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Comment Re:Some Advice (Score 1) 287

I gave up on a game of Words with Friends when my random opponent showed himself to be clearly cheating. He played 'INSMST'. I've been completely unable to find evidence for this word's existence anywhere else in the world.

It also strengthened my conviction when I googled the rando's username and found that 70% of the first page of results was that username on lists of people who were banned from various gaming communities for cheating.

Comment Re:Not a new - or a particularly great - idea (Score 1) 353

If this weren't already +5 Insightful, I'd say "mod parent up".

The high pitched noise emitters were the worst idea ever. They were designed to keep teens from loitering in malls (and apparently called The Mosquito; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mosquito), but the pitch that they transmit at is perceptible by people up to 25.

When I was working in Chicago a couple of years ago, I had to cut through a park in the Loop, and then wait on the street next to that park for a bus, while commuting to work. That park had these high-pitch transmitters and, while not quite painful, they were really obnoxious to my ears. I certainly wasn't loitering in the park, and was a (mostly) productive citizen on my way to work, but because I was in my early 20s I could still hear this awfulness. (the only reference I could find to this emitter is at http://www.chicagonow.com/chicago-art-blog/2010/06/giant-eyeball-to-invade-chicago/)

The only nice thing about these high-pitch emitters is that teens eventually caught on and turned them against adults. My younger cousin once used me to test her ringtone, which transmitted at the Mosquito frequency and which she used in class so her teachers couldn't hear her phone when it went off.

Comment Re:Buzzer speed. (Score 1) 674

one of the critical tactics is hitting the buzzer before you "know" the answer, but when you believe that there is a good chance you'll get it during the few seconds you can take before you have to give it.

I don't know if Watson did this, but it was very evident that Ken Jennings did. At least three times during the first day, he rang in and said "I don't know... uh..." and then gave an answer (which was twice the correct one and once incorrect).

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 369

The problem with artificially good-tasting things isn't some sort of Spartan discipline thing, like you claim. Some people might say "The point of X is Y bad thing, so you should have enough self-control to avoid X, rather than reduce the amount of damage that Y causes", but the real issue is that artificially low-Y X-products mess up your body's perception of the relationship between X and Y.

See this article in Behavioral Neuroscience. The experimenters gave one group of rats glucose and another group saccharine. The rats who ate saccharine gained more weight. They suggest that eating foods which your body predicts have high calories, but that don't actually have high calories, messes up your regulation of energy and the storage of calories as fat. FTFAbstract:

These experiments were designed to test the hypothesis that experiences that reduce the validity of sweet taste as a predictor of the caloric or nutritive consequences of eating may contribute to deficits in the regulation of energy by reducing the ability of sweet-tasting foods that contain calories to evoke physiological responses that underlie tight regulation.

I also read somewhere (though I can't find the source) that eating things that taste high-calorie, but aren't, inhibits your natural association between sweetness and calorie content. So the next time you eat something with real sugar in it, your body is unable to recognize that this (unlike the Sweet 'N' Low you usually eat) will make you gain weight, and you eat more regular sugar than you would have if you always ate real sugar.

Comment Re:that explains my dreams. (Score 1) 308

The same thing happened to me, but they were always nightmares. If I had a programming assignment due that I hadn't finished, I would dream all night about trying to get it working. Then in the morning I would ignore my alarm because I thought if I could just sleep for a few more minutes I would get it to compile before class.

Comment Re:So you think its really that easy? (Score 1) 199

I've said before that it's easier closing a bank account than a Myspace account.

Closing my bank account involved walking in with my account book and walking out with cash. It took about five minutes.

Closing my Myspace account required three separate Are You Sure You Want To Do This pages before it let me go. Then three months later a friend told me she had added me on Myspace but I never responded. It turns out the account never closed. It just stopped sending me email notifications.

I'm still not sure if it's gone...

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