Search found 136 matches

by cspirou
Fri Jan 02, 2009 9:15 pm UTC
Forum: Hardware
Topic: Trying to decide between a PC and a Mac
Replies: 76
Views: 7177

Re: Trying to decide between a PC and a Mac

While making hardware comparisons you can't just look at basic specs. Durability is also important. Mac laptops are pretty solid and the hardware will last you awhile. So even though you may pay less for the same specs on other laptops it doesn't mean you are getting the same thing. You could think ...
by cspirou
Wed Dec 24, 2008 2:12 am UTC
Forum: The Help Desk
Topic: xp, SATA and limited resources
Replies: 9
Views: 881

Re: xp, SATA and limited resources

Well I can't really set the cd-rom as a floppy if the xp install disk is already in it. I did get the use of another computer and I put the drivers on a usb key. Does this give me any options or am I still screwed? As an aside I'm in a foreign country where access to other stuff is limited. If I was...
by cspirou
Tue Dec 23, 2008 2:08 pm UTC
Forum: The Help Desk
Topic: xp, SATA and limited resources
Replies: 9
Views: 881

xp, SATA and limited resources

So I got a puzzler. The hard drive on the computer I'm using crapped out. When I went to the store they only had SATA drives except for a ridiculously huge IDE drive. I decided to get a SATA drive and a PCI-SATA card. The problem is that I want the SATA to be my main drive and the drivers came on a ...
by cspirou
Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:04 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 0520: "Cuttlefish"
Replies: 202
Views: 36800

Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

we physicists have you beaten we will sling you around a GIANT cylinder at nine-tenths the speed of light while we sit in the center you all age as we remain relatively young BWUAHAHAHAH Ummm shouldn't it be the other way? In the twin paradox it is the twin that travels away at high speed that ages...
by cspirou
Mon Dec 22, 2008 9:59 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 0520: "Cuttlefish"
Replies: 202
Views: 36800

Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

As someone studying biophysics I don't know how to feel about this comic.
by cspirou
Mon Nov 24, 2008 6:37 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Random - Does it really exist?
Replies: 48
Views: 5165

Re: Random - Does it really exist?

Question 4 in this link seems to be relevant to this discussion.

4 philosophical questions to make your brain hurt
by cspirou
Thu Nov 20, 2008 3:48 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Standard units in America?
Replies: 136
Views: 11720

Re: Standard units in America?

Which is bigger between 5/16 and 7/18? That's a bad example, because I doubt you'll ever see something measured as 7/18 of some USCS unit. Better would be to point out that which is the bigger of 5/16" and 3/8" isn't immediately obvious to most people. (And that is a judgment people have ...
by cspirou
Wed Nov 19, 2008 5:36 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Standard units in America?
Replies: 136
Views: 11720

Re: Standard units in America?

This is the first time I've seen a defense of standard units because they're in fractional form. I would rather think the opposite. First of all it's not immediately obvious. Which is bigger between 5/16 and 7/18? I know I don't know unless I do a little work by either putting it in decimal form or ...
by cspirou
Wed Nov 19, 2008 4:18 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Standard units in America?
Replies: 136
Views: 11720

Re: Standard units in America?

The USA has the world's third largest population and its largest economy. The sheer amount of industry currently trucking along with USCS units is rather staggering, compared with most of the other countries that were so "sensible" and easily converted. Don't get me wrong, I like the metr...
by cspirou
Wed Nov 19, 2008 3:49 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Separation of Church and State
Replies: 149
Views: 10991

Re: Separation of Church and State

I know I am an adamant secularist and I would probably support stronger if I was religious. Why? Because you have to treat all the religions equally. As soon as you let Christian influence in government you also have to allow Muslim, Jewish, Satanic, Wicca, Taoism, Hindu, Pastafarian, etc. If you ca...
by cspirou
Mon Nov 17, 2008 8:17 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: US Health Insurance: Alternative Industry-Level Ideas
Replies: 123
Views: 17842

Re: Health Insurance in the USA

If that is your model, then what happens if something similar happens in the health industry? It might reduce inequality if the invention of new drugs slows to a trickle (the analogue of "oil production has fallen"), and surgery wait times explode... or corruption could kick in (in analog...
by cspirou
Mon Nov 17, 2008 7:37 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Purifying urine
Replies: 18
Views: 3274

Re: Purifying urine

If you think osmosis is wasteful then the alternative is not electrolysis which consumes a lot more energy. Besides, why do distillation to begin with? Why not just do electrolysis on the urine directly? In a space station, the electricity needed to split the distilled water would be reclaimed when...
by cspirou
Mon Nov 17, 2008 7:21 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: US Health Insurance: Alternative Industry-Level Ideas
Replies: 123
Views: 17842

Re: US Health Insurance: Alternative Industry-Level Ideas

You may be making a big assumption here. That additional funding for preventative medicine will drastically reduce hospital costs, and that it's a fact that insurance companies, with their thousands of trained actuarians, are completely oblivious to. Considering that a simple, 10 minute visit to th...
by cspirou
Sun Nov 16, 2008 9:01 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Purifying urine
Replies: 18
Views: 3274

Re: Purifying urine

A simple distillation would probably NOT be sufficient. The urea that is in urine is a volatile organic compound. Additionally, at elevated heat and concentrations in an aqueous solution, urea decomposes into ammonia and CO2. The ammonia will volatilize into the distillate. Not good to drink. Osmos...
by cspirou
Sun Nov 16, 2008 8:32 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: US Health Insurance: Alternative Industry-Level Ideas
Replies: 123
Views: 17842

Re: US Health Insurance: Alternative Industry-Level Ideas

@ddxxdd You miss the point though. I'm concentrating on the biggest part of that graph. The way to make healthcare cheaper is to keep people out of hospitals and emergency care and therefore put a bigger emphasis on preventative medicine. Right now prescription drugs are quite expensive so insurance...
by cspirou
Sun Nov 16, 2008 5:21 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Random - Does it really exist?
Replies: 48
Views: 5165

Re: Random - Does it really exist?

atmospheric decay is not truly random. It's better than a clock-based psudorandom generator, but it's still (theoretically) predeterminable. Radioactive decay is a harder question to address, because on some level it's tied to QM, about which there is some debate about whether it is predeterminable...
by cspirou
Sun Nov 16, 2008 4:59 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Random - Does it really exist?
Replies: 48
Views: 5165

Re: Random - Does it really exist?

Random number generator, eh? Pick me. Holly shit, that is just perfect. I mean...if human tells an random number...they just have to be random...or well...no. I mean...NO. If you would give me number 5, and i would travel back in time after minute you said that...youd still say number 5 if i behave...
by cspirou
Sun Nov 16, 2008 8:27 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: US Health Insurance: Alternative Industry-Level Ideas
Replies: 123
Views: 17842

Re: US Health Insurance: Alternative Industry-Level Ideas

http://www.citizen.org/documents/Pharma_Report.pdf

The report states that in 2002 drug companies had a average profit margin of 17% when the rest of the fortune 500 had an average of 3%.
by cspirou
Sun Nov 16, 2008 2:21 am UTC
Forum: News & Articles
Topic: Missile defence Shield
Replies: 19
Views: 2436

Re: Missile defence Shield

I thought I posted on here before but I don't see it. So I was either dreaming or someone deleted it without telling me. I don't think it matters whether or not the shield works. It's a huge pork barrel project for eastern Europe who's justification is based on fears and not reality. We're not going...
by cspirou
Sun Nov 16, 2008 2:04 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: US Health Insurance: Alternative Industry-Level Ideas
Replies: 123
Views: 17842

Re: US Health Insurance: Alternative Industry-Level Ideas

Except developing drugs is not like developing software. The drug trial system is ridiculously paranoid and expensive to go through, in which you attempt to prove beyond even a reasonable doubt that your drug doesn't cause harm, and that it generates a benefit. It is a +lot+ of money (because it is...
by cspirou
Sat Nov 15, 2008 6:08 pm UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Rock Paper Scissors
Replies: 36
Views: 3785

Re: Rock Paper Scissors

I don't think there's any mathematical advantageous strategy. However there should be plenty of psychological ones. Just imagine how different the game would be if it was "A,B,C" instead of "Rock,Paper,Scissors". ABC doesn't encourage a favoritism or bias towards anything but &qu...
by cspirou
Sat Nov 15, 2008 5:58 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Random - Does it really exist?
Replies: 48
Views: 5165

Re: Random - Does it really exist?

At one point no one thought things were random and that our universe was deterministic because it all seemed to be described by equations. So the only things that seemed random were only because the system had too many variables to deal with and then resorted to statistical models. Likely doogly say...
by cspirou
Sat Nov 15, 2008 5:43 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: US Health Insurance: Alternative Industry-Level Ideas
Replies: 123
Views: 17842

Re: US Health Insurance: Alternative Industry-Level Ideas

If this is about alternatives modes of profit for the insurance industry then I have one I've been thinking of. For one I think the open source model should be widespread. IBM pays people to develop Linux because IBM is a company that makes servers and supercomputers, not software. So it's in their ...
by cspirou
Sat Nov 15, 2008 8:25 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Purifying urine
Replies: 18
Views: 3274

Purifying urine

So there's a device on the space station that's suppose to extract drinking water from urine. This got me thinking about what how I would do this.

So my basic idea is to distill urine. Is this good enough or would there still be some bad stuff I need to take care of?
by cspirou
Sat Nov 15, 2008 8:17 am UTC
Forum: News & Articles
Topic: Father 'murdered' by son, aged 8
Replies: 47
Views: 6117

Re: Father 'murdered' by son, aged 8

In my mind, this is a pretty big if. I guess we'll know soon enough, after a psychiatric evaluation, etc. But by the time I was 8 years old, I'm pretty sure I knew exactly what death was, how it came about and how it was a really bad idea to kill someone. Any 8 year old who did it not once, but twi...
by cspirou
Wed Nov 12, 2008 12:37 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Balancing a Bicycle
Replies: 42
Views: 19264

Re: Balancing a Bicycle

I don't believe gyroscopic effects contribute to balance unless you are moving quite fast. If gyroscopic effects truly explained balance then what about razor scooters? The wheels are much too small to contribute any sort of gyroscopic effect. If you are not moving and you lean to the side you fall....
by cspirou
Tue Nov 11, 2008 12:07 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Tipping people
Replies: 150
Views: 16918

Re: Tipping people

The salesman mentality is one that does not lead to better service. Consider that there are electronics and office stores that like to specifically mention that they do not pay their electronics associates on commission, because there's a perception that salesmen who work on commission don't see cu...
by cspirou
Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:49 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Tipping people
Replies: 150
Views: 16918

Re: Tipping people

I don't really understand why restaurant patrons would complain about tips. In every other situation in the world, if you get crappy customer service, you have to pay for it anyway; it's just included in the invoice. In a restaurant, if you didn't like the service, you can choose not to pay for it....
by cspirou
Mon Nov 10, 2008 5:41 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Why Are (Economic) Conservatives Still Relevant?
Replies: 75
Views: 6156

Re: Why Are (Economic) Conservatives Still Relevant?

If the price of gasoline drops to the point where it matters less, people will tend to view the value of increased efficiency as lower, and make the alternative decisions more. This has capital costs, as factories are not perfectly flexible in what they build -- they need to be retooled if they go ...
by cspirou
Mon Nov 10, 2008 4:11 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Tipping people
Replies: 150
Views: 16918

Re: Tipping people

But perhaps a better tangent to go off on... namely, a solution to the tipping problem (if indeed it is a problem... the fact that it's being discussed shows this isn't a given). Obviously, as has been mentioned in several places, a solution can't come from the customers... not tipping, in a cultur...
by cspirou
Mon Nov 10, 2008 3:44 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Why Are (Economic) Conservatives Still Relevant?
Replies: 75
Views: 6156

Re: Why Are (Economic) Conservatives Still Relevant?

The problem is that gas is just too inelastic of a good. The tax for externalties (road maintenance, etc) is necessary given the system we've established but if you increase that tax strictly as a deterrent, you're going to be deterring more economic action than just the sale of gasoline. If you ta...
by cspirou
Mon Nov 10, 2008 1:59 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: You might be a physics major if...
Replies: 540
Views: 62593

Re: You might be a physics major if...

Mitchell wrote:...If you actually have tried to figure out if 42 has something to do with the Theory of Everything.


Done.

http://seedmagazine.com/news/2006/03/pr ... itched.php
by cspirou
Mon Nov 10, 2008 1:51 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Tipping people
Replies: 150
Views: 16918

Re: Tipping people

But so you still tip, right? Despite being against the system? This is definitely one of those cases in which a...I dunno...tipping strike is immoral, because instead of choosing to forgo your own job security for a while in hopes of a better deal, you're choosing to screw someone else out of their...
by cspirou
Mon Nov 10, 2008 1:20 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Tipping people
Replies: 150
Views: 16918

Re: Tipping people

I also clearly believe that he should get his cut for every drink. Raise the price in proportion to the work he does. If he does a great job then tip him. But if I don't tip him then I don't believe I shouldn't get shitty service as a result. So are you at least acknowledging that my bartender exam...
by cspirou
Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:56 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Tipping people
Replies: 150
Views: 16918

Re: Tipping people

Mathematically speaking, wouldn't it also lead to equally frequent under tipping? In my experience, though, everyone who can't figure out that 20% is "divide by 10, then double" either uses a cell phone calculator or ends up under tipping. If the only determinant was bad math. However it'...
by cspirou
Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:44 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Tipping people
Replies: 150
Views: 16918

Re: Tipping people

the waiter's union here is (are?) very much pro-tipping. Just fyi. With a low-skill job with such a high turnover rate I wouldn't expect the union to exist or have much influence if it does. Nonetheless I am well aware that just about everyone is against a service charge. Waiters would get paid les...
by cspirou
Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:39 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Obama's "Call to Service"
Replies: 160
Views: 11185

Re: Obama's "Call to Service"

This is quite similar to what other countries do in regard to the military. I know in Germany every able bodied male must complete 2 years of military service. If you choose to be a conscientious objector then you must do some sort of community service instead. So community service is a substitute f...
by cspirou
Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:05 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Tipping people
Replies: 150
Views: 16918

Re: Tipping people

I've waited before, and it is difficult, but some waiters get tipped entirely too much and get a kind of spoiled attitude about it. Making $20-30 an hour in some places-- as tough as it is at times, it's a little ridiculous for unskilled labor. I don't tip based on %. That's a bad system. I tip bas...
by cspirou
Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:04 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Tipping people
Replies: 150
Views: 16918

Re: Tipping people

I notice the conversation always veers to people saying "If you don't want to pay extra then stay home". Nowhere is that my argument. I'm advocating for an automatic service charge as opposed to leaving it ambiguous or an supposed option when it's a de facto charge. I've been to other coun...
by cspirou
Sun Nov 09, 2008 9:43 pm UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Compass and Ruler Alhazen
Replies: 4
Views: 712

Re: Compass and Ruler Alhazen

Maybe I'm not constructing this right, but how does that even work when the two balls aren't equidistant from the centre? The problem or my solution? Edit:You know what? I see a flaw in it already. If the balls produce lines that are 90 degrees apart then the resulting triangle is obviously wrong. ...

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