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Comment: The lottery winner problem (Score 2) 245

by jeffasselin (#46876753) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Back Up Physical Data?

Planning for such an event is like planning for winning the lottery: it is almost certain will win the lottery, and it's almost certain it won't be you.

Likewise, such catastrophic events happen to someone sometimes, but you don't have to worry about it happening to you. Really. Stop worrying so much.

If you live in a tornado-targeted area, you should prepare for a tornado to hit your house.

If you live in a flood area, prepare for a flood.

It's all about statistics and the Bernoulli equation: examine the chance of something happening and the effect it could have on your life, and prepare for the events that pose a significant danger.

Comment: Worst: when they use magic (Score 1) 512

by jeffasselin (#46611911) Attached to: Why <em>Darmok</em> Is a Good <em>Star Trek: TNG</em> Episode

I rewatched the whole series last year, and I got really annoyed at the episodes where magic is featured. There are quite a few, considering it's supposed to be a science-fiction show.

That's about every episode where Troi uses her magic powers, incidentally. I especially hate when she can sense an alien being's emotions at a distance of A FEW LIGHT-YEARS.

Comment: Reliability? (Score 1) 133

by jeffasselin (#46519267) Attached to: New Facial Recognition Software May Detect Looming Road Rage

What is likely to be the accuracy of this system? Even a 99% accurate system would be fairly useless. Say you get 1 rager per day out of 100 000 drivers. Over 100 days (about 3 months), it will properly flag 99 people and miss one. But during the same period would flag 1000 people per day who aren't raging or dangerous.

It's the same every time someone says they can "detect" a rare event out of a completely random sample, whether it is mass screening for rare diseases or conditions, terrorists or road rage. Unless your screening method is extraordinarily accurate, the sheer number of individuals examined by the system will cause a significant number of false positives.

Comment: Re:Ohhhh boy, it's gonna be Death Knights all over (Score 1) 253

by jeffasselin (#46348995) Attached to: Blizzard To Sell Level 90 <em>WoW</em> Characters For $60

Well, remember that max level will soon be 100, so those people will still need to play some 10 levels. And they've announced that before queuing for heroic dungeons or LFR, you will have to earn a silver medal in the training grounds to demonstrate that you can actually do the job you are intending to fulfill.

Comment: Re:Value (Score 1) 253

by jeffasselin (#46348849) Attached to: Blizzard To Sell Level 90 <em>WoW</em> Characters For $60

Most leveling is done solo nowadays in WoW. You will participate in dungeons with other random people, but you'll likely never see those people again in your entire life, so you don't really care. Even while leveling, most players you meet will be from other realms.

Most of the socializing happens at max level, when you play in the high-level zones, organize groups for challenge dungeons or raids, and with your guild, most of which happens at max level.

"Indecision is the basis of flexibility" -- button at a Science Fiction convention.