2 Recipes From Calories Per Minute, Save 4.5 Hours/Week By Cooking In 2 Active Minutes Per Day

Gift ($10)Efficiency Is Everything In Cooking(Eat for $21/week) or ($20)Efficiency Is Everything Perfect Eating(Eat for $11/week) for someone who would love tasty, healthy, efficient, low cost recipes.

Finally, a useful update on Protein Per Second

Protein Per Second was the original proposed study for eating food based on time and any long-time follower knows how many times this study ran into a wall of complexity. Today we have 2 recipes, part of the ongoing first round of data collection. These hit 1000 Calories Per Minute, meaning you spend less than 2 minutes per day actively preparing food. Its pretty crazy spending 1 active minute in the kitchen at 5pm, being done and having ~40 minutes until dinner is ready.

I have 2 recipes to share. The first is my wife’s favorite, Broccoli/Chicken Sesame Rice. The latter is a novelty 2 minute pizza to show what’s possible.

(Broccoli/Chicken) Sesame Rice

“Flavor is pretty good, has good texture.”- Dr. Mandy Kirk, and she’s particular with her American Asian foods. This is pretty versatile too, if you don’t like it, change the sauce or vegetable.

Speed: 1000 Calories Per Minute
Passive Time: 20-90 minutes
Active Time: 2 minutes

On Sauces:
Go to your Asian aisle and pick out a few sauces. Not to overcomplicate this, but if the sauce is a common dish name like General Tso’s it’s worth trying. This is different than a single ingredient sauce like oyster sauce or fish sauce. We liked sesame sauce and Kung Pow sauce. The sauce wasn’t even great, but it still hit the spot.

On Rice:
I use a rice cooker and max out as many cups as I can make. If you don’t have a rice cooker, look up the Americas Test Kitchen Cooking Rice. Perfect Rice, super easy, but you need to understand your ratios. Life changing video, I’m no longer scared to cook large or small quantities of rice.

>Bottle of Sesame Sauce (or any other Asian aisle sauce)
>(Max Quantity Rice Cooker, 8 cooked cups) Rice
>Cooked Chicken Breast/Broccoli/Any favorite roasted or microwave steamed vegetable

1-Pour rice and water into rice cooker
2-Hit buttons to start

This should take 40-60 seconds.
Serve this with baked chicken breasts or roasted vegetables/microwave steamed vegetables. Roasted broccoli is a favorite.
Plating order goes: rice on bottom, chicken/vegetables in the middle, then sauce. Head to your dining location and either eat, or mix then eat.

To hit your time goals you are limited to only 1 vegetable or premade mix of multiple vegetables. Make sure they are decently cut up, frozen vegetables or more expensive refrigerated vegetables can be bought already cut. Vegetables can quickly be thrown onto a pan and put in the oven to let cook for 30+ minutes depending on size and temp.

There are endless combinations with various meats, veggies, and sauces. If you didn’t like one sauce/vegetable, try another.

2 Minute Novelty Pizza- Not for Pizza Lovers

This is more of a novelty than genuine pizza. I believe this is technically flat bread covered in sauce and cheese.

Speed: 2650 Calories/2.25 minutes= 1177 Calories/ Minute
Passive Time: 14 Minutes
Active Time: 2 minutes and 15 seconds. This one is hard.

For this to be 1000 calorie/minute you need everything to go perfect, although you could add extra oil to guarantee your caloric success.

The flour and water are measured fast and inaccurately, the oil is eyeballed. You won’t have a round, flat pizza. These are the sacrifices we make, but it still tastes great.

>3 Cups Flour
>1 Cup Water
>Oil (as much as you like)

>Mozzarella Cheese
Pick one-
>Pizza sauce
>Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce

1-Put Flour, water, and oil in a stand mixer
2-Turn on stand mixer
Get out ingredients that will go on the pizza, remember these shouldn’t take more than seconds to apply. This means something like pepperoni would take too long. We only used cheese.
3-Spray pizza/baking pan with nonstick spray
4-Turn off stand mixer
5-Move dough onto middle of pizza pan. Mash/spread it flat as possible, fast. After about 30 seconds give up and move on.
6-Less than 1 minute to put all the sauce on AND cheese.
a.Don’t fix anything, its not worth it.
b.Cover the crust with sauce/toppings, this isn’t going to magically turn into butter garlic.
7-Pizza in the oven, turn on.

13 minutes later, our pizza was ready. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before tearing. Your oven will change this time by a few minutes. Keep an eye on the first time you make this.

The pizza isn’t sliced. My solution was to hand rip half and put it on a plate, about 1000 calories. You might be able to get away with ‘cutting the pizza’ at the dining table to remove ‘active time’ and convert that time to consuming media or having social time.

Other findings

One more tip, you can cook whole wheat noodles without stirring. This means you can put noodles in cold water and put it on the stove, high heat. It will take 2-4 minutes to get boiling, start your alarm(3 minutes heat up) + (8 minutes cook time). At some point the water will boil over and you can lower the heat. This is how we are cooking the 1 minute noodle recipes.

My wife said I should tease the new 2 minutes/day cookbook.

Q3, Beard Per Second, Baby Formula Per Dollar, Save 1 Million Dollars On 401k Fees, 2%-5% Discounts With Credit Cards

2 new data driven articles, Facial Hair Per Second and Baby Formula Per Dollar, 2 huge money saving articles(under 400 words), and its time to buy health insurance(see the 2021 update.) Other news, the website is profitable, the website is saved, yay! Thank you donors and book buyers, expect more studies, more cost savings, and more time savings!

New Releases

Facial Hair Per Second– Version 1 has a low sample size, but regardless its interesting. The results are saving me more time than I expected. You could save 200-1000 hours in your lifetime.

Baby Formula Per Dollar– Useful for anyone who is buying baby formula.

$1,000,000+ in 401k fee savings– If you know your Operating Expenses on your 401k investments. Don’t bother reading this. If you DONT know, set 3 alarms in your phone to remind you to do this. Its easy and pays about $500,000-5,000,000/hr.

2% cash back on medical bills, utilities, and daycare– Use a good credit card. Basically get a 2% cash back credit card ASAP. (no affiliates, just useful)

Its time to buy health insurance, don’t forget to pick Efficient Health Insurance(feat. new paragraph about 2021’s lessons).

Bonus Tip- Save money on Diapers by potty training ASAP.

Next up

The website needs an update, until then, the homepage has the latest articles. Protein Per Second is insane, but I’m making progress. If it becomes too complex, I’ll just make a goal of eating in under 4 minutes per day. Cleaning Science is difficult, but I have one last idea before I throw in the towel.

Here is an idea, negative fun per dollar, if you have fun and work, the value is negative. I have this idea, instead of playing Dungeons and Dragons/Video games on a Sunday night for 4 hours, do a DIY activity with your friends and rotate homes every 4 weeks. If you insist on sitting down for 4 hours, have someone youtube DJ non-fiction.

2022 is going to be great for Efficiency Is Everything, I’m going to match the donations which means thousands of dollars of new studies!

Credit Card 5% cash back this Q4, 2% cashback always- free money IF YOU PAY ON TIME

No affiliates here, just excitement that I saved 2% on $10,000 dollars on our medical bills(24 hours in the hospital when Mandy gave birth).

WAIT! You must pay your credit card back on time

Disclaimer, you only save money if you pay your balance off before the bill is due. If you don’t, the credit card company wins.

These incredible savings exist to tempt you to overspend. Have you ever been unable to pay off a credit card? If so, you might want to exit this article because the deal is tempting. If you have learned your lesson, ‘never again’, these savings might be worth it.

I’m excited about 5% at Walmart and Amazon, 2% everywhere

To make it clear that I’m not some shill for credit card companies, you will have to google which credit cards I’m discussing. However I wanted to give you some ideas which products I’m spending 5% on. (Thanks to a few people who contacted me with ideas)

The 5% cash back at some stores

>Christmas Presents

>Backup Harddrive

>Battery Backup/Generator

>Basement flooring

>Air Filters (for the home furnace and for the car)


>Materials for our charity

These I can all buy with this 5% cash back and generally don’t have an expiration date. (or I was going to buy anyway)

2% on everything

Here are some items that I can’t get 5% cash back on, but I get 2% cash back on everything-

>Home utilities (Gas, Electric, Internet)




>Fast food(on vacations, otherwise we eat at home)

>And everything else

Don’t overspend! Don’t overspend

Wrapping up this article that is likely common knowledge, I just want to remind you that if you do not pay off your credit card, you lose the game. The credit card company wins. So, don’t overspend.

Definitely consider these credit cards, as long as you can handle yourself.

Avoid the $1,000,000 dollar lifetime 401k mistake- Operating Expenses

This is nothing ground breaking, other websites may cover this in detail, however the sheer amount of money at play makes this incredibly important.

Do you know what your 401k’s Operating Expenses are?

If your answer is ‘No’, this is likely the most important article I’ve written for you. Its also one of the best $/hr savings since you can change this in mere minutes. Want to make $1,000,000/hr? Keep reading.

When you signed up for a 401k, you chose various plans to invest your money into. They most likely were classified by risk and had name that describes which assets and what company controls it. Each of these plans have different operating expenses.

If you look into each plan, you can find things like stock/asset breakdowns, performance, etc… What you are most interested in to save money is the Operating Expense or Expense Ratio which is typically shown as a percentage.

Which plan should I pick?

Up to you really. I’ve seen people laugh at people paying 1% for unmanaged money. Maybe if you find the next Michael Burry, its worth paying 1%. However, if you randomly picked 401k plans with little oversight, it may be better to pick index funds that are closer to 0.1%. Personally the most expensive 401k plan I have has a 0.3% operating expense, and that invests in small businesses.

I’m a huge fan of diversifying and keeping fees low.

How much money will I save?

If you are paying 1% instead of a 0.1% plan for the next 35 years, you are paying something like-

1- (0.991^35)= 1- 0.728= 27% fee for 35 years.

Note that I saw plans as high as 1.3% fees, and you could be investing from the age of 18 years old and withdrawing as old as 115 years old. 62% fee! If you had $5,000,000 in your account, $3,000,000+ would have been taken in fees.

And further, as you make gains in the market, that money goes up in value, so you are paying an even higher fee than mentioned above.

But I need to look up my login/password, research…decision fatigue

1 million dollars. $1,000,000. If you aren’t aware of your operating expenses on your 401k, you can think of this as spending $1,000,000 on the wrong groceries, cable company, cellphone plan, etc… You fix this one time, and you don’t need to think about it again. To update my investments, it took me less than 1 hour.

Reminds me of those meme questions- Would you do X for $1,000,000?

Would you update your 401k plan for $1,000,000?

Fastest Facial Hair, ‘Beard Per Second’ study, v1

This study isn’t scientific, it uses a sample size of n=1, it uses self reported data, its not good.

I typically wouldn’t present this data, however the idea is worth considering you can spend a half a working year(1000 hours) shaving over your lifetime.

The Facial Hair Problem

Due to social norms, itchy necks, and PPE, people typically maintain some sort of facial hair style. Some styles require shaving the neck frequently and an occasional beard trim, some require brushing a beard, some require maintenance on the handlebar mustache, etc… These also have cleaning requirements and special styling for formal events.

While this is complicated, it also changes per person. I personally have a patchy face and cant grow a cool looking beard, this limits me to mustache and variants of clean shaven. I have a buddy who needs perfectly clean shaven chin and cheeks due to wearing PPE. I also have a buddy in a mustache club, where he needs a mustache. My wife likes me clean shaven. Girls (used to?) like the stubble look. Facial hair has dimensions beyond time.

The N=1, Unscientific Data

To top the list is the philosophers beard. My buddy had this but ended up cutting the beard to have a medium/long beard. When he had it, he spent almost no time on it. The shower would mostly clean it automatically, and brushing it was optional. I think he was single the entire time he had it.

Following that we have a handlebar mustache. Despite daily maintenance, the mustache takes any attention away from a unruly beard, making it a rare occurrence to even trim the beard. Following that is a handlebar mustache with a clean shaven neck. To remind you of the unscientific nature of this data, this clean shaven handlebar mustache time is ~80 seconds faster than a regular clean shaven face. And a different buddy takes ~6 times longer for his clean shaven mustache without the handlebar(note he has to wear PPE, so things must be perfect).

Useful Takeaways

The philosophers beard wins, however, given the unreliable data, I have a hard time declaring a second place ‘winner’.

However, I did find out my electric razor does a clean shave faster than if I use a manual razor. Doing this study personally I collected much more data, and I saved between 2-4 minutes if I used the electric razor. However, its not as smooth. Theoretically you could use a manual razor and shave less often, but does anyone really? Don’t we all chase that smooth feeling of a fresh cut? Me and my wife like the quality of a clean manual shave, however when I’m rushing, I have learned to go for the electric razor.

My challenge to you- Can you time your accepted variants of facial hair? To make it easy, record how long you took and the date. That’s it. After 3 repeated events, like trimming, you can stop recording and calculate how long it takes to do your facial hair per month. To contribute to science, send your data to michaelkirk@efficiencyiseverything.com
As a bonus I can convert from time and date to monthly time cost, so you don’t have to. Just send the raw data.

Baby Formula Per Dollar

Baby formula has lots of fancy labels, and its difficult to know if the different colors and words on the labels have a serious meaning.

Abstract- What do you want in baby formula?

All baby formula meets FDA nutrition requirements. Most baby formula has similar amounts of nutrients with 1 exception, the ‘premature’ type. The premature label has around ~20%-30% more nutrients.

Outside of that, the big ingredients are pretty similar from brand to brand, milk, oil, protein powder, corn syrup/sugar and various vitamins.

There are some brands that include probiotics, swap milk for soy, etc… if you wanted these qualities, you could compare oz/$ and look for those ingredients.

The goal of this study was to find the lowest cost baby formula, and ensure we were getting adequate nutrition. If individual ingredients are your style, you can check the data in .xlsx format which includes 13 samples with ingredients typed out.

Download baby-formula-data.xlsx

Data- Baby Formula Per Dollar

Rank is calculated as Sum of all(X Vitamin/ X Vitamin Max) divided by the total number of vitamins. A score of 1 is best, a score of 0 is worse. Any duplicates are various sizes.

Given the FDA has nutrition requirements and most stores provide the oz/$, you can essentially do this study at your local store with a quick glance. The only added benefit here is the comparison of nutrient amount. The nice part is that the data confirms nutrients are pretty similar.

Some casual commentary from the engineer that has been doing this research for years- I find it ‘funny’ that Walmart brand has the worst quality on the cheapest product(as shown in rank). In the dog food study, the Walmart versions had a number 1 ingredient of corn, while other stores had a number 1 ingredient of meat. The other Walmart brands performed better for quality, and even the lowest cost is competitive for quality. I wonder what is going on that causes brand name to be literally 2x more expensive.

Conclusions- Buy the cheapest? or second cheapest? Or whatever works for your kid.

We currently buy Parents Choice Gentle Infant Formula to supplement breast milk(which is the cheapest if you eat better than 200 calories per dollar).

With extra time, I’d research every ingredient, normalize for spelling/abbreviations, and see the commonalities/differences. From a quick glance, I am not concerned unless you really want probiotics/immune system stuff. At that point, its a simple comparison between the options that contain your desired ingredient.

Q2 2021- Baby Burp Statistics to save time, Qualities as a tool, Misc Money Saving Tips

Things are good, the website only needs an additional $100 by Dec 2021 to be profitable and safe from government. Be one of the people that saved Efficiency Is Everything by buying original $10 physical cookbook(that will save you money in 7 days of use), the $20 Perfect Eating cookbook, or donate. Also someone buy Efficiency Is Everything 8GB of ram by donating, its cheap and will tremendously improve the website. This technical issue has caused me to reformat my computer in a desperate attempt to extend this 7 year old ‘gaming laptops’ lifespan, costing about 2 weeks of work. My lack of ram potentially caused memory issues in manipulating massive food data for Nutrient Per Dollar v3.

Next release should have 3x more studies, multiple studies are underway. 2 new youtube videos will be coming in the next few weeks, subscribe.

Two useful articles and misc money saving tips.

Baby Burp Statistics (Study)– Useful if you ever plan to burp a baby, or want to apply stats to your own life. We sampled over 100 burps from multiple babies. This article shows you how to get your desired probability of burps out and save time(and effort). I personally wanted 2 numbers, a 2am ‘good enough’ probability, and a pre-nap perfection probability. Using Students T test, you only need your own 3 burp samples to have personalized data.

Qualities As A Tool(Theory)– This is similar to the “Defending yourself against Marketing/corporate psychology tricks” article I released a while back. This is one of the engineering tools I did not learn in college, I learned this in the real world. This can help you make inventions, select best products, and defend yourself from marketing.

Money Saving Ideas- Buy big folding tables and folding chairs, we’ve used this for multiple parties and after 1 party saved the cost of renting. You can use RGB lights in your bedroom to give yourself and SO a tan(mostly red with a tiny bit of green or blue), this saves money on tanning and cancer costs. Changing jobs to get a pay raise can pay for whatever ‘benefits’ the previous job had($15,000/yr raise will pay for health insurance, 401k vesting, and college classes). Sewing buttons is easy, sewing/tailoring is easy, save money, help the environment, and look cool by learning these. If you want more misc tips in the form of unedited ranting, a user suggested I journal. Don’t read this until you read everything else on the website, everything else is better than this.

Last update I failed to mention I had another kid, Aurelia Kirk. I generally don’t mention me, but this matters because it means more kids to test Efficiency Baby on.

List of upcoming studies- Facial Hair Per Second, Cleaning Products, Activities Per Second(Clean Per Second), How to Hack to get free stuff, best college degrees(with soulless objectivity that you love), FILO Laundry to save time, Protein Per Second, Nutrient Per Dollar v3.

Wish you the best, don’t be weak, use logic and reason.
Best Regards,
Lead Engineer
Michael Kirk

Life Journal Q2-2021

Lead Engineer, Michael Kirk-

A user recommended writing about my life, I typically want to stick to engineering studies, but this doesnt take much time.

4-18-21 Sunday Productivity

Read a bunch today, the book ‘How To Read A Book’ by Mortimer Adler. Enjoying this book, its extremely condescending but I feel like I have now joined a club of elite readers who can get the most out of a book.

Taught the kid to pick Yellow flowers in the grass. If your grass already has weeds, I would embrace it. Its good for the environment and low cost. Our grass is relatively new and I’m looking to make it comfortable for my kids to play in.

Weeded the garden area. I’m most looking forward to planting tomatoes and basil for pasta and pizza dishes. These will make otherwise 2$/day eating down to $1.50/day. Despite lettuce and spinach being low cost, growing it means it will always be fresh and none goes to waste. I suppose this is also exercise.

Urine in the compost.

I let my kid watch youtube, specifically number and alphabet/phonetic songs. Gave me a chance to read and clean.

Going to crochet tonight and watch documentaries. Pretty usual.


Last week we put an LED light strip around our bed room. This allows me to choose if my wife is tan(Red light, sometimes a small amount of Green or Blue to be less than), or pale (Red and Blue). No cancer, no time tanning.

Ran a 5k today. Always listening to an interesting nonfiction book for Double Productivity. If you hate running, I suggest getting up to a 9 mile run, it makes 5ks easy.

I wear old shirts that I don’t like during these coronavirus lockdowns. No wear on my nice shirts but I stay warm.

Currently trying to figure out how long to burp a baby to get ~95% of burps out. I’m seeing two peaks in my data, suggesting I use multimodal distribution with 2 normal curves. If the left side curve has a mean of 10s, and the right side curve has a mean of 130 seconds, I believe you can simplify the problem to only take the 95%(second standard deviation) of the right side normal curve.

I got an email from a user and he suggested a shoe that allows the heel to be bent. I considered if this is worth buying the shoe to test, but upon consideration the best possible situation is that it takes as long as slip-ons. I asked if you need your hands to fix the heel to get upright and the user confirmed you do. Worthy of a note in the article, but with no money spent we were able to logically put this shoe ‘on the chart’.

Did some double Productivity with our fussy and cuddly 3 week old. Held her in one hand, did dishes, put away leftovers, and generally cleaned the house with my other hand. By the time I was finished the house was clean and she was asleep.


There are 4 cool sides of the pillow. Front and back corners maximize cool


Last weekend we threw a party (don’t worry we were outdoor COVID cool) and instead of catering food and buying a dessert, we did homemade. It took about 4 hours to make both a tex-mex fiesta and gourmet cupcakes, with a total cost of $215(including alcohol and sodapop).

We also bought chairs, tables, and a tent for a previous party, these have paid for itself after 1 event.

We had massive amounts of leftovers as well. 11 people canceled at the last moment due to feeling ill or rough post-vaccine tiredness. This allowed us to re-coup some money and time, as a variety of fajitas, tacos, and nachos were eaten for meals all week.

I’d put our cost savings around $400 dollars if we catered and rented everything.


My grandma in-law recommended a pizza dough recipe that turned out to be fantastic, other than the large upfront time cost. We had this pizza for dinner and I thought that while the dough was great textured, what really impressed me(and my ~2 year old) was the salty garlic crust that was not part of the recipe.

I suppose my lesson here, salt is a cheap and fast way to make food taste fantastic.


Mother’s day presents to my mom and my mother in law- homemade Cookies and a homemade Veggie Pot Pie that only needs to be defrosted and baked. (And my wife bought grandchild themed accessories)

We had a bunch of leftover dough due to the pie pans being smaller than we usually use and us making a double batch. Using this dough, I saved it thinking I’d figure out a use.

In the morning after making breakfast in bed for my Wife, mother of 2, I made kneeded the refrigerated dough, then let it warm up to room temperature. After it reached room temperature, I used a knife to slice it into inch long slices and rolled them into what looked like breadsticks. I fried the breadsticks in oil for 2 minutes on each side, then rolled it in cinnamon, sugar, and salt. It was a huge hit.

(And my wife bought herself a 35$ gemstone, gift giving isn’t my love language. Spending less than 0.1% of our yearly Profit on a trinket for a rare holiday doesn’t seem expensive when it makes for a happy wife)

5/9 rant

I often see people prioritizing employment over income, or irrationally valuing benefits. Some examples in my life-

Friend has gotten his $20,000 dollar masters degree and owes his company 3 years of employment or has to pay it back. However, this friend is $20,000-$40,000/yr underpaid.

Friends work as a Doctor of Physical Therapy in a clinic making $60,000-90,000/yr, when running your own clinic can profit between $150k/yr and $500k/yr working the same number of hours.

Friend believing that an employee is going to inherit a company with clientele upon retirement of the owner.

Friend who “likes their job” but is paid less than the cost of living and lives with their parents until the end of time. This person also buys Fast Coffee and Fast food.

People who work 60 hours per week without paid overtime, and don’t want to become a Manager in the future. Bonus points if they are underpaid and could make 30% more changing jobs(or more if the new job pays overtime)

People who think fantastic health insurance is worth more than $6,000/yr-$18,000/yr. That 18,000 number only counts if your family hits the max out of pocket, a rare event.

All of this can be avoided with rational decision making.


After finishing homo dues, I think I should get a heart monitor so I can use data to understand what gets me going.

It also makes me think the recent privacy craze is overblown. But then again, I am one of those boring people without anything to hide. And for those with something to hide, maybe humanity needs some sympathy. If you are chemical reactions going forward in time, you didn’t have the choice to make a decision.

It also makes me want to share my linear algebra food calculator. My only 2 reasons for keeping it on my computer, it’s hard to use, and it’s Efficiency Is Everything only competitive advantage. Capitalism and the future of data hasn’t mixed yet.

Also, I’ve heard “you can’t out run a bad diet”, those people haven’t ran 50 miles a week.


Given last entries, last sentence, this next paragraph looks extra silly.

Havent ran much in the last few weeks, my knees were hurting and I took time off. Not sure if it was a good decision, knees are just okay still. I think some light activity would have been good for them. Too bad US medical is authority based rather than science/evidence based, instead of these questions answered we are told to trust the wisdom of an individual human who can be fallible.

My SSD might be dying, having issues with a 3 year old OS. It ruined an Efficiency Youtube Video. Need to clear harddrive. Not sure what these kind of things are in the engineering world, ‘(un)expected disaster’? I should expect my SSD to die at some point between 2+ years. I should expect to get hacked at some point. How much time does this cost? And how much does it cost to have a process to mitigate the disaster?

On a similar note, any time I burn food, the food costs many dimensions- Time, Money, Calories available, happiness. I look at those 4 units and think, they all can be converted back to time. Wage ($/hr), Time it takes to make more calories (calories/second), and spending money on fun activities(fun/$ * wage $/hr). Time also has another interesting problem, since its finite in human lives there is a potential use of a dimensionless number, time of activity / time of life remaining(estimated). Dimensionless numbers can be useful for comparisons. Renyolds number is the most famous example I’m aware of. Consider 48 minutes to recook food/100 years vs 2 years lost wages due to unexpected investment fees/100 years, the renyolds number for how you spend your time alive.


I was going to release the Kitchen Inventory this quarter, but I’m not sure its perfect. We still had a failure in the last 3 months. Even my ‘backup’ option failed. We forgot to buy cheese due to it not being empty at the start of the week, but by the end of the week, we ran out. Originally I thought, no big deal we have freezer meals, but the veggie pot pie needed to defrost before putting into the oven. Double fail. I really need a better backup food. We can’t simply rely on humans being flawless and knowing exactly how much food we need.

On a personal note, my wife Dr. Mandy Kirk did one of those crafts where we now have a calendar with magnets covering various $1.50/day and $3 /day meals. This gives me a chance to try user suggested recipes and experiment. Email me any recipes you think are low cost or fast to make, I appreciate it.


My friend suggested a show on Netflix that he said was ‘crazy’ but he also thought was ‘not great’. I’m not interested in Fiction, especially bad fiction. I told him I’m currently interested in Science, Philosophy, and History. If you havent read books (or watched videos) on these topics since school, I find them quite interesting and useful.

Back when I read/listened to 1-5 of these Science/Philosophy/History books per year, I’d get something profound out of them, change my life in some way, and be pretty content. Today I’m finishing 40+ per year and similarly I’m getting interesting, profound, and life changing ideas, but at a much greater rate. By the time these ideas reach social media, these topics are discussed like middle schoolers repeating what their TV watching parents told them. And worse, you are encouraged to participate despite learning about these topics from these same poor sources.

Science, Philosophy, and History books seem to present both sides of topics at a much more detailed and sophisticated level. Your criticisms have already been discussed by great minds, why let angsty facebookers give you a lackluster response?

Wish you the best, don’t be weak. Use Reason and Logic, not emotion.

Qualities – The engineering tool, not the buzz word, (Theory)

Lead Engineer, Michael Kirk-

On this website, we will use things like Calories, Vitamin A (g), Amount of 4G data/$. These qualities can be measured.

Or I can use it in my personal life. Label Maker- Hooks up to PC(True/False), inkless(True/False), doesnt use proprietary label paper(True/False), Cost($), size of label(inches).

These allow things to be compared objectively and without bias from brands and their marketing. Or if you do drink cooperate koolaid, this can help ensure you get the best product they offer.

Understanding the word Quality with an example

Suppose you need to buy a computer, consider what you want in a computer.

Do you want a fast computer, one that doesn’t slow down under movies, most video games, CAD, Photoshop, a video editor, and mobile? Do you only need something that runs Excel and a Browser? You can use qualities to find you the highest quality option at the lowest cost. There is even a situation that someone might have to give Apple money.

Qualities can be as simple as True/False or more complex/specific with numerical values. This depends on how much effort you want to put into collecting data. More time spent collecting information will give you a better end result, but this may not be necessary if you are buying something in the $0-$20 range. This may be more important when buying something in the $100-$1000 range.

When choosing a fast computer(as described above), you can choose the quality metric- Dedicated Video Card? (True/False). Or, you can use a numerical value of a standard Video Card Benchmark. Choice is yours to how you want to spend your time.

You could include RAM(GB of Memory), Storage Space(SSD or HDD). Deciding if these qualities are necessary to your decision is up to you.

Apple may meet your quality metrics, but they have the highest cost. This causes them to fall into last place quality per dollar (Not to mention their support for Chinese dictatorships), you wouldn’t buy an Apple product unless you had to. Suppose you need to compile an App for iPhone owners. In that case, there would be a quality called, Can compile for iOS (True/False). In that event, you are forced to buy an Apple product, you can still apply the previous advice. You don’t need video editing or fast speed, you need something that lets you compile.

These qualities can be compared to help you choose a $600 gaming laptop, a $200 used computer, or a $1000 barebones used Mac Mini.

Doing Math with Quality

Choosing a quality.

Start by brainstorming what qualities matter. In engineering this could be the max voltage for a transistor, at home it could be the number of inches a TV is. Don’t worry exactly how you will measure it, or the units. Focus on the problem you are looking to solve, and consider what qualities you need to achieve.

Choosing a dimension for a quality

Time to consider dimensions. It helps if there is an ‘objective measurement’, inches for a TV is generally something you are going to care about. You can extend this quality into multiple measurements. Diagonal in, width in, height in. Your decision how detailed you make your study. This can also be a simple Boolean True/False, ‘Does this allow me to connect via USB?’. (Also I have stopped making the Boolean/Bouillon joke, I get too many emails.)

You can even use subjective values, like a 0-10 ranking. Consider ‘coolness’, you could do a subjective 0/10 to 10/10. Its not perfect, but any measurement gets you closer than emotion.

Gather Data

After looking at lots of t-tables, it seems like there is a fantastic benefit in certainty to take even 2 samples. I personally recommend taking 3 samples because you get a 3x benefit in certainty by taking 3 samples over 2 samples. All that being said, if you want to actually be correct, you can take a larger sample. The most time conscious person should check 2 options, but I highly recommend 3 for lazy people. Weirdly enough confidence increases, but the diminishing returns are early. Fun fact, your airbags are officially tested 3 times.

Sometimes you need to get creative, if all you have available is the average caffeine content of coffee per liter, you might need to use it and make a note of how you came up with it. If the deciding factor comes down to this estimation, it may be worth spending more of your resources to figure out a better estimate.

Doing Math with it

Now that you have numbers, you can begin to compare. Its common to sort by max/min, but you can also do other useful things. Inches of TV divided by Cost of TV is the unit In/$, which later can be sorted for max/min. Other units I’ve used, mg Vitamin A/Calorie, mg Vitamin A/Gram of Broccoli. Protein per Second.

Making a decision

After you sort the data, you should learn a lot about the options. You can eliminate poor performers and begin focusing on the difference between the best options.

Where you can apply Quality for Correct Decisions

Ideas- Phones, Food, Contractors, Colleges, Degrees, Cars, Video Game systems, Laundry Detergents, and more. This website is full of comparisons, the best ROI I’ve seen on comparing quality per dollar was health insurance.

Next time you spend money, especially on big purchases, consider what quality metrics you care about. This will prevent corporate marketing from using psychology tricks on you. You save money, you get the best product.

Baby Burp Statistics- How long to pat to get 95% of burps out of your baby.

For anyone who wants to learn ‘How To Apply Statistics To Life’, the section with that title will get into the mathy details. If you are a parent and just want to know how long to pat your baby on the back, you will benefit from the sections titled Summary and The Data.


The original goal was to figure out how long to pat our baby to ensure we got 95% of burps out. However, this same data can be used to find the laziest/easiest solution to get burps out while minimizing risk of an upset baby.

For parents I have 2 options. You can use the outcome of 5 babies we studied, summarized in the next paragraph and additional details in the section ‘Our Data’. Or you can take 2 or 3 measurements to figure out your own baby burp statistics, as described in section ‘How To Apply to Your Baby’.

For 95% of burps, with 90% confidence you need to burp for 6 minutes. For 85% of burps with 90% confidence you can burp for 2 minutes. For 85% of burps, no confidence you can burp for 2 minutes. And for 73% of burps, no confidence, you can burp for 1 minute. This last one I call ‘2AM burp strategy’.

How To Apply Statistics To Life

To begin, we timed 25 samples of our newborn burping. I put this data in Excel, calculated the sample mean and sample standard deviation. These are straightforward formulas and if you are not familiar, google can answer your excel questions in seconds.

With the sample mean and standard deviation I could calculate what a statistical distribution should look like in excel using =EXPON.DIST( or =NORM.DIST( or similar. Quick stats lesson, understand Cumulative Distribution Function and Probability Distribution Function. CDF is the probability of the event from 0 to whatever value, for instance 60 seconds is 76%. PDF is the probability at that exact time, for instance at 60 seconds is 0.3%. These require, mean and standard deviation, and a value to calculate against. For instance, 1 second, 2 seconds, 5 seconds, etc… In graphing I use all integers 0-600 seconds.

Comparing to real world results, our data did not seem to fit popular distributions like Normal, Uniform, or Exponential. Most of the data seemed to appear around 0-30 seconds, but the Probability Distribution Function for normal distribution predicted this to happen around 50 seconds. This made it clear normal distribution did not fit the data.

To narrow down the next potential distributions, I found https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probability_distribution_fitting which prompted a symmetry test. Upon finding the data was not symmetrical, I began testing the data for distributions that were non-symmetrical.

I repeated the same steps as before with Log Normal using =LOGNORM.DIST( and found this lined up to what I would have expected. For my final check I used excel to calculate the Cumulative Distribution Function of the Log Normal Distribution, and compared that with a sample Cumulative Distribution. As an example, with our sample of 25, we should expect the 90% CDF to be similar in seconds to whatever the 22nd or 23rd longest sample.

Our data

This Data can be broken up into individual babies and all 5 sampled baby’s data.

For the individual babies, I have attached the spreadsheet above with all babies. However as I trust my measurement method was consistent, I’ll review Aurelia Kirk’s data and also ‘All Babies’.

Here is Aurelia’s PDF, CDF, and their respective values at 90% CI. The 90% CDF is probably the most useful, find your desired percentage on the left(y-axis), and locate the number of seconds on the bottom(x-axis). Note that the y-axis can be multiplied by 100 for a more familiar percentage(0.8 = 80%)

Focusing on the first few seconds

At 60s

At 120s

At 10 minutes

The data for all babies:

First few seconds

At 60s

At 120s

Its not exactly scientific, but seeing all of this data, I find myself patting Aurelia somewhere between 60-180s.

How To Apply to Your Baby

If you want to assume our 5 sampled babies and 100 samples is good enough for you, you can use my simple rule of thumb- Middle of the night burp for 1-2 minutes. Mid-day, I burp for 3 minutes. And if I’m sure there is a burp stuck in there due to hearing her suck in air, I’ll burp for 6.5 minutes.

If you want to get baby specific results for your own baby without taking 25 samples, you can continue to assume log normal distribution. You technically can get away with 2 timed samples, but the increase in confidence from 3 samples is tremendously worth it. I will continue this article using 3 samples, but you could use 2 and use that T-Value.

First time a sample and record it. Do this 3 times. Take each time and individually take the log of that value. You should have 3 values that are small, around the values 0-8. Calculate Mean and standard deviation of this newly calculated sample. Look up your desired confidence in a t-table(see above). 90% confidence is popular. In this example using a sample size of 3, Multiply your standard deviation by ~2.

Using this data you are ready to calculate Cumulative Distribution Function. Create numbers 1-600 in a column. Use the same standard deviation and mean for the formula, but calculate for each number from 1-600. =LOGNORM.DIST( works in both excel and google sheets. The parameter x is seconds, mean and standard deviation stays the same for each calculation, excel asks if you want PDF or CDF. If you are confused, google has been fantastic to me.

You are ready to make good decisions! What percentage of burps do you want to get out? Is 70% good enough? Find where the CDF says 0.7 and that is your new target time. Or maybe you want to ensure that burping for 3 minutes gives you a reasonable number of burps out.

Final Thoughts and Implications of Diminishing Returns

Assumptions and statistics

Note that with seemingly all statistics you make many ‘assumptions’, including perfect data, perfect fits, etc… This is obviously not the case with things that involve humans, and even with something that fits as nicely as log-normal, the start and end of the log normal curve seems aggressive. To clarify, I don’t think after 11s I have exactly 50% of burps out, and I don’t think after 10 minutes I have 87% of Aurelia’s burps out. That said, the general conclusion of burping for 1-3 minutes seems pretty solid and matches real world conditions.

Diminishing Returns is more interesting than you think

You think you understand Diminishing Returns, but consider the diminishing returns on this topic. Log Normal distribution starts off at a relatively high probability of the event, and quickly tapers off. In our problem Diminishing Returns occurs after the peak of ~3 seconds. Would you stop patting your baby on the back after 3 seconds with only 10% of burps out? Probably not.

This means the optimal stopping point probably wont be determined by diminishing returns, but rather your desired probability of burps out.

If you have been patting for about 1 or 2 minutes and debating if you should continue for another 10 seconds before giving up, give up. That 10 seconds is trivial compared to the previous time you put in.

I personally apply this study by doing the following. I begin patting our baby on the back, I look at the time and tell myself that when the clock increments 3 minutes, I can stop. This means I’ll always be burping between 2 and 3 minutes. This is somewhat low tech, but you can similarly count numbers for your baby. Consider it educational, and I’ve personally found teaching numbers can be an easy way to entertain our kids when they are melting down.

Wish you the best on preventing tears and saving time.