It’s a Party in America . . . Tax Refunds Arrived!


Our federal tax refund arrived! Whoo-hoo! We get back money which was ours all along, but was on loan to the government, interest-free . . . hey, suddenly this deal doesn’t sound so great after all . . . .

Free the Frozen People!


After seeing this sign in a local grocery store, I carefully searched the entire frozen food section, but I could find neither the frozen Mexican, nor the frozen Asian. Since they were gone, but the sign indicates they were there at one point, I concluded that the experiment was over, and hoped they had thawed out both experimental test subjects, found them still healthy after a few days in cryogenic suspended animation, and sent them home, each with a fat check to compensate them for the huge risk they just took.

However, even with compensation and signed consent forms, I still have certain ethical reservations about scientists performing this sort of experiment on actual human beings. Why not freeze, thaw, refreeze, and rethaw mice, instead? Is PETA really that scary?

Are they still doing these experiments, in my town or elsewhere? If so . . . free the frozen people!

There is one last thing about this whole thing which I just can’t figure out, though, and that’s this: why were they storing their frozen, experimental, human test subjects in the middle of a central Arkansas grocery store in the first place?

Halving and Rehalving, as Well as Doubling and Redoubling, as a Calculator-Free Calculating Strategy


I don’t like being too dependent on calculators. The future might bring an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) that would fry all such gadgets (and cell phones, cars, computers, etc.), and I want to be ready for a post-calculator world, if that happens.

My overarching strategy for doing math in my head is this: don’t have just one single strategy. Instead, devise one, on the fly, based on the problem you are trying to solve.

I do, however, use a few “go to” strategies for certain things, such as finding 25% of something, or multiplying by eight, or similar problems. This involves looking for, and take advantage of, powers of two, as well as their reciprocals. 25% is 1/4, which is simply halving twice, and multiplying by eight is three doublings, since 8 = 2³. With practice, doubling or halving numbers repeatedly and silently, in one’s head, becomes much faster and easier. If done out loud, it becomes easier still, and on paper, it’s extremely easy.

I intend to do more blog-posts in the future with calculator-free calculation strategies, but not all at once — instead, these techniques will be posted one at a time. However, these postings will stop immediately, in the event of an EMP.

Hello, Out There!


Hello Out There!

This map shows where the hits on this blog have come from, since its inception.

A notable exception: Iran shows zero hits. However, I know that people in Iran have seen — but access to the Internet from inside Iran is difficult. Hits from inside Iran show up on this map, no doubt, but they show up as hits from other, less repressive countries.

I also don’t believe for one moment that no one from China has seen my blog. The suspiciously high number of hits from Taiwan make me suspect Internet traffic is simply being routed from The People’s Republic, through Taiwan, to get to the rest of the world.

Information wants to be free. People do, too — and are finding ways around those forces which seek to control us.

If Recent Trends Continue, Gasoline Will Soon Be Free

Here’s what gas prices have done in the U.S. during the last three months:


The price of gas three months ago was $3.79 per gallon, and now it is $3.27, so, in three months, it dropped 52 cents per gallon.  That’s a rate of -$2.08 per year per gallon, so, if this recent trend continues, gasoline will cost not much more than a dollar a gallon a year from now, and will become free sometime later in 2014. In fact, by the end of 2014 (again, if this trend continues), gasoline will have a negative price, which means they’ll pay us to take the stuff.

Sheryl Crow must have known this day would come, for she wrote a song about gasoline becoming free a few years back, which you can find below (embedded from YouTube) –– a song called, of course, “Gasoline.” Enjoy!