05 May 2011

Internet Brain Food

If the internet has one overwhelmingly awesome feature, it's definitely the ability to bring me other people's thoughts and research with such ease.  I use Google Reader for this and it continually surprises me with what it reveals.

Take this for instance: a two-part post on Get Rich Slowly about how money does buy happiness.  It sums up a study that discovered that if money isn't buying you happiness, you're spending the wrong way.  Read the posts for tips on better ways to spend; my favorites are "buy experiences not stuff" and "delay consumption" and I was most surprised by "beware comparison shopping".  This falls very neatly in with my personal theory that money is a tool like any other.  The good or bad it does is related to how it's used, not any innate qualities.  (A favorite quote of mine: "Whoever said money can't buy happiness forgot about puppies!")

Does information like that change how you approach your finances?  Over the last year, DH and I have been trying to concentrate more on experiences than Stuff and it has definitely been good for us!  In digging through the last couple of weeks of posts at Get Rich Slowly, I also found a link to an interesting article that lists things we really could do without.  Some I agree strongly with (GPS, tanning beds) and others (microwaves, debit cards) I think provide a greater benefit than cost, especially in regards to time.

In addition to personal finance, I also get blogs and articles about a variety of science topics.  Yesterday, the Freakonomics blog posted about education versus expertise.  While I could use this to rail against the education system, instead it made me wonder about something psychological.  What the blog and the study it references seems to say (to me at least) is that people who spend time introverting a problem progress better than people who extravert it.  Now, there is definitely some personal bias coming through that interpretation, but the study supports the idea that mentally handling a problem (i.e. thinking about it) produces better comprehension than physically handling it (i.e. repeating a procedure over and over).  Coupled with Myers-Briggs typology (especially the I/E and N/S spectrums), there are all sorts of fun implications for that, but I think the salient point is that education should focus more on teaching people how to approach a problem, how to consider, rather than how to do.

What does the internet bring you?

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