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The Perfect Way To Slice a Pizza 282

iamapizza writes "New Scientist reports on the quest of two math boffins for the perfect way to slice a pizza. It's an interesting and in-depth article; 'The problem that bothered them was this. Suppose the harried waiter cuts the pizza off-center, but with all the edge-to-edge cuts crossing at a single point, and with the same angle between adjacent cuts. The off-center cuts mean the slices will not all be the same size, so if two people take turns to take neighboring slices, will they get equal shares by the time they have gone right round the pizza — and if not, who will get more?' This is useful, of course, if you're familiar with the concept of 'sharing' a pizza."

Comment Re:Go digital (Score 1) 633

Lots of redundant copies that the family moves from system to system over time will probably give you the best chance of recovery. You can maintain the time capsule effect by password protecting that zip file and putting the password in the time capsule (engraved on something) along with the other standard time-capsule type stuff. She'll have that file kicking around on her computer for years, driving her nuts while she waits to get the password. I like it.

Comment Re:This is a common stack in wifi APs (Score 2, Interesting) 225

I couldn't agree more. After a long history of sketchy routers that I had to reboot every other day, I bought the WRT54GL just so I could put third-party firmware on it. The rave reviews led me to Tomato. Simple to set up, great interface, lots of cool stats and graphs, and -- most importantly -- my up time is now determined by power outages.

Comment Re:Prediction (Score 1) 403

Due to significant gerrymandering, my representatives have never represented me. I would find it to be a significant improvement if I could choose one of the other representatives to represent me, and have his vote count that much more. If representatives represented actual people rather than the average person in their district, they might start acting right. If your representative doesn't vote the way you want, you have 434 others to choose from. Of course, Ron Paul's vote would end up being 20 times more powerful than most others, but it's a start.

Comment Re:If you aren't doing anything wrong, (Score 1) 325

Only the government can violate the 4th amendment, if the RIAA was doing it directly, it would be called theft.

The RIAA accuses many innocent people of copyright infringement, and then because of civil forfeiture laws, the government confiscates their computers.

- The RIAA attempts to stop file sharing.
- Innocent people have their rights violated.

There is a cause and effect relationship.

The implication is that if the RIAA gave up the fight (maybe because of private file sharing!) then these rights violations would cease.

I'm not disingenuous. Increased privacy is important to keep government out of private life. If they don't know what I'm doing, it can't be mistaken for something illegal, with my person or property locked up until it's all sorted out. Read up on civil forfeiture; it happens all the time.

Comment Re:If you aren't doing anything wrong, (Score 1) 325

I didn't say the RIAA was violating the 4th amendment, but it is because of their influence ($) that the government agencies act on supposed probable cause that couldn't exist if privacy were guaranteed. Call it enforcement of civil forfeiture laws or whatever you want--innocent people have their computers seized and have to fight in court to get them back. That's not my idea of freedom.

I fully support the rights of the RIAA and despise criminal copyright violation, but if the only way they can find to fight it is to trample the rights of everyone else, then I personally don't find that to be acceptable. Your right to swing your fist--even at the guy who offended you--ends when you start punching the innocent.

You won't believe me, or care, but I own a publishing company with a couple young adult fiction titles in print.

Comment Re:If you aren't doing anything wrong, (Score 1) 325

Perhaps I am malicious, incompetent, lying, or a disgruntled criminal. It doesn't really matter. In any case I'm a relatively private person, and would generally like it to remain that way.

What you see as an "attempt to make it safer to violate other people's rights," I see as an attempt to keep other people from violating my rights.

Hundreds--maybe thousands--of innocent people have had their 4th amendment rights violated in the RIAA's attempts to stop file sharing. Many (who are innocent) settled out of court to avoid the costs of trial. If all file sharing is completely anonymous and private, these rights violations end.

Do some guilty people share files in a way that infringes copyrights? Sure. Should the rest of the country accept violations of their rights or privacy because of this? No way.

FWIW, I have never used torrents and I own the rights to several copyrighted works--freedom is more important and no one should ever give up any of it.

Comment Re:If you aren't doing anything wrong, (Score 1) 325

I would argue that the ability to share data in a hidden manner IS vital to freedom.

If I want any communicated private data to remain private--if for no other reason than I value my privacy and I don't want you looking at it--then the ability to share files (lots of data) anonymously is simply a byproduct of freedom.

There are plenty of valid reasons to hide the source of information or the information itself. Maybe it's embarrassing, proprietary, easily misinterpreted, or scandalous. Maybe it's boring. It doesn't really matter. The fact remains that I (and most people) value privacy and freedom.

I close the blinds at night not because what I'm doing in my house is wrong or shameful (or even private), it because it isn't anybody's business but mine. Making it illegal to close my blinds because law enforcement agencies might want to see what's going on is NOT OK with me.

Comment Re:If you aren't doing anything wrong, (Score 1) 325

There are plenty of reasons to hide what you're doing even if you know it isn't wrong. When you close the door to the bathroom, we call it privacy. When you plan a surprise party, we call it a secret. In both cases, you're hiding something that isn't wrong--and frankly, I appreciate you closing the door.

Maybe you did something stupid and want to warn others not to do it without having to let the whole world know you did such a dumb thing.

More importantly to a free society, exposing corruption in law enforcement agencies strikes me as a valid reason to want wide distribution and anonymity in a way that can't be monitored by those same agencies.

Comment Re:That's just a bit premature... (Score 1) 336

Frankly, if it's normal to the locals, then it probably isn't very newsworthy. American journalists are trained to make every story as sensational as possible. When has a TV news story ever lived up to the hype that made you sit and wait for it?

I would love to get news from my perspective, but that would involve a lot of de-sensationalizing. I can only imagine the time they must put in to make the most mundane statistics seem scandalous.

50% of children are below average! Details at 11.

Comment Re:I suppose I take a more pessimistic view (Score 1) 857

If people think the government is looking out for them, they tend to not look out for themselves. The government should put in place sound money and a solid body of contract law that enables people to look out for themselves, but should otherwise let people work out whatever banking deal suits them.

Deposit insurance is a fine option for those who want to pay the premiums, but even insurance companies can't guarantee full payment in the case of disaster.

The FDIC can only fully guarantee deposits because the gov't can print more money if necessary, but every time they print more fiat currency, the value of my money--and yours--decreases. Foisting this on the taxpayer means that the prudent and careful end up subsidizing those who seek rewards without risk.

Comment Re:sound money requires government power, though (Score 1) 857

A contract is exactly the point. Libertarians are all about making and enforcing contracts. If you contract with a bank to hold your money for you payable on demand, it should be available for you on demand. If you agree to leave it with them for a some period of time so they can lend it out at interest, no problem.

If you want to agree to an account where your deposits are payable on demand, but the bank says it might not be there, because they might lend it out--and you're willing to take that risk--no problem (and no one to complain to when you can't get your money). It's all about the contract.

Today, the Fed decides what those terms are going to be, and people just have to accept that the terms are ok. Fact is, they aren't ok.

Fractional reserve banking creates money that doesn't exist. If the whole banking system involved $100 that you deposited, then I borrowed $90 to pay you for some work, then you deposited that $90--you'd have $190 in the bank. If I default on my loan, how can you get your $190 out of the bank?

Multiply this situation by the money in our economy and it's obvious that the Fed and their attempts to manipulate the money supply have (at the very least) enabled our current banking crisis to happen.

I don't believe fractional-reserve banking should be outlawed, I simply don't believe that it should be the government-mandated way to do banking. Whatever agreement you make with your banker is ok with me.

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