Today’s Quote

“You can’t manipulate someone with candor and truth. That is called enlightenment.”

– (slightly paraphrased) from the book Changes by Jim Butcher

Home sick

I had to stay home sick. Blah. Just lots of mild “blah” symptoms all over my person. I’m laying low so I feel better for my trip to Florida over Thanksgiving break!

Should I Pay Off Student Loans or Put The Money In the Stock Market?

Hypothetically, if you had three student loans totaling about $100,000 at different interest rates… say $3%, 5%, and 6%, would you push to pay them off or invest the “extra” money in the stock market?

My first thought was that the stock market generally pays 7% interest over inflation so I should pay down the 6% loan and put all the rest of the money into the stock market, but now I’m second-guessing myself. Thoughts?

Of course, first priority is to make a rainy day fund and pay into a matching 401(k).

I found this crazy-cool chart that shows the S&P 500 doing something like 3% better than inflation over long periods of time. (via) so maybe I should pay off all the student loans. My investing average seems to be waay better than 3% but when I look at that crazy-cool chart, I can see that I’ve been investing in a big bubble for a long time.

Blargh. Why can’t it be easy to make lots of money without doing any work? Oh wait, yeah.

Figured It Out!

There was this awful noise that I’d sometimes hear in my room at school. It sounded like a machine in the walls suddenly turning on. Sometimes for a half a second, sometimes for a minute. On and off, on and off! It’d come on a bit more around 11am or so so I thought it might be related to kids going to the nearby bathroom. When it was happening and I had the opportunity, I’d run around the building looking for the source. It wasn’t the air conditioning, wasn’t the bathrooms, wasn’t the heaters, wasn’t the neighboring classrooms playing with power tools. I talked to the school custodian, to the neighboring teachers. But they all thought I was mad. I wasn’t mad! I wasn’t! I swear it!


Then, a few days ago, more than a YEAR after first noticing the sound, I found it! A water hammer in the sink of the classroom two doors down. So simple! When the kids were cleaning up from morning work, they’d turn on the water. Curiously, it was quieter in the room with the offending sink than in mine.

I got the most joy when Ms. S. the teacher one door down told me how for the last DECADE she was explaining-away that horrible sound to her students. We were both beaming!


I went to the custodian and explained what was going on. We wrote up a work order for the plumber together. And 3 days later, with one gentle turn of a wrench, the problem dissolved into the mists!


1 mile

My in-laws’ two homes are each about 1 mile away from the flames of the Kincaid fire in Santa Rosa. Please send good wishes!

Moderate Humidity Decreases Infection Rates

TL;DNR: Keeping the humidity at 40-60% dramatically decreases airborne infection rates!

Here are snippets from an article in Forbes, shown to me by Winnie Chen.

Oct 17, 2019, 09:30am
This Inexpensive Action Lowers Hospital Infections And Protects Against Flu Season
Leah Binder

“Harvard Medical School graduate and lecturer, Stephanie Taylor” heads this research…

“The one factor most associated with infection was (drum roll): dry air.”

“Taylor finds one of the most interesting studies from a team at the Mayo Clinic, which humidified half of the classrooms in a preschool and left the other half alone over three months during the winter. Influenza-related absenteeism in the humidified classrooms was two-thirds lower than in the standard classrooms—a dramatic difference.”

“They used to assume the microbes in desiccated droplets were dead, but advances in the past several years changed that thinking.”