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Comment Re:Europe knows what's going on (Score 4, Insightful) 96

Yet in many EU countries it is illegal to walk down the street if you shield your face from public view.

As an American, I think holding the EU up as a model for personal freedom is ridiculous.

Well, don't know about personal freedom (although having lived both in the US and Europe, I feet more free in Europe), but on the internet privacy topic there are good things coming from the EU. Not taking those good things as a model would be kind of stupid... Just like judging the whole topic of personal freedom on a single law is kind of stupid.

Comment Re:Meh (Score 3, Interesting) 1052

Well the ASUS tranfromer Pad Infinity (on which I type this) has a 1920x1200 resolution. To be honest it is quite simply a brilliant tablet. For my use of it: with the dock, two SD slots (microSD on the tablet itself + SD on the dock), its USB port, Androids capability of using a mouse and citrix receiver it actually becomes a fully functional solution for working away from the office. I really wasn't expecting it but quite a few iPad owners were actually envious when I showed them what this device was capable and almost all of my colleagues which haven't yet bought a tablet are favoring the infinity over the iPad.

The infinity + dock + citrix combination really is simply awesome for business travellers and in my case vastly superior to the iPad.

Comment Re:Inexperienced drivers are inexperienced (Score 5, Interesting) 217

Do you feel any different about your friend's death knowing dude was texting or trying to eat a fast food burger? We are being extremely heavily propagandized that death from texting is horrifically worse than death by burger/cd/radio/8 track/plain ole daydreaming/being lost/reading a old fashioned paper map/reading a GPS map.

Distractions of any kind increase the risk of having an accident. Texting while driving is a relatively new phenomenon and many people are not yet conscious of how much it increases the odds of having an accident. It's not propaganda to point that out.

My work is directly related to accidents (I do statistical modelling of extreme events in reinsurance) and believe me that when you have to study "dumb" accidents caused by reckless driving, texting, alcohol or simply excessive speed (1) you fully understand the motives behind what you call "propaganda". People, often kids or young adults which are hit by death, vegetative states, para- or tetraplegia, amputated limbs, ... these are the consequences of accidents and they happen every day. Believe me that when you are exposed to those horrors on a daily basis you see things a little differently. And I have a relative distance between myself and the victims, I can only hardly imagine having to go to the scene of the accident or having to judge such cases all day.

Those campaigns may be shocking or seen as demagogy, but they merely translate a reality which fortunately most people don't have to be confronted to every day. Its not propaganda, its reality.

(1) Excessive speed relative to the traffic increases the odds of an accident exponentially and there is also an exponential relationship between speed and the consequences of the accident; reason why the combined distribution is often Pareto-like.

Comment Re:The silver lining (Score 1) 605

I think its probably more accurate to say that neither of you have enough data to prove what you're saying.

You've both given your opinion on the topic, but with no statistical evidence, neither of you have the ability to prove what you're saying.

I actually do statistical modelling of car accidents for a living (Reinsurance Industry)... It's been proven times and times again that excessive speeds where one of the major causes of car accidents (along with alcohol, drugs legal or not, tiredness, ...) and proportionally even more so in casualties. Just Google (Scholar if you want more detailed studies) causes of car accidents... Unfortunately there are many car accidents statistics available for you to look around.

Sorry if I am a bit crude but I study cases of children who suffer tetraplegia or severe head traumas all day long and believe me that when you do comments like driving fast (and implicitly faster than speed limits) decreases the risk of accident, suddenly seem quite idiotic.

Comment Re:The silver lining (Score 1) 605

Please explain what's idiotic about claiming that Driving 75 MPH while watching the road the distance ahead that you'd need to stop is safer than driving 60 MPH while watching your kids in the back seat, while talking on your cell phone.

No, what I'm saying is that driving concentrated at 60 MPH is less dangerous than driving concentrated at 75 MPH. Of course driving 50 while completely drunk without a seat-belt and ignoring traffic lights is less dangerous than driving completely concentrated at 75 on a German highway with no one around... but that comparison is idiotic.

If everyone drove at the speed limits, all other things remaining equal, there would be less deaths on the roads.

Comment Re:The silver lining (Score 2) 605

I'd put heavy cash down on the outcome being you're a fucking idiot.

Oh, yeah, that is frigging insightful. +4 already. 'Cause there is nothing more insightful than calling someone else an idiot.

Still, I am going to resist the temptation to take this route and instead say that I do not have enough data on GP's statement. It is unlikely but conceivable that speeding drivers are reasonably safe on average (or at least a lesser risk than may others, non-speeding, drivers). People who insist on driving at 60 miles/hour max in the left lane when everyone else goes 75+ are likely causing quite a few accidents.

It is insightful because the original statement was simply stated... idiotic.

The faster you drive, the longest the breaking distance (a function of the square of the velocity), the less time you have to react, the more momentum your car has and the less time other drivers have to react to your attitude. For any given driver, driving faster is more dangerous.

The original message is idiotic in the sense that it completely ignores the fact that you're simply not alone on the road and that generally drivers overestimate their capabilities (and the capabilities of their cars).

Comment Re:Nothing like a beating to make a believer. (Score 1) 907

The posting was made on a Facebook Page titled Ateis Minang (Minang Atheist), which Aan created. At the time of writing, it had over 1,700 Likes. Aanâ(TM)s posting has been removed, but supporters on the Page are urging police to release him.

What if those 17,000 likes transforms into a few thousands?

Worth a shot I believe.

Comment Re:Headline misleading (Score 1) 437

to simply go after cheaters is putting a band-aid over the real problem.

I disagree. Some portion of students will cheat as long as (in theory):

[benefit of higher grade] - [cost of honestly achieving higher grade] > {[benefit of cheating] - [cost of cheating]} * [ risk of getting caught cheating] * [value of punishment for cheating].

The real problem is that people are lazy and want to get the best return for the smallest investment. This cannot be fixed, it is human nature.

So we tip the equation in favor of not cheating, by either/and

1. Making the punishment so extreme (expulsion) that even if the risk of getting caught is low, cheating is not a good idea. The problem with this approach is that as the risks of getting caught decrease, people dismiss the risk as zero. This is a known problem with how humans interpret probability and risk dealing with VLNs and VSNs.
2. Increasing the chance of being caught. This is a problem because of the costs involved, as well as an "arms race" between proctors and students.

Note that the equation is also affected by the fact that cheating has become easier, and thus cheaper. There is also a factor for personal inhibitions against cheating, but I'm not sure how to fit it into the model.

PS. sorry for the messy formula.

Actually the model would be:

Cheating and not getting caught = CNGC
Cheating and getting caught = CGC

Expected[Utility CNGC] = (1- Probability[CGC])*[Utility CNGC] > Expected[Utility CGC] = [Probability CGC]*[Utility CGC]

where [Utility CNCG] = f([how much work was done]; [utility of higher grades]; [Utility of the act of cheating independently of its outcome])

Your model describes the decision of "planning to cheat", not cheating itself.

Comment Re:no thanks (Score 1) 454

2) giving a cut to some payment processor like PayPal? I'd rather use cash.

Cash is much more expensive than electronic money.

An example of this is the 50 euro bill here in Europe. In most ATMs, 50 euros is the biggest bill available. This means that the 50 euro bill is almost never used to give change back. Now think about the life cycle of a 50 euro bill.

First, it is printed, checked etc and sent guarded by big men with guns to banks, where they are put inside an ATM machine.
Then, a consumer takes it out a 50 euro bill in the ATM. He then goes to a shop and buys product A, gives the 50 euro bill, and receives change (which is of course smaller than 50 euros).
The 50 euro bill then stays in the cash register where it is accumulated with other 50 euro bills since no one pays with a bill higher than 50 euros, it can never be used as change.
After a long day of work, the shopkeeper then bring the bill back to the bank, where it is counted, bagged and sent back to the national bank guarded by big men with guns.
The national bank then checks that the bill is in good condition, bags it ans sent it back guarded by big men with guns to the bank where it is put in the ATM for the next consumer.

This whole process is hugely expensive.

So you may have the impression that you don't give a cut when using cash, but that's merely because the cost is subsidized elsewhere.

Comment Re:Corps sometimes help more than gov't (Score 1) 658

Not true. Wal-Mart and Home Depot did a better job than the gov't during Katrina. [..]

The real pioneers and leaders in Logistics are the Army... for the same reasons that Wall-Mart is better in logistics than FEMA was (is?). Incentives and experience. The hurricane Katrina was a once-in-a-career experience, where the Army and Wall-Mart are busy day-in day-out with logistics, of course Wall-Mart will be better.

This has absolutely nothing to do with being governmental or not.

Comment Re:Statistical analysis of the summary (Score 1) 572

Let's see, we have one guy complaining about how none of his programmer coworkers understand statistics, and we have X coworkers who undoubtedly disagree with him. Since we do not know him or any of his colleagues to any meaningful degree, we have to assign equal weight to each of their opinions. Statistics then tells us there is a 1/(X+1) chance of his being right, and an X/(X+1) chance of their being right. We can assume that X >= 2 based on his ranting, therefore resulting in the odds favoring them by at least 2/3, and probably much more. Therefore it is only rational to assume they are correct.

Euh no... The Variable (Zed being right or not) is not stochastic. The "probability" of him being right is either 1 or 0.


Whatever Happened To Second Life? 209

Barence writes "It's desolate, dirty, and sex is outcast to a separate island. In this article, PC Pro's Barry Collins returns to Second Life to find out what went wrong, and why it's raking in more cash than ever before. It's a follow-up to a feature written three years ago, in which Collins spent a week living inside Second Life to see what the huge fuss at the time was all about. The difference three years can make is eye-opening."

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