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Comment Re:Math cannot exist before wind. (Score 1) 221

If you were to imagine an alien lifeform on some distant world, they'll have an identical math but their experience of it

I'm not sure if I'm on board with you here. That's quite a claim to make. Just because it's hard to imagine math that's not identical to our own, does not mean it does not exist. I can imagine a quantum sized life-form living in a probabilistic world, never coming up with the integers. Or maybe a universe-sized creature who has absolutely no need for the idea of oneness.

Since I'm posting, here's what I think is a fun problem:
2178*4 = 8712
21978*4 = 87912
219978*4 = 879912

There's one other family of numbers (i.e. a four digit number, expanded in a similar pattern) that does this, if we throw out palindromes and numbers with leading zeros. What is it and can you show that these are the only two such families?

Comment Re:pencil/paper (Score 4, Funny) 823

Other solutions that solve poster's problem without answering his quesiton:

1. Memorize as you go.
2. Screw lecture, just watch Square One.
3. Have friend audio-record lectures then have other friend convert them to notes then photocopy friend's notes and use OCR.
4. Drop out of school.
5. Prove the Reimann Hypothesis and skip right to that PhD.
6. Hire a plant to continually ask inane questions during lecture, giving you more time to input those equations in LaTeX.
7. Code up a Math Module for Dragon Naturally speaking.
8. ???
9. Dear aunt, let's set so double the killer delete select all

Wait... What were we talking about?
It's funny.  Laugh.

What If They Turned Off the Internet? 511

theodp writes "It's the not-too-distant future. They've turned off the Internet. After the riots have settled down and the withdrawal symptoms have faded, how would you cope? asked readers to Photoshop what life would be like in an Internet-addicted society learning to cope without it. Better hope it never happens, or be prepared for dry-erase message boards, carrier pigeon-powered Twitter, block-long lines to get into adult video shops, door-to-door Rickrolling, Lolcats on Broadway, and $199.99 CDs."

Comment Re:and here in USA... (Score 1) 86

Actually, the main problem I have with bonuses in the financial industries is not that much about "they're already making so much money", but the fact that they are an incentive to do the "wrong" thing. If you give the reward based on how much money the investments returned, then you are simply rewarding risk-taking. Not only because risky investments pay more, but because bonuses cannot be negative. Hence if you were to "bet" one billion with 50% odds, it would be profitable in terms of bonus. If you win, you make a huge bonus (and you're a hero). If you lose, you get fired and you get to bet again in your next job. I'm of course simplifying a bit, but that still describes the fundamental problem IMO.

Comment Re:Echos thoughts of others after the demo (Score 5, Funny) 336

Most Dearest Friend ObsessiveMathsFreak,

I actually appreciate the salutations and valedictions. Sometimes they even help me identify Nigerian spam.

Your friend,

PS I just thought of something to say, but unfortunately I've already typed out the message, so I'll just have to write it out here at the end.

Comment Re:I beg to differ (Score 3, Insightful) 508

I have control over my information.

No, no you don't. Ever heard of a credit report? We've never had control over our information.

Anyways, the ability to keep in touch with important people in my life, for me, is worth the risk of whatever doomsday privacy issue others see. So what, some sketchy advertisers get some info on me? Uuuh, I have multiple websites, registered with my name and address. I have no doubt that my grocery shopping is closely tracked based on my credit card number. I'm sure that my contact info has been sold between companies hundreds of times. My phone company knows who I talk to and for how long. My insurance company knows my driving record. My fingerprints are on file in Oregon.

I happen to like the fact that I am able to call up and old friend and meet him for drinks while driving through town on a road trip, thanks to facebook. That's worth it, in my opinion.

Comment Re:Send the kids home? (Score 5, Informative) 443

Wouldn't that have been a perfect time to conduct audits and make sure everything was ready for the students to arrive?

I'm guessing you haven't worked in a public school? Two years ago I got my classroom assignment 3 days before students showed up. My co-worker had 1 day. Instead of curriculum planning, we spent the time running around the halls trying to find desks for students, the teacher's manuals for our books, get appropriate keys, etc.

Oh, and we also had a part time counselor in charge of 300+ students' schedules at our school and another 300+ at our neighbor school. A student shows up who hasn't registered? The secretary will put her in some temporary classes until a week later when the counselor can actually review her transcript and place her accordingly.

No one is sitting around that week. There's a thousand jobs that need to be done, but the districts keep cutting support staff and putting it on the shoulders of teachers and counselors. I wouldn't be quick to blame anyone in that school building.

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