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Comment Re: 74 at time of crash (Score 1) 568

Upgraded suspensions and other parts do not change the laws of physics. SUVs have a high center of gravity, and there is no way to change this short of perhaps sticking a bunch of tungsten plates in the floorboards. They are not safe at high speeds, and I really don't care what tests police departments have done. Those same departments thought Crown Vics were safe cars at high speeds, and they're not. They handle like boats (yes, I've driven them).

Americans in general don't have a clue what constitutes a safe vehicle at high speeds. They don't even know what handling is. There's a reason police in Germany would never use vehicles like that. Americans just slap a big engine in something and then think that makes it capable of high speeds, and for a drag strip, they're right, but that's it. But of course, Americans have little concept that roads might have something in them called "curves".

Comment Re:Wait... Who got that other half of the $$$ rais (Score 2) 19

I spent about fifteen years of my career in the non-profit sector, so I have some perspective on this.

Raising money in a non-profit is just like selling stuff is for a for-profit. Generating gross revenue is relatively easy -- if you spend a lot of money you can rake in a lot of dough. What's a bitch to generate is net profit. In the non-profit sector we don't use the term "profitability" very much, so the metric that's often used to describe financial is "cost to raise a dollar." For typical fundraising activities cost-to-raise-a-dollar runs from 0.25 to 1.5 dollars/dollar.

Take junk mail. The cost to raise a dollar for a well-run direct mail campaign is in the range of $1.25 to $1.50, so if I want to raise $115,000 to spend on other things I have to scale my direct mail campaign to bring inover $258,000 gross. As you can see I chose a net target that was exactly 1/1000 the size of the ALS bucket challenge net, so you can compare the efficiency of the processes readily. The cost to raise a dollar for the ALS bucket challenge is actually better than a well-run direct mail campaign -- $0.91.

And it should be more efficient than direct mail, because direct mail is about the least efficient method there is. The marginal costs are huge because you pay for the names and addresses as well as printing and mailing of each piece, and most of those pieces will end up in the landfill unopened. So if direct mail is so inefficient, why use it? Because the financial inefficiency doesn't matter to the organization doing the fundraising. The end result of my hypothetical direct mail campaign is that my organization has $115,000 it didn't have before. That probably pays for one and half full time staff positions (at the low do-gooder wages we pay) for a year.

So the ALS challenge was in the financial efficiency range of methods normally used by non-profits, albeit a little towards the inefficient end. That doesn't really tell us if the campaign was responsibly run or not; to know that you'd have to look at all the expenses and compare those to costs in other viral Internet fundraising campaigns. But the bottom line is that the ALS association ended up with $115 million it didn't have before.

Can you think of a way of raising $115 million in a few months? I thought not. So presuming the guys who ran the campaign didn't spend the money on hookers and blow, I wouldn't be unduly concerned by a cost-to-raise-a-dollar of $0.91 if I was on the board.

Should donors care that the ALS challenge was a little high on the cost-to-raise-a-dollar metric? Well, I look at it this way. People did it because it was fun and for a good cause, and two years later we can point to concrete and significant scientific results from the money raised. That's not only pretty good, it's pretty damned awesome.

Comment Re:Teams (Score 1) 213

They already started suing every business around Olympia, WA and the Olympic Mountains for using "Olympic" in their name, despite the names coming from geographical location and some even being around longer than the modern Olympics

And did the local judges in Olympia actually put up with this charade?

Comment Re:oh if only... (Score 1) 213

I'm not sure how much of a hit if your song is about Frank swimming in raw sewage, coming down with dysentery from that, catching the Zika virus from hundreds of mosquito bites, and then being kidnapped for ransom, and then mugged after they release him.

Why any athlete would want to go to Brazil, I have no idea.

Comment Re:74 at time of crash (Score 1) 568

I honestly don't know if 365HP is enough to push an SUV to 140. It's more than enough for a smaller car, but wind resistance goes up with the cube of velocity (see here), and SUVs have far higher drag coefficients and frontal areas than cars. It's probably still enough though. But I still contend that their handling is too poor and this would be extremely dangerous because of this. SUVs (all of them) should be limited to about 65mph IMO because of safety (or maybe even 55). Their handling is just too poor for them to be driven faster. If you want to drive safely at higher speeds, you need a vehicle with a lower center of gravity.

Comment Re:74 at time of crash (Score 1) 568

365 HP may be enough to get you to 140, but the handling on SUVs is not sufficient for those vehicles to be safe at that speed. And a Ford Escort has a much lower center of gravity than any SUV.

Also, I have driven a 90s trooper car (a Ford Crown Vic). Those cars aren't safe to drive at 90, let alone 130. They're heaps of shit with the handling of a boat (and this was true when they were brand-new, which is when I drove one for work a few times).

Comment Re:Not for everyone (Score 1) 274

2. A "more social" experience of the movie is better. It's not for those of us who are introverts. Having people talking and eating all around deprives us of our ability to really enjoy the movie and be completely immersed in the experience.

I completely disagree about the introvert thing.

I'm an introvert, but personally, I rarely want to watch a movie alone. I like to watch movie either with a partner (usually a romantic partner), or with a small group of friends.

However, in both these cases (or for watching it alone too, making it 3 cases), the home-theater is the best choice, by far:

For watching alone, you can be undistracted by others.

For watching with a romantic partner, you can be undistracted by others and cuddle all you want (can't do that in theater seats, there's a divider in the way).

For watching with a group of friends, it's more fun at someone's home where you can have a nice couch/sectional, serve food and drinks, talk to each other about the movie if you need to (and then rewind so you don't miss anything), pause if someone needs a bathroom break or wants to go make some popcorn, etc.

There simply isn't any case I can think of where going to a theater is really that much better than staying at home. So, back to your point about introverts, even for the social experience, watching a movie at home is a superior experience. If I'm with a group of friends and we want to pause the movie and talk about it, you can do that at home, but you can't in a theater. At home, you can limit the social interaction to your preferred companions, and then do whatever that group wants, unlike a theater where you're stuck in there with dozens of other strangers and subject to the rules of the establishment. So yes, for non-social watching, home is better, but for social watching, it's also better.

Comment Re:The Fight to Piracy? (Score 1) 274

Here is how you take the fight to piracy -- take some risks, make some NEW movies (get off the remake train),

So, that's how you fight piracy James. Not make the movie theater experience "unique" -- fucking make the movies unique so we'll want to go see them

You'd think James would know about this too: Avatar (2009) was a hugely successful movie, and for good reason: it was an FX tour-de-force. It was absolutely unique, and it was new. (Yes, the plot wasn't completely unique, but most story plots throughout history are rehashed versions of Greek tales or Shakespeare anyway.) Avatar was a big risk at the time, and it paid off. From what I remember, the studios didn't want to finance it because it was too risky, so James financed a lot himself. This is the problem with Hollywood these days: they don't want to take a risk on a movie like Avatar that's all-new, this is why everything is a sequel, prequel, remake, or reboot: they're less profitable but they're much lower-risk and are usually guaranteed to make some kind of profit.

The sad fact is that TV has gotten much more interesting than movies in recent years. See Game of Thrones for proof of this. You won't see any movies like this from Hollywood.

Comment Re:The Theater Experience (Score 1) 274

I feel mostly the same way, but to be fair, I do have to point out that there are some (not many) cinemas which are actually pretty nice to go to. They're usually called "dinner theaters"; they cater to adults only, they serve alcohol and full meals, and you sit at tables and watch the movie. You have a button you can press to summon a server. The one I went to a couple of times was run by AMC if I recall correctly.

I also hear good things about Alamo Drafthouse, which I think is similar.

Of course, these things aren't that common, and are entirely regional (Alamo Drafthouse is only in a few cities I think).

Of course, they're not perfect, and have the following problems: 1) tickets are pricey (slightly more than normal theaters usually, but they get more profit from the food and drinks anyway, the meals aren't cheap), 2) there's no pause or rewind, like with any theater.

Personally, I'd rather just stay at home and watch a movie. I can sit in my recliner, I can eat or drink whatever I want (and it's as cheap as I can buy it for at the grocery store), I can pause to go to the bathroom, I can rewind if I miss something or don't understand something, I can turn on subtitles if someone has a thick accent, I can start the movie whenever I want, I can cuddle with a girlfriend (can't do that in a theater because the seats physically prevent it) or a cat, I can adjust the volume to my liking (theaters are usually too loud), I don't have to drive a long way to see the movie and worry about getting a speeding ticket or in an accident with a drunk, I could go on and on.

The main thing people like Cameron seem to be pushing with theaters is the social aspect. I'm sorry, I don't buy it. Who actually talks to or meets new people at a theater? Any socialization is between people who are already friends; if I have some friends that want to watch a movie, we can all meet up at someone's house instead (and then they can even spend the night...). I have no desire to socialize with random strangers in a theater, and in fact, this just isn't normal anyway. "Sharing the experience" is worthless to me. I'd rather share the experience with some friends at home. And I suspect I'm not unusual in this regard.

The only reason theaters did so well in the past is because people couldn't afford equipment that was even remotely as good as what a theater used. Thanks to gigantic LCD TVs at dirt-cheap prices, this has all changed.

Comment Re:anti-science environmentalists (Score 1) 170

Actually, it's thoroughly impossible to tell how the new standards work based upon by the linked articles, but it sounds like in plain language that Florida is using a computer model that could allow more flexibility in discharge permitting. This can lead to better results, whether your definition of better is "more rationally defensible" or "more in line with what my donors want." Determining which way it is better requires review by a competent expert. It might be both.

The real issue here is this phrase from TFA: "one of a kind." That's not so good.

It's important in managing environmental data to do things in the usual way. This is contrary to the way public thinks about new technologies. If there's a new iPhone, you expect it to be better in every way or at least as good. It's not like that with scientific methods; new techniques are proposed because they have certain advantages, obviously. But they always have one big disadvantage: their results are hard to compare with what you already know. You need to do a lot of work to justify doing things a new way, otherwise you can find yourself unable to compare what is happening now to what was happening before.

Fortunately Florida can't do this on its own; it has to get EPA approval. Since this is an administration that is generally favorable to environmental regulation, if they can get this past Obama's EPA that will help give these new methods more credibility.

Comment Re:oh if only... (Score 2) 213

I'm not even sure how long it's been since I gave a flying crap about the olympics. But yeah, they're at least as big a collection of overtly corrupt scum as FIFA, and possibly even worse. Everyone associated in any way with both orgs could be sucked in their entirety into a gigantic sinkhole, never to be seen again, and nothing of value would be lost.

Comment Re: EEE (Score 1) 399

I think there's more to it than that. People use Windows because it's "the standard", and "everyone else uses it". If some of their software stops working on it, they're going to blame the software, not the OS, and not many of them are going to decide to dump the OS and switch to Linux or Mac: it's just too much of a change for them.

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