It's often cheaper to pay cash for your prescriptions rather than the co-pay, but the pharmacy is legally prohibited from suggesting it

America's health care is totally screwed up, Part Ten Gazillion: in many cases, the medicines your doctor prescribes are cheaper than the co-pay your health insurance charges, which means that if you just buy the meds instead of charging them to insurance, you save money. Read the rest

Watch people from different countries count paper money in myriad ways

I've seen people in the US count money in nearly all these ways but perhaps certain methods are dominant in different countries. In any case, the Belarusian finger flip is new to me and rather impressive. Try doing that with your stinkin' bitcoins!

"70 People Reveal How To Count Money in Their Country" (Condé Nast Traveler) Read the rest

Reimagining US banknotes as modern, plastic, QR-code-verified, PGP-protected collectibles

Andrey Avgust's speculative redesign for America's heroically ugly paper money reimagines greenbacks as modern plastic banknotes, similar to the more daring bills in Australian and UK currency, with UV-readable serials that are repeated in QR codes with PGP-signed hashes. Read the rest

After record quarterly loss, Tesla's Elon Musk tells reporters that "boring bonehead questions are not cool"

Tesla burned $710m last quarter but hopes to be profitable soon. In the meantime, don't ask Elon any boring questions!

"We're going to go to YouTube. Sorry, these questions are so dry. They're killing me."

Instead, Mr Musk took questions from YouTube vlogger and journalist Galileo Russell who was listening to the call. Mr Russell hosts a YouTube talkshow called HyperChange TV, dedicated to the financial side of Silicon Valley technologies.

Mr Musk encouraged Mr Russell to keep asking questions, because they focused more on technology, rather than business

Here's the official theme tune of your Tesla deposit:

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Human Grey Poupon stain Ethan Couch to be released from prison

Being rich might not buy you happiness, but it can get you out of prison pretty damn fast, even if you kill four people. In the holy-shit-what's-gonna-kill-us-today fast-paced world that we live in, it's easy to forget about a Grey Poupon stain like Ethan Couch. Here's his thing, point by point:

Back in 2013, the then 16-year old stole booze from a Walmart (classy!) and proceeded to drink. When he was later captured by the police, his BAC was three times the legal limit. Couch also had Valium in his system that day, making for a pretty powerful cocktail. Intoxicated, Couch slammed into a car with his pickup truck, at top speed. All four people in the car were killed. Couch's high-falootin' rich dude lawyer managed to get him off with 10 years of probation. The lawyer cited the fact that the lad's family was so loaded that he'd grown up rich enough to be shielded from having to learn about right and wrong. Apparently, he was also too rich to be able to stand the horrors of probation in all the luxury that money can afford. He and his mother, Tonya, took off to Mexico in an attempt to keep him from having to serve the rest of his "sentence." The Feds came to Mexico, gathered up the pair, and brought them back to the United States. Fun Fact: Tonya Couch didn't go to jail for helping her son flee his probation. Money's AMAZING! Dylan was finally sentenced to jail. Read the rest

What happens when you tack $80 in cash on corkboards

Zarinah Agnew lives at the Red Victorian, a modern-day commune in San Francisco's Haight neighborhood. Six months ago, as an experiment, she and her roommates thumbtacked $80 in cash on three different corkboards (at the Red Vic and another local intentional community called The Embassy). They then attached small pink signs that read, “Take what you need, leave what you don’t!”

They called each of their experimental corkboards, the "Great Wall of Money."

Here's what happened next, according to Agnew:

We left them up in our houses and watched. It was kind of amazing.

I watched them stay pristine for a few days, and slowly gain extra funds. Once they had been touched, the notes started to move and disappear. The $1s went first, but again once a $20 had gone, the others followed suit. But they oscillated back and forth in a healthy manner.

Then one night the board was cleared, presumably by a single person. It was full at 3am and gone by 6am that morning. I was sort of delighted by this as it demonstrated to me that the board wasn’t remaining replenished through politeness. People were using it as it was intended. And lo, after a week, the empty board, started to collect notes once more...

Before long the Red Vic Great Wall of Money collected bart tickets, maps, notes, and all sorts of things. Eventually, the community moved it out onto the street where it collected even more goods and services — half smoked blunts and items of clothing were pinned to the board.

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Some Silicon Valley residents with incomes up to $400,000 consider themselves "middle class"

The Palo Alto Weekly in Silicon Valley asked more than 250 residents of that city "How do you define your social class?" From the survey results (PDF):

Seventy-five identified themselves as "upper middle class." Their self-reported incomes ranged from $50,000 to $400,000 or more (with one retiree reporting $35,000-$49,999)... Eighty-one people considered themselves "middle class." Their self-reported incomes ranged from $10,000 to $399,999....Seventeen considered themselves "lower middle class" or "working class." Their self-reported income ranged from $35,000 to $349,999. Four reported being in the "upper class," three of whom reported earning $400,000 a year or more (the fourth is retired).

Eighty-nine people declined to answer the question or wrote their own answers, including that they were "disenfranchised," "former middle class" and "survivors in an unjust capitalist society."

"The meaning of 'middle class'" (Palo Alto Weekly)

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Don't use Venmo for merchant transactions, example 1,001

If you have something to sell, and a buyer asks to pay using Venmo, you could lose both your money and your item. Jennifer Khordi is one of many who got scammed and wants to help others avoid her fate. Read the rest

Find out where you fit on the global income spectrum

Anna Rosling Rönnlund, co-founder of the Gapminder Foundation, asked Swedish students where they thought they fell on the global income spectrum. They guessed somewhere in the middle; they were wrong. After having 264 homes photographed in 50 countries and collecting 30,000 photos, she made this tool to help everyone understand the world – and how they fit in – a little better.

Want to see how people at your income level live in other countries? Of course you do.

It's the perfect antidote to Instagram-induced envy. Actually, I'd like to see someone curate a Selby or Apartmento-style lookbook from these images. Anyone? Read the rest

Monopoly: Cheaters Edition is indicative of our times

"A recent study conducted by Hasbro revealed that nearly half of game players attempt to cheat during Monopoly games, so in 2018, we decided it was time to give fans what they've been craving all along - a Monopoly game that actually encourages cheating," Jonathan Berkowitz, senior vice president of Hasbro gaming told Insider.

The object of the game is still to be the player with the most money at the game's end, but it may be a little tougher to accomplish. The Cheater's Edition will ask players to get away with cheating as many times as they can during game play. That means players can skip spaces, try to avoid paying rent, and slip a few extra bills from the bank when no one's looking.

Yes, it comes with handcuffs too. Read the rest

Apple makes $1,445 a second

Apple is way ahead of the pack, but even the losers at Oracle are making $279 a second. The original graphic, by Pablo Gomez, is interactive and a must-see. Read the rest

FBI launches investigation of NRA over pro-Trump Russia money

McClatchy DC reports that the FBI is investigating whether a Kremlin-tied Russian banker illegally funded money to the National Rifle Association to help Trump win the presidency.

FBI counterintelligence investigators have focused on the activities of Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA, the sources said. It is illegal to use foreign money to influence federal elections.

AKs for everyone!

Last year, WaPo wrote about the gun-toting end of American conservatism palling around with Putin. Read the rest

Democrats are polling high, progressive candidates are having a great fundraising year, but the DNC is broke

The DNC continues to struggle to raise cash, holding only $6.3M in the bank on Dec 1, compared to the RNC's $40M. But the numbers are deceiving, because 50% of the country want the Democrats to control Congress in 2018 (compared with 39% who want the GOP to retain power) and individual Democrat candidates are having banner years fundraising, especially the progressive, "Sanders Democrats" who break with the party's coziness with the finance industry and big business. Read the rest

An "exploding" coin-box uses cuteness to remind you of the futility of saving

Bluehands's Coin Box is a super-cute, spring loaded cardboard coin-box: put a coin in it and it bursts apart, flinging away your money to remind you that, thanks to the imminent collapse of capitalism, saving is futile. (via Geekologie) Read the rest

The price of a latte around the world

Switzerland and Singapore are among the most expensive places in the world to grab a mug of coffee—overpriced as it already is in the United States. But there's more to the matter than mere inconvenience for tourists. The Wall Street Journal reports on Starbucks becoming an indicator of currency trouble.

The financial community uses dozens of metrics to determine how much a currency should be worth—and which currencies to buy and sell. These often tell starkly different stories. One measure created by the Council on Foreign Relations shows the U.S. dollar is 11% overvalued.

A rival to the Starbucks index is the Big Mac index, as devised by The Economist. Finding it inadequate, the Council on Foreign Relations came up with a Mini Mac index, with the international prices of Apple gadgets as the benchmark: "Minis are a global product that, unlike Big Macs, can move quickly and cheaply around the world."

Photo: Camila Tamara Silva Sepúlveda (cc) Read the rest

16 Democratic Congressional hopefuls have outraised the incumbent Republicans they're challenging

12-term Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen [R-NJ] raised $157k last quarter, while two of the Democrats who're challenging him in 2018, former Navy pilot Mikie Sherrill and family advocate Tamara Harris both outraised him by big margins -- $498,000 for Sherrill! Read the rest

A talented impersonator is scamming Richard Branson and pals for millions

Richard Branson got a call from the UK Secretary of State for Defence asking for his help in a covert ransom payment of $5m to rescue a ranking diplomat from kidnappers; Branson recognised the man's voice but he was suspicious of the plan to validate the scheme by sending an assistant to lobby of a government building to meet the Secretary's secretary and exchange codewords. Read the rest

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