Thursday, August 30, 2012

Lose more weight in half the time

Slightly overweight Danish men who exercised moderately for 30 minutes lost more weight than other men in the study who exercised for an hour.  Read the journal article here.

Body fat loss and compensatory mechanisms in response to different doses of aerobic exercise - a randomized controlled trial in overweight sedentary males

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Making it hard to cancel

Signed up with, just planning to use the service for a month while I had to send a lot of faxes for a transaction.

They make it pretty tough to cancel.

Their online cancellation capability has been down for a few weeks; they don't answer the phone; if you try the "live chat" no one responds, and you need to fill out a support ticket to cancel your service.

That's one way to keep customers around for another billing cycle or two, but not the best way in the world to have departing customers eager to return.

Time Warner doesn't make it easy either. Can't cancel via Chat:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

27 Skills Your Child Needs to Know that are Not Taught in (Most) Schools

As we enter back-to-school season, here is a 2007 post by Leo Babauta on his blog Zen Habits listing 27 skills your child needs to know that he or she will probably not learn in school.

I've posted here just the list. For Leo's full description of each skill, follow the link.

An exercise for you, Gentle Reader: come up with your own list of skills that Leo missed. I can think of a couple dozen, and in a future post I'll give my list.

  • Saving
  • Budgeting
  • Paying bills.
  • Investing
  • Frugality
  • Credit
  • Retirement
  • Charity
  • Critical thinking
  • Reading
  • Positive thinking.
  • Motivation.
  • Procrastination
  • Passion
  • Anti-competition.
  • Compassion
  • Love
  • Listening
  • Conversation
  • Auto
  • Household
  • Cleaning
  • Organization.
  • Be present
  • Enjoy life
  • Find purpose
  • Develop intimate relationships

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Federal Exams

Prospective foreign service officers, air traffic controllers, Army privates, and even postal carriers all have to take a written test.

Wouldn't it be interesting if candidates for Congress, and, why not, the Presidency, had to take a test as well?

I suppose it wouldn't be Constitutional to eliminate candidates based on their performance on the test, but it would certainly be interesting if their answers were released.  A lot more fun to read than watching an extra debate.

The test ought to cover basic science, math, economics, finance, law, world geography, international affairs, the federal budget.

Nothing politically controversial, just the facts, or questions that any first-year college course might cover.


"If you demand a 10% annual return on your investment, how much would you be willing to pay today for an asset that would be worth $100 in seven years? [No calculator allowed.]"

"State, in dollars, the amount of foreign aid that the US government provided in 2011. Provide a range such that you are 90% sure that the actual amount falls within the range."

"Whether you subscribe to the theory or not, explain to the best of your ability Darwin's theory of evolution and natural selection."

"If the unemployment rate one month ago was 8.3%, and the economy has added 100,000 jobs over the past month, then what is the unemployment rate today? [Assume that that there is zero net additions to the total labor pool.]"

"State to the best of your ability the requirements to receive 'welfare' today. State which specific federal programs you are referring to when you explain 'welfare.' State, in dollars, how much the average family of four receives on a monthly basis from each program that you mention."

The tests wouldn't even need to be graded.  Just post their answers.

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