Monday, May 7, 2012

Music Monday: Take-Away Shows

The video series Concerts a Emporter (Take-Away Shows) is worth checking out. My wife the francophile should love the settings for these.

Menomena: Wet and Rusting
Check out the kids that appear about halfway through. As one of the musicians says "that is the cutest thing I have ever seen."

Phoenix: 1901
In this video, the couple that is getting married totally steals the visual show.

Vampire Weekend: The Kids Don't Stand a Chance
They seemed to stumble early on, but playing in that space must have been a huge challenge. Also, couldn't Rostam have put the keyboard up on the hood of a car?

Architecture in Helsinki: Heart It Races
Love the beginning of this. The sound quality seems a bit off to me, but it still works overall.

The Shins: Gone for Good and Turn on Me
Nice work here.

Jason Mraz: It's a Lovely Day
We have some spray paint art at home from that same spot where he was looking at street art (by the Centre Georges Pompidou). That is my favorite place to hang out in Paris. Maybe it was staged, but tt seems like he improvised that song based on what a barefoot Bulgarian street performer was doing. Pretty impressive.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Paying for Cheap Gas

A few weeks ago, xkcd had the comic Working, which put to mind an app I need to develop or commission.

Whether it makes sense to drive out of your way to save on gas is more complicated than just the economic argument the xkcd comic puts forth in the image. The caption gets at the more interesting thing to me. When you drive farther, you are using up more (probably expensive) gas.

Let's take a simple example. You need 10 gallons of gas and have a gas station right on your way to work. But if you go 2 total miles out of your way (let's say it's a mile in the wrong direction), you could save 5 cents per gallon. Does it make sense to make the detour?

If your car gets 20 mpg in the type of driving you do for this detour, then you are using an extra 1/10 of a gallon to save 50 cents. If gas costs less than $5.00/gallon, then your detour makes sense (ignoring the cost of your time and the increased wear and tear and maintenance for your car).

Now, let's try another example. Let's stick with the 20 mpg because it's an easy number to work with and probably not too far off for many non-hybrid cars.

detour distance: 5 miles (1/4 of a gallon)
save per gallon: $0.10

This scenario makes sense if the cost per gallon is less than $4.00/gallon.

Now, let's look at a decision I get to make. These numbers represent the data for my nearest Costco gas station:

detour distance: 20 miles (1 gallon)
save per gallon: $0.14

This scenario makes sense if the cost per gallon is less than $1.40. Notice that this detour doesn't even make sense if you drive a car that gets 40 mpg.

Anyway, it amuses me that people start going out of their way to save money on gas when the cost of gas goes up, but when the cost of gas is high, the detours make less sense than they do when gas is cheaper. I need to write an app that doesn't just find cheap gas, but also allows you to put in your fuel efficiency and gallons needed to help you determine which cheap gas is worth the trip.