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Comment: Oil cleanup method (Score 1) 343

by SPickett (#32475152) Attached to: Quantifying, and Dealing With, the Deepwater Spill
An interesting cleanup proposal:

1. Blow hay on the ocean surface in the middle of the slick.
2. Wait a short while as the waves mix the oil and hay. The oil attaches to the hay.
3. Skim the hay from the surface.
4. Any hay that gets to shore is easier to pick up than raw oil on the sand.

Here's a video demonstration.

http://www.wimp.com/solutionoil/

Comment: Re:If he isn't already rich then he's lying (Score 1) 134

by SPickett (#31536284) Attached to: Bruce Bueno de Mesquita Uses Games To See the Future
His model works if there are small number of GROUPS have influence. There are many stock market situations where this may be useful.

For example, a stock in play for a takeover. You have groups within the takeover target - management, institutional shareholders, public shareholders. You have the acquiring company management and acquiring company shareholders. Maybe you have a second potential acquiring company out there for a possible bidding war. You have two groups of speculators, one betting on the takeover, one betting against it.

It seems like you could use game theory in predicting such a situation.

Comment: Re:Oh my God... (Score 1) 47

by SPickett (#31465508) Attached to: Fastest (and Most Compact) Stellar Spinner Confirmed
From the last line of the article neither of us read:
"It is thought that the white dwarf pair are reaching the end of their frenzied dance. As more gravitational waves are generated, energy is lost from the system, making them spiral closer together until they collide, possibly exploding as a type 1a supernova."

Comment: Re:Ooooh... Intercontinental (Score 2, Informative) 140

by SPickett (#30232936) Attached to: Jetman Attempts Intercontinental Flight
When I read your post, I thought you were nuts. I always learned there were seven continents, two of which were North America and South America. I went to get a Wikipedia link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continent) and read it's taught differently in different parts of the world.

The seven-continent model is usually taught in China and most English-speaking countries. The six-continent combined-Eurasia model is preferred by the geographic community, Russia, the former states of the USSR, and Japan. The six-continent combined-America model is taught in Latin America, and some parts of Europe including Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy. This model may be taught to include only the five inhabited continents (excluding Antarctica)[20][21] -- as depicted in the Olympic logo.

It sounds like you may be from an area that has a 6-continent model.

Comment: Uniquely ID 87% of 300 million Americans? (Score 1) 280

by SPickett (#29355995) Attached to: Why Anonymized Data Isn't
"in 2000, [researcher Latanya Sweeney] showed that 87 percent of all Americans could be uniquely identified using only three bits of information: ZIP code, birthdate, and sex"

That doesn't seem right. IIRC, there are somewhere around 60,000 zipcodes. (Obviously there are under 100000.) If the population is 300 million, that's an average of about 5000 people per zipcode. Male/female splits it in half, so you have 2500 birthdates to distribute uniquely over 365 days.

Looked at another way, 365 days *times* 2 sexes *times* 60000 zipcodes totals less than 44 million. How do you uniquely ID 300 million people?

Add the problem that many people could have given you either their work or home zipcode. How does she do that?

Comment: More doctors = Lower medical costs (Score 2, Informative) 1053

by SPickett (#29139875) Attached to: US Life Expectancy May Have Peaked
There's an elephant in the room that is being ignored. The AMA artificially limits the number of doctors and nurses available, which drives up prices. As the baby boomers age, it is going to get worse.

If you increase the supply of doctors and nurses, the shortage will decrease and prices will drop. Unfortunately, the AMA would switch from being a strong supporter of health-care reform to a strong opponent and it would be more difficult to pass.

Comment: Re:How will they know.. (Score 1) 380

by SPickett (#28648995) Attached to: Can Bill Gates Prevent the Next Katrina?

You start with a model that predicts hurricane strength based on many input parameters, one of which is surface temperature of the water. They already have this. They use it to create the projected storm track and strength of hurricanes that you see on TV all the time.

They create (or already have) models that project how much Gates' method drops ocean surface temperatures. The reason I suspect they already have such a model is it would be useful for optimizing the number and placement of boats.

Plug Gates' projected temperature drop back into NOAA's hurricane model and you have a projected reduction in strength of the hurricane. After the hurricane passes, they could use the actual track/wind speeds/temperatures to check the accuracy of their models.

How many hurricanes it would require to get statistical significance would depend on how effective the method is. If the method only drops the max sustained wind speed 1 MPH, it would take forever to show significance. But, his invention wouldn't be very useful anyway. However, if it dropped speeds by 10 or 20 MPH, it would show up much quicker. It would also be obvious and encourage them to continue from the models even before they reached a 90% or 95% significance.

Comment: Re:Hello! You get both operating systems. (Score 2, Informative) 616

by SPickett (#23844063) Attached to: $50 to Get XP On a New Dell

Look folks, the reason for the extra $50 is simple. You get both Vista AND XP.
I think you're wrong.

I'm trying to buy a Dell laptop today. Here are my operating system options:
Genuine Windows® XP Professional, SP2 with Media add $0
Genuine Windows Vista® Business Bonus-Windows® XP Professional loaded [Included in Price]
Genuine Windows Vista® Ultimate Bonus-Windows® XP Professional loaded [add $50]
Genuine Windows Vista® Business Service Pack 1, With media add $0 (Dell Recommended)
Genuine Windows Vista® Ultimate Service Pack 1, With media [add $50]

You'll notice that (1) XP loaded, (2) Vista Business loaded, and (3) XP loaded plus Vista Business on media are all the same price. It sounds like beginning tomorrow either of the XP options will carry an additional charge.

The absent ones are always at fault.

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