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17 Nov 2009 - 27 Nov 2020
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Thursday March 3rd 2011
willstewart's comments
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Mar 2nd 2011 2:53 GMT
FWIW I believe that whilst the EU ruling on bananas is apocryphal the corresponding one for straight cucumbers (even if sliced) was at one time correct.
Mar 2nd 2011 1:31 GMT
@New Conservative & steven314
You do appear to be right! Some Helium is extracted from air as a by-product but most is indeed from natural gas.
'discreet' I think - unless there is some clever word-play!
Mar 2nd 2011 12:52 GMT
I just wonder how you missed the Shaun-the-sheep joke in an animated movie? Did you read the script or is there a Southern US dubbed version?!
Mar 2nd 2011 11:57 GMT
Can I make the general point, since this blog is about charts, that a single line distorts one's view?
It seems to me that taking out only 6-8 selected points would remove the 'dependence' entirely. This is not to say that it is not real; the issue is that drawing on the line makes it look much more real to the eye than it actually is.
Perhaps the best short-term solution would be to draw a thick band representing both the line and its standard deviation. One might also publish the number of removed 'outliers' that would make the line horizontal!
Mar 2nd 2011 11:03 GMT
It is not clear that brute-force approaches are very significant at an individual level. So bampbs is right - choose something not too obvious and use multiple passwords (with a secure password-protected electronic backup). An amazing number of people choose 'password' or '123456'. Under NO circumstances write it down anywhere! ESPECIALLY not in your wallet!
IT managers could help by not insisting on changing passwords frequently. This has little security value and makes the writing-down problem worse (but it does shift the blame from the IT manager to the user!).
Mar 2nd 2011 8:14 GMT
Just a boring fact - Helium is all extracted from the air, where it is because it is an unreactive gas. Atmospheric mixing thus means that it is not possible for anyone to 'run out'. Waste Helium is released back to the atmosphere, from which it is extracted with other useful gases (such as Liquid Nitrogen & Oxygen).
Mar 1st 2011 5:46 GMT
Indeed the nuclear scales are similar - but I doubt that the alchemists knew that! And this does not necessarily make conversion any easier (slamming together two nuclear 'halves' might be simpler).
FTR the creation of all elements heavier (nuclear) than Iron is hard because the reaction absorbs rather than releases energy. So all such elements (which are relatively rare) were created in supernovae explosions in a second or two (each!). Insofar as we all need small amounts of these elements life was enabled by vast stellar explosions.
Dense urban environments are also more energetically efficient - so we should be expanding the dense urban core. Your model does not show this but might be adapted to do so.
Mar 1st 2011 3:40 GMT
The West will have enabled the Arab awakening to a significant extent by:-
1 - existing; showing what free countries look like
2 - providing the technology to enable Egyptians to see (1)
Mar 1st 2011 1:26 GMT
The role of the armies seems crucial. So Iran is interesting; there is an army which seems military, but also the 'revolutionary guard' which seems corrupt and directed against opposition in the manner of a secret police. So is the Iranian army strong enough and popular enough to contain the RG?
Mar 1st 2011 1:11 GMT
If he cannot prove they are guilty how does he 'know' it? If he just suspects it they should be freed - I am sure there are very many unsavoury characters free in all countries but we cannot just lock them up.
It is interesting that the UK case is different; there really are known terrorists in the UK against whom good evidence exists who cannot be convicted. But this is because the government bans the use of wiretap evidence. This has an Italianate feel and is rather unworthy for the UK.
Mar 1st 2011 11:45 GMT
Most people, including judges it seems, cannot tell the difference between insurance and social security. There are other egregious examples - for instance all householders in the UK, even those for whom the flood risk is essentially zero, pay similar rates for flood insurance. This supports those for whom flooding is a major problem. Well intentioned perhaps (it reduces taxpayer support anyway), but it has tended to encourage the building of houses in flood plains where the risk is greater.... And insurers are then liable to react by denying cover altogether.
But you might note a recent medical study that finds that most of the observed difference in longevity between men and women is explained by alcohol and tobacco, with much of the rest being 'other environmental factors'. So it may be about to disappear anyway!
Feb 28th 2011 3:21 GMT
There is also the issue of timescales. A teacher cannot easily switch to hedge fund management or vice versa but a new graduate could go either path. In practice good graduates have tended to head for finance with the effect that we cannot, perhaps at any price, hire enough good teachers. Sure if we have low enough standards we can hire someone, but this is hardly 'filling the job'. If we were to insist that secondary maths or science teachers had to have at least a IIb degree in maths or science, and primary teachers at least a degree in something we would pretty soon find ourselves having to pay much more.
Of course one might try to assess salary on the basis of long-term benefit to the economy - which might be interesting, but too slow to apply generally.
Feb 28th 2011 12:19 GMT
Good for Lexington.
It is strange that for many people adjusting the facts to suit their world view is a higher priority than adjusting the world view to accord with the facts. If you see the West as an evil, exploitative conspiracy (a view often held by public sector workers who live off taxes!) everything that happens reinforces this view. But the same is true if you are a tea-partier. Empirical science was historically remarkably slow to establish - in politics it still is.
Will the perception that Boeing needs to cheat to win damage its performance elsewhere?
Feb 25th 2011 10:27 GMT
Minor notes:-
- why Lead (or Mercury)? Certainly Lead is heavyish, but only about half as heavy as Gold - those Gold-coated Lead bars only fool people in Movies!
- why was alchemy less high-table-acceptable than theology? (a fanciful pursuit if ever there was one).
- the different reaction today is nicely illustrated by the current response to quantum computing. This may be hardly more likely to be truly effective than alchemy's gold creation (which can be done of course - just not by chemistry, and not economically), and would if successful indeed 'debase the currency' in that it would destroy public key encryption. This would disenable much of finance and is about as close to 'debasing money' as one can get in the digital age. But the reaction is not to suppress it but to fund it - probably over-generously! I suppose this is progress!
The public trusts regulators because they see them as democratically answerable (a bit naive perhaps). The public has been taught by various branches of the press and media not to trust 'markets' as these are portrayed as strange monsters under the control of unaccountable financiers who pay themselves vast salaries to lose the public's money.
Feb 24th 2011 7:31 GMT
As a non-US observer the GOP looks increasingly depressing. Nakedly political moves are one thing but it had always seemed that appealing to the voters, as opposed to the faithful tea-partiers, needed some sense.
And with the comments elsewhere suggesting that Democrat politicians are wealthier and better-educated we seem to have a curious inversion - the GOP represents not the traditional rich but poor angry people with sub-normal IQs. Does this mean they will soon start to favour more benefits?
As a pedantic IT point - presumably you could draft the blog on any text processor and copy-and-paste until the software catches up? I note that our comments are spell-checked (or maybe that is my browser?).
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