moldybluecheesecurds 2

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

How not to talk to your kids

The worst thing for your child's self-esteem might just be all that generalized praise.  This amazing essay looks at the psychology of praise and the importance of letting kids know that it's the effort that matters, not looking smart.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Is it time for cellphones on planes?

NYTimes.com: Foreign airlines have moved ahead and offer connectivity for mobile phone users, should the U.S. too?
"Despite dire warnings that cellphone use on planes would unleash social turbulence and possibly even violence in the cabin, there have been remarkably few complaints so far, industry executives and passengers say."

Friday, September 25, 2009

The menace of the public option

SF Chronicle: "Of all the current assaults on our noble republic, perhaps none is more dangerous than the public option - specifically, the public library option."

As good an argument as you will read for why there's nothing for the private sector to fear from a public health care option.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

TruStone Financial Deposit ATMs in Minneapolis

If you don't bank here, you don't care, but I can't stand that my credit union only has a text list and not a map of it's ATMs that accept deposits.  Here, TruStone, I did it for you:

JFF uncovers soup scandal

This soup is about 40% of my diet right now, so I went out and bought what I thought were two varieties of noodle soup today. Think again.

Here's the front of the box. Notice that the one on the left has 40% more noodles!


Seems great, right? Let's look a little closer:



Hmm, that seems odd. Why would you get fewer servings from the "more noodle" variety?




AHA! You get 40% more noodles because you make the soup with 25% less water.

Okay, it's not just that. Package 1 (on the left) actually weighs 176g to the 141g of the original noodle soup (Package 2).

So, instead of a pure marketing scam, we also get a fun math question (in multiple parts, as are all good math questions). You may work with others, but please do your own work or you won't learn anything.

Souper Math Question #1
Part a) How much of the package weight is the noodles (for Package 1 and Package 2)?
Part b) If an individual noodle weighs 0.5g, how many noodles are there in each package? Per cup of soup if prepared according to the directions?
Part c) What is the actual % increase in noodle density from Package 2 to Package 1, if both packages were prepared with 4 cups of water?

What better way to out yourself

Ahmadinejad defended the recent Iranian "election" at the U.N. yesterday, calling it "glorious and democratic." If he'd ever experienced a democratic election, he'd know they are not glorious.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Looking to Healthy Banks to Lend to the F.D.I.C. - NYTimes.com

NYTimes.com:

This is what we call irony. The FDIC, protector of your bank deposits and banks alike, has been drained by all the bank failures and now wants to borrow from banks to keep going rather than assessing the banks. Reason #1 this is a bad idea:
"Bankers worry that a special assessment of $5 billion to $10 billion over the next six months would crimp their profits..."
Cry me a river. This fund exists to protect depositors, not banks with poor decision making. Plus, what happens if the banks lend to FDIC? They get interest!

The only possible reason that borrowing from healthy banks seems like a good idea is that it's fairer to the good banks, who are otherwise assessed along with the failing banks.

Thoughts?

Friedman: Real Men Tax Gas

NYTimes.com:

When almost every other developed nation has taken greater strides to pursue renewable energy and reduce dependence on foreign oil, Friedman's final question has an uncomfortable answer:
"Who are the real cheese-eating surrender monkeys in this picture?"

Sunday, September 20, 2009

'Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin' made some people really mad. Why is that?

MinnPost: "As Gary Taubes, author of 'Good Calories, Bad Calories,' put it in New York magazine, back in 1932 Mayo Clinic counseled the obese to rest more, given that the energy they expended through added activity wasn’t likely to compensate for the extra energy they would go on to consume afterwards."

Friday, September 18, 2009

Pee here for better tomatoes

MinnPost:
"The results suggest that urine with [or] without wood ash can be used as a substitute for mineral fertilizer to increase the yields of tomato without posing any microbial or chemical risks,"

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Behaviors are contagious

NYTimes.com: "as Christakis and Fowler put it in “Connected,” their coming book on their findings: “You may not know him personally, but your friend’s husband’s co-worker can make you fat. And your sister’s friend’s boyfriend can make you thin.”"

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Toxic Waters - A Series on (not so) Clean Water

New York Times: "Almost four decades after Congress passed the Clean Water Act, the rate of water pollution violations is rising steadily. In the past five years, companies and workplaces have violated pollution laws more than 500,000 times. But the vast majority of polluters have escaped punishment."

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pawlenty backtracks further on his states rights argument

Of course he does, because it was a calculated political shout-out to the South, having little to do with law or reason.

MinnPost: "STEPHANOPOULOS: So just to be clear, are you suggesting that any parts of the plan as the president has laid it out are unconstitutional?

PAWLENTY: Well, I wouldn't go so far as to say it's a legal issue."

This is not health care to be proud of

The Body Count at Home: "After Al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 Americans, eight years ago on Friday, we went to war and spent hundreds of billions of dollars ensuring that this would not happen again. Yet every two months, that many people die because of our failure to provide universal insurance — and yet many members of Congress want us to do nothing?"

Friday, September 11, 2009

Actually, it is in the bill

MinnPost: Presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty is helping spread the old lie about health reform and illegal immigrants. Not in the bill, Tim? Let's check the text:
"H.R. 3200, Section 246 is TITLED: NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS. And it states:

'Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.'"
QED. And STFU.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pigeon Faster Than S. African Net

Slashdot: "'The results are in: it's faster to send your data via an airborne carrier than it is through the pipes."

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Why?

FiveThirtyEight: "The regression line finds that, for every point's worth of increase in the unemployment rate, approval of labor unions goes down by 2.6 points."

Financial regulators are turds

What happens now:
Coffee, donut, and tank of gas: $40
Overdraft fees: $105
Getting shafted by your financial institution: priceless

Oh, but we're getting bold now that banks are making $27 billion a year on the Card Game. With growing bank abuse of overdraft fees:
"regulators plan to introduce new protections before year’s end. The proposals do not seek to ban overdraft fees altogether. Rather, regulators and lawmakers say they hope to curb abuses and make the fees more fair."
Fair? Banks are reordering transaction postings to maximize overdraft fees. No shit!

But let's not be hasty and ban these wankers (after all, they do put up $37 million in campaign contributions in 2008 alone - thanks opensecrets.org).

So here's your compromise regulation: "a bank shall deny all transactions that cause a customer's account to be overdrawn without the express consent of the customer for each transaction, with the customer being informed of the cost of the fees at the time of consent."

Seem hard? We have cell phones. Call me. Give me a chance to tell you what I think of that overdraft fee at the time of charge. And stop fucking with my check register.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

People like government health care better

NYTimes.com: "Fifty-six to 60 percent of people in government-run Medicare rate it a 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale. In contrast, only 40 percent of those enrolled in private insurance rank their plans that high."
So, why don't we want an option for public insurance?