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


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


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


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


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