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Comment Re:Rule of thumb: believe the man (Score 1) 295

> Any other adult? Or just one of the sex you tend to prefer to sleep with?

Should try going camping in the mountains in spring time and forget enough blankets. I lucked out and someone else couldn't find their tent (arrived late, someone else had set it up, kind of funny really) and bunked in mine.

Was not someone I would ever want to have sex with, but let me tell you we spent about 6 hours hanging on to eachother for what seemed like dear life. Seemed like every 20 minutes the night got colder.

Not sure it was a life threatening cold, but, it was certainly a much bigger concern than whether I would want to stick my dick in the only source of heat I had. Hell, I would have brought more people in if I could (or, you know... some more blankets; I would totally have replaced the heat source with like two blankets or a well insulated sleeping bag)

Comment Re:Wait... Who got that other half of the $$$ rais (Score 4, Informative) 29

I spent about fifteen years of my career in the non-profit sector, so I have some perspective on this.

Raising money in a non-profit is just like selling stuff is for a for-profit. Generating gross revenue is relatively easy -- if you spend a lot of money you can rake in a lot of dough. What's a bitch to generate is net profit. In the non-profit sector we don't use the term "profitability" very much, so the metric that's often used to describe financial is "cost to raise a dollar." For typical fundraising activities cost-to-raise-a-dollar runs from 0.25 to 1.5 dollars/dollar.

Take junk mail. The cost to raise a dollar for a well-run direct mail campaign is in the range of $1.25 to $1.50, so if I want to raise $115,000 to spend on other things I have to scale my direct mail campaign to bring inover $258,000 gross. As you can see I chose a net target that was exactly 1/1000 the size of the ALS bucket challenge net, so you can compare the efficiency of the processes readily. The cost to raise a dollar for the ALS bucket challenge is actually better than a well-run direct mail campaign -- $0.91.

And it should be more efficient than direct mail, because direct mail is about the least efficient method there is. The marginal costs are huge because you pay for the names and addresses as well as printing and mailing of each piece, and most of those pieces will end up in the landfill unopened. So if direct mail is so inefficient, why use it? Because the financial inefficiency doesn't matter to the organization doing the fundraising. The end result of my hypothetical direct mail campaign is that my organization has $115,000 it didn't have before. That probably pays for one and half full time staff positions (at the low do-gooder wages we pay) for a year.

So the ALS challenge was in the financial efficiency range of methods normally used by non-profits, albeit a little towards the inefficient end. That doesn't really tell us if the campaign was responsibly run or not; to know that you'd have to look at all the expenses and compare those to costs in other viral Internet fundraising campaigns. But the bottom line is that the ALS association ended up with $115 million it didn't have before.

Can you think of a way of raising $115 million in a few months? I thought not. So presuming the guys who ran the campaign didn't spend the money on hookers and blow, I wouldn't be unduly concerned by a cost-to-raise-a-dollar of $0.91 if I was on the board.

Should donors care that the ALS challenge was a little high on the cost-to-raise-a-dollar metric? Well, I look at it this way. People did it because it was fun and for a good cause, and two years later we can point to concrete and significant scientific results from the money raised. That's not only pretty good, it's pretty damned awesome.

Comment Re:anti-science environmentalists (Score 1) 173

Actually, it's thoroughly impossible to tell how the new standards work based upon by the linked articles, but it sounds like in plain language that Florida is using a computer model that could allow more flexibility in discharge permitting. This can lead to better results, whether your definition of better is "more rationally defensible" or "more in line with what my donors want." Determining which way it is better requires review by a competent expert. It might be both.

The real issue here is this phrase from TFA: "one of a kind." That's not so good.

It's important in managing environmental data to do things in the usual way. This is contrary to the way public thinks about new technologies. If there's a new iPhone, you expect it to be better in every way or at least as good. It's not like that with scientific methods; new techniques are proposed because they have certain advantages, obviously. But they always have one big disadvantage: their results are hard to compare with what you already know. You need to do a lot of work to justify doing things a new way, otherwise you can find yourself unable to compare what is happening now to what was happening before.

Fortunately Florida can't do this on its own; it has to get EPA approval. Since this is an administration that is generally favorable to environmental regulation, if they can get this past Obama's EPA that will help give these new methods more credibility.

Comment Re:Has Nintendo not heard of smartphones? (Score 1) 153

On an Android system they would be competing against millions of free games. That alone would reduce the acceptable price level for their games to close to zero, even if those games happen to be much better. How many parents will shell out 60 or 65 euro or dollar for a game when they can also say "see what's available on the download store for free", do you think?

The choice for cartridge confirms this. It not only helps protect against pirates but also adds perceived value - you are getting an actual, physical piece of hardware as well.

Comment Re:That's Interesting & Irrelevant (Score 1) 56

My picture was nice too, but they had system boards that shouldn't have made it through basic inspection, and of course the mechanical design was absurd. Since there was no provision for mounting the system boards in a conventional way I have to conclude that the sloppy construction at least was by design.

Now as for whether LeEco build quality will be better, worse, or the same, I have no opinion. I'm just reacting to the notion that Vizio makes a quality TV. In my experience it doesn't. Your experience doesn't negate that, because the tough thing isn't turning out quality units, it's turning them out consistently. That's why it's called quality "control" or "assurance".

Comment Re: Mall shooting in Germany (Score 1) 190

No, the NRA did not lobby to stop government research on gun violence.

According to the NYT, the NRA did lobby to stop government research on gun violence.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01...
N.R.A. Stymies Firearms Research, Scientists Say
By MICHAEL LUO
Published: January 25, 2011

The dearth of money can be traced in large measure to a clash between public health scientists and the N.R.A. in the mid-1990s. At the time, Dr. Rosenberg and others at the C.D.C. were becoming increasingly assertive about the importance of studying gun-related injuries and deaths as a public health phenomenon, financing studies that found, for example, having a gun in the house, rather than conferring protection, significantly increased the risk of homicide by a family member or intimate acquaintance.

Alarmed, the N.R.A. and its allies on Capitol Hill fought back. The injury center was guilty of âoeputting out papers that were really political opinion masquerading as medical science,â said Mr. Cox, who also worked on this issue for the N.R.A. more than a decade ago.
Initially, pro-gun lawmakers sought to eliminate the injury center completely, arguing that its work was âoeredundantâ and reflected a political agenda. When that failed, they turned to the appropriations process. In 1996, Representative Jay Dickey, Republican of Arkansas, succeeded in pushing through an amendment that stripped $2.6 million from the disease control centersâ(TM) budget, the very amount it had spent on firearms-related research the year before.

The research into gun violence is under the purview of the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The federal agencies keep statistics on actual crime rates and don't try to force conclusions based on an uber-liberal bias.

According to articles in Science and Nature, researchers in gun violence say that the statistics gathered by the Department of Justice and FBI https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-t... are worthless for epidemiological investigation into the important questions they want to answer.

For example, much of the statistical reporting is voluntary, which biases the result. And they don't give the identity of the victims or accused, or the reporting officer, as they do in auto accidents for example, so you can't take a sample of cases and track down the causes and associated factors, as that NEJM suicide study did.

When I used to research auto safety, I found many US and foreign studies of auto accidents which would give complete details on hundreds or thousands of accidents -- type of accident, damage to car, type of injury, vehicle speed, weather, cause(s) of accident, etc. From these studies they could figure out what was causing accident deaths and injuries and figure out how to prevent them. For example, they proved that seat belts saved lives, by about 50% or more, and 100% in certain kinds of accidents. Everybody was pretty sure that seat belts saved lives, but lobbyists from the US auto industry were denying it, and congress would't accept or require seat belts in US cars it until engineers published papers demonstrating it in 1967. The result was seat belt laws that saved about 25,000 lives a year. I also used to research medical device accidents, and the FDA had the same kind of reporting system.

In contrast, you can't use the DOJ and FBI statistics for that kind of analysis. Why do people kill each other? How many of those guns were legally bought and how many of them were illegally obtained? Where did they get the illegal guns from? You can't tell from that data.

Comment Re:RIP (Score 4, Informative) 56

Errr... the build quality for Vizio TVs is dreadful. I had one fail twice in the warranty period and then of course immediately after the warranty expired.

Opening the thing up the mainboard of the device was fastened to the backlight panel chassis with packing tape. I'd never seen such shoddy construction, not to mention the very poor quality of the boards themselves.

In general I think the idea of "smart tvs" is bad for the consumer economically. On top of that selling our viewing habits a profit center for Vizio on their already crappy throw-away TVs. And to add insult to injury, the UI for most smart TVS is just terrible. I replaced the Vizio with a Samsung, not because I wanted another smart tv, but because it was cheap. Not only was the search function hopelessly broken, the damn thing interrupted stuff I was watching on Netflix or Amazon with service change bulletins for Samsung services I neither subscribed to nor used. How could any UI designers be so damned stupid.

But you almost can't get a smallish HD TV that's not "smart". I ended up with a Hitachi "Roku TV" which is just a plain old TV with a Roku stick stuck in one the HDMIs. I'm much happier with Roku's UI and service, but if I wanted to I could just pop the Roku stick out and have a plain old TV.

Comment Re:Innovation in cars (Score 1) 137

Traction motors in Tesla cars still have reliability issues - designing a compact motor capable of dynamic loads is NOT trivial. And even then Tesla motors tend to overheat if you use them hard enough for 10-15 minutes - you get a "Thermal throttling" message and lose a significant amount of power as a result. This is not a problem for regular Teslas unless you drive them on a racetrack, but it will become a problem for larger vehicles.

Then there is a question of cooling. Tesla uses a rather simplistic propylene glycol coolant loop that is cooled by the air conditioner or heated by a specialized heater. Direct evaporative cooling and in-battery heaters would allow to save quite a bit of complexity.

Really, Tesla is the first serious EV maker and there are STILL tons of areas for major improvements. It's not comparable to classic internal combustion engines that we've been fine-tuning for the last 100 years by hundreds of different companies.

Comment Re:They did the same thing for dual booting Linux (Score 1) 402

I still dual boot -- but I almost never use Windows, which is kind of the point. I don't use it enough to justify paying for a virtualization compatible license, and it's just a static waste of resources to boot in Windows to run Linux under a VM.

I suppose one solution for those instances where you have to boot Windows yet also access stuff in your Linux partition is to use raw partition access in a virtual machine and serve the data over a virtual network server. I know it's possible but it's been so many years since I've had to do it I couldn't comment on how other than to say read the virtualization platform documentation.

Comment Re:Complete overreaction, TSA style (Score 1) 168

> "The authorities" instead cry wolf.

Nah, I doubt its really them. More likely scenario is this is a solution looking for a problem and a government contract.

As a bonus, once they have tested it on wildfires, it can be used to suppress information gathering by non-approved entities elsewhere.

This is a sales pitch to despots everywhere.

"Your news organizations will buy commercial drones, with this, you can direct them away from whatever atrocity you want to hide"

Much like the sales of tools for mass surveillance are selling like hotcakes to despotic "allies" around the world, so will this. Sure, it wont stop a dedicated hobbiest who ignores it....but lets be honest.... most news orgs will buy off the shelf and compliant.

  They will be most easily controlled around the globe if this sees widespread adoption.

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