People seem more interested in politics these days and lifehacker has a nice post on how to get your voice heard between elections (U.S. advice).
Going to take a week off after this and then thinking I might go to weekly Kiva updates.
Tonight was helping a group get access to clean drinking water.
Tonight I lent $50 to a project in Kenya trying to distribute efficient stoves and solar lights. I'm starting to wonder if this loan a day is still the best idea.
The idea was to a) have a trigger for me to work on this site every night b) to promote kiva.org c) ensure my nightly efforts at least had some positive impact rather than just writing this blog for myself d) to show people I'm here willing to commit s minutes some time/money every night to helping out anyone that is looking for help.
a) & c) are working out, need to work on b) and d)
Interesting thing, the loan tonight was to people in Kenya and they aren't paying interest. I thought that was pretty good even though I have a double standard for those in the US. Sorry US.
This is gross, I was listening to "Project Animal Farm" and the author said lots of chickens die from 'blowout'. Gross
That is their inside push out to the outside, and she said a big contributing factor is that they are being bred to produce larger and larger eggs.
I'm sure there are others things we can do to help chickens out, but at the very least can we all just stop buying the extra-large eggs.
I tried to figure out what's the best, free-range, free-run, cage-free, organic. I don't know if you can trust any of the labels 100% or if they make significant differences, but I think free-range is the supposedly the one that gives the birds the most freedom of movement.
Check out Eating Animals or Project Animal Farm if you want to learn more about where your food comes from.
Click here to see how to get them both free on audible if you're a new member.
OK here it is, my attempt at creating a user manual for your brain so you can make the most of this site. Many people are well intentioned but fail to follow through. This shows you why that is and how you can overcome it if you want. I focused on the topic of money but the principles are the same for any goal.
This is meant to be an open discussion, a goal of this site is to come up with a new mental model for why we do what we do. One that we can all use day to day to make better decisions and to get along better with each other. If you agree or disagree with any aspects let me know and let's see what we can come up with
Let me know what you think of this, it's a pretty rough cut, no editing done. I haven't even listened to it myself, I feel like if I do I will never stop tweaking it. So let me know, if the content is good or bad, if the audio is ok or not, and any way I can improve it.
1 - I highly recommend getting a copy of Tony Robbin's Get The Edge or the booklet or a transcript. His other books or programs like Unleash The Power Within may cover the same material but I haven't listened to them so I don't know for sure. From his site they are pretty expensive but on amazon they are very reasonable. I can lend you my copy if you want. He does a great job describing the way we make up rules based on experiences, and how to reset those rules. His style may not be for everyone, he's really intense but I recommend you just try to stick it out and try to get used to it. He's got a lot of great insight in behaviour.
2 - The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal. This is an amazing resource for understanding your auto pilot (she calls it your 'monitor' I think). If you skip Tony Robbins don't skip this one. You can even get the audiobook forfree using my link to audible.
Others Books (don't bother with these until you've read/listened to the first two)
3. Happy Money - This outlines ways to make the most of your money.
4. Your Brain at Work - How your brain has limited bandwidth and you need to manage it as a resource. He suggests thinking of it as a stage, and thoughts as actors on the stage. You really need to stage manage, both by limiting what is in front of you and practicing mindfulness/meditation to have better control over thought selection (ignore distractions)
5. Happiness Hypothesis - a great book that outlines the tension between pilot and auto-pilot, he describes us as an elephant and a rider. I love this analogy but didn't have time to explain it in the video above.
6. Time Wars - This was the first book I read that pointed out that the most important thing in our lives is the predictions of the future we think of or that other people tell us. They dictate everything. When I read it at first I thought he was crazy, now it seems so obvious, and it seems like something everyone needs to be made aware of.
And of course Links to the previous posts
Links to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
I just realized I forgot to mention mental shortcuts that the auto-pilot uses. These are called cognitive biases. Check out this short list and check out this long list.
And I forgot to mention the concept of mental junk food. Just like you watch what you eat you need to watch what you spend your time thinking about. So many companies are competing for your attention you need to watch out for this more than ever. An interesting book on the topic is Distracted, another one available on Audible.com
I don't think I've lent in this country yet. Good luck Mr. Y!
I noticed a lot of the US loans are paying interest now. A while back I emailed them asking them why the loans were all 0%. They said they try to give all lenders the best deal they can and they could get 0% in the states. I felt there were a few issues with this (people asking for more than they need, and this taking money away from the other countries since the US loans we so big), and that a minimal % could help restrain the loans and be used as a fundraiser for Kiva. It seems unlikely that my email could've made an impact this fast, but whatever did it I'm glad to see it. Kiva suggests I donate $3.25 per $25 loan (13%), but they weren't asking for a cent from the US people, that just didn't seem right. I don't know what they charge now and I don't know if it's across all US loans, just thought I'd mention it since I had a post on this before.
8 weeks in and I don't have much to show for it on this website. I've loaned 40 people some money so at least I've got that going for me.
Mario's dream is to have lights in his home ... so I lent him $25. Good luck Mario.
Tonight I spent the night working on the video I've been talking about. The first run was two hours of content. I think I'm going to scale it way down, I was thinking 20 min, but now I'm thinking 10-15 min. Rather than all the info it's going to be like a table of contents I think. We'll see. Anyways for the daily Kiva.org loan I lent $50 to Sabina in Peru for her restaurant supplies. It's only a 6 month loan so I'll have it back in no time to lend out again!
Helping with some farm supplies in Myanmar hoping to create some jobs too.
Tonight I made a lot of progress on my video, I'm hoping I'll have it up by the end of the week.
Today I did a 3 in one, I loaned $75 to a lady in Pakistan. I was doing $25 to be a trigger each night to start on this site but this week I need the extra time to actually make progress on that video.
I was always intimidated by the idea of sharpening knives. I was worried I would mess them up by holding them at the wrong angle or using the wrong grinding wheel or sharpening stone. But it's not that hard. Well not that hard to do an ok job. I might not have done a perfect job but with a ~$20 stone from amazon and no mess I was able to get it from not cutting a sheet of paper to slicing right through it!
Here's the site that helped me :)
Here's the stone the guy mentions in the second video
Norton Crystolon Combination Oilstone, Fine/Coarse, 1x2x8"
I think you can get just about any honer, like this one. http://amzn.to/2i84cQg
I just used a stone that looked like that which I found in my dad's toolbox, and a honing tool I picked up at the local hardware store. I tried it out on some old kitchen knives.
I've been thinking about getting a 'smart' thermostat since the first time I heard they existed. The appeal to me is the ease of turning down the termostat when leaving for the day. I have no faith in the thermostat to learn my routines but I'm ok with doing it manually via my smartphone. The big question is, 'do you really save energy or is it somewhat evened out by the recoery time?'
The consensus is (based on the laws of thermodynamics) you'll save energy for every minute your thermostat is set back, not much but some. So I've only had it a week or so and I'm trying to set it back any chance I get, but the recovery time is significant, and the savings in the best case scenario are not that significant if I'm only doing a one degree set back here and there.
Overall I like the termostat (Ecobee 3, in Ontario Canada there is a $100 rebate available to most people, link, Google your area you might have a rebate too).
In all my hours of looking into this I came across two interesting things.
1) When you drop the temp your humidity goes up (condensation), so you can be introducing moiture into your house (risk of mold) if you do a huge setback while on vacation. Most people don't seem too worried about the mold and I haven't heard any horror stories, but it's something I hadn't thought of.
2) I came across a great slide show that compares the impact of different energy saving activities. Things like setting back your thermostat, insulating your attic, all the way down to keeping your fridge full (even with water jugs when low on food) so it's not cooling so much air. I like to do as many as I can but I don't stress about it if I don't have time to do some of the lower impact ones like keeping the fridge full of water jugs, especially now that I see how little of an impact it has.
Click here for the slides
Here's a link to the site I found it on
p.s. I came across one more interesting thing, studies showed that most people didn't use the features of their programable thermostat when those became popular because they were too complicated to set. Hopefully the default settings of these new smart thermostats do a bit better of a job and make a bit of an impact. I found the Ecobee to have many more settings and features than I thought it would, but the final state of it is not far off the default settings, 1 degree setback for when I'm sleeping or when it notices no one is home.
People love Super Heroes more than ever these days. I think everyone wants to be that hero, wants to be the one to save the day, and they would if they had the super powers. But they don't realize they have a lot of power to save lives or at least make a big difference in the lives of others. That's what this site is all about, things you can do, some of them have a bigger impact than others. Sometimes small actions have big impacts.
I was reading the paper today and saw an article about two teenagers in India that saved people in America millions of dollars. And it was typically saving people from losing all of their savings, not saving a couple dollars they wouldn't notice.
These teenagers worked in a call centre set up to scam Americans out of their savings by convincing them they owed money to the IRS. The scam worked on less than 1% of those called but for those it worked on they lost more than they could afford. These teenagers got caught up with the scam becaue they wanted jobs, and those around them had the mindset that it was ok to rob from Americans because America robs from the world, but these teenagers knew it wasn't right so they reported their actions to the FBI.
Can you believe this!? These kids called up the FBI to tell them what was going on. That takes a lot of courage and I think people in America should be celebrating these two.
Way to go Pawan Poojary and Jayesh Dubey, thanks for being you!
If you see something that is not right you have the super power to stand up and say something about it.