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.