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Comment: Re: North Pole (Score 1) 468

by Pseudonym (#49748647) Attached to: The Brainteaser Elon Musk Asks New SpaceX Engineers

You cannot stand on the surface of the Earth at the North Pole, because it's underwater.

The correct answer... well, there are actually an infinite number of correct answers, but they're all within 1 + 1/2pi miles of the South Pole. You want a location such that walking West for one mile will take around a complete ring of latitude an integer number of times, then one mile north of there will do it. The most obvious one is the one where walking one mile will take you around the pole exactly once.

Comment: Re:Mixed reaction (Score 1) 316

by demonlapin (#49730885) Attached to: Battle To Regulate Ridesharing Moves Through States
  1. 1. Uber gives clearly posted rates and I've never had a bill higher than the expected maximum for the ride. Get a taxi to quote you the same thing.
  2. 2. It's insanely trivial to identify who an Uber driver is - it's tied to their smartphone. Not so much with traditional taxis.
  3. 3. A valid concern, one that Uber claims to have dealt with by having insurance themselves. However, it's not like you ask your taxi driver to show you an up-to-date, online verification of his insurance before you hop in, right? I mean, liability insurance is mandatory in my state... but I still have uninsured motorist coverage. So this is a general problem.
  4. 4. Have you ever ridden in a cab? Jankiest things on the road.
  5. 5. Uh, no, that's not how it works. If a company starts to abuse their position as a market leader, maybe you do that. But there's absolutely nothing illegal about being so damned good that you compete everyone else into bankruptcy. A monopoly is not inherently illegal, or even wrong.

Comment: Re:Mixed reaction (Score 3, Informative) 316

by demonlapin (#49730377) Attached to: Battle To Regulate Ridesharing Moves Through States
As an aside, I have found that showing a taxi driver your destination on Google Maps on your phone is a very reliable way to insure that they take you via the quickest route. And Uber Black is well worth the small premium for the ride experience if you're not depending on it for day-to-day transportation.

Comment: Re:Only Two Futures? (Score 1) 598

by demonlapin (#49730341) Attached to: The Demographic Future of America's Political Parties
And yet a lot more stuff was considered tax-deductible at the time, to the point that they instituted the alternative minimum tax because 155 high-income households had paid zero federal income tax. The AMT now routinely reaches into the upper middle class, but we don't have the deductions any more.

Comment: Re:MIssing Option ? (Score 1) 164

by TheRaven64 (#49710395) Attached to: I spent Mother's Day this year ...

Celebrating the person who brought you into the world,

Some of us are lucky enough to have parents who made a conscious decision to have children, worked out what it would cost them, understood that it was a responsibility and a commitment, and decided that the costs were worth it. Some people have parents who fucked and forgot the pill (or whatever) and decided that keeping the child was the path of least resistance. For those of us in the first category, one day a year per parent is nowhere near enough - we owe our parents a lot for the advantages that we had early on that let us succeed later in life. For people at the opposite extreme, even one day can seem like an insult.

wiped your ass for you and taught you right from wrong, for one day per year,

You don't need to do any of that to qualify as a mother, you just need to make it to childbirth. If you're in the first category that I described, then please do remember to appreciate your parents, but please also remember that those advantages that you're thanking your parents for giving you (teaching you right from wrong, as you say, and hopefully teaching you to value education and how to be happy) are not universal.

Remember, occasionally, just how lucky you are. If you're born in an industrialised society, in a stable family, with supportive parents, then that gives you a huge advantage in life.

Comment: Re:Couldn't care less. (Score 1) 238

by TheRaven64 (#49710319) Attached to: How Windows 10 Performs On a 12-inch MacBook

Tried that but wasn't able to get something useful from "cat /proc/cpuinfo".

I had exactly that experience! Though mine was on Linux and was one of the things that pushed me to *BSD. An unstable text-based format that varies between architectures and between kernel versions turns out to be a piss-poor way of getting information from the kernel.

Comment: Re:Affirmative Action (Score 2) 527

by TheRaven64 (#49710163) Attached to: Harvard Hit With Racial Bias Complaint
I can't speak for other universities, but we (Cambridge) publish undergraduate admissions statistics (though the 2013 figures are the latest published so far, I think 2014 is out soon). If you look on pages 13 and 14, you'll see the gender ratios for applications and acceptances. 8 subjects have more female applicants than male, 7 have more women accepted than men. 18 have more men apply than women, 19 accept more men than women. In total, 54.4% of the applicants and 53.1% of acceptances are men. I'd hardly call that underrepresentation. You are right that the figures look slightly different if you exclude STEM. For Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, 43.8% of applicants and 42.6% of acceptances are men. White men and women make up 74.7% of our applicants and 75.6% of our intake. It's pretty hard to argue that white people are under-represented here.

If you look at other top-10 universities in the world, you will see a fairly similar picture. A big part of our admission training is getting interviewers to understand their subconscious biases (usually this means 'people like me', although the aspects of 'like me' that they think are important are quite varied). There's no affirmative action or direct equivalent (the closest thing is a set of targets for state school applicants, which we usually meet).

Comment: Re:Affirmative Action (Score 1) 527

by TheRaven64 (#49710103) Attached to: Harvard Hit With Racial Bias Complaint

Though I agree with the spirit of what you are saying, the term "reverse discrimination" is a misnomer at best and discriminatory at worst — because it implies, that discriminations are or can be different

The idea of reverse discrimination is to correct for unconscious biases. The end result is intended to be the result that you'd get if you had a really unbiased person making the judgement (which doesn't exist in the real world).

Comment: Re:Common sense prevails! (Only Partially!) (Score 1) 544

by TheRaven64 (#49696559) Attached to: California Senate Approves School Vaccine Bill

I'm also fairly certain the overall research/trial time for military vaccines is shorter than civilian ones

I wonder how improvements in logistics and remotely operated weapons systems change the need for this. The danger of having everyone on a base be incapacitated by illness while surrounded by a hostile enemy was huge 50 years ago and would easily outweigh possible dangers from side effects of a less-tested vaccine. Now, it's far easier to have drone patrols protecting a quarantined base and deliver men and equipment from reserves far away to fill the gaps in an overall strategy.

Comment: Re:wtf (Score 1) 54

It's hard to translate miles into actual value. 30K United miles + fees buys you a transatlantic flight. When I was looking a couple of weeks ago, it was the same going from LHR to EWR or SFO, with $188 for the UK leg and about $6 in the other direction (UK airport taxes are pretty huge). The round trip to SFO is about $1200 without the miles, so 60K miles works out to about $1K on that. That makes the value of 250K miles about $4000. This is a pretty low bug bounty.

On the other hand, the value depends a lot on whether they count as premiere qualifying miles and flight miles or not. If they count as PQM then the 250K is enough to give you the highest level of premiere status, which means you're at the head of the queue for upgrades and get a number of other benefits. If they count as flight miles (exceedingly unlikely!) then it's a quarter of the way to the million mile thing, which gives you star alliance gold for life (and, having flown far too much recently, I can attest to the fact that gold status makes it far less annoying. Apparently it actually become enjoyable at higher levels, but I'm hoping not to fly enough to find out).

How come financial advisors never seem to be as wealthy as they claim they'll make you?