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Comment: Re:Never let the truth (Score 1) 390

by j-beda (#47667697) Attached to: Is "Scorpion" Really a Genius?

I wait for a run of 6 (or more) red or black. I walk up, place a bet (say $20) on the opposite color. Most of the time, I win right away. If I lose, I will double down (double my prior bet on the same color, so $40, $80, $160), but no more than three more times. Outside the first time I did this (and chased a $20 with over $600, realized what I did and set my rule!) I've never had to go past three (so 4 bets total)

And that's it. Statically speaking I always have the same slightly less than 50/50 chance of winning (thanks to 0/00 it's not even odds although it pays that way), the prior spins really don't make any difference. Except, when I play this way, I win.Like I said, statistically it shouldn't work. Call it luck I guess.

The downside is you need a busy casino (with busy tables, which is getting harder and harder to find even in Vegas these days) that allows cash or casino chips on outside bets (bets along the outside of the table for color, odd/even, etc) at their roulette tables vs making you buy table chips, which for roulette are specific to the table. You will not get rich playing this way, it's too slow and higher bets risk running into table limits if you start doubling down, but it's an easy way to pay for dinner.

Thanks for explaining - that was the type of thing I thought you were getting at.

Well, I suspect that if you keep good records, you'll soon find that you aren't winning as much as you think you are, but hey, small risk and a bit of enjoyment when you do (as you often will) take home the extra $20. Keeping accurate records will do either of two things - show you are actually winning against the odds, or demonstrated that you in fact are not. But if you are already happy with your understanding of the situation why bother? Obviously any losses that you might actually be taking clearly are not so great that they negatively impact your financial situation, so finding out about them is probably only going to decrease your happiness anyway.

On four spins, the odds of loosing each time are one out of sixteen, and if you do run the whole four bets and lose you are out $20 + $40 + $80 + $160 = $300 (or twice that if you started at $40). If you have really won $3200 net while using this stopping at four loosing bets in a row you really do seem to be leading a charmed life.

I wonder if any casino published lists of roulette results so one could check to see if in fact the colour that comes up after a long run of one colour is still 50/50 or not (OK, 50/52 with the green guys included). Here is a million spins:

Anyhow, I'm not going to analyze it.

Wikipedia talks about this type of progressive system:

Comment: Re:Never let the truth (Score 1) 390

by j-beda (#47664925) Attached to: Is "Scorpion" Really a Genius?

You know you are off by a factor of 10, right? We're talking about 80-160 trips to the tables, not 800-1600. As for my bets, min. run of 6, not 4, and max chase bets of 3. I never said I never lost a bet, I said I never walked away from a table a loser.

Now if you really want to have fun, actually model it with those parameters and see how it turns out over 160 rounds.

Oh my goodness - you would think I could divide by 10 correctly, eh? I guess not.

So if we model 80 extra wins over losses, if that is within 4 standard deviations of the expected value of zero extra wins, that make the standard deviation around 20, and the variance 400 and the number of total bets around 1600, which at least is starting to be more reasonable. A (very) few people (one out of about 16,000) who make 1600 bets will win 80 times more than they lose.

So, what exactly is your activity? Explain it to me like I am stupid, cause I probably am, and I don't know what a chase bet is or anything like that. Are you waiting for a run of one colour and then betting $40, or is it more complicated than that?

Comment: Re:Never let the truth (Score 2) 390

by j-beda (#47662061) Attached to: Is "Scorpion" Really a Genius?

I suppose you think if you hit four blacks in a row on roulette you should always go red because it's red's turn to come up?

Although statistically it's totally irrelevant what the prior spins are, betting like this is how I pay for my expenses whenever I visit Vegas. Sure, I don't make a fortune doing it (usually just 20 here, 40 there), but I've never walked away from a roulette table a loser.

Then you haven't played enough roulette, or actually kept accurate records.

I would remember losing. Now, we're only talking about around $3,200 over like 4 different trips but still, it payed for my meals, taxis and, well, some of the alcohol. I never stay at the table, I swoop in, red or black, collect, and leave. I've stood around and watched people lose startling amounts of money on those tables.

Let me see if I understand you. Is this the gist of what your practices are? You walk down to the roulette wheel and wait for the ball to hit four blacks in a row, then place $800 on red and walk away a winner with an extra $800 in your pocket. I could certainly believe that has happened to you four times.

If you are making "20 here, 40 there" on a red/black bets, then taking in $3200 would require around 800 to 1600 winning bets on red/black. To simplify the math, I'll say each bet was $40, so we need at least 800 more winning bets than losing bets. If you have actually only made those 800 winning bets, then wow - that's freaky! The odds of that happening are something like 1 in 6.7x10^240 (two to the power of eight hundred). I doubt very much you have NEVER lost a roulette bet, because the odds against that are so incredibly incredibly incredibly incredibly high (I should really add a whole lot more "incredibly" terms).

So what might you actually be doing? Based on your reported winnings and bet size, we need 800 more wins than losses (assuming the numbers reported are accurate). A quick google search turns up a nice discussion about coin flips (link below) that I can use to get some calculations from. If we ignore the house advantage due to the green "0"/"00" slots we can just use a 50/50 probability. The variance of a Bernoulli distribution is: Var(X) = np(1-p) where n is the number of trials/bets, p is the expected probability of outcome 1 and (1 - p) is the expected probability of outcome 2. With p=1/2=0.5 we have Var(X) = n(1/2)(1-1/2) = n/4. The square root of the variance is the standard deviation and about 2/3 of all trials of a given size should fall within one standard deviation of the expected result (Wikipedia link below). If someone got 800 more wins than losses, that would not be too surprising as long as the number of bets they made was large enough so that they were still within a few standard deviations of the expected result of equal numbers of wins and losses. Only 1 out of 400 billion trails fall outside of 7 standard deviations, so 8 standard deviations should be very very very conservative (and makes the division of 800 simple!) So with a standard deviation of 800/8 = 100, this gives a variance of 100^2 =10,000 and the number of bets (n) is around 40,000. A more reasonable estimate of 4 standard deviations (1 out of 16,000 trials fall outside of 4 standard deviations), gives a standard deviation of 200, variance 40,000 and a number of bets of 160,000.

flipping coins calcs:
standard deviation odds:

Basically, in order to have 800 more wins than losses, you need to make a whole lot of bets, unless the odds are significantly different from 50-50.

For me at least, it seems likely that your memory or record keeping is at fault and that in actuality you have not come out $3,200 ahead on bets of $40. Or even more likely, I am misunderstanding what you are claiming. I really am interested in what you are doing, and recognize that any "theoretical" or "statistical" calculation I might make would not invalidate your actual experiences, but I would love to reconcile the math with the actuality.

Comment: Re:Misreading section 7? (Score 1) 191

by j-beda (#47659923) Attached to: Larry Rosen: A Case Study In Understanding (and Enforcing) the GPL

Actually, section 7 of the GPL says "If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not distribute the Program at all."

So, if Ximpleware intentionally distributed the software under the GPLv2 (they did) and held the patents (they did) then either they must have intended that any recipient of the software under the GPLv2 also receive a license to use the patents or they deliberately breached the GPL contract with every single person who downloaded the code making them (Ximpleware) liable for damages from any of those users who are otherwise compliant with the terms of the license.

Either way, the court might reasonably cure Ximpleware's problem by affirming the existence of a patent license to everyone legitimately using the code under the GPL.

If the court says Versata got a patent license when legitimately using the code under the GPL, that does not do much to protect Versata since they do not seem to be legitimately using the code under the GPL - certainly none of their customers knew the code was supposedly GPLed, which seems to be the entire point of this case.

Comment: Re:Never let the truth (Score 1) 390

by j-beda (#47656561) Attached to: Is "Scorpion" Really a Genius?

I suppose you think if you hit four blacks in a row on roulette you should always go red because it's red's turn to come up?

Although statistically it's totally irrelevant what the prior spins are, betting like this is how I pay for my expenses whenever I visit Vegas. Sure, I don't make a fortune doing it (usually just 20 here, 40 there), but I've never walked away from a roulette table a loser.

Then you haven't played enough roulette, or actually kept accurate records.

Comment: Re:Because it's unimportant (Score 1) 274

by j-beda (#47656349) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Are Online Job Applications So Badly Designed?

There's simply no value to spending time making these systems good. One might say they even serve to weed out people not dedicated enough to deal with the bullshit.

The difficulty is a feature. I doubt it is done by design, but probably has developed so in an evolutionary manner. A lower level job opening, with minimal qualifications, is potentially available to millions of applicants. If they all applied you could never decide on the best applicants. Most such positions would best be filled (from the employer's point of view at least) by someone who is dedicated enough to show up for their shifts, follow directions, and persist in the face of minor difficulties. Applicants not interested enough to put up with a flaky website probably have a higher likelihood of quitting or not showing up for work when scheduled.

If there are going to be a million people who start to fill out the application, if your system pisses off 50% of applicants enough that they do not complete the application, that still leaves five hundred thousand applicants. Probably this pool has a larger fraction of "dedicated hard-workers" than the initial pool of a million, so it is better for the company to deal with a smaller pool of on average more highly desirable applicants.

If you make the application process easy, you have to figure out a way of weeding out those with less good fit to the position. It costs real money to have to rehire people all the time, and makes for a bad environment for those who stay.

Comment: Re:You'll want either AT&T or T-Mobile. (Score 2) 146

by j-beda (#47344981) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: SIM-Card Solutions In North America?

7-11 has a "fan-constructed" website with lots of good info at and their "official" one is at

You can order a SIM online for postal delivery (maybe only to Canada?) or walk into a 7-11 and pick one up directly. I think they only do regular or mini-SIMs, so you'll need to cut it for a micro-SIM size.

If you are on the west coast, find someone who uses Shaw for their ISP and get them to give you a Shaw login/email on their account and you'll have access to a whole wack of wifi hotspots mostly in BC and Alberta, but a few farther East.

Comment: Re:stupid comparison (Score 1) 501

mixing them should be a capital crime.

Bollocks - I regularly mix units, because it sometimes makes a lot of sense. I've described something as a metre by a yard (it wasn't quite square). Similarly, I've described items in feet or inches in area, but thickness in millimetres (it tends to be anything less than 1/4 inch).

Before you complain that not everyone knows basic conversions (not everyone's an engineer), it helps if you do any amount of travelling, especially if you're from the US or UK. Also, this topic is physics/engineering, so it usual to see mixed units - we see them when talking about rocket payloads all the time. Similarly, would you complain about the mixing of AUs, light years, millions of km/miles in an article about astrophysics or astronomy.

Even you would not be so stupid as to mix units when directly comparing two things. You would never say something like "Alpha C is 4.3 light years away, while the voyager spacecraft has already traveled 18.2 billion kilometers! The stars are ours, if we take the time!" You wouldn't do that because the vast majority of your audience would not be able to make the comparison without a fair bit of work. Sure, using mm to describe the thickness of something who's other dimensions are described in other units could be appropriate, but using mm to describe the thickness of one thing, then comparing it to the thickness of something else in thousandths of an inch is just stupid. Your "metre by a yard" comparison is cute, but relying on people to know that a metre is about 3 inches more than a yard certainly is something that can lead to troubles.

Comment: Re:stupid comparison (Score 1) 501

by j-beda (#47320561) Attached to: A Physicist Says He Can Tornado-Proof the Midwest With 1,000-Foot Walls

to build three massive, 1,000-foot high, 165-foot thick walls

For example, in Philadelphia, the newly completed Comcast building has about 300 meter height. The wall with similar height as the Comcast building should be much easier to be constructed.

But the wall is not similar height, is it? it's 3 times that height. Also, it may be 165-ft thick, but how wide? all the way around the city is how many times wider than said Comcast building? a few thousand? so 9000+ times larger structure is somehow easier to construct?

I blame the stupid writers who mix their units. 300m is about 1000 feet. As stupid as various measurement systems might be from anyone's perspective, mixing them should be a capital crime.

Comment: Re:Most interesting part... (Score 1) 461

by j-beda (#47318035) Attached to: Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

The overall (dotted) line shows a rise from ~27,000 to ~31,000, which is consistent with the data I linked.

Perhaps "consistent" but still not "a complete picture".

Your table lists gains for median incomes gains for sectors of the population over a 20 year span (ending a decade ago BTW) with increases of 31335/28939=1.08, 17648/10741=1.64, 22740/17390=1.31, 18379/9944=1.85 , while the doted overall line, as you state, is 31/27=1.15

None of the educational lines are any where near 60-80% gains, or even half that of 30-40% gains - are women (at least the black and white ones) really such a small part of the economy that when you nearly double their income it has no visible effect on the overall population numbers?

If we go with "all males" and "all females" from the wikipedia table we get 30513/27206=1.12 and 17629/10683=1.65, are there really so few women workers that their substantive gains are virtually washed out by all those guys.

As I said, I don't think the linked table gives a complete picture. I don't have a great source that does give such a picture.

Comment: Re:Most interesting part... (Score 1) 461

by j-beda (#47317723) Attached to: Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

I live in Florida and chose to install solar panels. I was using an average of 34 kWh/day prior to installation, but am using 20kWh/day now, after installation, due to the insulating effect of the panels on the roof.

It sounds like the best ROI would have been to just mount some shade/reflectors on the roof, at nominal cost and get that 14 kWh/day "insulation effect" for almost no cost.

Or plant a few shade trees.

Incidentally, does that 14-16% ROI you calculated take into account that the money "saved" on your electric bill is equivalent to a tax-free income increase? If you had invested your money elsewhere and gotten interest or dividend payments or cap gains, you would need to pay income tax at whatever your marginal income tax rate is, thus resulting in a lesser effective rate of return. This makes "investments" in solar or energy efficiency even more attractive.

Comment: Re:Most interesting part... (Score 1) 461

by j-beda (#47317641) Attached to: Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

American incomes have been stagnant, or declining in real purchasing power for thirty years

Sorry, thats not correct. Adjusted income has massively grown over the last 50 years.

To self-quote an earlier post:

Just a sample of median income over time,, race, etc (in 2004 dollars) (source):

1950 -- White men: $18000; White women: $ 7000; Black men: $ 9775; Black women: $ 3150
1980 -- White men: $28939; White women: $10741; Black men: $17390; Black women: $ 9944
2004 -- White men: $31335; White women: $17648; Black men: $22740; Black women: $18379

I'm not sure that data is paints a complete picture. The graph on the same Wikipedia page seems to indicate pretty stagnant growth for various educational levels over a 20 year period:

Comment: Re:Document escrow is not new. (Score 1) 208

by j-beda (#47293405) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Bequeath Sensitive Information?

How about you just give the document escrow folks a one time use pad cypher and simply keep your "secure" documents encrypted using that pad. You can then "update" everybody electronically with an encrypted document that they cannot decrypt until they can obtain the one time pad from escrow.

While you are alive, you need to protect your copy of the pad, but its not hard to invent some classy way to do that given that the pad has absolutely no useful information in it...Like using a your favorite MP3 or something...

I think that using the one-time-pad to encrypt multiple items ends up leaking information if someone gets their hands on those multiple updates. Since you are sending out those updates to "everyone", that doesn't sound optimal. I don't know that this "attack" is particularly feasible however.

Comment: Re:Lawyer (Score 1) 208

by j-beda (#47293361) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Bequeath Sensitive Information?

This sounds good in theory, but most law firms do not use any form of encryption for their email or data storage, so it is not that difficult for a hacker to get into your lawyers server and steal your information.

You would have the data on a drive unconnected to the network, and of course the password for the encryption is given to them on paper. If you are trying to guard against a dedicated group targeting you specifically, then of course more paranoia would be appropriate. The rest of us are not important enough to worry about that.

Comment: Re:Encryption (Score 1) 208

by j-beda (#47293339) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Bequeath Sensitive Information?

I thought about that, but my daughter classically can't remember passwords she uses every day; there's no way she's going to remember a password she'll only need once.

Then you WRITE IT DOWN. Then give her the piece of paper with it written down upon. Or give the encrypted files and/or paper with the password to one or more lawyer types to do the holding on for, if you want to really have it properly curated.

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