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Comment Re:NTP (Score 1) 171

That's why the calls spike around the time change - because people aren't entirely sure anymore.

I think it's because that's when they reset all of their unconnected clocks (oven, microwave, wristwatch). You might as well set them accurately twice a year.

Comment Re:entropy (Score 1) 637

If you're setting password policy tell users to use 5 truly random words. (flip through the dictionary with their eyes closed or use a random word generator)

A random word generator is good (but you have to use the words it gives you, no do overs), but flipping through a dictionary won't give you truly random words, they will pick words that are easy, that go together, and that are in alphabetical order. And that's assuming they don't cheat by flipping through nearby pages after they select a page. If you require that they close the dictionary after each word their selections will be clustered near the center of the dictionary rather than random.

People are bad at random

Comment Re:Ignoring HBN (Human Basic Nature) (Score 1) 1116

Do you really believe that people are going to quit their minimum wage (~$16,000/year) janitorial jobs so they can try to live on ~$10,000/year when they could keep their job (at a slightly lower wage because minimum wage would go away) and live on ~$20,000/year? [Note that in this scenario the employer saves ~$6,000 on wages as well.]

Comment Re:Keep in mind (Score 2) 204

Of course bribes can be defined. A bribe is a payment to a functionary to encourage them to do their job in a way that is favorable to you. (See TIP). This is distinct from licensing fees, etc, in that the bribe is paid to an individual as an individual while a fee is paid to a company or government division. In addition, bribes are ad hoc while fees are contractual or defined by law.

Comment Re: who'd have thunk? (Score 1) 402

That seems a naive comment. How are they supposed to execute your command without recording it? It's not like the computer can process the voice in real time directly from the microphone input. It has to record the command, possibly clean out background noise, split it into component sounds and then compare those sounds to known commands and try to make words out of it. The problem isn't the recording, it's the sending of that recording to the cloud.


Comment Re:Doctors: Whiny bitches, all of 'em. (Score 1) 111

We're talking about people who were doing nicely pre-EHR.

Unless you asked them questions that go across their patient population such as, "How many of your patients are overdue for their mammogram?" or "What percentage of your diabetes patients are successfully managing their A1C levels?" or even, "How many of your patients had a wellness appointment last year?"

Without an EHR you basically can't answer those questions. The benefit of an EHR isn't at the bedside.
Having said that, the problems with EHR interfaces certainly exists and hopefully will be improved over the next ten years.

Comment Re: Great event! (Score 1) 420

The magnetic disc doesn't store your email, it stores magnetic fields that an algorithm converts into your email. (As an aside, if you wanted to "see" that you would use a magnetic force microscope.) If you are allowing an algorithm to count as "containing", then the library of babel contains the book pages in the same manner.

The metaphysical argument is exactly as you express, does something exist if it is the product of an algorithm or does it only exist after the algorithm has been executed. If I compress a document does the document cease to exist until I decompress it, or does it exist as a combination of the algorithm and the compressed data.

Comment Re: Great event! (Score 1) 420

It seems to me that if a computer contains an algorithm that allows it to display any referenced page of any referenced book then the computer could be said to contain that book.

This is basically just a semantic argument, however; what does it mean for a computer to contain something? By the standard you seem to propose a computer contains nothing except perhaps the boot loader algorithm and maybe the kernel executable. Everything else is generated by those algorithms. You'll never find your last email with a microscope looking inside the computer.

Alternatively, this is a metaphysical argument; what does it mean for something to exist in a computer?

Comment Re:Cars (Score 1) 496

I can't reproduce you're numbers at all from the links you gave.

For 2013, I see a total of 4,991,993 Million passenger miles of which 4,306,717 Million miles are categorized as highway, leaving 685,276 for All Other. Almost all of the Other category is Air, so I split those out

There are 32719 Highway Fatalities with 429 Air Fatalities and 1361 Other Fatalities. Of those other fatalities 560 are recreational boating so I removed those:
  • Category --- Passenger Miles --- Fatalities --- Rate
  • Highway --- 4,306,717 --- 32719 --- 0.007597
  • Air --- 589,692 --- 429 --- 0.000727
  • Other --- 95,584 --- 801 --- 0.00838

So, on a passenger-mile basis, Other is slightly more dangerous than Highway. I don't know how you calculated your numbers, but this is what I came up with after a quick look. In particular that 76 multiplier doesn't seem reasonable at all.

PS. Sorry about the formatting, I couldn't get an html table to work.

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