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.

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

I’m going to go for it, I Kid You Not!

…even if Branson and the Google gang are in some bar snickering “April fools” over their Stella Artois every time some wide-eyed reporter approaches them. Have two. Or ten. Like buying a lottery ticket, it’s a license to dream big.


“For thousands of years,

the human race has spread out across the Earth, scaling mountains and plying the oceans, planting crops and building highways, raising skyscrapers and atmospheric CO2 levels, and observing, with tremendous and unflagging enthusiasm, the Biblical injunction to be fruitful and multiply across our world’s every last nook, cranny and subdivision.

“An invitation.

Earth has issues, and it’s time humanity got started on a Plan B. So, starting in 2014, Virgin founder Richard Branson and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin will be leading hundreds of users on one of the grandest adventures in human history: Project Virgle, the first permanent human colony on Mars.

“The question is, do you want to join us?

Ever yearned to journey to the stars? You can learn how to become a Virgle Pioneer, test your Pioneering potential, or join the Mission Control community that will help develop the 100 Year Plan we’ve outlined here.

R. I. P., Arthur C. Clarke

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Arthur C. Clarke, futurist, inventor, writer extraordinaire.
Taken by the author at The Spinnaker, Portsmouth, England 

Job opportunity

Job Fair


Drug dealer. Sells illegal substances to addicts, schoolchildren, and undercover cops.

  • Excellent prospects for promotion due to rapid turnover of gang membership (people get killed, go to jail, or are severely injured quite often.)
  • In a four-year period, you can expect to be shot twice, arrested six times.
  • One-in-four chance of getting killed.
  • Starting wage: $1.70/hr.
  • No benefits
  • No relocation for this position
  • No education required.
  • Must provide own transportation.

Credit is due economist Steven Levitt and sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh. See Levitt’s excellent book Freakonomics.