Regular readers of BMA, and I know there are dozens of you out there, know that there is nothing I like more than science. Particularly science extrapolated from a single experimental result and recounted in blogs.
For example, just last week the NYT’s Economix blog asked Do Hungry People Take Bigger Financial Risks? According to some scientists in the UK, hungry people, or at least 19 guys in their mid-20’s who hadn’t eaten lately, tend to take more risks. What’s more, the blog post describes an experiment different than the one in the paper that it links to, which tells me that there must be two scientific studies out there supporting this exciting new finding.
It is exciting because it confirms a previously held belief of mine, that the problem we have in this country is too much food and not enough risk taking.
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There are actually people who think that money might not be the ultimate source of human happiness. These fringe thinkers argue that what makes us happy are the mundane trivialities of days at the beach, good food, sex, and so on.
Of course, the counter-argument is that all those things can be purchased with money. Moreover, the more money spent on them, the more people tend to enjoy them. That could be because the nice stuff is more desirable so its price gets bid up. Or maybe the fact that more of that magical money stuff is involved means that it makes us more happy.
Recent scientific evidence supports the theory that it is money itself that brings happiness. Researchers at the University of Minnesota had college students count either $100 bills or slips of paper before dipping their hands in 122 degree water. The money counters felt less pain.
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Continuing a long tradition that dates back four weeks, I’m using this last day of the week and month to round up a few things I’ve found lately on the interwebs that deserve comment but not whole posts.
Kiyosaki in Canada
The Consumerist asked the other day Is Rich Dad Robert Kiyosaki Getting Rich Off Suckers? Excellent question. Let’s examine it logically.
1. Kiyosaki is rich.
2. What he does for a living is sell books and seminars.
3. Those books and seminars are basically worthless.
4. Purchasers of those books and seminars are therefore suckers.
5. Ergo, Kiyosaki has gotten rich off suckers.
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It’s the end of another month here at Bad Money Advice World HQ. Time to empty out the queue of items that almost, but not quite, merit posts of their own.
I will start with a correction of sorts. A few weeks ago I wrote a post in which I mocked the semi-scientific conclusion that watching TV makes you poor. I still stand by my mockery, but in the meantime Wallet Pop has discovered further scientific evidence that Mom was right: Too much TV CAN kill you. (PDF of actual scientific paper written by actual scientists here.)
Come to think of it, my mom never said that TV would make me poor or kill me. She tended towards blind and stupid. Just another way my upbringing was atypical.
And the scientists do not exactly say that TV will kill you, only that watching a lot of it is correlated with keeling over. Specifically, someone who watches 4 or more hours per day is about 50% more likely to shuffle off his mortal coil than somebody who watches less than 2 hours. My theory is that prolonged exposure to reality TV causes a subconscious desire to end it all.
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We are coming up on what we Americans call the Holiday Season. And it is a season: not just one holiday, but a joyous period in which every day is special. A few of those days don’t have names yet, but I am sure that in time that gap in our culture will be filled. Here’s a rundown of the next week or so.
The traditional fun begins with Travel Nightmare Wednesday. Observed the day before the last Thursday in November, this holiday is celebrated around the nation by crowding into planes and spending quality time with loved ones inside cars crawling along interstates.
Then comes Thanksgiving, when we solemnly thank the Almighty for football and giant balloons in the shape of cartoon characters. Some families also give thanks that once again they deep fried the turkey without burning the house down.
Things pick up a bit with Black Friday, a holiday that celebrates the simple pleasures of buying stuff. Traditionally, it is observed by talking about how everybody else is going to the mall that day and recounting how it is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year. It is not, nor has it ever been. That honor usually goes to Most Busy Saturday, which falls this year on December 19th.
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