Jeff Kaufman  ::  Blog Posts  ::  RSS Feed  ::  Contact

Emergency Prescription Medication

In the comments on yesterday's post on planning for disasters people brought up the situation of medications. As with many things in how the US handles healthcare and drugs, this is a mess.

The official recommendation is to prepare emergency supply kits for your home and work that contain:

At least a week-long supply of prescription medicines, along with a list of all medications, dosage, and any allergies


If there were a natural disaster tomorrow and it took about two weeks to get things working again, how many people would be ok for food, water, and other necessities? I'm guessing below 5%, but I think this level of preparedness would be a good goal for most people who can afford it. Why don't people plan for potential disasters? Some possibilities:

Whipped Cream vs Fancy Butter

Epistemic status: Jeff missing the point

The supermarket sells various kinds of fancy butter, but why don't people eat whipped cream instead? Let's normalize to 100 calorie servings and compare prices:

  • Plain Butter, store brand: $0.10
  • Heavy Whipping Cream, store brand: $0.20
  • Fancy butter, Kerrygold brand: $0.30

Perhaps the reason people don't normally use whipped cream is that whipping it is too much trouble? If you use a manual eggbeater in a standard sixteen ounce deli cup it takes about fifteen seconds (youtube) for a serving.

Adjusting Outdoor Reset

Our house has forced hot water heat with three loops, two of baseboards and one of radiators. The first floor unit has a baseboard loop and on cold winter days can't keep up. The tenants have been using electric heat [1] to supplement, but that's annoying for them and resistive electric is much more expensive than gas.

The boiler is a modern efficient one with an outdoor reset. You have a temperature sensor outside, and on warm days the system won't heat the water it's circulating to as high a temperature as on cold days. For example, if it's 55F outside it's wasteful to be circulating 180F water when you could instead have, say, 130F water.

Here's how ours was configured, which I think is the factory default:

Is NYC Building Much Housing?

One common response [1] to the claim that we can bring down the cost of housing by building more of it is something like:

New York is has been putting up new housing at an insane rate, and it's one of the most expensive places in the country. If building that much can't solve the problem, this approach clearly doesn't work.

The idea that NYC has been building a lot of housing, however, isn't right. In 2017 NYC housing grew from 3,445,123 units to 3,469,240 (pdf), an increase of 0.7%. The same report gives this graph of newly permitted units:

Fiddle Effects Tech

Imagine you're a fiddle player who primarily plays without effects, but would occasionally like to be able to play with them. What can you do?

One option is to put a pickup on the fiddle and run that into guitar pedals. This will work, but pickups generally sound much worse than clip-on mics like the ubiquitous AT PRO-35. Since you're mostly playing uneffected, you don't want to give that up.

Another option is to get a vocal effects processor. For example, I have a VoiceTone D1. These take balanced XLR from the mic, send balanced XLR to the board, and provide phantom power, so they make a lot of sense technically. Unfortunately, since they are designed for a vocal signal I've found they sound pretty crummy when applied to fiddle or mandolin.

More Posts

Jeff Kaufman  ::  Blog Posts  ::  RSS Feed  ::  Contact