Daylight Savings is a Crock!

It should come as little surprise to anyone who has thought about it, but now there is scientific proof: daylight savings time wastes, not reduces, energy.
In Indiana, daylight savings was previously observed by 15 of the 92 counties, creating a lot of confusion when your neighbor’s clock was an hour off from yours. The legislature thus passed a law mandating daylight savings throughout the state, and researchers took the opportunity to study the law’s effect on energy usage. The result? Residential electricity usage increased between 1% and 4%, amounting to $8.6 million a year.

Instant Expert

I always find it amusing when, in the days after an event like the Westminster Dog Show, everyone becomes an instant expert on the subject. “That Uno was a good-lookin’ beagle.” “I thought the Weimaraner should have won.” Meanwhile, we really have no idea what the judges are looking for, or what really makes a good dog. What we do know is that it’s fun to root for the dogs you know and see every day, like the beagle and the bulldog, but otherwise, we’re pretty ignorant.
Last weekend, during a break from curling, we flipped through channels to find that professional bull riding was on NBC. The instant expert phenomenon occurred there as well. We were analyzing the bulls and the riders as though we knew what made a good bull or a good ride. “Look at how he stayed in the center of that bull.” “That bull didn’t give him much of a challenge.”
I imagine that some people involved in those events would get irritated by our couch potato observations, much as I do when people mock curling. What are you an “instant expert” on? Or, what are you actively involved in that people think they know a lot about, but really don’t?

Brain Dump

Just a couple of things I need to dump out here before I forget them. First, from the creator of one of my favorite parenting blogs, Z Recommends, comes Prizey, a simple contest aggregator. Subscribe to the feed, or check out the site, and you’ll get a bunch of contests to enter. Many are parenting related, but some are not (DVD giveaways, etc). You know me, I’m all about the free stuff.
Over the weekend, we had two big fun things going on. On Friday night, in the middle of a rainstorm, we were at the National Zoo for “Boo at the Zoo.” Trick-or-treating around the zoo was lots of fun, in spite of the rain. The most fun was seeing the different way the animals ate their pumpkin treats. The gorilla would pick it up with both hands and bite a chunk off the side, then scrape the flesh off while leaving the outer skin. The lion managed to get a hole in the top, and was sticking its head inside to pull out the juicy guts.
On Sunday, we got up early and drove up to Philadelphia for the day. Lisa’s choir was singing at St. Malachy’s Church. We got there a little early and were able to go see the Liberty Bell, but not much else. The concert was okay from the choir’s perspective, but the highlight was quite clearly the male soprano, Ryan Lowe (currently starring as Mary Sunshine in the musical Chicago on Broadway). The dude started singing, and everyone was looking around at the choir trying to figure out where the woman’s voice was coming from. It was coming from the dude! Crazy. Lisa said that world-famous soprano Renee Fleming once told him after a performance that he was better than her. I don’t know about that, but he was good enough that the audience will remember him, and not the off-day for the chorale.
The kids were really great in the car, but we were definitely wishing that we had a minivan by the end of it. The Civic is great for mileage and all, but there’s just not a lot of room, and no way to entertain them outside of playing music, which gets old after a while.
Finally, it looks like my favorite MovableType plugin, Media Manager, has been upgraded for MovableType 4, so I’m going to finally get around to looking at MT4 a little closer now. They’ve done a lot of work to improve it, and so far I like what I see. The only catch may be getting my stupid customized templates working properly. In other words, expect possible wackiness ahead.
Brain dump done.

More Breakfast, Other Links

Apropos of yesterday’s breakfast photos, I ran across this CNN/Cooking Light article on eating a healthy breakfast. I was pleasantly surprised to see that peanut butter is a recommended breakfast food. Unfortunately, we’re out of peanut butter at the moment, so instead, I microwaved a scrambled egg this morning (not sure why I never thought of that before), and had toast with strawberry jam and an apple with my usual coffee. I didn’t take a picture, though I plan on doing that sometime soon. I will have to wait and see if my slightly new breakfast will help with the pre-lunch hunger bug.
There were interesting responses to my questions on what those two people were eating (3 comments were the most I’ve had in a while). I never would have guessed falafel for the first one, but it does look like it could be.
Two other links for you this morning:
Ten videos to change how you view the world. From the TED conference, some fascinating stuff if you have some spare time. I particularly enjoyed Daniel Gilbert’s “Why Are We Happy? Or Not?” talk, and I added his book to my reading list.
In The New, where you follow Jen’s year-long effort to do one new thing every day until she turns 30. Some interesting, some boring, but one thing every day. Impressive.


Via Kottke, a fascinating photo set of people and their breakfasts. I found it interesting to see how the people who had just coffee looked more tired and ragged than those who ate more proper breakfasts. Mine is usually a bowl of cereal (this week I’m indulging and having Crunch Berries, shut up, they’re delicious!) with a banana cut on top, with black coffee on the side. I may have to have the old PB on toast though, and the bacon on a cream cheese bagel looks delectable.
Side note: Can anyone tell me what these two people are eating?

Hooray for Fall!

Here in DC, we’ve gone from a high of 93 on Tuesday, to a forecast high of 68 today (and a low of 41 overnight!). I’m grateful since I’ve actually been running after work lately, with the kids in the new (to me, bought for $40 on Craigslist) jogging stroller. It’ll be nice to not be sweating before I even leave the driveway.
Plus, I won’t feel weird buying my Pumpkin Spice Latte!

Friday Freebies

Two fun things to cheer you up on this Friday morning. First, a comprehensive list of restaurants and food places that give you something free for your birthday (scroll to the summary for signup links). Most require registering in advance of your birthday, so plan ahead. Second, maybe you’ve seen those video rental boxes in your local grocery store lately? $1 rental for 1 night, if you keep it extra nights, it’s $1 each extra night. RedBox is one of those places, and this site is devoted to gathering free rental codes. You can also get a free rental code by signing up for their newsletter.

Shift Happens

My head asplode! The first minute of this video should be enough to wake your sorry American butt up this morning.

China will soon become the largest English-speaking country in the world.