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Comment Re:Obligatory XKCD (Score 4, Informative) 498

It's worth pointing out that XKCD's pretense that four random words are easy to memorize was based on them choosing four easy to memorize words. If I just have /usr/share/dict/words pull up random words for me, here's the first five passwords it comes up with:

It's a good thing that XKCD's Munro doesn't choose four random words from /usr/share/dict/words then, isn't it? The cartoon shows 11 bits of entropy associated with each word. That means a dictionary size of 2^11: about 2000 words. (In contrast, a typical /words file might have a hundred thousand entries. That's fifty-fold larger, so you get about 5.5 extra bits per word, but would indeed lead to the utterly useless output you've shown.)

The General Service List contains the top 2000ish most-often used words in the English language. I used the version compiled in 1995 and found here, mostly because it was the first version I could grab online. Pulling random words from the first 2000 entries, the four words I got (on my first three passes) were:
competition behave exact toward
experiment miserable there lord
spare page circle rabbit

Right out of the box, it's not what I would call a disaster, though a few of the words are a bit cumbersome, length-wise. (For reference, your /usr/share/dict/words selection only contains one word - "weave" - from the GSL.) If you started from, say, the top 5000 words, you could probably cut it down to a 2000-word list where every entry was non-obscure, had between 4 and 8 letters (the average word in the GSL has a length of 5.8 letters), avoided difficult-to-spell words, and eliminated similar-sounding words.

Comment Re:Interesting story (Score 4, Informative) 553

No commercial airline flight is 24 hours. There used to be a 19 hour one for a Singapore to New York flight but that's no longer in service.

The Mashable report quoted in the Slashdot summary uses a slightly different phrasing from the original LinkedIn report. The LinkedIn article actually says "after having spent 24 hours cramped in an economy seat on Qatar Airways".

Poking around a bit on Kayak, I see a bunch of Qatar Airways itineraries from Lagos, Nigeria (LOS) to JFK that involve three segments, with stops in Doha, Qatar (DOH) and western Europe (CDG, FCO, MAN, etc.). Total travel time is 27 or 28 hours, with nominal times in flight adding up to about 23 hours. Add an hour in a holding pattern somewhere (or queued up for takeoff on a taxiway, or waiting for a gate to open up), and the poor guy could easily have spent 24 hours in an economy-class seat on his way to JFK. Yeah, the phrasing's a bit sneaky since he would have had a couple of short "intermissions" to stretch his legs...but still, if we figure he arrived at LOS two hours before his flight, he would have been stuck in the international air transport system for better (worse?) than thirty hours all told.

Comment Re:Let's go even further! (Score 1) 181

No upper management. And no board. Now that is a scary thought. How would companies run without people in charge? We need someone there don't we?

Well, the Swedish approach was to look at the individual job responsibilities of the CEO, and determine if all of those functions could readily be absorbed by other people or bodies within the company (where they weren't already overlapping - and sometimes conflicting - anyway). So if you want to go ahead and do the systematic hard work, there's nothing that prevents you from figuring out which positions could (or should) be eliminated, with their responsibilities reallocated to other staff.

Of course, it's waaaaay easier to just go the observational humor route and declare "Hey, everything is so much better in the office when the boss is away, amiright? Let's get rid of 'em all!" So, kudos for that contribution.

More seriously, I see a couple of obvious gaps that you would need to fill, right off the top. For one, you need to develop some mechanism for larger-scale strategic direction. In the Swedish company discussed, that role was filled by the company's board of directors. For another, you need to have some sort of framework for handling civil and criminal liability issues when someone eventually screws up. Where does the buck stop, ethically and legally?

Comment Re:"persuadable voters" (Score 1) 85

I read the phrase "think that over" as meaning you disagree with the quoted text. However, your link does not contradicting that statement, unless you also believe Clinton employed less rhetoric during the campaign. Wikipedia defines rhetoric as "the art of discourse, wherein a writer or speaker strives to inform, persuade or motivate particular audiences in specific situations". Even if we use the less formal definition ("excessively flowery or emotional, often meaningless, speech") can you truly say Clinton employed fewer such devices?

I find such assertions ridiculous; the politician's primary job is to be persuasive, and the most effective tools to do so are the subtle, often trite, phrases which hook into their audience's existing biases. Someone arguing that a slogan, whether "Stronger Together" or MAGA, is not an attempt to persuade tells me more about their bias than it does the politician using it.

Comment Re:BS detector went off and is overheating (Score 1) 309

My question would be, just how high can you get before you miss a whole number?

Infinity (or whatever arbitrary limit of single-arity operations might be applied). I know it's considered gauche around here to read the source article, much less a video, but it gives the formula and process which allows any integer to be reached.

With "sqrt()" being the square root function:
The log base sqrt(4)/4 of [log base 4 of sqrt(4)] = 1.
The log base sqrt(4)/4 of [log base 4 of sqrt(sqrt(4))] = 2.
The log base sqrt(4)/4 of [log base 4 of sqrt(sqrt(sqrt(4)))] = 3.

The number of times the square root function has been applied in the inner logarithm, is the integer which results from the formula. Therefore, you can create any positive whole number with four fours (and an indefinite number of operations).

Comment Re:Free Motorcycles (Score 1) 295

Like I said, one can fiddle with the numbers to swing the accounting a fair bit in one direction or the other. As you've demonstrated, if one makes optimistic assumptions about the age of the donor and maximizes the number of recipients by assuming a strict one-organ-per recipient (include just one lung at a time, and no multiple-organ transplants--bear in mind that the vast majority of pancreas transplants are actually pancreas-kidney, for example) and 100% organ recovery and transplantation, one can choose to make the math give you the result you're looking for.

It's very sticky if you want to score tissues that aren't necessarily lifesaving or for which artificial or animal alternative sources exist. (It's ethically problematic to suggest, for example, that more dead motorcyclists are a good thing because it will improve the supply of cadaveric ACL replacements, especially given that many patients could instead receive an autograft of their own tissue.)

It doesn't help that you're neglecting the last and most important part of my comment acknowledging that a very substantial fraction of potential organs won't be converted into actual transplants: helmetless motorcyclists who die too far from care or too quickly for their organs to be recovered; ones who have communicable diseases, malignancies, or other medical conditions that exclude them from donation; and so forth. (Going forward, helmet laws will only be suspended if you're over 40, free of hepatitis and HIV infection, have recently been screened for cancer, and are biking in an area with excellent ambulance service within 1 hour of a major transplant center. Hmmm...) Each dead motorcyclist is only "worth" 60 years multiplied by the fraction of viable organ recoveries--which probably comes out to well under 50%.

Finally, we're using "accounting" in a couple of different ways, here. I was using it purely to refer to life-years saved or lost. If we actually want to look at dollars and cents, it gets really ugly really fast. In the United States, the total billable costs for a heart transplant (including 30 days of pre-operative screening and prep, organ procurement, the transplant operation itself, and the subsequent 6-month period of recovery and rehab) comes out to about a million bucks. A single lung or a liver transplant are both well over half a million apiece. Kidneys are well clear of the quarter million mark.

From a purely financial perspective, it's waaaaay less costly to just let the motorcyclist survive and the potential transplant recipients die in a few months or a year, rather than let them be brutally expensive surgeries with steep and ongoing maintenance costs. Amortizing that heart transplant over the likely life of the recipient (or the transplanted organ) runs a hundred grand plus per year. Oh, and don't forget the cost of care and rehab for all those brain-damaged motorcyclists who don't manage to actually die from their head injuries....

Comment Re:Free Motorcycles (Score 1) 295

I've said for years that helmet laws probably costs lives.

Maybe, but not necessarily. It depends a lot on your accounting. A 20-year-old dumbass male might expect to have around 60 years ahead of him, most of which will be time spent in good health.

His kidneys will probably last about 10 years in each of their recipients, so count 20 years "saved" total.

The median survival time for heart transplant recipients is also about 10 years.

Liver transplants tend to do particularly well; the median survival is closer to 20 years.

Lungs are a lot pickier; the median is closer to 5 years, but is steadily improving.

Add that all up, and we're just shy of breaking even (55 life-years for the recipients, versus 60 life-years lost by the motorcyclist). On can fiddle with the parameters to swing things a bit either way. In some cases, the liver can be split into two lobes; the larger right lobe goes to an adult and the smaller left lobe to a child recipient. Some recipients only need a single-lung transplant, so one pair of lungs can go to two recipients. And we're getting better at keeping transplanted organs functional for longer. And, of course, some dead motorcyclists are 40-year-olds having a mid-life crisis.

On the flip side, some recipients may need multiple organs (heart-lung, heart-liver, etc.).

More important, not all organs will be viable--not every helmet-less fatality leads to a full complement of usable donor organs. For reasons of underlying disease or quirks of the donor's physiology, it may not be possible to transplant some organs. The fatal motorcycle accident may damage some other organs beyond repair. The accident may even occur in a location or under circumstances where none of the organs can be recovered for donation. That is going to tip the scales a long way against the "benefit" of more brain-dead motorcyclists.

Frankly, we have more than enough cadavers now; what we need is for more of them to donate their organs. Presumed consent (an opt-out rather than opt-in) system would be far more effective than suspending helmet laws.

Comment Re:How Many Paid Oil/Gas Industry Trolls Post Here (Score 2) 284

Just move on from Slashdot.

I gave up on fighting against the astroturfers here a few years back... wasn't worth the effort and stress anymore. I can still get good discussion about topics that matter to me at reddit -- just need to stay away from some of the subreddits there.

Every once in a while I come check on Slashdot, and remember anew why I left. The place went to shit once the sockpuppet accounts got critical mass on mod points.

Comment Re:Dougla's Adams said it best (Score 1) 689

Plurality voting with single member districts leads to two party systems. It would require seriously amending the Constitution to change that.

Actually it wouldn't take amending the Constitution [which says nothing about requiring plurality or First-Past-the-Post voting], only changing Federal election laws, in order to completely break the plurality system.

First, there are two states (Maine and Nebraska) where the Electoral College vote can be split; increasing which states with this system would then magnify the value of 3rd-party efforts [as each such state greatly increases the odds of a minor candidate earning the one or two electoral vote(s) which might deadlock the EC, forcing the election to be determined by the House instead]. As seen by the fact this system already exists, this change could be implemented without requiring changes to the Constitution or federal election laws, only state laws.

Secondly, change could be instituted within the House of Representatives by revising the laws on how members are elected: Federal law requires the current separate district methodology but we could move towards a state-level proportional representation system. This would grant easier third-party access to Congress and, while not directly contributing to Presidential aspirations, would elevate the visibility of those platforms and policies. Again, this change would not require a Constitutional amendment, but only altering existing Federal election laws.

Because FPTP/plurality voting sustains the current two-party system even in the face of such hatred the electorate shows for Clinton and Trump, saying these changes do not require amending the Constitution does seem to discount the resistance these changes would face... but I believe the unprecedented hatred for those two candidates and the extreme partisanship on display by their supporters together indicate the importance of making them.

Comment the equivalent of about 300 miles? (Score -1, Troll) 128

...a half-hour travel time between Stockholm and Helsinki, which is the equivalent of about 300 miles.

"The equivalent of about 300 miles"? What does that mean?

Oh, it means "about 300 miles". Or even "a distance of about 300 miles". Right. But this is a 'technical' topic, so we need to use more and bigger words. The best words.

Unless there's some sort of weird space-time physical equivalence principle the authors are alluding to, in which case a half hour is actually 300 miles long.

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