Category Archives: Blogs

Random Life Advice

Business pundit Seth Godin offers some almost-random advice tips:

  1. No stranger or unknown company will ever contact you by mail or by phone with an actual method for making money easily or in your spare time. And if the person or company contacting you asserts that they are someone you know, double check before taking action.
  2. Don’t have back surgery. See a physiatrist first, then exhaust all other options before wondering if you should have back surgery.
  3. Borrow money to buy things that go up in value, but never to get something that decays over time.
  4. Placebos are underrated by almost everyone.
  5. It’s almost never necessary to use a semicolon.
  6. Seek out habits that help you overcome fear or inertia. Destroy those that do the opposite.
  7. Cognitive behavorial therapy is generally considered both the quickest and most effective form of addressing many common psychological problems.
  8. Backup your hard drive.
  9. Get a magnetic key hider, put a copy of your house key in it and hide it really well, unlabeled, two blocks from your house.
  10. A rice cooker will save you time and money and improve your diet, particularly if you come to like brown rice.
  11. Consider not eating wheat for an entire week. The results might surprise you.
  12. Taking your dog for a walk is usually better than whatever alternative use of your time you were considering.

I guess I’d endorse ## 1, 6, 8 & 10. I’m not at all on board with # 5, although it’s certainly the case that many people get them wrong. [Update: And why is it wrong to borrow to buy a car, so long as you understand how it depreciates?]

Maybe I’ll start accumulating a list and post it some day. Once in class, I told my students to make a will, especially if they had kids or assets, and was shocked by how many got a startled look in their eyes.

Meanwhile, what’s your best piece of random life advice?

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Blogging: The Rules (per Jonathan Rauch)

My friend Jonathan Rauch discloses his plans.

While I’m blogging, I’m going to try to observe a few rules.

1) No second drafts. There isn’t time.

2) No reporting. There isn’t money.

3) Factuality is approximate.

4) Crabbiness is allowed.

I think he could be quite good at it.

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I Don’t Believe It

Grant McCracken, my favorite contemporary ethnographer-provocateur, writes:

We are adding a new name to our blog roll. Please welcome Ruby Kariela. Ruby is 10 and I believe this makes her the youngest ethnographer working today. I like to think of her as “reporting from childhood” but she will have her own way of describing what she does. Please visit her blog at here.

Visiting the blog, you might see an extraordinarily precocious ten-year-old. Or not. While I just might buy most of it, I cannot believe that a ten-year-old would think to use one of my favorite bizzaro cultural incidents from 1986 as the title for a blog post. I suppose it is vaguely possible she heard the 2008 REM song, but I doubt it.

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The Road Not Taken

If and when someone smart writes the obituary of the by then late and unlamented Miami Herald, she will point to this moment in 2000 when the Herald had a chance to make a turnaround hire, and didn't.

Earlier relevant posts:

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I, for one, salute our new South Florida blog overlords.

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Phil Agre Found

Missing Internet Pioneer Phil Agre Is Found; the original report says “found safe”, but there seems to be uncertainty about that among his fans and friends.

Earlier post: Where's Phil Agre?

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Gary Farber Is Hurting

Gary Farber writes, Health Care Reform Won't Save Me. In a saga that I bet will end up something like the famous Mathews case (where the local guys keep rejecting the disability application and it takes multiple appeals to get it reinstated), Gary has had his social security disability claim rejected.

The consequences are very serious, and he may be evicted.

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