Thursday, November 26, 2009

Visitors from the future?

This is among the most interesting articles I've seen this year.

Large Hadron Collider's being sabotaged from the future?

NYT article

I just thought it was so interesting the quote in the NYT article.

While it is a paradox to go back in time and kill your grandfather, physicists agree there is no paradox if you go back in time and save him from being hit by a bus.

Those physicists are very very smart. That's just so interesting and the possibilities it opens up. They are more than half professional philosophers it seems. At the very high levels of certain areas of physics and math I suspect there may be a lot of philosophy coming into play.

LTD scam

At work the premiums for long term disability have doubled in the last two years. This is after years and years of 10%-30% increases every single year. This is a big part of why.

Indiscreet partier cut off from disability claim

Our LTD carrier is also ManuLife so make no mistake, it's my premiums that were paying for Nathalie's dream to retire at age 28 at my personal expense. Tough luck she was cut off after "only" 18 months. I wonder how many Nathalies there are from coast to coast. Thousands? Tens of thousands? Sitting on the beach enjoying margaritas laughing at the suckers back home.

The thing about LTD is this. This is entirely employee paid. So the employer has little reason to care about premiums. Also the scheme is mandatory so ManuLife and other carriers have a captive group of policyholders. They have little incentive to deal with fraud and abuse since the costs are just transferred directly to the captive policyholders who aren't going anywhere. It is mathematically impossible for LTD rates to increase as much as they have without being accompanied by systemic fraud and abuse.

In the past when I started out in high tech LTD was a good thing. For a negligible cost you could protect your income in case something serious and unexpected happened. Something like a major car accident or a serious stroke where someone was clearly messed up and indisputably unable to be at work.

That's no longer the case and now we need to make changes. The reality is that the way disability is defined today is that basically anyone with moral blinders and a bit of moxie can get himself classified as disabled. Even someone who otherwise looks and acts healthy, partying it up with friends at the strip club.

What I'd like to see is to give employees choice in LTD. I don't disagree with forcing employees to purchase at least some level of LTD coverage. We should be allowed to take our business elsewhere if the carrier is not doing enough to control increases in claims. Specifically I'd like to see a competitor emerge which provided more traditional LTD as it was originally designed and intended at a much lower cost to the policyholder. The following conditions and more would specifically not be covered.

- clinical depression
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- chronic muscle soreness
- environmental illness/ multiple chemical sensitivity
- stress

Monday, November 16, 2009

orange julius

I got a little treat for myself recently. I got an orange julius at Halifax shopping centre. Actually it was a strawberry julius. It was as good as I remember them. I used to get them often back at Bayers Road shopping centre a long time ago. Although in the last 20 years or so it's not too often.

I was out shopping. I picked up some levi's dockers 30% off at the bay. I got a Lorus watch at the halifax watch co 20% off. I also went to wal-mart and price club for kleenex, soap and similar mundane supplies.

I'm just about done my mini shopping spree. About the only item left is a black leather belt. Probably Sears would be good for that. I should also get a long sleeve collar shirt. When I got out my fall clothes I had to toss around 4-5 shirts that are too short in the sleeves. I could use a new polo shirt or two; I haven't had a new one in several years.

Friday, November 06, 2009


I deleted my tagged account.

It was getting too strange there. I kept getting these friend requests that was something like "22 year old from New York City who looks like a model has added you as a friend"

It's like, yeah right. In reality

you're not 22
you're not from NYC
you don't look like a model
you don't want to be my friend
you do want to take money off me

It was just too skanky so it was easy delete and now I don't miss the daily tagged e-mails.


On a somewhat related note, I noticed this really impressive site Plenty of Fish. Some of my friends mentioned POF was pretty good. But I was surprised at how good. I did a search for white women around my age within around a 10 minute drive of where I live.

It's like wow, pages and pages of results. And there's a lot of quality in the results. Women with education, good jobs, attractive. See for yourself [page 1] [page 2] [page 3].

If there was a way to short the bar scene I'd go for it. This is a game changer. Bars are great for catching a live band, hanging out with your friends. But trying to meet someone, forget it for the bar scene. POF and the Internet makes you realize how dismal, miserable, near useless the bar scene is for that.

Scanning the profiles you can form a bit of a composite of what these ladies are looking for. Good communicator, wine drinker, cuddling, good with tools, no head games, don't care about whatever shocking, horrible things your ex said or did. I tend to disqualify myself reading these want lists, oh well. But I suppose if I posted a profile it might come across sounding like I hope to meet a financially responsible Dr. who looks like a model and cooks. So maybe I shouldn't read too much into it.

I haven't joined and I'm not sure if I'm going to. I'm not sure if it's for me. My style may not be aggressive enough for that type of site. It might be my best plan to meet someone in person eventually however unlikely and see what unfolds.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Sold some baseball cards

As part of getting the old baseball cards organized I decided to work to complete some sets. There were also other sets which had too few cards to make the effort to complete them.

I decided to list one of the sets on sportlots. It was 120 cards from 1980 o pee chee baseball. I didn't really expect anything to come of it.

But I was surprised. Last week there were two orders from the same person in Washington State USA. He ordered 12 cards in total. The sale amount was around $10. After sportlots listing fees I got around $5. I took the proceeds as credit on the site since there's some football and other cards I still want to order. I ended up losing a small amount on the postage to USA so I'll have to revise my postage fees slightly to ensure it's enough to cover my own costs.

It was a mix of cards from well known players like Robin Yount and Paul Molitor; and some obscure players.

As a seller I noticed some of the other sellers make a lot of pricing mistakes. Some people foolishly list their cards for the minimum $0.18. That's crazy. Anyone who bothers to go to sportlots is a motivated buyer who will always be willing to pay more. I didn't list any of mine for the minimum and I never would. Even if others had listed a card at $0.18 I set a min price of at least 25 cents.

Sometimes with older sets like the 1980 there will only be one card listed for a player. That means the seller has a local monopoly on that card. So you can basically charge any reasonable amount and you'll get it. Incredibly I saw people with the monopoly on a card listing it for 18 cents! For my cards even the most obscure and irrelevant player; if it is the only card listed then it becomes at least a 50 cents card due to the monopoly. For better players with any kind of name recognition then it is at least a dollar card with a local monopoly. That's how I was able to get a $10 sale on 12 cards.

I was pleasantly surprised at how my trial listing went. I'm now going to list the remaining baseball cards from the 1981, 1983, 1984 o pee chee baseball. I also have some loose Topps, Fleer and Donruss baseball from various years 1978-1983 which I'll also list.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Bought some baseball cards

I picked up some more baseball cards recently.

I was working on the 1982 o pee chee set. I had around 200 cards and needed around 190. I went to the local dealer Strictly Singles. When I got there the place was boarded up as the building is being remodeled. I didn't know if they were even still around.

I just typed it in on my cell phone and luckily thanks to Google it picked up that they have moved down Almon Street. He has a nice spacious new shop now so it was nice there. He did have a good supply of 1982. I found all but 3 that I needed. He just charged by count and it was only $30 for nearly 200 cards, around $0.15 each, a good price.

Then I went online at Sportlots and there was a good selection there too for the 1982. There were 4 people who had all three I wanted. I went with a guy who had the fewest sold, just 50. I thought I'd help a smaller dealer get his totals up. It worked out well they were listed at $0.18 each. They arrived quickly.

And so I was able to finish off the complete set! It's nice being able to turn all the pages in the album with no gaps.

That's about it for acquiring baseball for now. There's a small number of 1978 and 1979 to get. Those sets are about as far as they can get for now. If I visit a bigger city some time I'll have to look for a local dealer to see if I can finish those two sets off. With baseball done I'm going to move onto football next.