Updated on 09.21.10

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Doctor Who Edition

Trent Hamm

The only television programming I have watched in the last three weeks is Doctor Who. I’m not sure what exactly that says about me.

Anyway, here are a few articles of interest, starting with a few freelance pieces by me that have appeared at OPENForum.com.

Askers, Guessers, and the Art of Negotiation This is a further discussion of an issue I’ve talked about on The Simple Dollar before. People negotiate with each other in very different ways, and being aware of those differences can make all the difference. (@ open forum)

Does Your Community Know You? One of my favorite small businesses is going out of business! Why? They made one simple mistake – but it was a pretty big one. (@ open forum)

The Hard Choices Sometimes, we’re stuck in a corner and can’t find an easy way out of it. Which of several bad choices do we make? (@ open forum)

A Minimalist’s Guide to eBay: The Least You Need to Know to Get Started Good information here. I have sold quite a few things on eBay over the years, mostly liquidating things I no longer wanted. (@ zen habits)

Do you know your ABC’s? How to Control Negative Self-Talk It is very hard to overcome beating yourself up internally. I still struggle with it all the time. (@ pick the brain)

The “lost decade” you should really be afraid of Shocker: it’s the past decade, because real wages have actually dropped 5% since the end of the Clinton years. (@ pop economics)

Inflation and Your Mortgage With interest rates as low as they are, it’s conceivable that inflation could actually exceed the interest rate of your mortgage in future years. That creates some weird projections for real dollars spent on your mortgage over the next decade or two. (@ all financial matters)

Improved Probabilistic Inference as a General Learning Mechanism with Action Video Games A new paper in Current Biology backs up something I’ve believed to be true for years – video games help with improving one’s decision-making and information processing abilities. Yes, they make you smarter. (@ cell via the 99 percent)

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  1. Shannon says:

    Talk about reading what you believe in – you love video games so you point to studies which say that video games actually improve decision-making. You dislike tv, so you constantly deride tv-watching despite its obvious learning benefits!

  2. Matt says:

    So which doctor? Welcome to the whoverse.

  3. I love to read what I believe in….it helps me win arguments! I don’t like video games and so I’m going to pretend the article you suggest does NOT exist!

  4. Beth Ann says:

    Oddly enough, I’m also on a Doctor Who kick–I plowed through all five recent series in the past 3 weeks, and had to start Torchwood over the weekend to satiate my desire for British television. I joined Netflix specifically to watch these shows, but having the instant queue really kills my productivity because I don’t have to wait for the next disc to come, so I can watch for hours.

  5. lurker carl says:

    My experience with inflation and a mortgage – I purchased my first house when interest rates and inflation were double digit. When I sold that property several years ago, I had to pull out old records to determine tax liability. Over those years, the property tax payment (as a monthly escrow) increased to the point where it exceeded the orginal monthly mortgage payment and over double the final mortgage.

  6. JLP says:

    Appreciate the mention. It was one of my favorite posts I have written in a while.

  7. chacha1 says:

    re “does your community know you” I am in the midst of juggling a big project for a nonprofit, many professionals in the community are involved, and probably half of them have no website and no business cards. WTF?!

  8. Tracy says:

    Doctor Who is one of the best shows ever, glad that you’re checking it out. (Nine’s my favorite, but the latest series was surprisingly strong. Torchwood’s also a great next step, if you’ve never seen it, but don’t get me started on the crap that was Children of Earth.)

    A small site nitpick, because it’s been bugging me for ages – at the end of every article you have links to Digg things, share, etc. It also says to “Twit this” – Trent, I don’t know how savvy you are about social media, but quite frankly this makes you look very out of touch. No one refers to Twitter, or the act of tweeting that way, unless they’re mocking it. You should really change that.

  9. Robin Crickman says:

    Anyone have any ideas why I am not seeing the items referenced that are in OPEN Forum? When
    I click on the reference, the site is blank below
    the header.

  10. Mary says:

    Regarding the “lost decade” article, I agree it’s scary to think, as a college graduate in 2008, that I will possibly make 17.5% less than my boyfriend, who graduated in 2007. I’ll lose out on $70k during my lifetime and my starting wage will be 6-7% lower than the average. I heard somewhere else that one who graduates during the recession can take up to 15 years to make up the damage.

    I got a fix to that – going back to school! For an industry that seems to be thriving – IT. I got my Bachelors in Geography, now going to a Tech College for an Associate’s in IT Programming. Kinda weird to feel like I’m taking a step back (instead of going to grad school or something), but I learned the mistakes I made in my undergrad, and in two years I will have a career.

  11. valleycat1 says:

    #9 Robin – click on the item title that Trent lists, not the @openforum reference.

  12. Julia says:

    About Doctor Who: That’s pretty much what I did while I was catching up on the 5 recent seasons. Then I watched Torchwood (loved it, but I agree, Children of Earth sucked). Now I’m waiting for season 6 of Doctor Who to make it to Netflix. The only tv I’ve been watching for the last several weeks has been Mad Men. I finally got caught up and now I have to go online to find the latest episodes.

    Anyway, a question about video games: I read your description of that article (a theory I’ve heard many, many times before) and an idea popped into my head. I’ve always avoided action games because I get overwhelmed and frustrated (same reason I alwasy sucked at sports). I like puzzle/adventure type games like Zelda, Mario, and Prince of Persia. But these games more or less only have one way to win in each level.
    Now I’m thinking maybe I should start playing those action games to challenge some different parts of my brain. What action games do you recommend for Wii?

  13. Julia says:

    I said season 6 of Doctor Who, I think I meant season 5 – whatever the current season is :)

  14. leslie says:

    Love the Doctor! Torchwood too, actually. I have seen all of Torchwood but it is on my Netflix list right now because I plan on watching it again (after I finish plowing through Monarch of the Glen that is).

  15. Interested Reader says:

    Trent you might like watching a British series called Good Neighbors (the real title is The Good Life, but in America it’s the Good Neighbors) all 4 seasons are on Netflix watch it now currently.

    It’s about a couple who become self sufficient in their suburban home. The man turns 40 and decides he doesn’t to be reliant on himself only. His wife agrees so they turn their front and back gardens into vegetable gardens and also raise chickens, a goat, and pigs. It’s really quite clever and it’s not a new series it was put out in the 70s.

  16. Bill says:

    @#10 Mary,
    I’ve been a programmer for 20+ years. In this recession my company fired all my junior programmers. Now I get to fly to India and have phone meeting at 4 am with their replacements. These guys have masters degrees and will work $8-9 per hours. Their company only charges us $18.

    I would have a hard time recommending computer programming as a future, if you do. You got to find a niche. One that is paying off big for some is being willing to move to India or China and lead groups of programmers (engineers are finding the same). Having a American on site greatly reduces the communication and cultural problems.

    I don’t see how this is going to change much till their wages come up or ours go down.

  17. Pop says:

    Hey Trent, thanks for the mention!

    @#10 Mary and @#16 Bill,

    Foreign labor is definitely getting more adept at “high level” professions like programming (as opposed to CSR jobs). You could always try to get your foot in the door with a defense contractor or government agency. Once you get security clearance, your market value as a programmer goes way up, and that’s a job that can’t be offshored.

  18. Erin says:

    Love Dr. Who…haven’t watched Season 5 yet, but my sister says the new Doctor is wonderful.

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