Tightwad Gazette

….just got the book in the mail. Not quite sure what to think about it, yet, but

  • It’s long. Really long, and honestly, spends too much time defending being a tightwad. Come on, I already get that saving money is a good plan, can we get to the tips?
  • I….feel like this book really does encourage hoarding a bit too much. Not…really a fan of the idea of taking something I’m about to throw away and trying to think up another use for it. I….would rather do the reverse of identifying a need and seeing if anything among my current possessions would work.
  • I’ll admit to skipping quite a few of the tips because they aren’t exactly relevant to someone who’s not a suburban mom.



Fountain Pens

I’m considering getting a fountain pen; what would y’all recommend?

Characteristics I care about:

  1. Fairly fine nib; I currently write with 0.35 mm gel ballpoint pens; I’d like a fountain pen to have a line of similar thickness.
  2. Relatively cheap. I’m looking for less than twenty dollars, thirty max.
  3. Non-cartridge option; I would rather not be locked into buying ink from a specific supplier.
  4. Relatively transportable, as in it won’t get sad if placed in a backpack and carried around.
  5. Holds a reasonable amount of ink. I….would rather not have to refill half-way through each day.

I’m currently mostly looking at the fine-tip converted Platinum Preppy, with probably a Noodler’s bulletproof ink….any opinions?

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Reducing waste

Reduce, reuse, recycle!

I’m going to try to reduce the amount of waste I generate to be approximately nil. Not sure how this is going to work, exactly, but

1) Recycling sort of counts as waste. I’m going to try to reduce the amount of recycling I have to do, but am going to just understand that it’s not possible to purchase some things sans containers. You know, like liquids.

2) Composting does not count as waste.

3) I’m exempting toilet paper, because that’s an ick barrier I haven’t managed to conquer yet.

Let’s see how this goes.

First up is tissues: I’m hemming some spare fabric into handkerchiefs right now 😀

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Monday Miscellaneous

I guess we’re living in a surveillance state after all. FBI demands Lavabit‘s SSL encryption key.

The U.S. government in July obtained a search warrant demanding that Edward Snowden’s e-mail provider, Lavabit, turn over the private SSL keys that protected all web traffic to the site, according to to newly unsealed documents.

The July 16 order came after Texas-based Lavabit refused to circumvent its own security systems to comply with earlier orders intended to monitor a particular Lavabit user’s metadata, defined as “information about each communication sent or received by the account, including the date and time of the communication, the method of communication, and the source and destination of the communication.”

Why are there so few women in science? A lovely essay written by Eileen Pollack.

Presented with identical summaries of the accomplishments of two imaginary applicants, professors at six major research institutions were significantly more willing to offer the man a job. If they did hire the woman, they set her salary, on average, nearly $4,000 lower than the man’s. Surprisingly, female scientists were as biased as their male counterparts.

It’s apparently not difficult to get a concealed gun permit in Utah, even when you don’t live there.

My achievement doesn’t make sense for a number of reasons. One, I don’t live in Utah. I’m a resident of Washington, DC, a city that holds concealed handguns in roughly the same esteem as working escalators. I’ve never shot a gun. And in distinctly un-Utahn fashion, I’m nursing a hangover. Fortunately, none of that matters here. After four hours at Dukes Defense, I have a completed application and a snazzy graduation certificate for my wall. Sixty days after my application is processed, I’ll be able to carry a concealed weapon in no fewer than 32 states. It’s great for road trips.

Fox News and Republicans celebrate the fact that the EPA shuts down during government shutdowns.

A full 94 percent of the Environmental Protection Agency’s 16,204 have been furloughed for the duration of the government shutdown, impeding the agency’s ability to regulate pollution, monitor air and water quality and clean up Superfund sites. It could also, as the Guardian reports, prevent them from enforcing those new CO2 standards for coal-fired power plants.

Some aren’t too torn up about that possibility. Tennessee Representative Marsha Blackburn, for example, tweeted the following:

There is some good news out of the shutdown, the EPA can’t issue new regulations. http://t.co/SsSTDiif2R

— Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) October 1, 2013

Personally, I think we should have expected the government shutdown, because seriously Republicans would just rather not govern.

Fox’s John Stossel:

“I’m hoping the shutdown will wake people up and say, hey, maybe we don’t need all this stuff,” [Strossel] said. “We could close whole departments. Why do we need a Commerce Department? Commerce just happens, government gets in the way.”


“So, you’re pro-shutdown?” co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck asked.

“Yeah,” Stossel replied. “Shut more down!”

Zimmerman’s wife doubts his innocence.

Shellie Zimmerman appeared on the NBC program with her attorney and discussed the trial, her divorce and a Sept. 9 domestic dispute.

She said she never saw a gun during the incident, although she said she felt threatened when her husband gestured toward a holster on his hip and repeatedly told her to “step closer.”

“I saw him in a stance and a look in his eyes that I’ve never seen before,” Shellie Zimmerman said.

Shellie Zimmerman said she did not press charges because she said police told her she and her husband would each go to jail but she would likely stay there after pleading guilty to perjury related to George Zimmerman’s murder case.

[Emphasis mine]

There’s a new Hyperbole and a Half! [1]

And your miscellaneous photo of the week: Giant chart of beer.


[1] Incidentally, the same effect may comes into play when people drink.

Overall, 38% of the experiments found expectancy effects. All 3 of the social influence studies found that expectancy set increased susceptibility to social influence, whereas none of the aggression studies found effects for expectancy set. Studies on creativity, mood/emotion, sexual aggression, sexuality, and miscellaneous topics yielded mixed findings and there were too few within each topic to consider further. Three topics, cognitive/motor performance, decision making/risk taking, and stress/anxiety, included at least 10 studies and were examined at more depth.

Or, in English, people tend to become more susceptible to peer influence when drunk because of subconscious factors and not because of the alcohol itself. [Return]

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