Life tip: finding an emergency hospital

29 05 2012

Life lesson: when searching for a hospital with Google Maps or something similar, search for “emergency services” or “urgent care”, not “hospital”!

A cool way to remember numbers

9 05 2012

I’ve been reading the above book on mnemonics recently and one of the cooler tricks I learned is how to remember numbers.  The system has been around for a long time and you can read more about it for free at this link.

The system is simple.  Convert each number into a phonetic sound.  Add in vowels/unused sounds to make words.  Remember those words, potentially using another mnemonic device such as “linking.”  Done.

The phonetic to number guide is below, along with simple ways to remember each.

1 – t or d, a typewritten “t” or “d” has just 1 downstroke
2 – n, a typewritten “n” has 2 downstrokes
3 – m, a typewritten “m” has 3 downstrokes
4 – r, the number 4 ends in the letter “r”
5 – l, hold out your left hand palm-outward and thumb out at a 90 degree angle – the five fingers form an “L” shape
6 – j or sh or ch or soft g, a “J” looks like a backward 6
7 – k or hard c or hard g, a “K”  can be made from two back-to-back 7’s
8 – f or v, a lower-case, written f  looks like an 8
9 – p or b, looks like a backward “p” or an upside-down “b”
0 – z or soft c (buzzing), the word “zero” begins with the letter “z”

It’s almost the 35th anniversary of Star Wars: A New Hope, so let’s do the date that the first Star Wars movie was released: May 25th, 1977, or 5251977.  The sounds we get are L, N, L, T/D, P/B, K, K.  I turned it into: Lan lit up kick.  I’m sure there’s better words, but I’m new, cut me some slack!

I will no longer forget my friend’s gatecode: share fun.  6582!


Only emulate the successful

21 04 2012

Something annoying to me: people taking advice from unsuccessful people.  For example, let’s imagine two people, Sarah and Bob.  We ask each of them: how can i get straight A’s?

Bob: “It’s easy.  You just need to listen in class, take a lot of notes, read through the books, and basically spend every waking moment studying.”

Me: “So Bob, is that how you get straight As?”

Bob: “No I’m not willing to put in the time so I don’t get straight A’s.”

Me: “Well how about you Sarah?”

Sarah: ” Well, in class I use a special note taking method called QEC.  It helps me understand rather than memorize.  Anything I don’t understand, I put a question mark by it and fill in the answer within a day or two, long before a test.  I have a very focused method of studying in which I set definite goals and shut off all outside communication so I don’t get distracted.  (… etc etc) I usually finish all my work within a few hours after school, then do whatever.  I do get straight A’s with this method.”

Most people are like Bob, they ‘know’ that you need to spend a lot of time studying to get A’s.  If you asked Bob for advice, he wouldn’t hesitate to tell you.  This annoys the crap out of me because why in the heck would you listen to Bob, who doesn’t have straight As but thinks he knows how to get them?  It should be obvious that Sarah is the one to listen to.

This started as a simple ranting blog post, but I came up with a useful tip.  Simply restructure your questioning to first ask if someone was successful at what you want to accomplish.  For example:

Did/do you get straight As?  Were you always a straight A student or did you adopt a strategy?  How can I get straight  As?

Have you been overweight, then lost that weight and kept it off?  How can I lose weight?

Were you ever skinny before putting on all that muscle?  How can I put on muscle?

You may have noticed another type of question I inserted into this new structure.  For lack of a better idea, I’ll call this the “natural talent eliminator” question.  You only want to take advice from people who have been in your situation and worked to get where you want to get.  It is not useful to ask someone who is naturally muscular how they put on muscle.  Nor is it useful to ask a genius how they study.  Nor is it useful to ask someone who is just naturally a stick figure how to lose weight (one reason behind such bad weight loss advice).

So in conclusion, when seeking advice or to learn something, consider using the following structure:

Did you achieve X? Are you just naturally talented/genetically lucky or did you research and develop a specific method to achieve X?  How can I achieve X?

Tip for a long lasting phone

15 04 2012

I’ve had my original Droid from Verizon for 2 years 9 months, well over the two year contract.  It works PERFECTLY!  I use no screen protector and no case.  I can’t tell you how to not break your phone, but there is only one tip you need to keep your phone running like a champ:  when your battery starts dying too fast or acting erratically, go on Ebay and buy a new battery (probably for under 15$).  I’ve attached a photo below, you can see it’s a little dinged up around the edges, but other than that, it’s tip top.  Every month I don’t upgrade it I’m saving on the cost of a new phone.  Also, on April 22nd  they will be charging an upgrade fee, even for free phones.

On a separate note, I plan to get a “dumb phone” in the future, so I don’t have to pay 40$ for unlimited data that I never use.

Great tip to avoid getting sucked into large expenditures

12 04 2012

I read this recently and it makes total sense so I decided to share it:

When dealing with large purchases, don’t think about the cost.  Instead think about what you are giving up by spending that money.

It’s one thing to say, well this car is $40,000, it’s another to think I could fly to Germany and take a month off work while immersing myself in another language/culture and still come out ahead not buying the car.  If you follow happiness research, you’ll know that paying for experiences is much more rewarding than paying for Stuff.  No one cares about your Xbox.  The time you met that famous rock star is much more compelling.

Germany, here I come!

Or how about this: that car means I have to work an extra year (assuming you make around 70k, which is more than most Americans for sure), and that means if I get a new car every 5 years, If i’m 30 and I want to retire at 65, instead I will have to retire at 72.