Archive for June, 2010

How To Make a Box

One thing I like about having roommates is learning from them.  My newest roommate helped me transform a There, I Fixed It submission into something a bit more aesthetically appealing.



Although aesthetics improved, my drive to change the packaging was to reduce the shipping charge from $75 to within my $25 charge (of my selling price for shipping), which I did.  Another victory!

And although I have room for improvement, I can now make a box for $0.25 to pay for tape.  (Cardboard is plentiful in urban and suburban environments.)

There are two key points:

  • to make a crease going across the grains, use a 2×4 or some piece of scrap wood to make a nice straight crease.
  • wherever you want a fold, make a cut in the extended part of box, then  fold the excess to form the sides of the box.
  • (It’s basically like wrapping gifts but with a more rigid material, nbd.)

So easy they should just call it easy.

As an aside, my newest roommate’s name is Jules.   Therefore, any one thing he does is equivalent to 1 Jule.  For teaching me this, I traded 1 Jule for a six pack of his favorite beer.   A 6-pack of beer is equal to 1 Jule, Q.E.D.


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Whoot, My Compensating Beam

I often run in the early morning, before the sun rises.  Since it’s dark, I usually wear a headlamp to keep my hands free to do what they do when you run.  I grew tired of replacing my AA batteries in my headlamp.

My first attempt to stop replacing my batteries were to use rechargeable batteries I had from an old camera.  For some reason, the rechargeable batteries would only work in my headlamp when I tested them, yet never when I needed them.  Frustrating!

I have a light from my mountain biking days.  The company that makes the light has an attachment to turn it from a bike headlight into a headlamp.  I decided I would buy the attachment, until I saw the price of $50.  That was beyond my breaking point.  So, I came up with the idea to attach the light to a visor.

I used a visor that Jimmy gave me for my birthday, Whoot!  This visor (by chance) is made out of a very durable plastic; I’m guessing HDPE or delron.  The rigidity of the material makes it very easy to attach zip ties to.  I used a 1/2″ PVC pipe so that I have the luxury of moving the headlamp angles.

I thought the headlamp was going to provide too much of a moment to keep from being super annoying while running.  I wore my headlamp for 4 hours while pacing a friend on Saturday night, and luckily, I was wrong about the large moment!

In the future, I may add a strap on top of the visor.  A strap on top will change the normal load from friction to a more static load.  But, it works just fine as is right now.

It makes sense that most headlamps are not as powerful as this one.  It would be painful to read glossy materials (magazines) with this headlamp; it is also awkward to have any form of a face-to-face conversation with this powerful of a headlamp.  However, for running (and mountain biking), the bright beam is perfect.  I bet the target audience for a traditional headlamp is Joe Camper, not a trail runner.

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Financial Independence Model

I’m interested in financial independence, as I think it is very responsible thing to do, as well as the most sustainable way to live life.  I remember first learning this from Rich Dad, Poor Dad.  A lot of people do not like that book.  I think the major reason is that the thought of passively making income is so overwhelming that one’s “fight” reaction takes over.  It’s just my guess, though.

Essentially, passive income is earnings where your efforts are not actively needed.  It is much easier to define active income: a job (where time and skill and traded for $bling).  In financial terms, passive income is generally investment capital traded for $bling.  Examples of passive income are dividends, apartment rent (if you own an apartment complex), and the part of the pyramid scheme where you profit from others’ efforts.

Passive income can also be viewed as potential.  As ERE’s post describes, the 25 and 33 scalars, applied to one’s annual budget, are commonly used for estimating this potential.

  • If you need your money to last 30 years and you invest it 100% in index funds and you withdraw your annual expenses every year, you need 25 times as much money in index funds as your annual expenses (including taxes).
  • If you need your money to last 60 years instead and follow the same procedure, you need 33 times as much money.

(If I remember correctly) this concept of potential is defined in Work Less, Live More.  The book, as well as firecalc, describe how those numbers take into account risk, so that one will be financially independent.

The time to generate these amounts are below,

in general terms, and

in a more applied form.

Applying the equation above in terms of the percentage of your pay that you save, you’ll come up with a pretty graph.  I have two versions, out of respect for the scale.  The first is in a scale for Joe American.  The second is for the whacky nut job ladies that plan to leave millions of dollars to their cats.

It’s interesting to see that saving extremely, in terms of one’s earnings, provides a nearly inversely proportional relationship in time for retirement.  These are not revolutionary ideas.  I just like visualizing numbers.

It’s interesting to note that spending less, as opposed to making more, has a greater impact to achieving financial independence, faster.  This is logical, if you look back to the equation.  The accumulation denominator is a function of earning and spending, yet the state of the system in the numerator is a function of spending scaled by a factor of 25.

Work Less, Live More

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Human Water Consumption Optimization

As a Dog Beach resident, I’ve noticed that all dogs seem to urinate at the Homeland Security Advisory System between Elevated Risk and High Risk.

I wondered if the concern for hydration is over-rated, and a snopes article on hydration confirms that people are stoopid in regards to the concern of hydration:

The best general advice (keeping in mind there are always exceptions) is to rely upon your normal senses.  If you feel thirsty, drink; if you don’t feel thirsty, don’t drink unless you want to.

Yet, I still stay over-hydrated.  I think partly from boredom, habit, and good feeling I get from a state of being hydrated.

On a final note, make sure you wee instead of getting a Wii (link).

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