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Why Occupy Supporters Should Hate Uber

I have a cousin who is a emphatic Occupy supporter. He is constantly discussing why companies that want to profit are bad and minimum wage and other government regulations are good.

Today he shared a post about Uber. His Brother-in-law (who I suspect also slants liberal) is driving for them.

Uber is a wonderful service. If you aren’t familiar, Uber is a ridesharing company that uses the Internet and mobile apps to let people use their personal cars and drive others around. It’s a great opportunity for individuals who want to make a little extra cash and a great service that’s probably cheaper and more accessible than a taxi. Brilliant idea.

The thing is, Uber is completely capitalist and flies in the face of years of government regulation of the transportation industry. Taxi drivers have unionized and helped passed laws to protect their artificially inflated wages. The government has adopted these laws and transportation is one of the most highly regulated sectors of American industry.

This makes Uber the EXACT OPPOSITE of what every democrat, liberal, socialist or Occupy supporter wants! It is a total libertarian/conservative/tea party idea. Power to the people, no government regulation, freedom to do what you want with your car and your time.

Anyone who is liberal and loves Uber must either reconsider their position on Uber or reconsider their politics because they don’t mix.

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What $9k Dome Home Would Cost in America

Thai-Dome-Home-by-Steve-Areen-04It’s been all over Facebook. A guy named Steve Areen in Thailand built a “dome home” for about $9,000 in six weeks. Everyone is raving about how cheap, awesome and sustainable it is.

Why Can’t We Build Like This in America?

Steve’s house was cheap for a few reasons. He got the land for free, he’s in Thailand where materials are cheaper, Thailand doesn’t have the government regulation we have, Thailand has a tropical climate, he was able to do the work himself and not hire expensive skilled labor and finally the house is small with only two rooms and no garage. Steve is currently working on acquiring some land in Oregon to try and build another house. It will be interesting to see what kind of costs are involved there.

What Would This House Cost in Colorado

I’m in Colorado, and this is the area I know the most about, so here are some rough estimates of what the house would cost in Colorado just to pass inspection for occupancy.

Lot The best lot price I found in the area was $12,500 with water and sewer taps. That’s probably the cheapest you could get buy. There were some unimproved lots out on the prairie for $10,000, but they had a $9,500 water tap fee with them.

Foundation The dome home doesn’t appear to have any kind of foundation. That wouldn’t be legal here. You need soil testing and footers poured at a minimum. Probably another $10,000.

Permit Permits vary by city or county and by value of the dwelling. We are up to about $30k already and will top out above that. Looking at Weld County fees with Road Impact and Facility Impact fees, the total is going to be at least $3,600, over 1/3 of Steve’s original cost.

HVAC Code is going to require certain insulation values for construction materials and windows. Colorado also gets cold in the winter, so some kind of heating system will be required. Steve’s structure didn’t look like it had any heating or cooling. We should probably add another $10,000 for that.

Safety Steve’s rooftop patio, while awesome, wouldn’t meed any kind of US building codes. No railing on the stairs, no railing around the patios. Thatch roof construction could easily catch fire. There are multiple safety regulations that would need to be considered. Let’s budget another $10,000 for that.

HOA Requirements In Colorado all new subdivisions have to have an HOA. Most existing HOAs wouldn’t allow something like this house. Most HOAs specify that houses would have to include a garage or be a certain size. It’s hard to put a number on this, and it’s possible you might be able to find a lot without an HOA, but for large scale adoption of this type of construction it would be very difficult to abide by all the rules set by your neighbors.

Total House Costs

So to total it up:

Lot: $15,000
Foundation: $10,000
Permit: $3,500
HVAC: $10,000
Code Compliance: $10,000
Original cost: $9,000

Estimated Total: $57,500

These are only rough numbers, and you now have a house with no garage for your car and a location out in the middle of nowhere so you will need that car pretty badly. Building it in a city where you could actually walk to work and the grocery store and not need a care would likely cost $20k more, if you were allowed to build it at all.

$9k homes are amazing, but the same building would cost 8x as much or more here in Colorado, primarily due to the large number of rules we have created for ourselves. There are still places in this country that have more relaxed rules and allow for tiny homes, but for most of us we are better of with more standard construction.

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Best Financial Advice Ever

Great article with some great financial advice from some very successful people.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/best-financial-advice-ever-got-231000077.html

The best one was Scott Adams.

Scott Adams, creator of ‘Dilbert’ and author of ‘How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big’

The best financial advice I ever got was “Price yourself high and see what happens.” Humans aren’t good at knowing their market value. When I started doing paid speaking engagements I had no idea how to price myself. A mentor told me to quote an absurdly high price. The client accepted it without hesitation and offered to pay my travel expenses as well. I no longer underprice myself.

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World War Z Review

World War ZJust got back from the midnight show of World War Z and as an avid fan of the Zombie genre, I have to say I was disappointed.

The comments I heard as leaving the theater were that it wasn’t a ‘scary’ movie, it was an action movie, and that was exactly the case.

The opening sequence had a few thrill moments, but beyond that it didn’t have the punch of something like The Horde or the outright creepiness we’ve all come to expect from The Walking Dead.

Beyond that, the story was good. Honestly not a bad adaptation of a novel that was nearly impossible to adapt. What really got me, and this is the spoiler alert, was all of the inconsistencies and plot holes.

The Satellite Phone – The UN Undersecretary gives Gerry a Sat phone and gives his wife one and sends him off to the other side of the globe (Korea in fact) in a C-130 (that would probably have to refuel every 2,000 miles) with their top doctor to find the cure for the plague. They don’t bother to send a charger and this sat phone only has a battery that is good for about 15 minutes of talk time. The only person that has another sat phone is his wife, not the UN guy, not any of the soldiers, not any of the medical personnel, Gerry’s wife has the sat phone and they talk on it twice before the battery goes dead. You would think the last hope of humankind would be expected to give regular reports to someone besides his wife…

Removing a Hand – Next we move on to a great scene where Gerry, our hero, is able to remove a hand with a swipe of a combat knife. Really? That’s not a lightsaber you are handling there. All I could think of was Jack Bauer using a Fire Axe to remove a hand in the finale of 24 Season 3 and how much harder Jack had to work on it and how much tougher Gerry is than Jack.

Explosive Decompression – From there we move to a great airplane scene where explosive compression blows zombies out of an airplane at mountaintop level in Scotland. The highest mountaintop in Scotland is 4,000 feet. Even if we hadn’t seen the Mythbusters Episode on Explosive Decompression, I’m sure it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that there’s now way it’s going to occur at 4,000 feet. That’s just silly.

My message of the day to all the World...Lost in the Secret Laboratory – Finally there is the climax of the film. Our World War Z hero, Gerry, is left alone in B wing of the WHO facility in Cardiff Scotland to retrieve items from a secret laboratory. He gets to the secret vault and there is a keypad. Apparently the people that sent him to the vault didn’t bother to give him the combination to the room. Fortunately one of the scientist was able to call him on the phone before he had to make a bunch of noise by breaking the window. What does our hero do then? In true World War Z fashion he is not able to punch the code in and open the door one handed, so he puts down his only weapon, a crowbar (which all Left 4 Dead players know is the worst Zombie weapon there is) and then leaves the crowbar on the OUTSIDE of the vault. Now, of course, he is trapped in the vault with no weapon by a super scary zombie with comically chattering teeth. Whatever is he to do. Of course! He must take the secret serum obtained in the vault in lab 139, but which one. He knows the scientists are watching by CCTV, knows there’s a phone nearby they can use to signal him, so what does he do? He rights a note “Tell My Family I Love Them!” (Which of course he’s already told them before he left and when calling on the Sat phone and they are in Nova Scotia nowhere near the scientists in Cardiff).

There is no problem with artistic license or bending the rules of physics here and there to make a story more fun. It’s the inconsistencies that make the main characters seem dumb or ignorant that are difficult to watch. Gerry was a UN investigator that had been in Liberia, Chechnya and a variety of other frightening places in the world, yet he’s not bright enough to keep his weapon when facing zombies? He can’t keep his sat phone charged? He doesn’t think to turn the ringer off when passing through a field of zombies silently? Maybe I’m spoiled by characters like Rick Grimes who’s failing isn’t that he does dumb things, it’s that he has trouble making and living with hard decisions. At the end of the day World War Z is a forgettable action movie with three or four cool zombie sequences in it. Dialog is fair, story is OK if you take out the dumbness, there’s no plot twist and no one you really care about gets eaten. Zombie fans watch it if you must, but wait for the Blu Ray, everyone else, enjoy it with some popcorn.

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Olympics Still Popular…For People Who Can Watch Them

There’s a buzz in the air in my little town of Loveland, Colorado, about the Olympics. At my local business referral group, we worked in some mention of the Olympics into our 30 second commercials when talking about our businesses just for fun. I’ve heard some news on the radio about some shocking developments, but I personally haven’t been able to watch much of the Olympics.

You’ve Got Cable, Don’t You?

I was talking with my client, Roger who lives in Omaha. I asked him, “Hey, have you been watching the Olympics?” I was sort of hoping that he would say no so I would have someone to commiserate with.

“Absolutely! Every night,” he answered enthusiastically. Roger is rarely overtly enthusiastic over things that are unrelated to dentistry (his trade), so this made me even more jealous.

“Must be nice,” I thought.

“I’m liking the swimming. You know Michael Phelps set a new record for the number of medals,” Roger said.

Yeah, thanks, Roger. No, I actually didn’t know that. Last I had heard, Phelps was sucking it up. Now he’s a rockstar again and I had no idea. Why didn’t I know? Because I don’t get cable television. I get cable internet and phone service from Comcast, but I opted not to get cable TV since my wife and I watch everything on disc or via streaming video from Netflix or Hulu. And there’s the rub.

But Wait, The Olympics Are Streaming For The First Time Ever!

…Well, they’re streaming for some people. My wife and I wanted to show our little boys some of the Olympics, so we went online to the NBC Olympic website. We see “Watch The Olympics Live,” and a big red button that says, “Click Here And Get Ready.”

We click the big red button and see a sign-in pop-up with a big Comcast button there along with a drop down menu for other providers. We think, “Okay, we’re Comcast customers.” Not so fast…

“Access to NBC Olympics Live Extra requires an XFINITY® TV subscription*” the site says. The asterisk says that it requires a subscription to Digital Starter and that “alternative requirements” may apply to other areas.

Wah wah wah. We lose.

In$pire A Generation

Today, I decided to take another stab at it. I look in the list of other providers. There are so many here.  Winnebago Cooperative Telecom Association…nope. Verizon! I have a Verizon cell phone, so I tried to log in with that info, but it turns out it’s just for Verizon’s broadband customers. So I’m still out of luck.

Women’s beach volleyball is going on as I write this. I don’t know that beach volleyball is inspiring, but I certainly find it entertaining. Unfortunately, because I haven’t dished out the premium required for that entertainment or inspiration, I can’t watch it.

I did come across a certain website with a stream of the BBC’s coverage of the Olympics, but it regularly spits out pop-ups for online singles listings and tries to install all sorts of adware (or worse) disguised as “Plug-ins”. When I launch the site, I envision my computer wrapping its arms around itself, rocking back and forth, trying to go to its happy place.

I know I’m not alone in my predicament, and I hope that sponsors of the Olympics realize that their advertising isn’t being seen by this segment of the population. I could pay for cable or satellite tv, but I choose not to. The only reason I know that Samsung, British Airways, and Coca-Cola are commercial partners of the Olympics is because I finally went to the official London 2012 website and saw their scrolling logos.

Special thanks to Dr. Roger Roubal who treats snoring in the Omaha, Nebraska area. This article was written by Given Life Ministries founder, Jonathan Fashbaugh for Off-Topic Media.

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