Dan Benamy

Projects | Blog | Guides | Evidence Based Opinions
Hiring Household Employees Legally Is Ridiculously Complicated Feb 28, 2016 - 3 min read I believe in paying household workers, like nannies, on the books. Paying them off the books, like other forms of tax evasion, seems to me like stealing from the public. It feels morally similar to breaking into a library and taking cash from the register. Being paid on the books also has several benefits for the worker. A history of income will help them qualify for a loan and ensure that they get financial protections, like social security and unemployment benefits. Read more...
Smarter Grocery Shopping Jun 9, 2014 - 1 min read My latest little project is Shopping Brain. It’s a mobile (web) app to make frugal grocery shopping easy, based on Mr Money Mustache’s strategies for shopping. It’s very new and very rough. I recommend waiting until I iron out a few more kinks before you use it but if you’re feeling adventurous and want to give it a shot, I’d love to hear what you think! You can see my to do list here. Read more...
Are Big Cars Safer Than Small Cars? Mar 24, 2014 - 1 min read I just did some investigating and the short answer seems to be “generally, yes.” My findings are at http://www.benamy.info/correct-opinions/safe-cars.
Adding a second shower head to your shower Mar 4, 2014 - 1 min read I just wrote a new guide: Installing a Second Shower Head in Your Shower
You are 8 times more likely to be killed by a police officer than by a terrorist Jan 20, 2014 - 1 min read I just had to link to this great article. It’s backed up by real data and someone who’s actually using their brain. The article includes the quote: “Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death”. Adolph Hitler Our government is certainly following that advice!
Contextual Bandits Jan 20, 2014 - 1 min read I read http://synference.blogspot.com/2013/12/multi-armed-contextual-bandits.html and thought I could write a more concise version. I also had some questions. Intro A/b testing is great! Wikipedia uses it every year to pick the best fundraising banner and a/b testing makes them millions of dollars more. The contextual bandits algorithm can do even better. 2 improvements over traditional a/b testing The algorithm doesn’t have to have a single winner. It will try to show the most effective version for each user. Read more...
My latest little project: backup.js Jan 9, 2014 - 1 min read I just created and released backup.js. It’s a library to make it easy for html apps to make backups in local storage. I’ve been working on and off on my own to do list app. It makes periodic backups of the data in case I accidentally erase something (there’s no undo) and in case there’s a bug which clobbers data. The backup functionality has been very simple: it makes copies of data in local storage but never cleans them up. Read more...
You Are The Average of Your 5 Closest Friends Jan 1, 2014 - 1 min read I just started a new (minimal) “correct opinion” page on the effect the people we spend time with have on us- http://www.benamy.info/correct-opinions/you-are-the-average-of-your-5-closest-friends
A picture of forming habits Dec 26, 2013 - 1 min read I’ve started using Beeminder to track new habits I’m forming with my newly upgraded habit formation system. Here’s this month’s habit. Each dot is me using my new habit. Yeah baby!!
Shrinking a Bike Tube Dec 11, 2013 - 1 min read For example, this lets you fit a 29” tube in a 26” tire. Here’s a video tutorial. What a clever hack!