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Comment Easily answered (Score 1) 404

"the MPS employed 31,460 police officers, 2,510 Special Constables, 14,085 police staff, and 4,247 Police Community Support Officers." - Wikipedia
All of these people captured 261 of the 269 robberies. Do some ratios, and you'll find 8000 cameras captured 8 crimes, which gives efficiency of 1/1000. On the other hand, 52,302 officers captured 261 crimes, which gives efficiency of 261/52302 = 5/1000. This doesn't take into account everything because police still needed to look at CCTV footage.

What to take away from this? CCTV cameras are better... Even though their efficiency is lower, as long as they cost less than (salary/5), they are a good deal. 5 CCTV cameras are as effective in capturing robbery as 1 police officer.

Also, I was confused by, "A spokesman for the Met said: "We estimate more than 70% of murder investigations have been solved with the help of CCTV retrievals and most serious crime investigations have a CCTV investigation strategy.""
Also, adding one police officer is sort of laughable :).

Comment Essentially the same as now (Score 2, Insightful) 453

Right now, the bureaucratic layer is the almost instantaneous reverts that people make to new changes. It just reorders where the instantaneous reverts occur. This reminds me of the Columbia disaster. Because of the high-publicity launch, the NASA management told the engineers that if they cannot prove the Columbia takeoff would be not safe, the takeoff would happen. This is as opposed to the NASA management telling engineers that if they cannot prove the Columbia takeoff would be safe, the takeoff would not happen. Instead of A->B, they wanted ~A->~B.

Comment Can Ellipses? (Score 1) 432

I don't think the finite amount of information makes much sense. If you take a 2 meter long string and make a circle of it, the non-straight circle has a circumference of 2 meters. Well, I was wondering if ellipses can have integer major and minor axes while still having good circumference, but according to Wikipedia, they don't have a way of finding the circumference of an ellipse without going into calculus. Scary! They seemed so well defined.

Comment Class Balance is not always important (Score 1) 209

In good complex games, class balance is not important because there are many objectives in the game. 1v1 PvP is not a good measure of class balance. Even if an Archer can kill a Swordsman at far distance, it does not make the Archer better because a Swordsman can kill the Archer at short range. The Archers are good at long-range fighting while the Swordsman is good at short range fighting. A better example is an Archer vs. a Medic. The Archer will always win, but people will still want to play the Medic because Medics are needed in teams.

It is only in simple games, where the objective is only to kill the other players, that class balance becomes very important. If Zerg always beats Terran early-game, then it is pointless to play ZvT games. There are many degrees of freedom that determines the strength of a race: cost per unit, unit speed, size of unit, attack strength, hit points, special abilities... When these are pitted against one another on the simple [new HP] = [current HP] - [attacker's attack] algorithm, not one class should have a solid advantage.

It is only in large 3v3 or 4v4 Starcraft games that other objectives materialize. If Terran always loses to Zerg early game, then the Terran's Zerg allies can protect the Terran in early game. The Zerg can therefore play the objective of early defender, as opposed to just killer of opponents. In 1v1 games, this is not possible to do.

Also, it is bad when players can only play with one class. Chess has this: black pieces move the same as the corresponding white pieces. An alternative would be where all the black pieces move like pawns and all the white pieces move like bishops. The patient player who wishes to squeeze the opponent to death would want to play the black pieces while the aggressive player would want to play with the bishops. This customization is good because the game would be more personalized for the players. Chess does offer this in the form of aggressive and passive opening positions, but not in the form of pieces. The pieces are orderly enough in the meager 64 squares and one-move step-by-step play that positions can be highly customized, while the units in Starcraft can only pull off positions such as flanks, surprise attacks, etc.

So in summary, in good complex games like World of Warcraft, class balance is not important because there are many objectives such as healing teammates and making weapons that can make the "weaker" classes fun to play. Class balance in games like Chess and Starcraft is important because there is not enough degrees of freedom to offer objectives other than kill Enemies.

Comment Not that bad (Score 1) 257

There must have been a pressing medical reason for removing the spleen. Weighed against the lack of a standing army, undergoing splenectomies may still be a good idea. What would be more interesting is if those optional surgeries such as breast implants and plastic surgery happen to hurt the patients.

Comment Complexity (Score 2, Interesting) 257

Our bodies are far more complex than a broad view of the universe. There are many interconnecting processes that all work together to use energy from our environment. The universe, ignoring the living things,can be described with far fewer vocabulary words than biology. While our bodies have a lower score on size than the universe, our bodies have a higher score on complexity, and it is complexity that makes a subject difficult. Once the GUT is found and fully understood, physics should be nothing but a small set of axioms. Biology is shaped through many many years of random events and chance encounters that cannot be quantified except with a vocabulary word.

Comment Natural Selection (Score 1) 299

You might not be wrong. If Jupiter wasn't there, a comet may have hit earth and broke it before we came to it. It's like natural selection. The earths out there, that don't have their Jupiter sweeping the trash, might not have the chance to have us humans, that think that Jupiter sweeps the trash. If this is the case, then Jupiter does indeed have a role of sweeping trash, or it would not be recognized. Not as stable, but still interesting.

Comment Light bulbs and batteries (Score 3, Insightful) 364

Both items are familiar to the students, so they can be tricked into learning something new. Have them connect light bulbs in series, then in parallel, to see how the brightness changes. Add batteries in series. Add batteries in parallel. Once they are familiar, have them connect ammeters and voltmeters for numerical interpretation. This would give them a solid intuitive feel for how circuits work.

I would not teach them anything about transistors and capacitors until later, because that would require too many advanced concepts. Make sure the students do not feel overwhelmed by the material. If the students feel confident about what they are doing, ie. it makes sense that adding in more batteries makes it brighter, then they will be inquisitive to learn more, and confident enough to set out on their own.

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