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Comment Schwartz's book is totally worth reading (Score 2) 358

The Paradox Of Choice is excellent. The most important point among a legion of somewhat unexpected findings is: people generally make choices either by optimizing and finding the best choice, or by setting a threshold and choosing the first option that exceeds that threshold. The people who generally use optimization strategies consistently make better choices than the people who set thresholds, but are consistently much less happy about both their choices and their lives. This appears to be because in the process of optimizing, they calculate the cost of all the choices they didn't make, in a sort of buyer's remorse, and that has a huge impact on their satisfaction with the choice they did make.
He spends a lot of time talking about how you can make good choices and be happy about them. One of the main ways of doing this is figuring out ways to reduce the number of apparent choices you have, so that the cost of the paths not taken is lower.

Comment Shopping cart solves all problems (Score 1) 278

It's amazing how drivers suddenly see you when you are pushing a shopping cart that'll badly damage their cars and quite possibly the drivers themselves.
Plus then you have a nice place to store stuff. Like pieces of foam painted to look like cinder blocks. Those come in useful for throwing at particularly jerky cars every now and then.

Comment They're still scumbags (Score 2) 175

I was once a smoker, and would never go back regardless of my superlungs because:
  • --It breaks up your attention span into one hour chunks
  • --It wastes heaps of money
  • --It supports the douchebags who make it and sell it
  • --It stinks up everything in your life
  • --It signals others that you're not in control of your own person

Comment Re:And your favorite, hobby laser cutter is... (Score 2) 28

Do a websearch on laser cutter engraver.
There are dozens for under $6K USD, and still a good handful down at $3K.
The proviso being that many of the inexpensive ones arrive in what is claimed to be ready to run but they're actually more like kits because of the poor quality of assembly: parts rattling around loose in the case (in one friend's experience) and various bits of hardware missing.
I have two friends who have purchased them and ripped out the control electronics, and replaced them with 3d printer brains, as those are better-understood than the custom hardware that's windows-only, proprietary-software-only shipped with the cheaper machines. That frees people up to use arbitrary modeling, cam, and post-processing programs.
Epilog lasers are very high quality (and their price reflects it, but it's way less than $100K, more like $10K.) They're made in the USA and are a mainstay of makerspaces because of their reliability and durability. I know a couple of people who work at Epilog and think highly of their work.

Comment Wait what? (Score 1) 294

meaning you won't be able to watch movies like The Hunger Games and World War Z through the service anymore

Well, this would have been a big loss indeed. If I had been able to watch those movies through Netflix to begin with, not being in US.

It's absolutely mindblowing how much distributor-to-distributor backstabbing goes on in US and it just doesn't matter here because they never got around to get their stuff here in the first place. Obligatory XKCD.

Comment Re:I foresee a sudden demand for raises (Score 1) 430

Baker claims the spreadsheet compelled more Google employees to ask and receive "equitable pay based on data in the sheet."

90% of drivers think they are better than the average driver, and I would bet 90%+ of workers think they are better than average, and would therefore expected to be paid above the median (note for the statistically challenged - 90% of a group cannot be above the median).

99% of humans have above the average number of eyes, that average number being 1.995.
You are presuming a gaussian distribution. Salary is almost certainly not a gaussian distribution.

Comment Re:Ad blocking? (Score 1) 132

The internet is no place for advertising.

I take it then that you are a subscriber to Slashdot --- and to every other site that you visit on a regular basis.

Sort of. Slashdot allows users to optionally disable advertising if their non-monetary contributions are awesome enough-- which mine are I guess. I assume that there are no ads to block, but I wouldn't know because the ads are blocked anyways. A belt-and-suspenders solution.

Comment Depends on what you mean by technology (Score 1) 620

At work we use a Hewlett Packard 4145A semiconductor parameter analyzer that boots off a 5 1/2" floppy that uses custom hardware and physical modifications to the floppy. That's our oldest actual computer system. Stepping back, we have a Tektronix 576 curve tracer; we have no idea how old it is but it looks like 1965 or so. Virtually no safety stuff at all on something that can dump out 250V at 500mA (albeit briefly.) But the analog phone lines to our building are from the 1940's. I'm not sure where to draw the line here...

Comment Re:Something wrong there (Score 1) 549

Look, I'm not a perfect driver but to assume others will break the rules as you do is just asking for trouble.

George Carlin: "So I'm out driving with my friend and he just blows straight through a red light and I'm all "What the hell are you doing?" and he says "shut up, my brother taught me to drive and this is what he does." Come to another red light, same thing. Then we come to a green light, and he STOPS. I'm all "Now what are you doing?" and he says "My brother might be coming the other way." That's what's called looking out for your brother!"

Comment Re:11 rear enders (Score 1) 549

Rear-ending is something that always comes up in /. discussions about driving, especially by US drivers (the site is rather US centric). Everyone and their dog seem to have been in at least one such accident. I have never been in such an accident, nor have I heard of any European friends that had such an accident.

Add to that, statistics show that US drivers have far more accidents, injuries and deaths per distance (per km or per mile, whatever you like to use) than European drivers, especially those from western European countries. This while US streets are wider and straighter; quite some Americans are scared stiff by our narrow, winding roads - we're routinely doing things like driving 80 km/hr (the legal limit) on country roads, and not slowing down for oncoming traffic while the road is so narrow there's not even a line in the middle... because the road simply is plenty wide enough for two cars.

Much stricter driving training does help a lot.

Here's a picture of my (now dead) Subaru with an annotation of the previous four accidents, all of which involved being rear-ended, 75% of which involved being rear-ended while I was at a stop, at a stoplight, with cars in front of me. In two of the cases I was watching the person driving getting closer and closer, while honking my horn, which she couldn't hear (both times a she) because she was talking on her phone. I am pretty sure most of the people who hit me could have passed driving tests, because then they wouldn't've been talking on their phones, so I'm not sure that's a fix. (It's one I'd love, but it's not enough.) I don't have a picture of the time I nearly was killed in the same sort of accident: roadway at a stop, with big signs up saying "accident ahead: detour", and I came to a complete stop like everyone else, and the semi truck driver behind me never even slowed down, so he hit me at well over 100kph. (Yay subaru station wagons: extra crumple zones, in that case, two meters of crumple zone.) He was adjusting his radio when he hit me -- which, again, a driving test probably wouldn't catch.
Oh by the way that blue Subaru got rear-ended a fifth time by a pickup and that time it was totaled. I dunno what the pickup driver was doing to not notice me sitting at a red stoplight.

Numeric stability is probably not all that important when you're guessing.