Nov
13
2008
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Recent reading and thinking material

Below are links to some articles I have read recently. Of course I don’t agree with everything contained in these articles, but they are interesting nonetheless.

John Piper on voting and living

John Conchrane for Opinion Journal: Is now the time to buy stocks?

Camille Paglia on Obama and Palin

Robert George on when life begins

BBC article about Google Earth’s model of ancient Rome

Report that RSS feeds aren’t used nearly as widely as I had thought

Cal Thomas on school choice

Written by in: Shameless Academic |
Nov
12
2008
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Favorite Money-Saving Websites Part 4: Don’t Buy At All

Welcome to the 4th, and probably last part in my series about my favorite websites for saving money.

Today I would like to talk about two websites that remind me not to buy at all. But first, some thoughts on not buying.

As I have delved deeper into the realms of bargain shopping, I have to remind myself that a sale is never a good deal if I don’t need to purchase the item in the first place. An example: I am hoping (soon!) to clean out our books. We have four tall bookcases and one short bookcase, all crammed with books. Approximately one-third of our books were purchased on sale. We have books that we will never read, but we bought them because they cost 50 cents or a dollar each. We thought that someday, we might read them, and now we have more books than we can fit on our shelves.

Those $1 books were not a good deal if I never use them.

So on that note, one of my new favorite blogs is Unclutterer. The constant reminders to clean out, get rid of stuff, and keep it simple = constant reminders to quit buying stuff. It is good for me.

One of my other favorite blogs is Get Rich Slowly. I like this blog because J.D. is a real person who researches stuff and applies it in real life. It is authentic and practical. And, J.D. often reminds readers not to buy stuff they don’t need. Like me, he sometimes struggles with urges to buy stuff just because he likes it. For him it is comic books. For me it is (usually) clothes. For you it may be something else. That is why a blog feed that regularly reminds you not to buy is a good thing.

Unclutterer and Get Rich Slowly do that for me, but I’m sure there are lots of other good blogs and websites out there on this topic. What is your favorite?

If you enjoyed this post, check out my other posts about money-saving websites:

Part 1: Comparison Shopping

Part 2: Discounts

Part 3: Buying Used

Written by in: Shameless Academic |
Nov
09
2008
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Life changing events that shouldn’t be

The Freakonomics blog recently had a post about the dangers of n=1. It refers to a common problem of building beliefs or even habits on one event or one example. The primary example in the article reminded me of something that happened when I was in college.

I often had  to get up early in the morning, before my roommates were awake. I would get out of bed in the dark, wrap myself in a robe, grab my towel, and stumble down the hall to the shower. On one particular morning, I walked into the bathroom, turned on the water, and only then noticed a very large insect on the edge of my robe, just an inch or so from my skin. It was traumatizing, to say the least. And every morning after that, I would shake my robe before I put it on.

I think that N=1 becomes powerful when it involves consequences that we find especially terrible. I was willing to shake my robe every morning because the thought of an insect crawling on my skin was very disturbing. We are willing to take off our shoes and submit to searches in airports because the possibility of another 9-11 is unthinkable.

I wonder how many other habits and practices in our lives were started by one incident, or even by hearing about one incident? Perhaps we are not as rational as we like to think that we are!

Written by in: Shameless Academic |
Nov
04
2008
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Voter Discrimination

I think I was the beneficiary of discrimination today. Not because I’m female or even because I was wearing an awesome shade of pink today but rather because of my name.

I arrived at the elementary school ready to vote, and excited about getting my sticker. I marched into the cafeteria and saw . . . the line. But it wasn’t my line. It was the L-M line. I was glad that my last name begins with J because I had no line at all.

Written by in: Shameless Academic |
Nov
04
2008
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Voting humor

I like this summary of the voting process from Jessica at Indexed.

Click to see the full size image.

Written by in: Shameless Academic |

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