If I had a Spare BillIon I might Buy This

LONDON, England (CNN) — A spectacular superyacht has been designed by an internationally renowned urban planning architect in a very unusual shape.

Seventy-six meter long “Oculus,” which is designed for 12 guests, looks like a large sea creature, with one end looking uncannily like the jaw and eye socket of a shark or a killer whale.

A second design, the futuristic, 91-meter “Infinitas,” is based on the figure-of-eight shape of an infinity loop.

The pair are the brainchild of Kevin Schopfer, a Boston, Massachusetts-based architect who felt the design of luxury yachts should move away from generic boat shapes to something more playful.

The two eye-catching designs, which include inside swimming pools and helipads, are still looking for an owner. With a starting price of $95 million for Oculus and $140 million for Infinitas, they don’t come cheap.

Living Within Your Means

I just finished reading an article about what the credit card bill is supposed to do and was disappointed a number of the comments. A number of posters made the obvious comments about the need for people to live within their means.

That is a no brainer that I haven’t any disagreement with. However it is not as black and white as many people would like to think of it as being. Quite a few people live in situations in which they are just a few steps away from falling into serious financial distresss.

This is not a polemic or an apology but the reality of life. A family may have two working parents who are able to pay all of the bills without having to finance anything. Said parents might have spent years building a savings up to help tide them over for that mythical rainy day.

But the thing is that it doesn’t take much for that apple cart to be toppled. What happens if one of them becomes disabled and is no longer able to work. What happens if sudden and unexpected healthcare costs become necessary.

These scenarios aren’t without precedent and they aren’t impossibilities. Things happen. And when they happen you can’t give the bank an IOU for the mortgage or tell your insurance company that you are good for the money. You can’t feed your children with promises.

So I find it sad and distasteful to read to these comments where the self righteous suggest that financial difficulties are due to irresponsible behavior. I recognize that no one wants to be forced to pay more because of the irresponsible or dishonest behavior of others, but at the same time that is life.

We pay more for many products and services because the businesses are trying to protect themselves. I don’t like it, but that is just how it is. And as I have said many times I believe in a society that looks out for each other. We have a social obligation to help each other.

The distinction here is that I don’t think we should be talking about hand outs, but a hand up. If we do what we can to provide support and resources for our community it is better for everyone.

What do you think?

Lose Weight With The Greatest Exercise Ever

One of the greatest sources of joy we have is our ability to help people. Every day we look for opportunities to help others, which is part of why we created the Useful Information category. And now I am pleased to share with you our latest discovery.

If you spend any time reading the news you know that America and the world at large is suffering from an obesity epidemic. Far too many of us have succumbed to the scourge of a few extra pounds. It is no secret to most of you that carrying some extra weight can cause a number of health issues.

Fortunately we have a solution for you. We have located an amazing piece of exercise equipment that you can use to help you shed those unwanted pounds. My friends, I am pleased to introduce you to the last piece of exercise equipment you are ever going to need to buy, the JumpSnap.

Every time I look at The JumpSnap I shake my head in frustration. Why didn’t I come up with the idea of developing a jump rope that comes without the rope. Finally there is a way to look like a jump rope pro without fear of tripping over the rope. No longer will you worry about being the only kid on town who can’t do the Double Dutch or crossover like Sugar Ray.

It really is amazing. But the fine folks who developed this amazing device left out one solid piece of advice. An exercise program such as this requires a great diet, which is why I recommend that in conjunction with the JumpSnap you enjoy the Wish Sandwich diet.

For those who have missed out on past reviews of useful products here is a list of links that you might find to be useful.

How to Make Hard Boiled Eggs
What Not to Do-Snakebites
The Cubicle Celebrates 40 Years
How Velcro Was Invented
My New Desk- I Have To Get One
London Restaurant Tries To Solve Gas Crisis
Who Wants To Buy An Artificial Foreskin
Untapped Sources of Energy
The Mangroomer
Business Cards That Will Get You Business
Medical Technology- The future is now
Inventions You have Got T0 Have (Includes the ladies urinal, toilet forehead support system and much more.)
The Nose Pouch
How Much Would it Cost To Build The Death Star

Credit Card Problems- The System is Broken

In the years since I graduated from college I have grown to be quite wary of late night and early morning telephone calls because invariably they only come when there is a problem. The sole exception that comes to mind are the early morning telephone calls that I received about the birth of nieces and nephews, those were pretty cool and worth losing sleep over.

But aside from those moments the primary association I have with the odd hour telephone call is not positive. They have been notices of death or illness, not good news. So when the phone rang at a little past ten I was instantly on guard. The caller ID was restricted so for a moment I was hesitant to answer it, but then concern got the best of me so I picked it up.

It turned out that a dear friend was on the line and in need of a friendly ear. He made some small talk and then launched into a story about bad his finances are and how he can’t pay his bills. I felt for him. He has a good work ethic and has always worked hard, but during the past few years he has been laid off a few times.

Each time it happened he picked himself up and did his best to go and find a new job. In between he did what he could to support his family. What little savings he had was quickly eaten up and he found himself using the credit cards to try and get by. They didn’t go for fancy meals, vacations or luxury cars.

They were used to purchase groceries, pay tuition for his children, buy clothing for them and other things of this nature. In short, they helped to cover necessities. Gradually he developed balances on them and though he did his best to try to pay them off the odd jobs he worked didn’t pay enough to prevent them from becoming maxed out.

When he called me he was in a panic. He didn’t have enough money to pay all of his bills. He was a week late in paying one of the cards and had received two calls from them asking when they could expect payment.

During the second call he explained his situation to the bank and asked if they could work with him. They gave him two options in which his account would be frozen and he’d be asked to pay a set amount each month to pay off the bill.

He told them he couldn’t afford the amount he was quoted and asked if they could extend the term so that he could pay a lesser amount. The representative told him no and that because he was late in paying his interest rate had been raised to more than 28%.

He reiterated that he wanted to pay them, that he wasn’t trying to shirk his responsibility. He said that if it was a $100 less a month he could afford to make the payments. They turned him down and he asked what he should do.

In turn he was told that if he continued to withold payment the card would go into default and he’d probably gain more options. He told them that he didn’t want that to happen, that he was willing to pay and couldn’t they work with him. And again they apologized, but said that policy was policy.

I could hear the anger and the frustration in his voice. When he told me that they system was broken I had to agree.

When the banks got into trouble they went to the government to receive aid. When he went to the bank asking for them to grant him some assistance he got a poke in the eye and a kick in the pants.

Even better, his tax dollars are part of what is helping to fund the banks bailout.

I have heard and read a lot of comments about how people need to be responsible and that we should let the chips fall where they may. It may sound like a good idea to let things lie, but sometimes you need to be there to give people a hand up.

There are more and more stories about middle class families like my friend who are in serious financial distress. I don’t have the answer, but I think that if we don’t find ways to help we are all going to end up paying the price.

How Much Would it Cost To Build The Death Star

Under the category of things you don’t need to know but might be the difference in winning or losing a game of championship jeopardy.

“If you had $15.6 septillion and 94 cents in your account, would you save the world from the economic crisis or build a Death Star, destroy the world, and move on to invade the galaxy?

A guy called Ryszard Gold—who probably is an alien villain from the Outer Rim planets and got a 49-point score in our Geek Social Aptitude Test—made the calculation of the most basic Death Star’s price with current materials and space transport costs here on Earth. Here’s a quick summary:

• First, assume that 1/10 of the 17.16 quadrillion cubic meters of the Death Star is something other than empty space and 6/10 of the total volume is pressurized space.
• That will require 1.71 quadrillion cubic meters of steel, about 134 quadrillion tonnes. That’s $12.95 quintillion in current 2008 prices, and that’s without counting strange alloys and elements.
• Shipping that to space will cost $95 million per tonne: So add $12.79 septillion in transport.
• Now you need to add air, which will require 8.23 quintillion cubic meters of Nitrogen, and 1.65 quintillion cubic meters of oxygen, for a total delivery cost of $2.81 septillions and $212.46 quintillion.

The total: $15,602,022,489,829,821,422,840,226.94.

Yes, that’s a whooping 1.4 trillion times the current US Debt. Or a sightly more meaningful number: 124 trillion years of war in Iraq.”

Read the whole thing here.

P.S. We do our best to provide useful information like this. Here are some links to prior posts about cool inventions and things you have to have, or think you do:

How to Make Hard Boiled Eggs
What Not to Do-Snakebites
The Cubicle Celebrates 40 Years
How Velcro Was Invented
My New Desk- I Have To Get One
London Restaurant Tries To Solve Gas Crisis
Who Wants To Buy An Artificial Foreskin
Untapped Sources of Energy
The Mangroomer
Business Cards That Will Get You Business
Medical Technology- The future is now
Inventions You have Got T0 Have(Includes the ladies urinal, toilet forehead support system and much more.)
The Nose Pouch