The Iron Curtain might have been thick and long-hanging, but there’s one thing that it couldn’t keep out: culture. Specifically, the kind of infectious culture that was carried far and wide by American Rock ‘n Roll. Despite heavy Soviet restrictions on the import of any sort of subversive cultural items from the West, like books and music, Rock ‘n Roll found a way.
Soviet youth, known then as “stilyagi”, obsessed with Western/American culture would go to great lengths to import and bootleg Western music. Getting actual records into the country was nearly impossible and running a commercial-grade duplication facility to bootleg the few that were smuggled in was well beyond the financial reach of the stilyagi (let alone a very dangerous undertaking to so blatantly flaunt the law).
The solution was a rather clever one. Using crude but effective copying tools, the Soviet youth found a way to spread Rock ‘n Roll across Russia. They would collect discarded radiographs (old x-ray film) and use simple copying machines to etch the audio tracks off Western records onto the film. The audio quality was low, the discs were typically only one-sided, and the whole affair was rather crude compared to the production process of an actual vinyl LP, but a combination of the subversiveness of it all and the desire for foreign music led to the runaway popularity of what was known as “bone music”.
Although it would be easy to assume that the deep black color of modern tires was simply the color that tires have always been, the earliest tires were completely opposite in color. Before the introduction of carbon black as a preservative and strengthener in the early 20th century, tire rubber was a semi-translucent white color that looked quite similar to a gum rubber eraser.
This is also why the Michelin Man, the iconic mascot of the Michelin tire company—seen here in one of his earliest iterations—was depicted in white, a color as far removed from the inky black of modern tires as you can get.
In the early days of microchip design and distribution, chip manufacturers struggled to prevent their designs from being ripped off. In order to establish that a chip mask was their property, companies would include microscopic artwork hidden in the mask such as a company logo, pop culture figure, or other symbols. Then, when in court, they could point to the duplicated artwork within their competitor’s chip as proof that the design had been lifted.
In 1984, a revision to U.S. copyright law, courtesy of the Semiconductor Chip Protection Act, made the on-chip artwork unnecessary since, from that point forward, all chip masks and designs were considered automatically copyrighted. Although no longer necessary as a tool to protect intellectual property, chip art lives on as designers continue to leave their mark within their microscopic works.
How cool would it be if you could retire much before you reach your 60’s, and live a fulfilling lifestyle? That’s the goal of the FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) movement. And these apps, calculators, and guides can help you save money for early retirement.
The FIRE movement is a combination of living within your means, saving wisely, and managing your finances. Financial blogger Mr. Money Moustache, who managed to retire in his 30’s, spearheaded the movement and it has now even got a documentary.
You will also need to learn about lifestyle choices and changes, as well as the tools you need to be financially independent. That’s where these resources come in.
. It has now added a new section dedicated to early retirement, that talks about many of the common terms you will hear when reading or discussing FIRE.
There’s a set of five calculators that tackle different aspects of financial independence, like calculating costs based on habits or how your investments will grow with compound interest. The more interesting part is the set of articles that explain FIRE.
Through a set of FAQs, Financial Toolbelt lays down the basics of financial independence in simple terms. Go through these first because understanding these is key to every further step in FIRE.
Then read the articles that give you an idea of what living with FIRE would be like. You’ll learn the difference between lean and fat FIRE, common jobs for financial freedom, and how to calculate and use your savings.
Amon and Christina, parents of two daughters, are beacons of the FIRE movement. They retired at the age of 39, and through their website, show how they managed it and continue to live a full life.
It’s worth your time to browse through the portal to see everything they have on offer. But we’d particularly like to point out four great free resources:
30 Day Money Challenge: This free PDF puts you on the path to being financially independent by giving you one new task every day for 30 days. Through 30 tasks spread across budgeting, investing, saving, and so on, you will set up a healthy financial portfolio.
Budget Template: Every financial journey starts with a sound budget. Amon and Christina’s budget template is a fantastic example of how to execute FIRE principles. They also have a helpful video to guide you through each part of how to set up a budget and live off it.
Stock Tracker Spreadsheet: One of the principles of FIRE is to invest wisely and live off them. The Stock Tracker Spreadsheet guides you on how to diversify your investments and how much you can afford to spend.
Travel Hacking Tracker: What’s the point of retiring if you don’t get to travel the world? Again, as long as you are following the principles of FIRE, you’ll be able to do it. Use Our Rich Journey’s travel hacking guide for pointers.
You have to sign up for the newsletter to download each of these free resources.
Nomad List has become one of the favorite destinations for digital nomads to figure out how to live their lives, hosting a range of different tools. One of the newer tools is a FIRE calculator that shows how early you can retire if you are willing to move to a different city.
This is a piece of advice that you will often hear from FIRE enthusiasts. You will find it more difficult to retire early in a bustling first-world metropolis, due to the high cost of living. But Nomad List’s legions of users have helped create a database of the best cities to live and work in and added figures for true cost of living in recent times.
That’s where the FIRE calculator comes in. First, you pick your current city and add details about your finances, along with your age. You’ll need all the details of your salary, debt and returns, taxes, and so on. Key in those numbers to see at what age you can likely retire in your current city, and then scroll down to see other options.
You will find a long list of different cities sorted by how soon you can retire if you lived there while keeping your current financial circumstances. It also marks recommended cities in yellow for a better lifestyle choice.
FIRE requires a change in your mindset. If you go by the old ideas of working till you’re in your 60s and retiring with a pension, you won’t be able to achieve financial freedom. For that radical shift, try millionaire Monty Campbell’s free ebook.
The Financial Freedom Formula is an 80-page ebook where he outlines how a combination of demand, conviction, and action will lead to financial independence. Campbell gleans lessons from a variety of sources, both from the world of finance and outside, to explain his formula. It might seem simple after you read the book, but that shift in mindset might not come easily otherwise.
The ebook is not just a treatise. It has practical advice too, including exercises on how to put what you read into action.
If you like Campbell’s approach to FIRE, you should also consider looking at his other guides. Among these, you’ll find crash courses on budgeting, saving money, investing wisely, all of which are key components to early retirement.
It’s great to read from the experts and use calculators to figure out your own situation. But at some point or the other, you’re going to need to talk to other people who are in the same boat as you. Reddit’s r/FinancialIndependence community is an awesome resource of like-minded people trying to retire early.
Incorporating the principles of FIRE can feel difficult and overwhelming at times. It helps to have a forum of people who have gone through it or are currently going through it, who can give you tips and tricks, or just lend some encouragement.
Additionally, you can get more localized help depending on where you are trying to achieve financial freedom. Each region’s obstacles are unique, and you can learn to solve them accordingly. There are already dedicated subreddits for Australia, India, and Europe, and more seem to be popping up regularly.
The Best Calculators for FIRE
You’ll notice that we haven’t featured many of the popular and highly recommended FIRE calculators available online. For example, crowdsourced cFIREsim is the first tool that everyone will tell you to use.
Whether there’s a half a gallon or half a cup left, when milk goes bad, it’s not fun. There are a few reasons why your milk might not make it to the expiration date. Let’s take a look.
Improper Refrigeration Temperature
Proper refrigeration is the key to keeping your milk past the expiration date without it going sour or lumpy.
The USDA recommends you keep things below 40 degrees Fahrenheit for all refrigerated foods to prevent bacteria from growing and milk from turning. It’s best to store your milk between 35 and 40 degrees. This keeps it pleasantly chilled and prevents you from getting food poisoning.
Where to Keep Milk in the Fridge
Even if your refrigerator is at the right temperature, it doesn’t mean everything in there is being equally chilled. The door is not the coldest part of the fridge, so avoid storing your milk there.
Depending on the style of refrigerator you have, you have a few options. Hot air rises, and that’s generally true in your fridge, as well. So, the bottom shelf should be the coldest place in the fridge. But if your refrigerator has a freezer above it, the top shelf will be coldest.
Does it frustrate you when someone pulls the milk from the fridge and leaves it on the counter for the duration of breakfast? You might think this allows the milk to adjust to room temperature and start growing bacteria immediately.
However, you can leave milk out of the fridge safely for up to two hours. Of course, that also depends on the ambient temperature. For example, it’s a lot safer to leave milk out for a while during a chilly winter in Maine rather than a toasty summer in Arizona.
The safest bet? Don’t leave the milk out for more than an hour (and preferably less) on a hot summer day.