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February 2011 - Posts - Yankee 2.0
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Yankee 2.0

February 2011 - Posts

  • What is my freedom worth?

    I saw a post on Craigslist recently that offered "up to $2,400" for participation in a research study at a reputable university. I called for more information, and the study (which is for NASA) involves several day visits/tests (blood tests, coordination and skills tests, interviews) and then culminates in a 13-day stay in their lab to have your sleep patterns monitored. The subjects who do the 13 days are in "isolation suites" where they can't know what time it is, have no access to computers or phones, have no windows, and where the lights are turned on and off at strange times, to see how the human body responds to such cues. People can write the subjects letters, but they'll be reviewed by research staff and redacted if they mention dates or times. Sound like prison? The "up to" payment is becuase you can drop out or be dropped at several points leading up to the 13-day stay.

    While the idea of the cash is appealing to me, the idea of being stuck, isolated, in a lab under the control of space scientists is less appealing. $2400 would pay for the plumbing work I want to do in my house this summer, but in the end, I don't think being in that situation is worth it to me. I thought a lot about the project and the recompense, and what motivates people to participate in this kind of study. And then I wondered what my own price is. How much money would make it worth my while to spend 13 days having my sleep monkeyed with and being isolated from my home and normal life? Would I do it for $5,000? Maybe. For $10,000? Definitely. I think. I would think of what I could do with that $10,000, (get a new roof and storm windows) and that would motivate me, but then I'd think about the conditions of the research project and might reconsider. Is there a dollar value that's worth it to be a prisoner for 13 days? I don't know.

  • On the level

    My nine-year-old refrigerator has been rattling for several months. It's not really loud, but it's noticeable and annoying. I think that nine years is about a third of the life expectancy of a refrigerator, so I was even more annoyed at the thought that it might be dying at such a young age. I would push it and open and close the door and it would stop rattling for a minute, then come back.

    Then the other day I heard something on the radio about the importance of having appliances level in order for them to function correctly and prolong their lives. I knew that was true for washing machines and gas stoves, but then I thought, "I wonder if that's what's going on with the fridge?"

    Guess what? It was. So I got out my trusty level and moved the fridge around on the floor until it was level -- guess what else? The rattling stopped. I repainted the kitchen back in November, and when I moved the fridge out, I must have done something that knocked it out of whack. Well, now I have a quiet kitchen and am hopefully prolonging the life of my young adult fridge.

  • Do you care about your credit score?

    There are several schools of thought about credit scores among people I know. Some people care a lot about their score and do whatever they can do keep the score as high as possible. Sometimes, the high-score-keepers want to know they can access credit at the best rate possible, some think it's reflective of a good character, some are just plain competitive and want to be "the best" at anything they undertake.

    Some people don't care at all about their score. These people seem to either be in the "I'm off the credit-grid" camp, and don't care about their score because they are dedicated to never using credit again, or in the resigned camp of "my score's ruined, I'll never fix it, so who cares." 

    I can understand all these points of view. I care about my credit score because I think it's important to pay bills on time, and if I *do* ever need credit again (I hope I won't) or if a potential employer ever checks my credit score, I want to look like a desireable candidate for credit or work. 

    How about you DS readers? Do you care about your score? Why or why not? 

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