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Comment: Re:Supply & demand (Score 1) 330

by zippthorne (#48191985) Attached to: An Algorithm to End the Lines for Ice at Burning Man

Can't.

You should be able to do this, but politics gets in the way. People have an idea of what a bag of ice is "worth" and may be willing to wait hours for it, but won't adjust their internal valuation without long-term pricing pressures and will react strongly to the idea that they're being "ripped off."

http://www.econlib.org/library...

It's easy to forget that you're not buying ice. You're buying ice in a remote location in the desert where a lot of other people are also present, but no appreciable infrastructure is in place

Comment: Re:Units hurt the brain (Score 1) 74

by zippthorne (#48182409) Attached to: NASA Cancels "Sunjammer" Solar Sail Demonstration Mission

Pounds are units of both mass and force, which is a problem with the "standard" system of weights and measurements. Usually there is a distinction made if it is ambiguous and matters (lb_f or lb_m). It's my understanding that this is because the unit was named before the concepts of mass and weight were observed to be different, but that may be apocryphal.

The tragedy is that Europeans are apparently determined to screw up a perfectly good unit system by adding back the ambiguity in the creation of the kilograms-force unit (kg_f).

Comment: Re:Big Old Liar (Score 1) 276

by zippthorne (#48108127) Attached to: Maps Suggest Marco Polo May Have "Discovered" America

I doubt Europe as a whole would cut off trade over it, and probably wouldn't even reduce trade by a noticeable amount, but is it so difficult to imagine that the Chinese would simply not care at all about whether or not Marco Polo visited them, and would care somewhat about not offending guests and traders?

Comment: Re:Where is this interview itself? (Score 1) 338

This still sounds like a place where cleverness is needed. For instance, is it possible to divide up the work in a different way that takes better advantage of parallel primitive instructions? Maybe separate the flailers and fighters first and then run one vector fight routine and one vector flail routine on each of the respective lists.

If the transistors are there, there ought to be some clever way to get them to do what they want. If they aren't, there's got to be a clever way to throw out the parts of the computation that are least noticeable to create something that is both "good enough" and possible.

Carmack's team didn't whine to the press about shitty FPU performance.

Comment: Re:Only if I ad my own hominem. Mellow is the purp (Score 2) 263

by Shakrai (#48107495) Attached to: Carl Sagan, as "Mr. X," Extolled Benefits of Marijuana

The main purpose of smoking pot is to chill out, to be mellow. If you smoke a bunch of pot and you feel wound up, driven, ambitious and motivated you might want a refund.

Different strains of pot have different effects. Sativa blends are usually more of an intellectual high, indica blends tend to give the mellow "do nothing" couchlock high. In my experience smoking a sativa blend will make mundane tasks more tolerable (one can actually be more productive whilst stoned) and occasionally provides problem solving inspiration for more complicated tasks.

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

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