Curb Your Spending by Translating Money into Time, and other Dollar Tips

Some good tips on this site. This is Tip #4:

From Passion Saving:

It’s easy to spend your hard-earned money in an instant, but it doesn’t take an instant to earn. If you find yourself buying things you may not need, and doing it too easily, you may have an easier time curbing that habit by translating the money you’re spending into hours worked.

This tip comes from Rob Bennet of finance site Passion Saving, and it’s a pretty simple trick you can play on your own mind. Let’s say you make $10 an hour and want to buy a $400 television. Instead of seeing the television as $400, look at it as 40 hours of work. That television costs an entire week of your time, and that’s not even considering taxes. More realistically, you’re probably looking at 50 hours of work or more. Instead of asking yourself if you want to spend $400 on a television, ask whether or not you want to spend 50 hours of your life. When you consider how much time that is, that money might be a bit harder to part with.

Is Twitter Politically Polarized?

Interesting, artistic, political and techy!

Linkmaps of Twitter and Political Polarization

From The Monkey Cage:

Yes, according to a new paper by M. D. Conover, J. Ratkiewicz, M. Francisco, B. Goncalves, A. Flammini, and F. Menczer (computer scientists are apparently big on the idea of not letting the world know what their first names are). But there still is some interesting interaction between Twitter users from different political perspectives.

The authors use an algorithm to identify 250,000 Twitter messages (from a database of 355 million tweets gathered over a six week period) with politically relevant hashtags, coming from about 45,000 users. What’s interesting is that they identify quite different dynamics as operating within two different communication networks. One network is composed of retweets – where one user simply retweets another’s message. Here, they find that this network is densely clustered, so that left-leaning people retweet messages from other leftwingers, and right-leaning people retweet messages from other rightwingers. However, there is a second network, composed of ‘mentions’ – where one Twitter user mentions another’s user name in order to communicate with him or her. This network is far more heterogenous, as can be seen from the figure below (the retweet network is linkmapped on the left, the mention network on the right). This can be interpreted with a positive or negative normative slant, depending.

mentions and replies may serve as a conduit through which users are exposed to information and opinions they might not choose in advance. Despite this promising finding, the work of Yardi and boyd (2010) suggests that cross-ideological interactions may reinforce pre-existing in-group/out-group identities, exacerbating the problem of political polarization.

The authors lean towards the latter interpretation. They also generously provide their dataset (located at ) for others interested in exploring the “role of technologically-mediated political inter- action in deliberative democracy.”

Why My 30-Year-Old Stereo System would have Sounded Better than a new One

I shoulda kept my 30-year-old stereo! Actually I think this is article is about the SAME model as my 30-year-old stereo!! Or was that my roommates stereo? hmmmmm … Anyway – it did have GREAT quality!


Look in the lower right corner: turntable then stereo receiver. I am almost sure it was a Pioneer like the one in the article! Hey, WHO are these great looking young men??  🙂
(click on this picture to make it larger IF you dare!)

From Gizmodo:

If you fashion yourself as an audiophile and just threw down a decent wad of cash on a new A/V receiver, you probably won’t like hearing that the receivers of yesteryear produce comparable sound. Why is that? Technological advancement, ironically.

Cnet’s Steve Guttenberg sheds light on this interesting development that over the years, actual sound quality became a secondary selling point since most people started buying their equipment either online or from big box retailers. People started caring more about the number of connections and wireless interfaces and wattage of systems. As a result, there was less money in R&D budgets to spend on advancements in sound.

OK, so what’s wrong with that? The receiver engineers have to devote the lion’s share of their design skills and budget to making the features work. Every year receiver manufacturers pay out more and more money (in the form of royalties and licensing fees) to Apple, Audyssey, Bluetooth, HD Radio, XM-Sirius, Dolby, DTS and other companies, and those dollars consume an ever bigger chunk of the design budget. The engineers have to make do with whatever is left to make the receiver sound good. Retail prices of receivers, the ones that sell in big numbers, never go up. The $300 to $500 models are where most of the sales action is, just like 10, 20 or 30 years ago, when their $300 to $500 models weren’t packed to the gills with the features I just listed. Something’s got to go, and sound quality usually takes the hit.

What’s more is that over the past few decades, the average power of receivers has gone down in high-end receivers. While the entry level and mid-range receivers have more watts than before (from 20w-30w then, to 90w-100w now), high-end receivers top out around 140w-150w. Gutenberg references a 270w Pioneer receiver from 1980, and a test of that receiver by Innovative Audio shows that it can go toe-to-toe with the newest gear. So if you’re solely interested in a receiver for music, going vintage might not be the worst idea. [Innovative Audio via Cnet]

40 Cool Drinks for a Hot Day

These look yummy!

From Real Simple:

40 Cool Drinks for a Hot Day

A gallery of cocktails, iced teas, lemonades, and other drinks to slake your thirst.

Basil Lemonade

Ngoc Minh Ngo

Nonalcoholic Beverages

This tangy basil-infused drink is made for summer.

Get the recipe for Basil Lemonade.

Hibiscus Mocktini

Francesco Lagnese

Mix up this hibiscus-tea refresher in just 5 minutes.

Get the recipe for the Hibiscus Mocktini.

Ginger Beer

Petrina Tinslay

Despite its name, Ginger Beer is kid-friendly.

Get the recipe for Ginger Beer.

Ginger and Honey Iced Tea

James Baigrie

Upgrade iced tea with anything from ginger and honey to peach and mint.

Get the recipes for Iced Tea Four Ways.

Espresso Slushy

Charles Maraia

Instant espresso gives a low-cal drink some kick.

Get the recipe for the Espresso Slushy.

Raspberry Fizz

Charles Maraia

Top a ginger ale–cranberry juice combo with scoops of raspberry sorbet.

Get the recipe for Raspberry Fizz.

Pitchers of lemonade

Antonis Achilleos

When life hands you lemons, make one of these versions of the hot-weather classic.

Get the recipes for 5 Lemonade Recipes.

Iced Green Tea With Ginger and Mint

Charles Maraia

Green tea is spiced with ginger and mint.

Get the recipe for Iced Green Tea With Ginger and Mint.

Watermelon-Mint Cooler

Yunhee Kim

As juicy and refreshing as a slice of watermelon on a sweltering afternoon.

Get the recipe for Watermelon-Mint Cooler.

Cucumber and Lime Spritzer

 Yunhee Kim

Slightly tart and brisk, this is a drink for grown-ups.

Get the recipe for Cucumber and Lime Spritzer.

Sparkling Pineapple Ginger Ale

 Yunhee Kim

Pineapple sweetens the tang of ginger ale.

Get the recipe for Sparkling Pineapple Ginger Ale.

Frozen Blueberry Lemonade

Charles Masters

Make store-bought lemonade special by adding fresh blueberries and mint.

Get the recipe for Frozen Blueberry Lemonade.

Fresh Strawberry Shake

James Baigrie

Fresh strawberries are at the heart of these thick, rich, and totally decadent frappes.

Get the recipe for Fresh Strawberry Shake.

Iced Tea With Plums and Thyme

Yunhee Kim

Serve this fruit-and-herb blend as a nonalcoholic sipper or spike it with bourbon.

Get the recipe for Iced Tea With Plums and Thyme.

Ginger Ale

Maura McEvoy

An old-fashioned treat: homemade ginger ale.

Get the recipe for Ginger Ale.

Lemon Iced Tea

Maura McEvoy

Lemon and mint give zing to bracing black tea.

Get the recipe for Lemon Iced Tea.

Mixed-Berry Shake

Quentin Bacon

A frothy concoction of ice cream and berries is a sweet, satisying treat, especially when the weather swelters.

Get the recipe for Mixed-Berry Shake.

Cranberry Spritzer

Alexandra Grablewski

This cranberry-apple-strawberry mash-up gets extra kick from a sugary rim garnish.

Get the recipe for Cranberry Spritzer.

Strawberry Lemonade

Christopher Baker

A lively version of lemonade fizzes with carbonated water.

Get the recipe for Strawberry Lemonade.


 Beatriz da Costa

Alcoholic Beverages

A sparkling combination of juice and vodka.

Get the recipe for the Simple Cocktail.

Classic Margaritas

Dana Gallagher

Triple Sec and lime give a margarita zest.

Get the recipe for Classic Margaritas.

Sparkling White Sangria

Francesco Lagnese

Apricot nectar is the secret of this sangria.

Get the recipe for Sparkling White Sangria.

Bourbon and Blood Orange Blast

Francesco Lagnese

Three ingredients are all that’s needed for this bourbon cocktail.

Get the recipe for the Bourbon and Blood Orange Blast.

Pitchers of summer cocktails

Quentin Bacon

Classic summer drinks: sangria, daiquiri, and margarita.

Get the recipes for shortcut versions of these 3 Fake It, Don’t Make It Cocktails.

Mango Colada

Maura McEvoy

Thank rum for this mango concoction’s tropical punch.

Get the recipe for the Mango Colada.


Jeremy Samuelson

To garnish with olives or a twist? Take your pick.

Get the recipe for the Martini.

Pear Mimosas

William Meppem

Champagne and pear nectar combine in a delicate drink.

Get the recipe for Pear Mimosas.

Cocktails on napkins

Anita Calero

Learn how to mix up these standbys, plus 7 more party beverages.

Get the recipes for Martinis, Sangria, and more.

Strawberry-Banana Margarita

Maura McEvoy

This take on the margarita features fresh strawberries and bananas.

Get the recipe for the Strawberry-Banana Margarita.

Stay Dry Vodka Martini

Maura McEvoy

For an unconventional garnish, try a sprig of lavender or thyme.

Get the recipe for the “Stay Dry” Vodka Martini.


Maura McEvoy

Juicy berries and flavorful orange slices transform Rioja into sangria.

Get the recipe for Red Wine Sangria.

Lime Sorbet Margaritas

Quentin Bacon

Is it a drink or is it dessert? Perhaps a little bit of both.

Get the recipe for Lime Sorbet Margaritas.

White Sangria

 Charles Maraia

Club soda adds fizz to white wine and a veritable fruit medley.

Get the recipe for White Sangria.

Lime Spritzers

 Johnny Valiant

Lime slices are a tangy note in light, bubbly spritzers.

Get the recipe for Lime Spritzers and more in How to Throw an Outdoor Cocktail Party.

Watermelon-Lime Cooler

Maura McEvoy

If you wish, eliminate the vodka from this recipe for a refreshing, nonalcoholic quencher.

Get the recipe for the Watermelon-Lime Cooler.

4 tropical cocktails

Kathryn Barnard and Greg Kessler

Bring a bit of the beach to your backyard: a quartet of drinks (piña colada, mojito, and more) offer a tropical twist.

Get Tropical Cocktail Recipes.

Sparkling Passion-Fruit Aperitifs


Bubbles dance on the tongue with this fruit-flavored sipper.

Get the recipe for Sparkling Passion-Fruit Aperitifs.

Cucumber Saketini

Francesco Lagnese

Cucumber meets sake in an invigorating cocktail.

Get the recipe for Cucumber Saketini.

Cosmopolitan Slushy

Maura McEvoy

An icy take on an old favorite.

Get the recipe for the Cosmopolitan Slushy.

Berry Vodka Spritzers

Rob Howard

A vodka-and–club soda mix is chock-full of fresh fruit.

Get the recipe for Berry Vodka Spritzers.

Use the 20x Rule to Stay Motivated and Inspired

This makes sense – do something good twenty times instead of once…..

From Escape from Cubicle Nation:

The “20x Rule” is simple: when you do something good for yourself, your family, or your career, consider how rich your life would be if you did it twenty times instead of just once.

Pamela Slim, writing at Escape from Cubicle Nation, suggests the rule specifically in terms of business: if you reached out to one new lead, imagine what would happen if you reached out to twenty? The rule can also apply to your personal life. For example, if you’re trying to motivate yourself into a new workout routine, imagine if you worked out twenty times this month instead of just once.

Pamela also makes the important point that all of that work takes time and effort that you may not have, or may have to build up to. If you get results quickly, you’re lucky, but for most of us it’s more reasonable to stay motivated and keep pushing than to just flip a switch and be more productive. Naturally, this rule doesn’t apply to every situation, but applied well, it could add some much needed inspiration to your career. How do you stay motivated to do more and better things?

Take control of your lens cap!

A couple of ideas for keeping track of that pesky lens cap!

From Lifehacker:

Losing a camera lens cap is no fun; not only are you temporarily without protection for your lens, but they’re surprisingly expensive to replace. This DIY cap holder will keep your cap close at hand.
Some camera lens caps have a tiny lanyard to attach the cap to the body of the camera, but more often than not lens caps have no such retention mechanism. You can craft one really easily using an empty bottle of shampoo, conditioner, hand cream, or other common bottle made from HD-PE plastic—often labeled with the recycling logo with a 2 in the center—it’s soft and easy to cut.
At the design site Benvolo, they’ve put together a tutorial for turning HD-PE plastic scrap into a little cap-keeper for your cameras. You’ll need an empty bottle of an appropriate plastic, a razor knife, a hole punch or drill—definitely a drill if your cap doesn’t already have some sort of anchor point—and some 3/32th inch elastic cord. Check out the site for step by step photos and a printable template to help you cut out the basic shape.

From Instructables:

(spoiler alert – this uses Velcro!!! YAY!)

Take control of your lens cap!

I like having the lens cap on a leash so it doesn’t get lost but it can also get in the way when it’s swinging around. Here’s a solution that is crazy-easy.