Get used to reading about the bash “Shellshock” bug, because we won’t be rid of it for a while. The fix Apple released to patch it is incomplete, security researchers said. See also: Apple Addresses Bash Bug With New PatchShellshock, a bug that allows hackers to control a system remotely by inserting commands directly into variables, is a lot bigger than we originally thought. Google security researcher Michal “lcamtuf” Zalewski has found six vulnerabilities associated with the bug. Previously, Apple thought two Shellshock vulnerabilities were associated with the bash versions running by default on OS X Mavericks, Mountain Lion, Lion, and Lion Server—CVE-2014-7169 and CVE-2014-6271.However, security researcher Greg Wiseman told CNet that he’s found a third. He ran a script on OS Mountain Lion and found that it’s vulnerable to CVE-2014-7186, a vulnerability that allows attackers to remotely create denial of service attacks. Wiseman did not say he’d found the vulnerability on systems other than Mountain Lion, but if you want to be sure about your system, you can clone Hanno Böck’s bashcheck testing script from GitHub, the same one Wiseman used for his trials. See also: New Security Flaws Render Shellshock Patch IneffectiveApple has maintained that the “vast majority of users” are not susceptible to the bug, only those who have customized their advanced Unix settings. Unless that’s you, it might be preferable to sit tight. With a new patch coming out—and then being found lacking—so many days in a row, it’s clear there’s only so much we can fix on our own.Photo by Adair733 lauren orsini Tags:#Apple#bash#bug#GNU/Linux#patch#security#Shellshock Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market
A creative new Web site connects funding proposals by scientists with contributors who want to support the work out of the goodness of their hearts. An e-mailed press release describes the nonprofit, whose Web site is SciFlies.org: [Co-founder David] Fries, who is on the faculty of the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science and has spun out several successful entrepreneurial companies from technologies developed there, knows all too well how a lack of steady funding can interrupt the progress of scientific discovery. To address this need, he partnered with veteran nonprofit and political fundraiser Larry Biddle and regional technology industry advocate and communications strategist Michelle Bauer to develop the model for SciFlies. Biddle was a creative fundraiser on Howard Dean’s campaign in 2004, which took in millions of dollars in donations of $50 or less. “If people really care about something, … this gives people a way to connect. It democratizes science for the mass public,” says Bauer, who is managing a team of writers to help edit research proposals “so that they tell a story people can understand.” Among the early applicants is Karl Wegmann at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. He read about the idea in a geology magazine last year and thought he would submit a proposal to study how centuries-old soil sediments in streams may affect modern-day water quality. “What the heck—I’ll give it a try,” the geologist thought. Wegmann is currently funded through the National Science Foundation (NSF) and state funding organizations. “I felt the general public could understand … that there might be more connection than if I said I’m doing research on topography in Mongolia,” he added. His $10,000 proposal, which will be funded by volunteer contributions, seeks funding for automatic water samplers that would collect water after rainfall. “I’m guardedly optimistic, but at the same time I’m not sure how people will find out about this.” Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) SciFlies plans to vet the research by assembling a team of university scientists who serve as reviewers for NSF, Bauer says. (Wegmann says that his proposal was vetted by little more than a few e-mails with a staffer on the site.) The site is in beta mode now, but seven research proposals are posted for perusal. The organizers hope to fund everything from physics to medical science with the site and the largess of the public. Projects range in size from $5000 to $100,000; the money flows from donors to researchers only after the total amount of donations for the project can fully fund the scientists. One aspect of the site that makes it a bit more intimate than most research funding applications: It asks scientists to post pictures of themselves as well as fill in a form that includes “Passion/Philosophy” and “What’s on your nightstand?” Wegmann wrote: “Sharing the wonders of Earth Science Research with students and the public.” And “Remember the Lorax!” for his philosophy. He listed No Man’s River by Farley Mowat as his nightstand book. “I didn’t really know what to put down there,” he says.
The type specimen of a daisy, genus Lagenophora, collected in Java. The image is all that remains after the specimen was destroyed by Australian customs. ©MNHN – Herbier National, Paris Botanists fear research slowdown after priceless specimens destroyed at Australian border By Erik StokstadMay. 11, 2017 , 12:30 PM This week’s news that Australian customs officers incinerated irreplaceable plant specimens has shocked botanists around the world, and left many concerned about possible impacts on international research exchanges. Some have put a freeze on sending samples to Australia until they are assured that their packages won’t meet a similar fate, and others are discussing broader ways of assuring safe passage of priceless specimens.”This story is likely to have a major chilling effect on the loan system between herbaria across national boundaries,” says Austin Mast, president of the Society of Herbarium Curators and director of the herbarium at Florida State University in Tallahassee. “Without the free sharing of specimens, the pace of plant diversity research slows.”As a result of the customs debacle, curators in New Zealand put a stay on shipping samples to Australia. So has the New York Botanical Garden in New York City, which holds the second largest collection of preserved plants in the world. “We, and many other herbaria, will not send specimens to Australia until we are sure this situation will not be repeated,” says herbarium Director Barbara Thiers. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Herbaria are guardians of plant biodiversity data. Around the world, about 3000 institutions keep a total of 350 million plants specimens that have been pressed, dried, and stored in cabinets. Some are hundreds of years old; others are rare examples of extinct species. Particularly valuable are so-called type specimens, used to describe species for the first time. Botanists consult these when they are identifying new species or revising taxonomy. Many herbaria have digitized images of their specimens, allowing initial research to be conducted remotely. But some details must be examined first-hand. To do that, biologists often request specimens through a kind of interlibrary loan. “The system works well when the risk of damage or destruction of loaned specimens is perceived to be very low,” Mast says.When things go awryBut sometimes things go awry. Earlier this week, many botanists learned about the destruction of six type specimens of daisies—some collected during a French expedition to Australia from 1791 to 1793—which the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) in Paris had mailed along with 99 other specimens to the Queensland Herbarium in Brisbane, Australia.After the package arrived in Brisbane in early January, the specimens were held up at customs because the paperwork was incomplete. Biosecurity officers asked the Queensland Herbarium for a list of the specimens and how they were preserved, but the herbarium sent its responses to the wrong email address, delaying the response by many weeks. In March, the officers requested clarification, but then incinerated the samples. “It’s like taking a painting from the Louvre and burning it,” says James Solomon, herbarium curator at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis.According to Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, which enforces biosecurity rules, part of the problem was that the samples had a declared value of $2—and its agents routinely destroy low-value items that have been kept longer than 30 days. Michel Guiraud, director of collections at NMNH, says his museum’s policy is to put minimal values on shipments. “If it is irreplaceable, there is no way to put an insurance value on it,” he says.Guiraud says the package was sent with the usual documentation and he’s trying to find out what went wrong. Concerned about the possibility of other scientific samples being destroyed, the museum is considering stopping loans from all of its collections to Australia.Australia’s agriculture department admitted in a statement that it erred in prematurely destroying the specimens, but didn’t take sole responsibility for the snafu. “This is a deeply regrettable occurrence, but it does highlight the importance of the shared responsibility of Australia’s biosecurity system, and the need for adherence to import conditions.” The department has reviewed its procedures for handling delayed items and is considering how package labels could highlight the “intrinsic value” of scientific specimens. On Monday, officials met with representatives from a consortium of Australasian herbaria to help them understand and comply with importation rules. “At this stage it appears we are resolving the matter very positively,” says botanist Michelle Waycott of the University of Adelaide in Australia and the Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria.A second incident came to light after botanists at the Allan Herbarium in Lincoln, New Zealand, heard last month about the destruction of the French specimens. They inquired about six lichen samples, including a type specimen of Buellia macularis, that they had shipped to the Australian National Herbarium in Canberra last year. It turned out the specimens had been destroyed in October 2016 by biosecurity officers in Sydney, Australia. The department is investigating what happened in this case.New Zealand herbaria have suspended loans to Australia while they wait for written guarantees that their specimens will be safe. “We are disappointed we have lost an important part of our collection but we’re looking forward to further international collaboration,” said Ilse Breitwieser, director of the Allan Herbarium, in a statement this week.Looking for solutionsCurators elsewhere are reviewing how they ship samples internationally. “We will rethink our policy of lending specimens to countries that would pose a risk for loss of collections,” says Christine Niezgoda, collections manager of flowering plants at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois, who, like others, was surprised to learn that specimens would be destroyed rather than returned. The Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections, which is following the situation in Australia, hopes to increase communication among curators about shipping regulations and border inspection procedures.A long-standing frustration for many is that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), like its counterpart in Australia, does not have a separate category for low-risk scientific specimens. “The way that the U.S. and Australian governments are treating these shipments is basically going to bring taxonomic work to a halt,” says Ellen Dean, curator of the Center for Plant Diversity at the University of California, Davis. “We are thinking of no longer loaning our specimens to other countries, because we are uncertain that APHIS will allow our own specimens back into this country.”Whatever the destination, veterans emphasize that every detail matters, even the most obvious. “Nothing derails a shipment faster than a wrong address,” says Thiers, who maintains a public database of herbaria addresses and contact information. “Sometimes they don’t get returned for years, and unless you take extraordinary measures, you won’t get them back.” (With the volume of specimens that get mailed from the New York Botanic Garden—up to 30,000 a year—Thiers can’t afford tracked shipments and uses cheaper library rate shipping.)Even the most diligent curators confess to late-night worries. “Any time you let something go out the door, there’s a risk,” says Solomon, who is continuing to send specimens to Australia. “The benefit from making the material available far outweighs the risk.” Says Niezgoda: “Collections are meant to be used to promote scientific inquiry and this should not change.”With reporting by Elizabeth Pennisi.
Commonwealth Games (CWG) Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi on Friday ruled out his resignation in the face of allegations of corruption and said that the 2010 event would be the best ever. Speaking to the media after unveiling the medals for CWG, Kalmadi said that all arrangements for the October event would be ready in time. CWG OC chairman Suresh Kalmadi”There is no question of quitting. We are doing a great job. We will organise the best Games ever,” said Kalmadi, refusing to take moral responsibility for the corruption allegations that have overshadowed the Games. He said he would quit after the Games only if Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Indian Olympic Association asked him to. Kalmadi admitted that several stadia had problems. “Some of the venues are still to get ready. We and the Commonwealth Games Federation are looking into it. We hope the stadia will be in tip-top condition very soon,” he said. Kalmadi sought to steer clear of the concerns raised in the CVC report. “The CVC report is on the construction (of stadia) and not on the Organising Committee,” he argued. The Organising Committee chief sought the media’s help to make the Games a success. “The Games are a major responsibility and can’t happen without the media’s support,” he pleaded. India, Kalmadi said, had bright prospects in the Games. “Last time, we got 50 medals and came fourth. This time, we are expecting 70 medals and hope to come at least third,” he said. He informed that the prime minister had allocated Rs 700 crore for the training of players and the “results would show in the medals’ tally”. Lalit Bhanot, secretary general of the Organising Committee, said 5,539 gold, 4,818 silver and 4,529 bronze medals had been ordered for the Games.advertisement
Dhiraj NayyarPlanning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia wants to make tea India’s national drink. According to some surveys, it already is-83 per cent of Indian households apparently consume tea. The Government’s stamp of approval for this relatively innocuous decision, which involves no commitment of expenditure or issuing of tenders,,Dhiraj NayyarPlanning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia wants to make tea India’s national drink. According to some surveys, it already is-83 per cent of Indian households apparently consume tea. The Government’s stamp of approval for this relatively innocuous decision, which involves no commitment of expenditure or issuing of tenders, will take one whole year. Ahluwalia has an explanation. He says the Government wants to make the announcement to coincide with the 212th birth anniversary of Maniram Dewan, Assam’s first tea planter and a revolutionary against British rule, on April 17, 2013. He may as well have made the announcement on April 17, 2012.But the Government of India works by due process. Ahluwalia says he needs to talk to Commerce Minister Anand Sharma. The commerce minister will no doubt want to talk to his bureaucrats. Cumbersome files will pass up and down. It’s quite possible that milk, not tea, will win eventually the coveted title-Amul began lobbying for it shortly after Ahluwalia’s tea announcement. Expect water to enter as a last, but hardly the least, contestant. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, presumably the final arbiter of all things national, will have to make a judgment call. As an MP from Assam, he should rule in favour of tea rather than milk. But lest he be seen making a firm decision, he may leave the matter to another Government.The popularity of tea will certainly survive the UPA’s indecision. Given the dismal state of some other national symbols-the national animal, the tiger, is battling extinction as is the national sport, hockey-tea may yet welcome its narrow escape from a potential kiss of death. The star status of India’s economy, however, is unlikely to survive UPA’s indecision.advertisementThe Government has been quick to respond to messengers of bad news. Chief Economic Adviser Kaushik Basu was admonished for speaking the bitter truth. Standard and Poor’s downgrade of India’s economic outlook from stable to negative was met by a “do not panic” and “we will overcome” response from the finance minister. Words, whether of admonishment or of reassurance, are no longer enough. The Government needs to change the message. It needs to show real progress on passing reformist legislation, on getting the bureaucracy back to taking decisions, and on reining in its runaway expenditure. That is how India will once again become an attractive destination for investment, so crucial for a growth rate of 8-9 per cent.UPA 2’s track record is discouraging. The few major decisions it has taken in the last three years have been the antithesis of reform. The recent decision to enforce a tax amendment with retrospective effect has spooked all investors, not just Vodafone. Frequent decisions to ban the exports of key agricultural commodities like cotton, wheat and onions have hurt farmers. The decision to demarcate large tracts of forest land as no-go areas for mining has led to a serious coal shortage and a crippling power deficit. Ironically, paralysis, if it means status quo, may be a better state of affairs than retrograde policy action.Would someone please give the UPA’s top brass a few cups of strong tea to awaken it from its slumber?
Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly has revealed his all-time cricket XI, with only two Indian players featuring in the team which comprises of four Australians, two Sri Lankans, two South Africans and one England cricketer.Ganguly revealed his all-time XI on the Lord’s Cricket YouTube channel, with the criteria being that he had to have played with or against them, or have been strongly influenced by the players mentioned.The 44-year-old, who is currently the president of Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), has decided to go with an opening combination of Australia’s Matthew Hayden and England’s Alastair Cook.Ganguly’s middle-order includes ever-so-dependable Rahul Dravid, followed by Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar, South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis, Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara and former Australian captain Ricky Ponting.The former Indian skipper picked paceman Dale Steyn as his fast bowling option alongside former Australian legend Glenn McGrath., Sport24 reported.Reflecting on Steyn’s inclusion, Ganguly said that the South African has been named as his second fast bowling option because of the quality of his bowling and his wicket-taking ability.Meanwhile, spin wizards Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan have been chosen to take care of the spin department.Ganguly, who bid adieu to international cricket in 2008, appeared in a total of 113 Tests for India scoring 7,212 runs and appeared in 311 ODIs amassing 11,363 runs.Ganguly’s all-time XI:Matthew Hayden (Australia), Alastair Cook (England), Rahul Dravid (India), Sachin Tendulkar ( India), Jacques Kallis (South Africa), Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka – wicketkeeper), Ricky Ponting (Australia – captain), Glenn McGrath (Australia), Dale Steyn (South Africa), Shane Warne ( Australia), Muttiah Muralitharanadvertisement
The average person may see anywhere between 4,000 and 10,000 ads in a single day. From binge-watching your favorite shows to checking the pile of coupons in your mailbox, advertisers have inundated our lives. Most of the ads we see… Full Story,Dressing up for Halloween is one of the best parts of the holiday, especially if you’re a creative person. But buying a Halloween costume can get expensive, with many costing more than $50 a pop. And unless you plan to… Full Story,You may not find it on an official calendar anywhere, but Friendsgiving is a newer holiday that has gained popularity in recent years. Much like Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving is a time to gather around the table with loved ones in the… Full Story,My birthday is on Halloween, so every year I get super excited. I plan what my costume will be, decide how I want to celebrate and text all my friends to let them know. Last year, I was finally able… Full Story,Not much of a football fan? Don’t know what all the cheesehead hat-wearing and face paint-smearing is all about? Skip hanging out at the local sports bar or sitting in the stands at a game, and put on your entrepreneurial… Full Story,Living paycheck to paycheck can feel like an endless scramble. Rent is due on the first but your paycheck won’t clear until the second. On top of everything, you need to pay for groceries, a bus ticket, and utilities before… Full Story,Decision fatigue is the decline in energy and focus you experience after making too many decisions. This mental drain causes your brain to abandon your willpower in order to seek more immediate rewards, which leads to poor decision making and… Full Story,If you ask a random person on the street what they do, chances are they have a lot of slashes and hyphens in their job titles. In this day and age, if you don’t have multiple sources of income… Full Story,Do you consider yourself a financially responsible young adult? Personally, I like to think that my finances are mostly in order. Rent, student loans, car payments—everything big is blocked off nicely. If the math works out right, I have a… Full Story,In the financial world, nothing evokes feelings of terror quite like the word “bankruptcy”. It’s become synonymous with a complete and utter collapse of one’s finances – a black hole that’s almost impossible to climb out of. When you declare… Full Story
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This is my Valentine’s Day column, and it’s not about how to save on flowers or where to buy the top ten gifts guaranteed to impress your sweetheart.No, just as couples come up with their own holiday traditions, I think they should come up with their own financial traditions.Sounds extremely romantic, yes, but bear with me: I’ve been happily married for almost 17 years, and my wife and I had our first date just before Valentine’s Day, 1995.Going through changesWhen my wife and I were first married, in 1996, we knew almost nothing about managing our money. We knew we wanted to combine our incomes and not keep track of whose money was whose, so we threw all our income into a checking account and used that account to pay our bills, shop for groceries, pay for movie night, and save what was left over.That didn’t work, of course. We never had any leftover money any more than we had leftover cookies. We didn’t have anything budgeted for unexpected expenses. Sometimes we forgot that we had a bill coming in that would drain our account long before our next payday.Then I read a short article by a guy named Greg. I don’t know his last name, and I wouldn’t recommend taking financial advice from some random guy on the internet (uh oh). But this article, about what he called the Stackbacks budget system, appealed to me immediately, and my wife wanted to try it, too.Here’s the short version of Stackbacks: You set up two checking accounts. All your income goes into the first one, and you use that account to pay your recurring monthly bills and contribute to savings goals.Then you set up an automatic recurring transfer from that account to a second account, and use the second account for groceries, dining, entertainment, and small household expenses. In other words, you give yourself an allowance.It’s enough to make you feel like a kid again: sure, you can screw up by spending your whole allowance on something dumb, but there’s always another allowance coming next week.That’s the system we used for years, until we realized we could do better.Yours, Mine, and OursMost weeks, the daily spending account worked just fine. My wife and I would go out into the world with our debit cards and come home with delicious ingredients and receipts to be entered daily into Quicken.Some weeks, however, one spouse would swoop in, eBay-style, and spend all the money before the week was over. The other spouse would get sulky about this. (Honestly, we took turns filling these roles.)It took us way too long to figure out that no amount of fraught conversation could solve this problem as well as a simple procedural change: like King Solomon, we split the daily spending account in two.Because I do most of the grocery shopping, my account gets a bigger weekly allowance; if my wife goes on a major Trader Joe’s excursion, sometimes she asks to take my card, and that’s fine.Other than that, however, we can spend freely from our accounts without running anything by the other person. Our bill-paying account is still “our money,” and all of our paychecks get deposited there.This system has cut down on petty (pun intended) money conversations significantly.It’s my fault that it took so long to work this system out, because somehow I got the idea that separate accounts would be the equivalent of separate beds, and real couples sit down and talk about their money problems rather than siloing their money off so they can spend furtively.First you mock the system…This is nuts, of course. We’re talking about grocery money.Financial advice is like parenting advice. Some of it is absolutely universal: put your baby down to sleep face-up, strap them into a carseat, and don’t let them day-trade stocks. Most of it, however, is something you figure out through trial and (lots of) error.When you read about credit cards (use them for everything! never use them ever!), saving, budgeting, or any other personal finance topics, it’s hard to distinguish whether the author is talking about principles or a process.Staying out of high-interest debt is a principle: it’s good advice for everyone. How to get there and stay there is a process.Everyone insists their system is the best, but they can’t all be right, unless you understand that they’re actually saying, “This is the system that works for me. Give it a try and see if it works for you, too. If not, try something else.”The system we’ve come up with for our family probably won’t work for yours. In fact, I’m betting our system strikes you as weird and overly complicated, just like your some of your friends’ parenting moves.But it works for us, at least until we invent the next wrinkle, and given that we’ve been married for 17 years already, plenty of wrinkles lie ahead.P.S.: “Yours, Mine, and Ours” is not only the name of a movie and a family spending plan. It’s also the title of one of the most romantic albums I know, a 2003 release by the Pernice Brothers full of beautiful, catchy tunes, and sad songs that make you happy.Find it on Spotify or wherever you buy music, and listen to it with your sweetie.Matthew Amster-Burton is a personal finance columnist at Mint.com. Find him on Twitter @Mint_Mamster. Post navigation Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Related