Forget about delusions of grandeur — turns out many of us could be suffering from delusions of being interesting.
A new paper, “Boring People: Stereotype Characteristics, Interpersonal Attributions, and Social Reactions,” set about identifying what makes a person boring, and the results are pretty harsh.
Led by the University of Essex’s Wijnand Van Tilburg, researchers asked more than 500 people to rank the most boring characteristics, hobbies and jobs in other people. Here are some of the top results of those surveys. (Prepare to be offended.)
Boring personality traits:
No sense of humor
Actively disliking things
Banking and finance
What’s so bad about being boring?
While no one wants to see people stifling yawns whenever they start to speak, the study suggests that being boring can have a bigger negative impact on our lives than we think. Study subjects admitted to regarding boring people as a burden that they would rather avoid than suffer through in social and business settings. “Our research shows that people who possess stereotypically boring features are perceived as both less interpersonally warm and less competent, and they elicit social avoidance by others,” write the researchers.
How to not be boring
Does this mean you are doomed if you are an accountant who isn’t good at small talk and likes to knit on the weekends? Of course not. Psychology Today suggests these methods to keep yourself off the dull list:
1. Don’t complain to other people.
Friends are interested to know if something serious is happening in your life, but no one wants to hear you go on and on about a delayed flight.
2. Don’t talk about yourself — ask people questions about their lives.
And don’t just ask one question, follow up to get deeper. This isn’t being nosey, it is being interested.
3. Don’t be afraid to change the topic of conversation, even if it seems random.
People tend to perceive this as rude, but it is a surefire way to keep a conversation crackling.
4. Be present when someone is talking (i.e. don’t grunt while checking your phone).
Body language is just as important as what you say to show that you are engaged.
5. Told a story that got a good laugh? Remember and retell it at your next gathering.
Like a standup comedian, have a couple of reliable stories to fall back on. (Note: only do this if you’re not hanging out with the same people!)
Now, go forth and be the riveting friend and colleague you’re almost certain you are.
In short, “knolling” is an organizational method that involves arranging groups of tools and other everyday like objects into parallel lines or 90 degree angles. The result is a workspace that looks clean and symmetrical, where the items you use regularly are clearly displayed, instead of tidied away. Your stuff is not only accessible, but also aesthetically pleasing.
Photo: nadianb (Shutterstock)
You may have also seen Instagram posts featuring knolling—similar to the image above—where its more commonly referred to as “flat-lay photography.”
The name “knolling” is a reference to Knoll, Inc.: An American furniture company founded in 1938 that has manufactured chairs, tables, desks, and storage pieces from iconic designers and architects, including Eero Saarinen, Florence Knoll, Marcel Breuer, and Frank Gehry.
The organizational method dates back to 1987, when sculptor Andrew Kromelow and artist Tom Sachs were both working in Gehry’s studio. Kromelow coined the term, and Sachs popularized it.
How to use knolling to organize your space
In 2010, Sachs created a video for his employees titled “10 Bullets,” which he described as “the studio manual.” One of the 10 bullets is “Always Be Knolling,” in which he breaks down the organizational method into four steps:
Scan your environment for materials, tools, books, music, etc., which are not in use.
Put away everything not in use. If you aren’t sure, leave it out.
Group all like objects.
Align or square all objects to either the surface they rest on or the studio itself.
‘Knolling’ Is ‘Kondoing’ for Maximalists (lifehacker.com)
Gas stoves are the latest innocuous item to turn into a culture war symbol, due to rumors that they might, at some point in the future, be banned. But are gas stoves really that bad for us? Are government agents going to come and take them away? And if the health concerns are real, are we doomed?
The government is not coming to take your gas stove
If you’ve been paying attention to the political controversy, you may have noticed some political figures yelling about how they are prepared to physically defend their gas ranges from government intervention.
There aren’t even any regulations pending
This whole firestorm was ignited when a member of the Consumer Product Safety Commission said in an interview that the CPSC is planning to open a public comment period soon about how and whether to regulate indoor air pollution from gas stoves. This regulation might include include things like warning labels on the stoves or requirements for ventilation when they are installed, but the member also remarked that “products that can’t be made safe can be banned.”
The head of the CPSC clarified that there’s no ban in the works, and that the agency is “exploring new ways to address health risks” including voluntary industry standards.
The link between gas stoves and health concerns is real
So are gas stoves bad for us? Probably! Studies have linked childhood asthma to growing up with a gas stove. The cause-and-effect hasn’t been fully teased out, though. For one thing, kids who breathe the indoor air pollution from gas stoves are often exposed to a lot of outdoor air pollution as well.
But we do know that gas stoves release nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and particulates—all of which are considered indoor air pollution. Cooking on electric and other ranges can also emit particulates, hinting that ventilation for all types of cooking is probably a good idea. But we know that gas stoves create more of these types of air pollution than electric ranges.
All in all, there is good reason to be concerned about the health effects of gas stoves. It’s not a rip-your-stove-out emergency, but if you happen to be shopping for a new stove, you might want to consider electric or induction ranges.
There are ways to mitigate the health concerns
One thing that’s gotten lost in the recent controversy is that gas stoves aren’t a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. If you have a gas stove and are concerned about the health effects, there are things you can do to mitigate the risk.
The biggest one is ventilation. Some stoves are installed with a range hood above them, which sucks air from the vicinity of the stovetop, and blows it…somewhere. This is where it’s worth finding out what kind you have. Some exhaust the air to the outside, while others just blow it back into your face—hopefully after passing it through a filter.
Venting your range hood outside is great if you can swing it—definitely something to consider if you’re renovating your kitchen. In the meantime, consider opening windows or using fans in the room for extra ventilation when you’re cooking. (Some older houses have a fan built into the wall for this purpose.) If you don’t use your range hood because it’s loud and annoying, a quieter range hood could be a good investment.
Another way to address the particulate matter in the kitchen is with a HEPA filtered air purifier. This will pull particulates out of the air, and they tend to run quietly and be unobtrusive.
The company failed to protect sensitive consumer data, according to plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit.
“Instead, T-Mobile suffered one of the largest and most consequential data breaches in US history, compromising the sensitive personal information of over 75 million consumers,” their complaint reads.
Here’s what you need to know about the T-Mobile settlement, including how to find out if you qualify for payment, how much money you could get and the deadline to file a claim.
T-Mobile has identified 76 million past and present customers in the US whose information was potentially compromised in the data breach, though the final number may be even higher.
If the $350 million settlement is approved at a final hearing on Jan 20, it will be the second-largest data breach payout in US history, following Equifax’s $700 million settlement in 2019.
Most class members were notified of the proposed settlement by mail, but you can confirm your status by emailing the settlement administrator or calling 833-512-2314.
How much money could I get from T-Mobile?
Current and former T-Mobile customers are eligible for a $25 cash payment, according to the settlement website. California residents are entitled to $100.
You can be reimbursed up to $25,000 if you had to spend time or money to recover from fraud or identity theft relating to the breach, though you must submit extensive documentation supporting your claim.
T-Mobile is also offering two free years of McAfee’s ID Theft Protection Service to anyone who believes they may have been a victim of the hack and has agreed to invest $150 million in improving its data security.
President Biden’s son Hunter Biden, who is facing wide-ranging probes into his business dealings, once noted that he and other family members “quarantined” at his father’s home, where classified documents were recently found.
In addition to the revelation that Hunter Biden quarantined at the home during the 2020 presidential election, additional evidence has surfaced showing he has spent time at the home on numerous other occasions.
Hunter Biden was notably seen traveling with his father from the White House to Delaware on Dec. 16, just four days prior to the search of the residence that yielded the classified documents. According to the White House, the president’s attorneys searched the Wilmington home and found the documents on Dec. 20.
The Washington Free Beacon reported Wednesday that it had obtained photos placing Hunter Biden at the Delaware home on July 30, 2017, shortly after his father departed the White House with documents from his tenure. The pictures showed Hunter Biden driving in his father’s 1967 Corvette Stingray, which the president told reporters was parked next to where the classified documents had been found last month.
The White House first revealed last week that a series of classified documents, including some marked “top-secret,” dating back to Biden’s time as vice president had been discovered at the Penn Biden Center. Later in the week, the White House acknowledged a second batch of classified documents was found in the garage of the president’s Wilmington residence.
Then, on Saturday, Sauber disclosed that yet another batch of five documents were discovered at the home despite earlier assurances from White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre that the search had been completed.
Republicans, meanwhile, have zeroed in on whether Hunter Biden had access to the classified information – which included intelligence regarding Ukraine, Iran and the U.K. – in the aftermath of the discovery of the documents in the president’s home. Hunter Biden is currently under federal investigation and faces congressional inquiries regarding his business dealings.
Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed career prosecutor Robert Hur to serve as a special counsel to investigate the president’s handling of classified documents.
The information in the following charts comes directly from the IRS. The income brackets (dollar amounts) represent taxable income — meaning your income after tax deductions and credits — rather than your total income.
To determine your tax rate for 2023, find your tax-filing status (words in bold) and select the most applicable income bracket listed under your tax-filing status. To the right of that bracket is your tax rate.
Married couples filing joint tax returns
Up to $22,000 (was $20,550 for 2022) — 10%
More than $22,000 (was $20,550) — 12%
More than $89,450 (was $83,550) — 22%
More than $190,750 (was $178,150) — 24%
More than $364,200 (was $340,100) — 32%
More than $462,500 (was $431,900) — 35%
More than $693,750 (was $647,850) — 37%
Up to $11,000 (was $10,275 for 2022) — 10%
More than $11,000 (was $10,275) — 12%
More than $44,725 (was $41,775) — 22%
More than $95,375 (was $89,075) — 24%
More than $182,100 (was $170,050) — 32%
More than $231,250 (was $215,950) — 35%
More than $578,125 (was $539,900) — 37%
Let’s say, for example, that your taxable income is $50,000 in 2023 and your tax-filing status is single. You would fall into the “more than $44,725” tax bracket and your tax rate would thus be 22%.
If your household’s taxable income is $50,000 in 2023 and your filing status is married filing jointly, you would fall into the “more than $22,000” bracket and your rate would be 12%.
Investing in stocks has traditionally been seen as a key part of building long-term wealth, but that may no longer be the case. A recent Bank of America Private Bank study of high-net-worth individuals found that the majority (75%) of investors between the ages of 21 and 42 do not think it’s possible to achieve above-average returns solely with traditional stocks and bonds.
The Bank of America survey found that 80% of young investors are now looking to alternative investments, such as private equity, commodities, real estate and other tangible assets. These assets are best utilized by younger investors who have a longer time horizon, that is a 10- to 12-year commitment to build wealth, versus those who want to cash in in the short term.
Investing in alternative assets rather than traditional stocks and bonds can be beneficial to the long-term investor because it enables them to get exposure to a much broader range of markets and securities than they would be able to get through traditional investments.
Unfortunately, some of the assets favored by the wealthy may not be accessible to the everyday investor.
Depending upon the structure of the actual vehicle, the investor may need to qualify in order to purchase the hedge fund or private equity fund, and the qualification could be based on a number of factors, but most commonly it’s net worth and/or income.
One consideration when you’re talking about real assets, like farmland, timber, commercial real estate or ranches, what we often see with high-net-worth clients is that they’re owning a property directly. Because of the cost of these properties, these are often reserved for clients that have much larger net worths. If you have $3 million and a farm is going to cost you $2 million, generally, for diversification reasons, you don’t want to tie up two-thirds of your net worth in just one solution.
However, there are still ways to utilize the strategies the wealthy are using to diversify your own portfolio.
There are publicly traded REITs that clients can invest in. You maybe don’t get the exact same benefit you would if you owned real estate directly, but it does give you a way to at least get some exposure to real estate.
In the case of hedge funds, there are what we call non-traditional mutual funds that are publicly traded mutual funds that employ strategies that are a little bit more like a hedge fund than a simple an equities strategy. Again, you don’t get the same benefits that you would with a hedge fund, but it is a way for investors that don’t qualify to be able to achieve some of the benefits.
If you hear something sad or disturbing that you weren’t expecting, don’t just say the first thing that comes to your mind.
Take a deep breath and count to five. Then, think about what is most important to you at that moment. Is it making the person in front of you feel better? Is it expressing disappointment? Is it remaining professional?
Whatever it is, choose the words that will help you achieve that goal. Here are a few helpful suggestions for how to respond to different kinds of bad news.
This goes against the grain, so there’s something wrong. You may have a slow Ethernet connection for the following reasons:
The Ethernet cable you’re using is faulty or damaged.
Ethernet cable is of a lower category and has a lower data transfer cap.
Ethernet ports where you are connecting the Ethernet cable are having a problem.
You are running outdated drivers on your device.
Your device is connected to a VPN.
You have outdated router firmware.
The connection settings are messed up.
Your device has been infected with malware.
There is a problem with your router’s hardware.
Let’s explore how each of the above causes contributes to slowing down the Ethernet connection and how you can fix it.
Performing Some Preliminary Checks
Perform the following preliminary checks before proceeding with serious troubleshooting:
Check the internet speed of both wired and wireless connections and compare the results to confirm Ethernet is slow. Don’t make a guess.
Reconnect the Ethernet cable to your router and PC.
Restart your router and device to ensure the temporary glitch isn’t slowing down the connection.
Turn off your VPN connection.
Check with neighbors who use the same ISP to ensure your internet service provider doesn’t throttle the Ethernet connection. Switch your ISP if others are experiencing the same problem.
Try the same Ethernet connection on another laptop. If it continues to be slower than Wi-Fi on other devices, you can skip the operating level fixes because it is most likely a cable or router problem.
If preliminary efforts prove unsuccessful, apply the following fixes.
1. Make Sure Your Ethernet Cable Is Intact
The speed you get with an Ethernet cable can be significantly diminished if it’s damaged or faulty. So, before anything else, take a close look at the Ethernet cable from start to end to see if it has been flattened by furniture, bitten by your pet, or stretched to the point of damage.
If there are any signs of damage in the middle of the cable, it’s probably a damaged Ethernet cable slowing down your connection. Therefore, replacing the cable should resolve the connection issues.
2. Check the Ethernet Cable Category
Are you using an Ethernet cable that is a couple of decades old? If so, check the cable category. Those of a lower category, like category four, could only transfer data at 16Mbps. It is the maximum speed you can achieve with such a cable, regardless of how fast your Wi-Fi connection is.
Therefore, if you have a Wi-Fi connection with a faster speed than an Ethernet cable can handle, you can expect to have a better wireless connection. You can increase the speed by replacing the cable with a higher category one.
3. Ensure the Connecting Ports Aren’t Faulty
When the ports to which the Ethernet cable is connected are faulty, even an intact or brand-new Ethernet cable will not perform optimally. You can confirm this by connecting the Ethernet cable to different LAN ports on your device and router.
If you notice a significant increase in speed with this switch, one or both ports are faulty. Therefore, you should avoid using them in the future. If this change makes no difference, suggesting ports are intact, move on to the next fix.
4. Update Your Network Drivers
The internet connection can also be sluggish due to outdated drivers. Even though Windows usually updates drivers automatically, it doesn’t always do so. Follow these steps to update network drivers:
Right-click on the Start button and select Device Manager.
Expand the category for Network adapters.
Right-click on the Ethernet adapter driver and click Update driver.
Alternatively, you can download drivers from the official website of your router’s manufacturer or get them from your ISP. If updating or installing new drivers does not make a difference, move on to the next step.
5. Update Your Router’s Firmware
In the same way that updating the network drivers is crucial for smooth signal transmission, updating the router’s firmware is also essential. Therefore, if your Ethernet is still not providing the best speeds, you should update the router’s firmware.
While updating your router’s firmware may differ depending on the manufacturer, most of it will be similar. Our guide to updating the router’s firmware will be a good place to start. If the firmware interface of your router seems complex, visit the manufacturer’s website for instructions.
6. Reset Your Network
Performing a network reset can fix underlying network problems, but it’s not recommended because it resets all networking components to their default settings, reverting any customizations you might have made.
An Ethernet connection is not immune to electromagnetic fields, which are poisonous to network connections. Having your Ethernet connection pass by a large electric motor may induce a current in the cable, resulting in signal distortion.
Check the appliances you have placed near your Ethernet cable and move them away from it if they could interfere with the signal. If that doesn’t solve the problem, it’s likely a hardware issue.
8. Check for Hardware Problems
If none of these fixes have worked so far, your hardware may be defective, which is the cause of the problem. Perhaps, your router is outdated or has technical issues, your network interface card (NIC) isn’t performing well, or some other network setting is limiting Ethernet’s potential speed.
To rule out these possibilities, take your router and device to the nearest PC repair shop, where a technician will test them for hardware issues and help you resolve them. Unless a technician has identified and fixed any hardware problems, it’s time to call your ISP and have them resolve this annoying problem.
Don’t Let Your Ethernet Connection Deviate From the Norm
Having an Ethernet connection perform poorly than a Wi-Fi connection could be one of the most frustrating experiences. Hopefully, our article will help you figure out what’s causing your Ethernet connection to be slow as a tortoise. Additionally, the fixes covered will assist you in speeding it up. If none of the methods work, your ISP should step in to save the day.
The pass gives travelers the ability to ride up to 10 travel segments across the country, no matter how long or short it is.
For a limited time until Jan. 20, the pass is being sold for $299, down from its regular price of $499.
According to Amtrak’s website, travelers with the pass receive 10 rides (a.k.a segments) in coach on the wide majority of Amtrak routes across the country.
A segment can be as long as Chicago to Los Angeles or as short as Washington D.C. to New York City.
Trip changes can be made prior to the scheduled departure time of a segment. Rebookings must be made either within the 120-day validity period or within 30 days of your first used segment.
No blackout date or time of day restrictions.
The pass is fully refundable by calling Amtrak, as long as you’re still in the 120-day validity period and no travel has occurred yet.
What’s the catch?
Those travelling with the USA Rail Pass must travel in Coach class and are not eligible to upgrade to a higher fare class (business, first, or sleeper).
The pass cannot be used on the Amtrak Acela, Auto Train, Maple Leaf, or Thruway Bus Series 7000-7999.
The travel must occur within 120 days of purchasing the pass and travelers will need to travel all 10 segments within 30 days once you go on your first segment.
Travel is limited to two round-trip rides, or four one-way rides, through a given station.
Segment reservations must be made ahead of time to receive your tickets.
Any unused segments will expire after thirty (30) days from date of first travel.
A pass cannot be shared amongst multiple people.
How to use the pass
According to Amtrak, once you purchase the pass, you’ll be able to start booking each segment of your trip directly from your purchase confirmation, by going to ‘Modify Trip’ on Amtrak.com or by looking up your reservation in the Amtrak app.