Internet Speed

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If you are reading this sentence, you are presumably on the internet.  How fast did it this page load for you?  Have you ever had a Youtube video buffer slowly even though you’ve got big daddy cable internet?  Well it frustrates me too, so I decided to check out a few things that help to explain how things work out there and how we can monitor and potentially improve our internet speed at home.  We also discuss some options for other internet service providers that you should check out if you are struggling with your current ISP.

A couple links we talk about in the show are listed here:

speedtest.net

pingtest.net

And for Mitch’s geocaching challenge, check out this site – it should have everything you need to dominate this challenge.  Thanks for listening!

geocaching.com

 

Buying an Engagement Ring

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This week on the good guys to know podcast, we discuss how to buy an engagement ring.  As a guy, your endeavour to find an engagment ring might be your first step into the world of the jewelry store.  Don’t worry, after this podcast you will be able to waltz through the jewelry store like you own the place!  Thanks for listening!

Buying an engagement ring marks an exciting time in a good guys life.  However, the stress of entering a jewelry store and finding the perfect ring can be a very stressful experience.  There are a couple things that all guys should know BEFORE they set out to find the perfect rock for Jenny from the block.

 

  1. 4 C’s of Diamond Classification

GIA  (Gemological Institute of America) created the first international diamond grading system and the 4 C’s of the diamond industry.  The 4 C’s were created because no two diamonds are exactly alike and until the 20th century, there was no agreed upon standard by which diamonds could be judged.

–       Color – Color actually means lack of color.  The purest diamond is chemically pure, structurally perfect, and has no color.  The color scale goes from D-Z, D being colorless and Z being yellowish.

color

Side note: the color grading system starts at D because earlier color grading scales only incorporated A,B and C.  GIA wanted to create a scale that was completely distinguishable from the earlier classification system and so, started with D.

–       Clarity – Clarity refers to the absence of inclusions or blemishes.  While no diamond is perfectly pure, fewer blemishes = higher value.  Grading goes from flawless (FL) to very, very slightly included (VVSI) to very slightly included (VSI) to slightly included (SI) to included (I)  Most of the differences in clarity are to small to be seen by anyone except a diamond expert using 10X magnification.

Clarity

–       Cut – Cut is the way that a diamond unleashes its light, the way it shines and sparkles.  It is graded from excellent to poor.  It is more than just a diamonds shape (round, emerald, pear).  Of the 4 C’s, it is the most complex and difficult to analyze.  Cut can be broken down further into: Brightness, Fire and Scintillation.  Brightness is how white light is reflected from the diamond.  Fire is the scattering of white light into the colors of the rainbow.  Scintillation is the amount of sparkle a diamond produces and the pattern of light and dark areas caused by reflection.

–       Carat – Carat refers to how much a diamond weighs.  A metric carat is defined as 200 milligrams.

Side note:  The modern carat system is based on ancient diamond measurements that were based on the carob seed.  Early gem traders used these seeds as counterweights to measure diamonds.

 

 

 

Tips for Buying Engagement Rings:

1.  Avoid the “magic sizes” for diamonds.  For carat of a diamond, often times a 1-carat diamond will cost significantly more than a .99 carat diamond.  It may be beneficial to your wallet to avoid the “magic sizes” of diamonds, which are half carat, three-quarter carat, and 1 carat.

2.  Stick to your budget.  Go in to the jewelry store with a solid idea of how much you want to spend on a diamond.  Feel prepared to walk out of the store without purchasing a ring.  With a purchase this big, it is ok to visit multiple stores before you pull the trigger.  Also, the ‘ol myth of spending 2-3 months’ salary on a ring is bogus.  Spend what you are comfortable with and who knows, your lady-to-be might rather spend some extra cash on a honeymoon than have a gigantic rock.

3.  Be ready to negotiate.  For instance, if you are willing to pay cash, it is possible that the jeweler may be willing to give you a 3% discount because that is roughly the fee that many credit card companies charge for processing.  Also, summer tends to be a slow time of year for jewelers, which may allow for more negotiation on the price.

4.  Ask for the grading report.  This will allow you to see the scientifically determined 4 C’s of the diamond.  It will also serve as a way to prove to the jeweler that you know what you are talking about.

5.  Match the engagement ring to jewelry she already wears.  If she likes classic jewelry, look for a classic engagement ring.  If she likes chunky, ornate jewelry, get something big and flashy.

6.  Find out her ring size.  You could be sneaky and have one of her friends figure this out for you.  You could also take one of her rings and trace the inside circle or even, press the ring into a bar of soap for an impression.  When in doubt, go with a bigger size because it is easier to size down a ring than it is to make it bigger.

 

 

References:

http://gia4cs.gia.edu/EN-US/the-diamond-4-cs.htm?gclid=CMefrcGXqrcCFegWMgodUXcAyQ

http://www.smartmoney.com/spend/deal-of-the-day/7-tips-for-buying-a-bargain-engagement-ring-1341872908682/

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2009/07/01/the-ultimate-guide-to-buying-the-perfect-engagement-ring/

 

$3 Movie Tickets?!?!?!

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This episode, we welcome Robert Wagner to the podcast. He’s a portfolio manager and popular author for the ubiquitous investing website Seeking Alpha. I reached out to Robert after reading his article on flexible movie theater pricing.

How many times have you seen a movie a month or two after it opened, and find yourself in a totally empty theater? How many times have you looked around and thought, “how do these guys stay in business?”

Wagner’s article and our conversation, takes us through the economic concepts at play with a new company called DealFlicks. These guys have started a company that is aimed at getting theaters to offer flexible pricing for movie theater tickets.

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Wagner touches on several basic economic concepts – some of which we’ve talked about on the podcast before and some that are new. Have a listen and learn about this very real world example of the following; price floors and ceilings, surpluses, supply/demand, and Mitch’s personal favorite; UTILITY!!  Is there ever a time when paying $50 for a movie ticket is worth it? Listen or read Wagner’s article to find out!

 

 

How to Speak American

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Check out a post from our very own Good Guy, Mitch, at www.publiclydelivered.com, and while you’re there, tell our buddy Aaron Burk just how cool his latest creation is.

dialectsus

 

Check out the following post from mentalfloss.com that describes exactly why the American dialect is truest form of the English language:

There are manymany evolving regional British and American accents, so the terms “British accent” and “American accent” are gross oversimplifications. What a lot of Americans think of as the typical “British accent” is what’s called standardized Received Pronunciation (RP), also known as Public School English or BBC English. What most people think of as an “American accent,” or most Americans think of as “no accent,” is the General American (GenAm) accent, sometimes called a “newscaster accent” or “Network English.” Because this is a blog post and not a book, we’ll focus on these two general sounds for now and leave the regional accents for another time.

English colonists established their first permanent settlement in the New World at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607, sounding very much like their countrymen back home. By the time we had recordings of both Americans and Brits some three centuries later (the first audio recording of a human voice was made in 1860), the sounds of English as spoken in the Old World and New World were very different. We’re looking at a silent gap of some 300 years, so we can’t say exactly when Americans first started to sound noticeably different from the British.

As for the “why,” though, one big factor in the divergence of the accents is rhotacism. The General American accent is rhotic and speakers pronounce the in words such as hard. The BBC-type British accent is non-rhotic, and speakers don’t pronounce the r, leaving hard sounding more like hahd. Before and during the American Revolution, the English, both in England and in the colonies, mostly spoke with a rhotic accent. We don’t know much more about said accent, though. Various claims about the accents of the Appalachian Mountains, the Outer Banks, the Tidewater region and Virginia’s Tangier Island sounding like an uncorrupted Elizabethan-era English accent have been busted as myths by linguists.

TALK THIS WAY

Around the turn of the 18th 19th century, not long after the revolution, non-rhotic speech took off in southern England, especially among the upper and upper-middle classes. It was a signifier of class and status. This posh accent was standardized as Received Pronunciation and taught widely by pronunciation tutors to people who wanted to learn to speak fashionably. Because the Received Pronunciation accent was regionally “neutral” and easy to understand, it spread across England and the empire through the armed forces, the civil service and, later, the BBC.

Across the pond, many former colonists also adopted and imitated Received Pronunciation to show off their status. This happened especially in the port cities that still had close trading ties with England — Boston, Richmond, Charleston, and Savannah. From the Southeastern coast, the RP sound spread through much of the South along with plantation culture and wealth.

After industrialization and the Civil War and well into the 20th century, political and economic power largely passed from the port cities and cotton regions to the manufacturing hubs of the Mid Atlantic and Midwest — New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, etc. The British elite had much less cultural and linguistic influence in these places, which were mostly populated by the Scots-Irish and other settlers from Northern Britain, and rhotic English was still spoken there. As industrialists in these cities became the self-made economic and political elites of the Industrial Era, Received Pronunciation lost its status and fizzled out in the U.S. The prevalent accent in the Rust Belt, though, got dubbed General American and spread across the states just as RP had in Britain.

Of course, with the speed that language changes, a General American accent is now hard to find in much of this region, with New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Chicago developing their own unique accents, and GenAm now considered generally confined to a small section of the Midwest.

As mentioned above, there are regional exceptions to both these general American and British sounds. Some of the accents of southeastern England, plus the accents of Scotland and Ireland, are rhotic. Some areas of the American Southeast, plus Boston, are non-rhotic.

Read the full text here: http://mentalfloss.com/article/29761/when-did-americans-lose-their-british-accents#ixzz2RRa4mF6D
–brought to you by mental_floss!

 

Here’s a list of the various sub-dialects found in America today, from Robert Delaney at www.uta.fi:

General Northern

This is sometimes also refered to as General American and is used in almost two-thirds of the country. It breaks down into the dialect regions below.

Northern New England

Many of the Northern dialects can trace their roots to this dialect, which was spread westward by the New England settlers as they migrated west. It carries a high prestige due to Boston’s early economic and cultural importance and the presence of Harvard University. A famous speaker is Katherine Hepburn. They sometimes call doughnuts cymbalssimballs, andboil cakes.

Eastern New England (1)
This is one of the most distinctive of all the American dialects. R‘s are often dropped, but an extra R is added to words that end with a vowel. A is pronounced AH so that we get “Pahk the cah in Hahvahd yahd” and “Pepperidge Fahm remembuhs.”

Boston Urban (2)
Like many big cities, Boston has its own dialects that are governed more by social factors like class and ethnicity than by geographic location. Greater Boston Area is the most widely spoken and is very similar to Eastern New England.Brahmin is spoken by the upper aristocratic class like Mr. Howell on Gilligan’s Island.

Central City Area This is what most of us think of as being the “Boston Accent.” In the last few years, Saturday Night Livehas featured this dialect among a group of rowdy teenagers who like to videotape themselves. Also think of Cliff onCheers, the only character on this Boston-based show to actually speak a Boston dialect.

Western New England (3)
Less distinctive than Eastern, but more influential on the other Northern dialects.

Hudson Valley (4)
New York was originally a Dutch colony, and that language influenced this dialect’s development. Some original Hudson Valley words are stoop (small porch) and teeter-totter. They call doughnuts (which were invented by the Dutch) crullers andolycooks.

New York City (5)
Unlike Boston and other urban dialects, New York City stands by itself and bears little resemblence to the other dialects in this region. It is also the most disliked and parodied of any American dialect (even among New Yorkers), possibly because many Americans tend dislike large cities. When an R comes after a vowel, it is often dropped. IR becomes OI, but OIbecomes IR, and TH becomes D as in “Dey sell tirlets on doity-doid street” and fugedaboudit (forget about it).

This pronounciation is particularly associated with Brooklyn but exists to some extent throughout the city. The thickness of a speaker’s dialect is directly related to their social class, but these features have been fading within all classes over recent decades. Famous speakers are Rosie Perez, Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinnie, Archie Bunker, Bugs Bunny, and (if you’re old enough to remember) the Bowery Boys.

Bonac (6)
Named for Accabonac Creek in eastern Long Island, this dialect is rapidly dying out due to the influx of people from other areas. Back when New York City belonged to the Dutch, this area was part of New England, and Bonac shows elements of both dialects.

Inland Northern (7)
Combines elements of Western New England and Upper Midwestern. Marrymerry, and Mary are pronounced the same. They call doughnuts friedcakes.

San Francisco Urban (8)
Unlike the rest of California, which in the early twentieth century saw an influx of people from the South and other parts of the West, San Francisco continued to be settled by people from the Northeast and Northern Midwest, and elements of their dialects (North Midland, Upper Midwestern, Inland Northern) can be found. The Mission dialect, spoken by Irish Catholics in a specific part of the city, is very much like the New York City dialect.

Upper Midwestern (9)
Originally settled by people from New England and New York State who brought those dialects, this area was also influenced by Southerners coming up the Mississippi River as well as the speech patterns of the German and Scandinavian immigrants and the Canadian English dialects from over the border. It’s sometimes referred to as a “Midwestern twang.” They call jelly doughnuts bismarks.

Minnewegian (Minnesota / Norwegian), a subdialect spoken in the northernmost part of this region was spoofed in the movies Fargo and Drop Dead Gorgeous.

Chicago Urban (10)
Influenced by the Midland and Southern dialects. Often spoken by the late John Belushi (Chicago’s Second City comedy theater supplied many Saturday Night Live actors). SNL used to spoof it in the “Da Bears, Da Bulls” sketches. They call any sweet roll doughnuts.

North Midland (11)
Created as the people in Pennsylvania migrated westward and influenced by Scotch-Irish, German, and English Quaker settlers. This and the South Midland dialect can actually be considered a separate Midland Dialect region that serves as a transition zone between the north and south. They call doughnuts belly sinkersdoorknobsdunkers, and fatcakes.

Pennsylvania German-English (12)
This was strongly influenced by Pennsylvania Dutch, a dialect of German spoken by people in this area (in this context, “Dutch” is actually a mispronunciation of the German word, “Deutsch,” which means “German”). Its grammar allows sentences like “Smear your sister with jam on a slice of bread” and “Throw your father out the window his hat.” They call doughnuts fasnacht, and they also invented dunking – from the German “dunken” (to dip).

Western

Compared with the Eastern United States, the Western regions were settled too recently for very distinctive dialects to have time to develop or to be studied in detail. Many words originally came from Spanish, cowboy jargon, and even some from the languages of the Native Americans: adobe, beer bust, belly up, boneyard, bronco, buckaroo, bunkhouse, cahoots, corral, greenhorn, hightail, hoosegow, lasso, mustang, maverick, roundup, wingding.

Rocky Mountain (13)
Originally developed from the North Midland and Northern dialects, but was then influenced by the Mormon settlers in Utah and English coal miners who settled in Wyoming. Some words that came from this dialect are kick off (to die), cache(hiding place), and bushed (tired). They also call jelly doughnuts bismarks.

Pacific Northwest (14)
Influenced by settlers from the Midwest and New England as well as immigrants from England, Germany, Scandinavia, and Canada. Much earlier, a pidgin called

Chinook Jargon was developed between the languages of the Native American tribes of this area. It would later also be used and influenced by the European settlers who wished to communicate with them. A few words from Chinook Jargon like high muckamuck (important person) are still used in this dialect today. (Note that, in this case, the word “jargon” has a different meaning from the one discussed above)

Alaska (not shown)
Developed out of the Northern, Midland, and Western dialects. Also influenced by the native languages of the Alutes, Innuit, and Chinook Jargon. Some words that originated here are: bush (remote area), cabin fever, mush (to travel by dog sled), parka, stateside.

Pacific Southwest (15)
The first English speakers arrived here from New York, Ohio, Missouri, New England, and other parts of the Northeast and Midwest in the 1840s, bringing the Northern and North Midland dialects with them. Words originally used by the gold miners of this period are still used today: pay dirt (valuable discovery), pan out (to succeed), and goner (doomed person).

The early twentieth century saw an influx of people from the South and other parts of the West. The people here are particularly fond of creating new slang and expressions, and, since Hollywood is located here, these quickly get spread to the rest of the country and the world.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, an extreme exaggeration of this dialect that came to be known as “Valley Girl” or “Surfer Dude” was popular among teenagers and much parodied in the media with phrases like “gag me with a spoon” and“barf me back to the stone age.” Sean Penn in Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Whoopie Goldberg in her one-woman show are two famous examples.

Southwestern (16)
By the time this area became part of the United States, there had already been as many as ten generations of Spanish speaking people living here, so the Mexican dialect of Spanish had an important influence on this area that became a melting pot for dialects from all over the USA. Some local words are: caballero, cantina, frijoles, madre, mesa, nana, padre, patio, plaza, ramada, tortilla.

Hawaii (not shown)
The original language of the Native Hawaiians is part of the Polynesian family. English speakers arrived in 1778, but many other settlers also came from China, Portugal, Japan, Korea, Spain, and the Philippines to influence the modern dialect.Hawaiian Creole developed from a pidgin English spoken on the sugar plantations with workers from Hawaii and many other countries. Some words are: look-see, no can, number one (the best), plenty (very). It isn’t widely spoken anymore.

Nonstandard Hawaiian English developed from Hawaiian Creole and is spoken mostly by teenagers. Standard Hawaiian English is part of the Western dialect family but shows less influence from the early New England dialect than any other American dialect. It has many words borowed from the original Hawaiian as well as some from the other Asian languages mentioned above: aloha, hula, kahuna, lei, luau, muumuu, poi, ukulele.

General Southern

This dialect region matches the borders of the Confederate states that seceded during the “Confederate War” and is still a culturally distinct region of the United States. Since it was largely an agricultural area, people tended to move around less than they did in the north, and as a result, the subdialects are much less uniform than those of the General Northern regions and have much more clearly defined boundaries. Other languages that had an important influence on it are French (since the western region was originally French territory) and the African languages spoken by the people brought over as slaves.

People tend to speak slower here than in the north creating the famous southern “drawl.” I is pronounced AH, and OO is pronounced YOO, as in “Ah’m dyoo home at fahv o’clock.” An OW in words like loud is pronounced with a slided double sound AOO (combining the vowel sounds in “hat” and “boot”). Some local words are: boogermanfunky (bad smelling),jump the broomstick (get married), kinfolksmammymuleheadedoverseertotey’all.

South Midland (17)
This area, dominated by the Appalachian Mountains and the Ozark Mountains, was originally settled by the Pennsylvania Dutch moving south from the North Midland areas and the Scotch-Irish moving west from Virginia. A TH at the end of words or syllables is sometimes pronounced F, and the word ARE is often left out of sentences as they are in Black English. An A is usually placed at the beginning of verb that ends with ING, and the G is dropped; an O at the end of a word becomes ER. (“They a-celebratin’ his birfday by a-goin’ to see ‘Old Yeller’ in the theatah”).

T is frequently added to words that end with an S sound. Some words are: bodaciousheapright smart (large amount),set a spell, and smidgin. American English has retained more elements of the Elizabethan English spoken in the time of Shakespeare than modern British English has, and this region has retained the most. Some Elizabethan words that are extinct in England are: bubcross-purposesfall (autumn), flapjackgreenhornguess (suppose), homelyhomespun,jeansloopholemolassespeekragamuffinreckonsorry (inferior), trashwell (healthy).

Ozark (18)
Made famous by the Beverly Hillbillies, this isolated area was settled by people from the southern Appalachian region and developed a particularly colorful manner of speaking.

Southern Appalachian (19)
It is a popular myth that there are a few remote regions here that still speak an unchanged form of Elizabethan English, but they aren’t true. Linguists are still studying the specific differences with South Midland.

Southern

As the northern dialects were originally dominated by Boston, the southern dialects were heavily influenced by Charleston, Richmond, and Savannah. They tend to drop Rs the way New Englanders do, but they don’t add extra Rs. Some words are:big daddy (grandfather), big mamma (grandmother), Confederate War (Civil War), cooter (turtle), fixing to (going to), goober(peanut), hey (hello), mouth harp (harmonica), on account of (because).

Virginia Piedmont (20)
When an R comes after a vowel, it becomes UH, and AW becomes the slided sound, AH-AW. Thus, four dogs becomesfo-uh dahawgs. Some local words are: hoppergrass (grasshopper), old-field colt (illegitimate child), school breaks up(school lets out), weskit (vest).

Coastal Southern (21)
Very closely resembles Virginia Piedmont but has preserved more elements from the colonial era dialect than any other region of the United States outside Eastern New England. Some local words are: catty-corner (diagonal), dope (soda, Coca-Cola), fussbox (fussy person), kernal (pit), savannah (grassland), Sunday child (illegitimate child). They call doughnutscookies.

Gullah (22)
Sometimes called Geechee, this creole language is spoken by some African Americans on the coastal areas and coastal islands of Georgia and South Carolina and was featured in the novel on which the musical, Porgy and Bess, was based. It combines English with several West African languages: Mende, Yoruba, Wolof, Kongo, Twi, Vai, Temne, Ibo, Ewe, Fula, Umbundu, Hausa, Bambara, Fante, and more. The name comes either from the Gola tribe in Liberia or the Ngola tribe in Angola. The grammar and pronunciation are too complicated to go into here, but some words are: bad mouth (curse), guba(peanut – from which we get the English word goober), gumbo (okra), juju (magic), juke (disorderly, wicked), peruse (to walk leisurely), samba (to dance), yam (sweet potato).

Gulf Southern (23)
This area was settled by English speakers moving west from Virginia, Georgia, and the Carolinas, as well as French speaking settlers spreading out from Louisiana, especially the Acadians (see “Cajuns” below). Some words are: armoire(wardrobe), bayou (small stream), bisque (rich soup), civit cat (skunk), flitters (pancakes), gallery (porch), hydrant (faucet),neutral ground (median strip), pecan patty (praline).

Louisiana (24)
There’s a lot going on down here. Many people in southern Louisiana will speak two or three of the dialects below.

Cajun French (the Cajuns were originally French settlers in Acadia, Canada – now called Nova Scotia – who were kicked out when the British took over; in 1765, they arrived in New Orleans which was still French territory) carries the highest prestige of the French dialects here and has preserved a number of elements from the older French of the 1600s. It has also borrowed some words from the Spanish who once controlled this area. There are many local variations of it, but they would all be mutually understandable with each other as well as – with some effort – the standard French in France.

Cajun English borrows vocabulary and grammar from French and gives us the famous pronunciations “un-YON” (onion) and “I ga-RON-tee” as well as the phrase “Let de good times role!”, but movies about cajuns usually get the rest wrong. A famous authentic speaker is humorist Justin Wilson, who had a cooking show on PBS, with his catch phrase, “How y’all are? I’m glad for you to see me.” New Orleans is pronounced with one syllable: “Nawlns.”

There is another dialect of English spoken in New Orleans that is informally, and some would say pejoratively, called Yat(from the greeting, “Where y’at”), that resembles the New York City (particularly Brooklyn) dialect (more info). Provincial French was the upper class dialect of the pre-Cajun French settlers and closely resembles Standard French but isn’t widely spoken anymore since this group no longer exists as a separate social class.

Louisiana French Creole blends French with the languages of the West Africans who were brought here as slaves. It is quite different from both the Louisiana and standard dialects of French but is very similar to the other creoles that developed between African and French on various Caribbean Islands. Married couples may speak Creole to each other, Cajun French with other people, and English to their children.

 


References:

  • Rattray, David, ed. Success With Words: A Guide to the American Language. Prepared in association with Peter Davies.. Pleasantville, NY: Reader’s Digest Association, 1988. (Rattray is the primary source for information in the text. Since the text was intended as an informal overview, page numbers are not cited.)
  • Crystal, David. The Cambridge encyclopedia of the English language Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
  • McArthur, Tom, ed. The Oxford Companion to the English Language New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.
  • Taggart, Chuck. A Lexicon of New Orleans Terminology and Speech The Gumbo Pages. Accessed May 7, 2001.

Negotiation

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Buying a new house?  Maybe a new car?  How about asking for a raise.  All of these have something in common beyond terrifying a lot of people.  The art of negotiation is an often overlooked skill.  If I could give everyone sage advice on the topic, I would.  Instead, I reached out to my buddy Chris, who deals with negotiations all day every day.  This guy could get you a good deal on most everything.  The nuances are important.  Here are a few of Chris’s main points that we discuss that will help you keep thing in the right perspective:

1.  This is probably the most important idea Chris tried to get across – Every negotiation, in any environment, should try to result in a win-win situation.  Do not try to “beat” your purchaser or seller, an insulting offer from you can quickly turn into an equally insulting counter-offer and the termination of a deal.

2.  Do your research.  This always seems like a no-brainer, but it can’t be stressed enough, and it is important to know WHY you are doing the research.  Doing the research will give you things you can talk about and point out to gain leverage to get a better price.

3.  Have some backup plans.  If you are in love with just one car, or one house, your negotiations could potentially suffer.  Having plan A, B, and C will increase your bargaining power, and allow you more places to concede certain items to obtain the highest number of your must-have items/features overall.

4.  Keep your cool.  Being short with the salesman, or condescending with your buyer is not a way to show strength.  As Chris has learned over many years, a good relationship and a good conversation is better than a good price in a lot of situations.

5.  Know your buyer.  Any information you can gain about the needs of your buyer will help.  Asking “soft” questions to get the ball rolling is a great way to learn what a potential buyer really wants.  If you can determine that he or she hates not getting a real person on the phone, that can be used to your advantage.

6.  Think about the fringe.  In a lot of job/salary negotiations, there are tons of perks that can be hidden behind a dollar figure.  Getting more flexibility to work from home, extra vacation, or having more autonomy are all things that can improve your quality of life as much or more than another could grand.  Think about all of the things other than money, and value them before you talk to your employer.  Be prepared to give things up and gain some others.

7.  Know your goals.  Now that you have all your options lined up, make sure you think hard about which ones are really your favorite.  Have a solid ranking system in place and stick to it.

8.  Think about how you respond to the offer you are putting forward.  If you wouldn’t consider an offer, why should anyone else?

9.  Be prepared to do what you say.  If you threaten to walk, you better be able to.  Don’t “play too hard of ball”.

10.  Read up.  Practice.  Chris gave some good resources in the podcast you should check out.  amanet.org, karrass.com, impressionmanagement.com, kbb.com, daveramsey.com.

 

You can gain a lot of things by negotiating with a cool head, and a lot of options.  There isn’t a magic bullet on how to get a car 50% below sticker, but you can certainly do your part to get closer.  Think about your interactions using some of the above guidelines and you’ll give yourself a good shot at a win-win .

 

Alcohol Legislation and Subscription Bars

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The constitutional right to drink/sell/manufacture alcohol has been debated since the early 1900’s.  Most famous amongst these debates was the era of prohibition.  Prohibition was initiated in 1920 with the passage of the 18th amendment.  This U.S. Constitutional amendment made it illegal to manufacture, transport, or sell intoxicating liquors.  Conveniently for all people who appreciate the finer things in life (like Coors Light and other alcoholic beverages), the 18th amendment was repealed in 1933 by the passage of the 21st amendment.  Shortly after, many individual states adopted minimum legal drinking age policies which made it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drink alcoholic beverages.  Due to the passage of the 26th amendment, which lowered the required voting age from 21 to 18, many states adjusted the minimum legal drinking age from 21 to 18, 19 or 20.  However, a dramatic increase in accidents involving alcohol use in younger people followed this decrease in the minimum drinking age.  In 1984, Congress passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act which set the minimum drinking age back at 21.  Any states not in compliance with this act were penalized by having 10% of their highway construction funds revoked.  Depending on the size of the state, this legislation prevented the distribution of 8 to 99 million dollars.  By 1988, all 50 states ratified the National Minimum Drinking Age Act but U.S. territories Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands maintained an age of 18.

 

Today, in the wake of this fluid legislative history, many states have additional regulations which control the sale and distribution of alcohol.  These laws stipulate who can sell alcohol, when alcohol can be sold, and how strong alcohol can be.  Every Good Guy To Know should be aware of these laws in their home states.  For more information on your states regulations visit this website:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_laws_of_the_United_States

 

And here is the article from Esquire that prompted this main pillar.

What If Bars Sold Subscriptions?

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/food-for-men/should-bars-sell-subscriptions-13029784

What would it take for you to “subscribe” to a bar?  Leave your comments below and thanks for listening!

 

References:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Minimum_Drinking_Age_Act_of_1984, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_laws_of_the_United_States

3D Printing

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***Here is a link to the bracket – password is goodguys.  Good Luck!  http://ggtk.mayhem.cbssports.com/e?ttag=13_cbspaste ***

I heard about 3D printing about a year ago, and at the time, thought it sounded kind of cool, but it also sounded a little over-hyped. I remember whatever pundit was talking about it claimed that it was going to revolutionize manufacturing, and disrupt our lives as we know them. Comparing it to the personal computer, internet, etc. I’m not positive that this is the case, but wanted to learn more and in through my research, I’m getting a little more sympathetic to the view that this could indeed change our lives dramatically.

First have to give a little primer on 3D printing; basically it’s making a physical object based on a digital model. You’ll also hear the term “additive” because the items are created by gradually adding layers of material to the object to create the desired shape. This is significantly different than traditional “subtractive” manufacturing where objects are cut/drilled/carved out of a larger item.

The first question I had when I started to hear about 3D printing, was ‘what is the stuff that you use to make the object?’  This kind of depends on the flavor of 3D printing we are talking about, but a few examples 3D printers have printed stuff in; Plastics, Wood, Glass, Rubber, Steel, Concrete, Human cells, Cheese, and Chocolate.

The material you are using kind of drives the flavor of 3D printing we are talking about. Probably the most mainstream one and the one I’m going to be talking most about is extrusion. This is where the solid material is heated up so that it’s liquid, and then squeezed through a nozzle. Once it is ‘extruded,’ it very quickly hardens back into a solid object.

The other flavor that is interesting is the ‘granular’ method which is used when 3D printing with metal. Here you basically have a sandbox full of metal powder that a high powered laser shoots and melts layer after layer to create the metal object. One area I did not research heavily, but sounds awesome, is the organs that are printed off with human cells. I have no idea how that works, but they have successfully printed working human bladders, bones, etc.

While the medical uses are super cool, the potential for disruption really lies in how these printers can change manufacturing. At the moment, probably the biggest use for 3D printing is called ‘rapid prototyping.’ So here a company/university etc, can try out all sorts of designs very quickly and efficiently. Before 3D printing, an artist or sculptor or something would have to create a model of the thing, would use that to create a mold, and then finally they could use these molds to build the item. If they screwed up, or found a design flaw, all of that overhead is gone. 3D printing allows the designer to upload his file, and a few hours later, be holding his design in his hand.

I was surprised to learn that companies have been 3D printing since the 70s. So why is 3D printing such a hot topic now and why is it being thought of as a potential disruptor? $$$$. The printers that companies have been using are super big and expensive. So only companies that were very R&D intensive and had sufficiently large budgets for the initial outlay were able to take advantage of the technology.

Today, a basic 3D extrusion printer will only run you like $1500. This opens the door for small business and even personal hobby users to have a 3D printer. This is where we start to see the case building that 3D printing could be extremely disruptive. Does the following summary of where 3D printing sound familiar to anyone: Large, expensive implementations of the technology are used only by large companies for very targeted and specific use. Over the years the tech gets cheaper and cheaper, allowing smaller companies to get in the game. Finally, the technology becomes so inexpensive that early adopters start using the technology in their homes just for fun. Last step is that the technology becomes ubiquitous, and used in ways that no one could have conceived of when the first companies started using it.

Sounds just like the track of the computer + internet, no? So we are still fully in the mode where the only people that have these in their homes are the hobbyists. I would argue that these are the same people that bought the first apple computers. They dropped like $2K in 1986 to get a clunky computer that could do some word processing. In the same way, today, you can buy the new “Makerbot” for $2K that allows you to make small plastic items.

So one cool example I stumbled across is StackSoap. This guy saw a need for a better way to deal with that annoying last little turd of soap in the shower when the bar is almost gone. He had the idea to solve the problem with the shape of the bar. So he designed a bar on his computer that had a built in groove that you could easily cram that last bit of soap into. Once he had this computer model, he emailed it to a 3D printing company and had a prototype of his bar of soap in a few days. It wasn’t quite right, so he was able to tinker with it a handful of times before arriving at the final product. This type of flexibility and agility when it comes to design was impossible 10 years ago.

So the other powerful thing that I see with 3D printing is when you combine it with the internet. In the same way people at home were able to create and share digital content with others in the last 15 years, 3D printing allows them to share actual things. The power of millions of people tinkering with designs of things and sharing them will theoretically create more and better items. Sort of the same concept of crowdsourcing of those protein folding video games that Geo talked about a long time ago. Just sheer numbers of people tinkering with stuff is good for everyone. So the company I mentioned before, “Makerbot” has an online community where people can share their designs, provide feedback, etc, called the ‘Thingiverse.’ It’s worth a quick perusal to see the type of stuff home-users are creating right now.

So let’s get a little crazy about the disruption as this technology gets better and we can print more and more materials… How about a world where the whole hardware store can fit in the space of a bathroom. If you need a certain set of screws, you just download the design online, and either print them out on your home-printer, or take it to 3DPrintHomeDepot and have them print it off for you. If I’m Home Depot, think of what this does to my logistics costs. Currently, I have to stock a huge variety of screws, spend a lot of money forecasting how many will last me to the next shipment, actually getting all of the product delivered to my store multiple times a day. In a 3D printing world, I probably get a couple shipments of the raw materials my printer needs a couple times a month, and when a customer needs something, I just print out exactly how many they need.

How about space travel and terraforming? How much stuff in the space station today are spare parts that will only be used in emergencies? Why not just send a 3D printer up there with a bunch of raw material, and they can print whatever they need for their missions? Once we get a planet terraformed, how do we build the stuff we need there? Do we really need to ship all the pieces there, or can we get a big 3D printer that is able to print somehow in whatever raw material is already there? This guy is already planning on building the first 3D house in the next 18 months.

I fully realize that trying to predict where technology is going to go is virtually impossible to do, so who knows if the things above will actually happen, but I think that probably the most powerful effect of 3D printing is less tangible. Our generation, and even more-so the next generation will be the first generation that has grown up with computers and the internet. I think there is more powerful than we give it credit for. Growing up knowing that all the information in the world is at your fingertips in a couple minutes is powerful. Just knowing you can create a podcast and distribute it across the world for free is powerful. Staying connected with friends and sharing ideas instantly is powerful, and the kids from today have never known a world where those things aren’t there, so they will create better and better things to increase our quality of life.

In the same way, I can see 3D printing taking this same track. A kid growing up knowing that if he has an idea for something, he can create it and physically have it in his hands in a couple hours is sneaky powerful. Growing up knowing you can pretty instantly create not just digital content, but physical content creates a fundamentally ‘new’ worldview that we haven’t seen before. THAT is what I think is the most exciting thing about 3D printing.

Conspiracy Theories

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Conspiracy Theories

What are we talking about?

A belief that some covert but influential organization is responsible for an unexplained event.

Why do people believe conspiracy theories?

Often times, things happen in the world that are difficult for us to comprehend because they have no obvious meaning or causality. These events are typically quite frightening either because they represent a direct danger to us, or happen so infrequently that we question whether or not it could (or should) happen at all.

Leon Festinger (1957) proposed cognitive dissonance theory, which states that a powerful motive to maintain cognitive consistency can give rise to irrational and sometimes maladaptive behavior. According to Festinger, we hold many cognitions about the world and ourselves; when they clash, a discrepancy is evoked, resulting in a state of tension known as cognitive dissonance. As the experience of dissonance is unpleasant, we are motivated to reduce or eliminate it, and achieve consonance (i.e. agreement).

 

The following is from an article in Scientific American, written by Michael Shermer;

Why do people believe in highly improbable conspiracies? In previous columns I have provided partial answers, citing patternicity (the tendency to find meaningful patterns in random noise) and agenticity (the bent to believe the world is controlled by invisible intentional agents). Conspiracy theories connect the dots of random events into meaningful patterns and then infuse those patterns with intentional agency. Add to those propensities the confirmation bias (which seeks and finds confirmatory evidence for what we already believe) and the hindsight bias (which tailors after-the-fact explanations to what we already know happened), and we have the foundation for conspiratorial cognition.

Are conspiracy theories always wrong?

Nope. Julius Caesar, Abraham Lincoln and Franz Ferdinand (Austro-Hungarian prince), just to name a few, were all assassinated by groups of conspirators. Governments have been in on it too – here’s a list of amazing-but-true projects that the US Government has undertaken. (from cracked.com)

http://www.cracked.com/article_18955_6-crackpot-conspiracy-theories-that-actually-happened.html

Did we land on the moon?

Was 9/11 orchestrated by the US Government?

More here.

Even more here.

 

Mental Math

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Everybody has been stuck at some point in their lives without a calculator and too lazy to draw out 72 x 11 on paper to figure it out.  Or how about figuring out 9% of 60 in an instinct?  125 x 125?  No problem.  This week Perek brings a handful of useful tips and techniques to help you increase speed and ease for all your mental math needs.  As pointed out in the audio, at the beginning, it may help to write a couple things down.  Grab a paper and pen and follow along, the GoodGuys are already getting promotions and sportscars due to their newfound math skillz.  Below are some brief explanations of the techniques discussed.  Also check out the video below about the Soroban (abacus) we discuss at the end of the show.

Multiplying by 9

Multiply by 10 and subtract the original number from that result.  7×9?  taxe 7×10, and then subtract 7.  This helps more and more as numbers get larger.

Multiply by 11

For 2 digit numbers this couldn’t be easier.  Add the 2 digits together, and place that result in between the original 2 numbers.  72×11?  7 plus 2 is 9, put that 9 in between the original 7 and 2, to get 792.  To carry a 1 when the 2 numbers add up to more than 10, just add that 1 to the next digit to the left.  86×11?  8 plus 6 is 14, so keep the 4 and carry the 1.  Out the 4 in the middle and add 1 to the next digit to the left.  Did you get 946?  good.  You are already better than Mitch at mental math.

Multiply by 5

To increase the probability of doing this in your head, divide the number by 2.  If the original number is even, tag a 0 on the end of the halved result.  That’s it.  If the original number is odd, you will end up with a .5 once you divide by 2.  Just get rid of that decimal and you are done!  This is awesome on big numbers.  2,682×5?  Well, what’s half of 2682.  Most people can do THAT better than they could attempt to do that whole problem in their head.  Half of 2,682 = 1341.  Since 2682 is even, tag on a zero.  13,410.  There’s your answer.  For odd numbers, how about 4,215.  Half of that is 2,107.5.  Drop the decimal for 21,075.  Easy as pie.

Divide by 5

This is even easier to remember than multiplying by 5.  All you have to do is double the number, and then move the decimal one to the left.  193/5 seems difficult on its own.  but doubling 193 is easier.  193 doubled is 386.  Move that decimal over and you get 38.6.  193/5 is 38.6.

Square any number ending in 5

This one is a little more interesting, but still easier than the long way.  Take any number ending in 5, and forget about the 5.  So, 95×95?  That’s 95 squared.  forget about that 5, and all you have left is the 9.  Multiply the 9 by 1 + itself, so 9+1 = 10.  multiplying 9×10 is easy right?  90.  The last step is to tack on a 25 at the end.  9025.  95 squared is 9,025.  A little practice on this and you can do it in a couple of seconds.

Criss Cross Multiplication 

This concept I absolutely love.  It is so much easier to do in your head than the way we learned in school.  It’s going to be tough to describe it properly in words, so here’s a link to a video that can help!  This site has other examples that I duscussed as well.

http://www.mathtutordvd.com/public/Rapidly_Multiply_any_2_Digit_Numbers.cfm

Percentage flip rule

9% of 80, go!  That’s hard for me.  But the flip rule says that 9% of 80 is EQUAL to 80% of 9.  That’s easier for me.  I would take 10% of 9 (.9), and then multiply that times8 to get up to that 80%.  .9×8 = 7.2 (9×8 is 72, move that decimal back to get 7.2).  This is only really useful when one number is a multiple of 5 or 10.

 Day of week calculation

Warning!  Advanced maneuver in your head.  Not so bad, but just not exactly a clearly logical path (if you break it down it is, of course, totally logical).  Here is a link to a good site that lays it out:  http://www.eccentricgenius.com/wp/2008/10/29/any-day-of-the-week-the-perpetual-calendar-made-easy/

So – as I mention too many times in the show – these are all going to seem a little weird or difficult at first.  The important thing to remember is that these methods, although they will need practice, will pay off later because (IMO) they are much easier to keep track of in your head.  I’m gonna start practicing now.  Quick!  What is 127 divided by 5?

Professional Gaming

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Who doesn’t love to play video games?!  From kids playing Mario Bros to college students playing Halo, we all have some experience with the gaming community.  However, few of us are devoted enough to turn gaming into a profession.  In this episode, we interview Lester Chen (Twitter: @LesterHKM) about his experience as a professional gamer!  Find out what it takes to be one of the best gamers in the world!

We also review our JEOPARDY! challenge and Mitch proposes a new challenge that has us all watching what we eat.  Thanks for listening and a HUGE thanks to Lester for the great interview!

 

MacroNutrient Challenge:
Every meal you eat (snacks too) must include one distinct food item from each of the main macronutrient groups: Carbohydrate, Fat, and Protein. The goal is to smooth out the insulin/blood sugar response and see if that helps us sustain energy/appetite throughout the day.
Scoring:
  • 1 point for each meal or snack that is compliant. Max = 5 per day (3 meals, 2 snacks)
  • Perfect Site bonus: 1 extra point any time all your meals in one day are compliant (need to have at least 3 meals)
  • Streak bonus: That perfect site bonus turns into a streak bonus on days you are perfect in a row. So if you had 3 days in a row of perfect sites, your streak bonus that day will be 3.
IMPORTANT: If you put ANYTHING in your mouth that is a macronutrient without eating something from the other two groups, you are ineligible for the perfect or streak bonus that day. Combo foods are not considered a full, compliant meal. So even though a glass of whole chocolate milk contains some carbs, protein, and fat, you can only use this as one of your three items, so you can choose which one it counts for.
 
Macronutrient Foods:
All fruits/grains/vegetables/sugars count as carbohydrates
Meat, Fish and Eggs are protein
Fats are oils, butters, avocado, nuts
 
Note: Don’t forget about your drinks. Beer and regular Soda, fruit juice, etc are carbohydrates, so add a fat and protein if you’re going to have one to keep your streak intact