3 Simple Ways to Get Greener and Save a Few Thousand Bucks

1. Conserve energy around the house. Reduce your annual energy bill by at least $1,000.

Set your thermostat a couple of degrees lower in the winter and and 5 degrees higher in the summer. This tactic saves as much as 10% on your electricity and gas costs. Over a year’s time, that’s $200-$500 if you live in the Midwest, more in the Northeast or Northwest.

Install compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) when your older incandescent bulbs burn out. Saves $20-50 in electricity cost over the life of a typical CFL bulb. If your home has an average of 3 bulbs per room, that’s 25 – 50 bulbs, or anywhere from $450 to as much as $2500 in savings. LED bulbs are coming, and when the cost is reasonable, the savings will be even more dramatic.

Use smart power strips that sense when TVs, DVD and CD players, computers, and chargers are off or on standby. This can cut phantom (vampire) electrical drain and will save 25 to 40% of your electricity cost annually. If your electricity bill averages $200 a month, that’s a potential savings of $50.00 to $80.00 a month, or $600 to almost $1,000 a year.

Wash clothes in cold water. About 85 percent of the energy used to machine-wash clothes goes to heating the water. Think in terms of about $.35 per wash, times 10 loads a week, or about $175 a year.

2. Cut down on water usage. Save another $250 or more.

Take shorter showers to lower your water and energy costs. Less dry skin, too. Install a low-flow showerhead; the savings can quickly pay back your investment in a matter of weeks.

Install faucet aerators. These cheap components mix air with the water, resulting in a higher-velocity faucet stream composed of less water. This conserves heat and water. The payback comes in the form of lower water usage, as much as 5-15% depending on usage patterns.

Install drought-tolerant landscaping plants. Spot-water your lawn instead of blanket-watering, particularly if you have a sprinkler system. You can save as much as $250 to $1000 a year, depending on the cost of water in your area.

3. Burn less oil. Save at least $1,400.

At today’s fuel cost of about $4.00 a gallon, If you drive about 300 miles a week, the annual fuel cost to commute in a 17 mile per gallon SUV is about $3,529 a year, or $294 a month. Switching to a car that averages 29 miles per gallon saves you about $1,460. That’s more than $120 a month. Assuming gas prices stay constant (!??), you will save more than $7,000 if you keep your fuel-efficient car for 5 years.


Grey’s Book Basement, Chapter 1: We are all in this together-Leadership and Teamwork

We are all in this together

Here is a group of 10 books of eclectic origin, all of which address the first of Mike’s Laws, “We are all in this together.” I commend them to your attention. Click on the titles for information on each book.

As Seen on Tv/an Inside Look at the Television Industry, How It Works and Who…
Cracking the Value Code: How Successful Businesses Are Creating Wealth in the…
Multinational Mission by Prahalad, C.K.
Reading People: How to Understand People and Predict Their Behavior – Anytime…
The 500 Year Delta: What Happens After What Comes Next by Taylor, Jim; Wacker
The Circle of Innovation: You Can’t Shrink Your Way to Greatness [Hardcover…
The Hollywood TV producer; his work and his audience [by] Muriel G. Cantor…
The Leadership Engine: How Winning Companies Build Leaders at Every Level by…
The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization [Paperback] by…
The Undercover Economist: Exposing Why the Rich Are Rich, Why the Poor Are Poor

Arthurian Selection Redux: Who Would Pull the Pod from the Stone?

Legend has it that when the 12th century English monarch Uther Pendragon died there was significant disagreement over who would succeed him. The wizard Merlin magically set a sword in a great stone. Engraved on the sword were the words “Whoso pulleth out this sword of this stone is the rightwise born king of all England.” All the rich and famous tried and failed to extract the sword. Arthur, not the front-runner by any means, surprised everyone by succeeding, and thus became King.

Pod in the Stone

I propose a similar contest, updated and modernized, to decide who will be the next leader of the free world. This could offer many advantages, including but not limited to saving time, money, media bandwidth and avoiding having to parse hanging chads. Any support out there? Any notion who might be the ordained one? Hint: Looks good wearing ear buds.

Simpler is Better: The Law of Parsimony…

…which is lex parsimoniae in Latin, is often written “entia non sunt multiplicanda prater necessitatem“, which I interpret to mean “the simpler the better.” William of Occam, the 14th Century English logician, capsulized the principal as Occam’s Razor–a means of cutting through verbose and unnecessarily complex philosophical theories:

Occam\'s Razor

The answer that relies on the fewest assumptions is usually the most accurate.

The Tao of Pizza Consumption, mathematics division…

  1. The time in minutes required to come to a decision on what toppings to order is equal to the square of the number of people trying to decide.
  2. The number of people who actually eat the pizza divided by the number who actually pay for the pizza, is always a number greater than one.
  3. The time required to deliver a pizza is inversely proportional to the distance from your location to the pizza joint.
  4. The likelihood of a delivery person finding your house is inversely proportional to the number of digits in your street address.
  5. In any event, pizza delivery time will always be faster than your city’s police response time.
  6. Your ability to taste a topping on a pizza is inversely proportional to the number of toppings on the pizza.
  7. As the number of toppings approaches infinity, the amount of cheese found on the pizza approaches zero.
  8. The amount of a particular topping is inversely proportional to the price of the pizza.
  9. The number of napkins available is inversely proportional to the number of pizza eaters in the room.
  10. The amount of sauce that gets on your shirt is inversely proportional to the cost of the shirt.

The Political Prime Directive

Cecil Rhodes had nothing to do with this

Cecil Rhodes, of Rhodes Scholarship fame,
who had noting to do with this.
Lord knows why it was deleted from Wikipedia.

Rhode’s Law

When any principle, law, tenet, probability, happening, circumstance, or result can in no way be directly, indirectly, empirically, or circuitously proven, derived, implied, inferred, induced, deducted, estimated, or scientifically guessed, it will always for the purpose of convenience, expediency, political advantage, material gain, or personal comfort, or any combination of the above, or none of the above, be unilaterally and unequivocally assumed, proclaimed, and adhered to as absolute truth to be undeniably, universally, immutably, and infinitely so, until such time as it becomes advantageous to assume otherwise, maybe.

You’ve got to love the English language.

eructationHere is a word I admire so much, I’ve named this blog in its honor. I am particularly fond of “an automatic instinctive unlearned reaction to a stimulus” as an apt descriptor for these posts.

eructation – a reflex that expels gas noisily from the stomach through the mouth

ejection, forcing out, expulsion, projection – the act of expelling or projecting or ejecting