The Art of the Campaign

Donald Trump has certainly impressed – his straight talking style and abandonment of the Teleprompter has placed him first among Republicans. Whether or not the Donald will win against Hilary is yet to be seen. What Trump has on his side is less political baggage and scandals such as Hilary with regards to Bengazi and her suspicious activity regarding state emails.

Unfortunately, Trump has already alienated a lot of people and the media with his non-politically correct language. That same language is what’s getting supporters fired up and on his side though, and he knows it. It will be great to see the first round of debates, and it will be a nightmare for the Republicans if he loses the primary and runs as a third party candidate – something he has the resources to do.

The liberal media is definitely giving Trump much of the limelight compared to other Republican contenders, almost as if they want to see a Trump victory in the primaries. Folks like Rand Paul are being pushed into the shadows – and with it America’s best hope of reducing foreign intervention. Whether Trump has a good plan in place to reduce national debt is yet to be seen, and Hilary has the Bill Clinton ticket to play – Bill was the only president in recent history to create a budget surplus in the late 90’s which lasted until the year 2001 when 9/11 happened.

It is hard to see Trump being president because he acts very non-Presidential, very brash, wherein every sentence may mean a potential slander lawsuit. Regardless, he has managed to succeed so far, and maybe his next book will be titled “The Art of the Campaign”!

What Happens When Most Facebook Friends are Dead?

It’s bound to happen someday, maybe not to you but at least to someone – where Facebook becomes more of an online graveyard then a place to hang out and post funny photos etc. All of my facebook friends that have died still have accounts which have become kind of like tombstones that still have photos and memories of the deceased and one way comments. Wouldn’t it depressing if at one point half or more of the friends you had on Facebook are dead? Lets just say someone makes all their friends in their twenties and grows to be 90, unless that person is in the habit of making many new friends in their older years then most of their friends from the early 2000’s would probably be deceased. How will Facebook deal with this, will they convert these accounts into memorials, which are segregated from the friends list?

Just a morbid thought I would like to throw out there to ponder upon, and I guess Facebook friends are the last of a persons worries when most of their REAL friends have passed on. Also, if Facebook follows the trend of every social media site before it, Facebook will have fallen out of popularity by the time our generation has gotten old.

 

As of March 2014 this is what Facebook allows relatives to do with a deceased person's account

As of March 2014 this is what Facebook allows relatives to do with a deceased person’s account

Why Are Ants Trying To Climb Into My Laptop?

I currently work in Malaysia and in my office there are small ants crawling around because sometimes food is left on tables etc. What I noticed one day was that there was a line of ants going up and into a neighbour’s laptop through the heatsink. The first thought that comes to mind is, they must have found a good place for a nest inside the running laptop. Then reality kicks in, no way the ants would get fried in there!

Today I read an article about ‘Crazy Ants’, that have been taking over in Texas as the head honcho based on their chemical excretions that neutralize fire ant poison that also double as a chemical weapon of their own. These ants, unlike fire ants, like to steal their homes rather than build them from scratch. In fact, they would prefer to fight and kill a colony of fire ants and steal their home than build their own. Another place they like to live, unlike fire ants, is in electronics or any man-made home. Additionally, I found that when these crazy ants get zapped by electronics they emit the ’emergency’ chemical that signals to the other ants they are in trouble and need help. That brings the other ants over, and whala! My answer to why these ants at work are crawling into a hazardous heatsink of a computer is solved!

How do you deal with a genetically superior ant that is naturally from Brazil but wreaks havoc among Texas’s natural ecosystem? These crazy ants are taking food that would be traditionally eaten by bugs that birds enjoy eating – however birds understandably aren’t too keen on eating these smelly chemically laden ants that like zapping themselves in electronics. Fire ants, also from Brazil, are beginning to seem like old friends when it comes to these crazy ants. Perhaps the birds are just going to have to adapt to eating these smelly creatures.

Should You Go To College? Economically Speaking

Using data provided by Payscale.com, the following chart defines how much better off the average student is in 30 years financially by getting a degree. As you can see, the most lucrative schools based on wage premiums are private engineering schools. The next few dots you see are state engineering, private research, and ivy league degrees. The dots below the ascending black line indicate schools whose tuition cost more than the wage premiums would gain the student in 30 years. Those dots represent folks that would have probably been better off financially by not going to school. The point I’m trying to make is that if you are planning on going to college, the best bet for you (if you are willing and or capable) is to enter engineering. For most folks, in 30 years, college will have paid for their tuition many times over so generally speaking the answer to the post is yes.

30 year average wage premium

30 year average wage premium

Is Social Media Here To Stay?

Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, you name it, is not a new phenomenon. It is, however, being used by a much older population and taken much more seriously that it has in the past. In essence it has become the show and tell for all of your friends and relatives and possibly co-workers to see what you are up to and when. I can’t count how many times people have lost their jobs for posting politically charged or reputable information on their personal social media page – but couldn’t name a single case of this happening back in the early to late 90’s when MySpace was the place for social media, if not yahoo! Social Media has become less of a easy-going tool for friends to hang out and share experiences and/or feelings and more of how people want others to perceive their personal lives.

Social media is not only expected but sometimes required for a job – those without a Facebook account will be labelled as suspicious by some employers. Obviously, in some peoples’ minds, those without a Facebook account have something to hide. You might abandon Facebook thinking it will protect you, but the very fact that such a overarching medium for expression exists demands an impact on your person from social media. Answer to the post – yes.

How You Should Invest Based on Your Age

There are certain things people can do to maximize their expected retirement income while protecting themselves from utter destitution. The first step, invest early. A early portfolio means years of compounding and appreciation which resembles the following curve over time given a starting amount of $1.00 over 40 years.

This interactive chart displays the progression of $1 through 50 years of compounding at a modest 10% per year, around what the historical average return of the stock market is. As you can see the first few years are unimpressive, but eventually the savings grows past what you would have made investing $1 per year without interest! So instead of spending a dollar every year to save $100 in a non-interest account the one dollar invested in the stock market would equate to twice a yearly non-interest savings contribution.

The second point I would like to make is that as you reach retirement age your investments should become more conservative – after all, I am assuming you are using this money to retire on and another point to make is no one lives forever. It is suggested that younger folks should invest most if not all their money in equities while those approaching retirement should go more heavily on bonds, in the 60 to 100% range.

If you’ve been lucky enough to save more than enough for retirement, it might be worthwhile to invest in your children or grandchildren’s education – dependant of how magnanimous you are or how well they treated you. Other fine options include starting an expensive hobby such as sword collecting or medieval smithing, surprisingly enough Chrome spell-check doesn’t even know what the word smithing is or how to spell it so there is another great reason to take on that hobby.

Ebay Fees Updated – 18.9% For $10 Item Normal Listing

Almost three years ago I wrote a post about how much it costs to sell on ebay – that post happened to be a raging success and has gathered a lot of hits over the years. Seeing as that two year old post was so popular and wanting to do eBay justice for their new pricing structure I would like to go through the process again using the same metrics and let you know how much it costs to sell on eBay again based on selling something in November of 2013.

Books, Music, Movies, DVDs

Assuming you’ve sold more than 50 items on eBay for the month the insertion fee for books is just 5 cents. The final value fee is 10%, capped at a value fee of $250 – doubtful you will sell a book on eBay for more than $2500. So, because of our insertion fee a book sold on eBay for $10 will gather a $1.05 fee, or 10.5%. Now progressing to Paypal, their fees actually have not changed for sellers – still 2.9% plus 30 cents. So you get dinged 59 cents on a $10 payment.

Incoming from Paypal payment: $9.41

Outgoing to Ebay: $1.05

Net: $8.36

Cost to sell a book on Ebay:

16.4%

Miscellaneous Items

The only difference between miscellaneous items and books are the insertion fee – the insertion fee for miscellaneous items is 30 cents. That makes the net from the same example above cents less, so increases the cost to sell on eBay to 18.9%.

Since eBay has streamlined it’s process I would argue it has become much better for sellers who either sell less than 50 items per month or sell very expensive items (to reach the $250 final fee cap).

 

Making a profit with 18.9% costs

So how much will you need to up the price of an item you’ve acquired to turn a quick profit? Hopefully this is useful for those who enjoy going to the garage or estate sell to find cheap items to make some cash online. Don’t make the mistake of simply multiplying your buying price by 1.189, if you buy something for $10 and sell it for $11.89 you will have to pay $2.25 in fees and then you will lose 46 cents total. Instead divide your buying price by 0.81.

But who wants to buy and sell for no profit? No one. I would personally keep thing simple and only buy things that you expect to sell for 50% more than you pay for them. Good luck, and feel free to comment if you have any questions about eBay strategies.

 

Feds Buy Tons of Ammo

Recently I was surprised to find out that I was not able to find the smallest bullet around, the 22 LR, at the local Walmart. Turns out supplies are gone due to a huge government order for ammo specifically clearing the shelves of 22 LR and .223 (used in the AR-15).

While the Obama administration will not be able to immediately change gun laws, it seems that it is taking action through its huge government purchases of ammo which effectively keep regular folks from getting any. If you ask around, you will encounter the same situation around the country (comment below with your experience).

The Fed purchases include not only FMJ (full metal jacket) rounds but also hollow point rounds, which are forbidden for use in war based on the Hague Convention Declaration III, which also set chemical weapons use as an illegal tool of warfare.

Resources:

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/02/17/Feds-Buy-2-Billion-Rounds-Of-Ammunition

http://www.wnd.com/2013/02/feds-buying-enough-bullets-for-24-year-war/

Top Regrets When Dying

A UK newspaper recently posted a profound article listing the top 5 regrets people have when on their deathbed. The regrets were recorded by Bronnie Ware, an Australian nurse working in palliative care with those who have 12 weeks or less to live. In her time working with so many dying people, she noted the regrets people voice out to her and report the following wishes:

  1. I wish I had the courage to live the life I wanted to live, not the one others wished of me.
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so much.
  3. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish I let myself be happier.

As someone who is not on their deathbed, these five regrets should make you think twice about your priorities and how you are living your life. Are you living your life as a plan for someone else or for what you want yourself? Are you working so much your life is not meaningful? Are you expressing your feelings or letting them eat away at you? Are you staying in touch with your friends? Are you letting yourself be happy?

If the answer is no to any of the above, perhaps you should rethink your life and make plans to change it in a positive way that wont leave you regretting anything on your deathbed.

Inhalable Caffeine

Recently a new product was brought to my attention via a Senator’s call for an FDA review of Aeroshot Energy, which is in essence an inhabitable dose of caffeine and vitamin B. You can check out their website here. If it is determined to be safe, then perhaps people can also start installing caffeine units into their air conditioning systems to wake them up in the morning? Anyways, I went ahead and bought five units just to see what all the fuss was about. What do you think? I don’t think that this product is going to be any worse for you than 5 hour energy or a Rockstar Energy drink.

Building Oil-Free Communities

Oil products are all around us, from what we wear, how we carry things, and what things are wrapped in – the most obvious product of oil is gasoline. The United States is full of cities and towns which are designed in such a way that people need cars to function, which isn’t how it always was. I think it would be useful to design communities where oil is not a big factor in daily living – now this is easier to do in warmer areas nearer to the equator since keeping warm always requires the use of fuel. Why not design towns where everyone lives within walking distance of everything they need? Other people call these types of towns “Transition Towns”, where community gardens are grown and local businesses buy local and exchange locally. Following this method, these towns will be well suited for times when peak oil is reached.