dealing with dust

home elephant

At this busy time of year, home economic efficiency is particular important.   Some options for dealing with dusting jobs:

  • pacifist homemaking principle: don’t disturb the dust, and don’t let it disturb you
  • militant homemaking principle: if you don’t like dirt, get off the earth

I suggest developing both pacifist and militant capabilities and then deploying the one best suited to the particular operational requirement.

what a mess

pile of newspapers

Every morning someone is throwing paper in front of a resident’s door. Haven’t seen that happen here before. Three rolls piled up from last weekend. They’ll probably be added unread to a stack and carried to the recycling bin. Or thrown into a garbage bag and tossed into the dumpster. Day after day, trees die for the sake of this mess. The future could be better.

Runaway Model available

I’m considering placing my sculptural masterpiece, Runaway Model, in a private collection. I have nothing against private collections. I’ve acquired from private collections several pieces that are in my apartment. I realize that many persons visit weekly private collections. Nonetheless, I would prefer to place my art in a leading public art gallery, such as the Tate or the Corcoran.

sculptural masterpiece

alternate economic analysis of underwear folding

Excited by the potential profit from a male-oriented omnimedia homemaking enterprise, I emailed to one of my female cousins:

To help [her husband] and other husbands keep house while their wives are on vacation, I’ve started a new “homemaking” series on my blog. Check out:

You might consider investing money in this enterprise. It’s going to be bigger than Martha Stewart!!!!

She responded:

Dude, you are going to remain a bachelor for a long time with a Web page like this.


I hadn’t taken that into consideration in my economic analysis of underwear folding. But because of our networked economy, I can benefit from others’ ideas!

socks in drawer

a first-person shooter game

Recently I ate a cantalope and threw the rind into the trash bin, which remained unemptied longer than it should have been. I also had on the counter some peaches ripening past ripened. Attracted by this resource-rich environment, fruit flies invaded my kitchen.

Generally speaking, I’m a live-and-let-live kind of guy. As a kid I always argued for not cutting the grass. I believe that most household mold is actually a beneficial antibiotic. I favor spiders over insecticide.

But having swarms of fruit flies in the kitchen is gross.

I decided to take back the kitchen. Unlike Insectopia, this game was for real.

I threw out the peaches and emptied the trash. I then took up my nearly unused bottle of Lysol All Purpose Household Cleaner and gunned down a division of fruit flies that were occupying the area around my kitchen window.
carnage - dead flies on the window sill
But chemical warfare of any sort is neither civilized, sporting, nor manly. I decided take the rest out using my own hands. I tore off a paper towel and started going after them.

This was more interesting than any first-person shooter game I had ever played. I wasn’t just a matter of quick thumbs. You have to move your whole hand quickly. And, instead of just scanning a screen in front of you, you have to scan 360 degrees around the whole kitchen. While games now push a huge number of polygons to create realistic surfaces and textures, there’s nothing as real as kitchen walls, cabinets, a refrigerator, and counters. The surface matters a lot. On a curved surface of a cabinet, it’s much more difficult to trap the fruit fly when it jumps in response to an attack.

The paper towel recorded my score. But not totally, because sometimes the crushed fruit fly would stick to the wall, or fall to the ground.
dead fly score
Fruit flies are bred in biology labs around the world. They are relatively simple organisms. More is probably known about fruit flies than about any other living organism. But I don’t think anyone yet knows how to make such an exquisite little flying machine.

Looking over the paper towel, I realized that, when crushed, fruit flies bleed. I killed them quickly, and did not intentionally try to cause them suffering. I believe that it is morally permissible for me to kill common flies in my kitchen. But is it wrong for me to make a game out of killing flies in my kitchen? I don’t think so, but the queston troubles me a little. Maybe that shows the power of connecting games to the real world.

incentive-compatible, just-in-time dishwashing

Mr friend Dr. S. (B.A., Princeton; M.S., MIT; M.D., Yale) shared with me a long time ago a stunningly innovative solution to a difficult group-living problem. I will now share that solution with you, my highly esteemed blog co-participants.

The group-living problem: No one does the dishes. They pile up, festering in the sink. The longer the dishes stay in the sink, the less anyone wants to wash one and use it. The equilibrium is all the dishes piled in the sink and culturing new weapons for germ warfare, and the housemates using papers plates and plastic utensils.

Can economics offer economic man a better life? Indeed it can.

The solution is refrigeration. Actually, freezing. In group living situations, no one goes shopping, either. Thus the freezer is empty. So you just put the dirty dishes in the freezer. Then when someone wants to use a dish, he simply takes it out of the freezer and gives it a quick rinse. This is incentive-compatible, just-in-time dishwashing.

I realize that the parameters might be different for women. I myself have always believed that “economic man” is a ridiculously narrow, unrealistic model of humanity.