Thirsty Man Prevented from Enjoying Bottle of Beer by Self-Targeting Auto-Firing Paintball Sentry Gun


While TrackingPoint released their self-aiming PGF rifle just last year, a slightly similar, if less deadly, consumer-level technology has been available for quite some time. For years, paintball enthusiasts have been hacking together self-targeting paintball sentry guns, which not only track targets, but light them up without you needing to bother to pull the trigger. In this video from several years ago, a nice, frosty bottle of beer is placed on a table. Joe is across the yard and he’s thirsty. The only thing standing between Joe and the beer is a paintball gun in Auto Sentry mode:

Of course, the real question on everyone’s mind is if this system can stop an intruder using multiple trampolines in your backyard:

via Core77
Thirsty Man Prevented from Enjoying Bottle of Beer by Self-Targeting Auto-Firing Paintball Sentry Gun

Warren Buffett’s Best Money Advice

Warren Buffett’s Best Money Advice

Warren Buffett is a hugely successful investor, and his tips for investing are surprisingly accessible. Most of his methods are simple, straightforward and timeless. Here’s some of Buffett’s best money advice.

Borrow Wisely

Buffett warns against excessive borrowing. Credit card debt or unnecessary loans can quickly get you into lots of financial trouble:

I’ve seen more people fail because of liquor and leverage—leverage being borrowed money. You really don’t need leverage in this world much. If you’re smart, you’re going to make a lot of money without borrowing.

At the same time, you don’t have to rule out borrowing completely. Some experts classify borrowing money as "good debt" and "bad debt." According to The Money Advice Service, good debt is a sensible way to invest in your future. It leaves you in a better place, long-term, and should, ideally, not have a negative impact on your finances. This includes things like a mortgage or student loan. Keep in mind—I said ideally.

Bad debt, on the other hand, is pretty obviously and inherently not meant to be an investment. Bad debt drains your finances and has no prospect for future growth. A loan to buy a big screen TV is probably bad debt. If you’re going to borrow money, make sure it’s for an investment.

Pay Yourself First

If you want to make saving a priority, take a look at how you budget.

Don’t save what is left after spending; spend what is left after saving.

This might be Money 101, but it’s a lesson a lot of people don’t consider. Let’s say you have enough monthly income to cover your basic needs, and you want to start saving. Budget for your needs and bills, then figure out how much you want to save. Whatever is left is spending money.

Paying yourself first is basically an automatic way to prioritize your savings. To do this, you can set up automatic monthly deposits into your savings account. And think of your savings and investments as a monthly bill, if that helps.

Don’t Underestimate Your Habits

Many people underestimate the bad money habits that can eventually take over their finances. We often don’t wise up to our habits until they’ve become hard to manage.

Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.

Much of personal finance is about mindset. Accepting this will help you nip those bad habits in the bud, before they get out of hand.

If you want to change your habit, first break it down. Understand your cue, reward and routine. With those in mind, you can work toward breaking the cycle of your habit.

Break the Paycheck to Paycheck Cycle

It’s easier said than done, but Buffett illustrates just how important it is to break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle:

Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.

When you’re living in this cycle, it can be hard to find the time and resources to take a step back and address your financial issues at their core. But trying to "patch up" the aftermath of your issues rather than the cause of them can keep the cycle going.

Some examples of "patches" in the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle:

  • Payday loans
  • "Hardship withdrawals" from your retirement account

In fact, Trent Hamm of The Simple Dollar calls the latter example a "huge financial mistake." While a financial "patch" might get you out of a pinch, in the long run, it almost sets you up for failure.

On the other hand, what would be considered "changing vessels"? Here’s what we’ve talked about:

  • Look for regular expenses you can trim
  • Reevaluate your needs vs. wants
  • Downgrade
  • Learn some basic skills to deal with emergencies yourself

Some of you may already be doing all of this and still feel you’re stuck in the cycle. "Changing vessels" is a hell of a lot easier said than done. And there’s probably need for a larger solution that goes beyond the realm of this post. But if you can find a way to change boats rather than patch a sinking one—it might take a little more time and effort, but it’s worth it.

Price and Value are Not the Same Thing

Buffett is notoriously frugal. And frugality is all about value. In this quote, Buffett explains that value and price are not the same thing:

Long ago, Ben Graham taught me that ‘Price is what you pay; value is what you get.’ Whether we’re talking about socks or stocks, I like buying quality merchandise when it is marked down.

Frugality isn’t about buying anything at a low price. It’s not about paying a lot for something just because it’s valuable, either. it’s about buying value at a low price. Another way of putting it:

It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.

If you consider yourself frugal, consider this: the key to making a smart spending decision isn’t just price; it’s value, too. So when you’re getting a "deal," don’t forget to calculate value into the equation.

Investing is Easier Than You Think

We’ve talked about Buffett’s rules for investing before, but here’s the gist of how to get started:

If you invested in a very low cost index fund—where you don’t put the money in at one time, but average in over 10 years—you’ll do better than 90% of people who start investing at the same time.

Index funds—yep, it’s that simple, according to Buffett. And in his most recent annual shareholder letter, he even offers one for getting started:

My money, I should add, is where my mouth is: What I advise here is essentially identical to certain instructions I’ve laid out in my will… Put 10% of the cash in short-term government bonds and 90% in a very low-cost S&P 500 index fund. (I suggest Vanguard’s. (VFINX)).

If you have some money that you want to invest outside of your retirement accounts, it basically comes down to a few simple steps:

  • Learn some basic investing terminology.
  • Open a brokerage account (Vanguard, E*Trade, etc.).
  • Pick an index fund (Buffett suggests VFINX).
  • Buy the fund through your brokerage account.

Invest Long-Term

Buffett always promotes big picture. He warns to not get caught up in daily valuations. Instead, think long-term.

… If you aren’t willing to own a stock for ten years, don’t even think about owning it for ten minutes. Put together a portfolio of companies whose aggregate earnings march upward over the years, and so also will the portfolio’s market value.

If you’ve picked your index fund, it might even be best to not check on it every day. A lot of people refer to Buffett’s index fund investing strategy as "set it and forget it." If you look at your daily valuations, you might get discouraged and be tempted to sell your stock at the worst time.

Sure, you should look in on your investments every now and then to make sure you’re still investing properly. Time suggests a semi-annual check-up. But for the most part, Buffett suggests looking at the big picture when it comes to picking your investments. This way, your investing won’t require much maintenance.

Money Isn’t Everything

Yep—even the world’s most successful investor knows money doesn’t buy everything.

Some material things make my life more enjoyable; many, however, would not. I like having an expensive private plane, but owning a half-dozen homes would be a burden. Too often, a vast collection of possessions ends up possessing its owner. The asset I most value, aside from health, is interesting, diverse, and long-standing friends.

Money offers a lot of options. But, of course, it’s important to remember the things in life that truly matter most.

Two Cents is a new blog from Lifehacker all about personal finance. Follow us on Twitter here.

via Lifehacker
Warren Buffett’s Best Money Advice

Ask Yourself These Questions to Turn a Bad Day Around

Ask Yourself These Questions to Turn a Bad Day Around

Let’s face it: some days just take a turn for the worse. The Positivity Blog recommends asking yourself these questions to put it all in perspective.

They’ve got list of questions to ponder when you are having one those kind of days:

  • Will this matter 5 years from now?
  • Who cares?
  • What is one small action, one small and practical step I can take to start turning this day or situation around?

These questions help you realize that the day isn’t necessarily a disaster and you can get back on track. Check out the rest of the tips by following the link.

How to Turn a Bad Day Around | The Positivity Blog

Photo by Raymand Bryson.

via Lifehacker
Ask Yourself These Questions to Turn a Bad Day Around

US National Archives Will Upload All Its Holdings To Wikipedia

An anonymous reader writes The U.S. National Archives has revealed to Wikipedia newspaper The Signpost that it will be uploading all of its holdings to the Wikimedia Commons. Dominic McDevitt-Parks told the Signpost that "The records we have uploaded so far contain some of the most high-value holdings … However, we are not limiting ourselves … Our approach has always been simply to upload as much as possible … to make them as widely accessible to the public as possible."

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US National Archives Will Upload All Its Holdings To Wikipedia

The Secret to Crispy Shredded Hash Browns: A Good Squeeze

The Secret to Crispy Shredded Hash Browns: A Good Squeeze

Hash browns are a delicious addition to any homemade breakfast. Nick Kindelsperger at Serious Eats recommends giving your potatoes a squeeze before grating them to achieve ideal crispiness.

Kindelsperger tested several methods for making hash browns, and squeezing the potatoes helped create the most crispiness. After you’ve peeled your Russet potato, wrap it up in a kitchen towel and squeeze as hard as you can. Removing the excess water from the potatoes allows the shreds to brown more evenly and quickly. You’ll get a more consistent golden crust and your hash browns will maintain their crispy exterior longer. To read more about their methodology, hit the link below.

How to Make the Crispiest Shredded Hash Browns | Serious Eats

Photo by Nick Kindelsperger.

via Lifehacker
The Secret to Crispy Shredded Hash Browns: A Good Squeeze

Why the Moon Looks Bigger on the Horizon

Why the Moon Looks Bigger on the Horizon

This is a question that has been debated for several thousand years. One popular myth, dating all the way back to Aristotle in the 4th century BC and which still endures somewhat today, is that it is simply a case of magnification caused by the Earth’s atmosphere. While a "magnification" effect is taking place, it actually is going the other way and is more of a compression. Atmospheric refraction causes the Moon to appear very slightly smaller in the vertical axis when it is near the horizon vs. when it is high in the sky. This refraction, combined with the fact that the Moon is about 4000 miles further away when it is on the horizon, causes it to appear 1.5% smaller if you were to measure very precisely its apparent size on the horizon vs. higher in the sky.

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via Gizmodo
Why the Moon Looks Bigger on the Horizon

4 Things You Need to Know If the Police Try To Search Your Phone

4 Things You Need to Know If the Police Try To Search Your Phone

In a rare unanimous Supreme Court decision yesterday, all nine Justices agreed that, yep, searching your phone without a warrant is indeed illegal. So if a police officer ever does try to dig through your digital dirt unlawfully, this is what you need to do.

The often controversial Chief Justice John Roberts summed the whole thing up with a few delightfully biting lines in the court’s decision:

The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought. Our answer to the question of what the police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple – get a warrant.

In other words, the law is on your side, and The Daily Dot put together a nice little primer on how to handle any unlawfully snooping cops. It all boils down to the following.

1. Keep your smartphone locked.

If they ask you to unlock it, you have every right to refuse. And this way, should you be stuck in handcuffs, they won’t be able to pore through your phone even if they wanted to.

2. Calmly repeat the following: "I do not consent to this search."

Repeating the phrase means there’s no room for any ambiguity. And staying calm means (hopefully) no angry officers.

3. If you’re not under arrest, really don’t consent.

While a warrantless search of your phone when you’re under arrest is illegal, doing so when you’re not under arrest is extra illegal.

4. If the officer still ignores you, whatever you do, don’t get physical in any way.

If you’re at the point where a cop has snatched your phone from you, you’re probably in the middle of being arrested. And in those situations, physically intervening is just about the worst thing you can do. Remember the cop’s name for later, because even if they find anything questionable, the cop can’t use it if it was obtained illegally.

Of course, there are still some situations where a cop can lawfully search your phone without obtaining a warrant first. As The Daily Dot notes:

This includes, for example, the abduction of a child, when police suspect a person is in imminent harm, or "some imminent threat of evidence destruction."

For the most part, though, this should have you covered. You can head over to The Daily Dot to see the full breakdown of your rights here. [The Daily Dot]

Image via Associated Press

via Lifehacker
4 Things You Need to Know If the Police Try To Search Your Phone

TMNT (Trailer 2)

A poor foot soldier is thrown through a moving train, director Jonathan Liebesman really makes Shredder fit his name and Will Arnett has made a huge mistake in the second trailer for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
via The Awesomer
TMNT (Trailer 2)