set up a session.

Sleep is the Best Caffeine

I've been using caffeine on Tuesdays and Thursdays to get me through my first couple classes. I am taking an energy drink during the first class. I don't think it's a good idea to continue relying on drugs to get you through, but I figure that it can't be too bad for me to shock my system twice a week as long as I don't keep it up indefinitely.

I don't drink it if I'm functional enough to not need it. This usually happens on nights after I get a lot of sleep. I think that sleep is way better than caffeine for producing an alert mind and responsive body. It's just that sleep's a lot harder to get than paying a couple $$$ for a stimulant.

I've tried a few different energy drinks and my favorite is by far Rockstar's Guava flavor. It comes in a purple can. You should try it if you're so inclined.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Pick #94

Flogging Molly - "The Light of a Fading Star" from Within a Mile of Home

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Fun Fact #23

Every day, 7% of the US eats at McDonald's. Gross.

A Week Without Gas

Last Friday, September 12th, people rushed the gas stations in Tallahassee after hearing news that gas prices would jump up to $5/gal due to Hurricane Ike. I was riding bikes with Tri people when I saw the first station like this. It was on a corner and there was a line coming from both roads. I thought they must be selling gas for $1/gal or something like that. I was confused when I saw that the price was $3.729/gal. My riding buddies informed me of the situation. It was the same scene at every gas station in town that day. There was no gas on the following day or Sunday. During the past week, there've been stations getting gas then rapidly selling out. I think that we're finally getting to the point where stations are starting to be able to not sell out, but there's a bunch of stations still closed down.

I'm really surprised both at how much traffic I saw on the road this past week and at how many bike I've seen popping up lately. I guess it sucks if you don't have gas and there's not a good way to go on a long trip that you need to make. However, I hope that this situation introduced a bunch of people to the bus system or carpooling or alternative modes to the personal auto.

You expect me to go on a rant now about how price gouging laws are bad and they're what caused this shortage of gas in Tallahassee. I guess I'll be brief. If the market price was allowed to be charged, then people with 3/4 of a tank wouldn't flip out and fill up. People also wouldn't be wasting valuable gas by sitting in lines that are 20 minutes long while they let their car idle. Also, it's not like gas stations could charge whatever they want. At $100/gallon, I doubt they'd get anyone to buy any gas, let alone fill up their tanks. People will not pay more for a gallon of gas than it is worth to them. Hence, the price cannot be too high. Higher prices will reallocate the gas to the people who value it the most (instead of the people with the most amount of disposable leisure time that they can afford to wait in line).

Friday, September 19, 2008

Buckle Up for Yourself

I saw some dude with a "Buckle Up" bumper sticker on his truck, presumably encouraging random other people to wear their seat belts. I can understand why the state would want people to be more well protected in their cars, but I don't know why individuals would want other individuals to buckle up. I do understand encouraging your friends and family to buckle up because you derive utility from their well being.

As far as other people go, I'd rather that nobody else on the road with me was wearing their seatbelt. They'd be safer drivers if they took off the safety belt. In The Armchair Economist, Landsburg suggests that roads would be the safest if everyone had a spear pointing out of their steering wheel straight at their heart. Imagine how safe you'd be in that precarious position. The fact is that seat belts are a form of insurance and wearing them causes moral hazard...people are willing to do crazier things when they're wearing a seat belt compared to when they aren't wearing one, and that raises the probability that they'll be in an accident (with you!).

The same moral hazard problem is present in cyclists. One study found that cars pass helmeted cyclists with 3" less space than riders not wearing helmets. Also, a cyclist is more likely to pull out in front of cars or do something else stupid if they're wearing a helmet because they'll be more protected in the case of an accident (thus reducing the helmeted riders' costs of taking the action while the benefits are the same for riders with and without helmets).

So, I might make a bumper sticker that says: "Please don't buckle up." Actually, I probably won't do it and I don't put bumper stickers on my car anyway.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hawking's Bettings Bollocks

Have you heard that Stephen Hawking bet $100 (I think it was 50 pounds sterling) that the Large Hadron Collider will not discover the Higgs boson (aka the God particle)?? WTF?? What kind of pussy bet is that? I would wager that it means he's not sure.

I often use the size of a bet to indicate my certainty level. If I'm 50-50 on a bet, I might bet $5 or 10, but I'll bet up to a thousand if I know I'm right with upwards of 95% certainty. I'm sure Hawking's got more $$$ than I do. I've seen news of this bet before the LHC was fired up earlier this week and I think that too much of a deal was made about it. In fact, I'd be more likely to believe Hawking if he didn't put any money on it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pick #93

They Might Be Giants - She's an Angel

Computer Follow Up

It turns out that my computer ran the checkdisk utility after I restarted it. It was able to repair everything that went wrong with F: and I don't have anything that's lost. This made the horrible feeling in my stomach go away, but I don't think it changes the fact that I don't want to purchase any more Microsoft products.

I think I might write a program on my Ubuntu computer that automatically backs up all the important stuff once a week. I should be more vigilant in doing this on my Windows machine, but having to do it manually and waiting forever for it to work is not what I'd call making it easy.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

MicroShaft

HBF...my computer was getting slow and I decided to reformat. I have 2 hard drives, call them C: and F:. I reformatted C: and now my F: has a couple corrupted folders that I have found already. One is my "CD Audio" folder that has rips of (almost) every CD that I own. Luckily, I have a backup copy of that folder. Another corrupted folder is "Install Files" which contains the .exe files to install just about everything that I want to put on my computer now that it's formatted. E.g. OpenOffice, Firefox, AVG, Desktop Weather, other stuff that I probably forgot about.

I know that I should have been safe and unplugged F: before formatting C: but I thought that the Windows XP PRO-FUCKING-FESSIONAL CD could handle a simple task. This incident made me vow to never purchase Microsoft products again. I'm learning that there's a lot of open-source stuff out there that's just as good and I just need to learn how to use it.

FUCK YOU, MICROSOFT.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Old BMWs vs. Old Mercedes

Have you ever noticed that old Mercedes always look classy while old BMWs kind of look crappy? They both look good when brand new, but somehow the years aren't as kind to Beamers.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Energy Audit

Yesterday, I had an energy audit from the city of Tallahassee. I didn't do anything wrong. In fact, I requested the audit. Just call 891-4YOU and you can schedule one for yourself. They came out and checked on some stuff then told me some things I already know. They also told me a few I didn't. I had them check the level of insulation in my attic because they have a program where you can add insulation to your attic and they will pay 80% of the cost! You should be able to make your money back in under 6 months from energy savings. I'm going to schedule an appointment with a local contractor to come and spray in more insulation in my attic and it will cost me $77 while the city pays the rest.

The city also gave me a sweet goodie bag. It had a couple 20W (75W equivalent) CFLs, 2 thermometer stickers...yeah, stickers that tell you the temperature, some literature, and a low-flow showerhead manufactured by AM Conservation Group. I installed the new showerhead and it has a ton of pressure.

Anyway, my point is that it's worthwhile to schedule an energy audit, especially if your insulation isn't up to par.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Anti-Life v. Anti-Choice

I've been getting a couple emails from moveon.org. Too many. I unsubscribed. Anyway, one thing that really bothered me is that they call pro-lifers "anti-choice." Ok, I guess they're pro-choice, so the other side is anti-choice. That's only fair if pro-life can use the same logic and call the pro-choice crowd "anti-life."

I don't think that either of the anti- labels sound very good. I think that anti-life probably sounds worse than anti-choice, but I'm not sure. In either case, I think it just makes you sound like an asshole to call someone anti-choice.

If you don't already know where I stand on the abortion issue, I guess now's a good time to find out. I think that it's important to have legalized abortion. If abortion becomes illegal, then there will still be a demand for abortion. Pregnant women will go to dark alleys to get coat-hanger abortions and that's not good for anyone. It shouldn't matter how you personally feel about abortion...if you don't like them, then don't get one (much like gay marriage). What's it matter to you if someone else has an abortion?

Further, it has been shown that the presence of legal abortion lowers the crime rate. For a simplified version of this demonstration, read the chapter in Freakonomics. It doesn't make sense to force someone to bear a child.

I believe that contraception is much more acceptable and practical than abortion. Abortion should only be used as a last resort. I believe that this is the case. What kind of woman would rather go through the humiliation of such a procedure instead of taking some much cheaper and more discrete Plan B?

Losing Touch Is Easy

...maybe even easier than losing hope. Anyway, I haven't been very good recently at keeping in contact with people whom I care about. Sorry about that. When I'm busy, I sometimes have to cut our conversations short when you call or I might not call you back. It seems that other things in my life have been taking the front burner positions. If you care enough to religiously read my blog, then you probably know about some of the excitement in my life. If you want to find out more, call me and hopefully I'll need a break or I'll have the opportunity to multitask.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Effects of Underage Drinking

One time, Mani got caught underage drinking in the dorms. He got in a little bit of trouble and one of his punishments was to write an essay on the effects of underage drinking. He told me about this and I had a great suggestion for his paper topic: how underage drinking stimulates the economy. The premise was simple...imagine how much consumption goes on (it has to be $30,000 per week in Tallahassee alone) and how that money then moves through the economy (the Keynesian idea of a multiplier effect). He said that probably isn't what they're looking for and that he might not get out of trouble with an essay like that. He wrote it about some bad stuff that happens when underage kids drink (like hooking up with ugly chicks or something).

I guess this suggestion stems from an interest I have in giving an answer that's correct, but not what the authority figure is looking for. In class, I love to give an answer that is correct, but isn't the one the teacher's looking for. Same thing with interviews...don't go with the obvious choice. Fun times.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Fun Fact #22

Coconuts kill about 150 people each year, which is more people than sharks kill.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Fun Size

I don't know why they call tiny candy bars "fun size." I think that fun size would be something you could pole vault or joust with. I mean, how cool would it be to walk into a party with a 6' long snickers bar? A lot more fun than walking in with one that's an inch square. It's like one of those things where the name is designed to make you feel better. "Here's a tiny candy bar, but if I say it's fun sized, then it won't be so bad getting the smaller version of the food." Kind of like "You're not a janitor, you're a sanitation engineer." Personally, I'd be offended if I was an engineer. I'd also be offended if I made big candy bars & couldn't call them fun size.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

This Isn't Where I Parked My Car!

So, today about 40 minutes into my IO class, some cool cat wearing stunna shades walks in. He opts to take a seat which requires him to walk the length of the classroom between the students and the teacher instead of taking the seat closest to the door. Obviously he's not in our class. He sits down and pulls out a notebook. I don't think he was taking notes. He certainly wasn't taking off his shades. People were trying not to giggle too loud when he sat down. You could see that it affected the professor's composure. The kid left about 5-8 minutes later in the same cool fashion that he entered with. This time it was impossible to keep the laughter inaudible. Seriously...how do you not realize a mistake like that sooner? Oh well, thanks for the entertainment.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I'm Making Bio Fuels

I was talking to Andrew the other day about things we could do to help out the environment. He said that we should plant a rain garden and maybe use rain barrels to filter runoff before it goes to the storm drain and collect it before it gets there, respectively. That's a little ways off from now and both things would require an investment in startup expenses. Andrew said that he'd contribute to those things if we decide to do them.

In the meantime, we had an idea about the fat we collect from cooking meat and the vegetable oil that's left over after cooking in it. A friend of mine has a biodiesel Jetta and I was curious if she could put that waste in her car. Turns out that she can. I'm going to save it until I get at least a half gallon then call her up to come get it. I collect this stuff anyway instead of dumping it down my drain. It's nice to be able to put it to a good use instead of throwing it out. If you have friends with a biodiesel, then you should consider doing this for them!

Pick #91

Ratatat - "Seventeen Years" from their self-titled album

Monday, September 1, 2008

My Skills of an Artist


So, I'm not very artistic. Sarah & I tag-teamed this splatter painting. I think she likes it better.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

TED

There's some interesting stuff on this website, www.ted.com. Mostly there's a host of videos that have presented in the past to elite groups. The website makes them freely available to the public.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Fun Fact #21

The only domestic animal not mentioned in the Bible is the cat. That's weird because we know that Egyptians kept them.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Opt Out

DYK that you can call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT to get your name removed from mailing lists for preapproved credit bullshit generated by your credit report? Try it...it takes around 2 minutes to complete as long as all your info is correct. It's a good idea for the following reasons:

1. Eco-friendly - less paper/load on post office
2. You're less at risk of people taking preapproved offers and opening accounts in your name.
3. Save time opening/processing/shredding these things.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Kicked a Car

Today on the way to school, there was a car in the bike lane on Call street. This a common occurrence and it always pisses me off (except when they're trying to turn out of a side street & there's a lot of traffic...then it's understandable). This car was in front of me and I was slowing down for a red light anyway. I always want to kick or punch or key or fucking hammer cars that sit in the bike lane when they've got the fucking car lane to sit in. Seeing this new black Acura at a standstill in the left half of the bike lane, I decided that I was going slow enough to kick it, so I did. I wondered what would happen to my balance if I tried something like that. I kicked the car, put my foot back on the pedal, and kept riding. No problem. Wish I was wearing my cross country spikes or something to scratch that bitch up.

Now that I know I can do this without directly hurting myself, I might make more of a habit of it. I used to yell at them if their windows were down. I'd like to figure out a way to inflict more damage on them without imposing much cost on me (e.g. the extra weight of carrying a car-bashing chain or something and keeping it easily accessible). Leave me some suggestions.

I'm Really Not a Masochist

I'm not a masochist: I don't get off on pain. I don't really like it or seek it out. I'm not a wimp either. I think you already knew that. What you might not know is that there is one kind of pain that I kind of enjoy. It's not the rigors of a PhD program; it is gum pain.

I like flossing hard enough to bleed and holding it there for a minute. I like to spit out the blood afterward. Back when I was losing my teeth, I loved to push them around and add a little pressure to the gums. I guess braces weren't really enjoyable for the most part. I think the best way to get this good gum pain is by using woven floss and really getting in there. I guess that might be a big enough incentive to get me to floss more than once a week.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Least Favorite Song

One day I was driving with Walker riding shotgun (with a shotgun??). We were listening to a CD in my car and when a new song came on, I said "this is my least favorite song on the album." Walker proceeded to turn up the volume, thus confusing the other passengers.

Just because it wasn't my least favorite song doesn't mean that I don't like it (enough negatives in that sentence for you?). It's little things like that that make you appreciate the people who understand you. I also like confusing others in some types of scenarios.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Pick #90

Death Cab for Cutie - "Bend to Squares" from Something About Airplanes

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Recipe #2: BBQ Chicken Subs

Ingredients: chicken, canola oil, Nature's Season, BBQ sauce, hoagie rolls, provolone cheese

Chop chicken into 1" cubes, fry in canola oil. Top with Nature's Season while frying.
Cut hoagie rolls down middle, line with provolone, fill with chicken, top with BBQ sauce. I like to put another slice of cheese on top at this point, but it's optional.
Now, put the filled hoagie rolls in the (toaster) oven @ 400° for about 5 minutes, until the bread is crunchy & the cheese is melted.
I like to take BBQ sauce to the table in case I want to add more.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

When I was up in Virginia, my family that we were staying with had a refrigerator from the 1940s in their garage. I think it was a Westinghouse. You open it up and there's an icebox on top. It kept things very cold.

I'm sure that the energy efficiency of this old thing would make it eat more electrons than my air conditioner, but it still works. I can almost guarantee that a refrigerator purchased today would die in under 40 years, not even coming close to the life of this 70-something year old appliance.

It's a shame that in this day of improved technology (as compared to the good old days) that not everything lasts as long as it used to. It seems that companies think that planned obsolescence will earn them more profit in the long run. They are flawed, at least theoretically. If they made a better, longer lasting product, then they could capitalize on its superiority by charging a higher price.

I've mentioned the same thing with my HVAC unit & water heater, which are both still original (house was built in 1977). Current estimates for water heater life spans are sub 20 years. I guess new ones are more energy efficient, but I doubt that they offer much advantage over the old ones (unless you compare apples to oranges and say that now you can get a tankless one).

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Picks #88 & 89

I've been out of town for a week straight with limited computer access, so here's this week's & last week's picks:

Eddie Money - Think I'm in Love

Splender - Yeah Whatever

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Seakeeper

This company made a gyroscope to minimize zero- and low-speed boat roll. Check out the video on their website. We're staying with my mom's cousin's husband in Virginia and his plant was working on this. He said that the next project he's working on is something about an electric motor for putting fins on the bottom of cigarette boats so that they don't flip up in the air when going fast.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Virgin Galactic

I've heard talk for a little while now that Virgin is preparing to send ordinary people (with a little bit of disposable income) into space. I didn't realize that they are so close. Apparently now it's only 12-18 months until they do their first commercial flight. I went to their website and it blew me away. You can watch a couple videos and read the FAQ.

I think the thing that I found most amazing was the low price tag. Tix start @ $200,000!! I know that I'd go into space if I had a chance. I don't want the negative health effects of spending weeks up there (although I'd probably stay that long anyway if given the chance). I'm not exactly sure how long the trip into space lasts, but I think it's about an hour of air time.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Computer Crapping Out

It looks like my computer's starting to show signs of old age. Recently, it's not been wanting to wake up from naps (aka after being in standby). Sometimes it decides to display a black screen when I try to turn it back on. I was thinking about it and decided to ask Drew if he still makes computers. Affirmative. He's willing to help guide me through building my own.

I'm trying to decide what kind of specs I want on this new computer. I've been thinking about learning Linux. I'm concerned that if I use an OS like Ubuntu, then I might not be able to use software that I've purchased in the past that's for Windows. I'm especially concerned about RosettaStone and Stata. It would also be nice to have Excel when I need it for something that I'm not yet ready for in Calc from OpenOffice.org.

As for cool stuff, I want to be able to watch (and maybe capture the stream) live TV on my computer (hey, that sounds like TiVo). I want a Terabyte or more of hard disk space, blazing dual processors, lots of memory, eSATA, maybe hook up dual monitors...

If you have any other ideas that would make my computer rock out, comment here.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Soft Drink ≠ Soda

It bugs me when people refer to sodas as "soft drinks" with the implication that Gatorade, juices, milk, water, etc. are excluded from the category of "soft drink." Of course, a hard drink is one containing alcohol. Drinks without alcohol are all soft drinks.

What set me off about this is a stupid panel on the side of one of those stupid "FridgePack" 12-pack of cans of Coke. It says something like "who knew soft drinks could be hydrating?" Umm...I think that's the definition of water. Gatorade's a good hydrator. Sodas don't hydrate you...or maybe they do, before the caffeine dehydrates you more.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Pick #87

Flickerstick - "Beautiful" from Welcome Home the Astronauts

I heard this song on Pandora and I really like it. Pandora's probably a better way to find new music than reading my blog.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Counter

I am amazed at how many people have visited my blog in the past year. Without the counter, I'd probably still think that only a handful of people ever looked at it. Turns out that 2645 is about 80 times more than I would have predicted before adding the counter.

Friday, August 1, 2008

CFL: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

By now, many of my friends have moved on to points in their lives where they have to pay for their own expenses. For my friends who have to pay their own utility bills [or if they leave the light on as long as they are awake (even if not in the room)], I like to get them compact fluorescent light bulbs. In a way, I'm forcing my agenda on them and they like it. That's right, they'll be saving energy. Also, they're saving money. I think it's a sweet setup and everybody wins.

I've tried to do this with canvas bags before. The problem is that people forget to use them or don't like the color or something. With the lights, you screw it in and it works just like any other light & there's no more effort involved. I call that "incentive compatibility."

Summer Jeans?

Nobody wears long sleeve shirts in the summer, so why do they wear jeans. I mean, it gets hot. Triple digit heat index here.

I understand why people who need to wear jeans do so. For example, roofers, landscapers, and cowboys all want solar protection. Fine. What about college students? What are they thinking when they put on pants in the summer time? T-shirts are fine, they aren't wearing button-downs. It shouldn't be for dressing up or fashion and I don't see how it could be for comfort, so why do they do it?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fun Fact #20

On average, 12 newborns will be given to the wrong parents daily.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pick #86

Moneen - "If Tragedy's Appealing, Then Disaster's an Addiction" from The Red Tree

Monday, July 28, 2008

Group Running with iPods

I've seen it a couple times and I just don't get it...girls running together while all wearing iPods. "Hey, girls! Wanna run? Alright, everyone grab their music and we won't talk to each other, yeah!"

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? Like I said: Don't get it. I would never go running with someone and rule out talking to them with music. I mean, sometimes I don't talk during speed workouts 'cuz we're going too fast. Even then, though, I usually get in a few words.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Lights On For Safety

I hate it when people say that they don't need to turn on their headlights because they can see. You don't put on your headlights so you can see except when it's night time. Headlights are so that other people can see you.

Sarah was telling me that she almost got in an accident because someone pulled out in front of her. She has a grey car and thinks that maybe that contributes to people not seeing her. I told her that headlights would make the grey car stand out from the asphalt.

I now drive with my headlights on all the time. There are a bunch of canopy roads in Tallahassee that cast shadows over the road and make it hard to see other cars sometimes. I'm going to encourage you to turn your lights on for safety too.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fun Fact #19

The word "lethologica" describes the state of not being able to remember the word you want.

Fun fact #19.1: I often suffer from lethologica.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Off the Slate

I got the following article from Slate's HumanNature blog. I wonder how much potential benefit is not being realized and what kind of increase in productivity is possible with the use of these drugs.


Also, it is fair? I know that some of my classmates (in the past) have taken performance enhancing drugs in order to study. I don't really feel at a disadvantage because I don't take them. I just work a little harder. But, what about when your job is at stake? Would I take them? Would I like it?

White-Collar Steroids


Are people in your office using performance-enhancing drugs?

I'm not talking about steroids. I'm talking about brain enhancers, such as Ritalin for concentration and Provigil for sleep reduction. Two months ago, I wrote about a Nature survey in which 20 percent of a self-selected sample of scientists, academics, and journalists admitted using such drugs "for non-medical reasons to improve my concentration, focus and memory." In absolute terms, it's hard to argue against these neuroenhancers. But in relative terms, freedom of enhancement can become coercive. If your officemates are outworking you by popping pills, can you afford not to join them?

We know this is a problem in sports. Has it become a problem in the white-collar workplace? Neil Munro examines this question in a recent issue of National Journal. The answer seems to be: We don't yet know, but signs point to trouble ahead.

Munro goes through what little we know. First, there's the non-random Nature poll. Then there's a survey at one college in which one of every six students admitted to taking prescription drugs as a study aid. Munro also cites the recent doubling of adult prescriptions for Adderall and Ritalin, implying that the increase is too big and fast to be purely therapeutic. But the really interesting comment comes from Zack Lynch, the executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization:

If you're GE Capital and you have offices in 154 financial centers around the planet, and these [brain-drug] tools are available in Dubai, and your workers there are trading more effectively, 5 to 10 percent better—they'll have a neuro-competitive advantage over workers where these tools are not legalized.

Neuro-competitive advantage. There's the leverage point for pushing brain boosters into the workplace. The good news is, these pills might make you more productive. The bad news is, if you don't take them, some guy in Dubai will, and he'll eat your job. Lynch flatly tells Munro that if the United States restricts performance-enhancing office drugs, "companies will shift their work offshore."

I don't want to make this scenario sound like it'll be here tomorrow. The brain is notoriously finicky, so there are a lot of obstacles and side effects to work out. But the same is true of performance-enhancing drugs in sports, and that hasn't stopped them from becoming a coercive presence.

Munro points out that neuroenhancement is a big emerging market and that one firm has already been caught exploiting it:

Cephalon, a large biopharmaceutical company, agreed to pay a $425 million settlement to the federal government last year after the firm's sales force was accused of marketing its Provigil anti-sleep drug for purposes other than those for which it has been approved. Provigil was approved for treating narcolepsy, but it was used as a stimulant by some of the scientists who responded to the Nature poll.

Next time you're chatting with your colleagues around the water cooler, ask what they're taking with their water.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Beer Strategy

Sometimes I use beer to make myself productive. I don't use it as a reward for completing a task, because TBW warned me that I would start rewarding myself for trivial tasks like tying my shoes. I usually use the beer when I'm not getting much school work done. It's really good for essays. I used to try to crank out a page of essay before finishing the beer. Whatever. Even without the fun of games like that, there's another motivating factor. If I get something done then I was productive and that's good...that means beer = good. However, if I don't accomplish anything then I'm a worthless alcoholic. Nobody wants to be an alcoholic, let alone a worthless one. I don't think that beer has ever let me down when I've turned to it to help me push through writing an essay.

Fun Fact #18

American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by taking out an olive from first class salads.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Impatience Causing Delays

Speeding somewhere can get you there faster...unless you get pulled over. If you get pulled over, it will take a lot longer to get where you're going.

In an attempt to get some Rudy Project helmets as quickly as possible, I ordered them without taking an accurate measurement of my skull size. I ordered the large sizes, which came in yesterday and are just a little bit too big. I have to send them back. If I would have waited a couple hours to place my order until I was sure of the size of my head, I'd have my helmets today. Instead, I had to place a new order today and I might get them on Friday if I'm lucky. Now I'm paying another $12 in shipping to get the new ones and about $10 to return the old ones! Craptastic. I could get free shipping on the new ones if I had done an exchange, but that would have taken nearly a month because they're pretty backed up right now. I guess haste really does make waste.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Netflix

I started a free trial with Netflix and it's pretty cool. I'm getting the 3-at-a-time deal where I can get up to 27 movies per month on DVD and stream as many movies as I can. They're really fast on the turn-around. I get a movie, watch it, put it in the mail the next day, Netflix gets it the next day and mails me the next movie I want, then I get that movie on the third day. Since I have a 3-at-a-time program, this means I can watch one movie a day (except Sundays since the mail doesn't run).

The cost of this type of membership is $17/month...but I'm going to split it with my roommates so we each pay $6 and get to have one of those 3 movies.

I got a damaged copy of Hotel Rwanda and I just sent it back, no questions asked. Their user interface is really awesome and there's an adaptive suggestion system. I would definitely recommend that you check out their free trial offer.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Customization

I am trying to find out how much it will cost for the FSU Tri team to place an order for custom-painted aero helmets (the Rudy Project Syton). I was referred to this guy named Darin. His blog has some of his work showcased. I was amazed.

Running Skirts

A few months ago, I stumbled on a website selling running skirts...not that I was looking to buy one. I thought they were a great idea and figured that all they needed to do is get a famous chick to wear one and sales will take off. A month or 2 after that, I saw a running skirt in Runner's Depot in Vero. At Collegiate Nationals Triathlon, they were selling them. This month's issue of Runner's World has a cover girl wearing one. I guess they're taking off.

I didn't realize until I saw the ones at Collegiate Nationals that they have built-in bloomers. Which makes me wonder why you wouldn't just wear spandex running shorts and get rid of that extra material. Maybe it looks better or something. Maybe you can put pockets in the other part. Anyway, they're taking off. In fact, I saw that a men's running skirt exists. I'm not down for that.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Surf

There must be something incredible about catching a wave. Surfers are willing to travel for hours to get to a place where the waves are breaking. They'll skip other cool stuff going on to go surfing. Many are passionate about it. They deal with the risk of sharks and injury.

I can't believe I grew up in coastal Florida and never learned how to surf. I'd really like to even though it may become addicting.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Teaching

I'm teaching Principles of Microeconomics during the second half of the summer. Class has been pretty good so far. I'm a lot less nervous than I was last year at this time. I think I have more confidence after teaching a class, passing my prelims, tutoring more people, and preparing a second time. I had 62 students registered this morning, which is a little bigger than last time. It also might be nice to be in a regular classroom instead of an auditorium. I'm looking forward to the rest of the semester.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Monday, June 30, 2008

Fun Fact #15

your stomach must produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks to keep from digesting itself.

Answer Your Phone

I don't like it when people intentionally don't answer their ringing phone. Especially if it's because they don't recognize the phone number. You never know when somebody is having a problem/accident and may be using someone else's phone to call you. If you answer it and they just want to bullshit, then you can hang up on them.

It's different if you don't hear your phone ring or if you're in an important meeting or doing something where you cannot talk. Under normal circumstances, just answer.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Pick #82

Iron and Wine - "Bird Stealing Bread" from The Creek Drank the Cradle

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I'm Hungry

I went on an 80 mile bike ride (supposed to be 100, but the weather stopped it short) followed by a 2 mile run today. After stretching, I went to Bianca Pizza & Pasta with Andrew. As soon as we left the restaurant and I got in my car, I realized that I was hungry again. I had the spinach lasagna with a half dozen garlic knots and a salad (with dressing!).

Sometimes, I wish I had some flavorless, energy-dense pill that I could take at times like these that would fill me up in a good way.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Wanted, Dexter

I'm going to recommend that you don't go see "Wanted." It will leave you thinking that you wasted 100 minutes of your life.

Furthermore, AMC @ the Tallahassee Mall no longer offers a student discount. That means I paid $9.50 for a ticket. I'm really not into that. I think I'm going to stay away from the theater for a good, long while. Especially because I just bought the first season of Dexter on DVD for about $22.00 and it's provided me (and my roommates and Sarah) with many hours of quality entertainment. I do recommend that you check out Dexter (it's a Showtime series).

Thursday, June 26, 2008

FSU Triathlon Sponsors

I'm stoked after hearing back from the Rudy Project on the same day that I contacted them. They're super efficient over there. Here's a list of FSU Triathlon's sponsors. You can always check out the Sponsors tab on our webpage.

Blackwell Research (wheels & high performance aerobars)
OneTri (online store with swimming stuff)
Profile Design (wetsuits, water bottles, cheaper aerobars, some components)
Rudy Project (helmets and eyewear)
Shaw's Athletics (running store)
Sunshine Cycles (bike store)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

More Free Music

Tobacco Free Florida has a webpage where they bring you "smoke-free songs" aka free music. I found the link through YouTube. I probably wouldn't have said anything except that one of the songs available for download is the title track from the Sarah Mac Band's latest album: Awakening. Go download.

Fun Fact #14

On average, 100 people choke on ballpoint pens annually.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Open Office

There is an open source software package at OpenOffice.org that's pretty interesting. I just started using it last week. It has not only the standard stuff that makes up Microsoft office, but other cool stuff like "Math" which is a program that makes mathematical expressions like complex fractions and integral signs, etc.

One of my favorite parts is the .pdf writer. It is so easy to use (just click one button and save the file). The .pdf writer is incorporated into the word processor, the spreadsheet, the database, the slideshow program, and the math program (AWESOME).

Additionally, when stuff is giving you hellacious formatting problems in Microsoft Word, it usually cooperates in Writer.

I've already given this program to a couple other people and I haven't heard any negative feedback yet.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Pick #81

Chicago - Feelin' Stronger Every Day

Chopper


This was taken with my old camera. The helicopter is hovering above the ground. Notice how much the blades move in the picture. That camera takes incredibly fast pictures when it's bright outside. I haven't had an opportunity to test out my new camera to see if it can do this.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Fun Fact #13

One year, Elvis Presley paid 91% of his annual income to the IRS.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

On Anger

What is it about being pissed off that makes you want to crank up the stereo and floor the gas pedal?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Random Injuries

I hate it when I don't know how I hurt myself. On Sunday, I looked down in the middle of the day and my index finger was cut. It still hurt at night time. Sometimes I just see blood and I'm like "how did that happen? WTF?" Sometimes I just hurt without bruises or cuts or soreness. Mostly, it's cuts.

I don't mind hurting myself...I just wish I could take note of how it happens so that maybe I could avoid it in the future.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

Country Bumpkin Proceedings

I was exhausted after finishing the Country Bumpkin ride. It turned out to be 127 miles, according to Andrew's cyclo-computer. We rode there in 3 hours, 33 minutes and rode back in 3 hours, 39 minutes! How's that for consistency? Especially considering the added difficulties of the ride back. I was so tired that I passed out in the middle of Superbad after I had a little something to eat. I slept 11 hours straight last night.

Of course, we didn't start on time. The good news is that we added 2 more people to the group. My new equipment from Sunshine Cycles worked wonders. The bike shorts had so much more cushion than my tri shorts and the cycling jersey held: a rain jacket (Sugoi Helium), 4 gel packs, a peanut butter sandwich, my cell phone, 2 granola bars, an electrolyte tab, tears, blistex, my sunglasses at one point, sunscreen, and maybe something else that I'm forgetting.

It was a pretty ride through the country side. There was a lot of goofing off during the ride out there. "Who can reach the highest?" "Who can get the lowest?" The only time I got a little annoyed is when people went so slow up the hills. There were a couple incidents that could have caused crashes, but crashes were avoided every time! Awesome job, guys. I wish I had my camera out on the way there so I could take a picture of the antics. There are some pix on facebook.

We went (via automobile) to Madison Blue Spring State Park after we got to Jason's house. We swam a little bit. Went back and had lunch. Only Logan, Andrew, and myself decided to bike back. Logan got a flat within 10 miles. Put in a new tube and rode on it for about 10 miles before it flatted again. This time, when changing the tube, it went flat before he could even get the rim back on the bike! We went through 3 tubes the second time and they all popped upon inflation. He had to get a ride home and wasn't happy about it. That means that Andrew and I had to work a lot harder. We went from averaging 21mph before Logan's tire blew to averaging about 17mph on our own.

Coming back to Tally, we ran into some strong wind gusts. It started lightly raining, which felt good. I was so happy when I first saw the big penis in the sky (aka state capitol).

This ride made me confident in my biking abilities. I feel like one of the "big boys" now. I might not be as fast as Steve or Dan, but I think I can hold my own over the distance as long as they aren't super-duper ass hauling. In fact, Stephen said that he's never gone 120 miles before. PLUS, I don't have one of those fancy carbon fiber frames. I now want to take bike trips to nearby towns and see/do things there. It could be like mini, day-long adventures. I hear St. Marks has a beach...I might go do some recon on the bike before taking people down there in a car. I think anything within 50 miles of my house is fair game. Maybe ride somewhere, eat lunch there, tour the historic district or something, then come home. You'll be updated on that kind of stuff if/when it happens.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Kingsbury

I was at the Sarah Mac Band concert tonight and it was awesome as always. The first band ¿Phlux? was 3 hippies that had a pretty barefoot sound. Next was Kingsbury from Orlando. They know Soft Targets, the headliners. SMB played 3rd. Since I have to get up in a couple hours to go on the Country Bumpkin ride, I dipped out on Soft Targets.

Kingsbury's show was different. I was expecting all the bands to be a little folky. Kingsbury had some cool lighting that set a decent ambiance. There was a strobe that made really cool shadows of the drummer playing on the ceiling. I went to buy a CD, but they were down to the copy that's taped to the table. After they got off stage, I saw the girl band member (Alexis) at the bar and told her about the CD situation. She wanted to give me a free CD! I paid her $5 anyway since they did have to pay for gas to get back to Orlando. I was talking to her for a bit. I asked if they were in town b/c they know Soft Targets. Affirmative. I also mentioned that I was from Vero (relevant to one of their songs). She said that she knows Mike Palmer; and the other band members, who are about my age, are from Vero. One guy, Bruce Reed, came up to me while I was talking to Alexis and said he recognized me. I said my name's Austin and he's all like "I'm Colleen Connery's husband." Whoa! He gave me an update on how they're doing and it sounds pretty good.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Country Bumpkin

I'm riding 120 miles on my bike this Saturday. I just went to Sunshine Cycles today to pick up a pair of bike shorts and a cycling jersey for the trip. I figure that if I'm ever going to get them, now's a good time. They have sponsored the FSU Triathlon team and I'm hoping that we can have a great relationship.

The ride on Saturday is going to be 6-7 people biking out to Madison, eating lunch at Jason's folks' house, then biking back. I've never even done 100 miles (I think 80 is my previous max). I'm convinced that I can do it without dying. I have a couple water bottle holders and a camelbak to get me through along with gels and electrolyte tabs. I just hope the mercury stays in the double digits.

In about a month, I'm going to ride 165 miles west to Nevarre, FL. Who knows how many people will attend that? I figure that this 120 miler will be a good warm up for that main event. If these rides go down successfully, I'm toying with the idea of biking from Tally to Vero, stopping along the way to stay with friends in Gainesville and Orlando. That would be pretty insane!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bikini Shaver

I was in the health & beauty section of Publix the other day and noticed an interesting product. It appeared to be a miniature razor, but the packaging claimed it was a "bikini shaver." Who shaves their bikinis? What does that do? Can it make you more hydrodynamic? What if you cut your bathing suit?

Monday, June 9, 2008

Fun Fact #12

George Washington had to borrow money so he could travel to his inauguration.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Pick #79

Eva Cassidy - "Wade in the Water" from Songbird

Academic Minors @ FSU v. the HC

Getting a major at the HC is difficult...probably more so than in most places due to the Thesis. Graduating might also be a little more work with the inclusion of the internship/study abroad. However, getting a minor is also relatively hard...check out the following:

I've noticed through conversing with some FSU undergrads that it takes almost nothing to get a minor in an academic field at FSU. Take chemistry for an example...
FSU chemistry minors only need: Minor Coursework: 12 semester hours in an approved minor field or 15 hours in an approved interdepartmental minor approved by the Department of Chemistry. Frequently Chemical Science majors will complete a second major, which satisfies this requirement.
HC chemistry minors need: a. 20 credit hours of work in chemistry from the course list below.
b. At least 9 of the credit hours must be upper level (3000 or above).

And you can make your own comparisons at fsu.edu and www.honorscollege.edu.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Vampyre

You probably know that I can't draw. That sucks for me because I had a funny mental image. It's a group of Draculas heaped together and aflame. 10 cool points to the first person to draw this picture for me.

Recipe #1: Quick & Easy Black Beans, Chicken, & Rice

I'm going to post some recipes of stuff I make that I think is good. Here's an easy one to start out with...

Marinate the chicken in Worcestershire and sprinkle with lemon pepper, garlic powder, and Lowry's seasoned salt. Cook (white) rice according to package instructions. Heat the black beans in a pot on the stove and stir in one package of "Sazón Goya sin achiote" for every 8oz. beans. Cook the chicken on the Foreman grill, chop up, then combine with the other ingredients.

Note: if you don't want the quick & easy version, then you can sauté green pepper, onion, and garlic in some olive oil and add that to the beans while they heat.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Emerald Coast #2

Results are up from Emerald Coast #2 this past weekend. I dropped about 3:40 off my time from the same course in the fall...actually, the run was a little shorter in the fall! The water was so perfect, it was almost blissful swimming. I had good transitions and jammed it out on the bike, averaging 21.9 mph. I'd like to get up to 23-24 mph by the end of the season. My run pace was 6:22/mile. I might be able to drop that to about 6 flat by the end of the season. I'm working on my swim with Doug coaching me.

OH, yeah...after the race, they had a drawing for a bunch of cool stuff being given out by Freedom Sports, a store that's opening soon in the Panama City Beach area. I won the grand prize of a Zoot ZPack transition bag. I'm going to try to use it and see if I can get away from my Reebok duffle-running-turned-into-tri bag. The ZPack is pretty awesome with waterproof storage for your wet stuff, headlight & tail light, lots of pockets.

If this sounds like fun, you should check out the FSU Triathlon Website. Anyone with an FSU card can join! Sign yourself up for the email list.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Silverfish

Ok, I had a great idea for a new snack cracker. It'll be called "silverfish" and modeled after the existing "goldfish" crackers, although they obviously couldn't sell for as much money.

I know what you're thinking: silverfish are gross! BUT JellyBelly is having huge success with their nasty-flavored beans. Kids eat gummy worms and other dis-gross-ting things. Maybe my snack will catch on.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Trialogue

Fab: "Did you hear about the promotion they're having at the radio station this week?"
TBW: "Ya...you get a couple of compact discs without having to pay for them."
Russian Dan: "Fade."

Pick #78

Pavement - "Unfair" from Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Emerald Coast , Opal Sand


This is a widescreen picture in 16:9 aspect ratio, taken by my new camera. It fits perfectly (all 16:9s do) on my desktop!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Fun Fact #11

The average number of passengers airborne over the US each hour is 61,000.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sugoi Helium Back


Here's an admittedly amateur picture of the back of the Sugoi Helium jacket. It's been hard to find one online. It's got a good amount of reflective material and you can see the unzipped side pocket with the music (8th) note. The pocket isn't huge. The material is thinner than I was expecting. There are vent holes under the armpits. The zipper is "backwards" with the movable part on the left side when the jacket is open. I haven't had a chance to wear it in the rain, but I did put it under the sink to test its waterproofness and it stayed dry.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Or is it the other way around?

This is a picture taken with my new camera. I guess you can't really pick out the quality since the shirt's kinda old. I'll get better pix up some time.

Pick #77

Enon - "In This City" from High Society

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Good v. Evil Tow Truck Drivers

I used to like tow truck drivers. They came and got me when the Olds overheated or when Brown wouldn't start or when I broke down. They were friendly and took me somewhere I needed to go.

Since I moved to Tally, I've met a new breed of tow truck drivers: the malicious ones. They prowl parking premeses perusing plates & permits, picking out those cars that don't belong. They quickly take the cars to an impound, unsolicited from the owner of the vehicle. Many people walk back to where their car was parked and can't find it (they're all like "I know I didn't get that drunk").

So, here's a quick anecdote about how evil tow truck drivers can F* with you...
I agreed to make a trip to Ormond Beach with Sarah this weekend because her sister's graduating high school and Sarah wants me to meet more of her family. I stayed over at her place on Friday night. I didn't get a visitor spot when I came in, so I parked in the front lot. The catch is that you have to be out of that lot by 7am or they tow you. I went to move my car about 3am or 3:30 but all the visitor spots were still full (I expected people to come back from the clubs and move their cars). I was about to resign myself to letting Sarah get up at about 6:45 to move my car into a visitor spot, so I started walking back to her apartment on the other side of the complex when I saw someone walking out of a building toward the visitor spots. I jogged to catch up to him and asked if he was in a visitor spot. He replied in the affirmative and I was about to get my car to shark his space...BUT, he was in the same lot I was in...didn't do me any good. I go back inside and go to sleep, making sure there's an alarm set for 6:45 am. It goes off and I tell Sarah to get up and move my car, presumably into an empty visitor spot. There weren't any empty visitor spots. She drove back to her building and parked my car in front of it and came to get me...turns out that you can't park inside the complex until 8am unless you're a resident or your car's in a visiter spot. So, in that hour between 7 and 8, they tow a $h*+ ton of people. In order to evade towage, we had to drive my car to my friggin house! Those bastardly evil tow truck drivers are emotionless pricks who thrive on the suffering of others. Fuck them.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

That's Not a Seat

Look: the gator is sitting on top of a turtle. I think they were both trying to sun themselves and there wasn't much rock space.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sugoi Helium

I just ordered the full length Helium jacket from Sugoi. I guess I'll write a review after I wear it a couple times. Check out the specs and see how awesome it looks.

I got it because it's better than a poncho for riding my bike home in the rain. It won't get caught in my spokes and it packs down way smaller (smaller than a soda can) than my poncho. It's only 3oz...not like weight's a problem for me. The jacket is also ventilated and has reflectors instead of the non-breathable camouflage poncho. Oh, did I say camo? I might mention here that I got the "Supernova" color aka safety yellow for visibility, not style.

I can also take it running. I'm looking forward to getting a lot of use out of it.

Shave Pounds Off Your Legs

There's an article in Slate about Oscar Pistorius and his artificial legs. It's a good, quick read.

I think it's a cool idea to have the Paralympic Games for athletes with disabilities. I have personally raced against handicapped individuals and I think it's awesome that they have the drive to train and compete against able-bodied athletes. I guess I usually beat them, but I think that my attitude toward them wouldn't change if they beat me. Maybe it's a moot point since we're both (me and disabled athletes) in the middle of the pack. If there were higher stakes than placement in your age group, then maybe my opinion would change.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Let My Money Do Something

Since the interest rate is low right now, I decided that I might as well get a return off some of my money by purchasing consumer durables. As I noted last Wednesday night, I just got a new digital camera. I plan on getting utility out of it for a couple years.

I know theory tells us that investment (in the business sense, not the stock market sense) will pick up when interest rates are lowered. This is why lowering the interest rate is supposed to stimulate the economy. However, I'd like to share some ideas that might make you even more willing to take some cash out of your savings account.

If you buy something that can make you a return, like CFL bulbs or high efficiency appliances, then you are investing in consumer durables. The CFLs will save more than their cost over their lifetime. Each month, you get a small return from them which is the difference between what your electric bill would have been with incandescents and your new bill with CFLs. One REALLY nice feature about this dividend on your investment is that it's tax free. Same goes with appliances. If your new fridge saves you $10/month, then it's earning you $120/year of tax-free income. Also, if you're thinking about replacing the washer/dryer with the high efficiency models, consider the yearly return in energy (and water and time) savings and add in the trade-in value of your current washer/dryer.

Those stimulus package checks should be coming pretty soon and they might be just the thing you need to push you over the edge to buy some consumer durables that will go to work for you.