Oct 17, 2011

Is private education worth it?

While the costs of private schools continue to rise, the jury is still out on whether the money is a worthwhile investment, writes David Potts.

When you're up for $150,000 in fees and extras for a child's private-school education, it'd be nice to know it's a good investment.  After all, a year 7 student starting next year will cost $215,000 by year 12 if school fees keep rising at an annual rate of 6 per cent.  Could that be better spent on tutors and extensive travel to other cultures to broaden a young mind?

Certainly it would be cheaper.  They might put a value on everything else but economists have a problem working out the worth of private schools, even though that's probably where many of them went.

Fortunately, the well-regarded - and, as it turns out aptly named - London School of Economics has had a shot at it.  Based on the "ample evidence" that private-school students will earn more "and are more likely to get top jobs", it calculated that "the average net return to investment in a private school education was 7 per cent for boarders and 13 per cent for day students".
That's 13 per cent a year, which you don't need me to remind you is a return that's a lot better than the sharemarket.

Oct 15, 2011

Homemade Sesame Candy

Delicious homemade sesame candy.

Time: 60 minutes
Serve: 80 pieces
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups black sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
Instructions:
  1. Butter 2 baking sheets.
  2. In a large pan,  toast the sesame seeds on medium heat until aromatic. Stir often and  continuously till ready.  Set it aside.
  3. In the same pan, mix the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil on medium heat, stirring continuously, then let boil for 2 minutes, still stirring.
  4. Remove from heat. Quickly stir seeds into the sugar mixture.
  5. Transfer immediately to one of baking sheets, spreading as best as you can. 
  6. Place the other baking sheet on the top; using a roller to press the seeds into an even and thin sheet.
  7. With a knife, cut the sesame candy into small pieces while it's still warm.
  8. Let it cool for 15 minutes and enjoy it.
  9. Store it in layers separated by wax paper.

Note:
  • Less honey with more sugar makes candy harder if desired.

Oct 14, 2011

What Cooking Oil To Use?

I bet everyone is confused over which oil to use, you are not alone. In many instances it’s less about the oil and more about what you do with it, how you use it and how long you keep it.  I have researched on the web and consolidated many information here. Enjoy!
 
Type of Fats

Polyunsaturated fats can be found mostly in nuts, seeds, fish, algae, and leafy greens. They have been shown to lower the risk of heart attacks.

Monounsaturated fats are found in natural foods such as red meat, whole milk products, nuts and high fat fruits such as olives and avocados.

Saturated fats,  like butter and coconut oil, are the most stable. They are commonly considered to be potentially less healthful than fats with a lower proportion of saturated fatty acids and higher proportions of unsaturated fatty acids

Trans fats are unnatural fats, and they do not promote good health. The consumption of trans fats increases one's risk of coronary heart disease by raising levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol and lowering levels of "good" HDL cholesterol. Trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils are more harmful than naturally occurring oils.

Oct 13, 2011

Steve Yegge's Google Platforms Rant

Posted on Google+ by Steve Yegge

I was at Amazon for about six and a half years, and now I've been at Google for that long. One thing that struck me immediately about the two companies -- an impression that has been reinforced almost daily -- is that Amazon does everything wrong, and Google does everything right. Sure, it's a sweeping generalization, but a surprisingly accurate one. It's pretty crazy. There are probably a hundred or even two hundred different ways you can compare the two companies, and Google is superior in all but three of them, if I recall correctly. I actually did a spreadsheet at one point but Legal wouldn't let me show it to anyone, even though recruiting loved it.

Oct 8, 2011

Walnut Cake

Simple walnut cake made in an hour.

Walnut Cake
Time: Less than 60 minutes
Serves: 8 muffin-size cake

Ingredients:

  • Part 1
    • 1 cup plain flour
    • 2 tablespoons self-raising flour
    • 125 g butter
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup sour cream (or yogurt with less brown sugar)
  • Part 2
    • 125 g walnuts
    • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Instruction:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  2. Put (Part 1) in the mixer and mix them thoroughly.
  3. Put half of cake mixture to the base of greased tin.
  4. Chop walnuts to smaller pieces.
  5. Combine (Part 2) and sprinkle half of it over the cake mixture.
  6. Spread the remaining cake mixture on the top and sprinkle with the remaining walnut mixture.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes.

Oct 6, 2011

Steve Jobs: You've got to find what you love.

This is a prepared text of the Commencement address delivered by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

Oct 2, 2011

Costco - What's Cheap, Actually?

With the current Coles and Wollies' price wars, lots of our daily goods are much cheaper than ever.  The question of whether it's worth the $60 Costco annual membership or not is being asked frequently.

Being a Costco member, there are only two main reasons:
1. Price
2. Unique Products

CHEAP items in Costco:
  1. Frozen Mixed Berries 1kg - $6.29
  2. Free Range Eggs 18cts (900g) - $4.29
  3. Dried Mango
  4. Rice
  5. Short Rib Beef - $16 per kg
  6. Duck
  7. Spinach $8 per kg
  8. Asparagus 0.5kg - $3.49
  9. Lilydale Chicken $5.80 per kg
  10. Milk Lite 3 litre - $2.88
  11. Jalna Vanilla 1kg - $4.19

Unique Products in Costco:
  1. French Truffle Chocolate 2kg - around $10 as May 24, 2013.
  2. Plain Indian Roti 1kg - $9.69