October 2007 Archives
It used to be that you had to venture below the grime-caked pylons of the Manhattan Bridge, to a scene more reminiscent of Luoyang than of the Lower East Side, in order to catch a cheap bus ride between New York and Washington, DC. Even now at the intersection of East Broadway and Forsyth St, ticket hawkers scream out destinations in thick Cantonese accents--“DC, DC, DC!” “Philly, Philly!”--and grab the arms of passers-by toting luggage. Loading queues often disintegrate into a Hobbesian struggle to nab untaken seats.
. . .
Most recently, a Marriott executive founded DC2NY, a service between Washington and New York that guarantees customers seats if booked online and charges only slightly more than the Chinatown buses (a $40 round-trip versus $35). It also offers free bottles of water and Wi-Fi internet access. The “luxury” bus carrier has more than doubled its operation since its inaugural trip this summer. Watch as its older rivals start copying its perks.
"The Chinatown express: Innovation brings emulation," The Economist, October 27, 2007
- "How to Get Into, Around, and Out Of Washington, DC" - from TheCapitol.Net
- DC2NY - "The Ultimate Bus Travel Experience" [Yelp]
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)
The open enrollment season for next year's benefits elections is already underway.
Whether you're an employee being faced with new health insurance options through your company plan, run your own company like me, or purchase individual health insurance, the choices you make regarding your health insurance are an important part of your 2008 financial strategy.
. . .
... I found there are a lot of misconceptions about HSAs, including that if you don't use the entire balance of your HSA before the end of the year, you forfeit it. That's not true -- with an HSA, there's no "use it or lose it" rule.
"Seven Things to Know About Health Savings Accounts," by David Bach, Yahoo! Finance, October 22, 2007
- Health Savings Accounts - from the US Department of the Treasury
- HSA Frequently Asked Questions - from the US Department of the Treasury
- "Health Savings Account Answers," by Kimberly Lankford, Kiplingers, December 5, 2006
- Health Savings Account (HSA) - Wikipedia
- First HSA
- HSA Bank
Commuting to work on a bike - in a suit
Do live in an area where the traffic congestion adds time to your daily commute to work? Have you ever wondered if there might be a better way? Perhaps there is. Watch this video made by Stephen Gale from Melbourne, Australia. He discovered that he could get to work much faster on his electric bike than he could be driving.
"Electric bikes: Suitable Transportation? Of course, just ask Stephen Gale!," by Jeremy Korzeniewski, AutoblogGreen, April 12, 2007
Stephen Gale, a practical guy (who last rode a bike the day before he gained his drivers licence), has riden all the way from Melbourne to Sydney over eight days while wearing a business suit. He didn't plan to break any records, in fact he wants to show just how easy it was.
Previously on Hobnob Blog: "Electric Bikes," September 9, 2007
Is your child getting enough sleep?
Half of all adolescents get less than seven hours of sleep on weeknights. By the time they are seniors in high school, according to studies by the University of Kentucky, they average only slightly more than 6.5 hours of sleep a night. Only 5 percent of high-school seniors average eight hours. Sure, we remember being tired when we went to school. But not like today’s kids.
It has been documented in a handful of major studies that children, from elementary school through high school, get about an hour less sleep each night than they did 30 years ago. While parents obsess over babies’ sleep, this concern falls off the priority list after preschool. Even kindergartners get 30 minutes less a night than they used to.
. . .
Using newly developed technological and statistical tools, sleep scientists have recently been able to isolate and measure the impact of this single lost hour. Because children’s brains are a work-in-progress until the age of 21, and because much of that work is done while a child is asleep, this lost hour appears to have an exponential impact on children that it simply doesn’t have on adults.
The surprise is how much sleep affects academic performance and emotional stability, as well as phenomena that we assumed to be entirely unrelated, such as the international obesity epidemic and the rise of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. A few scientists theorize that sleep problems during formative years can cause permanent changes in a child’s brain structure: damage that one can’t sleep off like a hangover. It’s even possible that many of the hallmark characteristics of being a tweener and teen--moodiness, depression, and even binge eating--are actually symptoms of chronic sleep deprivation.
"Snooze or Lose: Overstimulated, overscheduled kids are getting at least an hour’s less sleep than they need, a deficiency that, new research reveals, has the power to set their cognitive abilities back years." by Po Bronson, New York Magazine, October 15, 2007