Time to find a new credit card

I’ve been fortunate enough to have used the Schwab Invest First Visa credit card the last few years. (Schwab stopped offering the card and transferred its management to FIA Card Services back a little more than a year ago. Incidentally, FIA Card Services has been owned by Bank of America since 2006.) It was 2% cash back on everything with the cash being deposited, regardless of the amount, to your brokerage account each and every month. There was no talk about accumulating points or only being able to receive the cash back in increments of $25. It was perfect. I had auto-pay set up so I never had to remember to pay (just had to make sure I had enough cash to cover the balance!). As an example, if I spent $405.23 in a month, $8.10 would be automatically deposited at the end of the billing period. Sure, a little amount, but still, I’d rather have that $8.10 earning interest for me. With my old Citi 1% cash back card, that $8.10 would just sit there until it reached $50 exactly. I’d then be able to receive a check for the $50 and anything over that would accumulate until it again reached $50. However, the Citi card was great in that you actually got true cash back rather than points that you redeemed for cash. With the true cash back the company can’t suddenly say: ‘by the way, that $50 that you have…it’s now only worth $25.’ With points, however, I have a feeling that something like that could more easily happen.
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Marie Curie: Why her papers are still radioactive

Many library collections use special equipment, such as special gloves and climate-controlled rooms, to protect the archival materials from the visitor. For the Pierre and Marie Curie collection at France’s Bibliotheque National, it’s the other way around.

That’s because after more than 100 years, much of Marie Curie’s stuff – her papers, her furniture, even her cookbooks – are still radioactive. Those who wish to open the lead-lined boxes containing her manuscripts must do so in protective clothing, and only after signing a waiver of liability.

Marie Curie: Why her papers are still radioactive

Here’s a really interesting story about how naive the early pioneers of radiation were. Amazing work that these pioneers had accomplished.

Update, Finally!

I’m finally going to start updating my blog again. Issue number 1 was dealing with the tons of tabs on dividend investing that I had open. I curated those down to two new pages on investing.

My Investing Approach and Dividend Income

My Investing Approach will remain relatively static and will only be updated as I purchase new stocks, ETFs, or mutual funds. Dividend Income will be more dynamic, showing the amount of dividends that my portfolio is bringing in each month.

Atrix 4G Phone

Can the Atrix 4G really become your next PC?

You know that advertisement where you see the guy trying to explain to airport security if his phone is a computer or a phone or both? Visit the above link to read a review of it. Seems kind of like a cool idea until you learn some of the details: Turns out you’re not actually running the computer from your phone. The computer portion is running its own version of Linux. A quote from a Slashdot article, Can the Atrix 4G Really Become Your Next PC?, explains it the best:

So I was reading the article and thinking “$400 for the laptop module? $200 + peripherals for the dock? Those are the equivalent of a cheap laptop/PC” Then I got to this tidbit:

“When you dock the Atrix, the Firefox browser and other dock-provided services aren’t running from the Atrix but instead from a stripped-down Linux PC inside the dock. A real post-PC device would run everything from the smartphone or tablet, and it would use the dock to add more processing or take advantage of peripherals.”

What? Why the heck am I buying this thing? All you’re selling is an ultra-underpowered, crippled Linux computer that only works when a weird phone is plugged in for no particular reason. Syncing open tabs in FireFox is nice, but that’s not enough. A simple app could do that. At home, I can keep a computer no problem. On the go, I still have to keep your laptop dock thing, so no space savings there.

Then there are other downsides. I’m guessing it drains the battery faster to use the laptop dock thing. The pictures of the laptop dock make it look really easy to snap the phone off the back accidentally and break the phone/dock. It’s nice to know the reviewer doesn’t think the thing feels secure in the dock.

This seems to be where computers will go for most people, but this first implementation clearly sounds more like a beta product than a first generation.

Publicly owned Green Bay Packers

Right before the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl I found this great article that explains how a NFL team in a city of 102,000 people manages to survive and thrive.

The right way? The Green Bay way: Here’s how to fix professional sports in one simple lesson: Use the Packers model

And here’s a snippet from a New Yorker article: Those Non-Profit Packers

The Packers’ unique setup has created a relationship between team and community unlike any in the N.F.L. Wisconsin fans get to enjoy the team with the confidence that their owner won’t threaten to move to Los Angeles unless the team gets a new mega-dome. Volunteers work concessions, with sixty per cent of the proceeds going to local charities. Even the beer is cheaper than at a typical N.F.L. stadium. Not only has home field been sold out for two decades, but during snowstorms, the team routinely puts out calls for volunteers to help shovel and is never disappointed by the response. It doesn’t matter how beloved the Cowboys are in Dallas; if Jerry Jones ever put out a call for free labor, he’d be laughed out of town.

Badgers Beat OSU, the #1 ranked team

Probably the most exciting Badger game that I was at was in 2003 when we ended the Buckeyes 19 game winning streak (off of winning the championship the prior season). I believe they were #2 in the country at that time. Well, I wish I had been at this game because the Wisconsin Badgers just beat Ohio State again, this time with them ranked #1. First time we’ve beaten a #1 since sometime in the 80′s when we beat Michigan.

Here’s a funny Craigslist post that I found on Twitter:

A Salute to all Badgers – From a Wolverine

Greetings and Salutations to all Badger fans
Let me begin by saying that in my younger days I tended bar at an establishment within walking distance of the Big House. I always looked forward to a home game against Wisconsin, because for my money the traveling Badger fans are the best in the Big Ten (Penn State a close second). Always cordial and friendly even after journeying a considerable distance with only the hope of seeing some good football, you are always welcome here in Ann Arbor, as is your football team which is as tenacious as its mascot.

Congratulations on tonight’s vanquishing of the evil Buckeyes, who as we all know are in league with Satan. My condolences to your citizens who will have to clean up the destroyed hotel rooms and mop up the cheap beer vomit inevitably left behind by the cretinous fans of THE Ohio State University after a road loss (what’s with the “the OSU” anway…give me a break). Rest assured that they treat their own squalid trailer homes no better. I’ve always thought that a horde of Orcs would be a refreshing change from the Buckeyes, as they smell better and have a vocabulary larger than “Michigan sucks!!” I guess they say “Wisconsin Sucks!” while in Madison, but since you wear red as well they just may think you’re all OSU fans who didn’t have time to grow a mullet.

To show our appreciation, when you come here Nov. 20 to play the Maize and Blue, we have arranged a most uncommon show of courtesy: During the game, our quarterback(s) will throw the ball to your players, not just once, but several times. You can’t get more courteous than that, at least not during the game.

My high school fight song was sung to the tune of “On Wisconsin”, and I’ve always considered it to be the second best fight song in college football. I’ve also had the pleasure to visit your fair city twice in the past year, and it is indeed as lovely as I had been told, and the bratwurst as tasty could be. If I had to nitpick, I would say that you could do more to discourage your young men from growing those ill-considered whaling captain beards, (I was there once in the winter), but the folly of youth is easily excused.

Best wishes to all Badger faithful in all your endeavors, except of course the one day a year when our teams meet. I know we haven’t been giving you much of a game lately, but give it a couple of years. By that time we will have cast aside the faddish spread offense, and the legendary Michigan Man Jim Harbaugh will have returned to lead us to smash-mouth Big Ten glory once again. That day cannot come soon enough.

Cordially,

A Wolverine

p.s. Go Blue!

You Can’t Make This Up

Just got this spam message sent to me. It was trying to get me to buy best man gifts. I couldn’t make something this creative up if I tried!

As a man, you tally to take, you most belike someone never been neat at shopping, or symmetrical liked shopping for that thing. Now that you’re achievement to be married, you’ll feat that choosing gifts for your primo man change beautify effort of your to-do move. It’s a provocative strain, but if you cognise where to perception, you’ll be competent to conceive the perfect heritage in no case.

A bunch of new photo galleries

I had some time today so I was able to get through editing a bunch of RAW photos. I’m including the brand new galleries as well as photos from recent trips that I’ve been on.

Loew Lake Unit – Southern Kettles

Home in May/June 2010

Pike Lake Unit

Riveria Maya, Mexico

Boulder, Colorado

Sylvania Wilderness Area Canoe Trip